Saturday, 13 July, 2024
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Court orders state to end hospital, school, load shedding within 60 days

In a shock verdict last week, the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) ruled that all hospitals, clinics, schools and police stations should be exempted from electricity disruptions, with Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises, being given 60 days to implement the ruling.

Judge Norman Davis ordered Gordhan to “take all reasonable steps” within two months to ensure that public health establishments, state schools and the South African Police Service are not affected by load shedding, reports News24. However, Gordhan's department has said it would appeal the ruling because of the pressure it would place in the already-straining grid and the fiscus, news reports said.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM), Inkatha Freedom Party, Action SA, the National Union of Metalworkers and other organisations had launched a legal bid to spare hospitals and clinics, 23 000 public schools and police stations from blackouts. They also applied to exempt water and sanitation services, small businesses that deal in perishable goods, and cellphone networks from load shedding, but the judgment only focused on health, education and policing facilities.

Former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter previously warned that halting load shedding to hospitals, schools and police stations could trigger a national blackout.

The sheer number of facilities that would have to be excluded from the outages would put immense strain on the system.

Eskom also said it would be impossible to isolate and exclude some buildings, as they are embedded in the power utility’s transmission and distribution networks, and share lines with thousands of other customers.

But Friday’s judgment said that where it is impossible to isolate embedded buildings, Gordhan must provide generators and alternative energy supplies for uninterrupted power.

The judgment found there had been repeated breaches by the state of its Constitutional and statutory duties and that these infringe on citizens’ rights to healthcare, security and education.

 

News24 article – Shock court ruling: Schools, hospitals and police stations must not be affected by load shedding (Restricted access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Blackouts cost state hospitals R700m in diesel – Phaahla

 

State working to end hospital blackouts – Ramaphosa

 

Legal action threat as hospitals struggle with load shedding

 

Clarion call for hospital load shedding exemption

 

 

 

 

 

 

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