Gift an article

What Madiba told the Eskom chief

Share your Subscriber Article
You have 5 articles to share every month. Send this story to a friend!
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
loading...
Loading, please wait...
Nelson Mandela told Eskom's former head before democracy to not change anything, 'as long as you continue to produce cheap electricity and connect more black South Africans to the grid.' (Photo: File/AFP)
Nelson Mandela told Eskom's former head before democracy to not change anything, 'as long as you continue to produce cheap electricity and connect more black South Africans to the grid.' (Photo: File/AFP)

Johannesburg - In the dying days of apartheid, the head of South Africa's power utility, the central pillar of the white-run economy, sat down with Nelson Mandela and asked him a simple question: when you take office, what are you going to do with Eskom?

The answer from South Africa's future president was equally simple: nothing, as long as you continue to produce cheap electricity and connect more black South Africans to the grid.

"'We do not wish to interfere with what you are doing and how you are doing it because you know the electricity business. We don't,'" then-chief executive Ian McRae, now 85, recalled Mandela telling him over lunch in the early 1990s.

Read this for free
Get 14 days free to read all our investigative and in-depth journalism. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed.
Subscribe
Already a subscriber? Sign in
Rand - Dollar
18.09
-0.8%
Rand - Pound
20.21
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.74
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.59
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,660.90
0.0%
Silver
19.03
0.0%
Palladium
2,166.50
0.0%
Platinum
864.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
85.14
-2.4%
Top 40
57,390
+0.8%
All Share
63,726
+0.7%
Resource 10
60,230
+0.7%
Industrial 25
77,400
+0.8%
Financial 15
13,796
+0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE
Government tenders

Find public sector tender opportunities in South Africa here.

Government tenders
This portal provides access to information on all tenders made by all public sector organisations in all spheres of government.
Browse tenders