South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to use electricity on a commercial basis, and in 1882 Kimberley became the first city in the world to introduce street lights.
Eskom was established in 1923 as the Electricity Supply Commission (Escom) and started to produce electricity in 1925. In the following decades Eskom built an extensive transmission system of 220,000km of power lines linking all major cities in the country. So successful was Eskom that by the end of 1990 it was supplying more than half the electricity in Africa….
ANC government breaks Eskom
This once stable, efficient and well-run power producer was broken by the ANC government, especially under the Jacob Zuma presidency. The company who supplied over half the electricity in Africa in 1990 can now not even keep the lights on in its home country…
Eskom – 2008 versus 2018
The image below (source MYBROADBAND) provides an overview of how Eskom changed over the last 10 years.
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Ed. A pending nightmare. A world class utility which the ANC contrived to break in just 10 years while Escom’s best electricians and engineers went to live in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England etc. after being retrenched or after taking early retirement packages (under pressure?). I remember 2008 well during the first glob of load shedding, we were running a small restaurant in the wilds of KZN Midlands and had to buy a generator and tailor our menu carefully. It was a very difficult time to be running a hospitality business, and this time round there is some doubt that Escom can fight its way out of their mess.
Our Provincial Rulers/Leaders/Politicians (whatever title blows their hair back) need to stand a little taller. Screwing with the hospitality industry seems a bit weak kneed in a province that prides itself on being heavily dependent on tourism and very tourist friendly; not to mention trying so hard to attract many forms of Business and to set Cape Town airport as Africa’s major hub. Methinks our Provincial masters need to consider using more off grid power. There are plenty of people already harvesting sunlight and I don’t doubt there are many more private investors who would consider getting involved if they had confidence in the Provincial government. As independent suppliers one imagines they would also want some guarantee of property tenure.
P.S. Now that the drought is over and we have enough water to make a cup of coffee, we can’t boil it.