Pretoria – The United Nations in South Africa welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address delivered last night during which he declared a state of national disaster in response to the current energy crisis that has plagued the country, and the creation of a new position of Minister of Electricity in the Presidency “to assume full responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the electricity crisis response.”
"We largely welcomes and are encouraged by plans, commitments, and the call to action contained in the President’s State of the Nation Address,” said Nelson Muffuh, the head and Resident Coordinator of UN in South Africa,” adding: “The theme which is centred around the imperative of Leaving No One Behind is timely as we are halfway to the 2030 deadline when the Sustainable Development Goals are to be delivered for everyone, everywhere.”
“We must therefore act in earnest with urgency and intensity to realize these Global Goals and national aspirations for people and planet. The UN in South Africa and beyond stands ready to accompany and to ramp up our support to the Government and people of South Africa," he said.
In justifying the declaration of a state of national disaster, the President noted that “extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. The energy crisis is an existential threat to our economy and social fabric.” A people-centred, accountable, and rights-based approach is essential to ensure the measures advanced through the state of national disaster interventions are inclusive and impactful.
The President’s address emphasized his government’s plans to intensify job creation especially among youth, and to continue implementing the National Strategic Plan on gender-based violence and femicide and improve the accessibility and functioning of Sexual Offences Courts. He also committed his government to continue the fight against violent crime across the country, corruption, poverty, inequalities, and the rising cost of living which are the “issues that concern South Africans the most”.
President Ramaphosa also highlighted progress made in increasing the number of children who receive the Early Childhood Development subsidy, which has more than doubled to 1.5 million children between 2019 and 2022.
On climate change, the South African leader noted that as we take these actions to resolve the energy crisis, “we are mindful of the risks that climate change poses to our society” including droughts, floods and wildfires, South Africa would “continue our just transition to a low carbon economy at a pace our country can afford and in a manner that ensures energy security.”
“Through the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, R1.5 trillion [about US$86 billion] will be invested in our economy over the next five years in new frontiers such as renewable energy, green hydrogen and electric vehicles,” President Ramaphosa added.
The United Nations in South Africa and at the global level will continue to support energy security and transition efforts.
For interviews and media enquiries, please contact Zeenat Abdool, UN South Africa - Associate Public Information Officer, at email@example.com or 0827788080