South Africa needs “solutions and not more talk shops” to end Eskom’s “monopolistic stranglehold on electricity” and to rescue the crippling economy, said DA spokesperson on public enterprises Natasha Mazzone.
Mazzone, who is one of the party’s most vocal leaders on state-owned enterprises, in a statement on Sunday re-iterated the DA’s Independent Systems Market Operator (ISMO) Bill, known as the Cheaper Energy Bill, will stabilise the country’s electricity supply.
This comes on the back of the resignation of Eskom chief executive officer Phakamani Hadebe who will be leaving the debt-laden power utility at the end of July.
“It is clear that there was no political will for Mr Hadebe to succeed. Any progress in addressing the systemic rot at the crucial entity was made difficult and this was compounded by the fact that he was held ransom by the trade unions. It is plain as day that the rot is so deep that there is no option but to completely restructure Eskom,” said Mazzone.
The DA’s Cheaper Energy Bill seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and transmission/distribution entity. The party is of the view that this would reduce the cost of electricity and bring about much-needed competition.
Mazzone said Eskom must also start trimming the fat around its employment expenses.
She said the DA has already written to the new Speaker of the National Assembly, Thoko Didiza, requesting a debate of national importance on the crisis at Eskom.
This followed recent media reports that contractors working at Kusile Power Station have submitted claims totalling R36bn to the financially crippled Eskom.
“Eskom and our economy are in deep trouble. Experts estimate that each stage of rolling blackouts, euphemistically referred to as ‘load shedding’, costs the country R1 billion per stage, per day,” said Mazzone.
“With unacceptably high levels of unemployment, and half of young South Africans unable to find work we need solutions and not more talk shops.”