Presidency clarifies President Ramaphosa stance in load shedding case

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The Presidency has described recent media reporting on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s responding affidavit in a case challenging the Constitutionality of load shedding as a “gross misrepresentation of statements”.

Media reports have suggested that President Ramaphosa’s affidavit suggests that neither he, as president, nor government bear a duty to provide electricity to South Africans.

“The statement in the affidavit that has been misrepresented relates to the constitutional powers and responsibilities of the President and other government bodies. It seeks to clarify important legal issues about what is contained in and what is required by the Constitution.

“This statement does not in any way diminish the commitment of President Ramaphosa and this government to end load shedding as a matter of urgency,” a Presidency statement read.

The Presidency explained that since being elected, President Ramaphosa has undertaken “far-reaching measures to resolve an electricity crisis”.

These include:

  • The addition of more than 2000 MW to the grid to date following the revival of the renewable energy procurement programme.
  • Removing the licensing threshold for embedded electricity projects and streamlining of regulatory processes, with the result that there are now more than 100 projects in the pipeline worth around 9000 MW.
  • Implementing regulatory reforms to allow municipalities to procure power independently.
  • Driving a turnaround in the performance of Eskom’s power stations through more rigorous maintenance, the recruitment of experienced technical personnel, improving security and law enforcement at power stations, among others.
  • Providing incentives to businesses and households to invest in rooftop solar and developing mechanisms to enable them to sell surplus power back into the grid.
  • Undertaking a debt-relief arrangement for Eskom of R254 billion, which will enable the utility to make necessary investments in maintenance and transmission.

“A national state of disaster has been declared under the Disaster Management Act. This will enable additional measures to be implemented to mitigate the social and economic effects of load shedding and accelerate the measures necessary to close the shortfall in electricity.

“These and other measures are clearly outlined in the same affidavit from which certain media outlets have selectively and inaccurately quoted. As recently as the State of the Nation Address on 9 February 2023, President Ramaphosa said the most immediate priority of government is to restore energy security.

“The intense focus that is being given to resolving this crisis – and the actions that have been taken so far – clearly show that neither the President nor government has abdicated its responsibility for ending load shedding and setting the country on a path to energy security,” the statement said. –