By Dr Anthony Turton: Some years ago when the first Eskom load shedding began I was invited to participate in a simulation exercise run by a multinational risk consulting company. The team were all former intelligence officers now plying their profession to large corporates by getting ahead of the curve.
The simulation resulted in a sophisticated risk map that identified key milestones that were likely to be encountered on the journey to the inevitable Black Star Event. A Black Star is what happens when the National grid crosses a defined threshold and becomes unstable just before it crashes. When it crashes it’s unable to be restarted because you need energy on the grid to excite the generators and synchronize the different power stations.
The last few days we have crossed some of those threshold events with two standing out as being particularly pertinent. The first is the inability of Rand Water to pump sufficient volume to keep the reservoirs full. This means that 45% of the total population suddenly has no water to drink, bath, flush toilets and keep the economy going. This is now starting to happen.
But the second relates to banking and the flow of money in the economy. I have just had dinner in a restaurant where they were unable to accept any debit card transaction because load shedding has shut down the network needed to sustain such transactions. This is chilling because it was one of the thresholds we modeled just before a Black Star shutdown.
At no time in my entire life have we ever been so close to total system failure and frankly it’s a little scary because the security models all converge on the outbreak of anarchy once the ATMs and debit cards are no longer able to transact.
Article by Dr Anthony Turton
Read the original article on Front Nasionaal SA
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