“Shut up & pay up”. That’s the message from Eskom Chairman Jabu Mabuza. “It’s no use focusing on spilt milk. We just need to pay up and move forward.”
While a multitude of problems directly relates to a lack of maintenance, lack of coal and a lack of funding to service a swiftly rising debt burden, the message from the Eskom interim annual report revealed dismal results and signalled that the worst is still to come.
Eskom’s generation capacity is expected to further decrease from 72% to below 50% at Mpumalanga coal stations – a situation which could intensify blackouts. The problematical supply of coal over the next five years could contribute to further outages while Eskom states the uncertainty of future tariff increases could well extinguish the lights.
Questioned about the ethics of Eskom claiming to be efficient while acutely aware of yet to be uncovered corruption and of a headcount surplus of more than 10 000 (possibly as high as 35 000), newly appointed Eskom CFO, Calib Cassim stated it was up to the National Energy Regulator to “catch Eskom out”.
Ted Blom, member of eeco.co.za and partner at Mining & Energy Advisors suggests Eskom is in denial of the “game over” situation while trying to “spin the issues” and adopt a business-as-usual stance.
“This is just a massive Ponzi scheme waiting to collapse” Blom stated, “all Eskom and government are doing is sucking consumers into increased tariffs which, in turn, are used to increase debts to lubricate ongoing corruption at Eskom”.