Eskom might not have covered itself in glory recently, with some particularly bleak financial results this past week, but it would seem our local media’s own reporting on the embattled state-owned enterprise isn’t exactly top notch either.
In a Twitter post that is equal parts sad and hilarious, Khulu Phasiwe, the power utility’s spokesperson, on Wednesday bemoaned the types of questions he’s currently being asked by some journalists.
It would seem one interview in particular on Tuesday was a tipping point for him.
“Yesterday I had an interview with a journalist who asked me if Eskom’s issuance of bonds meant that Eskom was now involved in issuing home loans,” Phasiwe wrote.
This was a reference to news that yields on Eskom’s bonds for 2021 had dropped 18 basis points, meaning that individuals or businesses who invested in them would receive substantially less interest on their investment.
For the economic novices out there, bonds from government are investment opportunities for parties at fairly stable interest rates.
It’s a way for government and SOEs to raise funds and later pay those investors back. You’re actually helping the government, and the government isn’t helping you – as the bank does with a home loan.
But Phasiwe also revealed that journalists have asked him for “photographs of loadshedding” and “if Eskom owns municipalities”.
While not lambasting any media house in particular, Phasiwe highlighted some of the harsh realities in the media industry.
“These questions, although innocent, clearly indicate that the journalists assigned to these stories do not understand their issues their [sic] are meant to report on, and worryingly, thus also suggests that they do not read much,” he wrote.
“I’m aware of the pressures in which the media industry operates, and at times reporters are forced to become jacks of all trades, but it’s unfair on us to teach, not even explain, such basic things that ideally these reporters should know, or at best should have googled.”