President Jacob Zuma said that the power outages in South Africa are the fault of bad planning during apartheid. This is according to a report in the City Press.
The report quoted Zuma’s speech at the ANC’s 103rd birthday celebrations, where he said that “under apartheid, electricity was cheaper and it was considered a means of attracting foreign direct investment”.
He said that “energy was made to serve a few”, because apartheid was aimed at looking after the needs of the white minority.
“After 1994, we had to provide energy to all, because people had the right to energy, and we suddenly realised we don’t have enough,” Zuma is quoted as saying.
Zuma also said that South Africa needs “creative and pragmatic solutions to this problem to guarantee security of supply for our energy needs”.
“In line with the recommendations of the National Development Plan, the ANC government is accelerating the pace to bring the Medupi and Kusile power stations onto the grid and we are licensing the Independent Power Producers,” he said.
Zuma’s words come seven years after former president Thabo Mbeki told South Africa that “Eskom was right and government was wrong”.
Mbeki indicated that government had been asked to invest more in electricity to support South Africa’s economic growth and to avoid running out of energy.
This public apology in 2007 by Mbeki for the load shedding and energy problems is in contrast to Zuma’s views that apartheid is to blame for the power crisis.
The full report is available in the City Press of 11 January 2014, Reporting with Sapa