Our loadshedding is so abundant it should be exported!

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By Howard Feldman

The new Minister of Electricity is poorly named. If we consider that the position was not needed when South Africa had uninterrupted power, a more accurate name is unquestionably Minister of Loadshedding.

Simply put, the only reason that South Africa needs a Minister of Electricity is because there is none.  Minister of Loadshedding makes sense, considering that loadshedding is something that we have in plenty.

So abundant is the country’s loadshedding that we should be exporting it.

There is a well-known marketing anecdote about a person who goes to a hardware store looking for a drill bit. He apparently needed to hang something on his wall and didn’t have a the right equipment. The question asked to the sale’s person is what the customer is looking for.

Many would answer that he is looking for a 2 cm drill bit, while others might try and sell the potential customer a brand-new power tool. The correct answer, according to experts in the field, is that the customer is in need of some way to hang his painting, or more specifically, he is looking for a hole in his wall.

The story is designed to illustrate that in marketing and sales it is important to understand what the actual need is. Not what they ask for.

Kodak, for example, failed because they focused on the camera and the paper it was printed on and forgot that all their customers wanted was a way to preserve their memories.

Extrapolated to South Africa, it becomes clear that citizens are not looking for reduced loadshedding, or even electricity. They are simply looking for a way to live their lives as best as they can.

It is fair to say that South Africans are not looking to become experts in solar production or lithium batteries or to become intimate with the goings on at Madupe or Kusile. They are not particularly keen to know that Gresswold has tripped and that technicians are on the way. Or that an old packed of crisps left on the floor on a windy day was carried by the breeze and landed on a power transmission cable that was having a bad day.

Which is why Johannesburg might have lost power for 6 hours.

In much the same way, South Africans are not looking for “Jojo” tanks and boreholes and water purification systems. Likewise, they are not looking to be amazed that a public-private enterprise has fixed the pothole that has greedily eaten more tires than is reasonable.

All South Africans want, is to work and live and love and grow their families. In the light. They want to be safe and for their children to be safe and educated. They want to turn on their light switches and for the lights to shine and they want taps that are not temperamental.

South Africans want to know that the government has the same or similar moral standard that they do. They want to trust. Because on the most part, South Africans are trustworthy.

Aside from voting for the African National Congress repeatedly, which admittedly might not have been the smartest move, South Africans have done little to deserve the appalling treatment.

The Minister of Loadshedding has an unenviable task ahead of him. Besides the fact that his success means the end to the need of his position, he has a massive responsibility on his shoulders. Because much like the customer looking for a solution to his wall problem and much like the Kodak customer in search of a way to store their memories, the new minister has the function of returning a normal life to South Africans.