By Jonty Osborn
I think it is safe to postulate that we are united as citizens over loadshedding fatigue.
The United Nations has recognised the right to access of electricity as a fundamental human right. Under circumstances that there is a prolonged, indefinite, deliberate shutdown of electric power to avoid a national grid failure, then, I would argue that fundamental human rights are being violated.
Everyone in South Africa is impacted by loadshedding, but marginalised and vulnerable communities are disproportionately affected. Those who reside in rural or unorganised communities frequently have restricted access to alternate energy sources like solar energy or generators. They are consequently compelled to go long stretches without electricity, which limits their access to basic services like healthcare, education, and other necessities. The peripheral impacts are vast.
The economy and enterprises are both significantly impacted by load shedding. Power outages are especially dangerous for small and medium-sized businesses, which are the backbone of the South African economy. Businesses cannot function effectively without a reliable power supply, which has an impact on their capacity to generate employment and support economic growth. Contractual obligations between employers and employees have been directly impacted, on the one hand the employers are suffering operational downtime and increased overheads, whilst on the other hand employees are suffering due to loss of work time (short time) and reduction of pay.
Almost three weeks since President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster to respond to the country’s energy crisis, regulations have been gazetted providing a broad framework for the State’s contingency plans on managing the crisis. The Regulations will allow expedited procurement processes and importing power from other countries. Measurers to mitigate the situation and impacts on employees is glaring omitted.
For more detail download the full version of the regulations here.