“We will get our money back!” That was the message from President Cyril Ramaphosa, directed at the people who stole from Eskom.
Speaking during a dialogue with Hellenic, Italian and Portuguese communities in Germiston on Tuesday evening, the president said a combination of factors have led to the load-shedding across the country, among them theft at the public utility firm.
“Eskom holds all the eggs … in its basket. Therefore the malfeasance and the corruption and the wrong things that began at Eskom have impacted the nation. Now the chickens have come home to roost,” he said.
Among other factors that have affected energy supply, according to Ramaphosa, are faulty designs at Medupe and Kusile power stations, aged power stations and cyclone Idai in Mozambique.
“The combination of all these things have landed us where we are,” he added.
Ramaphosa further said that Eskom remains a big risk to the country, stating that he did not know any other company that was R430 bn in debt. He said that the country might still experience disruptions, but they are working on it.
“We are still going to have challenges but I want to avoid stage four load-shedding. I want to see load-shedding minimised as we work on maintenance, as we restructure Eskom, as we get the finance properly raised, as we increase the technical level and as we do all these things,” he said.
Asked whether Eskom and other state owned enterprises should be privatized, the president said, “We are essentially saying we are not on a privatisation process but we are going to work with the private sector to strengthen the balance sheet.”