Remarks By Minister Thembisile Nkadimeng On Government’s Decision To Terminate The National State Of Disaster On Electricity Supply Constraints

Minister Ramokgopa
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentleman

Good day,

Thank you for joining us today as we provide an update on the National State of Disaster.

As per the media statement and the gazette we released earlier today, we want to confirm and reiterate that as government we have terminated, with immediate effect, the National State of Disaster on electricity supply constraints in accordance with section 27(5)(b) of the Disaster Management Act (DMA).

As a results of the termination of the National State of Disaster, we want to indicate that all regulations and directions made in terms of Section 27(2) of the Act pursuant to the declaration of the national state of disaster to deal with the impact or the severe electricity supply constraint are repealed with immediate effect.

Our decision to terminate the national state of disaster is motivated by the fact that a number of measures are been taken to achieve the objective of relieving the impact of the severe energy constraints on the economy and society without a state of disaster.

Perhaps, let’s retrace our steps to explain how we arrived here. On 9 February 2023, the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (“CoGTA”), has in consultation with Cabinet declared a national state of disaster in terms of section 3 and 27(1) of the DMA.

The decision to declare the National State of Disaster at the time, was based on the impact of the severe load shedding on the economy and society and the threat of a progression to a total blackout. It was intended to ensure that measures to alleviate the impact of load shedding on vulnerable sectors, such as health and small businesses, could be implemented with urgency.

Since the declaration of the State of Disaster in February, government adopted wide-ranging regulations which set out the responsibilities of the different organs of state to mitigate the impact of severe load shedding, prevent the escalation of electricity supply constraints, and avert a national emergency.

These regulations and the underlying actions were put in place in support of an effective and integrated response across all spheres of government and the Energy Action Plan.

The state of disaster enabled government to enhance interventions by the National Energy Crisis Committee in terms of the Energy Action Plan to achieve the following:

a. Fix Eskom and improve the availability of existing supply.
b. Enable and accelerate private investment in generation capacity.
c. Accelerate procurement of new capacity from renewables, gas and battery storage
d. Unleash businesses and households to invest in rooftop solar.
e. Fundamentally transform the electricity sector to achieve long-term energy security.

Of importance is that the termination of the declaration (and the Regulations) will not halt the measures already taken and which are being taken to achieve the objectives of the Regulations.

A significant enabler of the improvement in the supply of electricity has been the appointment of Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa as Minister of Electricity.

As we move forward, government will, through the Energy Crisis Committee continue to engage, cooperate and coordinate its actions to reduce and eradicate load shedding using existing legislation and contingency arrangements.

These include measures already taken to protect critical infrastructure, facilitate emergency energy generation and protection consumers in terms of relevant competition law.

A range of interventions and support measures introduced by departments as an accelerated response at the time the state of disaster was declared will be sustained in terms of existing legislation.

We reiterate that indeed, risk mitigation measures were necessary to manage the electricity supply constraint on the economy, essential infrastructure, the public and other sectors.

Let me also appreciate the support, constructive and collaborative engagements we had with a number stakeholders to register the progress we have made in keeping the lights on and thus enabling the economy and public services to function as expected.

I urge all South Africans to join hands and support all measures to make load shedding a thing of the past.