South Africans have the power to end load shedding

Sanelisiwe reads a bedtime story to her daughter Nandi(2) as Eskom loadshedding hits the area in Newlands East, Durban. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Sanelisiwe reads a bedtime story to her daughter Nandi(2) as Eskom loadshedding hits the area in Newlands East, Durban. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Published Feb 18, 2024

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We need to be honest with ourselves: the apartheid regime managed things better. I know some don’t want to hear this.

The houses that were built by that regime remain strong even today. Yet the ANC called them “matchboxes”. Government departments and its utilities were well managed.

I’m not in any way comparing apartheid to democracy. Apartheid remains a crime against humanity.

The apartheid regime did good things for the white community and treated blacks as sub-humans. Not only that, but it also killed, maimed and tortured black people for being different. That was cruel.

Before 1994, Eskom was among the best-performing utilities in South Africa. It was managed by engineers and competent managers.

It also had reserves and supplied electricity to other countries in Africa. Electricity was cheap and reasonable. In addition, Eskom has won many awards.

Fast-forward to 1994. The ANC government adopted a working Eskom. Instead of maintaining the high standard, the democratic government has brought the electricity utility down.

Since 2010, the country has been suffering from electricity blackouts. And the load shedding is getting worse, not better.

The problem with Eskom is not management or money but politics. In other words, there is no political will to solve the electricity issue. If Eskom does not work, South Africa does not work.

This is a serious matter, but it is not treated like one.

During Sona 2024, President Cyril Ramaphosa said load shedding is a thing of the past. The same night, Eskom announced Stage 4. It then escalated to Stage 6 over the weekend. It remains unclear if Ramaphosa was misled. Or was he sabotaged?

It has been 14 years since load shedding started. And we’ve been told one and the same thing by our political leaders: “electricity blackouts will be over soon”.

Now these words sound like a stuck record. But it does not seem to matter to our political leaders.

During the EFF manifesto, it promised to end load shedding in six months. It said it will re-employ all the people (managers and engineers) who ended electricity blackouts.

The Red Berets’ promise is music to the voters’ ears. They would really like to see load shedding coming to an end.

However, the EFF’s promise is not practical. There is just no way that Malema’s party can end load shedding in six months – and it knows it.

Why is it lying? Because it desperately wants votes in order to become a governing party.

If South Africans want load shedding to come to an end, they must stand up and do something.

Talking in the corridors, complaining on radio shows, social media and in the drinking holes won’t change anything.

The ball is in the court of citizens.

* Thabile Mange, Mogale City.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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