President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his speech during the 2023 SONA at Cape Town City Hall.
ESA ALEXANDER / POOL / AFP
- Cosatu says the state of disaster must not be another way of politicians and business people enriching themselves.
- The SACP has welcomed Ramaphosa’s announcement for a dedicated minister to deal with electricity.
- Ramaphosa announced the state of disaster to deal with the energy crisis with immediate.
Cosatu has cautioned that the national state of disaster announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday must not turn into another enrichment scheme for politicians and businesspeople.
Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster to respond to the electricity crisis and its effects.
Speaking with News24 on Thursday, after Ramaphosa delivered his speech, Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said the union welcomed the national state of the disaster, which it had long been calling for.
Losi said there is not a lot of time and that the energy crisis has to be resolved quickly.
“The president spoke about the investment summit that is coming; there is no investor that will want to invest in an economy that cannot guarantee its investment.
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“The declaration of a national state of disaster to resolve the energy crisis in this country must not suffer the same consequences of Covid-19, where we saw what was supposed to be for the people going to politicians and business people,” said Losi.
Speaking on the electricity crisis, Ramaphosa acknowledged that a lot could go wrong without a reliable supply of electricity.
“Businesses cannot grow, assembly lines cannot run, crops cannot be irrigated, and basic services are interrupted. Load shedding means that households and supermarkets are unable to keep food fresh, water supply is often disrupted, traffic lights do not work, streets are not lit at night,” said Ramaphosa.
“Without a reliable supply of electricity, our efforts to grow an inclusive economy that creates jobs and reduces poverty will not succeed.” He also announced a dedicated minister of electricity stationed in the Presidency.
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The general secretary of SACP, Solly Mapaila, said this was an important announcement by Ramaphosa.
Mapaila said Eskom does need a dedicated executive authority to focus on its challenges and turn them around. “Eskom is too big to fail as an entity for this country, and we have seen its incapacity and how it has affected all of us,” said Mapaila.
He, however, said the energy crisis should could have been averted long ago.