“Govt’s Failure To Prevent Energy Crisis is Unconstitutional”- South African Court

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

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, freedom and security, to an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being, access to healthcare services, to access sufficient food and water, and to basic education.

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