Just when you thought there couldn’t be more hits on your wallet, along comes Eskom, probably the most mismanaged parastatal on the planet, to tell you that you’re going to have to pay more for your electricity.
Simply put: years of corruption, inept leadership and people who refuse to pay, have brought the company to the point where its external auditors have warned it is in danger of being unable to continue as a “going concern”. To the ordinary person that means one thing – Eskom is bankrupt.
The most worrying aspect of the company’s financial statements – presented in Johannesburg yesterday – is that irregular expenditure has soared to more than R19 billion. Again, in words that ordinary people (those who keep this horror show going) will understand, this means: waste or theft.
Those running Eskom over the past 10 years have displayed mind-boggling levels of arrogance, ignorance and incompetence, which has seen billions of rands frittered away. And by those running Eskom, we mean not only its managers but also the government ministers who stood by and either did not notice, or ignored the rot.
To be fair to the electricity supplier, the widespread culture of entitlement in this country – which means people do not believe they must pay for what they consume (and particularly power) – coupled with the government’s non-existent efforts to enforce payment (which has just made matters worse), cannot be ignored.
It is not your basic human right to consume something and then not pay for it … as many of the defaulters do.
Eskom wants more money – and that will have a knock-on effect right across the economy. A better life becomes even more of a nightmare.
Let’s hope Eskom’s new management – appointed earlier this year by President Cyril Ramaphosa – will be able to start turning the tide.