/ 8 May 2023

Government to lodge urgent appeal against load-shedding ruling

Pravin Gordhan 0825 Dv
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced on Monday that his department would lodge an urgent appeal to set aside last week’s Pretoria high court judgment that exempts public health facilities, schools and police stations from rolling blackouts. 

According to the department, it has “serious concerns” about the repercussions the court ruling might have on efforts to stabilise the national grid. 

“The department has studied the ruling and has determined through legal advice that the prudent step to take is to lodge an appeal to set aside the ruling and allow for the ongoing efforts to end load-shedding to proceed without putting undue risk on the country’s grid infrastructure,” Gordhan said in a statement. 

According to the minister, the judgment would lead to “unintended consequences and undermine the very efforts to balance the protection of the rights that were ventilated in this case, with the need to stabilise and protect our grid infrastructure”. 

On Friday, the Pretoria high court ruled in favour of 19 interest groups who sought urgent relief for certain sectors to be spared from load-shedding.

The court found that load-shedding constituted an infringement of constitutional rights and gave the minister of public enterprises 60 days to ensure sufficient electricity supply to spare public health facilities, schools and police stations from power interruptions.

The judgment said the situation at hospitals was plainly untenable, with those who had generators having to take money for fuel out of their limited budgets for medicines and salaries and the same applied to public schools and police stations.

“The police stations and schools are even worse off, they simply close or shut down during load-shedding.”

Judgment on Part B of the application is still pending. In the second part, the applicants asked the court to declare load-shedding unconstitutional and “ensure a permanent cessation of an unlawful state of affairs”.

South Africa is in Stage 6 load-shedding after three generation units each at Majuba, Medupi and Tutuka broke down over the weekend.