In a move that has ignited widespread criticism, Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned power utility, faces mounting backlash over its decision to outsource critical operations, including customer service.
The current situation has been described as “shocking” by industry experts, highlighting the growing chasm between Eskom and the people it serves.
The outsourcing of public-facing functions has led to a significant disconnect between Eskom and its customer base.
Ordinary South Africans report increasing frustrations and challenges in their attempts to seek assistance from the utility giant. This growing divide has left many feeling abandoned and voiceless in the face of persistent power-related issues.
“I’ve spent hours on the phone, transferred from one call center to another, with no resolution in sight,” laments Johannesburg resident Thabo Nkosi.
His experience echoes the sentiments of countless others who have found themselves trapped in a labyrinth of automated responses and outsourced representatives unfamiliar with local contexts.
In Durban, small business owner Sarah Moodley recounts her struggle to address billing discrepancies. “It’s as if Eskom has become this unreachable entity. “The people we speak to seem disconnected from our realities,” she says, her voice tinged with frustration.
Eskom’s pivot towards outsourcing appears to be primarily motivated by cost-cutting measures. However, this strategy may be backfiring, undermining the quality of service and eroding public accountability.
Energy analyst Dr. Nombasa Tsengwa argues, “While financial sustainability is crucial, it shouldn’t come at the expense of service delivery and public trust.”
The utility’s outsourcing approach is inflicting significant damage to its reputation and relationship with the public. Community leaders and experts alike are calling for Eskom to re-establish direct engagement with its customers.
“Eskom needs to remember that it’s not just a power provider, but a critical public service,” asserts Sipho Mahlangu, a prominent community activist. “The distance created by outsourcing is widening the trust deficit between the utility and the people it serves.”
As public dissatisfaction grows, there are increasing calls for Eskom to reconsider its strategy. Recommendations include bringing some outsourced functions back in-house, particularly those directly interfacing with customers.


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Energy policy expert Professor Lungile Nene suggests, “Eskom should prioritize building a robust, in-house customer service team that understands the unique challenges faced by South African consumers.”
Transparency and accountability are also key themes emerging from this controversy. “Eskom must open itself up to greater scrutiny and establish clear channels for public engagement,” says consumer rights advocate Nomsa Dlamini. “Only through direct dialogue can trust be rebuilt.”
The implications of Eskom’s outsourcing strategy extend beyond customer service issues. As South Africa grapples with its energy future, the utility’s ability to maintain strong, direct relationships with its customers will be crucial in navigating the challenges ahead.
In conclusion, the current “shocking” state of Eskom’s customer relations serves as a stark reminder of the vital importance of maintaining strong connections between public utilities and the communities they serve.
As South Africa continues to grapple with its energy challenges, the need for Eskom to bridge this growing divide has never been more critical.
The utility’s path forward will require a delicate balance between financial considerations and its public service mandate.
As the nation watches closely, Eskom’s response to this crisis of confidence could well determine its role in shaping South Africa’s energy landscape for years to come. For further insights regarding this article, refer to this post: