South Africa’s Ramaphosa declares ‘state of disaster’ on power
Ramaphosa’s statement comes as South Africa’s energy industry attempts to find a solution to the country’s protracted daily power outages, known as load shedding.
With immediate effect, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has proclaimed a state of disaster to addressing the serious electrical issue, including frequent daily blackouts.
“Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. The energy crisis is an existential threat to our economy and social fabric,” said Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation address on Thursday night.
The 60 million-person nation is currently experiencing rolling power outages that can last up to eight hours each day, which has prompted the declaration of a state of disaster. The declaration of a disaster is a response strategy that was previously used to address the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the terrible floods that claimed more than 400 lives in 2017.
According to Ramaphosa, the declaration will give his administration the authority to exempt vital facilities from power outages, including hospitals and water treatment facilities, and to purchase additional electricity from nearby nations in an emergency.
Additionally, it will provide the government the ability to help businesses cope with the effects of extensive power outages by expanding access to solar panels and diesel generators, among other things.
Eskom, the nation’s energy provider, is unable to generate enough electricity because of regular failures at its outdated coal-fired power plants and years of corruption.
Additionally, Ramaphosa declared that he would name an electrical minister whose main responsibility would be to address the current electricity problem.
After interruptions by lawmakers from the left-leaning Economic Freedom Fighters opposition party, who were ultimately ejected from the meeting by security agents, Ramaphosa’s address was delayed by 45 minutes.
Following the resignation of Deputy President David Mabuza and changes in the leadership of the dominant African National Congress party, he is anticipated to reorganize his government. Mabuza is anticipated to be replaced by Paul Mashatile, the recently elected vice president of the ANC, by Ramaphosa.