The president’s assurance follows a recent judgment by the High Court in Pretoria, which ordered that essential services, including schools, hospitals and clinics, be exempt from scheduled power cuts.
PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has assured South Africans his government will take the necessary steps to ensure hospitals and schools are not impacted by rolling blackouts.
His assurance follows a recent judgment by the High Court in Pretoria, which ordered that essential services, including schools, hospitals and clinics, be exempt from scheduled power cuts.
Ramaphosa was responding to media questions on the sidelines of the United Nations COP28 climate summit in Dubai on Saturday.
“The judgment really speaks to what we want to see done. We want our schools, we want our hospitals to have the requisite amount of energy, so for us it’s a confirmation of our government programme,” Ramaphosa said.
Earlier this year, various political parties, including Build One SA (Bosa), the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) took government to court in a bid to ensure schools and other public institutions were exempt from power cuts.
Bosa leader Mmusi Maimane said the judgment was a monumental victory against the government, whose actions had resulted in constant power cuts instead of a constant supply of electricity in schools and hospitals.
Maimane said there was no need for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to appeal against an earlier judgment to stop the implementation of load shedding in public schools, health-care facilities and police stations.
“While rolling blackouts cost the economy billions of rand – and while South Africans sit in the dark and the economy is in free fall – we are delighted that the judiciary acted in the best interests of the people and held this government to account,” his party said.
DA mineral resources and energy spokesman Kevin Mileham said the latest court order, though potentially unenforceable due to the severity of the crisis, showed the ANC government was in breach of human rights.
“While the proposed solutions are imperative from a human rights standpoint, it is acknowledged that they may not provide immediate or long-term relief from load shedding. Nevertheless, this moment serves as a powerful testament to the impact of opposition pressure and civil society’s voice in holding the ANC accountable,” Mileham said.
The EFF also welcomed the high court judgment.
“The EFF has long argued that load shedding is a human rights violation that is destroying South Africa. It has disrupted essential services, caused job losses and even led to deaths. The court’s recognition of the human cost of load shedding is a powerful affirmation of our position,” the party said.