To us, Eskom is the best company in Mzansi

By Zukile Majova
Political Editor

The outcome of the 2024 elections is going to be determined by whichever group best sells its Eskom story to the electorate.

Eskom has two stories: the first is that of a massively successful company that has distributed electricity to over 90% of the population.

The second is that of a power utility that pushes an ageing fleet of coal-fired power stations beyond their lifespan, resulting in breakdowns and load shedding.

The cost to the country is more than R300-billion a year and millions of unavailable jobs because of economic regression.

Opposition parties have not been able to properly educate the nation about expecting higher standards from the government.

As such, the majority of voters don’t understand how to hold the government accountable.

And in the leafy suburbs, discussion about the energy crisis we face has been dominated by hatred of a black government and Eskom bashing.

Understandable for those used to a reliable flow of electricity, even though millions of their fellow citizens do not have any.

On the other hand, you can’t expect people who just got electricity from Eskom, almost for free, to hit the streets and toyi-toyi against the power utility.

Two or three hours of load shedding is no big deal to people who spent the last 100 years without electricity.

In my village of KwaBhaca in the Eastern Cape, Eskom trucks are the only state vehicles that show up when called out for any minor fault.

Not even an ambulance comes through when it is called by villagers. People die and there is no apology from the state.

But for any minor disruption – even if it affects only one home – an Eskom truck will show up and the crews will work through the night if necessary.

The poorest people offer Eskom crews amahewu/imbila (a maize meal thirst quencher) when they see them working in the sweltering heat.

Knowing it’s unAfrican not to accept such kindness, Eskom staff thank them kindly. 

So the relationship that the upper middle classes have with the now struggling Eskom is totally different from the love it receives in the villages.

And when President Cyril Ramaphosa tells black voters that the country has load shedding “because we sent electricity to you, our people” who were previously neglected, you can expect millions to believe him.

Pictured above: Despite load shedding, to millions of people who did not have electricity, Ekom is a life saver.

Source: Eskom


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