DA protest call: Eskom mess sign of larger crisis

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for a National Day of Action on Friday March 29 to protest against the ongoing electricity crisis.

The DA is calling on members of the public, civil society groups, NGOs, religious bodies and community activist organisations across SA to join the party in the collective protest on March 29.

Speaking outside Eskom’s Megawatt Park in Sandton, Johannesburg, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said that the failure of Eskom was is symbolic of the larger failings of government in providing basic service delivery.

“It is a complete failure of governance that has brought the country to the brink of collapse, with level five and six load-shedding and nationwide electricity blackouts the new normal,” Maimane said.

He accused the national government of having “no plan and no political will to take immediate action to get our country out of this crisis”.

“If we don’t act now, the power utility will never service the hundreds of billions it owes in debt, the almost dozen units lost will never be recovered, the coal supply will never be augmented, the institutional staff experience lost will never be replaced and the entity will implode,” Maimane said.

Maimane said there were four key actions that government should take to solve the crisis:

  1. Privatise the generation entities of Eskom in order to allow more diverse energy sources to enter the grid, thus increasing competition and lowering costs.
  2. Freeze the building of the last two outstanding generation units at Kusile and instead bring in more independent power providers (IPP) to supply electricity.
  3. Reaffirm Eskom’s engineering and maintenance employees as “essential services” so that they may not legally go on strike.
  4. Allow metros to source energy directly from independent suppliers.

The DA is also pushing for the passage of the Independent System Market Operator (ISMO) Bill into law, which would, according to Maimane, “open up the market, enable private sector investment and increase efficiency by finally splitting up Eskom”.

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