Prioritise patients not politicians – Ghaleb Cachalia

DA MP asks why are Ministers exempt from loadshedding and hospitals are not?

Prioritise patients not politicians – Why are Ministers exempt from loadshedding and hospitals are not?

12 July 2022

Please find attached a soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

The DA finds it scandalous that the Bryntirion Estate, a small surburb in Pretoria where the official residences of Ramaphosa’s cabinet are located, is exempt from loadshedding while hospitals are not.

According to the National Standard Regulating Loadshedding (NRS 048-9:2019), hospitals are some of the national key points that are listed under institutions that are “scheduled for loadshedding”. Although hospitals are required by law to have backup power sources and some municipalities, such as the City of Cape Town, exempt them from loadshedding, the DA is of the strong view that the NRS should not make it optional for hospitals to be exempt from loadshedding.

The DA will write to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa calling for an immediate review of the NRS regulations. Hospitals should be designated as exempt from loadshedding as a matter of urgency and the pampered Cabinet’s Bryntirion Estate should be placed on loadshedding schedules just as everyone else.

It is morally wrong for the architects of the ongoing loadshedding crisis to have uninterrupted power supply while hospitals, which are often in the race against time to save lives, are made to contend with loss of power and unreliable generators.

Oversight visits that the DA has done to state hospitals to assess the impact of loadshedding on the provision of healthcare, revealed that most of these health establishments do not have the necessary resources to maintain a stable power supply during loadshedding. One of the hospitals, Raheema Moosa in Johannesburg, has unreliable generators and often has issues with the supply of diesel to power the generators.

With the year 2022 on course to be the worst loadshedding year on record, Ramaphosa’s  cabinet has remained clueless on how to solve this urgent national crisis. The economy has lost hundreds of billions of rand and millions of South Africans have lost their jobs due to loadshedding, yet the Minister’s enclave in Bryntirion Estate continues to receive uninterrupted power supply.

It was an ill-advised decision from the onset to place hospitals on the non-exempt list of institutions that can be loadshedded. The DA will use every tool at our disposal to correct this error of judgement and protect our hospitals from the inconvenience of loadshedding.

Issued by Ghaleb Cachalia and Michele Clarke, DA, 12 July 2022