Lack of electricity: declaration of “national disaster” in South Africa

For months, 60 million South Africans have been forced to cook, wash their clothes and charge their phones at certain times of the day only.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of national disaster on Thursday night in an attempt to stem the deep electricity crisis that is undermining the daily life and economy of the continent’s leading industrial power.
The country is running out of electricity and rationing it by imposing scheduled blackouts. These power cuts have lasted up to nearly 12 hours on some days, with the shortage worsening since last year.
“We are declaring a state of national disaster to address the electricity crisis and its consequences,” with immediate effect, Ramaphosa, 70, said from Cape Town City Hall where he held his annual State of the Nation address.
“Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures,” he continued. “In the immediate term, the task is to significantly reduce the intensity of load shedding and, in the coming months, to put an end to it.
The state of disaster mainly allows for the release of exceptional funds. The ruling party (ANC, African National Congress) said last week that it had given “clear instructions” and urged the government to adopt this provision.
Aid to companies, particularly in the food sector, which has been particularly affected by the crisis, will be released, the head of state announced. Hospitals and water treatment plants will be spared the cuts if possible. A Minister of Electricity attached to the Presidency is to be appointed.
South Africa, still largely dependent on fossil fuels, is also struggling to make the transition to clean energy. A $98 billion investment plan was approved by rich countries last year at COP27 as part of an agreement for a “just transition.
On the political front, Cyril Ramaphosa is also going through a delicate period. On Thursday evening in Cape Town, he was interrupted several times at the beginning of his speech, in a tense atmosphere.

About Geraldine Boechat 2757 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia