South Africa has a history of being one of the world leaders in electricity adoption and production.
South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to use electricity on a commercial basis, and in 1882 Kimberley became the first city in the world to introduce street lights.
Eskom was established in 1923 as the Electricity Supply Commission (Escom) and started to produce electricity in 1925.
In the following decades Eskom built an extensive transmission system of 220,000km of power lines linking all major cities in the country.
So successful was Eskom that by the end of 1990 it was supplying more than half the electricity in Africa.
Eskom also became a highly efficient electricity producer and in its 1994 annual report it promoted the fact that it was the world’s lowest-cost producer of electricity.
ANC government breaks Eskom
This once stable, efficient and well-run power producer was broken by the ANC government, especially under the Jacob Zuma presidency.
Years of corruption, incompetence and political meddling has brought Eskom to its knees, and it is now begging for bailouts to stay afloat.
Eskom’s growing debt burden, which already exceeds R400 billion and can grow to R600 billion in the next three years, means it is technically bankrupt.
So bad is the situation that former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said Eskom is the single biggest risk to South Africa’s economy.
This, however, is not the only damage the power utility is doing to the economy.
Electricity is the cornerstone of any modern economy, and Eskom is failing spectacularly in its mandate to provide stable power to South African homes and businesses.
The company who supplied over half the electricity in Africa in 1990 can now not even keep the lights on in its home country.
Load-shedding and blackouts have become part of daily life for all South Africans without the luxury of generators or battery backups.
Read further on how Eskom totally collapsed during the Zuma era