Book Review – Blackout – The Eskom Crisis

by James-Brent Styan (Jonathan Ball), ISBN: 978-1-86842-696-6

Load shedding has dominated headlines so readers may believe that a book does not provide any new information about a topic that is public knowledge. Styan’s book offers a comprehensive view of the problem. As a journalist who covered this story since 2008, he has the credentials to write this unauthorised story about Eskom’s continuing woes.

Blackout shows the magnitude of the problem and it is scary. Poor leadership, political interference and favours, bad decisions, and the exodus of highly skilled people from the organisation are the main reasons.

The infograph provided in the book shows the depth of Eskom’s problems as well as its inability to keep the lights on despite public assurances from the executive and government. Simply put: South Africa has a crisis on its hands and it will take many years to sort this crisis out even if the company manages to sort itself out.

Styan does write about alternative energy sources and the implementation but these are too small or are beset with a number of logistical problems to make an impact on the energy crisis.

A well-written and researched book but be warned: it will depress.

Ulrike Hill
Posted on: 30th January 2016