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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: Mbeki claims load shedding was deliberately created by Eskom

Mbeki also blamed black economic empowerment for the problems at Kusile power station.

Former president Thabo Mbeki has made explosive allegations about Eskom, including that the power utility’s management deliberately caused an electricity crisis and load shedding.

The former statesman was speaking during a dialogue at Unisa on Thursday night, hosted by the Thabo Mbeki African School of Public and International Affairs.

Watch: Mbeki’s views on why SA has load shedding

Mbeki says load shedding not government’s fault

Mbeki said the first time South Africa experienced a national electricity shutdown was in January 2008.

“The mines closed for a whole week. It was a serious crisis,” Mbeki told delegates.

He said the argument is that Eskom had told the government in 1998 that there must be investment in new generation capacity and infrastructure.

“Government didn’t listen, hence the blackout in January 2008. That story was false. That story was cooked up. The reason there was a shutdown is because the people in charge of the power stations didn’t do what they supposed to do which was to replenish coal,” Mbeki said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘Somebody didn’t want Kusile and Medupi to be finished’ – Mbeki

Brian Molefe

Mbeki said it was “correct” of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe to say that he was tasked to deal with load shedding.

After Molefe left, load shedding returned. Mbeki said it was because the new Eskom management “did not behave like Brian Molefe behaved”.

Mbeki said the new Eskom leadership deliberately did not maintain the power stations, which caused breakdowns and the return of rotational power cuts.

Kusile power station

The former president also blamed black economic empowerment (BEE) for load shedding, and used the Kusile power station as an example.

He said Eskom contracted an Indian company to build Unit 1 at Kusile. However, claimed Mbeki, when it was time to build Unit 2 and 3, Eskom demanded that the Indian company brought a BEE partner on board.

Mbeki said the contract was terminated when the Indian company couldn’t reach an agreement with Eskom on BEE.

“Kusile is still not finished to this day. I’m saying it’s deliberate,” he said. “It’s people that wanted to create an electricity crisis, in the same way they wanted to create a revenue crisis by the destruction of Sars.”

‘Kill the Boer’

During his address, Mbeki also questioned why Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema continues to sing the controversial “Kill the Boer” song.

He said while there were no policies in the ANC to kill farmers, there was a context for such slogans when used during the struggle against the apartheid regime.

Mbeki said the chant contains slogans that have context that have become irrelevant, but are still part of history.

“So, I am saying I listened to Julius saying this and I was saying to myself why does he say it? The slogans have a context, people were shouting slogans in 1952, by 1962 they became irrelevant, but they are a part of our history,” said Mbeki.


Malema created an uproar last month when he used the chant at the closing of the EFF’s 10th birthday celebrations at FNB stadium.

“We had over 100 000 people under our nose after chanting it, we could have all left the stadium in unison to go and kill white people, but our people understand that it doesn’t mean what these people are saying,” Malema said.

Malema’s actions prompted the Democratic Alliance (DA) to threaten that it will take him and his party to the United Nations Human Rights Council for chanting the controversial “Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer.”

DA leader John Steenhuisen said his party also intended to approach Parliament’s ethics committee over the matter.

Malema said if the “Kill the boer, kill the farmer” song was an incitement to violence, then black people would have attacked white people in the 90s when the song was first chanted.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘The closer ANC gets to losing power, the more corruption we are going to see’ – Moeletsi Mbeki

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