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

It’s intriguing that the sudden blackouts  came after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of the unbundling of Eskom into three businesses.

Some attribute the load shedding as a way to push for Eskom’s privatisation, while others think it’s a ploy aimed at justifying the proposed tariff hike. The lack of effective communication often breeds suppositions, feeding into conspiracy theories of a desperately worrying prognosis.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni should outline in detail the extent to which Eskom is in crisis, and shed light on whether the left hand knows what the right is doing.

Given what lies ahead to turn Eskom around,  a technical leadership with requisite skills is needed. We need ideas free of pigeonholing and that are long-lasting solutions to the crisis, the impact of which can be devastating and cripple government and the economy.

Likewise, it would be unwise for the government not to consult far and wide on the sale of equity in Eskom to expand its capacity, which is at the core of the unbundling plan.

It would be reckless to hurry the plan without a proactive risk-mitigating strategy to manage the impact of the complexities of implementation and the unintended consequences for the poor.

Privatisation is the wrong approach at the wrong time. 

Morgan Phaahla

Ekurhuleni