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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Eskom mum on new electricity minister to resolve load shedding

Ramaphosa said he will appoint a minister of electricity in the Presidency who will focus on working with Eskom to end load shedding.

Ailing state-owned entity Eskom said it cannot comment on policy decisions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation (Sona) address.

Ramaphosa on Thursday night declared South Africa’s energy crisis a national state of disaster with immediate effect.

State of disaster

“The state of disaster will enable us to provide practical measures that we need to take to support businesses in the food production, storage and retail supply chain, including for the rollout of generators, solar panels and uninterrupted power supply.” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said the scope of the lack of electricity in South Africa affected all aspects of life.

“Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures.”

ALSO READ: ‘Declaring Eskom crisis a national state of disaster will reduce load shedding’ – DA

Minister of electricity

The president said he will also appoint a minister of electricity in the Presidency and the minister will focus full-time on working with Eskom to end load shedding.

The minister, the president said, will work “day and night” to arrest the crisis.

“To deal more effectively and urgently with the challenges that confront us, I will appoint a minister of electricity in the presidency to assume full responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the electricity crisis response, including the work of the National Energy Crisis Committee.”

“The minister will focus full-time and work with the Eskom board and management on ending load shedding and ensuring that the energy action plan is implemented without delay,” Ramaphosa said.

In order to avoid confusion, Ramaphosa said, minister of public enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, will remain Eskom’s shareholder representative and will steer the power utility’s restructuring.

Eskom responds

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said the parastatal will study the details of the national state of disaster declared by Ramaphosa during Sona which has been published in the Government Gazette .

“Eskom will study the detail in the Government Gazette to understand the implications of the declaration before it can provide of any further comment.”

“With regards to the creation of a new government department for electricity, Eskom is unable to comment on any policy decisions,” Mantshantsha said.

ALSO READ: New electricity minister ‘another crook in the rotten pot’ – DA

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