The tendencies of politicians to shoot from the hip on matters they know nothing about must fall.
Take for instance the statement in July by ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, who was adamant that load shedding would come to an end before the year was over.
Mbalula made these pronouncements while addressing ANC Veterans League during its third national conference.
At the time he said “we are convinced that we can put load shedding behind us by the end of December 2023 if comrades in government remain true to the Energy Action Plan adopted by the ANC NEC in February 2023”.
This week, Mbalula backtracked on his claim, while Eskom officials have forecast that in the best-case scenario there will be rolling blackouts every day during December and January –except for six days.
Generally, Eskom has said the electricity situation looked dire for most of next year and early 2025.
The government has Minister of Electricity Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa as the face of load shedding, adding to Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan also hovering above power utility Eskom.
But alas, not much has changed for the better since his appointment in March.
We simply cannot continue to have a situation where people’s livelihoods, and the country’s economy, are in the hands of Eskom.
And for as long as there is no solution, the likes of Mbalula are always going to play in that space without providing a way forward.
Ramokgopa, an otherwise “nice guy”, visionary and former Tshwane mayor may be working behind the scenes to address load shedding, but the proof of the pudding will be the day the lights remain on.
Politicians must therefore keep their mouths shut until they know what they are talking about; until they know exactly when the load shedding will no longer be on the country’s agenda.