President Ramaphosa: Appeal of High Court ruling aimed at saving grid

Friday, May 12, 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa says government’s appeal of the High Court judgment on load shedding is a means of saving the grid from collapsing.

President Ramaphosa made these remarks on Thursday while responding to questions for oral reply in Parliament on the energy crisis.

This comes after the High Court found that load shedding constituted an infringement of constitutional rights and gave the Minister of Public Enterprises 60 days to ensure that public health facilities, schools and police stations are exempted from power outages, with the alternative being the provision of generators.

The Department of Public Enterprises on Monday said it was lodging an urgent appeal to set aside last Friday‘s judgment on load shedding.

“It is not done in an arrogant way, in a way where we are trying to second guess the court. It is actually being done to ensure we save the grid, otherwise it would collapse if we were to implement that judgement in full,” President Ramaphosa said.

Explaining the court appeal, the President said that it is not practically possible to exempt hospitals, clinics, schools and police stations from load shedding, as per the High Court ruling.

“Ideally, I would personally want all those hospitals and schools to be exempt but from an engineering point of view, I am told, it is practically impossible to do. Now we are faced with a court judgment and the impracticality of it,” he said.

The President told MPs that all hands are on deck in dealing with the energy challenges currently facing the country.

Responding to a question on why government was challenging the court order, the President said government took a decision to be practical about the matter.

He said government needs to deal with the practicality of that decision because the whole process of load shedding is to manage the grid.

“When a number of units are not available to generate energy, you could be tempted to drive those remaining units to a point of breakdown. You therefore need to manage it. The engineers tell me that you’d need to limit them from overheating and if you overheat them because you are driving them all at one go to generate the electricity at its maximum, the grid could collapse.

“You therefore need to feed the electricity in a number of areas on possibly a sequential a basis and switch off other areas and switch other areas on, until you reach a stage where all other units are able to give the electricity needed,” the President explained. –