President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet must bear full responsibility for the unfolding electricity supply crisis following the announcement made by Eskom CEO, Andre de Ruyter, that South Africa may enter stage 6 loadshedding, starting at 17:00 this evening.
It is now 48 days since the DA wrote to Cabinet asking that they consider declaring a State of Disaster on Eskom and the electricity sector. But as is often the case with this lethargic Cabinet, they chose to bury their heads in the sand and now the country is staring into the abyss of a national grid shutdown.
The ongoing silence by Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe and Pravin Gordhan is proof that they are little more than bystanders in a crisis of their own making.
In our call to Cabinet for a State of Disaster to be declared on Eskom and the electricity sector, we cautioned that South Africa’s 15 year old loadshedding crisis requires a ‘whole of society’ approach that is anchored on making electricity generation the biggest priority for the country in the next 5 years.
It is simply astounding that in the middle of a national emergency in the electricity sector, the ANC government and energy regulatory bodies have adopted a lethargic and ‘business as usual’ approach that betrays their lack of urgency in finding lasting solutions to the crisis.
The DA call for a State of Disaster was predicated on the view that an Electricity Emergency Response Plan (EERP) must be activated to lay out short, medium and long term goals to bring additional generation capacity to the grid. Conceptualisation and finalisation of the plan should involve all stakeholders, from government, industry experts, engineering bodies, IPPs, civil society and members of the public.
Despite this sound plan, the ANC government has failed to act and the country now faces a complete collapse of the grid, the consequences of which will be dire on the country’s economy, security, investment climate and socio-economic order.