Load Shedding Crisis: Over 400 South African Courts Struggle to Function

Load Shedding Paralyzes Over 400 South African Courts

Load shedding is causing significant issues for South Africa’s judicial system, with more than 400 courts unable to function when the power goes off. Here’s a breakdown of the situation:

  • Parliamentary Question: The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) asked Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola about the impact of load shedding on the country’s courts.
  • Minister’s Response: Lamola confirmed that only 139 of over 500 courts can continue operating during power outages.
  • Affected Provinces: The hardest-hit areas are KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

Efforts to Address the Problem

Minister Lamola has taken several steps to mitigate the impact of load shedding on the administration of justice:

  1. Request for Exemption: Last week, Lamola asked the new Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, to consider exempting courts from load shedding.
  2. Alternative Power Solutions: The department plans to install 80 generators at various courts, and a pilot program is underway to install inverters and solar power.
  3. Letters to Counterparts: Lamola wrote to the ministers of cooperative governance and public enterprises, requesting them to consider not turning off power at courthouses.
  4. Emergency Lights: Lights have been procured for holding cells and other dark areas within court buildings.

Province-Specific Breakdown

The inability to function during load shedding varies greatly by province:

  • Free State: Only 8 out of 87 courts can operate during load shedding.
  • Mpumalanga: Merely 2 courts have alternative power sources.
  • KwaZulu-Natal: Only 19 out of 102 courts can keep the lights on during load shedding.
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Load shedding is significantly impacting South Africa’s courts, with over 400 unable to function during power outages. Minister Lamola is working hard to address this issue by requesting exemptions, exploring alternative power solutions, and procuring emergency lights. However, much progress is still needed, especially in provinces like the Free State, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu-Natal, where the majority of courts remain paralyzed during load shedding.

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