We’re all in the dark.

“If Eskom had invested as much energy in forward planning and capacity building, as they did in “transformation” and purging of qualified and experienced white males, I would not be sitting here in the dark and typing this blog entry on my battery powered notebook.”

The media is abuzz with outrage. Eskom is not alone. An interesting comment on a blog I read this week, said that electricity is just the beginning. The writer predicted that water supply and sewerage treatment would be the next services to collapse, once again caused by lack of forward planning, and capacity building.

South Africa is awash with tax revenues so it isn’t as if we don’t have the funds. The problem lies with priorities. When it comes to electricity I don’t give a rats arse if the provider is black-owned, white-owned or Mongolian-owned. I just want electricity and I want it to stay on in my home and my business, so that I can live my life, run my business and provide employment. I think that these quotas and racial scorecards are a terrible insult to the black man, and are merely reinforcing the racial stereotype of the poor black who needs assistance to achieve anything in life.

I applied over a year ago for a permit to farm marine finfish. The farm would be designed to provide up to 100 tons of kob and yellowtail per annum. We provided a comprehensive business plan including strict environmental controls. We had a source of fingerlings, a market for the fish, a site to build the farm and investors to provide the funding. All we needed was a permit to commence operations.

We, as a country had been warned that our fish resources were being rapidly depleted (as Eskom was warned of a looming crisis). Investors such as ourselves stepped up to the plate to assist. We asked nothing of the Government other than a piece of paper, no technical assistance, no funding, no handouts, no tax breaks, no land. Just a piece of paper. Environmental concerns were initially raised and then that lack of black partners was mentioned in passing.

A year later, frustrated by the pure incompetence of the numerous government departments we have been forced to deal with, we are about to throw in the towel and invest our money elsewhere (maybe Mauritius, where we’d be welcomed with open arms.) The worst is listening to the meaningless bleatings by the minister (Kortbroek Van Schalkwyk) of how the aquaculture industry was being “prioritised” and encouraged. On the ground, a totally different scenario prevailed.

When the fish stocks eventually collapse (ie. the lights go off in the fishing industry), the only satisfaction we’ll have is knowing that we tried to help in our little way.

Watch this space.



2 Responses

  1. Firstly, thank you for a very insightful article.
    Unfortunately I cannot put my thoughts down in words but I had to try.

    It concerns me tremendously on where we are heading. I don’t know if people actually realise the severity of the current situation. Our country is loosing millions and millions of Rands as people cannot work due the power cuts. I work in the Sandton area and we are guaranteed to be without power for at least 3 hours a day. Now, I do work for one of the bigger companies and we do have a generator. But, yesterday our generator also decided that it prefers not to work due to overheating. The problem is, generators, well at least the ones we have, was never designed to deal with having to run constantly for 3 hours a day for a whole week. So, as an employer, what do you do? Send all your staff home? Not even to talk about the traffic!! How do people cope? I am about to lose it in traffic as it is just getting too bad for me. My husband, who is not known for his patience, took 2 hours to drive from Sandton to Fourways last night. And, as luck would have it, as he entered our complex, the power went out.

    This is also just the beginning. I am too scared to think about the winter. What are we going to do? All get generators and destroy the little bit of the atmosphere we have left?

    I also hear people on the radio and in the office saying we should be optimistic and try and assist and do our bit to save electricity. I just fail to see how I am suppose to be optimistic

  2. The goverment should rather focus their attention on matters that counts for the well being of our Country and stop spending millions on issues such as City / Street name changes to start with. That particular project has been going on for years now and I can just immagine the costs that went with it…!!

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