Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has accused Eskom of "actively agitating for the overthrow of the state" as it continues to implement load shedding, which hit Stage 6 this week as power plants suffered breakdowns. At a signing ceremony for 13 new independent power projects on Thursday, Mantashe said load shedding was becoming worse than state capture because of how it directly affects citizens and takes a toll on the economy. "Eskom, by not attending to load shedding, is actively agitating for the overthrow of the state", Mantashe said in Johannesburg (News 24).
We were told that a Minister of Electricity was beeing appointed to deal with load shedding. The utterances of government leaders do not inspire confidence, because they do not understand the problem. The problem is not load shedding, and the government's aim should not be "to end load shedding".
To use a simple analogy, load shedding is like a splint on a broken leg. A splint on a broken leg is usually an interim measure, used by people like paramedics and first aiders to prevent more damage to the damaged limb until a competent osteopath can set it and usually put it into a plaster cast until it is sufficiently healed.
The problem is not the splint, but the broken leg. Similarly load shedding is not the problem. It is a temporary fix to prevent more damage until the underlying problem, the broken leg, can be set and allowed to heal.
Saying that load shedding must end is a bit like saying that the splint must be removed from the broken leg at all costs. Load shedding is not the problem. Load shedding is implemented to stop the problem from getting worse. The rhetoric of many politicians shows that they do not understand this.
Eskom is not planning to overthrow the government by load shedding, but it looks as though the government is trying to destroy the electricity supply by demanding the end of load shedding without dealing with the underlying problem.