Minister Ramokgopa refuses to save the date

Issued by Samantha Graham-Maré MP – DA Shadow Minister of Electricity
29 May 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Samantha Graham-Maré MP.

On Friday, 19 May, I wrote to the Minister of Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, inviting him to a joint oversight visit to obtain first hand insight into interventions that are being implemented by DA-led municipalities in the Western Cape to mitigate the worst effects of loadshedding. He has not only failed to acknowledge the invitation, but has also clearly decided to take a partisan approach to the electricity crisis.

Since his appointment, Ramokgopa has been crisscrossing the country, meeting with practically anyone, but has failed to expend the same energy and meet with municipalities working towards ending loadshedding, most of which are DA run.

Ramokgopa’s constant refrain of a ‘whole of society approach’ to solving the loadshedding crisis is now at risk of sounding hollow unless he recognizes that the energy challenge that the country is facing is not a partisan issue. Every solution that is currently being explored to fix the electricity crisis, especially by well-run DA municipalities, needs to be put on the table for consideration and possible implementation in the rest of the country.

2023 is 149 days old. We have had 2 days without loadshedding. For some, the rolling blackouts are an irritation. For others, the purchase of generators, inverters and solar systems ease the impact of loadshedding.

But this is not the lived reality of the majority of South Africans.

For many South Africans, loadshedding is threatening their livelihoods. Small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and their staff paid as they sit through hours of no production and no income, through no fault of their own. Employees live with the constant threat of being retrenched and as a result, not having the resources to support their families.

More seriously, loadshedding is the difference between life and death. Last week a 3-year old child passed away while her parents were moving her breathing apparatus from the oxygen concentrator to a cylinder during loadshedding.

A preventable death of an innocent child by a government that is paying lip service to its commitment to addressing the energy crisis but is clearly not prepared to do the work that it will require. A family left shattered and broken, much like our electricity infrastructure.

Where the DA governs, our governments are working tirelessly to find ways to protect residents from the worst effects of loadshedding.

Ramokgopa’s failure to acknowledge my invitation will not stop me from going ahead with the planned oversight visits which will help me get a sense of the various initiatives being pursued by DA governments to push back against electricity blackouts. As we head towards the 2024 elections, DA governments are already leading the way in addressing the national electricity crisis.