SAPS must probe DA’s Eskom billboard vandals

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) laid criminal charges at the Parkview Police Station following the vandalising of a DA billboard highlighting Eskom and ANC’s failure to keep the lights on for South Africans.

Those who are involved in destroying our billboard are guilty of malicious damage to property which is a crime punishable by law. Moreover the suspected burning of our billboard is in violation of the Section 92 of the Electoral Act, which states:

From the date on which an election is called to the date the result of the election is determined and declared in terms of section 57, no person may deface or unlawfully remove any billboard, placard or poster published by a registered party or candidate

We call on the South African Police Services (SAPS) to investigate the matter and take the necessary action against the individuals involved.

The sabotage of the DA billboard does not change the fact that under the failing ANC, Eskom poses the biggest economic risk to South Africa. The people of South Africa have once again been plunged into darkness while those implicated in state capture corruption keep their illicit gains.

The DA will fix its billboard, as no amount of arson or sabotage will deter us from exposing the ANC and Eskom’s failures. South Africans know that the ANC is out of its depth and has no clue how to fix the problems at Eskom.

The DA is the only party with its cheaper electricity bill that can turn what is currently a besieged Eskom into a thriving power utility.

Minister Gordhan should condemn Eskom’s plans to retrench skilled white employees

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with concern reports that Eskom plans to retrench skilled white employees, among them engineers and managers, in order to meet its affirmative action targets.

While transformation of the workforce is crucial in our country, these retrenchments come at a time that Eskom requires skilled and experienced technicians, irrespective of their race, to bring stability at the power utility.

Furthermore, Eskom cannot simply retrench employees based on the colour of their skin. The South African constitution is clear about discrimination on the basis of race. If this is indeed true, Eskom will not only be in contravention of the Constitution, but they would also be shooting themselves and the South African public in the foot.

I will therefore write to Minister Pravin Gordhan to urgently clarify and condemn the comments which have allegedly been made by Eskom. He needs to categorically state if this is a government position.

Needed now more than ever is for stability and policy certainty in this entity. We cannot afford a racial witch-hunt which is both illegal and detrimental to Eskom’s future.

It cannot be that Eskom, which poses the biggest economic risk to South Africa, would target hard working employees at a time of such a major crisis.

South Africa has been plunged into darkness by Eskom under the leadership of the failing ANC.

The job of turning around Eskom requires skilled and experienced workers who will ensure that the lights are switched back on. It certainly does not need a task team led by Deputy President David Mabuza who turned Mpumalanga into a failed state through massive mismanagement and corruption and a massive labour dispute to compound matters.

The DA is the only party, through its cheaper electricity bill, with a plan to fix Eskom and transform it into a thriving power utility.

DA welcomes Bosasa’s voluntary liquidation application

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes Bosasa’s application for voluntary liquidation following various banks closing their accounts. Bosasa has been, for the past 20 years, at the heart of overseeing the capture of the ANC government. Although this liquidation is to be received with great celebration, it does not absolve the ANC government for their role in their seemingly corrupt relationship with Bosasa.

This liquidation provides President Cyril Ramaphosa with a public opportunity to fire Mokonyane, Smith, Mantashe and all other implicated parties from the ANC-Bosasa benches.

It is also of utmost importance that all remaining government contracts with Bosasa be audited or cancelled with immediate effect.

The DA hopes that the announcement of this liquidation will be delivered in hand with a plan to recoup the billions stolen from taxpayers by the Bosasa scandal. South Africans deserve a government that will hold itself accountable for its mistakes, capture and corruption, and that will return every stolen or captured cent to its citizens.

Furthermore, President Ramaphosa must also make public the terms and conditions of Andile Ramaphosa’s contract with Bosasa.

Only the DA can build One South Africa for All, and will protect citizens from corrupt and captured government officials who prioritize their personal financial incentives above the lives of citizens. A DA government would institute a 15-year jail sentence for those found guilty of corruption, as those chosen to lead should never steal from those who have placed their trust in them.

DA’s Manifesto centred on building One South Africa for All

Today, Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, kicked off the Party’s manifesto mobilisation week in his hometown of Soweto, Gauteng, ahead of the party’s Manifesto Launch at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg this Saturday, 23 February. Maimane went door-to-door, engaging with residents and encouraging them to join this coming Saturday where we will make history and unveil our agenda for change. Pictures are attached here, here, here, here and here.

Our manifesto is grounded on our offer to bring immediate change that builds One South Africa for All where there’s a job in every home, our communities and streets are safe, our borders are secure, basic services are delivered to all, and corruption is crushed. The manifesto is a strong plan with implementable solutions to rescue our economy, and we believe that our offer will resonate with South Africans who want immediate change.

Over the coming days, DA public representatives, MPs, MPLs, Mayors, Councillors, and activists will cover every corner of Gauteng mobilising citizens to fill the Rand Stadium this coming Saturday.

The choice that lies before South Africans when they cast their votes on 8 May this year is a choice between another 5 years of talk shops, summits, corruption and empty promises from the ANC, or DA’s agenda for immediate change that builds One South Africa for All.

DA to lay criminal charges against Eskom billboard vandals

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the vandalisation of the Party’s billboard, which read “The ANC has killed the lights affecting 57 million South Africans! Time for us to take their power.”

While we do not know who the perpetrators are at this point, we do know that this is not the first time one of our billboards depicting the ANC’s failures have been destroyed.

We will not be deterred by this blatant act of sabotage. We will fix our billboard and we will proceed to lay criminal charges today at 14:30 at the Parkview Police Station, 71 Dundalk Ave, Parkview, Randburg, 2193 in Johannesburg.

The fact remains that under the failing ANC, Eskom has once again plunged South Africa into darkness.

No amount of vandalism or arson will hide the fact that Eskom continues to fail in its mandate of providing services to the people of South Africa.

The truth is that the failing ANC is completely incapable of fixing the challenges at the ailing power utility. The DA is the only party with a plan to fix Eskom with our “cheaper electricity bill”.

The DA’s plan would amount to real change, not merely board reshuffles and empty promises.

The ANC has killed the lights at Eskom and it is now up to the people to vote the ANC out of power.

The ANC killed the lights. Time for the people to vote the ANC out of power!

South Africans across the country have had to endure rolling blackouts once again after Eskom plunged South Africa into darkness this past week by declaring Level 4 Load-shedding. The fact that Eskom continues to leave our citizens in the dark is further proof that the failing ANC is completely incapable of fixing the challenges at the ailing utility. The ANC has killed the lights at Eskom and it is now up to the people to vote the ANC out of power.

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) billboard serves to highlight how the failing ANC has mismanaged the once world class power utility by besieging it with corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement and debt. The previous management teams at Eskom have plundered the crippled state-owned entity through pre-paid coal contracts, nepotism, inflated supply contracts and exorbitant consultancy fees with the likes of Mckinsey, Trillian and Tegeta. Furthermore, Eskom executives have consistently rewarded themselves with massive bonuses and salaries. These actions have hollowed out the entity and left it in financial ruin.

Just this past week, President Ramaphosa announced that the Deputy President, David Mabuza would lead a Special Cabinet Committee that serves to preside over this crisis. Deputy President Mabuza has single-handedly turned Mpumalanga into a failed state during his tenure as the Premier. He can hardly be entrusted with leading the team that is meant to resolve the country’s biggest energy crisis. This move is indicative of a President who is constrained by the different factional powers within the ANC. He clearly works for the ANC and does not lead it.

Currently, Ramaphosa’s proposal is for Eskom to be unbundled into a holding company, with three separate business entities to be owned entirely by the holding company. This plan means that each of the three entities will have the same holding board. Thus, the intention to stimulate competition in the generation sector of Eskom will be limited by the fact that the entities are not wholly independent or competitive. They will continue to be state owned. The monopoly will continue.

The ANC’s disastrous 24 years in government has only led to the self-enrichment of its politicians, and Ramaphosa’s plan for Eskom is indicative of a commitment to this ethos, while rolling blackouts continue to threaten the livelihoods of local businesses and the jobs they provide to citizens. Load shedding has significant consequences for our economy, and the productivity of small businesses in particular, which have suffered the biggest blows due to the blackouts. South Africa loses R2 billion a day due to power failures. It is safe to say that load shedding leads to job shedding.

The DA is the only party that can solve the Eskom crisis. Through our “cheaper electricity bill”, Eskom will be broken into two separate entities, namely into a generation and transmission entity. Our offer would see the generation entity privatized in an effort to break Eskom’s monopoly, allowing independent power producers to compete on an equal footing in the generation sector. Well-functioning metros will be able to source energy directly from independent energy suppliers. With the splitting off of the generation component of Eskom, they could look at selling off power stations to different IPPs in order to settle their debts.

The DA plan would amount to real change, not merely the addition of more board members.

The DA will continue to fight for a stable, competitive and affordable electricity sector. The time for change is now. South Africans have the opportunity to force the ANC into experiencing their own Level 4 load-shedding on 8th May 2019. We cannot allow the ANC another term in government – we need to vote for a party that is ready and able to build One South Africa for All, while keeping all the lights on.

Ramaphosa must tell SA the truth about proposed Chinese-owned power plant in Limpopo

The following remarks were delivered by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at Makhuvha Stadium in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. Maimane was joined by DA Limpopo Premier Candidate, Jacques Smalle.

Fellow Democrats,

Ndi matseloni,

Thank you for welcoming me to Thohoyandou, the home of the Vhavenda people.

For the past two days I have been travelling through Limpopo, saddened that a province with such great beauty and immense potential has become a feeding trough for corrupt politicians. From VBS to On Point Engineering, from Danny Msiza to Faith Muthambi – the corrupt know they can eat the people’s money with no consequences. Not one person implicated in the VBS heist is in jail. We will not let the tsotsi’s get away with VBS – they will end up in jail.

Yesterday, President Ramaphosa was here in Thohoyandou. He had a lot to say about accountability and basic service delivery, which are foreign concepts to the people of Limpopo. In this province, the corrupt walk free while the people are left in crippling poverty. In this province, there are 937 000 unemployed people – mainly young people. And this number continues to grow.

However, it was what the President didn’t say yesterday that should be of concern to the people of Limpopo, and of South Africa.

Not too far from here, the multi-billion development of the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is currently underway. This project has been punted by the President, the Premier of Limpopo and various government departments and entities as a job-creating economic development that ought to be celebrated. What has not been punted by the President is the quid pro quo that has been agreed to with these Chinese companies.

What the President did not mention yesterday was the Power China International Energy Project in the Musina-Makhado SEZ. In short, this is the construction and operation of a 4 600MW coal-fired plant to be built over the next few years. This announcement was made on the back of President Ramaphosa’s trip to China in September last year – the same trip where he secured a R33 billion loan for Eskom from the Chinese Development Bank.

The reality is that it appears this power plant will be used solely to power this SEZ. There are many serious questions about this development, none of which the President has been forthcoming with. In the interests of South Africa, we need absolute clarity on:

  • The timeline on this new coal powered plant;
  • Who will build this new power plant; and
  • Whether the power station will only serve the planned new Chinese-controlled industrial park.

It cannot be the case that while South Africa is on the brink of plunging into complete darkness due to lack of energy, Ramaphosa will allow foreign companies to come to our shores and build their own power plants for their own narrow interests.

Cyril Ramaphosa’s new strategy cannot be to sell our country to the highest bidder. The DA will not allow China’s model of “debt trap diplomacy” to take root in South Africa. We all know what happens when countries sign such deals with China. Just ask Sri Lanka, who had to surrender an entire port and surrounding land. Or Zambia who stand to lose Lusaka International airport to the Chinese. Or Djibouti who face the possibility of handing over some key assets to China.

The DA has a clear plan to reform the energy sector and to stabilise electricity supply. We would 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.

It is time for real change, and the DA can bring that change. Our agenda for reform will build One South Africa for All where there’s a job in every home, our communities and streets are safe, our borders are secure, basis services are delivered to all, and corruption is eliminated.

DA approaches Courts to fight for Parliamentary Opposition Party Right

The Democratic Alliance has approached the courts Yesterday to fight the ANC’s roughshod attitude towards opposition parties.  During the preparation of the Transport Portfolio Committee report on the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) Bill, opposition parties requested that their dissenting views on this bill be recorded.   The DA tabled a minority report at 8 November 2018 Portfolio Committee Meeting. According to the rules of Parliament, (National Assembly rule 166 and 288) opposition parties may table minority reports in such instances.

Despite these unambiguous rules which permits minority views to be tabled officially, the ANC refused a minority report.  Instead, it chose to include their own interpretation of a minority report. The DA has therefore approached the court to fight for the right of all opposition parties.

In its minority report, the DA objected to the Motion of Desirability pertaining to the inclusion of no fault and the exclusion of the use of common law within the RABS Bill. If passed, the RABS bill will permit anyone to claim after accidents even if it is that party’s fault. The bill also circumvents legal processes that are constitutionally available.

This is simply a violation of the rules and an abuse of power. This case will strengthen parliamentary participatory democracy and the right of all parties in parliament to be heard. This will ensure that the ANC’s such strong-arm tactics do not reoccur in future.

ANC confirms it has no interest in stemming job’s blood bath in sugar industry

Yesterday, the ANC Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee for Trade & Industry, through a Parliamentary statement, confirmed it will not lift a finger to hold a special portfolio committee meeting for it to decisively intervene in the impending collapse of the sugar cane industry, after I formally wrote a letter requesting it to do so.

The ANC believe it is better to rather make mention of the imbedding crisis in its Legacy Report and outsource this problem to the 6th Parliament after the elections in May.

The ANC believe that the 350 000 workers who stand to lose their jobs, should rather wait until uncaring ANC MP’s can be bothered to find time to meet.

Today’s development is not surprising. For far too long, the failing ANC Government have dragged its feet on offering real assistance and tariff protection to sugar cane farmers against devastating droughts in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and 500 000 tons of dumped sugar which landed on our shores last year.

The fact is, the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) refused to accede to farmer, large and small scale for a Dollar Based Reference Price of $856 per ton which would have at least allowed sugar farmers in South Africa to match the below cost of production of imported sugar. Instead, ITAC granted a measly $680 per ton. This continued situation is simply not sustainable for the industry.

In addition to this, R200 million for drought relief has disappeared in the KZN Provincial Government.

In the end, If this is not enough to rock the ANC from its slumber, then South Africa should vote them out. In a country where 9.4 million South Africans are unemployed, every effort should be made to save jobs.

President Ramaphosa has no hope of ever creating 275 000 jobs per year as outlined in the ANC’s manifesto when 350 000 jobs could be lost because uncaring ANC MP’s refuse to meet and find solutions to this crisis.

The Democratic Alliance delighted with latest by-election results

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is delighted by the results of two by-elections that took place yesterday in the Western Cape. We are thankful to the voters in the City of Cape Town, Ward 54 for entrusting the DA with their vote as well as voters in Knysna, Ward 4 where we saw a massive increase in our voter percentage.

The DA in the City of Cape Town, Ward 54 retained the ward with 88,63% of the vote. In Knysna, Ward 4 we saw an impressive increase of more than 20%, increasing our voter percentage from 6,42% in the 2016 municipal election to 26,97% yesterday. These by-election results together with our victory over the ANC in Bergrivier, Ward 5 last month, silence our critics and it shows that the DA is continuing to grow across the Western Cape.

I am confident that Nicola Jowell will represent Ward 54 with pride and ensure that that the people’s concerns receive top priority. I would also like to thank Thobeka Duna for helping to increase our voter percentage in Knysna, Ward 4.

Yesterday in the City of Cape Town, the DA received an overwhelming endorsement from the residents of Ward 54 and in Knysna, more and more voters are turning towards the DA. Through their vote, voters have showed us that they believe in our cause and support our efforts. Now, more than ever we need change that will build our nation.

We encourage all South Africans who have not yet registered to vote, to visit their nearest IEC office. It is crucial that all South African citizens of voting age are registered to vote in the National and Provincial elections on 8 May 2019. The DA values every single voter. We remain committed to keep making progress that will build One South Africa for All.