General News

To understand the present Eskom’s woes, we must finally connect the dots to its past

Driving into an underground parking garage this week you’re met with strange darkness and the loud rumble of the generator keeping the strip lighting going. Outside the roads are gridlocked. Chaos abounds, as traffic intersections become new sites of outrage or resignation, depending on your mood.

Judith February

Judith February is a governance specialist, columnist and lawyer. She is currently based at the Institute for Security Studies and is also a Visiting Fellow at the WITS School of Governance. She was previously executive director of the HSRC's Democracy and Governance unit and also head of the Idasa's South African Governance programme for 12 years. Judith is also a conflict dynamics accredited commercial mediator. Her book, Turning and Turning: Exploring the Complexities of South Africa's Democracy (PanMacmillan) will be released in August 2018.

Welcome to the End of Days, a kind of apocalypse now – the very heart of darkness.

As the country hurtled towards Stage 4 load shedding this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared himself “angry and shocked”. Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises, said in Parliament on Monday that Medupi and Kusile, the two power stations built to stave off a full-blown electricity crisis, were “badly designed”.

Gordhan told MPs:

We will have an independent audit done on what it is exactly that’s going on (sic), so we put Eskom back on track and give South Africans – sooner rather than later – the assurance that we have an entity that is able to give us the energy security that we require.”

Sooner rather than later.

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