Profits, War and Industrialisation, 1933–48

  • Renfrew Christie
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


Between 1933 and 1948 the consumption of electricity generated by Escom grew five-fold. On average, a new amount equal to the entire 1933 consumption was added to Escom’s sales figures every three years. Most of Escom’s power was sold at cost, in bulk, to the VFTPC for distribution to the gold-mines at a profit. Several very large new power-stations were built for Escom, some of them being operated by the VFTPC on Escom’s behalf. In 1948 Escom took over the VFTPC’s system. In that year Escom sold over 5576 million units, or 68 per cent of all the electricity sold in South Africa.1 Most of the remainder was generated in the larger municipal power-stations, or by the VFTPC before the takeover. This growth is firstly attributable to increased gold prices after 1932, and to the industrial boom that preceded and accompanied the Second World War. It is also due to wide-spread ‘labour-saving’ using electricity. Railway, mining and manufacturing labour-processes were transformed by electric machinery, while the use of domestic electric appliances increased.


Balance Sheet Electricity Consumption Electric Light Capitalisation Issue Surplus Profit 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
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    J. C. Fraser, ‘Presidential Address’, Trans SAIEE (Jan 1944) p. 22.Google Scholar
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  31. 97.
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Copyright information

© Renfrew Christie 1984

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  • Renfrew Christie

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