The “threat” of rolling blackouts as announced by Eskom on Thursday was proof that the African National Congress (ANC) and president Cyril Ramaphosa had no plan to keep the lights on, according to the Democratic Alliance’s Natasha Mazzone.
Mazzone is the official opposition’s shadow minister of public enterprises.
In a power alert released by Eskom earlier in the day, the state-owned-entity said there was “a high risk of stage 1 rotational loadshedding from 17:00 to 22:00 today”.
Last month, the country experienced just over a week of stage four load shedding, leaving much of South Africa without power for several hours at a time.
Thursday’s power alert came just after a “non-announcement” by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan last week where he failed to give any solutions to an ANC-created crisis, said Mazzone.
“The truth is that the failing ANC government has no political will or durable plans to fix the broken power entity which has been hollowed out by decades of mismanagement and corruption.
“The ANC’s scheme of burning through billions of rands of diesel the country cannot afford to keep the lights on until after election day has now truly backfired,” she said.
Instead of restructuring and unbundling Eskom to make it operationally and financially viable, said Mazzone, the ANC placed the interests of their trade union allies above those of South Africans who desperately needed the lights to stay on.
“Ramaphosa and [deputy president David] Mabuza do not know how to provide South Africans with a stable and reliable electricity supply. Instead of fixing Eskom, the ANC is choosing to engage in dirty electoral campaigns based on anarchy, violence and misinformation.
“Last year, the DA introduced the Independent Systems Market Operator (ISMO) bill or ‘cheaper electricity bill’. The bill seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and transmission/distribution entity. Our plan would see a generation entity which is privatised in an effort to break Eskom’s monopoly on production of energy, allowing independent power producers to compete on an equal footing in the generation sector,” said Mazzone.
Only the DA was able to keep the light on, she concluded.
– African News Agency (ANA)