Address by UDM Member of Parliamentin the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on the debate on the current national energy challenges in the country on 30 January 2008

Madam Speaker and Honourable Members –

This electricity crisis is a matter of national shame. Eskom and Government have given every pessimist and sceptic the ammunition to badmouth our country.

It must be remembered amongst all this hand-wringing and apologising from Government that at the time of refusing Eskom’s request for investment, Cabinet gave the go-ahead for the Arms Deal. The warped priorities of a decade ago are now coming home to roost. How many more times must the nation pay in taxes, embarrassment and lost international confidence for this Arms Deal?

We note the latest reasons, excuses and promises regarding the electricity crisis emanating from Eskom and Government. The story keeps changing and new promises are offered, but the only constant is a deepening electricity crisis.

We need an independent enquiry manned by a panel of experts – who are not beholden to Eskom or Government – to investigate and identify the real problems and reasons for this crisis. Only a staggering level of incompetence or outright deception can explain this continuous stream of excuses for the crisis. No more! We need answers so that we can fix the problem.

Let this disaster be a lesson for us about the dangers of monopolies. Let us not wait for the same to happen with Telkom, or the liquid fuels industry. Competition brings efficiency and does not allow decay to progress this far before action is taken.

I thank you.

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