Together we can force the ANC to fix their Eskom mistakes

Note to Editors: the following speech was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, in the Ngwathe region of the Free State as part of his Kasi-to-Kasi Tour. Maimane was joined by DA Free State Premier Candidate, Patricia Kopane

Fellow South Africans

Our country is facing a critical energy crisis, the likes of which we have not seen since the dawn of our democracy. If the Eskom collapse is not immediately halted and reversed, it could plunge our country into a downward spiral from which we may never recover.

Beyond the inconvenience of going without electricity for hours at a time, we face serious risks to our water distribution network, our sewage system and our primary healthcare. The continuous interruptions are also causing extensive damage to our electricity distribution system, which wasn’t built to be switched off and on all the time. Simply put, if this load-shedding carries on much longer, or if it escalates to Stages 5 and beyond, we could be looking at a complete collapse of both our infrastructure and our currency.

Already the effects of load-shedding have been devastating to our economy, with small businesses suffering heavy losses, and some already having to shut their doors. For every small business that closes shop, dozens of employees and family members immediately lose their only income. And the effects these power cuts will have on future investment in our economy cannot even be calculated.

A municipality like Ngwathe simply cannot afford this kind of setback. When unemployment and poverty are already as high as they are here, rolling blackouts for hours at a time, and for days on end, are the spark that will set off this powder keg.

What makes matters worse here is that Ngwathe Municipality is one of the biggest defaulters on Eskom debt in the country, owing almost a billion Rand to the power utility. While the national ANC government has let Eskom crash and burn, it is local ANC governments like Ngwathe that have been adding fuel to the fire by not paying their bills.

This is a national crisis, and we have very little time to fix it before the damage is too great and our economy collapses entirely. What we need, more than anything else right now, is the truth. We need our government to tell us just how severe this crisis is so that we can prepare ourselves. But instead we only get vague statements that deliberately obscure the truth and try to spread the blame. And so South Africans are left to piece together the story from other sources.

This is not good enough – not by a long shot. In such times of crisis, real leadership shoulders its responsibilities, owns up to its faults and plays open cards with the people. Real leadership says: Yes, the whole truth might be uncomfortable for us, but it’s the only way to get all of society on board and make them part of the solution.

When the Western Cape was hit by three years of drought and the dams that supplied water to millions of people fell dangerously low, the DA-led city of Cape Town and Western Cape governments were faced with a similar choice: Either hide the full picture, dodge the hard questions and hope it blows over, or lay all the cards on the table, take the people into your confidence and ask everyone to help find a solution that can keep the taps running. They chose the latter and, through a tremendous team effort, the crisis was overcome.

President Ramaphosa now finds himself before a similar choice, but so far he has disappointingly gone for the first option: blame and confuse; duck and dive.

Let us also not forget that it was the very same Cyril Ramaphosa who was put in charge of turning around our failed State Owned Enterprises – and specifically the struggling Eskom –back in 2014. As Chair of the Interministerial Committee on SOEs, it was his task to avoid the crisis we find ourselves in today. Clearly he didn’t do his job. Since then every single SOE, from SAA and SABC to Prasa and Transnet, has fallen apart and now needs to be bailed out with billions every year.

But instead of putting up his hand and saying “I accept my share of responsibility for this”, he has tried to tell us that we are somehow all responsible for the mess at Eskom and the daily rolling blackouts. No, Mr President, we are not all responsible for this. The ANC is, and you are. Start by admitting to this, and then give us the answers we deserve so we can try to avoid the worst of this disaster. Answers to questions like:

Exactly how bad is the Eskom crisis, and exactly how much money is owed by Eskom?

When is payment of this money due, and how much foreign denominated debt is due within the next two months?

What is government’s plan to prevent major damage to infrastructure caused by power failures?

And what does our disaster management plan look like in case the situation worsens, assuming we have such a plan?

If we know these things then all of us – civil society, business, NGOs, ordinary citizens, opposition parties and government – can harness our collective power to avoid the worst of this crisis. Then we can urgently speak of solutions, such as relaxing the legislation around Independent Power Producers and allowing local governments to purchase electricity directly from them.

But if President Ramaphosa and his government continue to treat the people of this country like children who don’t need to know the truth, then there will be no whole-of-society solution. Then the only solution is to use the collective power of our votes to replace this government of lies and cover-ups with a government that has a record of dealing openly and honestly with the people.

In the mean time I want to call on each and every South African to stand together as we demand answers and action from government. This coming Friday we will be staging a National Day of Action, where South Africans across the country can show this government exactly who holds the power, and that we will not allow our country to implode at the hands of the ANC. This will not be a party political action, but rather an effort to harness the power of all South Africans to save our country. We did so before when we said no to Jacob Zuma and State Capture, and it is now time for us to unite again.

Fellow South Africans, it is not too late to save South Africa, but then we must act right away. We must agree now to privatise Eskom’s electricity generation entities and allow a more diverse range of energy onto our grid. We must agree now to halt all further work on the failing Medupi and Kusile power stations, and instead look to bring on more Independent Power Producers. We must agree now to install smart meters that allow municipalities to collect outstanding revenue. And we must agree now to let municipalities buy their energy directly from independent suppliers, and not only from Eskom.

These are steps that can be immediately implemented. Join me in demanding this from our government. Make your voice heard and be part of the solution. Because if we don’t stand together on this, we risk losing everything.

It’s high time Cyril Ramaphosa comes clean and gives SA the full details of Eskom crisis

At a time at which our country is facing an unprecedented electricity crisis – with persistent power cuts being the new normal – President Ramaphosa is obfuscating the truth and refuses to play open cards with the people of South Africa. For a man who has been in charge of turning around Eskom’s fortunes since 2014, he owes South Africa not just an explanation, but the full truth as to the extent of the crisis – including his government’s full plan to deal with this crisis. The time for manufactured “shock” and simple apologies from the President is over.

His appointment of Deputy President David Mabuza to head up the Special Cabinet Committee tasked with handling this crisis shows the sheer lack of capacity within the ANC to urgently and adequately fix this mess. David Mabuza ran Mpumalanga into the ground during his disastrous spell as premier of the province. He shouldn’t be anywhere near a national energy crisis.

The nation urgently requires answers. I have therefore today written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, requesting that he comes clean with the people of South Africa and is fully transparent on the reality of this national crisis. In particular, Ramaphosa must tell South Africans the following:

  • What is the full extent of this crisis?
  • What is the total amount of debt owed by Eskom, and what is the timeline on this debt being due to creditors?
  • How much foreign denominated debt is due by Eskom in the next two months?
  • What is government’s plan of action to mitigate the current damage caused to infrastructure by power outages?
  • What is the timeframe of such plan?
  • Does government have a disaster management plan in the event that the situation deteriorates any further? and
  • If so, what are the full details of this disaster management plan?

The reality is that we can fix this crisis and turn the ship around. The DA will be engaging with all sectors of society on solutions to collectively mitigate the damage caused by power cuts, as well as plans to reform the energy sector in South Africa before it’s too late. It is essential for South Africa to have energy resilience, and for this to happen there are immediate, medium and long-term interventions that are required.

Now is the time for urgent action, no matter how unpopular. During the water crisis in Cape Town the DA faced a choice. We could keep quiet about how serious the problem was, hope that the winter rains would come, and that the majority of people would be no the wiser. Or we could take action to fix the situation and avoid “Day Zero”.

We defeated “Day Zero” because we were honest, made tough and unpopular choices, and vitally, because the people of Cape Town rose spectacularly to the challenge of drought when we asked for their help.

President Ramaphosa ought to follow suit. He should place the national interest ahead of his own political interests and the interests of the ANC, and come clean with the people of South Africa.

There is no dignity for the 10 million unemployed South Africans

The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the party’s Human Rights Day event in Bekkersdal, Gauteng.

Fellow South Africans

On this day 59 years ago, 69 people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured in Sharpeville as they protested the Apartheid government’s pass laws and the carrying of pass books. Many of them were shot in the back that day as they fled from police.

But these people were protesting far more than just the carrying of a book. They were standing up to a system that categorised them as sub-human – a system that told them where they could live, where they could work and what kind of job they could do.

They were demanding the right to live freely and equally in the land of their birth – their right to the same treatment, the same dignity and the same opportunities as others. They were protesting for their right to proudly be who they were; the right to self-identify.

We remember the victims of Sharpeville on this day because their sacrifice, along with the sacrifices of many others throughout our history, helped deliver the free and democratic South Africa of today. They died for our freedom, they died for our Constitution and they died for our Bill of Rights. We celebrate Human Rights Day because we must never forget the heavy price that was paid for these things.

One of the most important rights contained in the Bill of Rights is the right to freedom of trade, occupation and profession. In other words, the right to work. And closely related to this is the right to human dignity.

These two rights are interlinked because without sustainable work you cannot experience real dignity. Without a job you become reliant on the State’s grants, or on remittances from family members. Without a job you live at the mercy of others, and that is not real freedom.

The United Nations speaks of the right to an existence worthy of human dignity. And that is what the victims of Sharpeville died for – the right to live a life of dignity and of value.

Sharpeville in the 1960’s was not a place of dreams and enterprise. It was not a place where children grew up with endless possibilities for the future. It was, like so many other communities in South Africa, little more than a labour-sending area. Dreams are things that happened elsewhere.

The struggle for liberation and our transition to a democracy was meant to change all of that. The hard-fought political freedom of our people was meant to be followed by economic freedom. But 25 years into our democracy, this is yet to happen.

Sharpeville today is still a dormitory of unemployed labour. It is still a place where people struggle every day to make ends meet and put food on the table for their families. It is still a place where people are not yet free. And there are hundreds of other places just like Sharpeville all across South Africa, where people are still desperately waiting for their freedom.

Almost four out of ten South Africans cannot find work. Four out of ten homes in our country do not have a single job and rely solely on social grants and remittances to sustain the whole household. These people were promised all the rights contained in our Constitution, and yet they live like outsiders in their own country.

They have to watch as those with the right connections, those with the right education, those with wealth and access to capital progress in life, while they fall further and further behind. They have to watch their children grow up in our new, democratic South Africa with little more to look forward to than they themselves had all those years ago.

This is why the struggle is not yet won. The pass laws may have been beaten, but there are new causes for which we must march and for which we must fight.

Today’s march is against the crippling poverty that affects half our population.

Today’s march is against the failed education offered in thousands of schools across the country.

Today’s march is against the inhumane pit toilets that continue to claim the lives of our children.

Today’s march is against Marikana and Esidimeni, and every other callous act of government against its people.

Today’s march is against the record unemployment that continues to rob millions of their freedom and of their dignity.

Our Bill of Rights hasn’t changed since it was drawn up. It still guarantees South Africans the right to work and the right to dignity. We dare not lose sight of this. The rights of our people cannot only live in documents like our Constitution. They must exist here, in the real world. They must be experienced by all South Africans.

And they cannot only be something we reflect on in the past. When we talk about human rights on a day like this, it must be a forward-looking conversation. What is the future of human rights in South Africa? What should this mean for our children, and their children? How do we ensure that the next generation enjoys every right described in our Constitution?

We do so by giving them an education that actually means something to them when they step out into the world of work.

We do so by monitoring and mitigating against climate change, so that they inherit a world worth living in.

We do so by protecting their right to own property, as is currently enshrined in Section 25 of our Constitution.

And we do so by protecting all the rights of all South Africans, and not just certain rights for certain groups. These human rights are universal. And they are not like slices of a pie – extending a right to one does not take it away from another. If you sacrifice the rights of one group, you are in effect sacrificing the rights of all.

Let us fight for these rights for everyone. Let us fight to put a job in every home, and transform communities like Sharpeville into places of hope and opportunity. Let us give people the freedom to choose their own future.

Let us build one South Africa that works for all its people.

Mboweni confirms that Treasury doesn’t know how big the Eskom bailout will be

The Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, has confirmed in a letter to the Democratic Alliance (DA) that the National Treasury does not know how big the proposed bailout to Eskom will be.

Following the National Energy Regulator’s (Nersa) announcement of tariff increases, the DA wrote to the Minister to request an update on the bailout allocation to Eskom, given that the tariffs granted are lower than what the Treasury used to calculate the bailout announced in the 2019 National Budget.

In his budget speech the Minister said that they will give Eskom bailouts of R23 billion per year for the next three years. However, this is now likely to increase.

Given Eskom’s rolling blackouts and power failures across the country, it is shocking that almost two weeks after Nersa announced its tariff decision – Treasury, Eskom and the Department of Public Enterprises – have not concluded discussions on what is needed to start addressing the problems at Eskom. This is a clear indication that the ANC government is neither capable nor serious about fixing the catastrophic failures at Eskom.

The problems at Eskom were created by the ANC, and South Africa cannot rely on the ANC to fix these problems. The DA is the only party capable and big enough to keep the lights on in South Africa.

Lack of budget will render New Investigative Directorate of the NPA useless

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the Proclamation signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa regarding the new Investigative Directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).  While we have expressed our concerns regarding the constitutionality of this course of action, a far more worrying component is that during the budget speech in Parliament, Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni,  made no mention of any further funding for the NPA.  It is common knowledge that the NPA is under-resourced in terms of human resources as well as budget.  It cannot perform its functions on the budget currently allocated to it.

What the new Investigative Directorate is required to do is to investigate racketeering, corruption and fraud on an unprecedented scale.  This type of investigation is not only labour intensive (requiring very specific skills that the NPA currently does not have enough of) but is also very expensive to investigate.  It will be essential to make use of outsourced skills sets such as forensic auditing, cyber-forensic capability as well as deep knowledge of tax and financial matters.  These skills cost a tremendous amount of money.  It will be quite impossible to investigate the information coming out of the Zondo Commission, the Nugent Commission and the Mpati Commission without a vast budget.

So signing a proclamation for an Investigative Directorate to do this job is devoid of any concrete truth unless it is backed up by a budget to do the job.  Appointing a new NDPP is devoid of any real intention of correcting the criminal justice system unless Advocate Shamila Batohi is given the tools with which to do her job.  The job is difficult as it is, with no budget it is impossible and she cannot be expected to make a difference if her hands are tied.

What President Rampahosa is doing is smoke and mirrors, a very dangerous and disingenuous game.  Unless he backs up his big talk with a budget it is as good as doing nothing at all.  Unless the NPA is properly funded, it must be clear that the President has no intention of addressing corruption and going after the perpetrators (also in his Cabinet), but is merely trying to create the impression of being serious about it.  South Africans should not be fooled, the President talks a big talk, but fails miserably to walk his talk.

Today marks 4th anniversary since Ramaphosa promised South Africans “light at the end of the tunnel” on Eskom

Today marks the fourth anniversary since Cyril Ramaphosa promised South Africans “light at the end of the tunnel” on the Eskom electricity crisis. As the country continues to buckle under the sustained and relentless pressures of the failing ANC’s rolling power blackouts – government is yet to provide South Africans with a clear plan of action to keep the lights on.

On, 20 March 2015, then Deputy President Ramaphosa stated in Parliament that “We can say there will be light at the end of the tunnel. As we all know Eskom faces challenges and these challenges are being addressed”. It is now clear that this is a promised that will never be realised under the Presidency of Cyril Ramaphosa.

As was the case back in 2015, as is the case now – the failing ANC cannot and does not know how to switch the lights back on.

The country, over the past week, has been crippled by rolling blackouts and power failures. Instead of providing the country with answers, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan chose to plunge the country into further confusion through useless PowerPoint presentations.

No amount of promises and talk shops will fix Eskom. What we need now is action. The collapse of Eskom lies squarely at the feet of the failing ANC.

The currently electricity catastrophe has been sponsored by the ANC’s corruption and mismanagement and Ramaphosa’s silence and inaction.

The ANC cannot be trusted to fix Eskom, and it is clear that the DA is the only party that can Eskom. Our governments across the country has been working tirelessly to mitigate the devastating effects of Eskom’s power failures – despite our limited mandate. This is why the DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, announced that the party will lead a nationwide day of action on Friday the 29th of March. South Africans from all walks of life should join our call for immediate government action on this crisis.

The only way Eskom can be fixed is to vote out the ANC government.

Eskom crisis: In the Western Cape we will fight to keep the lights on

Today the Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Dan Plato, and I conducted an oversight inspection at the Energy and Climate Change Head Quarters in Cape Town.

This comes amidst the biggest energy crisis that our country has ever faced.

City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato and DA Western Cape Premier Candidate Alan Winde addressing the media at the Energy and Climate Change Head Quarters in Cape Town today.

Especially after yesterday’s briefing by Eskom it has become clear that the power utility is broken and almost beyond repair and that after years of mismanagement, corruption and capture the ANC government will not be able to lift our country out of this crisis. They have completely lost control of the situation.

This morning the DA Federal Leader, Mmusi Maimane, announced a national Day of Action next week Friday, 29 March. From now until then, the DA will mobilise South Africans in their thousands, from all walks of like to participate in activities across the country to protest the damage and destruction that the ANC government has caused,.

The complete collapse of Eskom is a long time coming. That is why DA-run governments have taken concrete action at both provincial and city levels to start to manage the impact of ANC failure in the province.

Over the past decade, while the national economy struggled, the DA-run Western Cape delivered half a million new jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in the country. Unfortunately, the residents and businesses of the Western Cape are being sabotaged by the ANC’s collapse of Eskom.

When we had stage 4 load shedding for the first time in February, that day cost the Western Cape economy more than R3 billion. We are now on our fifth consecutive day of stage 4 – the cost is going to be enormous. Businesses fail when the lights go out. Investors shy away from the uncertainty over the power supply. This costs jobs and growth.

While today, we announce what we have already done to ensure that the Western Cape keeps on working and that the lights stay on, we will announce further steps and actions to ensure that where the DA governs, the people are protected from the failings of the ANC.

Make no mistake, this crisis was avoidable and can be fixed with the right leadership, as we have shown in the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape as a whole.

The Province’s response – Alan Winde, DA Premier Candidate for the Western Cape

In 2016, the Western Cape government embarked on an Energy Security Game Changer, to stabilise our electricity supply and invest in green energy production.

27 IPP contracts that were ready to go and bring about R56 billion in investment were delayed until 2018 while Jacob Zuma’s captured cronies attempted to force a catastrophic nuclear deal on our country. The new bid window that was supposed to open at the end of last year still hasn’t opened.

“The simple fact is that the ANC is intentionally keeping energy and jobs out of the hands of the people of our province. We cannot rely on the national government, and the DA will fight for energy independence from Eskom,” said Winde.

The Western Cape has legalised generating your own electricity with solar panels in 22 municipalities, and in 18 of those, you can sell excess electricity back to the grid. And six studies have been conducted exploring the potential of natural gas to supply power and create jobs in the province.

The DA will continue the fight to source electricity from IPPs. Already, IPP projects in the Western Cape have generated over 3 200 jobs per year, despite national government’s restrictions. Many more jobs could be created through IPPs and lower our unemployment rate even further if we work around the ANC’s resistance to this growth.

The City’s response – Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town

Mayor Plato outlined how the DA-run City of Cape Town has taken active steps to mitigate the energy disaster brought about by the ANC.

“The City recognises that the future lies in energy decentralisation technologies like gas and renewables. This is why we created a dedicated Energy and Climate Change Directorate at the end of 2018,” said Plato.

“As one part of our immediate action plan, we’ve asked the courts to compel the Minister of Energy to allow us to buy cleaner renewable energy from independent power producers.”

To deal with Eskom’s load shedding demands, the City has invested extensively in technologies to assist with the switching process as shedding proceeds. In addition, the Steenbras Dam generation capacity has been used to lower the load shedding stage in Cape Town. It is currently undergoing maintenance to ensure that it continues to function optimally – something Eskom fails to invest in.

The City aims to keep all consumers accurately updated on schedules and the current load shedding stage, especially in light of the unpredictable announcements from Eskom.

Our national pledge

At a national level, the DA has introduced a national bill – the Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) Bill – which proposes that Eskom be split into a power-generating entity and a separate power-distribution entity. The power-generating division would compete fairly with other power producers to provide cheaper electricity.

One would think, given how dire South Africa’s electricity shortage is, that the ANC would be doing everything possible to develop new energy suppliers.

It isn’t. Instead, ANC factions fight publicly over whether to allow independent production, while their allies take the government to court to prevent IPPs from providing electricity. The ANC and its allies have one goal: keeping their own pockets lined while blackouts cripple the country.

The ANC’s solution is to pour more bailouts into a corrupt Eskom that it cannot fix. The DA is the only party with a plan of action to keep the lights on permanently in the Western Cape and fight for energy security for our province.

We call on all South Africans to join us on Friday 29 March to send a clear message to Cyril Ramaphosa and his ANC government that South Africans have had enough of ANC corruption, mismanagement and capture.

Eskom Crisis: DA announces National Day of Action on Friday 29 March

The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, outside Eskom’s Megawatt Park in Sandton, Johannesburg. Maimane was joined by DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, Solly Msimanga, and Team One SA Spokesperson on State Capture, Natasha Mazzone.

My fellow South Africans,

Today we are here outside Eskom’s HQ, Megawatt Park, to stand with the people South Africa and echo their anger at this government’s failure to provide a basic service to the nation. It is a complete failure of governance that has brought the country to the brink of collapse, with level 5 and 6 loadshedding and nationwide electricity blackouts the new normal. While the ANC may predictably look for anything but themselves to point fingers at, this national emergency will never be the collective responsibility of the people of South Africa. This energy crisis has been the sole responsibility of the ANC and the ANC alone for over a decade.

What has become clear over the past days is that there is no plan to fix this mess. From the President, to the Minister of Public Enterprises, to those at Eskom. No plan and no political will to take immediate action to get our country out of this ANC-created crisis. We cannot accept this any longer. The ANC broke Eskom, the ANC allowed it to be captured, and the ANC now has no plan to fix this crisis.

A simple apology from President Ramaphosa is not good enough. We demand action! Because if we don’t act now, the power utility will never service the hundreds of billions it owes in debt, the almost dozen units lost will never be recovered, the coal supply will never be augmented, the institutional staff experience lost will never be replaced and the entity will implode.

As South Africans, we must take a collective stand before it is too late.

That is why today we announce our plan to launch a National Day of Action next Friday 29 March. We call on South Africans in every community, town and city across the country, to join us in a collective protest against what is now a national crisis. As when we came together to take a stand against Jacob Zuma and the capture of our state, next Friday will see citizens showing this ANC government that we have the power. The time is now – we will not sit back and watch our country implode at the hands of this failing ANC government.

This National Day of Action will include civil society groups, NGOs, religious bodies, community activist organisations and the nation at large. Our call is for this ANC government to get off its hands and take real action. There is a way to fix this mess. We could immediately:

  • Privatise the generation entities of Eskom, allowing a diverse range of energy to enter the grid, increasing competition and lowering costs;
  • Instruct Eskom to immediately freeze the build on the last two outstanding units at Kusile, and instead look to bring on more IPPs to provide power. Eskom’s debt is spiralling due to cost overruns on the two big coal builds, while the units are not running at full capacity due to design and build flaws;
  • Reaffirm Eskom’s engineering and maintenance employees as an “essential service” that cannot enter into strike action;
  • Install major smart meters for municipalities to force municipalities to collect revenue timeously; and
  • Allow well-functioning metros to source energy directly from independent energy suppliers.

Part of this plan is to pass the Independent System Market Operator (ISMO) Bill into law. The ISMO Bill seeks to open up the market, enable private sector investment and increase efficiency by finally splitting up Eskom into generation entity that can be privatised and a transmission entity to be operated by the state. This will in turn enable Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to connect to the grid and open up competition that has been starved from the energy market for too long. Currently, 85% of all municipalities in the Western Cape now have legislation in place to buy and sell alternative sustainable energy such as solar while the party remains locked in litigation with the ANC government over the right to buy and sell energy directly from IPPs.

In the immediate term, some of the proactive interventions taken by DA-led governments to mitigate against the risk of loadshedding include maintenance work, increasing strategic policing deployments and litigation. In Cape Town, our government has instructed maintenance work at Steenbras Power station to continue adding energy to the grid and across our governments maintenance has been assigned to the grid network to mitigate against surges when power is turned on and off and additional Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) deployments have been placed at busy intersections during loadshedding to cushion the impact on traffic.

The message is clear: there is a plan and we need to institute this plan now. And we will mobilise next Friday to call on this ANC government to take the action required to fix this national crisis.

South Africa needs this change, and we need it now. And I urge every citizen who loves this country to join this National Day of Action so that we can usher in change and save our nation from the brink of collapse.

The ANC is throttling democracy

The following speech was delivered in Parliament Today by Michael Cardo MP, the DA Shadow Minister of Economic Development.

Honourable Chairperson

At the dawn of our democracy 25 years ago, there was so much hope.

Where South Africa had once seemed to be on a collision course, we were steered – by brave and bold leadership – onto the right track.

We chose non-racialism over racial nationalism.

We chose the supremacy of a constitution over the sovereignty of Parliament.

And we chose market-driven prosperity over the dead hand of state-led, command-and-control economics.

But somewhere along the line, the ANC government took a wrong turn. It began to backtrack on the promise of 1994. It reneged on the social contract of non-racialism, constitutionalism and market-led growth.

Today, instead of forging full steam ahead, South Africa is stuck on the tracks. Our democracy has been derailed. The engine of economic growth has been throttled to a standstill. And, thanks to the ANC’s chronic mismanagement of Eskom, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

Yesterday, President Ramaphosa experienced this quite literally. Having joined ordinary citizens on their daily commute, his train from Soshanguve to Pretoria got stuck. It took over four hours to complete a 50 km journey.

This incident was the perfect metaphor for the stalled state of our democracy.

Every day, South Africans face hardships caused by ANC corruption and maladministration, which cost the fiscus R30 billion annually. ANC corruption is why the lights don’t work and trains don’t run on time. ANC corruption is why we have crumbling public infrastructure and inadequate service delivery.

President Ramaphosa can tut-tut in mock sympathy all he likes. He can talk a big game about cleaning up after “nine lost years” of ANC-inflicted chaos. He can make idle threats about heads having to roll.

But we all know it’s one big con, because the ANC stands for Absolutely No Consequences. It’s the reason why some of the worst offenders from the Zuma era of state capture are back on the ANC’s election lists.

Instead of pursuing a better life for all, ANC cadres are obsessed with barging their way onto the gravy train. Here, they gorge themselves on tenders, kickbacks, empowerment deals and Bosasa-sponsored booze and braai packs.

Meanwhile, those in the second- and third-class carriages are left to fend for themselves.

That is why 10 million South Africans can’t find work.

That is why more than half of all South Africans live below the poverty line.

And that is why 14 million South Africans go hungry every day.

The election on 8 May is the voters’ chance to get South Africa back on track.

The DA has a plan to turn South Africa into a thriving democracy. We will build One South Africa for All, by fighting corruption; creating fair access to real, long-term jobs; fixing the South African Police Service; securing our borders; and speeding up the delivery of basic services.

We will address the electricity crisis by splitting up Eskom and enabling municipalities to purchase power directly from producers.

We will reboot economic growth and investment by guaranteeing private property rights. We will overhaul our visa, exchange control and labour policies to attract skills, capital and tourists. We will exempt small businesses from certain labour and BEE regulations.

On 8 May, South Africans face a choice between the corrupt, backward-looking ANC and the honest, future-focused DA.

A vote for the ANC is a vote for more empty promises. It doesn’t matter who leads them, they’re the same old party and they’ve had too many second chances.

Don’t reward ANC failure with your vote because nothing will change.

On 8 May, vote DA.

Electricity Day Zero looming as Gordhan fails to give clear solutions

Today, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan,  and the chairperson of the Eskom Board, Jabu Mabuza, confirmed what we have known all along.  The ANC has broken Eskom to the extent that it is on the verge of actual collapse. The damage the ANC has caused  has seen Eskom broken seemingly beyond repair, and the damage that this will cause will be catastrophic to the South African economy, job creation and to the lives of ordinary South Africans.  President Cyril Rhamaposa, Minister Gordhan and Jabu Mabuza are not only culpable, but they have run out of ideas on how to address the extent of the crisis. They are quite literally fumbling in the dark for solutions.

This follows four solid days of rolling power cuts as the embattled power utility battles to revive eight generation power units.

The challenges at Eskom lie squarely at the feet of the failing ANC, which has actively  looted and broken Eskom to the verge of collapse.

Minister Gordhan’s press briefing today was nothing more than a talk shop and is proof that the ANC cannot and will not keep the lights on – they have neither the capacity, ideas nor the political will to fix the electricity crisis which they have caused. Simply data-dumping PowerPoints presentations on the people of our country will not change this reality.

South Africans need a stable electricity supply which will reinvigorate our stagnant economy and create much need jobs for the millions that are unemployed. Continued blackouts like we have seen are causing a jobs blood-bath that the people of this country cannot afford. No investor will touch us as a country with an electricity grid that is headed to a complete shutdown. Very soon rolling black outs will impact the provision of water and many other basic services. This is indeed a national crisis.

Only a DA government can bring lasting, effective solutions to Eskom. A DA government will:

  • Privatise the generation entities of Eskom, allowing a diverse range of energy to enter the grid, increasing competition and lowering costs;
  • Instruct Eskom to immediately freeze the build on the last two outstanding units at Kusile, and instead look to bring on more IPPs to provide power. Eskom’s debt is spiralling due to cost overruns on the two big coal builds, while the units are not running at full capacity due to design and build flaws.
  • Reaffirm Eskom’s engineering and maintenance employees as an “essential service” that cannot enter into strike action;
  • Install major smart meters for municipalities to force municipalities to collect revenue timeously; and
  • Allow well-functioning metros to source energy directly from independent energy suppliers.
  • ANC has been and continues to be a the single biggest threat to Eskom and to the economy.

South Africans will have the chance on election day to cut the ANC’s power and bring in a DA government that is both capable and willing to fix the catastrophe left by the ANC on our energy sector.