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DA Seeks High Court Intervention Over Energy Crisis, Alleging Violation of Bill of Rights

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to declare the South African government's failure to avert an ongoing energy crisis as unlawful, asserting that the prolonged issue infringes upon the citizens' Bill of Rights.

Advocate Anton Katz SC, representing the DA, clarified that they are not arguing against the act of load shedding itself as it is a necessary measure to prevent the collapse of the country's electricity grid. Instead, the organization argues that the government's inaction and inability to minimize the damage caused by the energy crisis is what should be declared unconstitutional. The DA alleges that the government hasn't done enough to ease the pain inflicted by the recurring, severe and unpredictable load shedding since 2008.

The DA's argument includes the assertion that the ANC government was aware as early as the 1990s that an energy crisis was looming if Eskom failed to maintain existing power stations and build additional infrastructure.

Another aspect of the DA’s argument is the call for the court to appoint a special master to monitor the government and Eskom's plans to tackle the energy crisis, a move that comes on the back of the reported corruption at Eskom and the government's sluggish response to the crisis.

While the government concedes that dealing with the power cuts has been challenging, it maintains that it has a strategy to address load shedding within President Cyril Ramaphosa's Energy Action Plan framework. This plan acknowledges various hurdles such as power station breakdowns, corruption, non-payment by municipalities, and unexpected delays in construction.

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