The ANC has concluded a two-day National Executive Committee lekgotla to discuss the party’s priorities going forward and was in broad agreement that a national state of disaster should be declared to deal with South Africa’s energy crisis.
News24 reports that the government is looking into whether the ongoing energy crisis fulfils the legal requirements for the measure, last put in place in March 2020 to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in closing remarks at the strategy meeting on Monday.
Past states of disaster have enabled the fast-tracking of spending and the implementation of certain regulations. In the case of the Covid-19 outbreak, for example, it enabled lockdown rules to be enforced and medical supplies to be procured.
ANC under increasing pressure
The ANC has come under increasing pressure to resolve the country’s electricity crisis after more than two decades of indecision, graft and political interference reduced state-owned utility Eskom to a dysfunctional entity reliant on government handouts. The country has suffered 94 consecutive days of load-shedding, often for 10 hours or more a day.
The power cuts are straining the finances of the nation’s biggest cities as the hit on economic growth reduces tax income and maintenance budgets surge because of breakdowns of electricity-distribution equipment.
The central bank cut its forecast for economic growth this year to 0.3%, from 1.1% previously, because of the power outages that it estimates will shave an estimated 2 percentage points off output this year.
“A national state of disaster will enable us to have the instruments necessary to fully implement the challenges that our nation faces,” Ramaphosa said.