Cape Town offering unprecedented relief for households as Eskom tariff hike commences

As Eskom’s tariff hike enters the municipal billing cycle from July, the City of Cape Town is offering unprecedented social relief measures for households in 2023/24. Lifeline Tariff customers will pay significantly less per unit in the 350 – 600 usage band this winter. The City is also protecting all households from Eskom’s 18,5% tariff hike as much as possible, reducing this to 17,6% while still funding a reliable electricity service and plans to end load-shedding. Read more below:

With the City’s special protection, Lifeline Tariff Customers using 350 – 600 units will now pay only R1,84 in this usage band, compared to R3,15 per unit in 2022/23. This will help to protect households using more electricity this winter, while an average usage of 450 units over a 12-month period still applies to remain in this tariff category.

The City has also upped the property value criteria to qualify for the Lifeline tariff, from R400 000 to R500 000. Residents with a property value higher than R500 000 may also still qualify for the Lifeline tariff if their household monthly income is below R7 500.

The City is further expanding the qualifying threshold for pensioners and social grant recipients to benefit from the lifeline tariff and rates rebates, with the qualifying limit now R22 000 monthly income, up from R17 500.

Cape Town aims to steadily lessen Eskom reliance, access more affordable power sources, and end load-shedding over time. The City’s 2023/24 Budget includes a R2,3bn end load-shedding plan to protect against the first four stages of Eskom load-shedding by 2026. This will be achieved via a combination of buying power on the open market and demand management.

In the interim, the City will continue to oppose Eskom’s well-above inflation annual tariff hikes, which we objected to as being unaffordable and unjust during the recent public participation on Eskom tariffs.

Currently, around 70% of the City’s income from the electricity tariff goes towards buying bulk electricity purchases from Eskom, with the remaining 30% going towards delivering a reliable electricity service and plans to end load-shedding.


Total social package now at R4,3bn

The City has increased the total social support package by more than half a billion rand for 2023/24, to R4,3 billion in total for rates and services relief.

The metro continues to offer South Africa’s highest allocation of free water at 15kl, the highest allocation of free sanitation at 10,5kl, and up to 60 free electricity units, the most of all metros linking social relief to property value.

Everyone under the R7 500 monthly household income threshold will get a 100% rebate for property rates and refuse removal, benefitting 192 500 households across Cape Town. Those in residential living units with a property value of R450 000 will also get this benefit.

All residential properties valued at R5 million and under are also receiving a R450 000 reduction in the property valuation for rates calculation purposes. This translates into R450 000 of a residential property valuation not being rated. Over 700 000 properties are expected to benefit, representing 80% of all properties in the city.

Customers who have moved from the Lifeline tariff to the Domestic tariff because their properties are now valued at more than R500 000 after the General Valuation (2022) may, however, qualify for rates rebates, indigent or pensioner support. If they do, they could receive their supply at the Lifeline tariff on application.

Tips to manage household bills

  • Reduce your geyser’s temperature to 60 degrees Celsius to reduce costs
  • Buying electricity in bulk is not cheaper. Rather buy small amounts as required to stay on the cheaper tariff band.
  • Use less, pay less

Residents may qualify for indigent support if they:

  • are a homeowner
  • earn R7 500 or less per month
  • own only one property
  • are the full-time occupant of the home
  • use the home mainly for residential purposes
  • are a child who lives in the home of a parent who has passed away
  • received the house in a divorce settlement
  • depend on a pension or a social grant for their livelihood

Applicants will need:

  • proof of identification (ID book/card or passport)
  • a bank statement for the last three months or a sworn affidavit stating that they do not have a bank account
  • a bond statement for the last three months or a sworn affidavit stating that they do not have a bond account
  • a copy of the estate documents if the applicant has inherited his or her house

If residents are employed, they must also include:

  • latest salary/wage pay slip or a letter from an employer stating their income
  • a sworn affidavit if they are self-employed stating how much is earned per month
  • proof if a disability grant, maintenance grant or pension is received

If residents are unemployed, they must include the following in the application:

  • a sworn affidavit stating that they are unemployed
  • a sworn affidavit stating that they have no other source of income


Useful contacts and information:


For rates or services relief

Pensioner rates relief

For payment arrangements

For a list of the City’s Cash Offices and Walk-in Centres, please visit:


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DA launches countrywide effort to free South Africa from Eskom

Co-sign DA Leader, John Steenhuisen’s, letter calling for freedom from Eskom:

As loadshedding and rolling blackouts continue today and into this week, once more our country and economy are placed in peril by the failing ANC government and broken Eskom.

The smokescreen created by government that Eskom can be saved must immediately be lifted, and the fact must be faced: Eskom is in a death spiral dragging South Africa down with it.

Currently, as the ANC government continues to delay and frustrate all means to generate electricity outside of Eskom, the country’s energy future looks incredibly bleak.

For this reason, as loadshedding compromises the country again this week, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has begun a nationwide effort to free South Africans from Eskom. This is a broad and intensive program of resident and citizen engagement – both about the daily struggles that electricity shortages are causing, and to dissect our plan to free South Africans from Eskom.

Frankly, after years of broken promises, lies and political failures around Eskom, nothing has been done to make things easier for residents and businesses who face daily power outages. The DA plan will bring alleviation to homes and businesses, if it is implemented.

DA councillors, provincial legislature members and members of parliament will lead intensive engagement efforts in every community around South Africa. I have asked each one of our public representatives to leave no stone unturned. We want to hear from residents, and we want residents to stand with us in support of our plan, as we push national government for the following reforms:

  • Most importantly, it is high time that government allows citizens to generate their own power and sell surplus energy to the grid;
  • We have written into our 2020/21 national budget proposal real tangible incentives for homeowners to install solar systems by offering up to R75 000.00 in a tax rebate for every home, to reduce reliance on Eskom;
  • We also call for zero-rating of VAT on LED lightbulbs and energy-efficient appliances, making these cheaper than electricity-guzzling ones, and most importantly
  • Immediately, Minister Gwede Mantashe must allow municipalities to obtain extra electricity from Independent Power Producers, reducing reliance on Eskom. (The City of Cape Town has a court case pending against the Minister of Energy which seeks to force him to approve this, yet he continues to oppose this court case, inexplicably).

These are clear, simple ways in which residents can be freed from Eskom.

Ultimately, after taking the DA’s plans to residents, and with the support of South Africans who want electricity security, the DA will take this fight right to President Ramaphosa who continues to dither in the face of this crisis.

The president has himself made numerous promises about Eskom, and alternative electricity generation, but so far they have been hollow and empty promises, unfulfilled and frustrated by ANC, union and factional battles. It appears that the ANC is unable to implement its own plan.

We need immediate action.

Our country and its economy simply cannot afford another month, another week, even another day of these horrendous rolling blackouts.

Thus, in the void left by the ANC government, the DA will engage hundreds of thousands of South Africans who support our clear alternative. That will be a wave of support which the ANC government can no longer ignore.

There will be frequent updates as this effort rolls out.

The incapable talking-head of an incapable stat

Honourable Speaker,
Over the past few weeks, I have been encouraged to see the President promoting the DA’s
long-held view on building a capable state. 
As someone who deliberately chose to build his multimillion Rand mansion in the DA-run City of Cape Town, he was obviously mightily impressed by the quality of service delivery in
this city.
So, inspired by our success, the President started talking about the DA’s capable state. 
However, he quickly realised that he could never actually build a capable state like we have, because that would mean choosing the country over the corruption of his own party.
Per slot van rekening beteken die bou van ‘n bekwame staat juis dat korrupsie en kader ontplooiing uitgeroei moet word, en dat individuele landsburgers bemagtig moet word in plaas van ‘n allesoorheersende staat. 
Om te verwag dat die ANC dít sal doen, is soos om ‘n jakkals aan te stel om ‘n ogie te hou oor die hoenderhok.
Dit is die rede waarom ons sit met ‘n President wat blykbaar glo dat deur bloot die woorde “bekwame staat” te sê, sy woorde outomaties waar word.
This year’s State of the Nation Address was a grotesque example of just how out-of-touch this President truly is. 
On the day of SONA, Eskom desperately scrambled to keep the lights on at all costs to enable the annual presidential delusion about a capable state, smart cities and bullet trains.  
But as soon as the president was comfortably back at his generator-powered mansion, the rest of the country was immediately plunged right back into darkness. 
If the honourable President stepped outside his bubble for a moment, he would see an urgent message from the real-world: the incapable ANC state is collapsing all around us.
So, beyond hollow rhetoric, what is the President actually doing about our collapsing state?

Honourable Speaker, let’s see what kind of example he is setting.
• Mr President, why haven’t you fired your health minister, who appointed his niece
as chief of staff despite a cloud of corruption hanging over her? 
En tog verwag U dat Suid-Afrikaners hierdie minister moet vertrou met hul lewens,
sowel as met honderde miljarde Rande, as deel van U waansinnige plan om
gesondheidsorg te nasionaliseer.
• Mr President, what have you done about your water and sanitation minister, who
appointed the disgraced Menzi Simelane and Mo Schaik as special advisers? 
Their only experience with sanitation came when they flushed hundreds of millions of taxpayer Rands down the toilet.
• Mr President, when are you firing your communications minister for abusing
taxpayer funds to pay for her wedding anniversary celebrations in New York and
• Mr President, what is a Hazenile addict still doing in the ministry of energy when he refuses to free citizens from the tyranny Eskom?
When the citizens of this country look around them, they see every single day that the honourable President is nothing more than the incapable talking-head of an incapable state.
As die President werklik ‘n duit omgegee het oor die bou van ‘n bekwame staat soos in sy nuwe DA-beheerde tuisdorp, sou hy onmiddellik tot aksie oorgaan om ons staatsdiens te red van finale ineenstorting. 
Instead of insulting South Africans by calling them “negative,” he would do his job and give them reasons to be positive.
To prevent fiscal implosion, his government would grow a backbone and cut the wage bill.
To save basic services like education, health and social protection, the state would hang “for sale” signs on state-owned looting enterprises.
And if there was any real interest in building a truly capable state, the government would support the DA’s Professional Public Service Bill to root out cadre deployment and ensure that public servants are appointed on the basis of skill and merit. 
But the President and his incapable state does none of this, because it would require them to choose country over party. 
There’s at least one bit of good news though, honourable President. The DA remains
absolutely committed to bring the same capable state that convinced you to move to Cape Town, to the whole of South Africa. 
Until that day comes and with apologies to Shakespeare: 
“The capable state struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by a hollow man, full of sound and fury, 
Signifying nothing.”

Eskom is dead. Give power to the people!

Speaker, Mr. President, fellow South Africans,

This debate takes place in the midst of a national electricity crisis, to which few in government will admit.

We sit in darkness for hours every day, despite ongoing promises from the President – the man who in 2014 was tasked to turnaround ESKOM and end loadshedding. It is tragic today to go back and read that News24 headline from December 2014: “Ramaphosa to oversee ESKOM, SAA turnaround.” Mr. President, the only turn these entities took under your watch, was from the emergency room to the funeral parlour.

Our mining sector – once the backbone of our economy – is floundering, because, among other things, it cannot get enough electricity. 5 years after that headline placing ESKOM and SAA under Mr. Ramaphosa, another headline from December 2019 – laid bare the truth: “SA mines shut operations because of ESKOM.”

Yet the ANC clings to Eskom and pretends it can be saved. South Africans know otherwise. ESKOM is dead. It is beyond redemption. And it is time that this government acknowledges this.

It is in this condition for one reason, and one reason only: the mismanagement, lack of planning and sheer corruption of the ANC and its cadres and cronies. Just as every viable state-owned entity has been hollowed out, plundered, and broken, so our nation’s entire electricity supply has been destroyed. 

While ANC government leaders live with generators, permanent security, and state housing, the people of this country go through hardship and pain as the lights go off every day. They walk on dark streets at the mercy of violent crime; rape, robbery, and murder. They cannot study. They cannot cook. Their businesses cannot operate. Their lives and livelihoods are literally being stolen.  

We had hoped that in this critical hour, President Ramaphosa would seize the opportunity last week to take ownership of the problem, deal decisively with ESKOM, and provide South Africa a path to a powered future. But the incapable state and its incapable President never take bold action. 

SONA was the last chance for the ANC to do the right thing and announce the immediate splitting and privatizing of ESKOM. What we got instead, were small changes, small concessions, small retreats – too little, too late – if they come to be at all. 

While bold action was lacking, the Democratic Alliance does welcome some of the commitments the president made about energy transformation. The question he must answer is: When? When will all this take place? Because all the president and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy will say is “soon”. 

The Democratic Alliance has long called on Minister Mantashe to sign the section 34 determinations which are gathering dust on his desk. The City of Cape Town is going ahead with a court action to force the issue, because he still hasn’t actually done anything, despite a lot of talks. 

We have repeatedly asked him to immediately open bid window 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme. But whenever anyone speaks about renewable energy, in any context, Minister Mantashe accuses them of being a lobbyist. 

And just minutes after the President announced last Thursday that Bid Window 5 would open “soon”, Minister Mantashe backtracked on this commitment, saying “I’m not a fundamentalist about bid window 5” and that “we must be systematic and ensure that it is sustainable”. Given that the first four bid windows are regarded as best practices worldwide, it is surprising that the minister thinks the next needs more tweaking.

Encourage and incentivize residential self-generation. More and more South Africans are prepared to become self-reliant with regard to electricity generation. Instead of making things more difficult, let’s ease up on the regulatory environment and allow them to do so.

The DA stands firmly for every South African being allowed this freedom from ESKOM, and we won’t relent. In this regard, Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act can be amended by the stroke of a pen. Go back to what parliament approved in the first place when the Act was originally adopted. 

When South Africa went to stage 6 load-shedding in December, the minister should have immediately sought to purchase excess power from the existing IPPs, who are constrained to only sell limited quantities to the grid, as determined by their licences and power purchase agreements. Currently, any excess power generated by IPPs goes to waste. The South African Wind Energy Association estimates that about 500MW is immediately available, at a cost of around 40 cents per KWh, and more could be forthcoming as new projects come online.

The Minerals Council of South Africa estimates that up to 1.7 GW of electricity could be produced for own use by mines in the next 4 years, something they have been begging for years. That simple move would encourage investment in our mining sector.

We can’t be talking about nuclear plants or Grand Inga when South Africa’s financial situation is so dire. We also can’t be looking five and ten years down the line. We need to look at how we can make ourselves less reliant on an archaic monopoly like ESKOM, and more energy secure right now!

Mr. President, open up the electricity market now! The private sector can deliver better, cheaper and more efficiently than ESKOM. The DA’s Independent Electricity Management Operator Bill is currently before parliament. This would create a separate, independent market operator to purchase electricity from all producers and make our electricity generation sector more competitive. We call on all parties in this House to support this.

We know that Minister Mantashe has been called a tiger in the bedroom, but he appears more like a grumpy old tomcat curled up next to his coal fireplace when it comes to his constitutional obligations. He is slow to act, reluctant to change the status quo, and absolutely unwilling to upset the unions who are his real masters. Just like the unions are ruling the roost at SAA, it seems the same is true at Eskom. But that’s what the ANC gets for being in bed with COSATU.

Most importantly, Mr. President, we cannot and must not throw pensioners’ life savings into ESKOM. This is just theft from the poor and the elderly to fund ESKOM corruption.

And, Mr. President, if Minister Mantashe is not willing to act NOW on your commitments regarding electricity generation, replace him with someone who will.

Our darkest days will not just be load-shedding if you do not act.

Electricity announcements: Please act now President Ramaphosa

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that municipalities will now be allowed to purchase power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) after the Democratic Alliance (DA) had been calling for this for many years.

However, we believe that President Ramaphosa’s announcements will mean nothing unless set timelines are urgently announced that will tell us when to expect delivery on promises. It will not be the first time that we have heard empty promises from the president.

Now is the time for action.

We, therefore, call on President Ramaphosa to immediately drop his government’s opposition to the City of Cape Town (CoCT) court case seeking Section 34 permission and grant Section 34 approval within the next 7 days.

The CoCT will then prove to be the case study of an excellently governed municipality procuring directly and keeping the lights on and the economy going.

If the president is serious, the national government will stop fighting the City in Court and start issuing these notices immediately.

We also call on the President to provide clarity on the following:

  • How he is going to deal with an obstructionist stance from the alliance partners, who have been adept at opposing all restructuring plans?
  • Will he clearly issue a rejection of Cosatu’s financing plan?
  • When will Eskom begin unbundling?

Eskom is in a death spiral and every day that goes by without the implementation of tangible solutions is another day of rolling blackouts and immense damage to our economy.

We cannot wait any longer. Please act now, Mr. President.

Government’s proposed new electricity generation SOE a mad idea

The Democratic Alliance (DA) unequivocally rejects statements attributed to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, that the ANC Government is looking to set up an alternative electricity generation entity. This is utter madness. Instead of making the South African electricity supply sector more competitive, Government is seeking to extend its monopoly over electricity generation.

South Africa doesn’t need another state-controlled entity for electricity generation when there is a myriad of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) who are ready and willing to generate electricity in order to diversify South Africa’s energy mix, making it more reliable and cheaper.

Furthermore, the Minister’s comments that Government is planning on revising Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act to enable mines to generate electricity for own use is an admission by the ANC that Eskom’s monopolistic stranglehold on the energy sector is simply not feasible.

The DA has long held the view that Schedule 2 be amended to allow for self-generation and municipal generation. While Minister Mantashe’s comments indicate a step in the right direction it will by no means address the utility’s debt spiral, massive skills deficit, and deteriorated infrastructure.

Minister Manatshe’s comments and commitments are all good and well but mean nothing if it fails to amount to any tangible change.

What South Africa needs is a competitive electricity generation sector to ensure energy security. As a starting point, Parliament should pass the DA’s Independent Electricity Management Operator private members Bill, which will allow all power producers to compete on a level playing field. The Minister should also take the necessary steps to open the next bid window for Independent Power Producers as a matter of urgency.

The Minister must not make empty commitments just to reassure the people in this time of rolling blackouts that are crippling our economy. He must put his money where his mouth is and take action.

The resignation of Jabu Mabuza as Eskom chairman comes at a critical moment

Mr Mabuza’s resignation presents an opportunity to appoint an Independent Chairman of the Board of Directors and a reconstituted board to interface with the various governmental, political matters and labour unions, allowing the executive team – which the newly-appointed CEO is no doubt assembling – to focus on the critical financial, operational restructuring and immediate challenges that beset the utility.

Bold steps are required to fill the new key roles at board level with the requisite competence at this critical hour. In parallel, the executive team needs to be bolstered from competent existing, but often hitherto side-lined employees. The time for cadre deployment is over.

Competent people abound locally and internationally. The DA is willing and able to assist in the generation of a list of individuals who could potentially fulfil these key roles.

Ideally, the new incoming chairperson should have experience in the design and implementation of multiple new business initiatives in the global infrastructure sector including electricity generation.

Experience in the area of negotiation and relationship management with industry regulators including Public Utilities Commissions (PUC’s), Independent Transmission Grid Operators (ISO’s) and the National Energy Regulators would be crucially important, as well as an unimpeachable record in sound and ethical governance.

Now is the time to act. These appointments should have nothing to do with colour, party allegiance or political pliability.

Any failure to act in accordance with these critical requirements will be yet another dereliction of duty which South Africa can ill afford. In the words of Seneca the Younger, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. We urge the President and Minister Gordhan to act accordingly.

Eskom as an entity is archaic in its design and cannot continue in its current format. An urgent change in its structure is required. We cannot set up the board to fail.

We have repeatedly asked Minister Gordhan and the President for a meeting to sit around a table, as South Africans, setting politics aside, to discuss solutions to the Eskom crisis.

The DA’s Chief Whip in Parliament Natasha Mazzone, has tabled a Private Member’s Bill to the Energy and Mineral Resources Portfolio Committee. Minister Mantashe did not even bother going to the committee briefing on the Bill and ANC and EFF committee members continue to highlight their lack of understanding concerning changes that are sorely needed at Eskom.

We repeat our offer to meet on a party-agnostic basis to deal with the crisis. This now calls for strong leadership.

Eskom: DA demands full transparency as madness continues

South Africans are barely into the new year, and despite President Ramaphosa’s assurance in December last year that there would be no loadshedding until mid-January, Eskom announced last night that it would implement loadshedding from 10pm to 8am on Sunday morning. A further announcement has extended this to Monday.

We were also told that leave had been cancelled for Eskom managers and executives. Despite these assurances South Africans are facing a rude introduction to the new year.

Moreover, Eskom now wants to reward its workforce with R1.8 billion in performance bonuses between 2019 and 2022, regardless of a debt that has ballooned to R450 billion.

Analysts believe that Eskom is 66% overstaffed and despite the financial burden of this it has been reported that Eskom’s estimated 6 500 middle managers are reportedly unhappy with the 7.5% increase given to lower-tier workers, and want to be put into the same bargaining unit as those workers.

When is this madness going to end? When are we going to stop rewarding dismal performance?

To add insult to injury Eskom is also seeking to squeeze an additional R69 billion out of consumers, via a price hike – an application which NERSA is opposing.

When is South Africa going to be told the unvarnished truth about the mismanagement and ongoing theft that bedevils this crucial supplier of public goods to the economy and country?

We demand full transparency, full forensic audits, the institution of rotating tier 1 audit firms and a halt to this profligacy at the expense of consumers.

Mantashe’s energy measure’s too little too late

Support our plan to save Eskom before it takes the entire country down with it:

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, issued a statement earlier today about government’s planned interventions to resolve the electricity crisis. While the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the fact that he has finally stood up, sadly, it is too little too late.

The section 34 determinations are a very welcome announcement, as these have been sitting on his desk for months. This will allow capable municipalities and large power consumers to procure power directly from independent power producers (IPPs).

His comments about the Request for Information (RFI) for new IPP generation, however, leaves a lot to be desired. The IPP Office is set up to do this work and is globally recognised as being one of the best at rolling out procurement of such projects. New IPP projects (particularly in the renewable sector) are ready to go, and merely await the opening of the next bid window to roll out electricity solutions that are more cost effective and environmentally sustainable in a much shorter timeframe than it would take to procure new coal, gas or nuclear plants. Equally, the Minister must ease regulation on the licensing of small scale plants (under 10MW) and residential generation.

The DA remains committed to working with  Government in finding solutions to the rolling blackouts that are having a devastating effect on our economy. We are willing to engage further with the Minister in this regard, if he is prepared to listen.

President Ramaphosa, come back to SA and fix the electricity crisis

Support our plan to save Eskom before it takes the entire country down with it:

The following remarks were made today by DA Leader, John Steenhuisen MP, outside Eskom’s Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Steenhuisen was joined by DA Gauteng Caucus Leader, Solly Msimanga MPL, DA Gauteng Chairperson, Mike Moriarty MPL, and Public Enterprises Spokesperson, Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

Fellow South Africans,

Yesterday evening Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC government once again made history, albeit for the wrong reasons, as Eskom announced it would implement Stage 6 rolling blackouts for the first time. This unprecedented move signalled that we are now firmly in a race against time to transform the energy landscape in South Africa and ensure future generations are energy secure.

While President Ramaphosa is currently in Egypt surrounded by ancient ruins from a bygone era, today we too stand in front of a ruin from a bygone era – South Africa’s power producer that faces imminent collapse. The viability of Eskom in its current form is non-existent. This is not a crisis of new making; it has been fast approaching for a decade and more. Yet we face the ever-repeating cycle of drastic energy challenges with little political will to make the decisions required to ensure cheaper and more secure energy is available to the people of South Africa.

It is telling that at the height of what is not just an electricity crisis, but an economic risk and safety threat, the President decided to jet out of the country on an international sojourn to Egypt. Ramaphosa is greatly mistaken if he thinks he can run a country and manage this crisis via a cell phone. This requires bold and decisive leadership, not platitudes. The devastating effect of these blackouts on industry, retail, growth and jobs constitutes a clear and present danger to our economic wellbeing.

Therefore, we reiterate our call for the President to cancel his engagements in Egypt and return home to provide leadership on this self-created crisis. Ramaphosa should address Parliament, taking the nation into his confidence as to what is really transpiring at Eskom. It is unprecedented in a month like a December with such low demand we have rolling blackouts at all – raising suspicion as to what the President is not telling the nation. It’s time to come clean on exactly what the structural problems at Eskom are and how his government plans to address them. The President could signal his seriousness by sacking Gwede Mantashe, who is absent and woefully out of his depth in dealing with this national crisis.

I have today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, requesting that Parliament is reconvened immediately in order for the President to address the legislature, and to consider its options going forward. It is not right that while the lights are off in the country, the people’s representatives are not convening to light the way forward.

In a press statement last night responding to this unfolding crisis, President Ramaphosa said “[T]he energy challenges in this country will not be resolved overnight”. The tragedy is that much can be done immediately to turn the situation around. The most efficient immediate step is using Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act (4 of 2006) which allows the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy to issue a determination that allows qualifying municipalities to bypass Eskom and procure electricity directly from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Contrary to the President’s views, this can be done overnight and would go a long way to resolving energy shortages and pressure on the grid. Introducing IPPs into the mix is now a necessity. in fact, right now Minister Mantashe is sitting with at least seventeen section 34 applications for private generation and purchase of electricity on his desk waiting to be signed – from municipalities, mines and corporations. The President must intervene and ensure these are acceded to within the next 48 hours.

In terms of the role of DA-led governments, I will be instructing every DA mayor in the country to, where appropriate and possible, write to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, requesting such a determination to be granted with immediate effect. The DA-led City of Cape Town has had to take Minister Mantashe to court to compel him to grant such a determination and we are exploring options to move this case to the urgent roll, given the gravity of the latest developments.

In addition, I will be issuing a directive to all DA-led municipalities to develop and implement disaster management plans as rolling blackouts should little sign of ceasing. Essential services such as bulk water supply, sanitation services and clinics must be adequately managed, and all risks mitigated against. In the absence of any concrete plan from national government, we call on all provinces to also develop and implement disaster management plans in this regard.

In the medium term, we must split Eskom into two separate entities – one for generation and the other supply. This would ensure a greater supply of energy to the grid from IPPs and bring down the cost of electricity for ordinary South Africans by introducing competition into the energy market. The DA’s “Cheaper Electricity Bill” seeks to do just that and is currently before Parliament, it sets out a clear, workable alternative to the current dithering by national government and should be fast-tracked.

Where the DA is in government in the Western Cape, we have introduced the Energy Security Game Changer which continues to diversify and conserve energy supply, and we have legalised the household production of solar energy for over 22 municipalities. Despite the work DA governments are doing in the highly regulated energy environment, the change in our energy sector has to come from national government.

In a time of crisis, leadership must stand up and charter the way forward. This is a golden opportunity for President Ramaphosa to redeem himself following years of failure in turning around our failed State-Owned Enterprises. As Chair of the Interministerial Committee on SOEs from 2014, it was his task to avoid the crisis we find ourselves in today. He failed then; he owes it to South Africa to not fail now.