One is tempted to observe that the revolving door to the CEO’s office at Eskom is receiving more power than most as the number of people occupying the hot seat speeds up. Since 2009 Eskom has had 4 CEO’s in; Jacob Maroga (CEO to October 2009), Brian Dames (CEO to March 2014), Collin Matjila (Acting CEO to August 2014) and Tshediso Matona (Present CEO from August 2014).
In the private sector this would be called a ‘crisis in leadership’.
Of course in the private sector one is able to recognise these crisis and make alternative arrangements like selling your shares or finding another source of supply. Unfortunately this is Eskom – a monopoly – and our populace, accustomed to receiving the best in class supply for many years, is finding it hard to adjust to the looming possibility that rolling blackouts will become the norm for a while. Granted, the wellbeing and ownership rights of South Africans are being savaged when one considers the that the Freedom Charter states; “The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the Banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole; All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the wellbeing of the people”.
In a recent statement the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) said that they are “gravely concerned about the parlous situation in which Eskom finds itself” and appealed to its members to submit any proposals that they may have to alleviate the situation, for joint consideration by Eskom and SACCI. (Classic: Ask consumers for a solution, when no ‘workable’ solution is found then blame consumers for living with their heads in the sand, all whilst the Eskom CEO’s enjoy their private toilets and fat severance packages.)
In a ‘light-bulb moment’ SACCI appealed to consumers to limit the use of electricity as far as possible by switching off all unnecessary lights and appliances.
And then the reason why SACCI is taking the carrot approach became apparent when they noted that “SACCI has undertaken, through its membership, to work with Eskom, a member in good standing, to find workable solutions to the problems.”
Let us unpack the words “a member in good standing” – this means that Eskom’s presumably exorbitant membership fees are paid up and that SACCI will support them until Eskom are unable to pay.
Let’s be honest here – there are three ways to fix this:
- Throw billions of taxpayer money at the problem and fix it relatively quickly
- Encourage consumers to become self sufficient
- Take the pain and fix the fundamentals over a few years as it really seems that the ‘pyramid’ has gone upside down.
In the meantime you know what I recommend.
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