The corruption-ridden South African public has been dealt yet another blow in the form of media reports indicating that oil was stored for Eskom at inflated prices in exchange for, among other things, donations to the ANC.
According to the news reports, the allegations are made in a forensic report that the legal firm Bowman submitted to Eskom and that details a corrupt relationship between Econ Oil and Eskom.
In light of the Zondo Commission where numerous corrupt procurement processes at Eskom were exposed, it is only to be expected that every energy transaction must be considered suspicious. This also applies to the so-called powerships that will soon start contributing to South Africa's power supply.
The Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs, Gwede Mantashe, made the announcement on these powerships last month. The project utilises massive cargo ships that were converted into power plants.
These suppliers use gas or liquid fuel as a source of energy and are connected to the national power grid.
Contracts valid for up to twenty years were entered into with the Turkish company that owns the ships, despite the fact that Transnet stated that it still has not received a request for permission to dock the ships in its harbours.
Electricity will be bought at approximately R1,50 per unit, which brings the total estimated cost over the twenty-year period to more than R200 billion.
What raises eyebrows, however, is the fact that solar power can be generated at a cost of less than 50c per unit at the moment. It only applies to times when the sun is shining, but the costs are declining and batteries are becoming more efficient in terms of storage capacity and related expenses.
The main advantage of these powerships is that they can temporarily relieve power shortages and then they move to the next destination. Should we expect yet another shocking revelation later?
With South Africa's well-developed power grid, vast geographical distribution and abundant sunshine, it is only logical to increasingly move away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy. The transition will be complete when methods to cheaply and efficiently store electricity have been devised.
The pinnacle of the transition to renewable energy is that the generation of power can easily be distributed among thousands of micro, small and medium units. Every point of sale can also serve as a point of purchase for power where supply and demand determine the price.
Decentralised power generation minimises the possibilities of large contracts where money changes hands under the table. In fact, if electric transport supplants diesel and petrol, South Africa will be able to retain large amounts of currency.
The ANC and EFF frequently pay lip service to the decolonisation of South Africa. To become independent as regards energy and to use the generated energy to process resources locally is the best way to truly decolonise.
Unfortunately, it seems that we are moving in quite the opposite direction.