AfriForum: Eskom losses and higher unemployment show Ramaphosa’s plans aren’t working
31 July 2019
The civil rights organisation AfriForum today expressed its shock regarding Eskom’s latest record loss of R20,7 billion for the 2019 financial year until the end of March. The electricity giant’s debt now exceeds R440 billion.
Dr Eugene Brink, AfriForum’s Strategic Advisor for Community Affairs, says reliable indications show that approximately the same losses will be suffered again next year. “It shows that Eskom’s problems are long-lasting and more comprehensive than we thought. With the increased quarterly unemployment figure of 29% taken into account, it seems to be out of reach of both Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa and his party and government to tackle the deep-seated challenges of Eskom and other state institutions. On the contrary, they are part of the problem and Ramaphosa’s so-called new dawn is clearly a false one.”
According to Brink, this predicament is not only Eskom’s fault. “Leadership is lacking at all levels in the state and it starts at the top. The ANC’s top leadership is involved in fierce faction battles to such an extent that it simply became a battle for survival and policies are practically without exception socialistic in nature. Municipalities’ debt owed to Eskom is continually increasing by leaps and bounds and nobody is holding them responsible. Insufficient and unconditional life buoys are simply given – what if the money dries up?”
Morné Mostert, AfriForum’s Head of Local Government Affairs, says Ramaphosa, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises, have an obligation to hold their institutions responsible and manage them effectively. “To do this they need to act urgently against different municipalities to protect Eskom as institution. If this doesn’t happen, it is clear that these role-players will rather run the institutions into the ground before addressing their political allies.”
It is also no surprise that Eskom’s income is decreasing. “People and businesses are now relying on self-determination because they are realising that Eskom and the government, as its shareholder, cannot provide in their needs in the long term. Communities are also increasingly starting to consider alternative electricity generation and supply independently from the state due to the dysfunctional nature of Eskom and fast increasing tariffs. Government will at a later stage have no other choice but to deregulate the sector even further,” concludes Brink.
Issued by Hesti Steenkamp, Media Relations Officer, AfriForum, 31 July 2019