Opening Remarks by Minister Gungubele during the media briefing on the National State of Disaster pertaining to the impact of severe electricity supply constraints
Ministers present, Acting CEO of Eskom
Directors General present Members of various media houses,
Good morning and thank you for joining us.
We are here on behalf of Cabinet and the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) to appraise the nation on regulations that will apply on the National State of Disaster pertaining to the impact of Severe Electricity Supply Constraints. As we all know these regulations come into effect after the National State of Disaster was gazetted. This was also announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his 2023 State of the Nation Address.
Following a sitting of the President’s Coordinating Council as well as a special sitting of Cabinet on the evening of Monday 27 February 2023, government gazetted the regulations, which give effect to the provisions of the National Disaster Management Act, Act 57 of 2002.
The National State of Disaster emphasises our determination to support and work with all South Africans and sectors of society negatively affected by the severe electricity supply. The regulations aim to assist, protect and provide relief to the public; protect property; prevent and combat disruption; and to deal with the destructive nature and other effects of the disaster.
We are taking necessary steps to stabilise the grid and as such:
- The National State of Disaster In Electricity Crisis empowers government to implement necessary measures to prevent the escalation of load shedding and avert a possible national blackout.
- The regulations empowers the national executive to work in close cooperation with the three spheres of government in ensuring that the following happens:
Today we are providing practical measures that we need to take to support businesses in the food production, storage and retail supply chain, including for the rollout of generators, solar panels and uninterrupted power supply.
We are confident that regulations will provide the extra-ordinary measures required to deal with our energy constraints. These regulations came into operation on the date of publication in the Government Gazette.
The lessons learnt during our successful fight against the global pandemic where extraordinary measures under the auspices of the State of the Disaster legislation assisted in saving lives and livelihoods, have been at the heart of current efforts to strengthen our response as government to the deteriorating energy situation in our country. These regulations are to ensure that the country does not get into a state of emergency and not to undermine any social liberty or the rights of individuals or groups in any way
As we set out to mobilise resources to support and address the disaster, we are putting measures in place to safeguard these financial resources. Government, working with all stakeholders will ensure that all the resources we mobilise are used for their intended purposes and reach the intended recipients.
Various oversight structures like the Auditor-General and Parliament as set out in the regulations will monitor the use of funds. Specifically, the Auditor General will undertake real time audits whilst reports to Parliament have to be submitted by respective institutions in the month where expenditure took place and also reports have to be published. Our focus is to ensure that there is value for money, transparency and accountability as the projects are costed and implemented.
Government calls on everyone to be circumspect in what they post and share online, including diligence in verifying credibility of the source of their news. By simply asking a few critical questions and consulting widely available resources, we can stop the scourge of false and fake news which create unnecessary panic and instability. The official government website https://www.gov.za/ is a one-stop portal for news and information. We all have a duty to act responsibly and in the interest of society
We work hard and understand the plight all those who have been affected by the devastation of the power outages. We appreciate the cooperation from all sectors and society at large as we respond this disaster. In this way, we can all ensure efforts that yield to the end of load shedding.