Government is showing the nation the middle finger – Holomisa

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has accused the government and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan of leading a shameful war against the people of South Africa following a decision to appeal a court ruling ordering an exemption of emergency facilities from loadshedding.

Holomisa told Sunday World that no caring government would take such drastic measures to appeal a high court ruling aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of its people.

The North Gauteng High Court has ruled that public health, policing, and schools be exempted from rolling loadshedding.

In the application to force government to exempt the facilities from loadshedding, Gordhan, Eskom, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana were all cited as respondents.

The ruling enjoined Gordhan to take all reasonable steps within 60 days from the date of the order, whether in conjunction with other organs of state or not, to ensure that there shall be sufficient supply or generation of electricity to prevent any interruption of supply as a result of loadshedding to public health establishments, public schools, and the South African Police Service.

While the applicants celebrated a victory for patients and victims of crime, Gordhan released a media statement informing the nation that his department would be appealing the judgment.

“The department has studied the ruling and has determined through legal advice that the prudent step to take is to lodge an appeal to set aside the ruling and allow for the ongoing efforts to end loadshedding to proceed without putting undue risk on the country’s grid infrastructure,” he said in the statement.

“While the department respects the independence of the courts, in this case, the department believes that the judgment would have unintended consequences and undermine the very efforts to balance the protection of the rights that were ventilated in this case, with the need to stabilise and protect our grid infrastructure.”

Holomisa, whose political party was the first applicant in the matter, labelled the move to appeal the court ruling as a show of arrogance by Gordhan.

“This is the government of the people by the people. For them not to show some seriousness in terms of the relief given by the high court demonstrates a lack of care,” said Holomisa.

“They should have been sensitive that at least the hospitals and the police stations will have electricity.

“In terms of our analysis, they should be saying: ‘We are not against the judgment, we are mitigating to say we are going to do this thing in phases.’ The reason they are opting to appeal is because of arrogance. They are saying: ‘We are in power’.”

He added that it appeared loadshedding was man-made, a claim repeatedly made by organisations such as the EFF, National Union of Metalworkers of SA, and the African Transformation Movement.

“The points they are arguing on were raised by former Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter. We did our own research and the judges did their own research and understood that we are not saying end all loadshedding now.

“It is clear that loadshedding is man-made. They are telling you about stages 3, 6, 2, and 1, and it is clear they don’t know what they are talking about. They are basically showing the middle finger to the nation.

“The people of South Africa must look at this and ask some pertinent questions later this year when the same leaders start coming and knocking at their doors to campaign for elections. A caring government must do right by its people.”

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