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Load-shedding: Who do you blame?

This week’s Talkback question on the Mail & Guardian Online:

Load-shedding: Who do you blame?

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  • Power cuts to continue on Thursday
  • Public Protector queries power cuts
  • Opposition parties voice concern over Eskom
  • More power cuts this week, says Eskom
  • Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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    44 Comments

    1. Jane Jane 17 January 2008

      I really believe that collectively Government and Eskom share the blame for the currect crisis (this includes the government under apartheid, who were also aware of the power supply problem should the economy grow and more people be granted access to electricity. After all, it takes at least 10 years to put together a power plant, and planning for a new one or more should have been in process by the 94 elections).

      Government was aware of the problems ahead, and actively prevented Eskom from proceeding with teh solutions they suggested. If they had a problem with the type of solution, they should have consulted with Eskom to find a more appropriate one.

      Eskom should have been more forceful in getting the attention and budget required to facilitate the provision of more electricity.

      Between them, they are going to criple the economy, and the poor will continue to get poorer. Companies are going to have to rationalise to assist in averting some costs associated with continuous power outages.

      Financially, Eskom has benefitted over the years, so they should not be whining now about having to increase costs to cover the new plants!

    2. Steve Hayes Steve Hayes 17 January 2008

      The blame clearly lies with the Eskom management and planners, who planned to distribute power more widely without planning to generate enough of it.

      What has happened to the plans to build an aluminium smelter in the Eastern Cape? What were they thinking of when they planned that?

      But the snafu at Eskom clearly is not a minor one, and there needs to be an investigation into planning and management decisions, and heads should roll, if they haven’t already.

    3. Jonathan Jonathan 17 January 2008

      Poor planning, lack of initiative, crushing incompetence, the list goes on. Unfortunately blaming Eskom and gvt won’t actually fix the problem, tho it may make us feel better. Eskom and gvt have copped to screwing up, and are now trying to fix the problems.

      Personally I think upper management of both should be publicly flogged, once a week. They should also have their plush houses disconnected from the grid, and generators banned. All they are allowed is candles. Then we’d suddenly see some miraculous implementations of solar and wind power, power stations would mushroom far faster than even they would believe.

      The biggest problem at the moment is that the ones who are in control of it are the ones who are able to ensure that they are least affected by it. They need to be made to care about it. Does Thabo sit in the dark? How about JZ? Does Tokyo? How about thirteen-million-a-year-Thulani (well, before it got too hot in the kitchen for him anyway)?

    4. Gavin Foster Gavin Foster 17 January 2008

      Jonathan’s got it spot on – especially the flogging.
      It’s not just the electricity thing. This is really pissing people off because it inconveniences many, many more than the other problems do, much more often, and it’s at work and at home. You see a pothole in the road and you tut-tut then forget it. You read about the hospitals and say shame, but, most of the time it doesn’t affect you directly. This is just an indicator of a deep-seated malaise.
      I’ve already got a generator. Next on my list is a water filtration system – when the water goes to hell we won’t even know about it till we get sick.

    5. N Grobler N Grobler 17 January 2008

      In any well governed country, the people responsible for a total mess are fired on the spot. In South Africa’s banana setup they get inflated bonusses to reward them for the sucessfull mess they they made – in this case of Eskom.

    6. Jacqui Couzens Jacqui Couzens 17 January 2008

      What a marvelous opportunity to make a clean start. Instead of whinging in the true South African fashion, why not take this oppurtunity to make some much needed changes to the way things are done?If this planet is going to survive the 21st century we are all going to have to start using alternative power sources, wind and solar energy to name a few. The current rescources are limited and running out. Businesses should take control of the situation now and lead the way into a greener more sustainable South Africa to be proud of.

    7. Neo Mogotsi Neo Mogotsi 18 January 2008

      I know that every time one pays their electricity bill, a certain percentage goes towards building new power stations. I think a while back, I read an article that this money was used for other purposes. Is this true???

    8. Brandon Brandon 18 January 2008

      Government and Eskom jointly to blame….major portion to the government though.

      This just exacerbates the current re distributive theology in South Africa.

      It is absolutely hilarious to read comments from such writers as ” whats the big deal? Blackouts have been common in townships for ages, and now that whites are affected there is a big outcry….”

      What hogwash. Where are there “only white” suburbs, and “where are there only white business jurisdictions”, or Hospitals with only white patients.

      The problem is one that keeps recurring. It is the belief that whites have enjoyed an endless free supply of resources from which others have been restricted. It is the imagination that whites found electricity bubbling from a stream somewhere in money mountain and shared it only amongst their tribe.

      So blame government – not for the noble objective of electrifying every home in South Africa, but for the uneducated view, that one didn’t need to plan for the effect such an increased burden would have on the national grid. A government which allows it duty to reason, plan and do impact assessments – to be clouded by an emotional rationale such as “redistribution” is just not fit to govern.

      The fact that government has not co-ordinated it’s objectives directly with Eskom, is an indictment of whichever department is responsible for energy. That ministry should be fired. It is a kindergarten mistake – that cannot be tolerated by any people…especially the under priviledged. Actions such as these -uneducated attempts at redressing the living conditions of people will actually make things worse.

      Yes, many more homes have electrification — but what good is that if it cannot be relied on, and actually restricts other economic growth drivers.

      I am not anti-electrification, just anti-incompetence. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of electrified homes should have been accompanied by a commensurate investment and expansion in the electricity grid.

      Untill we loose the idea that whites have been enjoying “FREE” resources things will not get better.

      I fully agree that every one in the country should benefit from it’s resources — but we have to accept that the resources are not found by accident in some honey pot.

    9. Gavin Foster Gavin Foster 18 January 2008

      Jacqui,

      That’s great. And when we run out of petrol we can all get fit by walking, and when the X-Ray machines stop working and the drug companies all close down we can all switch to alternative and traditional medicines. Tar roads? Gravel is great!
      Don’t make excuses for the inexcusable.

    10. Morne Morne 18 January 2008

      I believe the money ended up being spent elsewhere. To be more specific, it got channeled into the hands of our corrupt politicians taking a ride on the gravy train while the country declines. Unfortunately both the government and Eskom have made sure to purge from their ranks any competent people so that the ride could continue indefinitely.
      Almost every sector of Government is failing the ordinary South African.
      Check out the unsanitised statistics from independent watchdogs like SAIRR and then form your own opinion.
      South Africa needs accountable leadership, and the future will be secured. We’re putting the wrong people in charge.

    11. John John 18 January 2008

      @Neo Mogotsi, I don’t know for what percentage of the money was used to build new power stations.

      But as far I know Eskom was not allowed, by government, to build any power stations even though government was warned there will be power shortage.

      And now with the power shortage Eskom was awarded a license to construct new power stations. So the blame must be on the government for not awarding Eskom a license earlier.

    12. Ivo Vegter Ivo Vegter 18 January 2008

      Indeed, John, Eskom is not to blame. In the same way that Telkom is not to blame for operating within the legal framework government provided for it, government must take the full blame in this case too.

      The need for long-term investment was well known and documented since at least the mid-nineties, and probably earlier, both within and outside Eskom. The government wouldn’t fund Eskom’s capital investment requests, however, because it was waiting for the independent power producer pipe dream to bear fruit.

      Seems nobody told the wise men in government that you can’t harness the market, especially when a key part of that harness is price control.

      It’s time the mandarins that run our country learn the difference between “private” and “free”.

    13. Chris Chris 18 January 2008

      Affirmative action has really come home to roost with a vengeance – where are all our high power engineers? Overseas. At present, even if a new power station can be built overnight, there are NO engineers that can commision (start up) the power station. Engineers will have to be recruited from overseas. Planning for the future is an alien concept that very rarely takes place in Africa. just have a look at our neigbours if you have any doubts

    14. Estiaan Estiaan 19 January 2008

      Goverment should take the blame not only for their short sightedness to see that the country is growing at a faster rate that any person could ever have predicted, putting more damand on the national power grid and also for them to allow engineers with the knowledge and project developers to leave Eskom and the country with AA and BEE.
      Any person with some reasonable common sense can see that the country is on a steady economic decline if countries do not whant to invest in SA.
      The result is a slow prgress with industries closing down. unemployment rising and then the goog old friend crime will be on the increase again.
      I just hope that people that will go to the polls whith the next elections will keep the long term effect of our current power shortages in mind.

    15. Nic Nic 19 January 2008

      The Eskom saga is nothing but cracks widening up.

      I support the views of most of the previous respondents, i.e. blaming government. Government’s decision to support (and in some cases enforce) BEE is, as mentioned previously “coming home to roost with a vengeance”

      Democracy should be all about a better and a fair life for all. It is not because some “comrades” were part of the struggle and therefore get top and influential positions. It is not about “forcing” black people into senior positions to earn points in order to trade with government. All tenders awarded by government to BEE companies, are being paid by the taxpayer – you and me. Therefore we should have a say in where and how our money should be spent.

      The solution certainly is not BEE. The solution consists of only three criteria that should be met and nothing else:-
      1. Competency,
      2. Competency and,
      3. Competency
      (I by no means suggest that black people are not competent. I want to be clear that BEE by its design does not, in most cases, employ competent black people in senior positions). BEE should be replaced with BCP – best competent person – and South Africa will boom!

      If we do not employ competent people who will be held accountable, liable and responsible for the position that they hold, we will become like the rest of Africa, i.e. remain “third world”, or at best “developing”. But never “first world” (Has anyone ever thought why not one country in Africa is “first world”? What is the common denominator? We even claim to hold the “cradle of humankind” trophy – therefore we should lead the world!). Africa’s dilemma (or common denominator) is greed by incompetent and corrupt rulers – nothing else.

      This government better wake up. They have a huge responsibility towards all citizens. Voters should vote with their mind and not their heart. 2010 is round the corner. The world is watching. The cracks are ever widening – in our national airline, health care, roads, military, police, education, provincial service delivering, etc, etc,

      No wonder competent people are leaving this country because our democracy is not offering a fair and better life for all…

    16. John John 19 January 2008

      Makes one wonder what the MP’s are doing,not just Alec Erwin, and why the hell they are getting such big salaries.

      One example just look at what a mess South African telecoms are in thanks to that brilliant Minister Poison Ivy.

      Not even to mention Home Affairs or crime.

      Bit off topic but I would also just like to mention.

      “Voters should vote with their mind and not their heart.”

      But the ANC don’t even see themself as a political party or for that matter a democratically elected party. Almost every time some high ranking official refer to the ANC it’s always the revolutionary movement. And another word I really hate in South African politics “commrades” *spit*

    17. Grant Walliser Grant Walliser 20 January 2008

      A few of us are still here Chris, running our own little businesses, often with nothing to do with Engineering because nobody noticed, bothered about or payed us much before, least of all Eskom ;)
      The rest are all working in IT and banking in London, shaking their heads about what could have been. Oops, big oops!

      On the current problem, had we all been warned, communicated with and given time to adapt, we certainly could have made proper alternative arrangements. The greatest travesty here is not the fact that we have severe power cuts, it is that we are all waking up to the associated problems now when there is little that can be done. No COMMUNICATION with the people. Sound familar? Nobody said a damn thing until the lights went off. Then we got a few warnings about what to expect in the future and a meekly reluctant apology from the cheese in charge. Weak, very weak!

      A focused program of solar geyser installation, solar traffic light installation, subsidised emergency generators at companies, accompanying increases in fuel supply and storage capacity for the generators, miniature industrial power stations for the steel industry, mandatory sale of low energy lighting, household and business energy audits, new pricing structures to encourage ever increasing energy saving could all have been phased in to great effect over the past 5 years. Now it is a free-for-all with imported Chinese generators flying off the shelves in a mad buying spree. Weak, super weak!

      Make no mistake, electrical energy is the cornerstone of the developmental state, the very foundation of our modern lives and the key to improving the lives of all. The ball has been dropped in a big way here, regardless of who is to blame (government in my humble opinion) and we will be lucky to escape with an intact economy. Expect less profitable businesses to start downscaling and closing soon, expect inflation, expect the immediate mothballing of all major building and capital projects, expect increased road fatalities, expect increased crime during blackouts, expect lower productivity and increasing unemployment, expect the dominos of political unrest and a severe brain drain to follow. Electricity was the one thing we really needed above all others to just plain work here so that we could concentrate on getting the trickier issues right. It is not just the lights – it is our very ability to do work in the modern economy that has been switched off.

      Oops, very big career-limiting, country-buggering oops!

    18. Estiaan Estiaan 20 January 2008

      We all blame the goverment and Escom but let’s look at the other side of the coin. Cosatu constantly opposed the privatisation of Escom and the 14.2% increase to ensure that affordable power can be supplied to the poor and people of the lower income bracket. Now the question is-who actually run the country Cosatu or the ANC? The way I see thing is that the ANC must be able to tell Cosatu to got to hell and back, privatise Escom and then some of the problems will be sorted.
      The other thing that Cosatu don’t think about is that because of their opposition to the privitasation of Escom and the 14.2% increase it is the poor and people of the lower income bracket that will suffer the most.
      We must ask if the offices of Cosatu is all blacked out during load shedding or if they are some of the few fortunate ones that have standby generators.
      Further we can ask if Cosatu or the goverment will compensate us for the loss of income during load shedding, perishibles that we have to dispose of and the list can go on forever.
      We can also ask what the goverment will do if we refuse to pay taxes to compensate for our losses that they make us endure.
      In short, the ANC, Cosatu and Escom must wake up before we sit with a second Zimbabwe in Africa.

    19. Ambiorix Ambiorix 20 January 2008

      Can anyone confirm whether it is correct that areas where Eskom bosses live are NOT subject to “load shedding”? I am sure I don’t even have to seek confirmation of this with regard to our pres, ministers and top gvt officials.

    20. Robert Mugabe Robert Mugabe 20 January 2008

      we all seem to know that the anc does not have the ability to run the country and that bee will ulimately kill our country like zim, question is what do we do about it?

    21. David David 21 January 2008

      Skills shortage! Most of the competent workforce left because grossly incompetent people have been appointed in senior positions,and this is called transformation.!

    22. Chopperlion Chopperlion 21 January 2008

      Is it too weak a pun to refer to the “lighter side” of this debacle?

      Well, if not, check this out:

      Eskom vows to keep lights on, will burn Zim banknotes

      http://www.hayibo.com/articles/view/14

      Yours in the dark.

    23. James James 21 January 2008

      The govt should admit its mistakes and accept that it is out of its depth. It does not know how to run the country. All the main areas of the state, healthcare, education, housing, criminal justice, policing and management of state enterprises has been a unmitigated disaster under the ANC. Their affirmative action policy has been a disaster and this problem with the electricity is going to affect the industrialisation of this country in a way from which the country might not recover.

      Finally after everything we have been through, something that was so easy to prevent is going to be the undoing of South Africa. Who would have thought and how sad.

      The only answer is to de-regulate the economy and allow international power companies to invest here to make up the shortages, and for the state to get out of the economy once and for all.

    24. Neo Mogotsi Neo Mogotsi 22 January 2008

      Lets not please blame BEE and transformation for this ESKOM mess. Transformation is a good idea and if applied properly will help balance the injustices of the past (BLAH BLAH BLAH). Most critics of BEE and Transformation dont really suggest any better ideas about how to fix the imbalances caused by apartheid.

      I know for a fact that had it not for goverment intervention, I would not be able to work as an engineer for some of these white dominated engineering companies.

      I also know for a fact that had it not for apartheid, my mother would have been a bank executive now but she got passed over for thirty years for less than competent white people, so lets not point fingers at the lack of competent black BEE people.

      I know a couple white senior managers in certain company I have worked for, who are absolutely useless at their jobs. The only reason they still hold their positions is (a)they are white, (b they have brilliant support staff, which is largely black.

      On the other hand installing an incompetent Black person in a prominent position, is an insult to me a qualified , hard working black man and the black nation as whole. This is because when this person fails, it makes the rest of us look bad and stunt our progress as a people.

    25. John John 22 January 2008

      Neo, I agree with everything you are saying regarding BEE/AA and I am a young white Afrikaner. Some of my bosses are in high positions and no nothing about computers so even sending them emails is a very difficult task.

      But with regards to the power situation government is a lot more to blame than the folks at Eskom.

      From a news article:

      “Mbeki admitted last month his government should have heeded pleas by Eskom several years ago to invest more in electricity generation to keep up with the country’s economic growth.”

      “When Eskom said to the government: ‘We think we must invest more in terms of electricity generation’, we said no, but all you will be doing is just to build excess capacity,” he said in a speech.

      “We said not now, later. We were wrong. Eskom was right. We were wrong.”

    26. Manly Khoza Manly Khoza 22 January 2008

      Welcome South Africa to Africa, this is how African economies are managed just look north into Zimbabwe. After 28 years of independence no single power station has been built instead some have been mothballed whilst the demand is rising. Who do we blame; of course it’s the Government which does not listen to expert advice from the power utility(s). Economic development is not a priority in independent African states, instead tax payers’ money is spent on partying (celebrating independence 24/7) and stashing the Swiss bank accounts of the ruling elite. This is just the beginning as it did happen in Zimbabwe. The first symptom of decay is loading shedding , just give it a few years the next in line will be the shortage of basic food staples (maize, rice meat) next in line is fuel (petrol ,diesel & gas) and off course in 5 years time there will be shortage of cash …yes the Rand. How many new power stations have been built in RSA since 1994 … the answer is nil against a demand increase of 5% per year since 1994. Watch this space.

    27. Yam Yam 22 January 2008

      Well said Neo. Personally I’m so over who’s to blame for this fiasco we now find ourselves in. Point is us small business people are bearing the brunt of it because we can’t afford to spend millions on generators like big business. Can I claim the cost of my generator or invertor from tax? My nanny runs a small hairdressing salon with her sister on the weekends in iKasi – can she claim back for the loss of revenue because of no power?

      Great article entitled ‘Surviving Eskom’ by
      Maya Fisher-French – actually gives practical advice on how to get around this. No more finger pointing people please! Let’s come up with solutions rather.

    28. cader cader 22 January 2008

      Blame it on the short sighted architects of Apartheid.

      Cader

    29. John John 22 January 2008

      Last I will be saying on this and I am with Yam about whose to blame.

      Cader, please go troll somewhere else if you are not gonne be anything constructive to the discussion.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

      But just so you know during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s South Africa was generating a surplus(195%) in electricity. That is the reason why 3 power stations in South Africa were mothballed.

      When Eskom warned the current government why did they not listen and give Eskom funding ? In which case Eskom could have started getting those mothballed power stations up and running again.

    30. Ant Ant 22 January 2008

      I agree with Jacqui, this can be a new beginning, I have solar panels on my roof and advocate renewable energy sources, no need for eskom, why would I bother, they are useless. For those who want to cut down on their bills a worthwhile alternative is to get solar water heaters or at the very least to install timers on your hot water heater – to hell with eskom, we can power ourselves or reduce usage and save money into the bargain.
      Also, by insulating our houses better, ( think pink ) we can reduce our heating bills and reduce the need for load shedding. Although the politicians brought this problem on for us, we can solve it ourselves – why should you suffer unnecesarily.
      In answer to gavin, yes, you can walk and cycle more, it’ll do you ( and your wallet ) good.

    31. Concerned Citizen Concerned Citizen 22 January 2008

      I for one would only hope that power shortages are not as a result of ‘unofficial policy’ in regard to helping Zimbabwe and the likes of, despite what we are told… China doubled their power output capacity between 2004 and 2007 I read somewhere (amazing…); I wounder why it seems it will take SA to address this problem ?

    32. Zulu Zulu 23 January 2008

      There is no question that current government is to blame. You cannot promise millions of consumers houses and access to basic utilities without planning for the inevitable growth in consumption. Close to me, almost 1000 low-income houses have been built in barely 3 months. What did they think would be the consequence on utilities arising from such enormous and fast growth?! Eskom did warn government, but, hey, making provision for allocation of funds to get existing power stations that had been mothballed up and running would have cut into the slush funds of the corrupt rulers of this country. The so-called “Apartheid” government is NOT to blame – they had made sure that the capacity was there: however once Koeberg came on line (an Apartheid government initiative to future-proof power supply I might mention!!), Eskom took a lot of smaller power stations out of service so as to keep cost down, as they were not required AT THE TIME – sound business reasoning, nothing wrong with it. However, when Eskom recently asked the current government to allocate funds to bring them back into service (some R300 billion), Mbeki bulked at “wasting money” on such “frivolous expenditure”, hence the problem we have today. Simple as that. Blame black government and greed, get pissed off, and then go out and get an alternative means of power so that you do not need to rely on these pigs in the future.

    33. Salmaan Williams Salmaan Williams 23 January 2008

      Eskom has the monopoly on electricity supply. They should be held accountable for their failure to perform, We the consumers does not enjoy the option of an alternative electricity supplier. Government should provide for another electricity supplier, as a strategic intervention to Eskoms failure to roll out their services. Hope this happens soon.

    34. Lesetja Ledwaba Lesetja Ledwaba 23 January 2008

      Why,the government of course,and its former leader of government business,Mr Thabo Mbeki,with his “know it all igama aliphikiswa my word is final” attitude.
      Eskom warned them back in late 1997 and they thought they knew better,whimpering to the whims of big business and their privatization and public spending reduction mentality.
      Now the President want answers from Eskom.He should just dust off some files and read through,not scan through as he is used to do to submissions not from one of his yes-men and women.

    35. Wariner Wariner 23 January 2008

      It is interesting to see the bouquet of comments in reply to this article. Some blaming BEE and others rallying against that opinion.

      What is clear, is that Eskom systematically annihilated it’s skills base over the past 10 years. The agenda for that was founded in BEE. Whether you blame the concept or not is immaterial – there is a direct causal link.

      Historians will most likely look back at this time as the start of downturn on the nation. South Africa was the one chance an African government had to prove itself – and it seems to be failing comprehensively.

      As a young energy engineer, like an increasing number of my colleagues, my priority is to head to Australia or the like.

      Let me be honest: the fact that they didn’t address their past social inequalities really isn’t an issue. At least their lights are still on – for everyone living there.

    36. Nic Nic 23 January 2008

      Cader,

      I wouldn’t be surprised if you are in fact a BEE appointed senior person within government – because you argue exactly as the incompetent masses employed by government – the exact problem this country is faced with. Wake up to reality. This ANC government has been in power for 14 years – enough time to build many, many power stations. They have admitted that they have screwed up concerning ESKOM – i.e. not heeded to the advice of experts – and the sad thing is that you are not even aware of their admission!

      Your so-called “architects of apartheid” never had power outages as we are experiencing now – so, even with a smaller tax base, they managed to do something right regarding ESKOM, Police, Hospitals, etc. etc – note, I am not supporting their humanitarian record at all.

      We really do not need your “cover-up” excuses anymore – what we need is for you (and this government) to face reality – and that is that apartheid is long gone as we knew it. There is a new apartheid alive and well – it is called BEE – and this BEE is going to cost us dearly.

    37. Tash Joseph Tash Joseph 23 January 2008

      Wariner, your comment makes me very, very sad. You’re a “young energy engineer” – you studied here, in SA? And now your “priority” is to get the hell out and apply your skills on another continent?
      Incredibly sad that people are happy to receive tertiary education that is largely subsidised by the state, but complain bitterly about a lack of opportunity and then sod off at the first opportunity. Why waste your time and take up a ‘varsity place that could be filled by someone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch something back into SA afterwards?

    38. Wariner Wariner 23 January 2008

      Tash,

      It is sad – and for the longest time I was an optimist. A government’s responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of it’s citizens. Our government has failed in that regard. This energy crisis is just another shift along that continuum.

      Insofar as my place in university being subsidised by the government is concerned – well, my parents paid tax and since a great deal of it was squandered, I think they are entitled to the sweat of their brow.

      To be fair, I didn’t complain about a lack of opportunity. In fact, Eskom is creating an amazing market for energy solutions. Opportunity would be a reason to stay.

      I am faced with an economic choice. I am guaranteed safety and stability abroad. I am not offered that here. The idea of patriotism is ill informed in any case. Globalisation is real and human capital is an asset that will move like any other.

      My opinions really are the norm amongst university students and recent graduates.

      I think you may also admit that there is a point – somewhere between where we are and the state in Zim – where you would find it prudent to start packing your own bags. Zimbabweans who held on for “ethical” reasons are not being rewarded.

      But having said that, there are certain intangibles that will make home unlike any other place. Of course, they are completely unrelated to who is in power.

    39. Sharon Sharon 24 January 2008

      I blame family planning, or rather the lack of it.

      If you vote an idiot into power, he’s going to put his family and friends into the plushest of jobs that pay the most obscene salaries, even if their IQ is lower than their shoe size. They in turn will give the top jobs to their family and friends.

      Sacking someone is akin to admitting you made a mistake by hiring them; so the incompetents get shuffled around instead.

      The SA government should change its name to “Morons-R-Us”. And if you vote in a president who has a few wives and dozens of kids, you may as well change it to “Zuma Inc.”

    40. hazel hazel 24 January 2008

      i think the ANC should have left Government as it was, they should have fought for our rights and made an ANC Deputy President. so that they could learn and educate other members on how a country is run. if you look at history, you will clearly see who the brain behind all that is needed to get our country going is. Now we pay our taxes, try to make honest livings and the people we put our faith in are getting richer and still doing nothing for us.The person that is incharge of minerals and energy must have been a normal house wife that was involved in politics and all the other the things that were going on. I believe, as a black person that all that has happened thus far would not have happend if we left Government as it was, i think that if the ANC worked with the old Government. things would have been much better.So now we have to go back to buying coal stoves and parrafin lamps and making babies, because our cities are now going to be like farms.As for us single black female parents we just have to carry on working hard and paying our taxes for other people to live comfortable and if the Government feels you not paying enough tax, then they just take all you savings and all that you tried to work for and if you dont have anything, then you leave your children and go to jail. I think like someone mentioned here, that we should vote with our heads amd not our hearts, we should look at what has happend in the past ten years and see what it has done for us ordanary South African citazens, some of us have businesses and top positions, but are we experienced enough for that? we should have had the ANC as Deputy president to ensure that aparthied was no more and that we we all benifited from what was once a beautiful South Africa.We should all look at how much more expenses we have to go trough with all the things that are going wrong in this country of ours.

    41. Hugh Hugh 24 January 2008

      Load shedding is Newspeak (Orwell)!
      Please say Power Cuts

    42. Jon Jon 27 January 2008

      The ANC are to blame. Their affirmative-action “transformation” policy saw the competent incumbents removed because they were white, and incompetent people put in because they were black.

      Down the track we have this — predictable — outcome.

      As the whole Africanist “transformation” mania was Mbeki’s closest and dearest pet project from his first day in office, he personally has to wear the blame.

      Forget the hoary old “legacy of apartheid” slogan. The collapse of reliable electric power, the loss of productivity and, by extension, of jobs.. This is the “legacy of Mbeki”.

      Good riddance to the man. Your country is the better for your going.

    43. dave dave 29 January 2008

      PEOPLE ARE TO BLAME AND NOT ORGANISATIONS! Most if not all of the comments here blame government, the ANC, Cosatu, Eskom, Apartheid Architects etc. These are all amorphous organisations getting blamed, but what about the specific people within them to be held accountable? In normal business, if someone screws up someone is sacked. Given these organisations are government/parastatal/political its always easy for those who really screwed up to hide behind skirts of their organsiation and point fingers elsewhere. Well here is my list of the real culprits who need to be held accountable. (1) Jeff Radebe then Energy minister for ignoring 10 ESKOM memos of warning that were placed on his desk regarding the pending crises. (2) Thabo Mbeki – this happened on his watch and like any self respecting CEO should take the rap and resign. Besides he Ignored an Eskom warning in 1998 that there would be a power crisis by 2007. Lied to the press and parliament in 2006 by stating “There was no Electricity Crises” (3) Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka — Failed to tackle crisis as Energy Minister and then as Deputy President. When replacing Penuell Maduna who had signed off the White Paper on the Energy Policy of SA in 1998 (that predicted a crises by 2007) she insisted there was no looming crisis. In 2003 she went as far as saying she had been assured by Gcabashe that South Africa would never run out of power.
      (4) Thulani Gcabashe — Former Eskom CEO knew for 10 years about looming crisis but failed to tell the public or escalate the issue when government “pooh-poohed” the warnings. Just a party lackey and yes-man who didnt want to stick his neck out, but happy to take millions in bonuses for making Eskom finances look artifically good. In 2003 he assured governemnt “South Africa would never run out of power.”
      (5)Jacob Maroga — Joined Eskom in 1995 and failed to act or raise alarm when made CEO last year. Also didnt want to make too many waves with the party. Mismanaged the biggest public relations disaster for Eskom and the country and also the biggest fiasco of a preparation/response to the crises through inadequate load-shedding management and coal stockpiling program. (6)Alec “sabotage” Erwin, minister of public enterprises — Told Parliament in 2006 that there was no national energy crisis. Failed attempt to privatise portions of Eskom and realise what this would lead to and plan appropriatly when the bid failed. Was certainly aware of the looming crises and had to also ignore warnings. Continues to live in “la-la” land insiting the current crises wont affect GDP growth.

    44. Rose Tuelo Brock Rose Tuelo Brock 17 February 2008

      Let us call them what they are for a start. They are POWER CUTS. Eskom is not a new company. It has been in existence for a very long time.It is therefore surprisiung that it seems to have been caught with ‘pants down’ by the present crisis. Are the directors suitable for the positions they occupy? How could they escape blame and even get away with fat bonuses whilst the country is plunged in darkness? Yes, some of the people at the top and the corresponding government officials in the relevant departments must take the rap. Otherwise, the same mistakes of neglect, lack of planning and preparedness etc, will recur on and on and become an even bigger problem for those who will take over in the future. It is a scandal that, in a sunny country, new houses are being built without solar heating for household water heating.In trying to shop for a geyser cladding, most assistants did not understand what we were looking for. It also turns out that solar heating present problems in places where the water is chalky, like ours, for instance. People need incentives and advice on how to go about installing solar heating for their geysers. I commend the 50/50 programme for their regular advice on conserving energy. We need more of such in a daily basis in places where house owners and children can see them everyday and be encouraged to put into practice.

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