When joining the dots between headlines such as “ANC policies ruin Eskom”, “Meddling shows Eskom is still a gravy train” and “Push or jump, the governance curve shows a bump”, as well as the cartoon in Business Day on January 15, Eskom, and by association our beautiful country, are surely doomed to darkness.
Steven Friedman believes that “not only are cabinet ministers allowed to tell SOE boards not to take decisions that won’t fly with the public — it is part of their job”, and that “...if they (the ministers) believe a board decision will do serious harm to the people who elected them, they must step in” (“Jabu Mabuza’s resignation boosts governance”, January 14). Of course, if the ministers’ instructions prove disastrous, they “…should be held to account by the law or public opinion”. We all know how successful this remedy has proved (not) to be.
John Dludlu writes that “worse, various politically inspired, parallel plans were drafted to rescue Eskom” and that “it is unclear whether Andre de Ruyter … was told how … his thankless job of turning Eskom around would relate to this chief restructuring officer role” (“ANC meddling shows Eskom is still a lucrative feeding trough”, January 14).
In his letter, John Catsicas quotes John Galbraith stating that “politics is not the art of the possible, it consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable” (“Toxic cocktail of ANC policies has destroyed Eskom”, January 14).
It is clear to me that by allowing ministers to take or direct decisions and interfere in state-owned entity board decisions (as they have done) where they deem harm will befall “the people”, the “necessary and unpalatable” actions required to turn Eskom around will never be implemented.
If, for example, stage 6 load-shedding is required for a specific period to catch up with overdue Eskom maintenance, who is best equipped to decide this? Yes, harm may befall the people in the short term, but the country will surely benefit more in the long run.