Say sorry Eskom

Eskom failed to apologise to South Africans for the ongoing electricity problems when it held a press briefing on Thursday, environmental organisation Earthlife Africa said on Thursday.

“The closest the public came to an apology was chief executive officer Tshediso Matona stating that Eskom was now opting to do the right thing, thereby acknowledging that Eskom has been doing the wrong thing,” said the organisation’s energy policy officer Dominique Doyle.

“In fact, instead of apologising Eskom transferred the blame to the public by threatening higher electricity tariffs and to cut off indebted communities.”

Earthlife Africa accused the power utility of failing to offer explanations on financial and environmental sustainability and said it was instead holding the public and government to ransom by threatening national blackouts.

“Eskom has effectively infringed on the basic human right of people to electricity, and will cause irreparable damage to the normal functioning of South African society,” said Doyle.

The organisation’s senior programme manager Makoma Lekalakala said Eskom was maintaining the utility as a platform for political gain.

“Eskom’s explanation for the electricity crisis proves that political forces are aligning to scare the South African public into accepting a new nuclear fleet,” she said.

The group said it was disappointed that Eskom and the department of energy refused to use the crisis as an opportunity to accelerate the renewable energy programme in the country.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had visited Eskom on Thursday.

Matona said Ramaphosa described the under-strain power utility as a “glorious company”.

In the same briefing, Matona warned that there would be no end soon to “load shedding”, or scheduled blackouts.

“This is a pattern that Eskom is going to find itself in for some time to come.”

Matona said he had been with the company for three months now.

“I have come to understand much more deeply the nature of the problem and what is required to deal with it.

“We know what the problem is [and] we know what solution is required to get out of the situation that we find ourself in, as Eskom and as a country,” he said.

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Say sorry Eskom