Electricity Crisis Update: President Ramaphosa Discusses the Government’s Plan of Action

President Cyril Ramaphosa assured the public that the South African government is committed to resolving the electricity crisis by taking a series of measures to tackle load-shedding in his latest address to parliament. Speaking during a question and answer session, the president rejected claims that his government has failed in its attempt to address the situation and explained that the Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, has been tasked with coordinating all departments responsible for energy, as well as developing new generation capacity.

“The minister of electricity is responsible for overseeing all the aspects of the electricity crisis that we are going through,” the president said. “Part of our plan is to work on demand management. Rooftop solar installation is one of the interventions that will help to reduce the pressure on the grid and add more energy sources to our electricity landscape as we are repairing and maintaining our power stations.”

Though Ramaphosa admitted there is still much work to do, he said the government is addressing the crisis on several fronts, including power plant repairs and maintenance, and the identification of additional generation capacity. According to him, while the government needs emergency power, the process of sourcing it has been hindered by interventions out of the government’s hands.

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Here are a few key takeaways from the president’s statement:

  • The Electricity Minister is overseeing all aspects of the electricity crisis the country is facing.
  • Rooftop solar installation is one of the interventions that will help to reduce pressure on the grid.
  • The government is making efforts to identify additional generation capacity to deal with the crisis.
  • The government is committed to addressing the crisis by taking several measures including maintenance of power plants.
  • In 2019, the president stated that the country needed emergency power.

Ramaphosa also addressed allegations of corruption related to Eskom, reassuring the public that cabinet members or any senior government officials were not involved in any wrongdoing at the utility. Anyone with evidence should bring it to relevant authorities for proper investigation, he added. He also called on law enforcement agencies and Eskom to take all necessary measures to deal with corruption at the entity.

Finally, acknowledging the Pretoria high court’s recent judgment exempting public health facilities, schools and police stations from rolling blackouts, Ramaphosa said the matter should not be dealt with as a “one size fits all” issue, but rather on a case by case basis. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has said his department would lodge an urgent appeal to set aside the judgment to proceed without putting undue risk on the country’s grid infrastructure.

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While the electricity crisis in South Africa persists, the government is making efforts to address the situation and take measures to resolve the rolling blackouts. It remains to be seen if these efforts will have an immediate or long-term impact on dealing with the country’s electricity crisis.