Build One South Africa (BOSA) welcomes the signing of a Joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the South African government and eight Chinese entities, aimed at addressing the threat of loadshedding to our economy and our citizens.
Electricity Minister, Dr. Kgosientsho Ramakgopa, announced at a BRICS media briefing on Wednesday 23 August that, in the short term, the deal aims to relieve the interrupted supply of electricity power to schools, hospitals and clinics, and police stations, . China has donated almost R700 million thus far, in the form of emergency power equipment and “development assistance”. He confirmed that most of the equipment will arrive in South Africa by Sunday.
In the wake of such dodgy historical deals as the Transnet China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) deal, which Minister Pravin Gordhan is still trying to tidy up, we welcome this announcement with cautious optimism and request a full timeline and implementation plan as to how the government will ensure that electricity is supplied to the over 1000 police stations, over 23 000 schools, and the almost 3500 public hospitals and clinics across South Africa.
As a new party, BOSA , with other civil societyorganisations, lodged a legal challenge in January this year, demanding immediate action by Eskom, the President and Ministers of Energy, and Public Enterprises based on the gross violation of Human Rights, not only in the health, educational and security sectors, but across all spheres of South African society.
The e North Gauteng High Court judgement in March found in our favour, ordering government to instate electricity supply to all public hospitals, schools and police stations, during loadshedding within 60 days.
To date, this has yet to be implemented, as Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, is in the process of appealing this court order.
The impacts of our court action were significant: The Eskom CEO “spilt the beans”in his affidavit on gross incompetence dating back to 2008, and resigned; the President created a new Ministerial post (Electricity); and Eskom re- structured again, with the Board Chair stepping in as CEO. And the dodgy Karpowership deal with Turkey was stalled once more.
This latest development - the signing of the Joint MoU places the Minister of Public Enterprises and the Minister of Electricity in conflict on this matter.
We therefore call on Government to release the details of the MoU - financial and technical - and Minister Gordhan to immediately drop the frivolous legal appeal, and get on with the work of supplying uninterrupted electricity to all public hospitals, schools and police stations.