Johannesburg - Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota has amplified calls for the privatisation of Eskom, saying it was the only viable way to save the power utility from the clutches of greedy politicians and total bankruptcy.
He warned on Sunday that South Africa faced the risk of the economy collapsing if the government persisted with its model of running Eskom, just as the Soviet Union and other socialist governments in eastern Europe experienced in the 20th century.
“When you have a state enterprise that, instead of producing profits and contributing to the national fiscus, consumes money from the state coffers and is a burden to the taxpayer, then you know it’s not worth your while,” Lekota said.
He was addressing journalists following his party’s congress national committee in Kempton Park.
“If you look into our economy, you will see that we are called on to contribute money to Eskom, instead of Eskom generating money to us. That’s what collapsed Soviet Union and that’s what collapsed Russia, China and eastern Europe, because they ceased to generate profit and fell behind,” Lekota warned.
South Africans have been hit by crippling power outages resulting from intermittent load shedding as Eskom struggles to manage the power grid and is unable to cope with increasing electricity demand.
“We are in full support that Eskom be broken into sections, so that the production of electricity can be much more efficient and easier to manage. If some are responsible for production and others for distribution, it will be so much easier and we won’t have to wait for six months for Medupi and Kusile to generate electricity. This will give impetus to job creation and industrialisation.”
Lekota was taken aback when the ANC decided at its cabinet lekgotla to backtrack from its plan to introduce a bill to privatise Eskom, either in whole or in part.
He said the reason for this could only be self-aggrandisement by politicians in the government.