DA requests for Eskom to present leaked turnaround strategy to Parliament

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, to request that Eskom present a detailed report to Parliament on its turnaround strategy. Reports today indicate that an internal presentation by Eskom CEO, Jabu Mabuza, on the utility’s turnaround strategy has been leaked to the media.

While it is commendable that Eskom is beginning to seek solutions to its infinite number of woes, it cannot hope to do so without including Parliament as an oversight body in such a process. It is for this reason that the DA has requested the utility present this strategy to Parliament.

The leaked document reportedly details a number of strategies in order to get the utility back on its feet. Of particular concern is the purported debt restructuring of R130 billion over the next 3 years through government, accompanied with long-term debt restructuring; as well as the reported revenue management, outlining the expectation for national government to impose above-inflation tariff increases.

While we support the need for Eskom to restructure, it is concerning that they have seemingly made a unilateral decision to implement strategies which will have serious implications on South African taxpayers and businesses. The proposed restructuring of Eskom’s debt to government and the above inflation tariff increases might ease the burden on Eskom, but it will by no means ease the burden on South Africa’s long-suffering consumers.

It is unconscionable that the South African public are being further milked to pay for the inept and corrupted mismanagement of Eskom. The struggling public entity must ensure that it is completely transparent with its turnaround strategy, as citizens deserve to know how they will be affected by the changes they choose to make.

Both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Pravin Gordhan have said publicly that they are willing to sit around the table with the us to help solve the crisis faced by our country. We are now requesting this interaction again.

The DA has an alternative plan to save and stabilise Eskom to secure South Africa’s power supply, through our Cheaper Energy Bill, which seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation entity which is privatized and a transmission/distribution entity. This would reduce the cost of electricity, bring about much-needed competition through IPPs and ensure that South Africa is not being forced to pay for the corruption and mismanagement which has taken place at Eskom.

DA Youth is Breaking Ground so that Young People can Launch their Dreams

The DA Youth Federal Leadership will be visiting all provinces to have internal dialogues with local leadership. The topics of discussion will relate to the crisis of unemployment and inadequate support from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in helping young people open small businesses.

It cannot be that young people in this country are amongst the highest unemployed people in the country. Furthermore, it is an indictment on the ANC that graduates are unable find jobs. Young people we need to stand up for our future. It’s starts today and now.

The DA Youth is the only youth organisation which shows commitment to young people and who is actively engaging with provinces to create local policy which we can present to government. As the leadership, we will petition DA governments to take our policy onboard and implement it in governments which we lead.

The tours will internal meetings will take place on the below dates at our provincial head offices:

31 August – Gauteng

2 September – Northern Cape

6 September – Eastern Cape

7 September – KwaZulu Natal

8 September – North West

14 September – Free State

21 September – Mpumalanga

28 September – Western Cape

The youth created policy on critical issues will be publicised at the end of the consultation process.

Motorists will be fined for not paying e-tolls under Aarto

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Act (Aarto) which was recently signed into law indicates that operator class vehicles will be fined R500 for every e-toll gantry it passes without paying e-tolls.

This means that the driver will lose one demerit point for a fine of R500.

This law is putting businesses at risk as truck drivers working for small businesses could lose their jobs because their licences will be suspended for three years if the fines are not paid.

During the suspension period or while a single enforcement order is in place the driver will not be allowed to renew their vehicle licence disc, driving licence card and professional driving permit.

Motorists driving a light motor vehicle however will not lose any points but will be fined R250 for every gantry it passes without paying e-tolls.

The Act is just another way to force motorist to pay for e-tolls.

The DA has always been against the implementation of e-tolls as this is an unfair burden on the residents of Gauteng who are already struggling to make ends meet.

The task team established by the President is expected to make an announcement soon on the future of the e-tolls.

What is clear is that the residents are not prepared to pay for e-tolls and we cannot have a situation where motorists are fined for something which they were not consulted on in the first place. The e-toll system must be scrapped before it causes motorists to infringe. If this does not happen then the President should postpone the implementation of Aarto until the e-toll matter is finalised.

Government’s R7.1 bn in outstanding invoices compromises small businesses and jobs

The South African state is facing a collapse, measured by its inability to pay service providers, manage appointments, carry out disciplinary action, combat wasteful expenditure and prevent corruption. The government’s responses to a series of parliamentary questions over the past few weeks reveal terminal decay in the ANC’s ability to manage the South African public sector.

The ANC’s mismanagement of the public service is directly undermining any hope of our economy recovering from recession. Combined, national and provincial government departments currently owe South African businesses – the engine of economic growth – over R7.1 billion in unpaid invoices older than 30 days. National government owes businesses R634 million. The Department of Water and Sanitation is the single biggest offender, owing businesses R492 million, followed by Agriculture owing R99 million and the Police owing R24 million. Provincial governments owe businesses an additional, staggering, R6.5 billion. Gauteng and the Eastern Cape – both provinces run into the ground by the ANC – have failed to pay for services to the tune of R2.6 billion and R2.1 billion, respectively.

While the ANC cannot pay service providers in a timeous fashion, they seem to have no problem paying billions to public servants illegally doing business with the state. National Treasury’s 2018 Public Procurement Review found that 2 704 state employees conducted business with national and provincial departments between 1 April 2017 and 31 January 2018.

The ANC spent R8.1 billion of public funds to pay these public servants who illegally conducted business with the state. Despite this being in direct contravention of the 2014 Public Administration Management Act, the Minister of Public Service and Administration revealed in response to a parliamentary question that not a single public service employee has been held accountable or fired for doing business with the state.

The ANC also seems to have no problem paying millions to cadres implicated in misconduct to sit at home. By 30 June 2019, the government had already spent at least R26 million on the salaries of public servants placed on “precautionary suspension.”

At the same time, the government has no system in place to conduct lifestyle audits to proactively identify politicians and public servants living beyond their means. The Minister for Public Service and Administration simply stated that his department “is not mandated to conduct lifestyle audits on members of the Executive.” In other words: the ANC has no intention to combat corruption among its ministers. The minister’s reply also revealed that the long-promised Technical Unit tasked with conducting lifestyle audits on public servants, is still not operational and will not do any work until at least next year.

The ANC is crippling South African businesses through its failure to pay for services on time, paying billions to public servants illegally doing business with the state or placed on “precautionary suspension,” and completely failing to act against corruption in the public sector. The DA reiterates our call for a comprehensive public spending review. We will also continue fighting for fundamental reforms that creates a lean, efficient and capable state that creates opportunities for South Africans to prosper.

Maluti-a-Phofung deserves a clean, jobs and service delivery focused government

Fellow South Africans,

We are here today in Maluti-a-Phofung to fight to put a job in every home and ensure basic services are delivered to all. For in this municipality of 400 000 residents festers the single greatest threat to the South African economy: unemployment.

Where we could experience a booming area with manufacturing, tourism and education opportunities for all, we find a municipality with the highest unemployment rate in the country.

Not far from here is the Tshiame Special Economic Zone where various ANC ‘launches’ have made more empty promises about jobs. But because the municipality cannot sustainably supply water and electricity, nothing has come of this project.

16 factories in the Harrismith area turned to the courts to stop Eskom cutting the electricity supply which put as many as 10 000 jobs providing for 50 000 people at risk. The situation is so dire that the community has been managing the water supply to the Greater Harrrismith Area since November last year.

While almost all of these factories have closed down, President Ramaphosa announced in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) this year that this industrial area has been ‘revived.’ But contrary to the President’s announcement, there is no evidence of any revival on the ground.

The ANC government have been at the centre of this jobs crisis in a municipality that has only ever received a disclaimer from the Auditor General. That means that in almost 20 years since 2001, no opinion has been given regarding the financial statements of the municipality.

Under the reign of Mayor, Vusi Tshabalala, the administration was reduced to a conduit for theft, misappropriation and fraud. This looting was so severe that by the time the municipality was placed under provincial administration in February last year, the administration was bankrupt with not much left to salvage.

This grand heist of the municipality continues to be fuelled by a factional war over services meant for the people. It is like a pack of hyenas fighting over the scraps of a carcass and is a symbol for the looting that continues to plague the rest of the country.

Maluti-a-Phofung has since been placed under national administration. The situation has only deteriorated with the municipality owing Eskom R4.5 billion.

We can and we must change this, and that change begins at the ballot box next week Wednesday.

The DA will be contesting all 15 wards in the area and pledge to deliver good clean government, effective management and an obsessive focus on economic development, investment and job opportunities.

Why you may rightly not be able to trust more empty promises from the ANC sound taxi’s and trucks you now see or the cash and food parcels that have arrived in Qwa Qwa, you can be assured that the DA’s offer is credible because where we govern, we get stuff done. In the DA governed Western Cape, the expanded unemployment rate is the lowest in the country at 23.8%, over 15% lower than the national average.

Qwa Qwa does not need to remain paralysed by full days without water supply, unstable electricity, inaccessible roads, shockingly high youth unemployment and parasitic factional battles. Citizens deserve better and where the DA governs, we deliver on our promises.

A vote for the DA is a vote for a party with a proven track record of delivering in government. That is the DA difference and change you will see if you put your trust in a party determined to put a job in every home and deliver clean government and basic services for the people of Maluti-a-Phofung.

ANC Government continues to spend millions on supporting Zuma’s luxurious lifestyle

Former Thief-in-Chief, Jacob Zuma, still lives in luxury at taxpayers’ expense. Over the past five years, the ANC has spent at least R82 million in public funds to support the lifestyles of former presidents – and the evidence suggests that a disproportionate chunk of this goes into Zuma’s pocket. And this is not the full extent of the expenditure, as it is only based on 60% of the available data, which means that the total amount potentially reaches as high as R114 million.

This staggering figure emerged from replies to parliamentary questions the Democratic Alliance (DA) posed immediately after seeing the sickening sight of how Zuma, a kingpin of the ANC’s state capture project, arrived to testify about his misdeeds at the Zondo Commission, accompanied by eight luxury vehicles, flashing blue lights, and dozens of security guards.

The responses to my questions revealed that, over the past five years, the ANC Government spent over R16 million in taxpayer money on travel and subsistence for former presidents and their spouses. An additional R65 million of South Africans’ money has been used over the same period to provide for the needs of the following former presidents and their spouses.

Former President FW De Klerk and spouse; Former President Thabo Mbeki and spouse; Former President Kgalema Motlanthe and spouse; Former President Jacob Zuma and spouse/s; Former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and spouse; and,Former Deputy President Baleka Mbete and spouse.

Interestingly, the amount of public money spent on former presidents increased significantly between the 2017/18 financial year and 2018/19 – from R15 million to R19.5 million. This coincides with Zuma’s resignation, which raises the possibility that the ANC Government is lavishing Zuma with benefits that may significantly exceed those of other former presidents.

Another worrying issue revealed by the responses to the DA’s question is that the government apparently has no mechanism in place to monitor how much taxpayer money is used to support the lifestyles of former presidents. Minister in the presidency, Jackson Mthembu, complained that our question on how much money the government is spending on former leaders “could not be reasonably fully answered in the time allowed. We threw a in a large number of finance officials…to collate and analyse the data.” In other words: on any given day, the government has no idea how much of your money they are spending.

It is unacceptable that the government lavishly spends this money without any type of monitoring system in place. Having established that government spending on former presidents has increased significantly of late, the DA will now pose a follow-up question to attain a breakdown of how much of this R82 million was spent on each of the six beneficiaries and their families. As was the case while he was president, it seems that Jacob Zuma continues to milk the people of South Africa for every cent he can get his hands on – with the ongoing enthusiastic support of the ANC. Public money must be used to create prosperity for the people of South Africa, not to reward the likes of Zuma.

DA Abroad is taking the fight for efficient services at Diplomatic Missions to Parliament

The Democratic Alliance (DA) Abroad is taking the fight for a capable Home Affairs service at Diplomatic Missions, straight to Parliament. The lack of effective services for citizens living abroad has left many South Africans in dire situations, including the refusal of health care, travel restrictions and loss of business opportunities.

During  an oversight inspection at the Diplomatic Mission in London, DA Member of Parliament Darren Bergman observed the challenges South Africans abroad face at diplomatic missions, first-hand.

It is for this reason, the DA in Parliament will pose a question to the Minister of International Relations & Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, in Parliament on 28 August 2019 on what her Department plans to do to fix diplomatic missions abroad to ensure that South Africans living overseas have access to health care and can travel home.

Support for this cause championed by the DA has received increasing waves of support, particularly through our petition for a capable Home Affairs. The petition is a commitment to South Africans that the DA will fight in Parliament for:

  • A reduction in waiting times for civic documents such as passports, ID books and birth certificates, down from six months to two months;
  • Ensuring that electronic services implemented in South Africa be implemented for use by citizens abroad as well;
  • Making an online tracking service available so that those abroad can receive updates and check on the status of their applications; and,
  • The provision of foreign missions with adequate resources to contact consular offices and ensure that inquiries are responded to in a timely manner.

To join us in this campaign for improved Home Affairs services, sign our petition here. With numerous signatures, we can place a motion of notice in parliament to present the petition and request a debate on the type and quality of services delivered at Diplomatic Missions.

Landmark ConCourt judgments proves ANC impedes land reform, not the Constitution

While President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday confirmed that Parliament would proceed with the process of amending Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation, two landmark Constitutional Court judgments this week placed the blame for failed land reform firmly at the feet of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR).

The Democratic Alliance has long held that the Constitution is not a barrier to land reform, the ANC is. The barriers to land reform have been and continue to be ANC-government corruption, constrained budgets and a lack of political will.

On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court, in a majority judgment, upheld an order by the Land Claims Court’s that a special master be appointed to assist the Department in processing land claims. This judgments comes after almost two decades of litigation and complaints against the DRDLR for its failure to timeously mediate and process land claims. The Court judgment stated that the “Department’s failure to practically manage and expedite land reform measures in accordance with constitutional and statutory promises has profoundly exacerbated the intensity and bitterness of our national debate about land reform. It is not the Constitution, nor the courts, nor the laws of the country that are at fault in this. It is the institutional incapacity of the Department to do what the statute and the Constitution require of it that lies at the heart of this colossal crisis”.

In a judgment delivered on Thursday, the Constitutional Court confirmed the Eastern Cape High Court decision to declare Sections of the Land Affairs General Amendment Act and the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act invalid. This is due to the fact that  Section 3 of the Tenure Act, which enables legal occupants of a property to seek conversion of their tenure rights into ownership, had for the past two decades not been extended to the former apartheid homelands. This is because, the Land Affairs Amendment Act extended the application of the Tenure Act to the whole republic, with the exception of Section 3. The Court found that “it is egregiously unfair to afford redress to some of the victims of discrimination under apartheid and withhold that redress from other victims on the basis of where they are currently located. […]. Nor can there be good reason for a land tenure that continues to entrench insecure land rights of the apartheid era”. And that “any land tenure system that affords people less secure rights in land on the basis of where they are located is inconsistent with the Constitution and the values on which our Constitution was founded”.

In light of these landmark judgments, the DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Land Reform, Zwelivelile Mandela, to ask that he requests a meeting with the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Thoko Didiza, to come and explain what steps will be taken in order for the Department to implement the courts  decisions.

Unlike the ANC, where the DA governs, we do not impede land reform. The Western Cape has a 72% success rate on agricultural land reform projects, compared to an estimated national success rate of 10%. And since 2014, the Western Cape Government have supported 357 Land Reform Projects with over R500 million in support funding.

It is quite clear that the Constitution includes legitimate mechanisms for land redistribution and that the ANC’s attempts to amend the Constitution has nothing to do with justice and reform. It is merely and attempt to hide its failures in land reform.

Ramaphosa must report back to Parliament within 14 days on Bosasa’s R3 million “donation” to the ANC

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s undertaking in Parliament today to consider a letter showing the ANC received a R3 million “donation” from Bosasa in March 2014.

This follows my disclosure of a letter in the House today from then ANC Treasurer-General, Zweli Mkhize, thanking Bosasa for this “donation” to the ANC. The letter expresses ‘sincere appreciation and gratitude for the R3 million and continued financial support and contributions rendered to the ANC.’

The President requested time to consider and reflect upon the letter and its contents, and to report back to Parliament in due course. In the interests of transparency and accountability, the President must respond to Parliament in writing within 14 days as to:

  • Whether as ANC Deputy President at the time, he was aware of the donation; and
  • Whether he will instruct the ANC to pay back every cent of money received from Bosasa over the past 15 years.

We cannot ignore the fact that Bosasa is a company that has been bribing ANC politicians for the last two decades. A 2009 SIU report found an improper and corrupt relationship between government officials and Bosasa. It appears that the ANC may be in the possession of the proceeds of unlawful activities which is an offense in terms of section 6 of the Prevention of Organised Crime (POCA) Act 121 of 1998.

Bosasa contracts with the ANC government total over R12 billion. This is corruption 101 and follows the standard ANC triangle of corruption: the ANC-in-government gives lucrative tenders to connected cronies who bribe officials, which in return funds the ANC.

In addition, President Ramaphosa received a R500 000 “donation” from Bosasa towards his CR17 campaign. Subsequent to that, his son Andile has secured lucrative deals with Bosasa to the value of at least R2 million.

The people of South Africa must know that this system of corruption has become part of the very fabric of the ANC – regardless of who leads the organisation. It’s time to break this system of corruption once and for all.

Ramaphosa all but confirms prescribed assets is coming

In Parliament, DA Leader Mmusi Maimane asked President Ramaphosa a direct question about his government’s position on prescribed assets. The President rambled and dithered at first, but when pressed, he all but confirmed that asset prescription will be introduced by his government.

The President also threw COSATU under the bus, saying that COSATU supports the view that workers’ pensions can be used by the state through an asset prescription regime. This statement goes much further than any COSATU spokesperson has yet gone. COSATU must now make their position clear: do they stand with the ANC, or with their members? On this matter, they cannot serve two masters.

President Ramaphosa’s answer is the closest we have yet come to an official confirmation that asset prescription will be introduced. This is an unacceptable and reckless policy proposal, shamefully taken straight from the apartheid government policy playbook. It should be fought by all South Africans, both those who contribute to a pension fund, and those who are not in work. Prescribed assets will be a terrible blow to investor confidence in South Africa. It will harm the entire economy, making it harder to grow the economy and create jobs.

We will mobilise hard-working South Africans to protect their own life savings, and we will mobilise unemployed South Africans to fight this economic lunacy.