12.5 C
Johannesburg
Friday, September 30, 2022
HomeNewsEditor’s View: Forget De Ruyter; throw the whole Eskom in the bin

Editor’s View: Forget De Ruyter; throw the whole Eskom in the bin

Editor’s View: Forget De Ruyter; throw the whole Eskom in the bin

- Advertisement -

It’s easy to look at a state-owned entity and think of firing its chief executive when it fails.

But this is short-sighted and counter-productive. CEOs need time to right the ship. If you’re going to install a new CEO, you at least need to give them some time to fix things.

However, this should come with caveats – a set of measurable deliverables, time lines by which to achieve them and consequences for not meeting them.

Changing CEOs is not going to change anything at Eskom. We need to throw the whole thing in the bin.

I’m not saying dismantle it or privatise; not at all (wink, wink).

Eskom has failed spectacularly in its mandate to power South Africa’s growth and development.

Permit me to spend a few lines showing off my privilege: due to the blackouts, the back-up batteries that power my electric driveway gate, home alarm system and electric fence are on the fritz. I’m going to need to replace them all, and if “load shedding” continues, I’m going to have to replace them all again soon.

I live in a relatively safe suburb of the leafy variety, surrounded by many apartment blocks, so having the lights out doesn’t pose as big a threat to me as, say, in one of the estates on the Cape Flats. You know the ones… the estates they gave pretty names to to hide the fact they were dumping people of colour there to fend for themselves under the Group Areas Act.

Lavender Hill. Hanover Park. Bonteheuwel (Colourful Hill).

There, having no street lights or electricity is a potential death sentence. Criminals move in the dark. Homes are broken into. Women are raped. People are killed.

Eskom’s spectacular failure is a threat to the safety and security or our people.

You’ve not only taken away our electricity, you’ve taken away our power.

Earlier this week, I had 2.5 hours of electricity during the course of my work day. That’s six unproductive hours.

Imagine my income relied on a physical store being open so I could make sales to earn commission to put food on my family’s table. Imagine I worked in retail and no one came to my store because we were closed for six hours. Imagine no one came to my salon to have their hair done. Imagine I was a small business owner with suppliers and staff to pay.

No, Eskom, you can’t. You can’t imagine what darkness means. You’ve not only taken away our electricity, you’ve taken away our power.

How do we fix it?

Well, I’ve always been a proponent of competition breeding excellence. You can’t know how much better you can be unless there is a worthy rival pushing you to better yourself.

That’s what we need – competition for Eskom.

Open the market for private energy suppliers to cater to the needs of our consumers. Allow renewable energy companies to use the power delivery infrastructure to electrify people’s homes.

I’m not naïve to believe this is easy. It surely can’t be as simple as three or four fibre internet service providers using the same cabling and infrastructure.

I am also not naïve to believe this wouldn’t open the door for hyper-capitalism which would invariably drive prices through the roof. No, keep Eskom limping and hobbling along providing basic energy needs at government-subsidised costs. Eskom is there to provide a reliable service to the people of South Africa, not to make a profit.

Eskom is there to provide a reliable service to the people of South Africa, not to make a profit.

The taxes the government can earn off private electricity providers could boost our coffers. Private medical care and state-run medical care can co-exist. Why can’t electricity supply?

We have been at the mercy of a failed entity for far too long. I, for one, am sick of it.

IOL

Original Article

- Advertisement -
RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

- Advertisment -