Outa goes to court to overturn the electricity State of Disaster

File - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse takes the energy State of Disaster to court. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters

File - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse takes the energy State of Disaster to court. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters

Published Feb 17, 2023

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Cape Town - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says it will be bringing an urgent application against the government to overturn the National State of Disaster in connection with the electricity supply constraints.

This comes after the Presidency declared a National State of Disaster and announced that the government seeks to appoint a minister of electricity, as power black-outs continue.

The organisation says government has at its disposal legislation to deal with the current energy crisis.

Outa is against the decision to declare a state of disaster to deal with this crisis and has since announced its decision to head to court over the matter.

Outa executive director, advocate Stefanie Fick said they believe the decision to declare the disaster was irrational, arbitrary and unlawful.

“It is the result of a crisis created by the government itself which has been more than 15 years in the making. It is unnecessary because laws already exist to enable urgent action to address the energy crisis.

“Years of state capture, mismanagement and a dysfunctional culture cannot be a rational justification for the declaration of a national state of disaster,” Fick said.

Fick also said that the state of disaster grants extraordinary powers to officials to make far-reaching decisions without parliamentary oversight, which is a real concern in the light of the extensive looting enabled by emergency procurement during the Covid-19 state of disaster.

“If the decision to declare a national state of disaster due to this self-created crisis by the government is allowed to stand, it will open the floodgates for further such disasters to be declared in various other sectors that suffered from similar dysfunction, mismanagement and corruption.

“Declaring a national state of disaster will in effect become a tool for the government to circumvent accountability and hide behind the excuse of a disaster to reach an apparent ‘quick-fix’ for problems that were years in the making,” Fick said.

Fick further added they are bringing the application because Outa will not stand by when government grants itself extraordinary powers with reduced oversight to deal with a self-created energy crisis.

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