Cape Town — President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the government’s appeal against the High Court judgment on load shedding, saying it is a means of saving the grid from collapsing.
Ramaphosa was responding to questions for oral reply in Parliament on the energy crisis on Thursday.
This comes after the High Court found that load shedding constituted an infringement of constitutional rights and gave the Minister of Public Enterprises 60 days to ensure that public health facilities, schools and police stations are exempted from power outages, with the alternative being the provision of generators
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said his department will lodge an urgent appeal against a ruling exempting certain public facilities from load shedding.
However, Ramaphosa assured Parliament that the appeal was made to ensure the grid is saved. The grid “would collapse” if the judgment were to be implemented in full, he said.
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“Ideally, I would personally want all those hospitals and schools to be exempt but from an engineering point of view, I am told, it is practically impossible to do. Now we are faced with a court judgment and the impracticality of it,” he said.
The President told MPs that all hands are on deck in dealing with the energy challenges currently facing the country.
He said the government needed to deal with the practicality of that decision because the whole process of load shedding is to manage the grid.
“When a number of units are not available to generate energy, you could be tempted to drive those remaining units to a point of breakdown. You, therefore, need to manage it. The engineers tell me that you’d need to limit them from overheating and if you overheat them because you are driving them all at one go to generate the electricity at its maximum, the grid could collapse.
“You therefore need to feed the electricity in a number of areas on possibly a sequential, a basis and switch off other areas and switch other areas on, until you reach a stage where all other units are able to give the electricity needed.”
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Compiled by Junaid Benjamin