Cape Town – The Presidency says statements made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in an affidavit submitted in a court case brought by the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and 18 others in respect of the current electricity crisis have been “grossly misrepresented”.
This comes after the UDM and the other 18 applicants requested that the high court declare the African National Congress (ANC)’s response to load shedding as unconstitutional.
In the affidavit, Ramaphosa reportedly said that it was not the government’s constitutional responsibility to supply electricity to South Africa.
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According to the president’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya, the statement in the affidavit was misrepresented.
“The statement in the affidavit that has been misrepresented relates to the constitutional powers and responsibilities of the President and other Government bodies. It seeks to clarify important legal issues about what is contained in and what is required by the Constitution.
“This statement does not in any way diminish the commitment of President Ramaphosa and this Government to end load shedding as a matter of urgency,” Magwenya said in a statement.
Magwenya highlighted the measures taken by Ramaphosa to resolve the electricity crisis since taking office in 2018.
These measures include reviving the renewable energy procurement programme, removing the licensing threshold for embedded electricity projects and streamlining of regulatory processes, implementing regulatory reforms to allow municipalities to procure power independently, more rigorous maintenance at Eskom’s power stations, recruitment of experienced technical personnel, and undertaking a debt-relief arrangement for Eskom of R254 billion.
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“These and other measures are clearly outlined in the same affidavit from which certain media outlets have selectively and inaccurately quoted,” Magwenya said.
“As recently as the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 9 February 2023, president Ramaphosa said the most immediate priority of government is to restore energy security.
“The intense focus that is being given to resolving this crisis – and the actions that have been taken so far – clearly show that neither the President nor Government has abdicated its responsibility for ending load shedding and setting the country on a path to energy security.”
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Compiled by Junaid Benjamin