After announcing that Eskom will implement stage 1 rolling blackouts today and not anticipating any further blackouts, the utility suddenly announced this morning that due to a major setback at Medupi, stage 2 blackouts would be implemented from midday.
Clearly, Eskom’s press briefing on Thursday evening was a publicity stunt to save face in the midst of an electricity meltdown.
The floundering, confusion and dishonesty can no longer continue. The public needs clear answers from Eskom and Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, on the state of affairs at the beleaguered power utility.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, to request that Eskom’s entire executive, board and Minister Gordhan is summonsed to appear before the committee for their evident inability to deal with this crisis.
In terms of Rule 167 of the Rules of the National Assembly, a committee has the power to “summon any person to appear before it to give evidence on oath or affirmation, or to produce documents”.
The DA is of the view that Eskom has not been forthcoming, especially after it seemingly misled South Africans when it refuted 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.
Until Mr. Jabu Mabuza can categorically tell the truth, we suggest that he says nothing at all until such time he accounts to Parliament.
South Africa cannot afford to leap from blackout to blackout without any political and board accountability. These rolling blackouts will no doubt have consequences on productivity and job security.
In the midst of this crisis, President Cyril Ramaphosa has remained completely silent. Confirming that his government does not have a plan to keep the lights on. Unlike the ANC, the DA has a plan.
Our Cheaper Electricity Bill, will stabilize and secure South Africa’s power supply and seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and distribution entity. It will bring on board Independent Power Producers, which will result in a stable, cheaper and efficient energy supply.
In the coming days, the DA will hand over our plan at the Union Buildings as we believe that energy security in South Africa requires cooperation across the political divide.