Eskom should come clean on why it misled the public about rolling blackouts

Issued by Natasha Mazzone MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
17 Oct 2019 in News

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On Wednesday morning, Eskom implemented stage two rolling blackouts, which plunged the country into darkness and added further to the country’s deepening economic crisis. These power cuts came a month after the embattled utility assured the nation that there would not be any blackouts. The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on Eskom to come clean on why it waited so long before revealing its intentions to cut the lights.

Speaking to ENCA, Eskom COO, Jan Oberholzer, revealed a number of challenges faced by the power utility including a constrained generation system. This suggests that Eskom, for some time, knew about its capacity shortages and that it will have to resort to rolling blackouts. It also confirms that the beleaguered state-owned entity (SOE) misled the public and gave false assurances when it denied the DA’s revelation that it had issued a warning to municipalities that power cuts were on the cards for the months of September and October.

Eskom chairperson, Jabu Mabuza, must come clean as to why he misled the DA and the public on rolling blackouts. Instead of playing open cards, the utility decided to unceremoniously spring these power cuts on the nation without any prior warning, thus affecting economic activity and Matric exams.

One thing is certain, these rolling blackouts, which are the price the public has to pay for years of corruption, mismanagement and brazen looting by the ANC government will have serious consequences on our struggling economy. Experts estimate that each stage of rolling blackouts, costs the country R1 billion per stage, per day.

Contrary to Eskom COO’s assertion that the utility’s biggest challenge is exclusively generation constraints, another massive challenge faced by Eskom is the industrial-scale thieving that was carefully engineered by the ANC and the Guptas.

At the hands of the corrupt ANC government, a majority of SOEs have collapsed because the government is only adept at wasting public funds.

The DA’s Cheaper Electricity Bill will stabilise and secure South Africa’s power supply and seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and distribution entity. It will bring onboard Independent Power Producers, which will result in a stable, cheaper and efficient energy supply.