National State of Disaster was ‘inevitable’ – Dlamini Zuma

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, says the declaration of the National State of Disaster pertaining to the impact of Severe Electricity Supply Constraints was unavoidable.

The Minister was speaking at a media briefing by various Ministers and Eskom to update the nation on government’s plans for the energy crisis.

She described the escalating load shedding as a catalyst for the need to urgently address the generation shortage.

“The declaration of the National State of Disaster became inevitable because of the impact of load shedding on the public and many sectors were being affected. So as a way of trying to minimise the impact, we had to then declare.

“The regulations on the whole are there to minimise that impact. Of course they are there to also assist Eskom to do some of the things that the normal legislation may be slower [to do] and through the National State of Disaster, they will be able to do them faster,” she said.

The Minister spelled out the objectives of the National State of Disaster regulations.

“The regulations are meant to minimise the impact of load shedding on the economy, on livelihoods, on people’s health, on agriculture, security, education, water services to name but a few.

“It’s also meant to reduce and manage the impact of load shedding on the delivery and support of life saving infrastructure [and] also [to] provide measures to enable connectivity and provide measures for Eskom to improve their plant performance and the supply of electricity.

“The various Ministers who are affected by the regulations will obviously have to issue directions on how then they are going to apply those regulations in their own areas of competence.”

She added that the regulations provide for practical and urgent solutions to the impact that load shedding has on businesses and service delivery.

“The regulations are also to ensure that we can save lives. If there is load shedding for instance in an ante-natal unit and there are babies in incubators, you can imagine what can happen. That’s why the regulations also emphasise the issue of ensuring that the health infrastructure is exempted.

“We’ve seen farmers culling chicks because of the load shedding. Some were spilling thousands of litres of milk because they couldn’t keep it fresh. [Some] small businesses have closed…all those kinds of things…the regulations will try and assist,” she said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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