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Blackout - The Eskom Crisis

Author James-Brent Styan speaks to Polity's Sane Dhlamini about his book Blackout – The Eskom Crisis (Camera & editing: Nicholas Boyd)

5th November 2015

By: Creamer Media Reporter

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In 1998 the South African government was warned that the country was running out of electricity. Despite the warnings, the decision was taken not to invest in new power stations. Had the warnings been heeded, South Africa could have had a new power station up and running by 2006 and load shedding may never have happened. Instead, in 2007, as predicted, South Africa ran out of electricity.

Eight years later, the crisis has deepened and despite assurances to the contrary by government leadership, it has the potential to become the biggest post‐apartheid crisis in South Africa. By 2015 load shedding cost the South African economy an estimated R2-billion per day.

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Is the situation getting better or worse? Are the interventions working or is a blackout inevitable? What can be done and what do future scenarios look like?

Blackout provides an insight into what’s happening to one of the greatest power utilities in the world. It deals with everything from load shedding to blackouts and unpacks the issues raging around candlelight dinners in households across South Africa today.

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About the author
As a journalist, James‐Brent Styan has written about Eskom since 2008. He followed the story from the other side of Lephalale to the inside of parliament and everywhere in‐between. During this time, he spoke to the decision makers, the rule makers, the politicians, the officials, the employees and everyone else. He was there from the first load shedding and is still writing and tweeting about Eskom today. This is his account of what he saw and what was promised.

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