On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared load shedding a national state of disaster, with immediate effect. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs officially gazetted the declaration.
During his State of the Nation Address, the president highlighted the damage the energy crisis has inflicted on the country and its economy, calling it an existential threat to businesses. By declaring the crisis a state of disaster, the government aims to coordinate efforts and provide practical solutions to support businesses and mitigate the effects of load shedding.
Critics of the declaration have expressed concerns about potential looting and corruption, but President Ramaphosa assured that the Auditor General will be brought in to monitor spending and funding. Additionally, he announced the creation of a new minister within the presidency to focus solely on the energy crisis.
The president emphasized the urgency to reduce and ultimately eliminate load shedding, acknowledging the public’s demand for action and solutions. He stated that the government is not presenting a new plan but is focusing on the most pressing issues, such as the energy plan announced in 2022.
The Minister of Public Enterprises will remain in charge of Eskom and will oversee its operations, including restructuring, the establishment of the transmission company, and the implementation of the just energy transition program. The president emphasized that the government’s ultimate goal is to work for the people and deliver real progress in the face of the energy crisis.