DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA) Archives

Parliament - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane on Monday said he has written to the Speaker of Parliament to ask that the legislature reconvene and set up an ad hoc committee to resolve the electricity crisis that prompted Eskom to implement advanced stages load-shedding in recent weeks.

Maimane said the committee should comprise of the portfolio committees of energy, public enterprises and trade and industry and it should summon relevant ministers and officials to explain why the crisis occurred and what steps were taken to prevent it.

It should consider measures to prevent the potential collapse of the national energy grid and put these before both houses of Parliament for adoption.

Maimane said the legislature should also immediately pass the shelved Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) Bill to speed up the splitting of Eskom into separate generation and supply entities to make electricity cheaper and ensure availability.

His letter to Speaker Baleka Mbete also calls for "moving for any urgent, necessary legislative amendments to existing legislation and regulations to deal with the potentially imminent threat of the collapse of the national energy grid and the threat it poses to the national economy".

Eskom on Monday announced that it did not expect any load shedding this week following the arrival of a diesel shipment and the resumption of power imports from Mozambique that had been cut off by Cyclone Idai.

"The improvement in plant performance, together with replenished diesel and water reserves over the last few days, as well as the increase of imports from Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa to 850MW, has positively shifted system performance," the power utility said.

But Maimane said South Africa remained on the brink of a disaster "that we may never fully recover from".

South Africans wake up every morning not knowing whether the lights will stay on, hospital managers are forever vigilant of the possibility of the power going out during operations, and small businesses which are already struggling to survive are coming under tremendous pressure.

"And just because the lights may stay on in the short term, does not mean the problems are solved."

He accused the government of lacking a clear plan to end the crisis.

"From the president to the minister of public enterprises, to those at Eskom – there exists no plan and no political will to take immediate action to get our country out of this ANC-created crisis. It appears as 'business as usual' for national government." 

The DA would ask citizens to mobilise on Friday to demand that the energy crisis be fixed, Maimane added.

"The message is clear: there is a plan to fix this crisis and we need to institute this plan now. And we will mobilise next Friday to call on this ANC government to take the action required to fix this national crisis."

African News Agency/ANA