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Ode to the SA economy

Posted By Chris Reay, Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Was Shakespeare’s Macbeth reflecting on our Alliance style economy…?.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

          And then there is Shakespeare’s Hamlet, on contemplation….     

To BEE, or not to BEE - that is the question: 
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer 
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune 
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, 
And by opposing, end them.

A brief analysis of records of the power strategy set up in the late 90s illustrates how, what appeared to be a well-structured and integrated plan, simply fell apart. Of significance is the complete lack of achievement to privatise a growing proportion of generation and distribution via IPPs, a situation now being forced on the system out of survival. The strategy to implement the REDs was abandoned. Then add the decision to cancel the PBMR, which if pursued with the same vigorous focus of the synfuels, uranium enrichment and arms development projects under sanctions, could have placed SA as global leaders in small nuclear plant. The planned completion of the additional 2 coal plants has not been met. 

The availability of the existing installed capacity dropped from the earlier 80-90% to 50-60%. Planned maintenance was neglected. Eskom now has a funding crisis. It has failed to provide for replacement of assets. And now it is limiting the ability of the economy to grow. All in all, a dismal record of failure of the government and Eskom. Forget excuses, apartheid etc. It's the sheer incompetence and poor management to execute their own plans. Too much has not been achieved to be anything else. We had the experience and skills, but politics overcame pragmatism. I repeat what I said some weeks ago: things are done by people: better people do things better. When will this change?

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