Zille’s thatcherite solution for Eskom

2015-02-10 14:35

It seems that ANC and DA leaders share the same strong dogmatic passion for liberalization.

We have seen the heart of our road networks privatized by the ANC. Now the DA leader is recommending privatization as a solution to overcome Eskom’s bad management and burdensome bureaucracy.

One only has to recall global private banks rescued by a massive social welfare (bailout) scheme to recognize major flaws in privatization. Recall also the notorious private electricity trading corporation, Enron. Apart from massive top management corruption, Enron also collapsed the electricity market in certain parts of Brazil, India and the US. Citizens in Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Ghana, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Papua New Guinea and even China have protested against this global privatization drive, orchestrated by the World Bank and the IMF.

Granted, we cannot rule out that a thoughtfully structured electricity deregulation and privatization program is a possible solution. But the experience of other countries suggest that we should not blindly believe that deregulation and privatization of electricity services will magically foster fair prices as a result of competition, meet growing demands, consider environmental issues, and be sensitive to social development goals. There is also a major risk that a large conglomerate will simply monopolize and ruin the local electricity market.

I am sure that we have qualified business and technical experts that can independently think up a unique and cost effective solution. A solution untainted by ideological biases. Yet, the World Bank and the IMF are in all likelihood informing the policy decisions of both our political parties.

Whether we have a DA or ANC led government, you can bet on experiencing massive electricity price hikes in the near future, and foreign owners repatriating the resulting profits. And, the only ‘trickle down’ will be our blood, sweat and tears.

As for the recent load shedding, it seems like Pavlov’s dogs, we are being tamed through recent inconveniences like the traffic gridlock, to acquiesce to these upcoming policy decisions. After all, in a democracy, what is sacred, is learning how to be an obedient consumer.

And what about the greed innate to the mythical market solution? Well, the wise banksters of Wall Street tell us that... greed is alright.

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