Cape Town - If anything, the Minister of Electricity has proven to be nothing more than just a public relations stunt.
Saturday marked exactly three months since the appointment of Kgosientsho Ramokgopa as the country’s electricity minister.
His primary role was to drive the government’s programme of significantly reducing the “severity and frequency of load shedding as a matter of urgency” and to expedite the government’s work to ensure the full implementation of the Energy Action Plan.
In nearly 100 days in office, Ramokgopa appears to be nowhere closer to that goal.
On Sunday Eskom announced another severe Stage 6 load-shedding bout, warning that this was anticipated to persist throughout the week as a result of the failure of additional generating units and the delay of several units to return to service.
In just 24 hours, a generation unit each at Majuba, Medupi and Tutuka power stations were taken out of service due to breakdowns.
The delay in returning units to service at Arnot, Camden, Hendrina, Majuba, Matla and Tutuka power stations continue to add to the current capacity constraints.
This while Ramokgopa has been frequenting some of the biggest manufacturing and production facilities in the country with very little information on what these visits were intended for other than the pictures that have flooded social media.
One wonders if he will also talk to the owners of the small businesses that have since closed their establishments as a result of the government’s failure to provide stable electricity.
But by now Ramokgopa should know that dealing with the crisis at Eskom requires more than just tours.
Simply saying the problems at Eskom were largely due to technical difficulties instead of corruption sounds like finding the easy way out.
We thought, and as promised, Ramokgopa would be the guy who won’t sleep or do anything so long as there were power cuts.
Judging by the severity of load shedding, we should have never gotten our hopes high.
Thankfully the courts have once again protected the poor and vulnerable by ordering the government to take steps to prevent load shedding at health facilities and schools, among other places.