My House: Fort Knox

If you didn’t already know, crime is a serious problem within South Africa and many houses within the country have burglar bars fitted on opening windows to keep skellums out and your valuable stuff safely inside. If you’ve ever tried to fit a flat-screen TV through a set of these, you’ll understand why they’re there.

Eskom's take on romance

Here’s my problem with burglar bars though. The country, thanks largely to the help of Eskom, suffers from impromptu power cuts. Timetabled load-shedding, especially around dinnertime when you want to relax and watch TV, is becoming less widespread due largely to the fact that Zuma’s army of wives is no longer allowed to cook for him all at once. Ad hoc power failures still have a nasty habit of turning up at the most inopportune moments. Take for example my friend’s birthday party just last weekend; the power went off soon after we’d arrived. With no music and no lights, everyone beat a quick retreat after wolfing down the free food and drinks by candlelight. Continue reading

Fat Cats Take the Cream

A bit of competition when it comes down to anything is admittedly healthy. It gives children a chance to better themselves at a school sports day, makes reality TV show viewing a bit more entertaining (especially when there’s hair-pulling involved) and more importantly it helps to keep companies in check when it comes to benchmarking prices. In the absence of such competition, companies can effectively make the rules and charge whatever they like. Unfortunately, when your electricty provider is a nationalised mega-player, such as Eskom, this can be a little problematic.

To put South Africa’s power situation into more of a perspective, there are currently 18 power suppliers in the UK, a country whose land mass (area) can fit five times into that of South Africa’s. Eskom is currently the only major supplier of electrical power in the country and they have power consumers by the balls, figuratively speaking. This includes your everyday Joe such as me. Continue reading