Load shedding

Hospitals, clinics, schools and police stations to be exempted from load shedding. Image via Pexels

Schools, hospitals and police stations to be exempted from load shedding

The High Court in Pretoria orders government to ensure that hospitals, clinics, schools, and police stations are exempted from load shedding.

Load shedding

Hospitals, clinics, schools and police stations to be exempted from load shedding. Image via Pexels

The Pretoria high court has ordered government to ensure public hospitals, clinics, schools and police stations are exempted from load-shedding. 

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High court orders exemption of power cuts in essential public service departments

The court stated that the interim order must be implemented within 60 days.

It states that the minister of public enterprises “shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that there shall be sufficient supply or generation of electricity to prevent any interruption of supply as a result of load-shedding”. 

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In its judgment, the court stated that there had been “repeated breaches by the state of its constitutional and statutory duties and that these breaches are continuing to infringe on citizens’ rights to healthcare, security and education”. 

The judgment was the result of an application brought by the UDM, other opposition parties, NGOs and individuals.

Detailing how load-shedding affected healthcare, security and education, judge Norman Davis – on behalf of a full bench, said the right to basic education was an unqualified right under the constitution.

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Eskom’s failure to deal with load shedding

The consequences of load shedding were particularly mostly felt in rural and township schools, he said.

Setting out the history that brought South Africa to its current load shedding crisis, Davis said government had been warned, and had accepted, that it would run out of generating capacity in 2008.

In “the 15 years since then, the government has failed to remedy the situation.” Eskom had conceded load shedding caused human suffering and had a detrimental effect on human rights.

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Davis further said while government argued it had plans in place to deal with load-shedding, these were “uncertain” and would not solve “the urgent needs of the installations mentioned in the applicants’ application”.

The court would table its order “wide enough” to leave it in the hands of the minister as to how he would remedy the situation, also allowing him to work with any other government departments if necessary.

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