Editorial: Load shedding lies may leave ANC in the dark

Deputy president Paul Mashatile.

Deputy president Paul Mashatile.

Published Apr 11, 2024


Forgive deputy president Paul Mashatile for once again repeating the ANC lie that load shedding will be defeated before the end of the year.

After all, South Africa is fast approaching an election on May 29 that may be disastrous for the ANC, and the absence of a good story to tell voters will lead to all sorts of empty promises in order to retain power.

Delivering a keynote address at the University of Johannesburg this week, during a lecture on 30 years of South Africa’s democracy, Mashatile correctly listed the achievements of the past 30 years for which the ANC is not given enough credit, including its efforts to address socio-economic inequalities through social welfare programmes in housing, health care, education and social services.

That is what South Africans voted the ANC in for anyway. The ANC cannot expect to be applauded for simply doing what voters put it in power to do.

Power in the form of electricity, or the lack thereof, is what haunts the governing party before May 29. The ANC is a hard sell when it has been presiding over power cuts that have caused much misery to millions of South Africans. That its leaders find it relevant to play politics about the issue can only make matters worse.

First, the party’s secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said last year that by December 2023, load shedding would be a thing of the past. That proved to be nothing but a lie. Then came President Cyril Ramaphosa who, during his State of the Nation address, said the “end of load shedding was in sight”.

Perhaps his sight was obscured by the darkness as moments later, Eskom ramped-up power cuts.

Then on Tuesday, Mashatile repeated the tired promise that load shedding would be over by the end of the year. It does not take an expert to understand that Mashatile was making a political statement he himself knows is misleading.

The painful and perhaps most devastating part is that load shedding is beyond a crisis in South Africa. It has become a matter of life and death.

Many in the ANC fail to grasp this fact because they have alternative sources of energy. But they will soon know its impact, on May 29. Maybe, just maybe, that would be enough to teach the crop of leaders a lesson.

Cape Times