Steam rises at sunrise from the Lethabo Power Station, a coal-fired power station owned by state power utility Eskom near Sasolburg. Picture: REUTERS
Steam rises at sunrise from the Lethabo Power Station, a coal-fired power station owned by state power utility Eskom near Sasolburg. Picture: REUTERS

The inescapable fact is that SA taxpayers are the only entity/block that can rescue Eskom. The taxpayer has no option but to save Eskom.

If the tariff is increased many fold, or part of its debt is assumed by the Treasury, or loans are extended by the IMF or World Bank or any other entity, it is only the taxpayer that has to bear the burden.

What I as a taxpayer demand is an end to the obfuscation and denialism by the government on the obvious state of bankruptcy of Eskom. The government, and the minister of public enterprises in particular, has to present the situation exactly as ugly as it is, and state unequivocally how Eskom will be fixed. Not some nebulous turnaround plan that we have seen so many versions of, but a bold statement and commitment to decisive action that must work.

The destruction of Eskom was many years in the making, while executives earned fantastic salaries and bonuses. It is imperative that the taxpayers who  are the ultimate shareholders get to know how and who brought Eskom to its knees, so that the miscreants face justice and their assets are recovered.

In particular, just how was the construction time and cost of Kusile and Medupi allowed to overrun by several hundred percent? Who managed these projects, were the initial estimates deliberately understated for a workable business case, who benefited from the overruns, were there any penalties imposed on defaulters?

A fundamental principle of running any business and a primary executive responsibility is the management of costs in relation to revenue. How and who allowed this to become so badly skewed? Unless all of these questions and more are satisfactorily answered, I would be a very reluctant shareholder and taxpayer to bail Eskom out.

Jay Naicker,
Via e-mail