Eskom and case against privatisation
Amandla Compilation | 12 March 2019
To prevent Eskom’s looming bankruptcy, unbundling of the power utility has been put forward by government as strategic intervention to save the utility. But this proposal to break up Eskom into three separate parts – generation, transmission and distribution – seems merely to be code for privatisation. Unbundling is no end in itself; it is simply a means to promote greater involvement of the private sector. The real question becomes the extent of privatisation of the utility, whether this process will be partial or complete.
The latest budget delivered by finance minister, Tito Mboweni, is a clear signal of a significant shift in orientation towards privatisation. Talk of radical economic transformation, or radical measures to address inequality, have rapidly been replaced with measures aimed at appeasing the credit rating agencies – the budget is blatantly business oriented and aimed at attracting foreign investment at all costs.
The proposed strategy to unbundle Eskom is the clearest expression of this. It seeks to make electricity and its provision a commodity rather than a basic human right and service to the public. But this process has and will not go unchallenged, it has already been met with resistance from certain prominent trade unions and other non-governmental organisations.
Below, we have pulled together a number of articles that explore these issues and explain the case against the privatisation of the utility:
- Jeff Rudin: The struggle to socialise Eskom
- Dick Forslund: Putting Eskom’s debt on the government balance sheet could lead to another credit downgrade and disastrous budget austerity
- Sean Sweeney: Unbundling Eskom is code for privatisation
- AIDC: Statement on Budget Day
- Carilee Osborne and Michael Nassen Smith: Era of unbridled faith in the virtues of the market is now over in Business Day
- Lavinia Steinfort: How to finance our future
- Amandla Forum: Seminar on the role of public utility in energy sector [podcast]