WILLIAM GUMEDE: Opportunity beckons in Eskom crisis
With Eskom remaining in the doldrums of state inaction, we need to bring alternative sources of electricity into the energy mix soon
The crisis in Eskom is unlikely to be resolved in the next five years, given Eskom’s outdated business model and opposition from powerful interest groups in the ANC to restructuring the state-owned enterprise. To reform Eskom within five years, as envisaged in its vision and strategy document, will need political courage — and that is woefully lacking in the ANC right now.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his state of the nation address of 2019, said Eskom’s generation, transmission and distribution activities will be split into three separate subsidiary companies owned by a holding company, Eskom Holdings. The Treasury’s economic strategy, released late in 2019, proposes selling off some of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations to raise R450bn. Eskom’s own turnaround strategy proposes debt restructuring, electricity tariff increases, better collection of arrears payments, restructuring the business, cost-cutting and improved plant performance.