Energy Provision: Why South Africa is Blundering

Published on 12th February 2019

About sixty years ago, Senegalese scholar and Nuclear Physicist, Dr Cheikh Anta Diop wrote about Africa's energy doctrine.

Dr Diop outlined nine energy sources that Africa can tap to generate electricity. But we still have a problem of electricity supply in South Africa. In the country, electricity supply is cut in turns in what is called called load shedding. The ANC government is now contemplating selling the power utility to private individuals and/or corporations. However, President Cyril Ramaphosa is mealy-mouthed on the intention to privatise Eskom. He has spoken about unbundling Eskom.

Dr Diop outlined the following untapped sources of energy:

1. Hydraulic energy

2. Solar energy

3. Atomic energy

4. Thermonuclear energy

5. Wind energy

6. Thermal energy of the Seas

7. Tidal energy

8. Global heat

9. Volcanic thermal energy and geothermal energy

Selling state owned enterprises such as Eskom, Telkom, SAA etc., does not make economic sense. Even if they were sold for gold it would still not be worth it. Moreover, the West does not like to be told to buy goods and services with gold and to be told their currencies are just paper money. Muammar Gadaffi and Saddam Hussein angered the West when they wanted gold in exchange for their oil. Saddam Hussein even told the the West that he did not want their paper money. We know what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadaffi. Don’t we?

These state owned enterprises are tangible public assets and currency is paper money or promissory notes. Money is a measure of value it is not value itself. Our state owned enterprises are value itself and not a representation thereof. Giving away our public assets in exchange for money or promissory notes is just as good as selling those assets for a song. Privatising a public entity that supplies electricity to people majority of whom are poor is the dumbest thing any government can do. When all is said and done, the ANC government would be having paper money or promissory notes while our assets would be owned by local and foreign individuals, corporations and governments. And they won't be recovered just like the South African Reserve Bank which was privatised together with its subsidiaries in 1985 and Sasol which was privatised in the early 1990's.

The crisis at Eskom was deliberately created to set the stage for the privatisation of the public utility. One of the strategies of ruling classes is to create chaos and confusing among the masses and manage that chaos and confusion. The oil crisis of the early 1970's, for example, was orchestrated. It was a charade. The oil crisis was created to increase the price of crude oil. Another example is the confusion created by the US when its administration wanted to make the dollar a world currency. To achieve that objective, the US destroyed the gold standard in order to turn the world economy into a dollar denominated.economy.

The ANC government and South Africa's ruling class should know that some of us are aware of these gimmicks. Labour unions and some political parties that espouse the Freedom Charter cannot turn the tide of this wholesale privatisation of public enterprises because they are easily bought off. 

By Sam Ditshego

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