SA’s ‘Developmental State’ disaster – high time for Luthuli House to sober up 

In last week’s State of the Nation address, SA president Cyril Ramaphosa referred to Eskom’s continuous rolling blackouts (aka load-shedding) as disruptive and frustrating, causing inconvenience and hardship. Those of us who live outside Mahlamba Ndlopfu and traffic-blocking Blue Light Brigades would be inclined to use more forceful language.

Even people who wouldn’t know an electron from a proton understand that electrically-powered equipment is not designed to be continuously switched on and off. So it wasn’t a surprise when our local sub-station had literally exploded in December, one of a number around SA whose equipment couldn’t withstand yet another power surge. Perhaps it’s just as well there are no recordings of household appliances that died after one too many “load-sheds”.

Back to the SONA, where we were also informed that blackouts are “the inevitable consequence of Eskom’s inability over many years to service its power plants”. To be more precise, “many” means 12 years according to the State monopoly’s COO Jan Oberholzer. Which is as strong an indictment of the ANC’s “Developmental State” ideology you’re ever likely to come across.

No entity subject to even a modicum of competition would survive zero-maintenance for even a fraction of those dozen years. Competition forces the efficient allocation of resources. State-funded monopolies, however, require no such discipline. Yet, even after Eskom, SA’s economic policy is rooted in dogma perpetuating this insanity. High time Luthuli House sobered up.