ActionSA Opposes Eskom and Government’s Appeal on Load Shedding Judgement

ActionSA’s lawyers rigorously opposed the South African Government and Eskom’s application for leave to appeal brought at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday to appeal the landmark judgement handed down by the Full Bench of the North Gauteng High Court on 1 December 2023.

This judgment declared load shedding unconstitutional and ordered the Minister of Electricity – together with organs of state – to ensure that electricity supply was ensured for public schools, hospitals, and the SAPS.

Eskom, the President and the Minister of Electricity specifically want to appeal sections of the ruling which ruled in favour of ActionSA’s request that hospitals, schools and police stations be exempted from experiencing rolling blackouts and allege that the judgment is too “vague”.

Instead of addressing the concerns raised by the court ruling – including that load shedding infringes on the basic constitutional rights of South Africans – and protecting the most vulnerable against the power crisis through exempting schools, police stations and hospitals, the President, the Minister and Eskom, have rather decided to spend taxpayer’s money to appeal the ruling.

It is well documented how communities across South Africa have been adversely affected by load shedding when police stations’ telephone lines don’t work, hospitals fail to take care of sick patients when the lights go off, or studies are interrupted at schools when they fail to have access to power. Government alleges in the appeal that there is “insufficient evidence” to demonstrate this obvious fact. It is our duty to protect these crucial services and it is deeply concerning that the President, the Minister, and Eskom simply do not care.

As unveiled at our manifesto launch over the past weekend, ActionSA has a plan to end load shedding within two years after taking the government by, among others, liberalising the electricity market and ending nepotism at Eskom.  In the 17 years since load shedding was first introduced in 2007, the ruling party has been unable to take action to address the energy crisis, but an ActionSA government would end it within two years of taking over the government following the May 29th elections.

We will continue to do everything in our power to protect the most vulnerable South Africans from the failures of the ruling party and will take whatever steps necessary to ensure that the government is held accountable. We thank our legal representatives and Adv Gillian Benson, who have tirelessly championed the matter on behalf of ActionSA in court, and we look forward to working with her to ensure that we keep the state accountable for its ongoing failures.

Load shedding remains one of our biggest inhibitors to job creation with thousands of small businesses forced to close as a result, while incidents of crime spike when load shedding occurs. Our children are sent home when schools cannot operate without power and are left without daycare and feeding programmes. Hospitals and clinics are unable to save lives when the lights go out. This is simply unacceptable.

As a party committed to the South African people, ActionSA will continue to place pressure on the national government to act in the best interests of our people and protect our people from the devastating consequences of load shedding, and the government’s continued failure to provide other essential services. But, the only way for South Africa to finally end load shedding is by taking action to remove the ruling party at the ballot box this year.

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