Eskom power station. Picture: REUTERS
Eskom power station. Picture: REUTERS

Yunus Momoniat’s article We need to define national interest to defuse battles and put SA first, on December) argues forcefully for the selfish factions  in SA to come together to build the nation. He is right to so argue. He states (correctly) that unions fail to appreciate the role of business.

But then Momoniat falls into the same hole. With a stunning disregard for the unfolding catastrophes at state-owned enterprises (SOEs), particularly Eskom, he castigates business for staunching the flow of money to workers and society.

Yet Eskom is on the brink precisely because it followed Momoniat’s prescription. It, together with other SOEs and the government  generally, has consistently increased worker salaries  far above inflation, and inflated staff numbers far in excess of need. It granted coal contracts to enable small black-owned companies, only to find they cannot deliver.

The SOEs have certainly avoided the sin of superprofits and have instead channelled wads of money to the black middle class. If Momoniat is right, the SOEs should be stunning successes, and have facilitated multitudes of small black entrepreneurs.

So why is the country on the verge of darkness, and staring into the abyss? Could it be that superprofits are better than superlosses?

Willem Cronje 
Free State