WATCH: Steenhuisen urges Ramaphosa to return home to deal with Eskom crisis
The DA has blasted President Cyril Ramaphosa over his official trip to Egypt while the country was being plunged into massive blackouts.
Speaking outside Eskom’s Megawatt Park offices in Johannesburg, DA interim leader John Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa had to first ensure that the country’s electricity crisis, which saw Eskom unprecedentedly announce the implementation of stage 6 load shedding, was addressed.
Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa was irresponsible by jetting out of the country in the middle of the crisis.
“Ramaphosa is greatly mistaken if he thinks he can run a country and manage this crisis via a cell phone. This requires bold leadership, not platitudes. The devastating effect of these blackouts on industry, retail, growth and jobs constitutes a clear and present danger to our economic well-being,” Steenhuisen said.
He said Ramaphosa had to cancel his trip and return home to provide leadership.
“Ramaphosa should address Parliament, taking the nation into his confidence as to what is really transpiring at Eskom. It is unprecedented that in a month like December with such low demand we have rolling blackouts at all,” he said.
I don't think South Africans are being given the full story.— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) December 10, 2019
It's time now for the president to level with the people of South Africa about what is really going on and about what we can expect to do. - @jsteenhuisen#EskomBlackouts #loadsheddingstage6 pic.twitter.com/oIPN2GxcQN
He said the DA suspected that Ramaphosa and the national government were hiding something about the real cause of the blackouts.
“It is time to come clean exactly what the structural problems at Eskom are and how his government plans to address them,” he said.
The DA has been advocating for independent power producers (IPPs) to be allowed by the government to bypass Eskom and sell electricity directly to municipalities to ease the grid crisis.
Steenhuisen said: “The most efficient immediate step is using Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act which allows the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy (Gwede Mantashe) to issue qualifying municipalities to bypass Eskom and procure electricity directly from IPPs,” he said.