Would it help to switch the president on and off again?

THE FIRST ever Formula E in sub Saharan Africa will be staged in Cape Town later today. It’s deeply ironic, given that Eskom’s woes are widely expected to plunge us in all into even more misery as we plumb new depths of power cuts.

Stage 8 was considered a horror scenario as late as last year. We had never gone there before, now the experts are saying that we could be there as early as next week – or even this weekend. Stage 8 as the new normal means having no electricity for up to 14 hours a day, which spells death to inverters unable to recharge and probably the death knell for what’s left of the economy.

We haven’t been able to stage a conventional Grand Prix in this country for years, but now – despite Eskom – we are hosting the electrical version. It’s another thing that must be giving the government nightmares; it’s inability to get to grips with anything from education to health, safety and security and now electricity is rapidly rendering it irrelevant.

We are all making a plan, whether in the townships or the suburbs and in metros like Cape Town, they are actually forging ahead with plans to make their own power – which might be why the e-prix organisers chose to host the event there in the first place.

The only other place where they could have been guaranteed a stable power supply would have been the ministerial compound at Bryntirion in Pretoria, but then they wouldn’t have been able to get the local fans in, like they will this afternoon around the Greenpoint stadium.

It’s true they could have hosted it in Soweto, which doesn’t seem to suffer as much load shedding as the rest of Joburg, but all in all, Cape Town is probably a better bet. Even the president thinks so, he said as much last January, plus he’s got a house in Clifton, so he’s sorted. There are other ANC luminaries who seem to like the Western Cape too, even though they moan like hell about it, just as they do about private schooling and private healthcare but use both nonetheless.

The president is a worry. He is no longer shocked, which given the instability of the national grid is probably a good thing, but he is deeply concerned about the plight of those not born into party privilege. He is so concerned in fact, that he created a Minister of Electricity in his office.

The problem is that he hasn’t appointed anyone yet, instead he’s effectively publicly side-lined the ministers who are actually supposed to be in charge of Eskom and energy. But that’s Ramaphosa for you. He hasn’t reshuffled his cabinet yet either, or canned David Mabuza and appointed Paul Mashatile as his deputy. He hasn’t even got rid of Minister Fixit/ Fokop/DoFokol and posted him permanently to Luthuli House to continue his sterling record of delivery, this time thankfully for the ANC only.

Maybe, as someone asked this week, we should consider switching the president off and on again. Or, if not us, maybe his own party?

Would it help?