South Africa: Op-Ed – Eskom – Towards a Constructive Solution


Kendal power station, Eskom South Africa


Bailing Eskom out, again, is not enough; we need to fix Eskom’s underlying structural problems. And at this critical stage we simply cannot afford another pointless debate about the merits (or not) of privatisation – its goes nowhere. But an interesting way around this is proposed by UCLA psychologist Matthew Lieberman, who is seeking to revive an idea from the 1960s. Could it work?

If I were part of the Zuma administration, the slow-moving train wreck that is our electricity system would keep me awake at night. While politicians are often accused of having short-term agendas and so allowing problems to be deferred, this problem is different.

Any notions that any current cabinet ministers might have about an extended political career or a peaceful retirement in comfort will be subject to sorting this problem out. The major achievement of our democratic era has been mass electrification – people have come to depend on it and won’t accept reverting to not having electricity again. You don’t want to be the person in charge if this were ever to happen.

Eskom’s current problems are huge and are not going away. According to Eskom, it has a projected revenue…

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