Withdrawal of State of Disaster a victory for South Africans and a vindication of the DA

Issued by Ghaleb Cachalia MP and Kevin Mileham MP –
05 Apr 2023 in News

The decision by the ANC government, through the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Thembi Nkadimeng, to terminate the national state of disaster (SoD) which was declared on 9 February 2023, is a victory for South Africans and a reminder that the DA was right in opposing the blanket declaration.

We warned President Cyril Ramaphosa and his government then that his deviation from addressing problems at Eskom and the electricity sector, while projecting the problem to the entire country, was ill-advised as it opened the gates to corruption and reckless regulations.

In challenging the SoD, our intention was to send a message to the ANC government that it had overstepped its authority and was now using the electricity crisis as a pretext to loot and rule by regulations. With the industrial scale looting and corruption that took place during Covid-19, the DA was quick to reject the idea of another broad SoD, as it potentially opened the doors to the abuse of procurement processes to the benefit of connected ANC cadres.

This sudden capitulation on the SoD should not be misconstrued to mean that the ANC government listened to advice. They only withdrew it because they faced defeat in court from civil society organisations.

In addition to the DA’s principled stand against the SoD, organisations such as Solidariteit and OUTA, went to court to challenge it and stop the ANC from using it as a strawman to fool people that they were doing something about the crisis. We extend our sincere appreciation to these civil society organisations for helping defeat the SoD.

Now that the ANC has abandoned its fixation with a national SoD, they should refocus their attention on making electricity generation the biggest priority for the country in the next 5 years. In the short term, South Africa needs to secure the amount of power made available by Eskom’s fleet of power plants to meet the minimum demands by consumers. At the same time, we need to open up – with speed – alternative sources of supply from Independent Power Producers to boost our generation capacity.

A National State of Disaster under the guise of dealing with the load shedding crisis that the ANC created was only ever going to empower the ANC to abuse procurement processes and issue nonsensical regulations that have nothing to do with the electricity crisis. The reality is that the ANC cannot fix the loadshedding crisis it created.

The only way to do that is by going out today to register to vote DA in next year’s election, so that we can create a new government that will embrace private sector generation to ensure reliable and affordable electricity for all.