The recent respite in load shedding should be attributed to a reduction in demand and not because of progress made by government and Eskom. This is according to Action SA leader Herman Mashaba and Build One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane.
The two are part of a group of almost twenty parties that have taken Eskom, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe to court, in a bid to compel them to take responsibility for load shedding, and to provide alternative energy sources to public schools and health establishments, electronic communications networks, police stations and any entity responsible for the provision of water.
They say the recent low levels of load shedding are due to low demand and that winter will prove that not enough is being done to mitigate against the worst forms of load shedding.
“Anyone who’d really believe the South African government would really be living in a fiction world because I think the load shedding is something that we’ve been living with for the past 15 odd years. We made one promise after the other including building two power stations at a massive cost to our economy which even today are not fully functional. So, for anybody to really believe there’s an improvement, improvement by what having the minister of electricity, in fact, we’ve added to unnecessary costs, unnecessary bureaucracy,” says Mashaba.
“Today we wanted to bring the government to court and I’m actually quite demonstrating to the people of this country that when you bring government to court, they have to respond. We are discussing an interim relief at the moment which as Build One South Africa, we proposed to say all facilities must have alternative energy sources and that is now the central part of this case it will be a historical case where we show the people of South Africa that we fight on their behalf and we want to build South Africa where there’s a continuous supply of electricity,” says Maimane.
Government counsel argued that it was not right for the applicants to tell the government how to address the issue of load shedding.
They urged the court to make a ruling that will be implementable by the government, as certain steps had already been taken to address the electricity crisis. The counsel argued that should the relief sought by applicants be granted, the government might not be able to fulfil it.
National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) members picketed outside the court showing their discontent with how government is dealing with the energy crisis.