There are problems in SA. Many of them. No sane person would deny that.
Jacob Zuma denies it, but that says more about him than it does about the problems in SA.
However, there are problems everywhere else as well. But all too many people here in South Africa think that we’re the only ones and use their misguided viewpoint to drag the country down whenever and wherever possible.
Chief among the issues usually raised in this regard is
Jacob Zuma Eskom and our ongoing power shortages, which have actually been ongoing for ages now.
As I’ve pointed out before, people laugh at the idea that the parastatal suggests that we should be using less of their product, but that’s not an unusual policy: even at school, we were bombarded with YEB (Yorkshire Electricity Board) leaflets and campaigns telling us to switch off lights and not fill up the kettle with more water than we needed. This is nothing new, nor is it exceptional to Eskom and SA.
And now, without enough electricity to go around, the UK finds itself in the same boat as South Africa. The situation there is not quite as acute as it is here; Eskom were down to a margin of just 0.1% the other day (they’d prefer 10%), whereas the UK energy regulator (Ofgem) report warns that the UK could be down to a 2% margin within a couple of years:
“If the projected decline in demand does not materialise margins could fall to 2%.”
Ofgem has been working with Government and National Grid to explore options that would provide consumers with additional safeguards against the increased risk to security of supply, including giving National Grid the option to buy extra reserve generation to balance the electricity network.
But this is a First World country we’re comparing ourselves to here, without the disastrous political history of South Africa (although they did have Tony Blair for a decade or so).
This doesn’t mean, however, is that they aren’t pressing issues. They are, and they need resolving.
What is does mean is that we are not alone in facing these sort of problems, and before we have another pop at “typical useless South Africa”, we should probably remember that the rest of the world isn’t actually much (any?) better off.