Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

Critics of social media say it is no reflection of real life, and a recent tweet from President Cyril Ramaphosa may supply ample confirmation.

Last week, the president (or his social-media minder), had this to say: "We aspire to be a middle-income economy where workers have a living wage and good living standards. We say to investors they will not find cheap labour here, but they will find a workforce that is highly productive and better skilled. We are well placed to attract investors."

But aspirations are one thing, reality quite another. If Ramaphosa were to take a better look at the entity that poses the biggest threat to SA’s economy — Eskom — such platitudes would surely not have made their way onto a public platform at a time when he is seeking investment from not-so-gullible foreign investors.

No less august an institution than the World Bank has decried the gross inefficiency at our power utility, which it believes is 66% overstaffed. Staff costs at Eskom are double the norm in 35 other countries on the continent, and power capacity is just 0.72MVA per employee. That compares with almost 31MVA per employee at India’s largest utility, Power Grid Corp.

Such figures are widely available. Any investor worth their salt will have them at hand. Try again, Mr President.