Electricity minister stands by Gauteng Health amid load shedding crisis

Published Jun 5, 2023


Johannesburg - Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has committed himself to helping the Gauteng Department of Health overcome power outages across hospitals.

This as the more than 37 Gauteng hospitals exempted from load shedding continue to battle during the extended power outages.

This comes after Gauteng MEC of Health Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko and the minister met officials from the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital to assess the effect of power cuts on the facility.

Last month, the high court ruled that hospitals, schools, and police stations should be exempt from load shedding. Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan has since appealed this ruling, saying that it was impossible to implement.

Ramokgopa said his department and the health sector wanted21 to explore technical solutions that could assist the Health Department in navigating the electricity crisis.

In a statement, the department said Ramokgopa has committed himself to supporting the department for it to continue servicing the health needs of Gauteng following bilateral talks with the department.

"This hospital is iconic. However, we are not here to resolve the Bara situation; we are here to address a bigger health challenge and to offer support to ensure that you continue to provide quality health care, which depends on a reliable and quality supply of electricity," Ramokgopa told the MEC.

Following this meeting, the MEC said she believed that interventions by the minister will go a long way in assisting the department to deal with load shedding at the country's health-care facilities, as load shedding impacts negatively.

Nkomo-Ralehoko indicated that the department was having challenges supplying quality health care due to the increase in load shedding.

She said sometimes hospitals across the province have to stop all operations when load shedding hits.

Some of the services badly affected by power outages include general operations such as laundry services and kitchen services, which depend on electricity for optimal operations.

"While over half of the 37 public health hospitals in Gauteng are exempt from load shedding and, together with most of the clinics, have back-up generators in case of power supply interruptions, these measures are not sufficient for prolonged power interruptions," the MEC said.

The Star