President Ramaphosa of South Africa
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 21:58
South Africa’s President Ramaphosa has declared a state of emergency over the country’s ongoing problems with electricity supply. In his annual address to parliament, he called the energy crisis “an existential threat to our economy and social system.”
South Africa has been struggling with power shortages for years, but it has never been as bad as it is now. South African media describe 2022 as a horror year, with two hundred days of power outages. This year the electricity has not been on for a whole day, correspondent Elles van Gelder wrote two weeks ago.
Diesel generators and solar panels
Ramaphosa says he will soon come up with “extraordinary measures” to deal with the power shortage. For example, he wants companies to use more diesel generators and solar panels and hospitals may no longer be disconnected from the power grid.
By declaring a state of emergency, the government can take measures more quickly and easily. Last year, a state of emergency was initiated to provide emergency aid to a flood-stricken province.
Most electricity is generated in aging coal-fired power plants, which often suffer from breakdowns. In the past, investments in the power grid regularly disappeared into the pockets of corrupt politicians, contractors and others. South Africans are used to having their power cut off for part of the day as a precaution to prevent the entire network from going down.
President Ramaphosa previously came up with plans to modernize the electricity supply, but they have not worked. He came to power in 2018, succeeding Jacob Zuma, with a promise to fight corruption. In addition to being president, Ramaphosa is also chairman of the ANC, the party that has been in power since the end of apartheid.
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