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Thursday, March 20, 2008

ESKOM: The Illusion of Power

I was not going to write about this issue. It simply is too depressing. It has become an analogy of the way this country is going!

Regression, back into the era of darkest Africa! The problem is, South Africa can hardly be spoken of as ever having been part of darkest Africa. Yet, here we are. South Africa is fast approaching that epithet at the speed of darkness.

It truly boggles the mind! True, in South African politics, and parastatals (such as Eskom), it doesn't take long for the next mind boggling trick up the sleeves of these institutions to be exposed.

Ten (10) years ago, the management of Eskom at the time warned the South African government of impending doom with regards to the country's power supply.

However, that little fact was only made known to the public a few months ago, after load shedding started being implemented in South Africa.

Once this episode started, and the government feigned an investigation into the load shedding by Eskom--government had known about this for 10 years already, remember?--the National Electricity Regulator of SA (Nersa) awarded Eskom a 14.2% price hike, effective from 1 April 2008.

Apart from this, Trevor Manuel, Finance Minister, announced in his budget speech in February, that the citizens of this country will be taxed on energy usage. Obviously, this is to make up for the billions of rands the government is "lending" Eskom to build its capacity up once again. So, it will be a 14.2% price hike, plus extra tax by the government on electricity!

But wait, it gets WAAYYY better!

Just a few days ago, it was brought to light that Eskom has asked for a 53% price hike! This hike will replace the 14.2% increase initially awarded.

First, those involved in allowing the situation to go this far and dumping this country into darkness should have been fired! Plain and simple! In any other company, if the top brass caused such chaos to ensue, they would have been fired, without apology! Yet, here in this Politically Correct Stupid country, these buffoons were probably apologised to for having thoughts of firing them! How absolutely ludicrous!

It is not just the management of Eskom that should have been canned! The Minister of Public Enterprise Surprises, Alec Irwin should also have been given the boot! So too the Minister of Minerals and Energy Atrophy, Ms Buyelwa Patience Sonjica.

Second, having run this country into darkness, the "fat cats" at Eskom are to receive performance bonuses to the amount of R9.22 Million at the end of March 2008. What would those bonuses have been if they actually ran a company that could provide the services they promised they could? R100 Million?

Are we to pay their bonuses for them?

It is absolutely sickening! The moral outrage! These evil men are going to receive millions, while at the same time they want South Africans to pay 53% more for their electricity! These monstrous "fat cats" are completely void of ethics! They should be taken to the wall and put before a firing squad! They do not deserve our mercy!

But, then again, God showed me mercy and so I will show them the same. Still, they should be fired! They should not be paid those bonuses. In fact, the bonuses that they were paid for the last 5 years should be demanded back by the company.

Third, Eskom management has proven by now that they are incapable of running Eskom successfully, and that they have truly messed it up, yet, they want the man in the street to pay for their mistake mismanagement!

Fourth, how dare Eskom ask South Africa for more money while they will continue to have these power cuts (load shedding)? Will Eskom's failures just never end? If I ask someone for more money, should I not first make sure that I can actually provide a good service to the client? Which client will pay for a service that is undeliverable?

Fifth, an electricity price hike will not happen in a vacuum! Almost everything will become more expensive overnight. However long that night will be while Eskom's rule of darkness continues! Once all these prices have gone up, our inflationary targets will not be met, since inflation will skyrocket, and then the Reserve Bank will increase interest rates. All of this will have a very negative effect on the country and will force our economy down into the doldrums.

What can I say, but, that there are dark days ahead of us?

I just wish government had the backbone to fire those responsible. Perhaps then our faith in justice will be restored.

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