The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has launched a campaign aimed at building public pressure on Minerals and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe to consider solutions to the country’s load shedding problem.
Eskom is currently implementing Stage 2 load shedding after a dark weekend.
“Eskom has been experiencing generating capacity issues for the last few years, and, according to the power utility’s CEO Andre De Ruyter, they are not likely to be resolved any time soon. This much is shown in an Eskom table tweeted last week by energy expert Chris Yelland,” said Hermann Pretorius, IRR Head of Strategic Initiatives.
Demands in the IRR’s petition include:
- Keeping Eskom as a state-owned generator, while allowing other companies to compete against it for the generation and sale of electricity.
- Depoliticising Eskom – the generator should resume its old function of providing sufficient, reliable electricity while covering its costs. Nothing else.
- Forbidding Eskom from pursuing political, social, or racial ambitions.
The IRR is also calling for electricity distribution to be taken away from municipalities and given to private electrical engineering companies.
“These are among proposals the IRR believes are both practical and cost-effective and would do much to end load shedding. South Africans cannot lead constructive lives, contributing to the economy, if the country’s engine has no fuel in it. That fuel is power, without which we may well end up not having a vehicle at all.
“The great frustration with the seemingly endless episodes of rolling blackouts is the simplicity and practicality of solutions that could put an end to this destructive nonsense once and for all. This is why our campaign presents a simple set of solutions that could have almost immediate and dramatic effects. South Africans really need to demand better from government – in this regard, the IRR will not hesitate to play a leading role,” said Pretorius.