Zuma blames current leaders for running SOEs to the ground: ‘SAA is gone, Eskom in shambles!’

23 October 2022 - 10:21
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Former President Jacob Zuma.
Former President Jacob Zuma.
Image: Alaister Russell\The Sunday Times.

Former president Jacob Zuma has accused the current leadership of running state-owned entities to the ground.

“SAA is gone, Eskom is in shambles and we accept this incompetence. What will now follow is our ports, rail and water,” said Zuma on Saturday.

Speaking during his first media briefing since his 15-month imprisonment expired, Zuma said key institutions “are now intended to serve this global agenda”.

He further claimed there were moves to privatise strategic assets of the state and “surrender key functions of the state to international global interests.

PODCAST | Is it possible to hold Zuma to account, despite the risk of unrest?

“Eskom is now being surrendered to international commercial interests for them to profit from our people’s need for electricity.”

Zuma alleged that those responsible for this were hiding behind state capture “to divert the public’s attention from what is really happening.”

During his tenure, the government managed load-shedding, he said.

“In 2015, my government ended load-shedding until I left office at the start of 2018. This load-shedding was stopped for three years in the time of professionals, such as Mr. Brian Molefe and Matshela Koko.

“Load-shedding started immediately after certain agreements were concluded with independentpower producers and has never stopped since then. Why does the current leadership fail to get a handle of the issues at Eskom.”

He said it was known that only “a few of these power producers had invested millions into the campaign of one of the candidates at the 2017 Nasrec conference.”

He added that during his tenure as president the government had intended to harness nuclear power to develop the energy mix.

However, “Civil society organisations were mobilised by those wanting to sell electricity to the public which is generated by the free sun of Africa.”

As a result, he said: “We now live in a country where it is normal to have the power switched off two or three times a day...

“Our coal-powered power stations are being neglected and being set up for collapse while all our coal gets shipped to the very same countries who are giving us loans to close our power stations, while they use our coal to generate electricity for themselves.”

When asked about the Medupi and Kusile power stations not being completed on time and whether he takes responsibility for that, Zuma said: “No, I do not know what you are aiming at. I am not an engineer. The government takes a decision and it gives to the people who must do the things. 

“I went to both the power stations at the time... And you are talking about burning diesel which is what caused load-shedding and some people did what they did to make sure that those institutions do not perform.” 

Zuma said the people who were there pretended that everything was going smoothly.

“If it was under my term, certainly the government must take the blame and I mustn't be excused. The fact that I was not the one doing it is neither here nor there. If the government failed, then it failed,” said Zuma. 


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