SAs Load Shedding woes continue.

By Themba Khumalo

There is something sad about the people who fiddle with the levers of political power. These dogsbodies do not have an inkling of how idiotic they sound when they repeat their handlers’ lies as if they were the truth.
Their incoherence and the truckload of bull manure drives me bonkers. I had no intention of shining the light on the lies they keep repeating about the unequalled dithering at Eskom, until I listened closely to some mutterings by these despicable minions.
I thought I would not write a single word again about Eskom’s desire or failure to keep the lights on. I thought I would sit here and just whisper my displeasure in the dark. Why not, when Eskom has turned off the lights and forced me to light the candle?
I had no intention of flipping on the Eskom-bashing switch, which has become a South African pastime, because I am trying to avoid making public the dark rage, I find myself in.
When Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan told Parliament that government and the clumsily managed monolithic Eskom were hard at work to address South Africa’s energy crisis, the tiny cool I had, flew out of the window and was replaced by dark rage. Afterall, we live in the age of darkness.
“Government and Eskom are working to resolve the energy crisis taking place in this country, and I can assure the members and South Africans that many people are working very hard. It’s going to take time, resilience and lots of hurdles along the way,” muffled Gordhan.
This old man was hurtling down the dark road at unbelievably stupid speed by lying: “There are many honest, patriotic South Africans who are members of the ANC, just like any party. These are people who want Eskom to run well and want the criminals that undermined Eskom to end up in orange overalls. So don’t call us thugs, we are not. We want to fix Eskom.”
I hope he does not mind telling us who these honest and patriotic ANC members are and where they are based.
In the darkness, where we stand as South Africans, we do not agree with Gordhan. In the past 28 years a number of South Africans have come to the realisation that the ANC is a criminal enterprise and directly responsible for all that is wrong with Eskom.
The gold-plated lies he told Parliament are sickening because, like many of his comrades, he believes the nonsense he spewed.
Some person wise with age, once observed that it happens that for the sake of status, career or wealth, or simply unwillingness to change, many choose to live a lie for years.
They constantly tell lies to people dear to them and even strangers. But mostly, they deceive themselves, cheat themselves, and lie to themselves.
I find it scary – my blood runs cold – because Gordhan and company think they are doing a great good job and deserve an ear-splitting applause from the pissed-off public.
As they blunder willingly, taking us into darkness with half-truths and lies we have lost the patience and energy to believe anything that comes out their mouths. In fact, we keep wondering whether these chaps in fancy suits have a clue what they are doing.
It is because of the governing party that load-shedding has become part of our everyday parlance and a distasteful daily diet. This never-ending nightmare called load-shedding, proudly brought to us by Eskom, is a direct result of years of wheeling and dealing, executive ineptitude, intentional blunders and political subterfuge.
Even a drooling village idiot can easily interweave a reasonable sequence of events of the epic clodhopping that has plunged our country into darkness.
For years, long before darkness and the citizens were forced into an uncomfortable embrace, the governing minions refused to grant Eskom permission to build more power stations.
Had Eskom not been blocked from building the new power stations, the country would have avoided the power crisis we are currently experiencing.
This refusal which drove the cart of power supply into the gorge appears to have been deliberate.
A well-crafted 1998 document titled White Paper on the Energy Policy of the Republic of South Africa, sounded the alarm bells. Yes, the alarm bells were sounded in 1998, long before the era of what has come to be known as nine wasted years or state capture.
The document was produced by energy expects and the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) under the leadership of Penuell Maduna.
The problem was highlighted clearly on of the document:
Meeting growth in electricity demand
Eskom is the world’s fourth largest electricity utility, with an installed generating capacity of about 39 000 MW in 1997. The maximum demand in 1997 was about 28 330 MW. Eskom’s
latest Integrated Electricity Plan forecasts for an assumed demand growth of 4,2% that Eskom’s present generation capacity surplus will be fully utilised by about 2007.
Timely steps will have to be taken to ensure that demand does not exceed available supply capacity and that appropriate strategies, including those with long lead times, are implemented in time. The next decision on supply-side investments will probably have to be taken by the end of 1999 to ensure that the electricity needs of the next decade are met.
Just as piss follows beer, by 2007 electricity demand had exceeded supply and Eskom was forced to implement load-shedding to prevent a national blackout.
It is mind-boggling that despite these unambiguous recommendations from the DME, the government failed to act quickly and commence building extra capacity.
Could it be government did not respond swiftly on the recommendations because it did not comprehend the urgency of the situation?
With great reluctance, the mighty and arrogant but unbelievably stupid bigshots met in the early 2000s at some fancy hotel in Pretoria to map a way forward for the country’s electricity industry. That meeting, one of many that were to follow, delivered disastrous outcomes, whose proof is the darkness which has become our friend.
The workshops that were held between 2000 and 2001, at the fancy hotel, away from the loud and bamboozled public, to craft a strategy to overhaul the electricity industry, for it to match the vision portrayed by energy white paper, failed to deliver the desired outcomes.
Those who were privy to these meetings started seeing imaginary light at the end of the long, dark and tunnel.
The tunnel has unfortunately become even darker.
Darkness swallowed whatever little hope I had when Gordhan said: “At all times the main imperative is to avoid the total collapse of the grid… There are therefore internal plans to manage the power system that will allow the systems operator to implement up to Stage 8 load-shedding in order to protect the grid from total collapse.”
During stage 8 load-shedding, we are going to be without power for 48 hours over four days, or 96 hours in eight days.
It is about to get worse…
Could this be a precursor to completely privatise Eskom?
I don’t know, but there are scary signs if you were to follow Noam Chomsky’s observation when he said: “That’s the standard technique of privatisation: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.”
See you on the darker side!

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