Columns 16.5.2017 06:43 am

Molefe is clearly JZ’s puppet

Brian Molefe speaks at a press conference where he was releasing Eskom's 2016 interim results, 3 November 2016. Megawatt Park, Sunninghill. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Brian Molefe speaks at a press conference where he was releasing Eskom's 2016 interim results, 3 November 2016. Megawatt Park, Sunninghill. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

The reinstated Eskom CEO is a puzzling figure.

The bizarre redeployment of Brian Molefe as CEO deepens the confusion of politics, ideology and corruption swirling around Eskom.

Molefe is a puzzling figure. He did an excellent job as CEO of Eskom from April 2015 to January 2017. To my surprise, he ended load shedding and gave us reliable electricity. He did this by enforcing proper maintenance at the coal power stations.

But the State of Capture report by the public protector suggested he might be implicated in the corrupt procurement of a coal mine with the Gupta family.

He was reduced to tears in a subsequent press interview and announced his resignation. He asked for a golden handshake of R30 million. Suddenly he was made a member of parliament, with rumours that he might soon become minister of finance.

Even more suddenly he ceased to be an MP and was again made CEO of Eskom.

What devious political game is President Zuma playing with Molefe – and with our government and South Africa’s electricity supply?

From one side our electricity is threatened by politics and corruption, and from another by green ideologues.

The greens seem determined to cover SA with thousands of gigantic, useless wind turbines and colossal solar arrays all linked together in an enormous, highly centralised grid.

This would send electricity prices soaring and make our supply unstable – just has it has done in Germany and every other country that has adopted “renewables” with their intermittent, unreliable, ruinously expensive power.

If we are to reduce our terrible unemployment, end dire poverty and make our economy grow, we shall need lots more reliable, affordable electricity.

For the future, nuclear is our most affordable and reliable source of power. The engineering, economic and environmental advantages of this simple plan are easy to show.

Unfortunately, engineering and economics are being supplanted by politics and ideology. Instead of progress along an open highway to good electricity, we are shown the muddy road of corruption and the green path to ruin.

The irony is that Molefe is highly competent.

If you had to choose Eskom’s CEO on merit, he would get the job. Unfortunately there are other considerations in his case, and murky ones.

Andrew Kenny.

Andrew Kenny.

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