It’s no surprise the Eskom debacle has been called an emergency by public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan. As SA’s largest power generator, Eskom provides 95% of our electricity and in effect powers the nation. The utility's debt spiralled from a manageable amount of about R40bn to R420bn under Jacob Zuma’s presidency. This country now spends about R1bn a day on interest while continuing to borrow about R1.2bn a day to keep the lights on. It is not sustainable, and we’ve run out of time. It is estimated that SA loses R1bn a day for every stage of load shedding, which means the recent stage four load shedding cost this economy R4bn a day. It is astounding that two coal-powered power stations, Medupi and Kusile, could be allowed to go more than R200bn over budget, and even once complete will only provide 40%–50% of their intended output due to poor design. In addition, it is now estimated R139bn has simply been stolen. The bailouts required by our state-owned enterprises are a ser...

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