Parliament should reject outright plans by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) to introduce ‘emergency legislation’ to supposedly override the bureaucracy that is standing in the way of addressing the country’s electricity crisis.
Not only is this proposed ‘emergency legislation’ not necessary, it exposes the ANC government’s smoke and mirrors approach to the crisis while the country sits in darkness.
In a briefing made before Ramaphosa in response to the ongoing loadshedding nightmare, NECOM Ministers revealed that they were ‘…working to develop emergency legislation that will be tabled in Parliament…to address the web of bureaucracy that makes it difficult to respond to the [energy] crisis in an agile manner.’ NECOM’s idea for new emergency legislation is duplicitous and a waste of time as the country’s legislative framework already provides pathways to deal with national emergencies of the magnitude that loadshedding currently poses.
The DA has over the past two years called for a ring-fenced State of Disaster to be declared on Eskom and the electricity sector to address the same issues that NECOM hopes to solve through its proposed ‘emergency legislation’. Parliament should therefore take the initiative and inform Ramaphosa’s NECOM that it would not waste time processing a duplicitous piece of legislation when the State of Disaster Act can be used to achieve the same objectives as their ill-thought emergency legislation.
The ANC government’s latest stunt, which is part of their not so hidden plan to hoodwink the public and pretend that they are doing something to address the electricity crisis, does nothing to hide the fact that they are the major cause of delays in responding to the national energy crisis. Electricity Regulation Act amendments have not yet been tabled in Parliament and it’s unlikely that they will be considered by the Portfolio Committee on Energy in the first half of 2023.
South Africa does not have the luxury of introducing new legislation now when what is needed is a rapid response approach to address the electricity crisis. NECOM should bin their ‘emergency legislation’ idea and advise Ramaphosa to declare a ring-fenced State of Disaster on Eskom and the electricity sector now.