Cape Town - Civic organisations are planning to take their fight against load shedding to the streets, joining a chorus of other organisations along with political parties against the devastating impact of power cuts on livelihoods, health and daily lives.
Along with ongoing load shedding, protesters will also raise their voices against the 18.65% electricity tariff increase announced by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).
On Wednesday evening, almost 200 people gathered at Bertha House in Mowbray for a mass meeting hosted by civil society coalition UniteBehind to plan and organise an Electricity Action Campaign, as well as a march scheduled for February 9 at the State of the Nation Address (SONA) .
UniteBehind legal officer, Joseph Mayson, explained the campaign was started to discuss load shedding’s causes and solutions, mobilise people and build a movement to put pressure on government to solve the energy crisis.
UniteBehind director Zackie Achmat said: “Load shedding affects all South Africans, but especially the poor and working class. The whole country needs to come out in force to SONA on February 9.
“The government mustn’t be comfortable in its ineptitude. In collaboration with communities and partners, we will present our demands, in numbers, to the president and Parliament.”
Another march planned for SONA was being organised by the Energy Crisis Movement, a civil organisation run by ordinary everyday people who were “gatvol” of the national rolling blackouts and the looming panic of a complete breakdown of the energy grid.
Energy Crisis Movement spokesperson Terzel Rasmus-Williams said: “It is our view, that all political parties represented in Parliament have been complicit, and have failed us ordinary South Africans in relation to the ongoing energy crisis in the country.
“We therefore call for the political parties, particularly those represented in Parliament, to stop with politics of deception. We are gatvol! We are tired! We are traumatised! We are angry! We are fighting to take back our power as the electorate,” Rasmus-Williams said.
Civic group StandUpSA was organising a non-partisan peaceful protest for February 2 from Sunninghill Taxi Rank to Eskom’s headquarters at Megawatt Park in Gauteng at 11 AM
StandUpSA spokesperson Khustaz Mtwentwe they were also planning to protest in Cape Town and were in a process of complying with all the requirements of the law for this action.
Meanwhile, Eskom Action Rise and Shine SA, a group of concerned citizens, were planning to take to the streets on February 10 at 10am to hand over a memorandum at Parliament rejecting Nersa’s tariff increase.
They will also demand change regarding load shedding, irregular spending, a transparent plan of action, coal exports, and many other issues.