Gauteng premier’s head in the sand on national energy blackout

By Ashor Sarupen MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Finance:

In response to my oral question regarding Gauteng’s disaster management preparedness for a national energy blackout, Premier David Makhura today revealed that he would rather take cheap political shots than deal with the issue – for which Gauteng has no plan.

The issue of a major system constraint (terminology by Eskom for an energy blackout) was raised at the Disaster Management National Advisory Forum as far back as August 2013.

However, the premier stated that this meeting was pleased with Eskom’s progress since 2008 and completely ignored the fact that Eskom has been plunged back into crisis with load shedding a fact of life for South Africans.

The premier made reference to his previous response, which made reference to his unfunded plan to install solar panels on government building rooftops, a project yet to see planning – let alone implementation, which will not be able to meet the energy needs of Gauteng.

The previous response also made reference to clinics having generators, but more than 200 clinics don’t have generators, which would only be able to provide power for a few hours, not the two weeks needed to restore power in the case of a blackout.

Unlike the Western Cape Provincial Government, who has produced plans to ensure continuity of public services and mitigation of the effects of an energy blackout, Gauteng has no recovery plan.

Instead, Premier Makhura and his ANC colleagues chose to laugh off the seriousness of the issue.

A DA Government in Gauteng would have tasked disaster management to produce a plan with the aim of mitigating the human cost, ensuring continuity of health care services, the maintenance of law and order in the province, along with a communication plan so that every resident is kept up to date.

The citizens of Gauteng deserve a government that takes disaster management and disaster risk reduction seriously.