When SA was deciding how to go about building two of its most ambitious infrastructure projects, the two coal-fired power stations Kusile and Medupi, there were a couple of choices to be made. One was whether to turn over the project to a global energy giant as a turnkey project, or to ensure that in the build of the multibillion-rand project local industry got the greatest benefit, breaking the project down into various different contracts. We chose the latter, and the justification was rather simple. For a government dealing with a jobless crisis, with some 27% officially unemployed, the rationale was quite clear: public spend should yield as much benefit for the country as possible. So the turnkey option didn't win the debate, and though the country hadn't undertaken such an ambitious project for many decades - building stadiums for the World Cup simply doesn't compare - Eskom was trusted to manage the process. Now we know, more than a decade since signing off on the project, tha...

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