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Western Cape Government Media Release

29 November 2023
Premier & Minister distribute first batch of load shedding relief packs

Joint Media Release: Premier & Minister distribute first batch of load shedding relief packs

Yesterday, 28 November 2023, Premier Alan Winde and Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, distributed the first batch of load shedding relief packs.

The packs were given to two provincial Department of Social Development-funded facilities for survivors of gender-based violence, United Sanctuary Against Abuse and Holy Cross St Clare Sanctuary.

“It is essential that we as the provincial government support and protect our most vulnerable residents from the worst impacts of load shedding. Middle- and upper-income residents are able to put some steps in place to ameliorate the impact of load shedding, but our most vulnerable citizens do not have these resources. These packs are a small but important intervention to support our most vulnerable with some lighting and charging resources,” said Premier Alan Winde at the handover.

These DSD facilities provide support services to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) survivors and their children, such as therapeutic intervention, counseling, skills development, and reintegration services.

The kits comprise solar home lighting systems with the following features:

  • Dual charging capability via solar panel or AC cable;
  • Three lighting options;
  • Rechargeable 6 V, 4ah battery;
  • Up to 18 hours of light on a single charge;
  • Battery protection;
  • Wall-hanging mounts; and
  • Emergency USB port charges

A key component of the Western Cape Energy Resilience Programme is load shedding relief aimed at mitigating the impact of ongoing power cuts on residents, the private sector, and local government services.

“While the power crisis has devastated the economy, causing widespread damage to small businesses and large companies alike, it is the most vulnerable in society that are suffering the most and do not have the resources available to buffer themselves from the worst impacts of load shedding. One of our top priorities is protecting vulnerable residents in any way we can. We as the Western Cape Government (WCG) have committed to taking tangible steps to tackle this calamity, more importantly, to offer some form of relief to vulnerable groups,” said Premier Winde while distributing load shedding relief kits at the local provincial Department of Social Development offices in Atlantis.

“The number of GBV victims accessing psychosocial support services provided and funded by DSD has increased from 51 790 in 2020/21 to 76 178 in 2022/23. There are many individuals for whom shelters are a beacon of hope. Load shedding threatens to extinguish that light, literally and figuratively when it plunges these facilities in darkness. With these load-shedding relief packs, we are offering a small respite for the staff and clients, which I hope will ensure a more effective running of operations when the power goes off,” said Minister Fernandez.

The staff working at these facilities expressed their gratitude, saying that the kits will be a welcome addition to all working and living there.

“We work with survivors of GBV and their children. During power cuts we don’t have any back-ups for light or electricity, so when the lights go off you immediately feel a sense of feeling threatened. Residents even fear that the perpetrators may locate them and enter the shelter because the electricity for the fencing goes off. These kits will thus help the staff that are on duty to be able to see if there are any threats, so they can call police should there be one,” said Felicia Fillies, social worker and acting manager at United Sanctuary Against Abuse.

Early in 2023, Premier Winde announced in his State of the Province Address that more than R88 million would be allocated to municipalities across the Western Cape to protect critical services such as sewage and water treatment from relentless power cuts.

In total, the WCG is allocating R1.1 billion over the next several years to help address the energy crisis over the short-and long-term. This sum is complimented by an investment of R3.9 billion by the City of Cape Town & a further R1.9 billion by other Western Cape municipalities.

More load shedding relief packs will be distributed in due course to other vulnerable groups of citizens.