Eskom should come clean on why it misled the public about rolling blackouts

On Wednesday morning, Eskom implemented stage two rolling blackouts, which plunged the country into darkness and added further to the country’s deepening economic crisis. These power cuts came a month after the embattled utility assured the nation that there would not be any blackouts. The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on Eskom to come clean on why it waited so long before revealing its intentions to cut the lights.

Speaking to ENCA, Eskom COO, Jan Oberholzer, revealed a number of challenges faced by the power utility including a constrained generation system. This suggests that Eskom, for some time, knew about its capacity shortages and that it will have to resort to rolling blackouts. It also confirms that the beleaguered state-owned entity (SOE) misled the public and gave false assurances when it denied the DA’s revelation that it had issued a warning to municipalities that power cuts were on the cards for the months of September and October.

Eskom chairperson, Jabu Mabuza, must come clean as to why he misled the DA and the public on rolling blackouts. Instead of playing open cards, the utility decided to unceremoniously spring these power cuts on the nation without any prior warning, thus affecting economic activity and Matric exams.

One thing is certain, these rolling blackouts, which are the price the public has to pay for years of corruption, mismanagement and brazen looting by the ANC government will have serious consequences on our struggling economy. Experts estimate that each stage of rolling blackouts, costs the country R1 billion per stage, per day.

Contrary to Eskom COO’s assertion that the utility’s biggest challenge is exclusively generation constraints, another massive challenge faced by Eskom is the industrial-scale thieving that was carefully engineered by the ANC and the Guptas.

At the hands of the corrupt ANC government, a majority of SOEs have collapsed because the government is only adept at wasting public funds.

The DA’s Cheaper Electricity Bill will stabilise and secure South Africa’s power supply and seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and distribution entity. It will bring onboard Independent Power Producers, which will result in a stable, cheaper and efficient energy supply.

DA implores CoGTA Minister to urgently enact drought management interventions

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to request that she urgently Gazette a national drought disaster.

In terms of Section 27 of the Disaster Management Act, the Minister by notice in the Government Gazette, may “declare a national state of disaster if existing legislation and contingency arrangements do not adequately provide for the national executive to deal effectively with the disaster”.

All across the country provinces and local communities have suffered in silence as droughts have ravished through their communities. Vast areas of the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and parts of Limpopo have been crippled by droughts and in many areas the taps have completely run dry, with little to no intervention from National Government.

The provincial governments clearly do not have the capacity nor the funds to provide drought relief to their residents and National Government seems to have turned a blind eye to the suffering of the affected communities.

These droughts have also been compounded by the fact that many of the affected municipalities have neglected the maintenance of critical water infrastructure and water plants. The scourge of corruption and indifference has also ensured that in many towns the taps have run dry.

These droughts will by no means remain localised. Farmers are unable to water their lands and feed their livestock, whilst small business owners are unable to continue with their daily operations. This will have a severe impact on provincial economies and ultimately our stagnant national economy.

Whilst the ANC government was quick to politicise the drought in the Western Cape, pleas for National Government to intervene in other areas have fallen on deaf ears.

The droughts across the country have reached crisis levels and are quietly becoming one of the biggest challenges facing our country.

South Africa doesn’t only have an energy crisis, we also have a water crisis. It is for this reason that the DA implores Minister Dlamini-Zuma to do the right thing and declare and Gazette a national drought disaster.

DA-run City of Cape Town leading the way in curbing the impact of rolling blackouts

Support the DA’s plan to save Eskom before it takes the entire country down with it. Take action

Today, Eskom announced another phase of loadshedding across South Africa.

While most of the country will be experiencing stage 2, the DA-led City of Cape Town has through effective management been able to add additional generation capacity to the electricity grid so that City-supplied residents and businesses experience stage 1 load-shedding instead of stage 2. This means less frequent and shorter periods without power.

Eskom has been holding the people of South Africa ransom for far too long and the national government continues to reward their inability to effectively manage the State Owned Enterprise (SOE).

The City of Cape Town has demonstrated that there are alternatives to producing power. Through the Steenbras Hydro-electric Power Scheme, the City is able to build up additional capacity.

Though this is one way to soften the blow of Eskom’s failure, the City has also taken the Minister of Energy and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa to court to allow municipalities to purchase energy from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

The monopoly Eskom holds over energy in our country is a major part of the problem, there is no competition to keep them accountable.

With no prior notice Eskom has cut the power, leaving thousands of students unable to write their final exams, preventing small businesses from operating and sending families into a frenzy to plan for the inevitable moment when the lights go out.

In the DA-led Western Cape and City of Cape Town, we will continue to fight to keep the lights on. We will not allow continued failure and mismanagement from the ANC national government and Eskom to prevent this province and metro from making progress.

EFF does not care about the people of NMB

The EFF has once again exposed itself as an organisation that only cares about its own narrow political outcomes instead of the interests of the people who elected them.

The EFF has withdrawn its support of tomorrow’s Motion of No Confidence in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Mayor Mongameli Bobani – citing the real possibility of the Democratic Alliance (DA) once again occupying the mayoral seat.

Whilst the EFF would like to claim that it is consistent in its decision-making, the reality is that the EFF is a party devoid of principles. If this was a principled decision, the EFF would have supported the Motion of No Confidence in Mayor Bobani whether it would mean the return of a DA-led government or not.

During former Mayor, Athol Trollip’s time at the helm of NMB, he cleaned up the rot left behind by the ANC, brought about tangible change and got the metro back to working again.

In the 24 months in charge, the DA-led metro achieved a host of successes:

  • The City was financially liquid with over R2 billion in the bank and received a AAA credit rating;
  • Achieved annual financial statements that indicate the administration has achieved record levels of spending in the financial year 2017/18;
  • Boasted one of the best Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) spending performances in the country at 100%; and
  • Tripled the number of annual jobs created by the EPWP (Expanded Public Works Program).

Mayor Bobani has done nothing to improve the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, nor has he built on the progress the previous DA-led administration made in delivering services and opportunities to the people of the Bay.

In fact, NMB has regressed so much that stagnant service delivery and looting have become the norm in the City. The EFF’s insistence to keep NMB in the hands of the Coalition of Corruption makes them complicit in the ongoing collapse of service delivery and good governance in NMB.

As refuse is piling on the streets, irregular appointments are now rife in the City and its financial health deteriorates – the EFF has chosen the path of political immaturity instead of doing the right thing.

DA calls on Home Affairs to work with Metros to address root causes of Xenophobia

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, to take decisive action to address the issues which have resulted in the ongoing sit-ins at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Tshwane and Cape Town.

Foreign nationals gathered outside the UNHCR in Waterkloof on Monday, raised concerns around the time it takes for them to get propor documentation to live and work in South Africa legally. The longer they are without documentation, the more suspectable and vulnerable they become to violent threats and exploitation. The sheer scale and gravity of this problem has resulted in documented refugees, asylum seekers and legal migrants being seen the same as illegal migrants.

Home Affairs is making it difficult for business people and scarce skills to enter the country whilst illegal immigrants cross the border uncontrolled. These inefficiencies have resulted in the UNHCR and Metros being expected to do Home Affairs’ job despite limited mandates.

It is clear that Home Affairs alone does not have the capacity to deal with the pressing challenges of securing our borders, managing illegal migration and promoting social cohesion to begin to address the scourge of xenophobia. This requires a co-ordinated, co-operative approach between government agencies to holistically address the challenge.

Undocumented immigrants gravitate to the Metros where they have the best chance of opportunities – City of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Since 2016, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has written to a succession of Home Affairs Ministers requesting assistance with the increase of illegal immigration in the City and warning of looming tensions as a result of undocumented traders that was not being addressed by the Department.

It is imperative that the responsibilities of Metros, SAPS and Home Affairs are clearly set out through a proactive approach and that Home Affairs enters in to Memorandums of Understanding with these Metros setting out proactive joint operations to deal with the regularisation of undocumented immigrants and illicit trade to stop incidents flaring up before they start.

In September the DA Members of Parliament called for a Joint meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to address initiatives to promote social cohesion, manage illegal migration and prevent xenophobia in our Metros.

This committee will be meeting 22 October and the DA is pleased that Mayor Mashaba will finally have the opportunity to engage with the Portfolio Committee and the Department. A decisive, proactive plan of action will help build confidence in our communities that the rule of law is being re-established, easing tensions. Both the rights of migrants and the rights of South Africans deserve to be protected.

Minister Cele misses his own deadline to ensure all police stations stocked with rape kits

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that several police stations across the country still do not have a single rape kit in stock. DA public representatives over the past two days visited a number of police stations across the country which were identified for not having a single rape kit in stock, and we found that while there had been progress at some stations, several others did not have these crucial kits in stock.

The DA will write to the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to request that he urgently informs the nation which stations are still without rape kits and when these remaining police stations will be stocked.

We are disappointed that the Minister failed to meet his own deadline on Monday to ensure that all police stations would be stocked with rape kits. In August, the DA revealed that 76% of police stations did not have adult rape kits and 69% of stations do not have child rape kits in stock. Minister Cele revealed weeks later that the SAPS had signed a procurement contract with a new company that will supply a variety of evidence collection kits used in rape cases. Furthermore, in his reply to an oral question in Parliament, the Minister committed to ensuring all police stations would have rape kits by the 14th of October.

This was supposed to put an end to the national rape kit crisis, however the DA can reveal that as of Tuesday this week, the following stations did not have rape kits:

  • Athlone Police Station, Western Cape
  • Ravensmead Police Station, Western Cape
  • Actonville Police Station, Gauteng
  • Temba Police Station, Gauteng
  • Hammanskraal Police Station, Gauteng
  • Vanderbijlpark Police Station, Gauteng
  • Delportshoop police station, Northern Cape
  • Barkley West Police, Northern Cape

South Africans were given reason to be optimistic that the surge of gender-based violence and femicide across the country will be curbed when President Cyril Ramaphosa unreservedly promised to personally monitor the rollout of rape kits to every single police station in the country. However, the fact that there is still a number police stations without rape kits is a major indictment on the ANC government and raises question regarding their ability to effectively tackle gender-based violence.

The resent annual crime statistics revealed that every day almost 114 people reported being raped – an increase of 3.9% from the same period the year before.

It is of critical importance to have adequate rape kits at all police stations, so that DNA samples of offenders can be taken. Without these kits evidence in reported rape cases cannot be collected, and without evidence the ability to successfully prosecute rapists is drastically reduced.

The DA will continue to fight for the rights of rape survivors by ensuring that our police services are equipped to put criminals behind bars where they belong.

Woman or man elected as new DA FedCo Chair will work with the Leadership to build one party with one future for all of SA

This weekend, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Council (FedCo) will sit over two-days, on Saturday and Sunday, at the Party’s Nkululeko House headquarters in Johannesburg.

The FedCo will apply its collective mind to two agenda items – namely the Report of the Organisational Review Panel and the election of a new Chairperson of the Federal Council. This briefing will deal with the latter matter and the relevant aspects.

This briefing will allow the DA to clear confusion around it structures and processes and to assist the media in factually reporting on the organisational structure of the DA. They say journalists are the first drafters of history, therefore this briefing will assist in drafting a factual first draft of this period of change for the DA as it elects a person to serve in its top leadership structures.

Federal Party Structures

The DA is a Federal Party, with several co-independent structures which direct the operations and administration of the Party. This political structure is a departure from the democratic centralism adopted by our political opponents.

At its highest level, in terms of the Federal Constitution, the supreme policy-making and governing body of the Party is the Federal Congress. It is this body that met in Tshwane last year, which was attended by over 2 000 delegates from across the country.

The Federal Congress generally meets at least once every three years, but must be convened at any time by a two-thirds majority vote of the Federal Executive, a two-thirds majority vote of the Federal Council, or when requested by a petition signed by at least five thousand members of the Party.

When the Federal Congress it not in session, the Party’s second highest body, the Federal Council, is empowered as the policy-making and governing structure of the DA. It is this body that will elect a new Chairperson of Federal Council, to replace James Selfe, who will head up the party’s Governance Unit.

James Selfe has been part of the party’s political leadership for close to two decades, and has served with dedication, humility and respect for all the Federal Leaders and leadership across the country. James has led the Party’s strategic litigation, and in the process has indirectly defined the role of the Courts in upholding the rule of law and filled gaps, which the drafters of South Africa’s Constitution did not foresee. I would again like to thank him for his service to the Party and South Africa, which he will continue to do, although in a less frontline capacity.

It’s also important to dismiss the myth that the DA does not have policies. A Party cannot govern across four provinces and the country’s biggest metros without policy direction. Therefore, at least once, during every period of five years but at least one year before any general election, the Federal Council must convene to debate, refine and update the Party’s policies. At this meeting, the Federal Council will be augmented by all premiers and provincial ministers, all mayors, and members of mayoral committees in metropolitan municipalities and all national and provincial spokespersons on portfolios.

The implementing or operational body of the DA is the Federal Executive (FedEx), which controls and directs the activities of the Party, implements decisions of the FedCo, appoints the CEO, approves coalition agreements, approves the make-up of cabinet members where we are in government; and subject to the Federal Constitution and the constitutions of the provinces, take decisions and makes regulations, binding on all Party structures, concerning membership administration, organisation, finance, discipline and other matters affecting the welfare of the Party.

The FedEx must meet regularly and whenever the Federal Leader or the Chairperson of the Federal Council so determines, or when at least one half of its members request a meeting.

FedEx is made up of around 28 people, namely the Federal Leadership, Provincial Leaders, the Chairperson the DA MP/MPL Network, the Chairperson of the Association of DA Councillors (ADAC), and representative of the party’s Senior Management Team.

The final front-facing decision-making body of the party is the National Management Committee (NMC).

The day-to-day management of the administration of the Party is entrusted to the NMC consisting of the Federal Leader, the Parliamentary Leader if the Leader is not a Member of Parliament, the Federal Chairperson and Deputy Federal Chairpersons, the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairpersons of the Federal Council, the Chief Executive Officer, the Federal Chairperson of Finance, the Chief Whip of the National Assembly and such other persons as may be co-opted to assist, subject to the agreement of the Federal Executive.

The NMC reports to each Federal Executive meeting on its activities and any decisions taken.

Other Federal bodies include the Federal Finance Committee (FFC), which is entrusted with the financial affairs of the party.

And finally, the Federal Legal Commission (FLC) is tasked with constitutional interpretations, disciplinary matters, caucus rules, and reports on its work to the FedEX and FedCo.

Party Leadership

The Federal Leadership of the Party is in charge of upholding the image of the DA and leading the organisation, with some being elected by the Federal Congress and some elected by the FedCo.

The Leadership elected by a Congress, consists of the Federal Leader, Federal Chairperson, and three Deputy Federal Chairpersons. While the FedCo is then tasked with electing the Chairperson of the Federal Council, two Deputy Chairpersons of Federal Council and the Federal Chairperson of Finance.

This leadership component at a national level is also assisted by the Federal Leaders of the DA Women’s Network (DAWN) and DA Youth (DAY).

This Sunday, the approximately 155-members of the FedCo will elect the person they believe upholds the DA’s values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity, with the mission of building an Open, Opportunity Society for All.

The person elected to serve as the Chairperson of the Federal Council –

  • Is entrusted with and responsible for the organisation and administration of the Party, and for developing and maintaining a high degree of efficiency in the Party;
  • Implements decisions of the Federal Council and the Federal Executive;
  • Works closely with the Federal Leader, the Federal Chairperson, the Federal Chairperson of Finance, and the Chief Executive Officer;
  • Performs other functions and duties and exercises powers assigned to him or her, within the provisions of this Constitution, by the Federal Leader, the Federal Council and the Federal Executive;
  • Has the power to delegate any of these powers to the Chief Executive Officer or other appropriate persons.

It’s vital to note that the Federal Chairperson and Chairperson of the Federal Council are two different positions.

Voting Procedure and Timeline

At the end of Saturday’s session, each candidate will have an opportunity to address the FedCo for 5-minutes, and motivate why they believe they are the best person to occupy the office of the Chairperson of Federal Council.

Thereafter, the Presiding Officer will outline how voting will unfold:

  • Voting will take place on Sunday between 07:00 and 08:45;
  • Delegates will be required to provide positive identification (Green Barcode ID Book / ID Card, Drivers License / Passport / Temporary ID) to receive ballots and to vote. Without identification, you will not be permitted to vote.
  • There are four candidates for the position and the ballot paper with be an STV or Single Transferable Vote ballot paper where delegates must rank all four candidates in the order of their preference, i.e. 1 to 4.
  • After voting, candidates and/or their candidate agents will observe the counting and capturing of results.

Once the votes have been counted and captured, the Presiding Officer will announce the results, which are expected at around midday on Sunday.

As per the Federal Constitution, the ballots will be preserved for at least 30-days; except where an appeal has been lodged in which case the ballots will be kept until the appeal has been disposed of.

Objections to the outcome of the election, should they arise, must be lodged within 48 hours after the announcement of results.

Conclusion

When all is said and done, the Party needs to place front of mind the fact South Africa has an ever weakening economy that is unable to work for the more than 10 million South Africans without work; we need to ensure that state capacity which has been eroded by the State Capture and its actors, many of whom still occupy public office, is done away with; we need to ensure that order is restored in our communities and people feel safe; and we need to ensure that quality services are delivered to our communities.

The Democratic Project is under threat and we cannot afford further setbacks, and the DA has a vital role in ensuring that the country walks the path towards prosperity and builds One South Africa for All.

DA warns Eskom against using rolling blackouts as a bargaining tool for more money

Support the DA’s plan to save Eskom before it takes the entire country down with it. Take action

Last month, Eskom assured the public and the Democratic Alliance (DA) that there would be no planned rolling blackouts for the months of September and October following the DA’s revelations that the utility had warned municipalities of the possibility of imminent rolling blackouts. Clearly Eskom’s words rang hollow as South Africans awoke to the news this morning that the power utility will be implementing Stage 2 rolling blackouts due to a “shortage of capacity”.

The re-occurrence of rolling blackouts come as no surprise to the DA  as we have long held the view that Eskom’s turnaround strategies and recovery plans have amounted to nothing. It would seem as though the embattled utility was more concerned about funding Eskom’s deteriorating operations than the actual job of making it a profitable, efficient and stable energy producer.

Eskom has dragged Nersa to court to challenge its decision in March which allowed for tariff increases below what Eskom had applied for. In addition to this, the utility will also be expecting a substantial bailout in Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni’s upcoming medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS).

The DA warns Eskom against using rolling blackouts as a bargaining tool for more money.

Eskom has become an empty shell that is completely incapable of delivering in its mandate to deliver reliable and sustained provision of electricity. They simply cannot keep the lights on. These rolling blackouts will most certainly have serious consequences for our struggling economy. Experts estimate that each stage of rolling blackouts, costs the country R1 billion per stage, per day.

When we do not have electricity, we do not have productivity. And when we do not have productivity, we have stagnation which ultimately leads to unemployment.

Another area of concern is the impact of these rolling blackouts on the matric exams. The DA has been receiving concerned calls from principals and teachers across the country, regarding the impact of rolling blackouts on today’s Computer Applications practical exam.

Eskom’s monopoly on the production of energy needs to be broken as it hampers economic growth and education. However, the ANC government would rather see the country plunge into darkness than to put its pride aside to bring on board Independent Power Producers to stabilise and diversify the grid.

Government, on several occasions, gave assurances that the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) would be released in September, it now mid-October, and the IRP, which is the blueprint for the generation of new energy, is nothing more than a pipe dream.

The ANC does not have a vision for Eskom past their own narrow political interests – that is why Eskom will continue to fail. The DA on the other hand has a plan to stabilise and secure South Africa’s power supply and that is contained in our Cheaper Energy Bill, which seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and distribution entity.

The DA will in the coming days take our plan to fix Eskom to the Union Buildings . It is in every South African’s interest to see Eskom thrive and the DA will continue to fight for an efficient, competitive and profitable Eskom.

Cape Town housing breaks new ground

Behind the scenes, the DA-run City of Cape Town has been working hard on 33 social housing projects, working to uplift residents from all walks of life by giving them access to housing, and in many cases, an asset that they can pass on to future generations.

Salt River Market

One of the most exciting projects that the DA-run City of Cape Town is currently driving is the development of the Salt River Market site that will deliver up to 850 housing units.

Maroela South Housing Project

The R115 million project in Kraaifonteing will provide 570 housing opportunities to residents.

The housing project will consist of 395 State-subsidised Breaking New Ground houses for qualifying beneficiaries on Cape Town’s Housing Database and 175 Gap houses for people who earn between R3 500 to R22 000 a month.

“We are making progress every day and getting closer to enhancing the living conditions of our beneficiaries. Success is only achieved when we all work together.”

– Cllr Malusi Booi, MCM for Human Settlements

Valhalla Park Housing Project

The project will be home to 777 housing beneficiaries.

All of the housing opportunities in the area will be state-subsidized, meaning they will be solely for beneficiaries on the City of Cape Town’s housing list.

Owning a home is something that some residents say they could only dream of. Where we govern, we are pleased to be part of turning that dream into a reality.

Handing over title deeds to rectify the injustices of the past.

Forty residents from Wallacedene, Langa, Atlantis, Joe Slovo, Kleinvlei, Wesbank and Mfuleni recently received full and unambiguous ownership of their homes, some of whom have waited for over 20 years to receive their title deeds.

‘The handing over of title deeds allows homeowners to live in dignity in a home that they can call their own. It is an investment that will grow in value that becomes an asset for the homeowners and their loved ones.

– Cllr Grant Twigg, MCM for Urban Management

Minister Lamola showing contempt of the justice system in the Kanya Cekeshe matter

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes that the Minister of Justice, Ronald Lamola, has decided to enter the fray surrounding #FeesMustFall activist, Mr Kanya Cekeshe’s application for leave to appeal his 2017 conviction. This application was refused in the Johannesburg Regional Court on Monday.

Not long after the Court judgment was handed down, Minister Lamola, the person responsible for the administration of justice in South Africa, tweeted “we note the dismissal of both the leave to appeal and bail for fees must fall activists (sic) Khaya Cekeshe by the Johannesburg Magistrate Court.  We’re in the process of urgently assisting him with an application for presidential pardon or other legally available avenues”. 

Mr Cekeshe was convicted on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.  These charges are both serious and deserving of consequences.  It is precisely because the law has been ignored, and serious infringements have been seen to be without consequences that State Capture was able to take place, and the criminal justice system hollowed out to the shell we are left with today.

For the Minister to enter the arena, making a mockery of the hard work of the NPA in pursuing the case and securing a conviction, and showing contempt for the Judiciary by suggesting that their work should simply be undone by the stroke of a Presidential pen is something that should concern us all.

If there are no consequences for delinquent behaviour, how will the criminal justice system hold those responsible for the serious offences now being exposed in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry and other commissions dealing with graft and wrongdoing?  On what basis should prosecutors and the SAPS continue to work hard in difficult circumstances to hold people to account if the attitude of the Minister is simply to expunge criminal records and assist in obtaining Presidential pardons.

This approach smacks of the Zuma-era approach to justice and accountability, and is simply not acceptable. Our Constitution dictates that every citizen is equal before the law, and equally any person who has been convicted of wrongdoing should be held accountable for their actions.