South Africa: Govt's Failure to Prevent Energy Crisis is Unconstitutional, Court Finds

Electricity Minister Kgosientso Ramokgop speaks at an event to mark the donation of 450 gasoline generators which will be distributed to public service facilities across the country, November 30, 2023.
4 December 2023

The Pretoria High Court has ruled that numerous government failures caused load shedding, infringing on South Africans’ basic rights in breach of the Constitution, News24 reports.

The December 1 ruling, written by Judge Norman Davis on behalf of a full bench of judges, ordered Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa to ensure by the end of January 2024 that "there shall be sufficient supply or generation of electricity to prevent any interruption of supply as a result of load shedding" to all public health facilities, all public schools, and the South African Police Service and police stations.

The ruling sets out several government failures which it found had resulted in the country's energy crisis and rotational national power cuts. Government failures include:

  • running power stations beyond their capabilities without maintaining them
  • not ensuring or approving enough revenue for services,
  • and failing to protect Eskom against criminal activity, corruption and state capture.

The court found that these failures breached South Africans’ rights to human dignity, to life, to freedom and security, to an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being, of access to healthcare services, to access of sufficient food and water, and to basic education.

Moneyweb reports that the ruling comes at a time when preparations for national and provincial elections next year are gaining momentum.

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