Gungubele: State of disaster improves outlook for SA’s electricity crisis
Opposition parties criticise the move — as well as the costly appointment of an electricity minister — with Bosa leader Mmusi Maimane warning of another ‘looting festival’
Minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele says the declaration of a national state of disaster and creation of an electricity minister has led to an improvement in the outlook for the next 12 months.
During his state of the nation address (Sona) earlier this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster to respond to the electricity crisis with immediate effect, and announced the appointment of a minister of electricity.
In less than a month since the declaration, Gungubele said things are looking up.
“The declaration of the national state of disaster and installation of the minister of electricity by the president has led to an improvement in the outlook in the next 12 months,” said Gungubele.
The declaration of the national state of disaster ,as well as the near installation of the minister of electricity by the president has led to an improvement in the outlook in the next 12 months— Mondli Gungubele (@MondliGungubel_) February 20, 2023
The claim drew mixed reactions from many, including ActionSA’s Eastern Cape provincial, chair Athol Trollip, who said even Gungubele “can’t believe that nonsense”.
Build One SA (Bosa) leader Mmusi Maimane said Gungubele’s comments were “ANC fantasies, like the premier who promised panic buttons and drones and the other premier who said there were no potholes in his province”.
“The last declaration of a disaster was a looting festival. The existing cabinet is already failing to deliver. Another one won’t work,” he said.
According to the DA, the new minister could cost taxpayers as much as R38m.
DA MP Leon Schreiber, who shared his calculations with the Sunday Times, said the figures for the minister of electricity are based on averages and the assumption Ramaphosa would also appoint a deputy minister of electricity.
He took into account parliamentary replies that found almost R39m and R31m was spent, respectively, on mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and their deputies.
It includes the cost of VIP protection (R8m a year for the minister and their deputy), the salaries of the minister (R2.47m per year) and deputy minister (R2m) and four luxury vehicles (two for each minister and two for their deputies) at a combined cost of R3.2m.
DA leader John Steenhuisen last week announced the party was heading to court to challenge the declaration of a state of disaster.
He said the DA did not want a formal national state of disaster like the one declared, but a “ring-fenced” state of disaster around Eskom.
“A state of disaster under the guise of dealing with the load-shedding crisis will similarly empower the ANC to abuse procurement processes and issue nonsensical regulations that have nothing to do with the electricity crisis. The DA will not sit back and allow the ANC to abuse the electricity disaster it created to loot and further abuse the people of SA.”
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