Eskom veil of secrecy

NOT satisfied with literally keeping us in the dark from time to time, Eskom contrived this week to black out any news about whether it still has a chief executive.

NOT satisfied with literally keeping us in the dark from time to time, Eskom contrived this week to black out any news about whether it still has a chief executive.

They might think that their action of keeping corporate news within the company is not unique. Indeed, companies have a right to decide what they let the public know.

But unlike those corporations, Eskom is supposed to be owned by South Africans, whose stake is controlled by the government, which in turn hires technocrats to run the daily operations.

To keep us in the dark about what is our enterprise is to act with impunity.

There was no reason for even Members of Parliament to grope in the dark trying to make sense of what was happening at Eskom.

The kind of thinking that went on at Eskom this week explains why the public only learns about state-ownedenterprises once they get intoa crisis.

As with the SABC and South African Airways, those whomanage these enterprises seem to easily forget that they run them on behalf of South Africans and are therefore accountable to us through the government of the day.

It is also another lesson for us, the chronically indifferent public. Contrary to what we saw over the last week, public enterprises are not the preserve of one or other interest group.

Entities and governments that are supposed to act on our behalf will continue to take us for granted until we show that we care enough about how and what they do on our behalf.

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