Thank you for keeping the lights on

Thank you for keeping the lights on

If we wanted to be cynical, we could easily dismiss the nearly three-week run we have had free of loadshedding as nothing more than an electioneering stunt by the governing party and Eskom, but if such thinking does exist, it must be backed by evidence.

Of course, we know such irrationality exists and is expressed daily in our media by people who are motivated by ideological and political motives.

Without solid and tested facts, we must dismiss such a mindset as implausible and devoid of rationality.

However, there should be no gainsaying that loadshedding is an antithesis of economic development and growth.

For several years our country has been reeling under the weight of the curse of loadshedding, which has hindered human progress and economic growth.

Some reliable estimates of how this scourge has stifled economic growth are staggering and mind-boggling.

Over a period of just more than 12 years, loadshedding is said to have cost the country’s economy nearly R35-billion, coupled with a devastating 5% economic contraction, smashing the country’s gross domestic product to smithereens, and making millions of South Africans, particularly black people, vulnerable to the vagaries of poverty and unemployment, among other socio-economic difficulties.

Also added to the equation, is the extent to which loadshedding has disrupted our daily lives, particularly the poor, millions of whom are black people.

The prevailing circumstances have also caused great harm to businesses, particularly small businesses in the townships and villages with no meaningful resources to cushion them against loadshedding’s onslaught.

Many businesses have closed, and some companies have been forced to retrench workers, factors that are causing much misery among citizens. Some businesses have even elected to migrate to other parts of the world, adding more pressure on the economy, and impacting on the country’s fiscus, which collects less
revenue and experiences shortfalls.

With that, necessary social services due to the citizens take a hammering, including old age pensions, health services and human settlements provisions.

What do we have to do as a country to turn the tide?

This must, among other things, entail hard work by the government and other stakeholders, and action needs to be taken to end the many inefficiencies plaguing various state-owned entities, including Eskom. The alleged criminal activities at the power utility must end, and the police must play their role to end criminal acts at the utility. This is an imperative that must take place as soon as possible, as part of the intervention to stabilise the grid to better serve the country by providing uninterrupted electricity.

Social discontent has exponentially increased, manifesting itself in various anti-social behaviours including sky-rocketing crime. If there is a reason to believe that izinkabis are hindering progress, the police must get their act together.

But in the end, we must thank the government and Eskom for keeping the lights on for as long as they have.

Kudos to the government and Eskom.

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