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