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EFF slams Pravin Gordhan for disguising as 'unbundling' while privatising Eskom assets

Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan. File Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan. File Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Aug 10, 2023


The EFF has condemned the continued privatisation and plundering of Eskom assets, disguised as "unbundling" by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who gave the go-ahead to the sale of Eskom’s distribution assets.

This comes after Gordhan approved the sale of Eskom's distribution assets to a new state-owned company.

The new entity, which is not yet known, will be a completely owned subsidiary of the power utility.

The EFF said the move was intended to separate assets from the debt acquired, while building the very same assets.

"This allows for industrial-scale looting to continue, while the public is left to settle the debt for assets that will be privatised, unaffordable electricity and continuing blackouts," it said.

The red berets alleged that the privatisation of Eskom and other state-owned companies with little or no public appraisal was to conceal corruption.

"Privatising energy policy and electricity generation will not only compromise South Africa’s sovereignty, but will also subject future economic policies to the whims of the private sector, atop an already compromised National Treasury that has long been destroying state capacity to promote Neo-liberal economic policies," it said.

It said the collapse of the utility was deliberate and aimed to frustrate the public and fast-track the privatisation of South Africa’s strategic assets in SOEs that should be at the forefront of re-industrialisation.

However, the EFF maintained that the solution to the country's electricity crisis was to complete the Kusile and Medupi power stations and ensure that they perform to their maximum capacity.

It added that all other coal power stations should operate maximally, with a sufficient maintenance budget to increase the energy availability factor.

"We should also explore all other avenues that will bring immediate additional generation capacity, including reopening the Komati power station, which was closed by the former corrupt and incompetent André de Ruyter," it said.

The party further called on the progressive forces in trade unions, civil society, and business to continue rejecting the privatisation of energy policy and electricity generation.

It said the policy was driven by the "greed and short-sightedness of the incompetent and corrupt governing ANC", which is set to lose power in 2024.

EFF assured to reverse the "corrupt deals" when they take over the government in 2024.

Furthermore, the EFF accused the government of not showing any intention to build additional generation capacity to stabilise electricity availability and end blackouts.

"The new Minister of Electricity is merely a spokesperson for the government on the electricity crisis; some still believe that the government intends to address the electricity crisis, even in the absence of practical and believable plans," it said.

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