South Africa’s second opposition party, the Economic Freedom Front Fighters (EFF), on Sunday gave President Cyril Ramaphosa two months to end the country’s energy crisis and a myriad of other problems – or resign from office with immediate effect.EFF leader Julius Malema said his party would shut down the country on 20 March to demand the restoration of stable electricity supply as well as address the rising cost of living, end poverty, high levels of corruption and lack of service delivery, among others.
“The economy will stop and there will be no schooling on 20th March to demand the return of electricity and the delivery of other services,” Malema told reporters at the end of a party meeting in Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa, who is also African National Congress president, said for now the country’s objective was to decrease electricity loadshedding.
Speaking at the party’s ANC National Executive Committee meeting in Johannesburg at the weekend, Ramaphosa warned that interventions that have been proposed concerning the national energy crisis would take time to take effect.
“Through our actions now, we need to send a clear signal to voters that the ANC is taking all necessary steps to deal with the challenges they confront, specifically unemployment, rising cost of living, crime and instability, and poor service delivery,” the president said.
Ramaphosa said that resolving the current energy crisis and putting an end to rolling blackouts is one of the ANC’s “most immediate and pressing challenges.”
His government had made progress in several areas since the adoption of the Energy Action Plan mid-last year, he said.
These included the relaxation of some requirements, which would enable quicker procurement, and the removal of licensing requirements for generation projects to enable private investment.