Failure of Power

Failure of Power

The threat of a countrywide blackout is slowly sneaking into the public domain. A hint here and a veiled reference there, and suddenly it is all around us. It is slowly taking shape in our consciousness and we can’t quite place where we heard it first. The “what ifs” loom over us like a Damocles and we find ourselves still angry, but yet grateful that we are powerless for a few hours and not a few weeks.

But let’s do what we are told not to. Lets imagine what would, what should, and what might happen if the lights had to go out for the two weeks that it would take them to re-establish the grid if a total collapse were to occur.

It is December, summer vacation time. Our children are home from school and many are preparing to leave their homes to travel to our parts of the country. It has been a tough year economically and the like the last exam, there is strengthen us to just write it, put down our pens, exhale and then have a break. This year, however might not be the restorative period that we are looking for.

Two weeks of no power would mean very simply that there would be a shortage of everything. The country would come to a standstill and there billions and billions will be lost.

-       Water

-       Food

-       Diesel and petrol will be in short supply.

There will be a level of desperation and panic, hopelessness and anger that will not be easily stemmed.

Given the dark streets and depleted battery back ups, crime would surge and without nightly curfews and the presence of the army on our streets, the country would be ungovernable. Even with them, this might well occur.

The cost to the economy in terms of lost revenue, insurance claims, perished goods, and theft would cripple the country and it would take years to claw itself out of the hole. The Rand would plummet and the loss of potential investment would be incalculable.

In short, it would be an unmitigated disaster and would brand this country with an image it might never be able to recover from.

The mere fact that we are forced to think about this and to contemplate it is a disgrace of massive proportion. The private sector has been precluded from entering this space and so we stand by as helpless as those in charge ruin our country and place our lives in danger. They should have the dignity to stand up, take responsibility and then resign. Resign without a payout and benefits. They have blood on their hands and it is time.

We can laugh at the SABC and their shenanigans because we can live without them. We have made plans and manage private healthcare (even though I feel desperately sorry for those who have to rely on public health). We have learned to live without the post office and those than can afford it, send their children to private schools. But we were not allowed to solve the electricity crises that they had 6 years minimum to fix, and they have blown it. There is no excuse. None whatsoever.

We don’t know if the total blackout is going to happen or not or if the threat of one is a strategy to make us appreciate the disgrace that we are living through. What we are certain of is that this should be the one priority of government. No one in office should be allowed to go on holiday or take leave. We are at the edge of a precipice – we are staring disaster in the face. Its time to govern or resign! surely this is a time to govern or resign!


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