Moody’s ratings agency has given the government three months to show a saving of R150bn in the Eskom account otherwise we will attain junk status.

The government is unable for political reasons to retrench Eskom workers and sell chunks of Eskom to private interests. This what it could do in the short term.

There are about 160,000 prisoners in SA and reportedly 40,000 of those are incarcerated for drug offences. Most of those people were caught, sometimes years ago, with a sack of dagga. It makes little sense to keep them in jail when these laws are no longer enforced.

It would be a presidential mandate to grant 25,000 drug offenders a pardon. It would reduce the department of correctional services budget proportionately.

It would also enable the government to close three prisons: Kgosi Mampuru (10,000 prisoners), Pollsmoor (10,000) and Leeuwkop (5,000) and offer the land for private development.

The jewel in the crown would be Kgosi Mampuru — about 25km2 in the centre of Pretoria worth perhaps R200bn. Such a vast area would be privatised for multiple uses: a museum, low-cost housing development, middle-class housing, shopping centres and even luxury accommodation.

Leeuwkop, which adjoins Bryanston, has a river, dams and recreation parks, and is probably the size of Bryanston itself.

Pollsmoor, the size of Tokai, Cape Town, could be marketed to a growing group of international rich who want to live in the Cape, and low-cost housing could be built on it.

The money could be used mostly to plug the gap temporarily in Eskom until the inevitable solution is practicable.

The project would please investors and ratings agencies because it is private, yet involves no job losses and no privatisation of working industries.

Many jobs would be created in building and servicing the new developments. And the released prisoners would vote ANC until kingdom come.

The plan requires just the most minuscule amount of political will — do we have it?

Dennis Rubel

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an e-mail with your comments. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Send your letter by e-mail to busday@bdfm.co.za. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.