South Africa Revokes ‘State of Disaster’ Declared Over Power Crisis

Thu Apr 06 2023
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JOHANNESBURG: While keeping in place a number of emergency measures, South Africa’s government on Wednesday revoked a national “state of disaster” declared in February. The move had been made to manage a major electricity crisis.

With the help of the measures, the government had become equipped with extra powers in order to respond to the crisis, which included allowing procurement procedures to follow with lesser delays because of bureaucratic measures and less oversight.

Now with the aid of already present legislation and contingency procedures, the government will carry out work to lessen the impact of power cuts, Thembi Nkadimeng, the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister, said in a statement.

Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, who is the newly appointed electricity minister, said a number of crisis measures would remain in place.

Parks Tau, the deputy minister of cooperative governance, said that since the setting up of the ministry of electricity, there had been deliberations about whether the “state of disaster” was still required.

Court challenge led to withdrawal of state of disaster

At the same time, the state of disaster was being challenged by a civil rights group, which has taken credit for the withdrawal.

The non-profit organization OUTA, which was behind the legal challenge, said the disaster rules would have aided corruption and that the electricity crisis could be managed through the use of the existing laws.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa invoked disaster measures on February 9 to fight a paralyzing electricity crisis that included rolling power cuts undertaken daily by Eskom.

This year Eskom has implemented scheduled power outages daily, with most businesses and households without power for up to ten hours a day.

Eskom officials, while speaking to Reuters, said it would make a comment on the state of disaster revocation until it held talks with the government.

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