South Africa was once a symbol of hope. Now the country experiences regular blackouts. This is the story of how the lights went out in Mandela’s country – and how criminal gangs and flawed political leadership are holding back the world’s efforts to deal with climate change
Why this story?
Getting the planet to quit coal is crucial to hitting climate targets. Rich Western countries offered to help South Africa close its ageing coal-fired power stations and shift to cheaper and cleaner solar and wind.
It should have been a role model for other countries. Instead the plan has become bogged down in a crisis that’s engulfed South Africa’s power company Eskom: one that involves routine blackouts, and an attempt to poison its chief executive with cyanide.
Daily power cuts have become a symbol of everything that’s gone wrong in South Africa, nearly thirty years after the peaceful end of apartheid.
This is a story that uncovers allegations of how crime and dysfunctional politics have damaged one of South Africa’s essential services – and snarled up the global fight to tackle climate change.