Something happened a few years ago on a remote Free State farm. Something small, even trivial, but the ensuing saga was not. A boulder of about 30 tonnes rolled down a mountain slope and lodged against the steel stay cable attached to a wooden Eskom pylon.

We have all seen these pylons threading through the country: to balance the weight of the electrical conductors, there is a stay cable on both sides of the pylon.

In this instance, the immense weight of the boulder is cutting through the cable, which will eventually break. The pylon will then fall, cutting off power over a large region, and, as likely as not, setting the veld on fire.

So what, you may ask. Eskom should simply install a new stay cable, cut the damaged cable, and the huge rock can gently fall into a hole beneath it, dug for the purpose. Why not report it to Eskom, and voila! 

If only! This was reported many times over the past two years. Eskom technicians came, scratched their heads, and went. No-one was willing or able to effect a seemingly simple repair. No-one was bothered about the inevitable collapse of the pylon, and the consequential damage and disruption.

This small saga reveals the rot at the heart of the governing party and its agents. Multiply a thousand times, and you have Medupi and Kusile. And SAA. And Prasa.

When will we ever learn?

Willem Cronje
Cape Town

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