DURBAN - THE man who took no prisoners at the recent National Energy Regulator of South Africa hearings, saying that Eskom was “the most corrupt of the state-owned enterprises”, warns of a revolution in the country.
Patrick Mkhize told the regulator’s representatives South Africa needed a progressive Nersa rather than one that “made (former Eskom CEO) Brian Molefe rich”.
“As an essential service, electricity should be free,” Mkhize told The Independent on Saturday in his central Durban office this week, recalling how neighbours and friends suffered burns, even died, because of candles falling over, often razing their homes. His birthplace, Bulwer, where he still has deep roots, is Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma country. “I went to what was called Enkumba Bantu Community School, which was within her homestead. But I am not her fan and not everybody there is either.”
Those who are have decorated a nearby hillside on the R617, using white bricks to state: “NDZ Madam President”.
“People are just voting cattle to the ANC. After elections they will just do their own thing,” he said.
“That’s irrespective of whether Dlamini Zuma or Cyril Ramaphosa win the ANC presidency in December. They belong to the same party and neither will change the manner in which the ANC operates.”
He believes that a revolution in South Africa is imminent.
WATCH: People are fed up
“The population is losing patience without things happening. We are tired of seeing people suffering and others looting, even mortgaging the country to foreigners like the Guptas. We don’t want our children to grow up as foreigners in the country of their birth,” Mkhize said.
“I hope we don’t get to a situation like Egypt during the Arab Spring and there is a spontaneous revolution. The danger of that would be a lot of bloodshed and no direction. But if the revolution is guided by the structures of society, it may be bloodless.”
He also fears the environmental impact of a hike in electricity tariffs.
“If we were to go back to wood there would be fewer trees. Trees play an important role in our lives, providing oxygen, especially in the industrialised areas. They are pivotal to our lives,” said Mkhize.
Although he is secretary-general of the Transport Action Retail and General Workers' Union, Mkhize wore his Wentworth Development Forum hat at the hearing.
He moved to Wentworth during apartheid, when it was a coloured area, to join his sister who had married into the community. He was constantly harassed by the “Blackjacks” (municipal police) for violating apartheid’s Group Areas Act.
Mkhize said his parents were from an obedient generation – to the point that they named him Patrick to spare him being given a European name by a white boss who battled with traditional Zulu names.
Before Wentworth, Mkhize had lived much of his life using firewood for energy, then paraffin and candles.
Mkhize said he was inspired by Steve Biko,who he first saw speak at the Dalton Hostel, calling on people to drop their tribal differences.
“Now he was someone who took no prisoners,” he quipped. “We learned from him to speak the truth if you want your enemy to understand.”
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