APC embarks on countrywide protests as it seeks solutions to Eskom crisis

APC embarks on countrywide protests as it seeks solutions to Eskom crisis
APC embarks on countrywide protests as it seeks solutions to Eskom crisis

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Seeking a solution to the Eskom crisis, the African People’s Convention (APC) will be embarking on countrywide protests to keep the matter in the public discourse and force changes in the power utility’s leadership.

The APC kickstarted its nationwide campaign on Wednesday at Eskom’s Megawatt Park.

Among its demands are that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, the Eskom board, and the management step down due to the failures that have plunged the nation into Stage 6 blackouts.

Speaking to News24 on Wednesday morning, APC leader Themba Godi said: “It [the protests] is a campaign that we will have throughout all the other provinces.

“Tomorrow, we will be protesting in Mpumalanga; on Friday, we will be in Limpopo; and then, next week Wednesday, it will be Bloemfontein, Free State.

“The other provinces are also working out dates on which to hold similar protests.

“We are calling on the minister to step down, the board to be removed as well as management. We are not personalising the issue, nor do we think it’s merely a problem of administrative incompetence. We are aware that there are policy issues involved, but Pravin Gordhan must take political responsibility.

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“He is the kind of man who blames everybody for everything, but himself. He has also been very good at articulating problems at Eskom, without providing solutions.

“We are not going to stop; it will be a continuous campaign until load shedding is done away with.”

Godi called for renewable power to be phased in, as long as it does not disrupt Eskom’s power provision.

“Yes, we want renewables, but the pace and the extent must go hand-in-hand with the current supply needs of the country,” said the APC leader.

The spokesperson for the public enterprises department, Richard Mantu, said neither the department nor the minister would be commenting on the APC’s protest.

Eskom spokesperson Sikhonathi Mantshantsha said he was unaware of a protest taking place.

At the end of June, when the country was plunged into Stage 6 load shedding, the UDM wrote to Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to demand that she convene an urgent sitting of the National Assembly, despite Parliament being in recess.

The party proposed an urgent debate on Eskom’s failings.

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa wrote a letter, dated 29 June, to Mapisa-Nqakula, suggesting the house be called back from recess due to the seriousness of the crisis.

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Kwankwa wanted the Speaker to schedule a debate on the load shedding crisis and its effect on the economy and households. He invoked Rule 130(3)(b), which provides for the Speaker to convene a special sitting of the house for an urgent discussion at the request of an MP.

To substantiate his call for the urgent debate, the UDM MP cited a study: “It is calculated that, as of March 2022, load shedding already caused lost economic output of about R700 million per stage per day and, in a presentation to Parliament on 15 March 2022, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) noted that 2021 was the worst year on record for load shedding, with 1 169 hours of outages and 2 521 GWh of energy shed.”

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