Minister warns that it will take time to fix Eskom

Staff Writer | Mar 21, 2019
The electricity crisis in and of itself is sufficient to put paid to any chance of a meaningful economic recovery in the country.

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Pravin Gordhan, has told a media briefing that the government owned energy company Eskom would ‘get it right in a year or two but that it will take a bit of time’ to resolve the electricity crises facing South Africa.

Earlier in March the Minister appointed a technical review team to advise the government about the state of the country’s energy infrastructure.   

The government had previously assured that the crises would be resolved as early as April.

Large parts of South Africa have been plunged into darkness as the state owned energy provider instituted electricity rationing or what is termed rolling blackouts with some households and businesses have been faced with power cuts of up to eight hours a day.  

The blackouts are a political setback for ruling party that faces a test of support at national elections due on May 8. Support for the party has been on a downward trajectory over the past decade with some analysts speculating that it may surrender power by the end of the decade.

The blackouts are also a political disaster with South Africa’s economy having underperformed emerging market growth rates by a considerable extent over the past decade causing job growth to stagnate. Officially almost 28% of South Africa’s workforce is unemployed which is one of the highest levels in the world.

IRR Chief Economist Ian Cruickshanks said that the electricity crisis was in and of itself sufficient to put paid to any chance of a meaningful economic recovery in the country.

Analysts blamed poor planning, ageing infrastructure, inferior quality coal, corruption, overstaffing, and the overzealous application of affirmative action and race based procurement policies for the crisis.   



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