Home South African ANC lekgotla encouraged Ramaphosa to declare state of disaster – Mbalula

ANC lekgotla encouraged Ramaphosa to declare state of disaster – Mbalula

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ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the party resolved that load shedding is a national disaster that can be dealt with by the end of the year if it is handled like Covid-19 and the floods that hit KwaZulu-Natal last year.

The SG of the ANC, Fikile Mbalula, gives a report back from the ANC meeting that was held over the last three days. Picture: Timothy Bernard, African News Agency.

JOHANNESBURG – ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday repeated President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a move to declare the current energy crisis a state of disaster.

Mbalula said the party had resolved that load shedding was a national disaster that could be dealt with by the end of the year if it was handled like Covid-19 and the floods that hit KwaZulu-Natal last year.

Mbalula was speaking at a media briefing on the outcomes of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting and Lekgotla that were held from January 20-30.

Delivering a closing remark to the ANC NEC Lekgotla on Monday, Ramaphosa said work was under way within government to ensure that legal requirements are met to declare a state of disaster over the country’s energy problems.

Mbalula said the party called on all of society to work with them in progressively solving energy problems since it affected everyone.

“In solving the energy crisis, the NEC Lekgotla encouraged Ramaphosa to declare a national state of disaster which will also require that the ANC reconnects with our communities and society, as the party does not have the monopoly of ideas.

“We therefore call on all society to work with us in progressively solving the challenge since it affects all of us, in particular the poor and the working class,” Mbalula said.

He said the Lekgotla also directed Cabinet to study in detail the obstacles in delivering infrastructure, vandalism and counter-revolutionary tendencies, with a view to increase infrastructure investment while strengthening the capability and capacity of the state.

Mbalula said Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan had told the Lekgotla that an additional 46,000 megawatts was required to be added to the 26,000MW current capacity.

He said in trying to build and maintain capacity, key concerns remain vandalism, which has posed a risk, further compounded by the fact that six power stations are not in operation.

Consequently, the national chairperson in his presentation advocated for the improvement of the performance of Eskom’s existing power stations while upgrading and expanding current capacities and capabilities in the context of the Energy Action Plan and the Just Energy Transition as proposed by the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECC).

“This plan will be bolstered by lessons drawn by the Lekgotla from the Energy Dialogue, presentations from technical experts and communities, as well as international best practices from India and Germany, amongst others,” Mbalula said.

He said the Lekgotla also urged the committee to accelerate its plans so there would be no more load shedding by the end of the year. In meeting this objective, the NEC agreed that all measures should be taken to protect, rebuild and save Eskom.

“The Lekgotla, in line with the presentation of Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, noted that this will require a re-prioritisation of the already pressured national Budget, which has been impacted on by global dynamics such as the performance of the China and US markets as well as the conflict in Ukraine. The Lekgotla also noted that the Budget and the potential to raise capital has negatively been impacted on by the municipal debt owed to Eskom.

“This together with national debt of R 4.8 trillion as well as the progressive social wage (which amounts to 58% of the budget) has made the budgeting manoeuvring space quite tight,” he said.

Mbalula said the Lekgotla noted that there were billions projected to be underspent and called for the re-prioritisation of the funds to address the crisis.

“This can be complemented by the re-design of existing grants to optimise and aggregate infrastructure financing and capacities. Additionally, consideration should be given for the restructuring of the Eskom debt and the financing thereof,” Mbalula said.

He was pressed for time to conclude the media briefing as load shedding Stage 5 was about to be implemented by Eskom.

The power utility also announced that it would implement Stage 6 load shedding from 9pm to 5am on Wednesday.

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