Thursday, June 05, 2008

Eskom Unplugged by Noseweek

I love reading Noseweek ("news you're not supposed to know") because they are one of the few publications in South Africa that keeps us honest.
I bought their May issue only last week, and now courtesy of their web site you can (for a limited time) read their fascinating account of how Eskom has mismanaged themselves and put the entire economy at risk. Here is the summarised version of how to run a mega-corporation into the ground in seven easy steps:
Step 1: Look after number one
This involves lucrative "special contracts" with key employees and high flyers.
Step 2: Put your hand in the cookie jar
Sell off assets but keep the best ones for select employees who can then make a fortune by selling them at a profit later
Step 3: Take in a lodger
Rent space to SARS at a special low rate for 15 years, so you end up having to build extra space for your own needs and spend R50 million doing so.
Step 4: Be too clever to take advice
Set up a special relationship with the Reserve Bank and then ignore it.
Step 5: Do some truly weird stuff
Pay for a lavish junket to Iraq in an attempt to get business from Saddam Hussein.
Step 6: When the shit hits the fan, lie!
When power blackouts occur, give out little or no real information on how bad the grid is maintained and run. If in doubt, give out the wrong information.
Step 7: Give jobs to the boys
Give out contracts to ANC front companies so the party can make a cool R3billion profit from the deal. Never mind the contracts are late and way behind schedule, or that the pricing and product was originally not good enough.
You can subscribe to Noseweek online at

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