ActionSA Heads to Court on Monday, 20 March 2023, to end Eskom Loadshedding Woes

ActionSA, UDM and 17 others will head to the Pretoria High court on Monday, 20 March 2023, to take to task the Department of Mineral and Energy Resources, the Department of Public Enterprises, and the Government of the Republic of South Africa, over Eskom’s failure to provide South Africa with a stable energy supply.

The court case by UDM, ActionSA and 17 others seeks to, inter alia, declare the ANC-led government’s response to loadshedding unconstitutional and in breach of numerous fundamental human rights, and further seeks that certain sectors, such as educational and healthcare facilities, be exempted from load-shedding.

It is worth noting that while ActionSA and members of various political parties have come together in a concerted effort to hold the government to account in the interest of all South Africans, the EFF’s planned shutdown to end loadshedding (which ironically coincides with the first date of the hearing), has forced the matter to commence virtually for fear of the safety of court officials and legal representatives. From Wednesday the 22nd of March 2023, the matter will continue at the Pretoria High Court, in person.

After almost 15 years of loadshedding it is clear that the ANC government lacks the will to resolve the crisis, leaving South Africans in the dark. It is our belief that without urgent intervention, the government will continue to let the ensuing crisis persist unabated.

In the first part of the court application, ActionSA restricts the relief it seeks (as distinct from the relief sought by the remaining applicants), to the right to life. This entails interim relief from loadshedding for the following sectors:

  • All healthcare facilities, inclusive of state run facilities;
  • All public schools as defined in the South African Schools Act 84 of 2006;
  • The South African Police Services, including police stations as envisaged in the South African Police Service Act 68 0f 1995;
  • All entities tasked with the responsibility of providing water in terms of the National Water Act.

Since the appointment of the Minister of Electricity, and the promulgation of the State of Disaster, we are yet to see any significant changes. The regulations issued under the State of Disaster, are non-committal and pay mere lip service to the relief sought by the applicants.

In addition, South Africans have been patronisingly and impertinently advised by the Eskom Chairperson, Mpho Makwana, to “celebrate” the ‘lower’ stages of loadshedding, instead of criticising the power utility for ‘higher’ stages.

Daily, we are advised of the “plans” to “fix” loadshedding, yet we see no implementation of any appropriate and long-term solution to eradicate the abject failure that loadshedding is. Empty promises do not serve to empower the people.

We are hopeful that the judiciary will come to the aid of South Africans, by finally forcing the ANC led government (and its parastatal, Eskom) to meet their Constitutional obligations, owed to the citizens of this country.