The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has come out guns blazing against any notion that the ESKOM crisis is due to “failure of black excellence”. The organisation was responding to the apparent “disparaging remarks” made by ANC National Executive Member, Senzo Mchunu.
The NSBE’s President, Mdu Mlaba, said in an unswerving statement that was meant for Mchunu that they (NSBE) will not allow politicians to treat them in a similar manner that the colonialists did by thinking that blacks are only good as “hewers of wood and drawers of water”.
Mlaba indicated that the sources of problems at Eskom are well documented and known to the public, i.e. political problems, management problems, technical problems and corruption. “It is not a secret that the government did not allow Eskom to build the new power stations at the time they were advised to do so, instead the government delayed the new build programme and forced Eskom to utilize their units to full capacity all the time without doing proper maintenance,” Mlaba stated. He mentioned that the government unjustifiably and without considering the negative effects years later took the decision to build all the new power stations at the same time thus creating the colossal debt that it is currently drowning in. He spewed more attacks by alleging that some politicians benefited from the contracts from these projects.
“Singling out Black Professionals in this mess is disingenuous and misrepresentation of the facts,” said Mlaba. He stated that politicians abruptly assuming the roles of technical experts ignore sound advice from said experts and further abandon transformation thereby maintaining the status quo.
The call by some politicians that retired white engineers to assist ESKOM was rejected by Mlaba. He said that black people did not start studying engineering after 1994 and the call should in fact be for all engineers to come and assist ESKOM. Mlaba said “It appears that our qualifications and experience only qualify us to be perpetual trainees. We want to tell you that we are more than good enough. Our education & training is comparable to the best in the world. This is the time for us to run these plants and train young graduates coming out of universities and other institutions of higher learning. Leave pensioners to enjoy their pension.”