Brown: DA is on an ‘anti-Eskom campaign’

2014-11-07 08:26

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Opposition parties should work with government and not cause “hysteria” on issues relating to Eskom, says Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.

“Eskom is an easy target and can be bullied by all and sundry while it, as a state-owned company, is required to take the blows without being permitted to respond in like fashion,” Brown wrote in an open letter to DA MP Natasha Michael yesterday.

“While those who whip up this kind of hysteria feel very pleased with themselves they are, inadvertently I am sure, delivering a body blow to the creation of jobs and the growth of the economy.”

Brown said social media websites such as Twitter have a way of “shrillness and hyperbole” which inform communication and often lead to forms of hysteria.

She said Michael had a “general anti-Eskom communications campaign” which was conducted in traditional and new media.

Last week, Michael said a constant and clear flow of information was needed from Brown and Eskom about the Majuba power station in Mpumalanga.

“It is ridiculous that no information has been forthcoming from Minister Brown or Eskom on the nature of the problem at Majuba, and whether any more blackouts are likely,” she said at the time.

She said the country did not know what caused the collapse of the silo, how great the risk of further blackouts was, and how permanent the current solution to the problem was.

“Instead, the matter has been shrouded in secrecy.”

Michael said it had been widely reported that Eskom used wet coal. This posed a serious danger as the wet coal caused a chemical reaction that placed extra pressure on a silo, she said.

“It is very plausible that the collapse of the silo, and the resulting national rolling blackout, was caused by negligence on the part of Eskom. This possibility needs to be thoroughly and transparently investigated.”

Yesterday, Brown wrote that the committees of Parliament have been presented with “so much information” and views from Eskom, the department and the ministry of public enterprises that it was “hard to see” what information was left out.

“If you want more information on the timeline for maintenance of power stations, I am quite happy that you receive this,” she said.

“The fact that Eskom has serious challenges is quite apparent to everyone. The fact that it will take some time to reach the kind of electricity supply situation which we all desire has been stated repeatedly by Eskom and myself.”

Brown referred Michael to her budget speech in July where she made a special appeal on the subject of the electricity supply situation in the country.

She said she met with a delegation from Business Unity South Africa, who were all knowledgeable of Eskom’s challenges, and is scheduled to meet them again soon.

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