‘Outrageous’ to appeal verdict on loadshedding

Henry

ActionSA is furious that Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa, the Minister of Electricity, Eskom and other state institutions chose to appeal against the judgment of the Pretoria High Court which was delivered on 1 December.

This ruling stated that load shedding infringes on South Africans’ basic rights and the court ordered the Minister of Electricity – and several other departments – to ensure that uninterrupted power supply is ensured for, among other things, public schools, hospitals and the police.

Herman Mashaba, president of ActionSA, says it is “outrageous” that the relevant role players have decided to appeal against the verdict at a time when South Africa’s public finances are under severe pressure.

“Eskom, the president and the minister of electricity specifically want to file an appeal on parts of the judgment which decided in favor of ActionSA that hospitals, schools and police stations should be exempted from continuous power cuts, because according to them the judgment is ‘too vague’.

“Instead of addressing the concerns raised by the court ruling – including that load shedding infringes on the basic constitutional rights of South Africans – and protecting the most vulnerable people from the power crisis by making schools, police stations and hospitals free from load shedding to state, the president, the minister and Eskom instead decided to spend the taxpayer’s money to appeal against the verdict.”

Mashaba says well-documented evidence shows that communities across South Africa are adversely affected by load shedding.

“Police stations’ telephone lines do not work during load shedding, hospitals fail to care for sick patients when the lights go out and studies at schools are interrupted.”

The government claims in the appeal application that there is “insufficient evidence” for this.

“It is our duty to protect these services and it is worrying that the president, the minister and Eskom simply do not care.

“ActionSA will continue to do everything in its power to protect the most vulnerable South Africans from the failures of the ruling party and will take all necessary steps to ensure that the government is held accountable.

“In the 18 years since load shedding was first introduced in 2007, the ruling party has not been able to take steps to deal with the energy crisis. ActionSA will therefore enforce action in this regard,” says Mashaba.

He met ActionSA’s legal representatives and Adv. Thanking Gillian Benson “who tirelessly championed the case in court on behalf of ActionSA” for their work.

“We look forward to working with her to ensure we hold the state accountable for its ongoing failures.”

He says load shedding remains one of the biggest causes of unemployment with thousands of small businesses being forced to close as a result.

“Incidents of crime also rise during load shedding and our children are sent home when schools cannot function without power. Children are also left without day care and feeding programs due to power outages.

“Hospitals and clinics are unable to save lives when the power goes out. This is simply unacceptable,” says Mashaba.

Although the president initially “welcomed” the ruling, taxpayers are now being forced to fund the extensive legal team – consisting of numerous senior lawyers – on behalf of the government to appeal the same ruling that they opposed from the beginning.

“All the so-called ‘promises’ to end load shedding are nothing more than blatant lies. The festive season shows that where there is a political will, there is a way. Yet the government has now shown its refusal to fulfill its obligations from today again.”