Contextualising Crisis at Eskom

  • Date:
  • Time: 13:00
  • Location: Online
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Postgraduate Researcher Ruth Bookbinder presented this talk as part of the Research Seminar Series hosted by the School of Politics and International Studies.

The presentation examines professional practices at Eskom to demonstrate how they enable predatory rent-seeking. According to the company’s 2020 Integrated Report, Eskom’s debt was valued at over US$29 billion, requiring government bailouts and underlining the extent of the company’s financial predicament. I consider the role of the employees that facilitate transactions to draw out the norms and moral economy that informs their participation in rent-seeking networks as necessary but secondary actors. I conclude that it is not that employees approve of – or even accept – corruption. Instead, the costs of opposing these transactions and responsibility to personal networks outweigh the societal duty to resist or expose predatory rent-seeking practices.