ON THE WATER
NEELS BLOM: The dark tower of despair that is Eskom
Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza wants a government bailout and he wants South Africans to allow Eskom to do business as it pleases
A bitter truth is sinking in: Eskom wants more money and we the people are going to give it to the failing state-owned power utility. First it will be a R100bn or so to fund the interest on debt it cannot repay, and then hundreds of billions more if SA is going to continue as anything remotely resembling a modern state. It is not as though we have the cash lying around, but it will be found and most likely through loan sharks that will see the nation indebted beyond any hope of economic development. Still, prudent little citizen investors should be doing their sums before submitting to the inevitable co-option, if only to maintain an illusion of honour. But before we get to that there is a little matter of semantics. When Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza (ably patronised by public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan) explained to the nation its “choice of pain” at a media briefing last week about rolling power failures, he said that Eskom’s failure to meet SA’s electricity needs “are problems...