Though formed by the state, Eskom and Iscor enjoyed very little state support in their infancy. To survive, they had to cooperate with the private sector companies they were meant to compete with.
South Africa's finance minister has chosen to walk a tightrope rather than face tough choices about cutting expenditure or raising taxes.
It would be better to proactively restructure South Africa's electricity sector to spur innovation and investment and reduce costs before another crisis hits and further derails the economy.
State-owned companies are not generally needed to provide goods. Rather, they are needed to provide the foundation for a well-functioning economy and a healthy, well-informed populace.