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Eskom crisis eroding our faith in govt

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We as a country need to continuously emphasise that the handling of Eskom’s affairs over the past few years is extremely worrying

A South African woman recently detailed how her husband died in December, when their family home burnt down.

According to her, she was away on a trip and her husband had been sleeping alone. Their area had just experienced load shedding. It appears when the electricity came back on some of their appliances had not been switched off properly and as a result one of them caught fire.

One of the grim aspects of this tragedy is that this woman, while cleaning debris from her destroyed house, was shocked to find a partially burnt part of her husband’s hand.

The point here is that government officials, alongside President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy, David Mabuza, have over the past few weeks shared their sentiments about the crisis facing Eskom. This includes expressing confidence in the leadership of Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter – right up to the discussion about possibly selling some of Eskom’s power stations to private companies so that they can run them, and pinpointing that Eskom’s woes led to the recession.

While the government goes back and forth to try find solutions, a level of consistency and transparency is urgently needed.

There needs to be a solid plan that government runs with, as the gloomy reports from Eskom’s crisis are having a negative impact on many South Africans – who, at the end of the day, simply want to be assured that they will have electricity and will not lose their lives through load shedding.

We as a country need to continuously emphasise that the handling of Eskom’s affairs over the past few years is extremely worrying.

Also disconcerting is that if challenges such as these are not brought under control, the public’s trust in the ability of the government to deal diligently with a possible coronavirus outbreak might be eroded – the first case of the virus in South Africa has been reported.

There are many questions as to how this case emerged and slipped through the cracks when officials, from the onset, painstakingly pointed out that there was great surveillance at our ports of entry, and that there was no need to panic – just as we were told not to panic about planned power outages years ago.

Let us hope we as a country emerge from this Covid-19 global crisis unscathed.