The World Cup Rugby mood before and after the match was so exhilarating one felt with the rugby victory our luck as a nation had changed for the better overnight.
But even the World Cup Rugby victory and the Springboks’ culture of excellence and teamwork could not deliver the magic to keep the lights on.
This as the country enjoyed nine endless days in paradise without Eskom issuing a load shedding media alert. Boom, just as the Rugby World Cup came to an end, South Africa was plunged back to Stages 2 and 3 load shedding until further notice. And who knows if it will escalate to Stage 5 and 6?
Eskom is back to around 53% EAF (energy availability factor) levels. The unit breakdowns have risen to 16 150 MW (UCLF), and maintenance is sitting at 5 950 MW (PCLF).
And electricity prices are no joke amid the cost of living crisis South Africans face.
Even comedians are feeling the pinch and speaking out. In a last ditch plea to President Cyril Ramaphosa about the energy crisis and economic situation facing South Africa, Alfred Adriaan, a Cape Town, Mitchells Plain comedian, made a desperate TikTok video called:
“Dear Mr President, Mr Ramaphosa
“We South Africans are struggling. Every time when the month comes to an end, it's a struggle to pay debit orders. Life has become so unbearably heavy and expensive...
“We both work and run our own businesses and earn decent salaries. But every time it's the end of the month we are panic stricken. We really need your help...
“My wife and I have no debts, we have paid off everything but we are still struggling. Just this year the housing bond repayment has gone up with thousands of rands that many people could not afford.
“I see people every time that have great jobs, people with degrees, and they are not making it every month. They just keep smiling because they don't want to be that person who is seen as struggling.
“We are people with degrees, but we are barely making ends meet every month. South Africans are having a terrible time. If we the working class are struggling what about the people who don't even have jobs, what are they going through daily (Mr. President)...
“Our expenses on food and petrol have gone through the roof. I don't know if you really know what's going on out here. We need you to know that we are struggling.
“I just want you to know that when you read your state of the nation statement or your Ministers read those finance things. Just know that South Africans are having a terrible time. We need a plan to get out of this,“ Adriaan said.
After a great rugby season with a win that united the nation. The national mood is lifted.
On Monday night, Ramaphosa decided to call a family meeting to address the nation. The President confirmed that load shedding is the major constraint for economic growth in South Africa.
While focusing on other state priorities. He touched on the progress made regarding the energy action plan.
"We are on track to resolve the most important constraints on economic growth by stabilising our energy supply.
“We are working to reverse the legacy of the past era of corruption and mismanagement of our state owned enterprises, which has left us with a persistent energy crisis.
“Our greatest priority has been to reduce the severity and frequency of load shedding to achieve energy security. The underperformance of the ports and rail network is affecting our ability to get exports to market.
“Since then, in the midst of severe load shedding and increased global volatility, the economy has continued growing, albeit too slowly. The economy has shown a significant degree of resilience and is now larger than it was before the pandemic.
“Millions of South Africans have been raised out of poverty and now have housing and access to electricity. Electricity supply is improving. Jobs are being created. Houses, roads, bridges and dams are under construction.
“We are making progress towards ending load shedding. Our greatest priority has been to reduce the severity and frequency of load shedding to achieve energy security.
“Over the last few months, there has been a measurable decline in the severity of load shedding. The Energy Action Plan that I announced in July last year is showing positive results, giving us greater confidence that we will bring load shedding to an end.
“Regulatory reforms we have initiated have enabled a massive increase in private investment in electricity generation, with over 12 000 MW of confirmed projects in development.
“Following the introduction of tax incentives and financing mechanisms, the amount of installed rooftop solar has more than doubled to over 4 500 MW in the last year.
“The steady progress we are making in resolving the energy crisis is a reason for hope.
“I want to make it clear that South Africa’s port, rail and electricity infrastructure are strategic national assets, and that they will remain in public ownership.
“However, introducing competition in operations – both in electricity and in logistics – will create greater efficiency and reduce prices in the long term, just as the introduction of competition in the telecommunications sector has led to greater choice and enormous benefits for consumers.
“The reforms underway will propel economic growth in South Africa in the years to come, resulting in a stable supply of electricity, a working railway, and more jobs for all South Africans,” Ramaphosa said.
I don't think that Ramaphosa really knows in detail what is truly going on in the lives of ordinary people and their daily struggles to survive.
The nation is struggling and panic stricken. We really need a plan to get South Africa out of this energy and near economic collapse.
Ramaphosa and the government need to dig deep, follow the Springboks 1-point wonder hat trick and put greater energy into fixing its house so it’s not a tragic comedy.
Crown Prince Adil Nchabeleng is President of Transform RSA and an Independent Energy Expert.
* The views in this column are independent of Business Report and Independent Media.