SONA: state of disaster declared over SA’s energy crisis

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared the country’s energy crisis a national disaster, which enables the urgent mobilisation of resources to tackle the disastrous effect of rolling blackouts.

These were among key promises that Ramaphosa made during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) delivered in the joint sitting of Parliament at the City Hall, Cape Town on Thursday evening.

Among the drastic steps that Ramaphosa said his government will embark on was to appoint a dedicated ministry of electricity, which will be in the Office of the Presidency solely responsible for resolving the energy crisis.

“The State of Energy Disaster will enable us to provide practical measures that we need to support a number of businesses in food production, storage, retail, supply chain… for the roll out of generators and solar panels and and uninterrupted power supply,” said Ramaphosa, pointing out that this will limit regulatory requirements.

Ramaphosa’s presidency also took a decision to add the ministry of electricity, which will be dedicated to ending load shedding by focusing on resolving issues at Eskom.

“The minister of electricity will focus on full-time work with the Eskom board and on ending load shedding and ensuring that the energy action plan is implemented without delay,” he explained.

The office of the auditor general will also be roped in to monitor the disaster funds and prevent what had transpired during the height of Covid-19, where millions of rand were looted through companies supplying personal protective equipment.

The state of energy disaster was first proposed in September by the DA, who called for Ramaphosa to declare a ring fenced state of disaster around Eskom.

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