Under fire, Ramaphosa defends formation of electricity ministry

Saturday February 18 2023
 South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. He has defended his decision to appoint a minister of electricity amid criticism from the opposition.PHOTO | ESA ALEXANDER | POOL | AFP


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended his decision to appoint a minister for electricity, insisting that the new ministry will enable the South African Government to quickly deal with the electricity woes.

Ramaphosa is convinced that the electricity minister appointee would pay full attention to the energy crisis that has hit the SA economy hard.

On February 17, 2023, the South African leader revealed that the new minister would be solely responsible for ending the load-shed without stepping on the toes of the ministers in charge of energy and public enterprises.

“Some have suggested that the appointment of the minister will cause confusion and fragmentation, and that it might also result in turf wars among the ministers who deal with energy and Electricity Supply Commission (ESKOM),” Ramaphosa said in response to the questions around his State of the Nation Address.

Load-shedding crisis

He said the minister of electricity would be focused on addressing the load-shedding crisis, working together with ESKOM, lead the National Energy Crisis Committee and interact with all other departments in the spirit of cooperative governance.


“To end load shedding, however, we must shift gears. A crisis of this nature demands a co-ordinated response, and it demands urgent action. That is why I am creating this new ministry.” he added.

Ramaphosa then backed up the Declaration of a SA National State of Disaster due to the power crisis amid heavy criticism from opposition parties such as the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

He said the State of Disaster would be used to mitigate the socio-economic effects of load shedding, accelerate the measures necessary to close the shortfall in electricity, help avoid unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles that stood in the way of urgently bringing new generation capacity onto the SA grid, ensure continuity in the provision of critical supply chain services and address the impact of load shedding on businesses and households.