Cape Town – Eskom’s top brass have reportedly tripped over their own words after it emerged that the parastatal’s CEO Tshediso Matona admitted the country was facing a power crisis but that Eskom "was not in crisis".
This comes after Matona said earlier last week that the power cuts were "not a crisis", reported the Sunday Times.
But, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brownimmediately contradicted Matona saying "we are avoiding" a crisis.
According to the newspaper, the lies peddled by government and Eskom include the story about the diesel shortage. Weeks ago Eskom stated that PetroSA was unable to meet Eskom’s demand.
However Zama Luthuli from PetroSA denied this saying the energy provider had been able to meet its obligations to Eskom.
The newspaper also found that despite Matona’s assurance on Monday that the opening of the new flagship power station, Medupi, due now in January would in fact only happen by Easter at the earliest.
The Sunday Times also found that although Eskom states it is working around the clock to keep the power on, nearly 13 000 workers at Medupi in Limpopo, have packed up and gone off on holiday.
Unions also reportedly said that no effort was made by Eskom to get workers to stay on to fast-track the process.
As part of its investigation, the newspaper visited six power stations in Mpumalanga this week and found that not one was running at full capacity – all reportedly because of Eskom’s bungling.
Zuma blames apartheid
"The problem [is] the energy was structured racially to serve a particular race, not the majority," Zuma told delegates at the Young Communist League’s congress in Cape Town.
He said the ANC had inherited the power utility from the previous regime which had only provided electricity to the white minority.
Twenty years into democracy, 11 million households had access to electricity, double the number in 1994, Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery.
Government was taking action to address the energy situation.
The development of the Medupi and Kusile power stations was being accelerated in order to bring them on to the grid.
"Projects in the region with the potential to produce power in the short term are being assessed and we continue to evaluate options with the intention to maximise all sources of energy including coal, gas, nuclear, solar and renewable energy options,” Zuma said.