Is Panyaza a live wire or dud on free electricit­y?


Electricit­y is a basic necessity. However, many citizens, especially blacks, live without electricit­y because Eskom has switched them off.

Some of them need to put medication in the fridge, but can’t. Clearly, precious lives are at risk. There are poor citizens who have been without electricit­y for more than two years. And the government and Eskom are not bothered by that. So much for a caring government.

In 2024, the same government will go to those citizens and ask them to vote for it. Last year, Soweto residents

marched to Cyril Ramaphosa’s sister’s house in Chiawelo, to demand electricit­y be switched back on in their houses. Their electricit­y was restored. Residents resorted to such a measure, which is unfair to the president’s sister, to be switched back on.

Even those paying for electricit­y don’t have it all the time. They are constantly told by Eskom to “use electricit­y sparingly.” Thanks to loadsheddi­ng. So, you buy electricit­y and, in turn, are dictated to on how to use it. That’s SA for you.

Last week, newly elected Gauteng premier, Panyaza Lesufi, called on Eskom to cancel electricit­y debt in Soweto and other townships. Will the

power utility heed the call? I doubt it. Is it feasible? I don’t know. For the poor masses, Lesufi’s call is welcome. This is for a simple reason. They can’t afford to pay the debt and to buy electricit­y as well. And, at the same time, they need electricit­y. Soweto residents have been at loggerhead­s with Eskom for a long time. They want to pay a flat rate and the power utility is having none of it. If it allows Soweto residents to pay a flat rate, it should do the same for others as well. Is Lesufi’s call genuine? Elections are just around the corner, and the ANC in Gauteng is not sure if voters will return it to power. So, the call is nothing but a populist stunt.

Thabile Mange, Mogale City

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