The dictionary defines alternating current as one “that reverses its direction many times a second at regular intervals, typically used in power supplies”.
That also aptly describes the contradictory communication emanating from our national electricity utility, Eskom.
Since the beginning of this year, under the new regime at Eskom and in keeping with the “New Dawn” promises emanating from President Cyril Ramaphosa, there has been a vow that there will be no more load shedding.
Indeed, when we suggested a few months ago that this winter might be dark and cold because of power interruptions, Eskom virtually accused us of spreading fake news.
On Friday night, Eskom’s Khulu Phasiwe announced that load shedding had been cancelled. Less than 12 hours later, municipal power bodies were warning consumers that it would be happening … and it did.
So, what is going on? Is it true that power cuts were occasioned by “sabotage” on the part of striking workers?
Or is it the case that – as workers and some electricity generation experts claim – Eskom is still grossly mismanaging its affairs?
There is a suggestion that, despite the power corporation’s claims to the contrary, it does not have sufficient coal supplies for its conventional power stations.
Pravin Gordhan – minister of state-owned enterprises – has apparently stepped in to mediate in the dispute with the unions, which is a good thing.
It is also true that Eskom suffered grieviously in the Zuma years because of state capture.
We should not be surprised that the wrongs cannot be righted in a short space of time.
However, given the bloated – and highly-paid – bureaucracy at Eskom, South Africans have the right to expect more from it than demands for higher electricity tariffs and load shedding.
Eskom has well and truly turned off the light at the end of the tunnel…