Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Eskom, again

Ok, I don’t know about everybody else, but I’m getting tired of the whinging and shit-stirring.

This evening Hubby and I watched 3rd Degree and, due to the host’s continual interrupting and badgering, were unable to get much coherent information out of the guest from Eskom. My patience at an end, I fired off the following email to the program.

First of all, I was appalled at Debra Patta’s rudeness to Steve Lennon on tonight’s program. She repeatedly interrupted him and was sharp and offensive in both her manner and her words. Frankly, I was a great deal more interested in what he had to say than in her grandstanding.

Secondly, the primary source of this problem is the government’s refusal to allow Eskom to build new plants when it warned of the impending power crisis as much as 10 years ago. I don’t blame the waiter when the cook burns the bacon...why blame Eskom for not building additional power plants when they were refused both the permission and the funds to do so?

Isn’t it about time that the media, including programs like 3rd Degree, stopped fanning the flames of discontent and started focusing on the fix? Eskom put an additional 1000MW on the grid last year and will have another 1000MW up within the next year or so. Negative reporting like Debra Patta’s inquisition actually HURTS recovery because it makes people want to quit working for Eskom (employees are being accosted and abused by the citizenry in public!) and discourages others from wanting to work for the company.

Why not stop beating the dead horse of fault finding and try to find a way to help Eskom fix the problem? Fostering an adversarial situation between Eskom and its consumers may sell newspapers and draw viewers, but it does absolutely nothing to help resolve the problem of the energy shortage. It is self-serving, mean spirited, and short sighted.

No reply so far, but if I ever get one, I’ll post it here.


  1. I second your point on the negative reporting on the part of the media... as well as Deborah's actions during the interview. She certainly lost some points with me.

    I do think that this is a great learning experience for the government. The basic infrastructure need to be in place before other grander goals are pursued. Nothing is for free. I this encourages a more holistic view to growth in SA.

    By the way, I like you blog. In particular, the way you contrast SAfrican and American cultures. Keep it up!

  2. Thanks , Roufurd.

    I think we all get further when we pull in the same direction rather than beat each other over the head with our oars.

    Eskom is as much a victim as we are and beating the company up actually sidetracks resources that could be put to more productive use. Instead of playing the pointless blame game, we should be asking Eskom what we can do to help them get over this shortage so we can ALL have adequate power again.

    Pointing fingers solves nothing.

  3. We decided to start a website aimed at constructively addressing the problem, getting people involved and seeking solutions and alternatives...

    Feel free to visit www.shedhappens.co.za. The site has only been running for a week now, but we honestly believe that it has a lot of potential to become a valuable nationwide tool in solving this problem.

    Pointing fingers at this stage will not help us. We must look at sustainable long term solutions.

    Rian Groenewald
    January 2008


Your comments welcome! Anonymous comments are enabled as a courtesy for people who are not members of Blogger. They are not enabled to allow people to leave gratuitously rude comments, and such comments will not be published. Disagreement will not sink your comment, but disagreeable disagreement will.