This week laid bare the extent of the power crisis in SA. Eskom instituted stage 6 load-shedding, taking us back to power cuts last experienced in 2019. This was in response to a strike that the public utility says included sabotage and intimidation.
The result has been chaos and dealt a major blow to businesses finally getting back on their feet after the strictures of the pandemic.
Adding to the misery is that this is occurring at the height of winter.
We wonder that Eskom management and unions were willing to risk the country’s wellbeing for paltry percentage points of a wage increase.
So much for the business-labour pacts that our president is so fond of punting.
As for the sabotage we keep hearing about, where are our law enforcement agencies?
It is high time suspects are brought to book for what amounts to treasonous actions.
One good thing is that for once it would seem the government, or at least the president and minister of public enterprises, has been jolted from customary complacency.
President Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly directly intervened to get the wage dispute resolved, while minister Pravin Gordhan indicated the government was considering emergency measures to scrap red tape and get additional, independent power supply up and running.
This is long overdue.
This paper is among the many who have repeatedly urged expediting independent power being added to the grid.
However, the government stuck doggedly to its Integrated Resource Plan which requires new capacity to be determined by the mineral resources and energy minister.
The least said about this underwhelming minister, Gwede Mantashe, and his tone-deaf response to the crisis, the better.
The DA is correct — the power crisis is a national emergency.
It should be addressed accordingly to avoid Eskom implementing even greater load-shedding.
The government must immediately do whatever it takes to prevent our country being engulfed by darkness.