The South African Communist Party says Eskom’s management is rolling out massive blackouts in an attempt to blackmail South Africans to accept privatisation of the power utility.
Eskom resumed with loadshedding for the first time this year on Sunday.
Power cuts continued yesterday and Tuesday after a failure of generating units.
“The management of Eskom, in the manner that they are rolling out these blackouts, is trying to blackmail us so we must accept whatever should befall Eskom. We should not be blackmailed into that. That’s why we believe that these blackouts can be avoided,” SACP first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila stated.
Mapaila said one of reasons given by Eskom for load shedding was low stocks of diesel.
“Why can’t they procure enough diesel on time? It is all of those things that I think are just unacceptable. The reasons why there were blackouts and so forth were issues of leadership incompetence. We want them [Eskom management] to pull up their socks and serve this country properly and not condemn the country to massive blackouts.”
Mapaila continued: “It is very disruptive. We want Eskom to be strengthened. We agree that there are challenges and they have huge debts but [should not resort to] blackmail.”
People online are discussing how the newest obstacle for the parastatal isn’t what it seems to be, but people disagree as to who’s behind it.
The failure of eight power generation units, which plunged the country into stage four load shedding on Monday, has led some to advance the theory that there may be sabotage plot in motion at South Africa’s struggling energy utility, Eskom.
Whether the theorists believe sabotage is caused by those who are allegedly pushing privatisation or those believed to be fighting against it, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe does not want to hear it and has shot down the sabotage theories.
“The reason for the load shedding is a technical fault and nothing else,” he said. – But is it if truth to be told just a technical fault or is their something more sinister going?
If you reflect on the latest decision of The national regulator of South Africa (NERSA) just a few days ago during its public hearings on Eskom’s tariff increase submission then something does not add up quite right with our latest scenario of loadshedding. It seems like the ANC- power utility wants to exploit ordinary citizens to foot the bill of its complete and utter failures and lack of planning. Since NERSA rejected the Eskom tarrif increases, the utility has come forth with other means to get what they want.
According to records, the national power utility is about R420-billion in debt and has been seeking ways to reduce its liabilities. They are beyond cash strapped and drowning in debt. Eskom announced in October 2018 that it has asked Nersa for a 15% tariff increase per year for the three financial years. This indicates a revenue of R219-billion for 2019/20, R252-billion for 2020/21 and R291-billion for 2021/22.
In spite of Eskoms request the Nersa’s Chairperson of the hearings, Nomfundo Maseti, had made comments about Eskom’s wavering tariff submission, calling into question the lack of substance the power utility’s application had.
According to NERSA, Eskom has, so far, failed to justify why the tariff increase should be approved.
“Where’s the information showing that? If there’s a price increase, this is the extent to which the demand is impacted, where is that information?” Maseti asked.
As reported by EWN, the energy regulator has its suspicions about the nature of the power utility’s financial books.
“Where’s the information showing that? If there’s a price increase, this is the extent to which the demand is impacted, where is that information?” she asked.
Eskom’s updated tariff adjustments of 17.1% for 2019/2020; 15.4% for 2020/2021; and 2021/2022, from a previous 15% flat rate increase was met with frustration by industry experts and civil organisations.
The organisation against tax abuse (OUTA) opposed the updated submission, stating that it undermined the entire public hearing process.
“OUTA opposes Eskom’s change to its price application at the end of the consultation process [as it] compromises the integrity of public participation. It also suggests that Eskom is failing in its medium-to-long-term planning,” the organisation said.
Maseti echoed these words when she addressed the hearings. As reported by Engineering News, she noted that the energy regulator would deliberate on the matter, with the voices of the people at the centre of their considerations.
A tentative deadline has been set by NERSA. Friday, 15 March is the date Eskom will receive a decision from the energy regulator.
Can it be that Eskom is deliberately causing blackouts, power cuts and loadshedding to acquire its goal in receiving the crucial tariff hikes? Or is it just plain coincidence that South-African’s are left in the dark. We will love to hear your feedback on this article.
Sources: The Citizen, News 24, Mail & Guardian, The South-African