It cannot be business as usual for the 6th Parliament while the Eskom threat continues to loom large

Issued by Natasha Mazzone MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
16 Jun 2019 in News

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has received a letter from the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Thandi Modise, in which she declined our request for a debate of national importance on Eskom’s financial crisis.

It cannot be business as usual for this 6th Parliament while the debt-ridden Eskom, continues to be engulfed in corruption and mismanagement, posing the biggest single threat to our country’s economy.

South Africans are already burdened with rising electricity costs and a flatlining economy, and is now expected to pay for years of state capture, corruption and poor management that have led to Eskom being over R400 billion in debt.

Eskom has kept our economy down on its knees – with unacceptably high levels of unemployment and job losses due to episodes of rolling blackouts, we cannot let the Eskom threat to our economy continue unabated.

The utility is the single biggest threat to our economy, therefore, Parliament must use its mandate to perform oversight and debate the true extent of rot at the entity.

The DA has long called for Eskom’s anticompetitive throttlehold on electricity production and distribution to be broken. We have a plan to stabilise and secure South Africa’s power supply and that is contained in our Cheaper Energy Bill, which seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and distribution entity.

This would reduce the cost of electricity, bring about much-needed competition and ensure that South Africa will shed a big chunk of Eskom’s debt.

There is no straightforward or easy way of dealing with the Eskom crisis, however a debate on solutions that will rescue the power utility cannot wait for a time of our convenience or else it will be too late.