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“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods but in favours; when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work; and your laws don’t protect you against them but protect them against you; when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice; you may know your society is doomed.” — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957.

Stage 6 load-shedding has been forced on us by workers who are entitled, overpaid, underworked but have seen power abused everywhere else and have taken their monopoly position to extort an unaffordable increase. Never in the pre-1994 history of Eskom (formed in 1928, 60 years ago) did this happen. What changed? The only significant change was government policy — cadre deployment, affirmative action and BEE.

Eskom has 10,000 too many employees; Transnet, the company that barely runs trains, employs 45,000 people. Most of these employees produce very little, a lot of them don’t go to work, and when they do, they are disruptive and poorly managed by people who, like our president, cannot make a hard decision. They walk all over everything, and when things don’t go their way, they throw their power around, because they can.

The leadership, institutional knowledge, work ethic and skills that carried these organisations has gone, retired or — where made unwelcome — just left. The ANC government has cut itself off from the skills that could help it implement its stupid policies, and now we all suffer.

I don’t see private companies acting like this. Why? Because they have to compete and produce to survive.

Rob Tiffin
Cape Town

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an email with your comments to letters@businesslive.co.za. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.​


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