Just when you think Eskom can’t dig a deeper hole for itself, something like the State Capture Report gets released. Within this report Brian Molefe (Eskom CEO) is mentioned about 70 times, and it’s not because he’s got a sparkling personality. Nope, the man behind the R800 000 salary is being implicated in corruption charges that extend all the way to president Zuma and the Gupta family. In fact, it’s an implication that has brought the 50 year old Molefe to tears.
What’s the Tender?
Tender fraud and corruption in South Africa is nothing new. So much money has been paid to contractors who don’t even run legitimate companies, much less deliver anything. In the Eskom case a deal worth almost R1bn caught heavy attention, because it involves all the wrong people. Without getting technical like the 355 page report that’s creating major problems for some major players, Molefe granted the tender to Tegeta. The company was supposed to deliver coal to Eskom, although nobody knows if any coal was ever delivered given SA’s track record for giving out money for nothing, but the bigger issue is based on the people who own Tegeta, namely the Gupta family and Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma.
All of a sudden darkness falls again, but it’s not load shedding this time. It’s a darkness that doesn’t want to let its grip on Eskom and government go. You might be wondering why on earth Molefe gave the tender to Tegeta, knowing it would cause a world of complications. Not too long ago the Gupta family had to flee South Africa in order to “prove” they aren’t controlling Zuma, and the rest of the government for that matter, like puppets. But even though they are thousands of miles away, they are still heavily invested in the country.
It Only gets Worse
Firstly, it’s speculated that Zuma didn’t know anything about the tender, which is relatively hard to believe given that his son owns part of Tegeta. But then again, Zuma fell asleep during Gordhan’s latest budget speech so it’s actually possible that he was blissfully ignorant, as usual.
Secondly, experts are accusing Eskom of lying about renewable energy costs. Apparently they favored the nuclear deal so much, it led to overestimating the projected costs for wind and solar energy. It’s almost as if Eskom wants to refuse any possibility to make electricity cheaper and cleaner. Instead, they focus on their survival as a bloodsucking company hiding underneath the wings of government. It’s almost like we’re dealing with big tobacco and oil companies that own just about everything.
Break the Cycle
Before we all get too depressed about the situation, there is something you should know. You don’t have to be part of the energy crisis that Eskom is facing. You can’t control the way Eskom spends its budget, but you are in control of yours. This means you can invest in renewable energy and rid yourself from all the drama that surrounds a very corrupt system.
Everything starts with a few small steps, for example installing a solar geyser. You have so many options in terms of pricing and functionality, you won’t have any problem finding a system that works for you. Just to give you a broad idea, here is a quick breakdown.
You can buy a complete system that includes the tank, the solar collector, the pump and the valves. But not all kits are the same. Each kit is suited to handle a specific sized tank, and the collectors are different. You’ll get to choose between a PV panel, which is the most common, and an evacuated tube collector. Both work well, but they have their differences and you can choose which one suits you best.
With a retrofit solar geyser system you buy a kit that doesn’t include a tank. In other words, the main components consist of a collector and a pump. Instead of installing a new tank you can use the one you already have. As far as tank prices go, you’ll be saving quite a bit with a retrofit geyser system.
The options continue to expand, because there are some functional differences to look at as well. For example, with a direct system the water is heated by the collector, whereas an indirect system makes use of heating fluid (glycol). The heating fluid moves from the collector to the tank where it uses a heat exchanger to pass on the heat to the water. You’ll even find systems that don’t use pumps to circulate the water or glycol. Instead they use a natural thermo process for heat circulation. On the plus side, a thermo system doesn’t come with moving parts. On the downside, the tank and the collector needs to be close together.
If you want to know what it feels like to cut your electricity bill in half, and hopefully start moving in a direction where you are completely independent from the Eskom circus, install a solar geyser. Soon enough you’ll realize how easy life can get if you don’t have to worry about Molefe crying his eyes out or the president playing the “dumb” game.