Carol Paton Editor at large

When President Cyril Ramaphosa says there won’t be retrenchments at Eskom and the group won’t be privatised what does he mean? Is he really sure? There is so much doublespeak on Eskom that it is hard to know what the plan is. That is partly because ANC politicians believe it is possible to say different things to different people and no-one will notice, partly because the plan is still under construction and partly because no-one really wants to spell out the possible endgame scenarios. But while this goes on, though, trust – especially among those who work at Eskom – is draining away. Ramaphosa is losing credibility. To the extent that the plan has emerged, job losses have always been and remain a central part of it. Eskom must cut costs or the R150bn bailout will be to no avail and Eskom will be back where it started. There are only two sources of cost reduction: primary energy costs and employee costs. Also, more needs to be spent on maintenance. Eskom has renegotiated the short-...

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