“Power woes partly to blame for xenophobia”
from MTHULISI SIBANDA in Cape Town, South Africa
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa’s power utility acting chairman for Eskom, Zethembe Khoza, believes the provision of reliable power supplies could help South Africa eliminate xenophobia, among the main challenges the country faces at the moment.
The Southern African country has contended with threats against foreign nationals, resulting in the deaths of four people in the latest round of such attacks, a setback Khoza partly blamed on the scant supply of power in recent months.
“In South Africa we have seen people turning against each other in the form of xenophobic attacks,” Khoza told CAJ News at the sidelines of the African Utility Week in Cape Town, South Africa.
“The xenophobic attacks have been a result of the desperation of the people amid such problems such as inadequate power supply. Electricity enhances economic development.
“Without electricity, people cannot be able to empower themselves. The availability of electricity means the people can empower themselves and not demand much from the government but do things on their own. They can create employment and as such, there would not be such frustrations that lead to the attacks,” Khoza said.
South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy and the second largest after Nigeria, has in recent months grappled with inadequate electricity supply.
Eskom, the power utility, has taken much of the blame for the setback.
The attacks locals have unleashed on foreign nationals has compounded the woes the country faces.
However, the tensions have subsided after prominent members of society denounced such acts.
“I am a proud South African but not a proud one when some attack other nationals out of frustration from an economy that is not delivering growth,” said Victor Kgomoeswana, South African businessa dvisor, during a presentation at the African Utility Week.
About seven people have been confirmed killed by recent xenophobic violence in South Africa with more than 2000 others rendered destitutes.
– CAJ News
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