South Africa’s president has declared a state of Disaster to deal with a debilitating and unprecedented energy crisis. South Africans face power outages every day, severely impacting their homes and businesses, but what difference will this emergency response make? “We must act to mitigate the impact of the crisis on farmers, small businesses, water infrastructure, transport networks, and the many sectors and facilities that support people’s livelihoods,” he said in his State of the Union address said in on Thursday.
Before a clapping crowd, he announced: “We are therefore declaring a national state of disaster to respond to the electricity crisis and its effect.” President Ramaphosa outlined that the escalation of the crisis would allow the government to implement “practical measures that we need to take to support businesses,” he said, highlighting those in food production and retail supply chains. A state of disaster effectively means that the government is given additional powers to resolve a crisis with less bureaucracy, regulation, and extra funds.