DA leader Mmusi Maimane and MP Natasha Mazzone were trying to enlighten Eskom on how to mitigate load shedding when the power went off on Monday.
Political journalist Andi Makinana tweeted: “Sitting here reading a DA statement about how it will mitigate load-shedding where it governs‚ and off goes electricity!”
In a follow-up tweet she asked the City of Cape Town if there was load shedding in the city centre.
The media briefing was held in the Marks Building in Parliament in Cape Town at 11.30am. There was no load shedding under way‚ according to Eskom’s website.
BusinessLIVE reported that Maimane said the country faced further risks of load shedding unless Eskom’s monopoly over energy generation was broken and a greater role was given to independent power producers.
Eskom warned that there was a risk of load shedding over the next 10 days as it ramped up operations after last week’s strike over wages.
“Although the current load shedding has been exacerbated by the industrial action‚ the reality is that the years of mismanagement at Eskom lies at the root of this crisis‚” Maimane said.
“Load shedding is the direct result of state capture. For years‚ under the watchful eye of the ANC‚ ineffective executives streamlined dodgy contracts for the benefit of the Gupta family … The ANC has used Eskom as its own cash cow. Bloating the middle management from 80 to over 400 people.”
Maimane argued that cities had to drive economic development and energy generation‚ as the DA-controlled city of Cape Town had done through its investment in the Steenbras hydroelectric power scheme and its encouragement of independent power producers (IPPs).
This had reduced the impact of Eskom load shedding on residents.
“The City of Cape Town wants 20% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020‚ by buying directly from IPPs‚” Maimane said.
“This model of IPPs supplying electricity directly to the grid needs to be replicated across the country in order to improve the competitiveness of this sector.”
He said the Cape Town city council and US Trade and Development Agency had signed an R12.7m grant agreement for a gas distribution network feasibility study of the use of natural gas in the city.
Mazzone said the DA was working on a private member’s bill which would propose to break Eskom’s monopoly and make the energy sector more competitive.
“With more than 47‚000 employees‚ earning an average R662‚282 a year‚ Eskom is a bloated dinosaur‚ compared with its African counterparts. A World Bank assessment of African utilities benchmarked the number of employees at 14‚200 at other utilities.”
Source: Times Live