The African National Congress (ANC) proposal for a National State of Disaster to deal with the energy crisis has elicited mixed reactions. Some are skeptical that the plan will help the country solve its energy problems.
The cabinet is expected to deliberate on the proposal and issue rules.
The Black Business Council is one of the organisations that proposed the declaration of a National State of Disaster to handle the country’s energy crisis. It hopes that this will help government to deviate from the long procurement processes as well as reduce the many levels of bureaucracy.
The ANC believes that declaring a National State of Disaster will provide the government with the necessary flexibility to deal with the crisis on a daily basis.
It also wants an energy crisis committee to advise President Cyril Ramaphosa on how to eliminate load shedding by the end of the year.
But not everyone agrees with the proposed approach.
Chief Economist, Econometrix Dr Azar Jammine says “I don’t believe that the notion of the state of emergency will deal with many issues regarding the energy crisis. It is much more fundamental and caused by a number of problems that are not going to be sorted out even with a state of emergency.”
Some analysts believe that declaring a national state of disaster is tantamount to passing a motion of no confidence in the Eskom board. And that this will simply bring about the privatisation of Eskom through the back door.
Economic and Energy Analyst, Tshepo Kgadima says, “Declaring a state of national disaster is not only an inappropriate response but it is a lot more brutal because it will bring everything to a halt in this country, but what does not appear to have been appreciated is that they have effectively passed a motion of no confidence against Eskom board.”
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Analysts agree that the plan will help government to put aside more resources to reduce the incidence of rolling blackouts. But there are concerns about the possibility of rampant looting and corruption that might occur, similar to the Covid-19 procurement scandal.
Deliberations on the National State of Disaster will take place at the Cabinet Lekgotla this week.