Straight talk: Loadshedding – The gloves are off

15 Sep 2023 in Straight Talk

Cold, hungry, desperate, and in the dark. This is where an uncaring government has put the people of South Africa.

The prospect of Stage 6 load-shedding for at least the next year, costing our nation R900 million a day.

R233 billion of taxpayer’s hard-earned money spent on fifteen years of construction at Kusile Power Station yet it’s not generating a single kilowatt of electricity.

And then the ultimate boot on the face: 31.4% increase in electricity tariffs over the next two years, granted to Eskom by NERSA, the National Electricity Regulator of SA. Six times the inflation rate.

Clearly, the ANC could not care less. By destroying South Africa’s energy supply system, they have violated most of the provisions in the Bill of Rights.

The DA, by contrast, cares deeply and is taking every possible action to fight loadshedding and uphold people’s rights.

In my newsletter last week, I set out how the DA is tackling the root cause of loadshedding: cadre deployment.

This week, the DA went to court to fight the NERSA tariff hike, and to have overall control of electricity supply taken out of the ANC’s hands and put into the hands of an independent energy expert who will report directly to the Court.

The gloves are off.

The DA’s court papers argue that NERSA misinterpreted Section 15 (1) (e) of the Electricity Regulation Act, failing to take public participation into account when the Multi-Year Price Determination was undertaken.

We are therefore seeking to have the decision to allow Eskom to increase electricity prices by 31.4% declared invalid, and suspended, giving NERSA six months to remedy the situation.

We are also seeking a declaration from the court confirming that Eskom’s failure is due to the government’s failure to take responsibility for defending constitutional rights.

Once such a court declaration has been made, we seek the appointment of a Special Master to oversee, regulate, monitor and report to the Court on government’s progress in implementing the Energy Action Plan to deal with the crisis.

Meantime, the DA-run City of Cape Town is investing another R1.2 billion in the maintenance and expansion of the Steenbras Hydro Pumped Storage Scheme, to protect Cape Town residents from two stages of loadshedding. The DA-run Western Cape is the only province with a comprehensive plan to end the energy crisis: R7 billion is set to be spent across the province over the next three years to make it energy resilient.

While the DA is taking long-term and short-term actions to fight loadshedding on every front, the most powerful action of all is to replace the ANC government next year with a caring, capable government.

In the 2024 Provincial and National Elections, the best way to end loadshedding is to vote for the DA. Along with our six partner parties in the Multi-Party Charter, we are offering South Africa a credible pathway to an alternative government that will pull out all the stops to end loadshedding and ensure reliable, affordable access to electricity.

This is the fight of our lives, and we’re not pulling any punches.