President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended government’s decision to appeal the Pretoria High Court ruling that public schools, hospitals, and police stations be exempt from rolling blackouts.
He was responding to IFP MP Narend Singh’s question on the government’s rationale behind the appeal decision in Parliament.
The President faced tough questions on government’s response to the current electricity crisis and the path towards a Just Energy transition.
Earlier this week, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s cited serious concerns on the implications of the ruling as the reason behind the government’s decision.
In a statement Gordhan said: “While the department respects the independence of the courts, in this case the department believes that the judgment would have unintended consequences and undermine the very efforts to balance the protection of the rights that were ventilated in this case, with the need to stabilise and protect our grid infrastructure.”
Ramaphosa says load shedding is the last resort and the national grid will collapse if it’s not implemented.
“As much as we want electricity must be generated for all, at one go. It is not practically possible, and ideally, I would like all hospitals and schools to be exempt. But from an engineering point of view, I am told it is not possible.”
Yesterday, Build One South Africa (BOSA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, launched a petition in a bid to force government to adhere to the court ruling.
Speaking outside the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Maimane revealed that he has been getting reports that doctors across the country are forced to use torches during operations when load shedding strikes.
“The rights of every South African are enshrined in the constitution, but none of us can help the fact that when there is load shedding those rights disappear.”
Gordhan has yet to lodge the disputed appeal.
Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa