I got up around 2AM this morning in pitch darkness. There’s usually ambient light forcing its way in through the curtains, but this morning there was nothing. The missing glowing red numbers on my alarm clock told me that there was a power outage again. Superstitious people would take this as a sign of bad things to come. But I’m not superstitious.
Late this afternoon, I heard on the news that Bobby Godsell, Chairman of Eskom, the state-owned power utility had resigned. I told myself that Eskom was just setting the scene earlier this morning for the main event – the announcement of the resignation. This latest development was the culmination of several days of high drama emanating from Eskom, and another in a series of calamities which have dogged the utility in the last year or two.
The comedic series of events which started last week went something like this: Bobby Godsell, the Chairman announces on Thursday, the resignation of the CEO, Jacob Maroga. However, the ANC Youth League [yes, those nutters again!] dispute that Maroga had resigned. Strangely, a media briefing scheduled by Godsell was then also cancelled, and no further comment came from Eskom. Then on Monday morning, it was announced that Maroga had not resigned; and this after media reports that Jacob Zuma, the President had met with Godsell on Sunday. Then later in the day, Godsell announces his resignation.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I smell a monumental amount of government interference in this whole mess, with the intention of saving the hide of one Jacob Maroga, for whatever reasons. We’ve had far too many incidences of government and ANCYL meddling in business, to think anything else. The simple truth of the matter is that this government can’t be trusted, and thinking the worst is the default option.
Meanwhile, true to form, the ANCYL and the Black Management Forum have responded to calls for Maroga’s dismissal by using the very popular race card tact. Perhaps there is a certain element of racism involved, but the facts about his (non)performance are pretty hard to ignore: financial losses running into the billions during his tenure, revelations of mismanagement by Eskom management staff, and failure of the utility to supply the power demands of the nation. It’s quite simple; when someone is being paid an obscene amount of money, as Maroga is, then his performance comes under scrutiny. The public have a right to demand performance because it affects us directly, just as it did this morning when I had no electricity.
Heartening though is the capacity of South Africans to find comedic relief, in the most serious of situations. While this whole sorry saga was playing out, I received the following picture in the mail, which is now more appropriate than ever.
And just so that the government understands that we will be watching them closely, exposing, ridiculing and lambasting every attempt to defraud us, I have tinkered with the picture slightly to reflect the current situation at Eskom.