South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has created a ministry of electricity as he seeks a solution to continual power blackouts that have beleaguered the country.
On Thursday evening, President Ramaphosa also declared a national state of disaster over the energy crisis with immediate effect.
Ramaphosa admitted that the lack of sufficient electricity in South Africa has become a huge issue, with the country plunging into darkness daily.
According to the South African leader, the state of disaster will ensure that the government will come up with “practical measures” to assist businesses and have uninterrupted power supply.
While speaking during the State of the Nation Address in Cape Town, Ramaphosa said "extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures”.
State of disaster
“The minister of Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma has gazetted a declaration of state of disaster which will begin with immediate effect.
“It will provide practical measures that we need to take to support businesses with an uninterrupted power supply.”
The state of disaster will enable the government to “accelerate energy process and limit regulatory requirements”.
“The AG (auditor-general) will be brought in to ensure continuous monitoring of expenditure to guard against any abuse of state finances,” he added.
More efficient system
President Ramaphosa went on to state that he is confident that South Africa will emerge from the crisis with an electricity system that is more efficient.
Minister for electricity
He also announced that a minister for electricity will be appointed in the presidency to work with Eskom and ensure the crisis is dealt with.
The primary responsibility of the electricity minister is to oversee the implementation of the Energy Action Plan.
“The minister will focus full time on the work of the Eskom board and management on ending load-shedding and ensuring the energy plan is implemented without delay.
“The crisis has evolved to affect every part of our society. We must act to lessen the impact of the crisis on farmers, small businesses, water infrastructure, transport networks and other areas and facilities that support our people’s lives.”
“The energy crisis is an existential threat to our economy and social fabric. We must spare no effort, and we must allow no delay in implementing these measures.”