Eskom’s announcement of today’s Stage 2 blackouts confirms that it is in a death spiral and that it is time for the ANC government to get out of the electricity generation business and give the power to generate electricity to the people.
The ANC government and its utility Eskom, are unable to meet our nation’s energy needs, and there is no plan to fix this. The DA firmly holds that Eskom’s constant limping from light into darkness cannot continue.
Eskom continues to suffer financial catastrophe, being billions in debt. It blows through bailout cash, and it has proved for years that it cannot recover massive consumer debt owed to it. Eskom remains operationally weak, and its infrastructure continues to fail and to not meet demand. Its power generation mix is archaic, and has no way to move to cleaner more affordable energy.
These are signs of an entity which cannot be saved. We maintain that it is in a death spiral, and for so long as the ANC government continues to pretend Eskom can be saved, it is dragging South Africa with it down this spiral.
It is deeply concerning that while rolling blackouts continue, transparency and disclosure at Eskom remain elusive – contracts, short, medium and long-term operational and restructuring plans, and importantly a solution to the financial crunch it is experiencing, are kept secret and not disclosed to Parliament for oversight.
The DA has previously requested that the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee of Public Enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, convene an urgent meeting on these issues at Eskom, but to no avail. The DA has also asked the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, for a meeting to address the electricity crisis and help the nation find solutions, and are awaiting a response thereto. We are absolutely committed to work to find solutions.
In the interim, Eskom demands more price hikes, requests additional funding to the tune of billions, and then promptly announces more looming loadshedding. To what end for our nation?
It is high time for alternatives, including breaking-up Eskom, immediately freeing-up space for all independent power producers, investigating aspects of privatisation and allowing South Africans to make their own electricity generation choices in their own businesses and homes.