JOHANNESBURG. A week after announcing that load shedding would be halted, Eskom says an unexpected change in the Earth's axis has plunged the country into a time of cold and darkness, prompting possible future power cuts. The phenomenon, identified by scientists as "winter", has reportedly caused widespread panic at the utility.
Addressing journalists at Eskom's Megawatt Park headquarters this morning, spokesman Eddie Motsepe apologised to consumers in advance for possible power outages, but said that the dramatic shift in the planet's rotational alignment could not have been foreseen by the power provider.
"We are as confused and frightened as our consumers," he said. "At this time all we know is that Earth has tilted over, and as such the southern hemisphere is no longer being struck by the full force of the sun's rays."
He said Eskom officials had confirmed that this phenomenon was known to the science community, and that it was called "winter".
"We phoned the Geography department at the University of the Witwatersrand, and they told us," he said.
He said he did not know whether or not "winter" would be permanent, but said the utility was preparing for the worst.
"We have implemented emergency procedures," he said. "Mainly we are increasing executive bonuses, and installing fireplaces and humidors in all the offices on the top floor."
Asked if "winter" was likely to derail Eskom's supply of power to the controversial Coega aluminium smelter in the Eastern Cape, Motsepe said that the issue was being discussed and that the company's top executives were "very positive".
"They spoke about it this morning, and they feel strongly that if the world is tipping over, as seems to be the case, it is probably best that we have heavy things like aluminium smelters down here in Africa, where we can maybe stabilize the planet."
He added that too much had been invested in the Alcan smelter to pull the plug now.
"In the first year alone the smelter is likely to create almost 19 jobs, at a cost to the South African taxpayer of around R150 million per job.
"Those are big numbers. Big numbers are good.
"Furthermore, if we get the go-ahead from the Presidency to divert most of Port Elizabeth's power to the smelter, we're pretty confident that it can produce enough A-grade aluminium to manufacture 21 cans of pilchards ... 16 if you want cans that won't buckle under the weight of the pilchards."
Our Cape Town Reporter adds: Nothing was mentioned about the electricity that is being exported to South Africa's neighbouring model democracy to the north, Zimbabwe. It is assumed that mental powerhouse Alec Erwin is conjuring up some new media statement that he can later deny that he ever said.
17 June 2008
I received this via email this morning. We can only hope this is satire.