South Africa is currently experiencing two disasters, one involving floods and the other electricity.
Many argue that it is justifiable to declare a National State of Disaster when it comes to floods – but questioned the recent announcement by the President during the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
During his address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures — that’s when he declared the National State of Disaster due to the energy crisis that has engulfed the country.
Ramaphosa has assured the opposition in parliament during his reply to the debate that the electricity state of disaster will be used to rapidly address the power crisis. He says the state of disaster will be used to get rid of bureaucratic obstacles and address supply chain issues – among other things.
President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster with immediate effect:
Some fear that just like during the COVID-19 era this will open doors for looters. However, Jackson Sebola-Samanyanga from UJ’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning says the declared National State of Disasters will assist the country.
He argues that government needs to move from being reactionary, as natural disasters need to be anticipated.
“We are not well prepared as you can see what we do is we react to natural disasters when they happen and what’s needed is to be pro-actively engaged with the community. We need to anticipate and build cities and roads and bridges that are resilient that would able to withstand these disasters we are facing.”
In the last five years, the country has thus far been subjected to at least four National State of Disasters. The first one during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the other three being due to natural disasters, and the energy crisis.
Political and governance expert, Prof Sandile Swana believes that when it comes to electricity — there is no necessity — but when it comes to floods the introduction is justifiable.
But the one many are worried about is the one due to the electricity crisis.
Some expert believes the declaration of the electricity crisis as the National State of Disaster can assist in dealing with the crisis.
Now as the country comes to terms with the declaration of a National State of Disaster — only time will tell whether this time around opportunists will keep their hands out of the public fund’s coffers.