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Electricity Crisis Dominates South Africa’s State of the Nation Address

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a state of disaster to address the energy crisis stifling economic growth and job creation efforts, saying the move would help government extend a helping hand to businesses and households and exempt critical infrastructure, including hospitals, from the rolling blackouts. In his state of the nation address (Sona) in the Cape Town city hall on Thursday, Ramaphosa said co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma had already gazetted the declaration of the state of disaster, which he said would begin with “immediate effect”. Before he was allowed to speak, Ramaphosa endured a moment of intense disruption by members of the opposition. He also emphasised an intervention plan to address the electricity shortfall of 4 000 to 6 000 MW. He said: The plan outlined five key interventions. First, fix Eskom’s coal-fired power stations and improve the availability of existing supply. Second, enable and accelerate private investment in generation capacity. Third, accelerate procurement of new capacity from renewables, gas and battery storage. Fourth, unleash businesses and households to invest in rooftop solar. Fifth, fundamentally transform the electricity sector to achieve long-term energy security.