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Load shedding chaos: Energy experts criticise high court ruling to protect SA schools, what’s next for students?



Schools should be exempt from load shedding

In South Africa, the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation (Naptosa) in KwaZulu-Natal has expressed concerns that teaching and learning could come to a standstill because of rolling blackouts. According to SABC News, this statement comes after the High Court in Pretoria ruled last week that schools should be exempt from load shedding. The court found that rolling blackouts infringed constitutional rights and gave the Public Enterprises Minister 60 days to ensure he took reasonable steps to implement the exemption.

Naptosa CEO in KwaZulu-Natal, Thirona Moodley, has said, “We are concerned in terms of the implementation of this court ruling considering that the Minister of public enterprises has 60 days to ensure uninterrupted electricity at schools, public health institutions and the police stations. So, we are going to wait in bated breath to see how this unfolds. But if this unfolds according to plan. It is about time there is some time of intervention from higher authority to stand up for the children in public schools.”

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However, energy experts say exempting all schools, hospitals, and police stations from rolling blackouts is impractical. Kgose Moleshe, an energy expert, says that implementing the court judgment would be almost impossible. “It is not practical at all because if you have schools, hospitals – they are all embedded within the communities and what it will do in any case, if you were to do that, it could lead to more intense load shedding and also the potential importing of diesel generators, so you might as well use that money to reduce load shedding.”

While the court’s decision protects learners’ constitutional rights, the practicality of implementation is a concern. Nevertheless, it is essential to recognise that providing uninterrupted electricity to public schools is critical to ensure that teaching and learning remain undisturbed. The government must therefore take the necessary steps to ensure that public schools should be exempt from load shedding or find alternative solutions to mitigate the impact of load shedding on education. Furthermore, as South Africa continues to battle with the effects of the pandemic on the education sector, any additional disruptions must be avoided.


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Picture:  UnsplashIvan Aleksic