Electricity

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to cancel his planned visit to Egypt to fix the worsening electricity crisis.

At the height of what is not just an electricity crisis, but an economic risk and safety threat, Ramaphosa decided to jet out of the country on an international sojourn to Egypt, the DA said.

Ramaphosa planned to leave for Egypt on Tuesday to participate in the inaugural session of the “Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development” on December 11 in Aswan, southern Egypt.

His visit came as South Africa is being gripped by a worsening electricity crisis that reached an unprecedented level on Monday when stage six load shedding was implemented, indicating that the national grid is facing imminent collapse.

“This unprecedented move signalled that we are now firmly in a race against time to transform the energy landscape in South Africa and ensure future generations are energy secure,” DA leader John Steenhuisen said.

To date, load shedding has been implemented up to stage four.

“Ramaphosa is greatly mistaken if he thinks he can run a country and manage this crisis via a cell phone. This requires bold and decisive leadership, not platitudes,” Steenhuisen said.

The devastating effect of these blackouts on industry, retail, growth and jobs constitutes a clear and present danger to South Africa’s economic wellbeing, said Steenhuisen.

This is not a crisis of new making but has been fast approaching for a decade and more, yet South Africans face the ever-repeating cycle of drastic energy challenges with little political will to make the decisions required to ensure cheaper and more secure energy, Steenhuisen said.

“Therefore, we reiterate our call for the president to cancel his engagements in Egypt and return home to provide leadership on this self-created crisis,” the DA leader said.

Ramaphosa should address Parliament, taking the nation into his confidence as to what is really transpiring at Eskom, South Africa’s major electricity supplier, Steenhuisen said.

Steenhuisen said he has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, requesting that Parliament is reconvened immediately in order for the president to address the legislature, and to consider its options going forward.

“It is not right that while the lights are off in the country, the people’s representatives are not convening to light the way forward,” Steenhuisen said. Enditem

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