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South Africa declares ‘State of Disaster’ over electricity crisis

‘State of Disaster’ over electricity crisis declared in South Africa

In order to speed up the government’s reaction to an ongoing energy crisis, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa proclaimed a state of Disaster. He also promised to designate a minister in his office who will concentrate on increasing the supply of power.

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South Africa declares ‘State of Disaster’: Key Points

  • Since 2008, the nation has struggled with electricity shortages that have reached historic heights, resulting in rolling blackouts every day of this year.
  • Since he assumed office in February 2018, Ramaphosa has promised to overhaul the monopoly state power provider Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and bring new generation capacity online, but many projects have been hampered by bureaucracy and government apathy.
  • The disruptions, colloquially referred to as “loadshedding,” pose a threat to the African National Congress’s ability to maintain power in the upcoming elections by seriously undermining public support.
  • Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe claimed that the issues may be resolved in six to twelve months, but Eskom Chairman Mpho Makwana has warned that blackouts won’t end until at least 2025 because the utility must keep shutting down its outdated coal-fired units for maintenance.

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South Africa declares ‘State of Disaster’: Central Bank Economic Growth Projection

  • The central bank reduced its estimate of economic growth for 2023 from 1.1% to 0.3% last month and expects blackouts to subtract two percentage points from output growth.
  • Mantashe, who has opposed Ramaphosa’s efforts to lessen the country’s dependency on coal and use more green energy, would be sidelined if the president appoints a minister in the presidency to concentrate entirely on enhancing the electricity supply.
  • Eskom will still be under the Ministry of Public Enterprises’ control.

According to Ramaphosa, the government would be able to give the necessary practical measures to support businesses in the food production, storage, and retail supply chain, including for the deployment of generators and solar panels.

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