Ramokgopa says court ruling on load shedding could be ‘expensive and unsustainable’.

Ramokgopa says court ruling on load shedding could be ‘expensive and unsustainable’. Image: Getty Images.

Ramokgopa warns court ruling on load shedding could be costly

Government is seeking legal advice after a high court ruling on exempting public institutions from load shedding.

Ramokgopa says court ruling on load shedding could be ‘expensive and unsustainable’.

Ramokgopa says court ruling on load shedding could be ‘expensive and unsustainable’. Image: Getty Images.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa stated that the government is evaluating its choices after an adverse ruling in the court case regarding load shedding.

Court ruling for load shedding could be costly

The previous Friday, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed the government’s request for permission to appeal an earlier judgment. 

This judgment, issued in December 2023 by the same court, had concluded that load shedding constituted a violation of constitutional rights.

Following the ruling, Eskom was instructed to exempt various public institutions, including public health facilities and schools, from power outages and, alternatively, to provide these institutions with generators to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

According to The Citizen, speaking to the press during a briefing on Monday, Ramokgopa suggested that the government, with the possibility of appealing to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), was currently seeking legal counsel within the Presidency regarding the verdict handed down by the high court.

“What is not in doubt is the fact that there is a need for us to ensure that the identified critical public spaces or institutions required an uninterrupted power supply for them to be able to provide the kind of services that are envisaged in the Constitution.

“We also don’t deny that load shedding significantly [hinders] on the ability of those institutions to deliver on their constitutional mandate. That’s not in question,” he said.

The minister suggested that providing alternative power sources to the institution might pose financial and practical challenges in the long run.

“What we are trying to say is, the manner in which we are expected to execute could be expensive and unsustainable. We are requesting from the court some degree of clarity on what the judgment meant. It is something we are leaving to the [lawyers], they will advise,” Ramokgopa continued.

He stressed that addressing load shedding promptly would make the legal matter irrelevant.

“There will be no need for us to have a conversation around alternative supply of electricity at these institutions,” he said.

Eskom Minister Ramokgopa acknowledges absence of load shedding isn’t sorcery

Ramokgopa noted that the current streak of 47 days without load shedding wasn’t a result of magic or any extraordinary means.

Speaking to reporters at the Kusile power station in Mpumalanga, the minister emphasised that Eskom’s enhanced EAF (Energy Availability Factor) has decreased the need for diesel burning.

Ramokgopa further highlighted that the current energy availability was achieved through intensive maintenance between December and January. 

During this time, Eskom took 18% of its operational capacity offline for extensive refurbishments.

He proudly highlighted the strategy of enduring short-term challenges for long-term benefits, asserting that this approach led to a concerted and purposeful endeavor to enhance Eskom’s operational performance.