Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tripping the light fantastic.

My task for today: cover the Eskom announcement of its planned electricity price increases that it will hit us sorry consumers with over the next three years.
Ten minutes later: no, don't cover the Eskom thing. Colleague Breezy has been assigned the story and she will go straight to Megawatt Park from home. As will the photographer who is having car trouble. Again.
A bit later, shortly before the scheduled start of the press briefing: change of plan, again. Yes, cover the briefing. Breezy's stuck in Jozi traffic (like everyone else who uses the roads during peak hour) and so ja, I must haul ass. I head off in a screaming rush, only to meet Breezy on time for the presser and together we sit and wait a good 20 minutes for the start, apparently now working on Africa time.
And then we're off to an extremely uncomfortable start...
A big shot from Eskom began the proceedings by explaining at least three different ways to leave the premises in an emergency. Then he pointed out some Eskom education officers in day-glo yellow jackets who could be followed should there be a sudden need for us to get out in a hurry. It seems the guys there at Eskom are well aware of how unpopular they are!
And do you think they just put their information out there in simple terms for us laymen. And women. Nooooooo! This briefing, supposed to detail the extent of three years of massive power price hikes ahead of us, is has a title.
"Empowering the South African Dream". I swear to God. They truly called it that.
And so began a couple of hours of the most boring rubbish imagineable. Starting with the implementation of the Electricity Act of 1922! I swear, the public has no idea what punishment we journalists endure to get some basic information.
Then time for questions. Not one of the pack of journalists filling the easy-to-evacuate-establishment was successful in getting Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga to answer a question directly. Like his presentation on our 45% increase every year for the next three years (there - said in less than 10 words), his answers would begin somewhere round the turn of the century.
It was a long day!

1 comment: