Well, we know it’ll take something spectacular to reverse the fortunes of Eskom. But does the DA’s blueprint provide the answers? John Steenhuisen went public with his party’s plans earlier on Thursday, and they range from practical to just a little bit radical – and heads might start rolling soon.

DA take on Eskom

The interventions – which Steenhuisen claims could be implemented “immediately” by government – are targeting at the business structure of Eskom, how it secures its coal, and what needs to change to start slashing the debt. When you’re R450 billion in the hole, any change would be welcomed.

The DA frontman even suggested Mining and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe must allow Independent Power Provides to supply electricity and compete with Eskom. Failure to do so, John Steenhuisen says, should force President Ramaphosa to fire the cabinet member:

John Steenhuisen outlines DA plans to reform Eskom:

  • Eskom must be immediately be split into two entities, one for generation and the other supply. Unlike the ANC’s proposal, these entities must be operated independently of each other. Allowing IPPs to generate and supply power to the grid will secure supply and bring down the cost of electricity through competition in the energy market.
  • Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe should at once sign permissions for Independent Power Producers to provide additional power to the grid. If Mantashe will not do so, President Ramaphosa must instruct him to, or fire him
  • Eskom should be permitted to procure coal from any and all sources, and not be contractually bound to the current restricted supplier list.
  • Eskom must be sold diesel by PetroSA at a tax-free cost price.
  • All electricity consumers must be placed onto smart-metres to collect electricity revenue on time.
  • Eskom employees must be declared an “essential service” in the economy and barred from going on strike.

In the ball park?

While delivering the proposals, Steenhuisen claimed the recent round of blackouts – expected to cost the economy tens of billions of rand – were an “assault on business owners across the country.” He finished his speech by stressing the need to reform the entire energy sector:

“Those who have small businesses are being hit the hardest by what can only be described as a material failure of governance by the ANC National Government. Rolling blackouts are an assault on the livelihoods of business owners and their employees. When the power goes out our entire economy switches off.”

“Decisive action is urgently required to begin reforming our country’s energy sector. The authority and mandate to do so lies with National Government and their dithering, dodging and indecision can’t continue. We’ve set out six steps National Government could immediately pursue in order to reform our energy sector.”

John Steenhuisen

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Presh JM Reporter

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