From excuses of wet coal to maintenance issues, Dlamini-Zuma says Eskom is in crisis
Minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Monday said one of the biggest challenges facing the country is the energy crisis at Eskom.
Eskom represents the best definition of “crisis” and all efforts should go into identifying the root cause of the issues facing the utility and work on fixing them.
“I think we have a crisis that is, in a different way, similar to the coronavirus that we had. We should be throwing expertise at Eskom because we have to find the diagnosis of what is wrong and fix it,” she said at a seminar in Durban.
“If it’s the lack of skills, let’s find engineers who may have the expertise, even if it’s for the short term, to go to Eskom and assist. If it’s maintenance, let’s get people who can deal with that.”
She was in the dark about the issues at Eskom and suggested she did not have much confidence in the leadership.
“I’m not the minister in charge; maybe they would be in a better position to say what is wrong because that’s the only way you will know how to go about fixing it. There was a time when we were told that coal was wet, what is that? Was it raining for the first time in this country?
“Something has got to give. I mean stage 6? We need to think about that and treat it as a crisis. What is happening at Eskom fits the definition of a real crisis. I'm glad the president said he will come back because there is a crisis, but then what happens next is going to be what is important.
“Energy is like oxygen to the economy. If you don’t have oxygen you will die, it’s a survival matter. And it’s like that for the economy; if you don’t have energy then you have no economy to speak of.”
Dlamini-Zuma called for an economic system that will cater for everyone, saying the world is at a point where one can't have quality of life without money.
“We are the only species on earth that has to pay to survive. We have created a society where you have to pay to survive. The only thing you don’t pay for which is important for survival is oxygen.
“We have to pay for water and food. Without those three things you can’t survive. That’s why we have to create an economy that works for everyone because everyone has to pay to survive.”
Asked about “radical economic transformation”, Dlamini-Zuma said: “Sometimes it's mistaken as meaning taking things from this one and giving it to that one. It must end up with the economy expanded and many more industrialists being in place with more people having access. I haven't seen it yet.
For SA to be stable and peaceful you need people not to resort to being thieves before they can eat. You don’t need people to say, ‘well, I might as well steal and if I get killed I will be a corpse anyway if I don’t eat'.Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Cogta minister
“It's not like taking from one to the other, but the concentration [of resources] is the problem. You can't have 10% of the population having more than 50% of the wealth of the country. That's neither sustainable nor desirable and we need to change that. For me, that’s what radical economic transformation [is].
“It also goes hand in hand with [a] skills revolution because you can’t expand the economy when you don’t have the right skills. From artisans to engineers, it’s all the skills. You can’t expand the economy or radically transform the economy if you don’t have the skills, but you also can’t radically transform the economy if people can’t have access [to] finance. Those are the things that define radical economic transformation and that’s what SA needs.
“And it’s not ideological, it's common sense in my view. Of course if you think SA does not need to change you may think it’s wrong and shouldn’t be done. For SA to be stable and peaceful you need people not to resort to being thieves before they can eat. You don’t need people to say ‘well, I might as well steal and if I get killed I will be a corpse anyway if I don’t eat'.
“In SA, just like in all of Africa, we have what we call the ‘African paradox’ which is a rich Africa with poor Africans.”
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