Double blow as state of disaster on electricity is terminated

The government has suffered two bloodied noses after a reversal of its controversial decisions related to the raging power crisis in the country.

After the minister of finance was dragged to parliament on Wednesday to explain himself on a gazette to exempt Eskom from full financial disclosure in its financial reporting for the next three years, he succumbed to pressure and withdrew the gazette.

Around the same time, the civil society body Outa announced its victory with the withdrawal of the gazette that promulgated the national state of disaster on the power crisis.

This was after Outa and Solidarity took to court to stop the government in its tracks.

A letter from the state attorney’s office in Tshwane reveals that “the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, in consultation with relevant cabinet members, has decided to terminate the state of disaster”.

As such, the state attorney begged Outa and Solidarity “to withdraw their application” because “there is no live controversy for determination”.

“The state respondents do not intend to file an answering affidavit addressing the merits of either application.”

Outa argues that there was no need for the national state of disaster, as the electricity crisis could be resolved through other methods.

The organisation has described the withdrawal as a victory and a demonstration that civil society is thriving in South Africa.

Outa boss Wayne Duvenage said: “Today the government has backtracked on two major decisions which infuriated those who want transparency and good governance. This is a welcome indication of the government finally acknowledging and listening to the public.

“We believe that the government is not applying its mind. We believe that the government is shooting from the hip, and is possibly being badly advised on some of these decisions.”

Government makes sharp U-turn on Eskom exemption

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