ActionSA opposes Eskom's load shedding appeal for critical institutions

ActionSA President Herman Mashaba.Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

ActionSA President Herman Mashaba.Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Mar 31, 2024


ActionSA slammed the government for failing to uphold the Constitution in ensuring the preservation of the right to public institutions.

However, the state sought to appeal sections of the ruling, saying the judgment was “too vague”.

The court issued this ruling last year, exempting critical public institutions from load shedding.

In 2023, Judge Norman Davis concluded that the government’s failure to safeguard Eskom from criminal activity and state capture, which led to the energy crisis and load shedding, violated the Bill of Rights.

Davis instructed Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramakgopa to take action by January 31, this year, to ensure sufficient electricity supply to prevent interruptions in these public health establishments, schools and police services.

This judgment declared load shedding unconstitutional and ordered the Minister of Electricity, together with the organs of state, to ensure that electricity supply was ensured for public schools, hospitals and the SAPS.

ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba criticised Eskom, the President and the Electricity Minister for allegedly spending millions of taxpayers’ money to appeal the judgment by the High Court, which compelled them to provide uninterrupted electricity to schools, hospitals and police stations, instead of addressing the concerns raised by the court ruling.

“Instead of addressing the concerns raised by the court ruling, including that load shedding infringes on the basic constitutional rights of South Africans and protecting the most vulnerable against the power crisis through exempting schools, police stations and hospitals, the President, the Minister and Eskom have rather decided to spend taxpayers’ money to appeal the ruling.

“It is well documented how communities across South Africa have been adversely affected by load shedding when police stations’ telephone lines don’t work, hospitals fail to take care of sick patients when the lights go off, or studies are interrupted at schools when they fail to have access to power.

“The government alleges, in the appeal, that there is ‘insufficient evidence’ to demonstrate this obvious fact. It is our duty to protect these crucial services, and it is deeply concerning that the President, the Minister and Eskom simply do not care,” he said.

Mashaba said that, as they unveiled at their manifesto launch over the past weekend, ActionSA has a plan to end load shedding within two years after taking the government by, among other things, liberalising the electricity market and ending nepotism at Eskom.

“In the 17 years since load shedding was first introduced in 2007, the ruling party has been unable to take action to address the energy crisis, but an ActionSA government would end it within two years of taking over the government following the May 29 elections.

“We will continue to do everything in our power to protect the most vulnerable South Africans from the failures of the ruling party and will take whatever steps necessary to ensure that the government is held accountable. We thank our legal representatives and Adv. Gillian Benson, who have tirelessly championed the matter on behalf of ActionSA in court, and we look forward to working with her to ensure that we keep the state accountable for its ongoing failures,” he said.

Mashaba added that load shedding remains one of the biggest inhibitors to job creation, with thousands of small businesses being forced to close as a result; furthermore, incidents of crime spike when load shedding occurs.

“Our children are sent home when schools cannot operate without power and are left without daycare and feeding programmes. Hospitals and clinics are unable to save lives when the lights go out. This is simply unacceptable.

“As a party, we are committed to the South African people and will continue to place pressure on the national government to act in the best interests of our people and protect our people from the devastating consequences of load shedding and the government’s continued failure to provide other essential services. But the only way for South Africa to finally end load shedding is by taking action to remove the ruling party from the ballot box this year,” added Mashaba.

Saturday Star