Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster in response to the electricity crisis.
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In his speech at the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the president said this comes after the National Disaster Management Centre has consequently classified the energy crisis and its impact as a disaster.
“The state of disaster will enable us to provide practical measures that we need to take to support businesses in the food production, storage, and retail supply chain, including for the rollout of generators, solar panels, and uninterrupted power supply,” Ramaphosa said, adding that Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had gazetted the declaration, which will begin with immediate effect.
He added that, where technically possible, it would enable the country to exempt critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and water treatment plants, from loadshedding.
“And it will enable us to accelerate energy projects and limit regulatory requirements while maintaining rigorous environmental protections, procurement principles, and technical standards,” he said.
The president said that he will name a Minister of Electricity to the Presidency. This person will be in charge of overseeing the response to the electricity crisis.
“The Minister will focus full-time and work with the Eskom board and management on ending load shedding and ensuring that the Energy Action Plan is implemented without delay,” he said.
“The process of restructuring the government will allow us to determine the positioning of various areas of responsibilities and how best the various ministries.”
The Auditor-General will be brought in to monitor spending and prevent any misuse of the funds needed to deal with this disaster.
Meanwhile, speaking to Business Report, Momentum Franchise Principal and Financial Adviser Corne Welman said that the state of disaster would be positive for the economy.
“He said everything I wanted to hear. We had been hearing of long-term solutions and now he has come up with a short-term solution, and we are going to see economic growth.”
She said this would stimulate the economy as it would help businesses and citizens.
“It’s going to be effective and a drastic step. This means now they (government) can do interventions at a really fast rate,” she said.
Picture: @PresidencyZA / Twitter