Working together, we can overcome electricity crisis - Magwenya

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Spokesperson to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Vincent Magwenya, has called on all stakeholders to work with government to resolve the energy shortage that South Africa is experiencing.

Magwenya was speaking at a media briefing on the President’s schedule for the rest of this month.

Magwenya's call comes on the back of President Ramaphosa’s announcement during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of a National State of Disaster to address the electricity crisis, and the addition of a Minister of Electricity in the Presidency to work with the National Energy Committee (NECOM).

“This is not the time for finger pointing or politically motivated court actions or law-fare. This is the time to look past ideological and political differences and work together in the interest of our nation, [and] growing the economy and sustaining livelihoods.

“Even those who harbour reservations about the approach the President has chosen are expected to join in and put shoulder to the wheel because ultimately, we are all working towards the same goal,” Magwenya said.

Regarding concerns that the National State of Disaster process may be abused for personal gains, Magwenya reiterated the President’s assertion that no State coffers will be looted.

“President Ramaphosa announced measures to deal with any form of abuse. Over and above the Auditor General keeping a close eye on various processes as they roll out, the President expects law enforcement agencies to be vigilant and to act with speed in dealing with those who will seek to take advantage of the situation,” he said.

Magwenya explained that the decision to declare the National State of Disaster was taken in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.

“South Africa is facing an enormous crisis, which threatens both economic and social stability. In consultation with business, labour, interfaith leaders, community organisations and the Presidential Coordinating Council, President Ramaphosa was being urged to take bold measures that will effectively deal with the current electricity crisis."

On disruptions that occurred during President Ramaphosa State of the Nation Address, Magwenya described the scenes that played out as “unfortunate and disturbing”.

“The energetic and focused manner in which [the President] delivered his State of the Nation Address showed a President who remains resolute on the task of resolving the myriad of challenges facing the country and importantly, who remains accountable to the nation about the work of his Administration," Magwenya said, adding that the National Assembly will hold a debate on the SONA on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the President expected to respond to the debate on Thursday.

Presidential diary

Magwenya said President Ramaphosa is scheduled to attend several engagements over the next two weeks, including the African Union Summit in Ethipoia, national Armed Forces Day in Richard’s Bay, the national Budget Speech in Cape Town and the opening of the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders.

“The President will participate in the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union from 17 to 19 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Africa’s political leadership will convene under the economically focused theme, 'Accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement'. The President will also chair the AU Peace and Security Summit on the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“On Tuesday, 21 February, President Ramaphosa will, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, officiate Armed Forces Day in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal. This is an occasion on which South Africans can witness and take pride in the human and technological capabilities of our armed forces.

“On Thursday, 23 February, President Ramaphosa will officiate the annual Opening of the National House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders. [It] is a body composed of traditional leaders who are delegates from the Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, representing the Provincial Houses at national level,” Magwenya said.

At the end of the month, President Ramaphosa is expected to host Republic of Uganda President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni during an official State Visit.

“South Africa and Uganda enjoy longstanding historical relations dating back to the struggle against apartheid. Uganda hosted and trained South African anti-apartheid activists and freedom fighters in the late 1980s. Political and economic relations between South Africa and Uganda have been improving since 1994.

“The South Africa-Uganda Joint Commission seeks to strengthen and deepen bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries, consolidate political, economic and social cooperation, and oversee the implementation of the signed agreements and Memoranda of Understanding,” Magwenya explained. –