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Solidarity takes Govt to court over declaration of State of Disaster over electricity

Muhammad Bham | mbham@radioislam.co.za
15 February 2023 | 08:15 am CAT
4 min read

Photo Credit: Solidarity

Trade union Solidarity is taking the government to court over the declaration of a state of disaster over the electricity crisis. The union held a media briefing on Tuesday, announcing that it served court papers dealing with its litigation about the declaration made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his SONA last week.

The application is for a review by the Disaster Management Council and COGTA Minister to enact the State of Disaster due to the possibility of experiencing a complete blackout. Solidarity responded that looking at the context and the history of Eskom, the crisis was the making by incompetent management of Eskom. Therefore, the State of Disaster cannot be enacted.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, Solidarity’s Anton van der Bijl said this was an argument of irrationality, thus the decision for a review. He added that the government’s record of dealing with the State of Emergency, especially the crisis with COVID-19, has shown its inability to manage a crisis effectively.

Van der Bijl said the same government informed the country sixteen years ago that ESKOM was in crisis but has not reached any conclusion or solution to the problem. Giving this same government more powers to manage the crisis is ridiculous.

Furthermore, the State of Disaster can only be enacted when no other legislation can deal with a crisis that must be something exceptional or unforeseen.

The ESKOM crisis was not unforeseen, as this crisis started 16 years ago and is extraordinary as most of the state departments throughout South Africa and State-owned companies are publicly known to be in some crisis.

Solidarity has engaged with the government regarding the electricity crisis regarding suggestions and assistance. Last year a list of approximately 300 competent experts within the energy and electricity sector was provided to ESKOM, but not one of the experts has been appointed at the parastatal.

The trade union says it has also urged ESKOM to request an exemption from the procurement act, which could save about 27% in cost, but this was also not implemented.

Furthermore, the organisation said they have tabled excellent solutions to the problem and engaged with ESKOM weekly, but Eskom did not want the help.

Solidarity reiterated that it has no political ambitions but wants to see an ESKOM that works.

The matter will be heard in court on 14 March 2023.

Listen to the full interview on The Daily Round Up with Ml Junaid Kharsany.

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