DA’s Eskom idea deserves an ear

FILE PHOTO: Steam rises at sunrise from the  Lethabo Power Station, a coal-fired power station owned by state power utility ESKOM near Sasolburg, South Africa, March 2, 2016. Picture: REUTERS / Siphiwe Sibeko

FILE PHOTO: Steam rises at sunrise from the Lethabo Power Station, a coal-fired power station owned by state power utility ESKOM near Sasolburg, South Africa, March 2, 2016. Picture: REUTERS / Siphiwe Sibeko

It’s time for solutions, not recriminations.

Critics of the Democratic Alliance (DA) will, no doubt, rush to trash its plan to bring to parliament a private members’ Bill aimed at ensuring a future of more affordable energy for the country.

It may well be politically motivated – what do you expect from a political party? – and it may be slammed as free market Thatcherism … but it deserves an ear because it makes sense.

Eskom is a colossal failure. It has been grossly mismanaged, with the loss of tens of billions of rands which could have been used elsewhere to provide people with a substantially better life. At the same time, it has been unable to stop electricity power prices from spiralling upwards, out of control.

So, something needs to be done. And the DA’s ideas – that the power giant be split into two, privately run entities, one for power generation, the other for its distribution – certainly merits thorough debate.

There will be job losses. That is unavoidable in getting rid of the ANC’s “jobs for pals” scheme. But those thousands of workers who will suffer will be less than the millions deprived because of Eskom’s collapse. It’s time for solutions, not recriminations.

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