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Eskom’s recent “improvement” in generation performance, it seems, is nothing less than a sleight of hand to appease restive voters, while endowing on electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa that rarest of attributes: a perception that here’s a cabinet minister actually on top of things.

As it turns out, the improvement in load-shedding that the country enjoyed between April and July wasn’t thanks to some miraculous recovery in generation after the departure of former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, but rather due to a colossal amount of diesel burnt to power the utility’s open cycle gas turbines. The R12.4bn it spent doing this, over just four months, according to Daily Maverick, is equal to what was spent over double that time last year. Not only has Eskom now ripped through half its annual diesel budget, but this gives the lie to the notion that the utility has had any improvement in operating performance...

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