“There’s nothing left to steal. Fix Eskom and resolve the energy crisis” Texeira

Analysts and experts can try to quantify the catastrophic impact and loss that load shedding has had on our country, but the real damage remains immeasurable. Factories and businesses shutting down, expansion of businesses being put on hold, huge job losses, loss of confidence by investors and the direct correlation this has on the stagnant growth of our country’s economy.

No one is spared, even critical services such as health have their electricity turned off. In some cases, doctors have bemoaned that they have had to postpone surgeries. Learners are unable to study for their exams or research and submit assignments due to connectivity issues arising from the power cuts. There isn’t a single sector that is not reeling from the impact of the worsening energy crisis.

Municipalities must contend with the rising cost of maintaining the electricity network infrastructure. Money that could have been spent to upgrade our electricity network is used to fix the breakdowns that occur due to the surges of the power being frequently turned on and off.

The prolonged rolling blackouts also give an opportunity to criminals for cable theft and vandalism. Revenue collected through electricity is on the decline as people use less electricity due to power outages. Some have resigned themselves, choosing to illegally connect electricity as the cost keeps getting higher.

Industries across all sectors must find alternative sources of energy if they want to survive. Last year, Heineken Sedibeng Plant, which is located within Midvaal, introduced solar at its facilities. The solar plant boasts 14 000 panels with an energy capacity of over 6.5MW providing 30% of the brewery’s electricity demand.

The 19ha project will generate 17 000 MWh per annum. This move will allow Heineken not to be severely impacted by load shedding, continue production, and save people’s jobs.

Midvaal Local Municipality is also exploring alternative routes to become less reliant on Eskom. Council has approved the Embedded Generation Policy to allow large energy customers to generate their own energy during commercial hours. To date, we have administered over ten applications and are seeing a huge uptake from other players.

We are in the process of introducing a feed-in tariff for solar users to pump energy into our grid. We will set up a control room to allow a safe energy import into our grid at a fair price to our customers.

We are planning to engage with Eskom to compile a wheeling agreement for Independent Power Producers to pump energy in Midvaal. This will allow us to have a balanced energy mix extending our options outside our own borders. These are innovative steps we are taking to mitigate and shield our residents from load shedding.


In the last two weeks, we have been treated to grand plans that will supposedly end the energy crisis. The plans were presented by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address  (SONA), Premier Lesufi Panyaza’s State of the Province Address (SOPA) and most recently the Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana’s Budget speech.

All of them referenced the negative impact that load shedding has on our already ailing economy, the survival of businesses, the rise in unemployment and government’s ability to deliver services. They all made seemingly bold promises to address the energy crisis.

President Ramaphosa announced that he would appoint a Minister of Electricity to the Presidency. This new Electricity Minister’s sole focus will be on ending the load shedding crisis. This is despite the fact that we already have a Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan who is and will remain the shareholder representative of Eskom.

The President further announced a sweeping national state of disaster to respond to the electricity crisis. The last time a state of disaster was declared, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it opened doors for widescale looting, corruption and abuse of power.

And even then, there were promises made that there would be strict oversight and tighter controls to avoid another looting spree.

But as history has taught us these do very little in the face of embedded corruption. South Africa cannot afford to experience this again, the energy crisis is too critical to allow politically connected individuals to loot.

During his SOPA, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi pledged R1.2billion towards solving the energy crisis. The plan will supposedly focus on the medium to long-term solutions to addressing the energy crisis. Six developers will be appointed to commence construction of an 800-megawatt solar in Merafong. This is to be followed by the installation of rooftop solar panels in government buildings.

This cannot be another Kusile construction saga. Construction for Kusile began in 2007 with a budget allocation of R80 billion and the completion date was set for 2014. Almost nine years after its deadline lapsed, the budget for this project has ballooned to over R161 billion, and currently, only four units out of the six units are operational at the power station.

To say it is critical that these energy plans come to fruition would be an understatement. The impact that the energy crisis has on our socioeconomic prospects is detrimental. Gauteng and South Africa cannot afford to hear about delays, another corruption scandal or project overrun as was cited in the Kusile power station construction. The time for great plans and policies on paper has passed, it is time for implementation and action.

During the Budget speech, Finance Minister announced that government will take over Eskom’s debt. He proposed a R254 billion debt relief arrangement and spoke of strict conditions attached to this bailout. We’ve been down this road before; this is not the first bailout. Eskom has received billions of Rands in bailouts in the past years. And yet, we are still sitting with a power utility that is unable to provide a consistent electricity supply. We are plunged into different stages of load shedding almost weekly, at times given just an hour’s notice to prepare.

I wish we could afford to be optimistic in the face of the promises that were made during the SONA, the national budget speech or even the Gauteng SOPA, however, large-scale corruption that is embedded in Eskom, and the alleged interference by high-level politicians demands that we scrutinise every “bold” plan that is made.

South Africa is on the brink, we are facing impending disaster, and the effects of the energy crisis stretch through all sectors. The plans proposed by the President, the Minister and the Premier cannot be hijacked to line up the pockets of the politically connected. There is nothing left to steal, this is it, the country is on its knees what is needed is urgent remedial actions to end the power crisis.

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