Economy short-circuits

For all its faults, President Thabo Mbeki's government has generally been praised for its economic foresight.

For all its faults, President Thabo Mbeki's government has generally been praised for its economic foresight.

Despite problems with job creation, Mbeki has received a free ride for confounding sceptics and delivering the solid economic growth of the past decade.

Not that we want to kick a man when he's down, but it now appears that Mbeki's economic legacy might rank alongside the devastation caused by his Aids denialism.

We have been thriving economically in great part by consuming the fruit of the past regime and have neglected to invest sufficiently in infrastructure.

A month ago Mbeki apologised for his government's failure to heed Eskom's warning a decade ago that the country was running out of power. Now we face at least five bleak years of inadequate electricity to power our burgeoning economy.

Load shedding inconveniences private consumers, but it can drive businesses into bankruptcy.

No one will want to invest in an economy that cannot guarantee power. And we won't be able to for at least five years.

It can take 10 years or more to build a big power station and Eskom must come up with R300billion to catch up with the demand for its electricity.

Mbeki killed the goose that laid the golden eggs - but the whole nation has been left with egg on its face.

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