'Big discriminator' Eskom must supply power fairly‚ says Modise

07 March 2018 - 16:31 By Penwell Dlamini
Thandi Modise.
Thandi Modise.
Image: Tsheko Kabasia

The chairperson of the National Council of Provinces‚ Thandi Modise‚ has questioned why the country has been dependent on Eskom for electricity since 1994‚ when the power utility is inefficient.

She also labelled Eskom as a “discriminator” because it provided energy unequally‚ leaving rural and township residents with substandard power.

Speaking at the SA Local Government Association (Salga) summit on energy in Sandton‚ Modise questioned South Africa’s energy journey since 1994.

“Energy is a big discriminator. It says to you who I am. From where I live‚ you can tell the quality of energy I am exposed to. For me … I have queried why‚ since 1994‚ we have allowed that type of energy and connections that Eskom does to the rural areas and people in the townships.

“Therein lies the reason why South Africa is still a divided and unequal society‚ because energy that we provide to the majority of South Africans is not of reliable standard and is not consistent‚” said Modise.

She said that votes would soon enough put pressure on government to ensure fair power distribution.

“There are areas in South Africa…where if the wind is strong enough‚ the TV goes off. These are the voters that are supposed to say‚ yes‚ we are now connected and are equal with rest of the country‚” said Modise.

The Salga energy summit has been organised to find solutions for energy problems that municipalities are facing across the country. It is being attended by mayors‚ city managers‚ councillors‚ energy experts and other role players in the local government space.

Modise said energy was big divider between those from rural areas and those living in big cities.

“Energy says when my child can go to school. Energy defines the type of health system that is available to the majority of South Africans. Energy is still one of the most strategic factor of production.

“Without reliable‚ quality and sustainable electricity supply‚ we are unable to attract investment into the rural areas.”

Modise said it was important for rural woman to have a guaranteed – and safe - supply of electricity.

“It [electricity supply] must not define us. It must enable us to be equal‚” she said.

“I am saying that municipalities and Eskom should not make profit out of our need to sustain our families. I am also saying that…we must pay for what we consume. If we must pay for what we consume‚ we must also not pay for what somebody is estimating‚” Modise said.

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