South Africa considers national state of disaster to fix Eskom load-shedding
South Africa is considering declaring a national disaster state as record power cuts cripple the economy.
The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned that the government is looking into whether the ongoing energy crisis fulfils the legal requirements for the measure, last put in place in March 2020 to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Work is already underway within government to establish whether the legal requirements of a national state of disaster are met and what specific actions we would be empowered to undertake,” he stated.
The ANC has come under increasing pressure to resolve South Africa’s electricity crisis after more than two decades of indecision, graft and political interference reduced state-owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. to a dysfunctional entity reliant on government handouts.
The country has so far suffered 94 consecutive days of rotational blackouts, known locally as load-shedding, often for 10 hours or more a day. These power cuts are straining the finances of the nation’s biggest cities as the hit on economic growth reduces tax income and maintenance budgets surge because of breakdowns of electricity-distribution equipment.
The central bank cut its forecast for economic growth this year to 0.3%, from 1.1% previously, because of the power outages that it estimates will shave an estimated 2 percentage points off output this year.