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    ‘Declaring Eskom crisis a national state of disaster will reduce load shedding’ – DA

    February 1, 2023 - Faizel Patel


      The Democratic Alliances (DA) shadow minister for energy Kevin Mileham said declaring the Eskom crisis a national state of disaster would open up funding for the failing utility to reduce load shedding by up to two stages in the short-term.

      Households and businesses are suffering under the devastating impact of the blackouts with angry and frustrated South Africans calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to find a solution to the crisis.

      Eskom a disaster

      During the closing remarks of the ANC NEC lekgotla on Monday night, Ramaphosa said party leaders backed calls for the state of disaster to speedily address the country's power crisis in a much shorter period than the 18 to 24 months government had originally communicated.

      Ramaphosa said imposing a national state of disaster similar to the conditions imposed on South Africans during the Covid-19 pandemic would form part of discussions during Wednesday's cabinet lekgotla.

      "It was observed that it would be necessary to have a national state of disaster, because that would enable us to have the instruments that would be necessary to fully address the challenge that our nation faces."

      READ MORE'If Mabuza resigns, Ramaphosa can appoint a new deputy', says Mbalula

      Eskom will have funding

      Speaking to The Citizen, Mileham said the ANC was finally left with no choice but to accede to the party's longtime demand to declare Eskom a "disaster zone."

      "We do believe that there is a need for urgency and a need to address this crisis that's been sorely lacking from government, the president, from his minister Pravin Gordhan and from the department of Public Enterprises and the department of Mineral Resources and Energy."

      "Hopefully - and this is what we want to see coming out of this state of disaster - there is some urgency that we will put in place short-term plans," Mileham said.

      Mileham added that the national state of disaster plan will release much needed funding for Eskom.

      "It does release disaster management funding and Eskom has indicated that they are short of diesel funding for the next two months, effectively February and March to reduce load shedding for up to two stages if they have that funding."

      "This would be one way of ensuring that Eskom gets that short-term financing for diesel purchases. It could also remove some of the roadblocks and obstacles that are in the path of entities like Eskom and municipalities in terms of getting spares and the ike for maintenance," he said.


      A full and complete transparency and parliamentary oversight will be required along every step of the way to prevent a repeat of the PPE looting frenzy during the Covid-19 State of Disaster, Mileham said.

      "With this in mind, the DA will immediately write to the Speaker of the National Assembly requesting her to ensure this matter is urgently tabled in Parliament."

      ANC their own enemy

      Meanwhile, Mileham said Ramaphosa is taking his decisions with the 2024 National Elections in mind.

      "Load shedding is a massive issue and its going to affect the outcome of the elections and the people of South Africa are saying enough is enough. They are gatvol with the mismanagement, corruption and sheer incompetence of this ANC government and its ministers."

      "The president is doing his darndest to try and rebuild the ANC's reputation and I don't think it's going to be enough. I think the ANC has done so much brand and reputational damage and I don't think it's going to be enough to save them in the 2024 elections," Mielham said.


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