Analogue switch-off: DA welcomes ConCourt judgment

The DA welcomes the Constitutional Court’s judgment that the Minister for Communications and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni’s decision to switch off analogue television broadcasts in South Africa was unconstitutional.

Justice Nonkosi Mhlanta found that the Minister’s decisions regarding both the initial switch-off date of 31 March 2022, as well as the revised date of 30 June 2022, lacked rationality. The imposed deadline of 31 October 2021 for indigent household to register for government-subsidised set-top boxes were also unconstitutional and invalid, as her Department did not take the necessary steps to ensure that the South African public were adequately informed.

Justice Mhlanta further found that the Minister failed to consult with interested stakeholders, and that her decisions would have left millions of South Africans without access to television.

This judgment underscores the concern that the Minister’s initial switch-off date was ill considered given the failures to the ensure that there was sufficient time to register beneficiaries, ensure that the Department had the capacity to roll out the set-top boxes to households and not prejudice anyone.

The DA urges the Minister to consult widely before setting the new switch-off date, and to truly take into account the needs and struggles of South Africa’s most vulnerable communities.

Loadshedding: Mantashe Must Go

Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Kevin Mileham MP.

The imminent threat of stage 6 loadshedding highlights the failures of the ANC government, and in particular a string of energy ministers and Eskom war rooms (led first by Cyril Ramaphosa and later by David Mabuza).

Gwede Mantashe, however, deserves singling out. As the minister responsible for securing South Africa’s electricity needs and planning its energy future, he has been obstructive and combative in his approach to dealing with proposed solutions.

Mantashe’s allegiance to outdated ideologies, his strong links to the unions (and in particular the National Union of Mineworkers, of which he was once the National Organizer and General Secretary), and his unwavering support for coal and nuclear, have placed him at the forefront of hindering a range of solutions to South Africa’s short term electricity generation crisis.

His continued belief in the Grand Inga hydroelectric power scheme and a nuclear new build as potential saviours point to the fact that Minister Mantashe is completely out of touch with both the scale of the immediate crisis, its impact on our people and our economy, and the timeframe within which solutions can be implemented.

With Eskom and the Department of Energy both admitting a shortfall of between 4000 and 6000 MW of generation capacity, the priority for the country must be to bring new generation online as quickly as possible – in a truly technology agnostic fashion, that prioritizes time and cost to implement.

The Eskom CEO, Andre de Ruyter, is on record as saying that all obstacles to new generation capacity must be lifted. This falls squarely within Mantashe’s purview. Additional priorities must include building up South Africa’s storage capacity – whether that be battery, pumped storage, or other methods of creating a dispatchable reserve, and the accelerated maintenance of the existing generation fleet.

The Democratic Alliance has, on numerous occasions, called for a national state of emergency to be declared in the electricity sector. It is our firm belief that NERSA and DMRE should immediately scrap the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan, in favour of an emergency procurement of new generation from independent power producers (IPPs) – without the preconditions and unnecessary localization requirements that form part of the RMIPPPP and REIPPPP processes. Eskom has indicated its willingness to come to the party by making more grid connections available to IPPs. It is time for the Minister of Energy to do the same.

At the same time, we call on NERSA to ease the regulatory environment for small scale embedded generation, and thereby make it easier for home users and small businesses to install their own electricity generation capacity. Instead of burdening them with additional registration and compliance requirements, we should make it easier, and incentivize them (through tax rebates) for doing so.

Mantashe has proven to be a complete failure when it comes to managing South Africa’s energy crisis. In addition, he is tainted by the findings of the Zondo Commission with regard to his Bosasa benefits and his role in cadre deployment and state capture. It is past time that Ramaphosa fires him, and replaces him with someone who is more in touch with the needs of the country.

If our country and our economy are to survive this crisis, Mantashe must go!

Opposition parties, coalitions and the future of South African democracy

The following speech was delivered by DA Federal Leader, John Steenhuisen, at Chatham House in London. 

A picture is attached here

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you very much for the opportunity to address this revered forum, and for giving up your precious time to come and listen to me.

I addressed Chatham House almost exactly two years ago, but back then I had to do so via Zoom. That was when the world was still coming to grips with a pandemic that would go on to cause immeasurable suffering and damage across the globe.

It feels like so much has changed since then. These past two years have seen world economies taken to the brink. Sectors such as tourism and hospitality, in particular, have been extremely hard hit and many businesses did not survive the often heavy-handed responses of their governments.

Back in South Africa, where there is no financial buffer to speak of and where our government’s financial support for affected businesses and employees amounted to little more than a token gesture, thousands of restaurants, hotels, tour operators and other businesses operating in the tourism sector did not survive the lockdown restrictions.

Those that did barely held on by a thread, and many had to reinvent the way they operated to stay afloat.

But today the world is traveling once more and South Africa’s last remaining restrictions have finally been lifted. Our masks have come off, our sports stadiums and concerts are back to full capacity, and our conference venues are very much open for business.

It is absolutely wonderful to finally see the tourist and business travel numbers in South Africa ticking up again – to see hotels filling up, restaurants buzzing once more, and to hear all the lovely languages and accents of travelers as they explore South Africa’s incredible attractions.

We are ready to welcome the world once more to our unique and beautiful country, and to show that we haven’t been resting on our laurels these past two years. Which, I’m afraid, the traveling Welsh rugby team is about to discover as they take on a recharged Springboks in Pretoria on Saturday.

I am sure they will receive a South African welcome they won’t forget.

I am delighted to be able to address you in person this time round. London in mid-summer is a wonderful place to visit and your city is looking beautiful.

I don’t travel overseas all that often, but when I do it seems to get my detractors a little riled up.

As some of you might know, I recently visited Ukraine and spent a week in and around Kyiv, meeting Ukrainian leaders, academics and civil society to get a first-hand account of the situation in the country, and to express the solidarity of South Africans with the people of Ukraine, despite the cowardly and immoral Russia-friendly position our ANC government has taken.

Unsurprisingly, my trip was met with howls of indignation from our government, and much hand-wringing and tut-tutting from the chattering classes. “Who does Steenhuisen think he is, and doesn’t he have more pressing matters back home?” they all furiously typed in their reports and op-eds.

The short answer to this is that I am the leader of the official opposition – a party that governs for over 20 million people in the Western Cape province and 38 metros and municipalities – and I am perfectly capable of dealing with the many pressing matters back home as well as representing the views of the majority of South Africans on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

If I had to listen to the DA’s critics and moderate my behaviour according to the opinions expressed in our media, I would likely end up doing nothing and saying nothing. But that is not who I am, and that is not what the DA is.

Ours is a country where many commentators still cannot see beyond the liberation movement-turned-government, and this limiting horizon often informs their opinions and critiques.

Even as voters come to terms with reality and turn their backs on the ANC in droves, there is still a stubborn inability amongst many journalists, analysts and opinion formers to envisage a future that does not involve the ANC.

Intellectually, they know the party is done, but emotionally they are still invested in it.

And so my trip to Ukraine was met with an entirely predictable media pile-on. But this was no different to the media pile-on the DA has had to endure on every single topic it has spoken out on for the past two decades.

On each of these topics we have since been vindicated, although there is seldom any recognition of this after the fact.

We were called all sorts of awful things when we warned the world 15 years ago about the dangers of Jacob Zuma and what his presidency would mean for our country. Today that is the unanimous view of the man, but at the time we were a lone voice.

We were called unpatriotic and even racist for daring to shatter the myth of the ANC, and for warning about the dangers of state capture and the role the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment played in facilitating such state capture.

We were, and still are, lambasted daily in the media for criticising the ANC’s elite enrichment scam which they dishonestly call Black Economic Empowerment, or for resisting the ANC’s attempts to expropriate private property without compensation, or for fighting to decentralise and liberate our country’s struggling economy from the grasp of a government still stuck in the Cold War.

Of course we are right on all these things, and history will continue to prove us right.

As we speak, the recently released report of the Zondo Commission of Enquiry into State Capture is proving us right on everything we have been saying for the past twenty years. This report has exposed the ANC as a massive extractive syndicate masquerading as a government, and it has rightly pinned much of the blame for this on the party’s policy of deploying its loyal cadres to the public service and state owned companies.

The reason the world knows so much today about the destructive and criminal practice of cadre deployment and state capture – and the reason so many people are finally able to connect the dots and point a finger at the true source of our country’s woes – is because the DA has not flinched for twenty years.

If we’d listened to the critics or if we’d been more sensitive to all the terrible things we’ve been called over the years, South Africa wouldn’t be standing at this crossroads today and contemplating ending its relationship with the ANC.

Someone had to say all those things and bust all those myths long before it became comfortable or popular to do so.

Thankfully our party is filled with deeply patriotic, committed and principled people who have learnt to roll with the punches and take an incredible amount of abuse – not just from our political opponents, but from all sectors, including the media – until a critical mass of people is finally prepared to admit that we were right all along when we issued warnings and connected the dots.

This has always been part of the DA’s DNA. Sixty years ago, our predecessor party, the Progressive Party, fought a lone battle in South Africa’s parliament against the apartheid government. And when I say lone, I mean literally one MP in the entire legislature.

For 13 years, Helen Suzman was the Progressive Party’s sole representative in the National Assembly. A lesser person would have wilted under the relentless barrage of hatred, heckling and insults she faced every single day from the National Party MPs.

She was called unpatriotic and a traitor to the South African cause for daring to speak out against the country’s racist and oppressive laws. She was mocked and ridiculed for visiting political prisoners and for speaking up on their behalf in parliament.

On one such an occasion she was accused of embarrassing South Africa with her questions in the House, to which she famously answered: “It is not my questions that embarrass South Africa, it is your answers.”

She was a woman of great courage and principle, and she played an invaluable role in holding government to account at a time when it would’ve been far easier to remain silent.

Six decades later, South Africa is almost unrecognisable from the days of that racist and oppressive regime. But there are some things that haven’t changed all that much. Being a principled and outspoken opposition in this country is still not easy, just as it wasn’t easy back then.

When the truth shatters myths and makes people uncomfortable, the immediate reaction is often to attack those who speak these truths. Widespread acceptance often only comes much later.

If the role of the opposition in a democracy is to hold those in power to account – and to do so even when this is a difficult and thankless task – then I can proudly say that the Democratic Alliance has fulfilled its role with distinction.

And today we are not alone in this either. There is now a groundswell of support for real change – political, economic and social – that spans civil society, the business community and other opposition parties.

A perceptible shift has taken place in recent years. For the first time in almost three decades, an ANC government is no longer considered an inevitability. It is no longer the default. South Africans across all races, ages and incomes are finally starting to envisage a different future.

The relentless assault on our democracy and the non-stop looting of state resources has finally started to outweigh the ANC’s struggle history, and this has opened the door to new possibilities for our country.

And thanks to our staggered election cycle, where municipal elections take place in between the national and provincial elections, South Africans have already had their first dress rehearsal of this change.

In last year’s local government elections, the ANC was pushed below 50% for the first time since our country became a democracy in 1994. In the process they lost control of several metros and municipalities, and their support was left teetering in many more.

In many of the councils they lost, opposition parties came together to unseat them. This has afforded South Africans a valuable opportunity to experience a test-run of a post-ANC South Africa, dominated by coalition politics, before going to the polls again in 2024.

What’s more, voters who want to make the most informed decision possible can now judge three different types of non-ANC government – those with outright DA governments, those with stable coalitions, and those with less stable minority governments.

It will come as no surprise that local governments with stable coalitions outperform those with minority governments, and that those with outright DA majorities fare the best of all. But it is the margin of difference that is perhaps surprising.

The week before last, the Auditor General released the annual municipal audit outcomes, which takes a comprehensive look at all aspects of local governance. In the only DA-run province, the Western Cape, 73% of municipalities achieved clean audits. Across the remaining eight ANC-run provinces the average was a paltry 8%.

Our party prides itself on these audit outcomes, because we know that clean governance is a direct result of our tireless efforts to build a capable and transparent state. Unlike the ANC, we don’t deploy party cadres for their loyalty, because we know that this is a short cut to state capture, the erosion of skills and the collapse of service delivery.

So when the Auditor General report confirms this astonishing statistical correlation between DA local governments and clean audits, we feel entirely vindicated. But still, there are critics who will say to us: But you can’t eat a clean audit – what does all of this mean for poor South Africans?

And that is why, in order to fully appreciate what it means, you have to read this report alongside some other critical statistics, one of which is our country’s terrifying unemployment rate.

Right now, almost 46% of adult South Africans cannot find work. This is one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. And when you look at youth employment – those under 25 years old – that percentage shoots up to well over 70%.

There is no country in the world where the prospect of finding a job is worse for young people than in South Africa.

Coupled with this is the large proportion of what our statisticians euphemistically call “discouraged jobseekers”. These are people who have given up looking for a job, and while they are still counted in the broad unemployment rate, our government excludes them from its official definition of unemployment. But they are the real measure of a country’s failure to bring hope.

At 29.5% – while still unacceptably high – the Western Cape’s broad unemployment rate is a full 16.5 percentage points lower than the national average of 45.5%. Statistically speaking, that’s a world apart.

Another set of data which should be read alongside the Auditor General’s report is Stats SA’s General Household Survey, which looks at things like access to basic services, access to schooling and household income. And here, too, the benefits of living under a DA government are undeniable.

Whether we’re talking access to piped water, electricity and refuse removal, whether we’re talking the number of children who attend pre-school, whether we’re talking the number of children who stay in school until their matric exams, or whether we’re talking the number of households that derive their income from a salary as opposed to a government grant, the one DA-run province stands head and shoulders above the other eight.

We call this the DA difference.

While clean municipal audits may sound dry and technical, these other things – clean water, electricity, schooling and jobs – are most certainly tangible in people’s lives. And the two are inextricably linked.

But if you want an even clearer, immediate comparison, you need look no further than the dire water situation in the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. Their dams are about to run dry after a period of sustained drought, and residents are now bracing for the inevitable – what is known as Day Zero back in South Africa.

And the reason everyone knows what Day Zero is, is because the DA-run City of Cape Town faced the prospect of its very own Day Zero a few years ago. Three consecutive years of drought had brought the city’s main dams perilously close to empty before relief finally came in the way of a wet winter.

But that’s where the comparison between the two cities ends, because the responses to the crises by their respective local governments could not have been more different.

In addition to a number of water augmentation initiatives and an obsessive effort to fix leaks and prevent wastage, the City of Cape Town along with the Western Cape provincial government also ran a groundbreaking public awareness campaign for the full duration of the crisis, with live dashboards on dam levels and water usage constantly communicated to residents.

The result was the world’s biggest water usage reduction campaign, without which the metro most certainly would have run out of water, and for which the City was rightly bestowed with international awards.

In contrast, the ANC-run coalition in NMB has kept ominously quiet as Day Zero approaches, and now with mere days of water left, has suddenly started frantically repairing leaks and infrastructure.

The difference between these two cities is simple: One has a stable government with an obsessive focus on efficiency and transparency, and the other has a council paralysed by a corrupt and unstable coalition.

Sometimes that difference can be a matter of life and death.

Elsewhere in the country, South Africans are bracing for an extremely hard winter as food and fuel prices continue to spike as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine, while praying that the ANC’s ongoing factional battle doesn’t spill over into violence. A repeat of last July’s riots and looting would be a crippling blow to our country.

But despite all of this – and despite the extreme poverty, unemployment and inequality numbers that continue to move in the wrong direction – there is a palpable sense of change in the country.

Across South Africa people are acutely aware of two parallel timelines: the systematic destruction of the country, and the implosion of the ANC.

Instinctively, everyone knows that South Africa’s future depends on the timing of these two events.

Should the ANC somehow manage to weather the storm just long enough to survive as party of national government into another election cycle, the chances of the country’s survival will deteriorate sharply.

But should the ANC continue to lose support at its current trajectory and become a minority party by our next elections in 2024 – and should a multi-party coalition then succeed in relegating the ANC to the opposition benches – South Africa will have a fighting chance at recovery.

The timing couldn’t possibly be tighter, and the stakes could not be higher. The next two years could very well make or break our country.

But we are under no illusions about what may be in store for us in the immediate future. The final kicks of the ANC, as their factions battle for the last of the spoils, will likely bring much disruption and chaos.

This is something we are going to have to navigate carefully, while maintaining the integrity of our institutions of democracy. It is critical that these upcoming elections remain free and fair.

And once we have navigated our way past the elections, we could then face the daunting task of having to constitute and manage a new coalition government comprised of a substantial number of smaller parties.

Such is the nature of our democracy, that every election cycle sees the birth of a host of new parties, many of which then succeed in winning just enough support to secure them a seat at the table. These one or two percent parties often become critical to the balance of a coalition, making these governments unstable and challenging to manage.

But if there is a party that can hold together a fraught coalition and steer it through the choppy waters of minority interests and “kingmaker” egos, it is the Democratic Alliance.

In fact, we are the only party in South Africa with a successful coalition history, and we learnt this skill in the trickiest testing ground of all: when the City of Cape Town became the first metro in South Africa to unshackle itself from the ANC back in 2006.

That watershed local government election saw the DA emerge as the majority party in an extremely unstable seven-party coalition, and the next five years were challenging, to put it mildly.

But by always placing our party’s non-negotiable governance principles at the heart of every decision, every policy and every budget, we successfully kept the coalition together and made such a positive turnaround in the metro that the DA was rewarded with an outright majority five years later.

The lessons we learnt in Cape Town in 2006, along with our current experience in leading coalition governments in three more metros and many more municipalities, have given us all the tools we need to achieve the same success at national level.

Key to this success – and the very first step in negotiating any possible coalition agreement – is placing our non-negotiable principles on the table upfront.

The wide array of small parties in these coalitions means that we won’t see eye to eye on everything, but if we have broad agreement on principles such as constitutionalism, the rule of law, non-racialism, building a capable state and unleashing the power of a market economy to create jobs, we know we can manage a government that will serve the interests of the people of South Africa.

Placing our party’s values and our governance principles at the centre of our coalition governments has not failed us before, and it will not fail us in 2024. It is around these values and principles that we will build a South Africa of peace, opportunity and prosperity.

A South Africa that not only looks inwards towards its own people, but also outwards as it cements its rightful place in the world as a nation that abhors oppression and empathises with the oppressed.

A South Africa not afraid to stand up to the world’s strongmen and bullies by always choosing the side of peace, justice and human rights.

That is the South Africa we clearly envisage in the DA. We know it is possible to achieve this, and we know it can happen in the next election.

We now have two years to convince voters back home that this is within reach.

In these next two years, the Democratic Alliance will don its two distinct hats – one of principled opposition and the other of capable government – to show voters that not only has the time come for a post-ANC South Africa, but also that a credible alternative with a proven track record exists.

If democratic South Africa’s first post-ANC coalition government has the DA’s values and the DA’s work ethic at its centre, our amazing country will have every chance at making a full recovery and stepping boldly into a bright new future.

If that isn’t worth fighting for, I don’t know what is.

Thank you.

Stage 6 loadshedding: Cabinet should take full blame for failing to act 

Please find attached a soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet must bear full responsibility for the unfolding electricity supply crisis following the announcement made by Eskom CEO, Andre de Ruyter, that South Africa may enter stage 6 loadshedding, starting at 17:00 this evening.

It is now 48 days since the DA wrote to Cabinet asking that they consider declaring a State of Disaster on Eskom and the electricity sector. But as is often the case with this lethargic Cabinet, they chose to bury their heads in the sand and now the country is staring into the abyss of a national grid shutdown.

The ongoing silence by Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe and Pravin Gordhan is proof that they are little more than bystanders in a crisis of their own making.

In our call to Cabinet for a State of Disaster to be declared on Eskom and the electricity sector, we cautioned that South Africa’s 15 year old loadshedding crisis requires a ‘whole of society’ approach that is anchored on making electricity generation the biggest priority for the country in the next 5 years.

It is simply astounding that in the middle of a national emergency in the electricity sector, the ANC government and energy regulatory bodies have adopted a lethargic and ‘business as usual’ approach that betrays their lack of urgency in finding lasting solutions to the crisis.

The DA call for a State of Disaster was predicated on the view that an Electricity Emergency Response Plan (EERP) must be activated to lay out short, medium and long term goals to bring additional generation capacity to the grid. Conceptualisation and finalisation of the plan should involve all stakeholders, from government, industry experts, engineering bodies, IPPs, civil society and members of the public.

Despite this sound plan, the ANC government has failed to act and the country now faces a complete collapse of the grid, the consequences of which will be dire on the country’s economy, security, investment climate and socio-economic order.

SA can only help 0.3% of people with mental health issues

Please find an attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

In answer to a parliamentary question from the DA, the Department of Health has revealed that more than 6.5 million people in South Africa needs professional mental health intervention, of which almost 1.3 million “need care for severe psychiatric conditions”. However, the country only has 19 752 beds in public and private mental health care facilities available. This means that only 0.3% of people with mental health issues are able to receive help – 332 patients for every bed available.

The country also has a massive shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists in the public health sector. While the Western Cape has only one vacancy for a psychologist and a psychiatrist/population ratio of 1:71 856, other provinces are really struggling.

  • There are only a total of 451 psychologists within the public sector with 187 vacancies;
  • The Eastern Cape vacancy rate is 83.33%;
  • The Limpopo vacancy rate is 82.86%;
  • The Mpumalanga vacancy rate 80%;
  • The Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape only employ two, four, three, and two psychiatrists respectively. This puts the Eastern Cape ratio at a staggering 1:3 338 295 and Mpumalanga at 1:1 581 194.

South Africans deserve better care from the Department of Health. The DA will submit follow-up parliamentary questions regarding the incredible vacancy rate. We will also request the Department’s urgent appearance before the parliamentary portfolio committee on health regarding their plans for intervention.

It is hardly surprising that South Africa is facing a mental health crisis, with the country’s economy in tatters, unemployment lines growing daily, and severe systemic failures in almost all public sectors and State-owned enterprises. Government needs to ensure that all South Africans have the help they need when they need it.

DA welcomes preservation order obtained against former NLC board chairperson

Please find attached soundbite by Mat Cuthbert MP.

The DA welcomes the decision by the Special Tribunal (ST) in granting the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) a preservation order against former National Lotteries Commission (NLC) Board Chairperson, Alfred Nevuthanda.

In March of this year, the DA called on the SIU to obtain a preservation order against Nevuthanda after it was revealed by GroundUp that he had allegedly purchased a house for approximately R27 million with funding obtained from five hijacked NGOs.

The funding allocated by the NLC to these five NGOs was to the tune of R100 million and intended for athletics tracks, old age homes and a rehabilitation centre.

According to the SIU, “Immediately after funding was received, the NPOs transferred money to a legal firm for the purchase of the property and the furniture”.

The DA has consistently warned both the ANC and the Minister Ebrahim Patel of the shenanigans that took place during his tenure as NLC board chairperson but they chose to close their eyes to the blatant corruption taking place.

We are encouraged that the wheels of justice are starting to turn against those who have stolen money from grannies, the sick and marginalised communities.

However, we will not rest until these criminals are behind bars.

Is Fikile lying to protect SACAA?

The DA is appalled that the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, seems to be trying to protect the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) from being held to account, especially in light of yet another serious safety concern on a South African Airways (SAA) flight.

During a parliamentary portfolio committee on transport meeting on 8 March 2022, Minister Mbalula said that the report and findings of the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau’s (AAIB) investigation into the crash of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) aircraft, Cessna S550 ZS-CAR, tasked to carry out a calibration flight at the George Aerodome on 23 January 2020, would be appealed. The DA has since been in contact with AAIB and has been reliably informed that “the AAIB did not attain new and significant evidence presented to the AAIB to review or consider reopening the investigation”.

The Minister and SACAA seem to have a disregard for aviation safety, which is a serious concern. Three people died in the ZS-CAR crash. And a whole plane full of passengers were put in danger on 15 April 2022 when an SAA Airbus A330-300 seems to have left Accra, Ghana with significantly water-contaminated fuel. The flight, SA9053, was piloted by Captain Vusi Khumalo who was in command of the vaccine flight that experienced the extraordinarily dangerous alpha floor event on 24 February 2021. Captain Khumalo was recently appointed as SAA’s Head of Training despite his lack of previous training experience.

According to reports, the SAA flight was the only one to have experienced fuel contamination. This resulted in nearly a day’s delay. Reportedly, when the engines started to surge, the crew did not follow the normal safety procedures, which put the aircraft and everyone on board in danger. Significant damage to the engines due to water contamination were discovered and all the engines had to be replaced.

What the DA finds most concerning is the fact that SACAA reportedly only learned of the incident on 25 April 2022, and that it was not reported by SAA as procedure dictates, but by the Ghanaian Civil Aviation Authority. SAA also failed to report the alpha floor event

While the events of flight SA9053 must be investigated, the DA does not belief that SACAA should run the investigation. Given the Aviation Authority’s efforts to disregard the AAIB’s findings into the ZS-CAR crash, as well as its lax attitude towards SAA’s failures to report significant safety concerns on their flights, we believe that an independent authority should investigate this latest incident.

SACAA has proven that they cannot be trusted to put the safety of passengers and crew first. The Aviation Authority is hiding behind Minister Mbalula’s skirts and trying to weasel their away out of accountability. The DA will not allow SACAA to put more lives in danger through their efforts to save their own hides.

DA: National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure must enforce Eskom interdict and protect power plants

Please find attached soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

The DA has written to the National Police Commissioner, General Sehlahle Fannie Masemola , to request that he activates the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) and deploy the South African Police Service (SAPS) tactical units to enforce the court interdict granted to Eskom against striking workers at its power plants.

Yesterday, Eskom made an alarming admission that the unprotected strike action by Eskom employees at various power stations posing a risk to 4 000 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity. This is over and above the fact that the current stage 4 loadshedding is estimated to be costing the country an average of R942 million per day.

The NATJOINTS is empowered to coordinate all security and law enforcement operations throughout the country and is therefore well placed to first anticipate and if necessary, to respond timeously to incidents of criminality and disorder when they occur.

With reported incidents of intentional interference in the operations of the power plants, the actions of the striking workers now border on criminality as they are disrupting the proper functioning of key national infrastructure.

Despite Eskom securing a court interdict to stop the unprotected strike action at its power plants, some employees have either blocked entrances to these facilities for their colleagues who want to continue working or they are sending threatening messages asking them to stay at home.

Deliberately interfering with critical infrastructure is a direct threat to the country’s national security. It is for this reason that the DA is calling on NATJOINTS to be convened as a matter of urgency to effect an operational plan that would address this growing threat of sabotage.

The actions of the striking Eskom employees are not random acts of criminality, but a coordinated effort to bring electricity generation to a standstill and trigger a possible grid collapse.

To address South Africa’s electricity crisis permanently, the DA reiterates our call for an emergency plan that would expedite the deployment of proper maintenance, lowest cost source-agnostic private sector involvement and the transmission infrastructure needed to support them. Pursuing a ‘whole of society’ emergency approach to the power crisis would represent an incremental step towards the realisation of what is required to fix what we have to keep the lights on for businesses, industry and ordinary citizens.

If the President won’t break his Phala Phala silence, then an ad-hoc committee of Parliament must

A letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly is attached here and a voicenote from the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen here

Following the latest revelations in the Phala Phala robbery scandal, which include the alleged use of a secret Crime Intelligence fund as well as the involvement of Deputy State Security Minister Zizi Kodwa, I have today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, requesting that she urgently establish an ad-hoc committee to investigate the matter. This is in addition to the nine action steps the DA announced last week to get to the bottom of what really happened at Phala Phala.

Since Parliament is currently in recess, the duty to establish such an ad-hoc committee rests entirely with the Speaker of the National Assembly. And given Parliament’s scandalous history of failing to hold former President Zuma to account in the Nkandla scandal – and the firm rebuke it received from then Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for this dereliction of duty – it is critical that the Speaker demonstrate Parliament’s commitment to its Constitutional duty and the oath of office that each of its members swore.

Allegations that a secret Crime Intelligence fund was used to pay for the clandestine, off-the-record operation to track and recover the stolen money and apprehend the suspects, as well as the deployment of elite task force members to the President’s farm at an alleged cost of R2 million per month, have broadened the scope of this scandal considerably. In addition to this, the alleged involvement of Deputy State Security Minister Zizi Kodwa in secret discussions with Namibian authorities, means that this scandal now involves, among others, the VIP Protection Services, SAPS, the Justice Department, Crime Intelligence and State Security.

This is now well beyond the scope of any single portfolio committee, and as such it calls for the establishment of an ad-hoc committee. This committee must then summon, among others, President Ramaphosa, the Justice Minister, the National Commissioner of SAPS, Minister Kodwa and Major General Wally Rhoode to explain to Parliament their involvement in the saga and to answer the many questions that still remain unanswered at this stage.

It is now clear that Parliament will not get satisfactory answers directly from the President himself, who has not provided answers to written questions nor answered any of the questions put to him in the parliamentary debate. If he won’t break his silence, then Parliament must. It dare not fail the people of South Africa on Phala Phala as it did with Nkandla.

Oversight refusal raises many red flags in Richtersveld

Please find attached English soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP, as well as English and Afrikaans soundbites by Veronica van Dyk MP.

Despite following procedure, the DA was refused to do oversight at a meeting between NCEDA (Northern Cape Economic Development Trade and Investment Promotion Agency) and the Richtersveld Community Property Association (CPA).

The DA will write to the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on public enterprises, Khayalethu Elvis Magaxa, to request NCEDA and the Richtersveld CPA’s urgent appearance in Parliament.

We share the community’s concerns that that the Northern Cape provincial government is using NCEDA to consult and negotiate on their behalf with the Richtersveld CPA, while NCEDA – a State-owned enterprise (SOE) – has for the past number of years operated without a board of directors and is not properly constituted.

There are also concerns regarding the CPA, which is under the administration of Honey Inc. Lawyers and the relevant national department. The administration order does not empower the administrator, nor Honey Inc. to consult or negotiate for the alienation or disposal by sale or lease of CPA land.

Another red flag is that the meeting to ensure land surety needed by the Northern Cape provincial government to attract and retain investors were touted as a closed “training” session.

The community showed their concerns by peacefully protesting outside. Their justified requests to sit in on the training session, which also involved SASOL and promised Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul’s attendance, were denied.

With the damning evidence before the Zondo commission of Alexkor Richtersveld Mining Company Pooling and Sharing Joint Venture (PSJV)’s capture fresh in their minds, it should be no wonder that the Richtersveld community is concerned that another piece of their heritage is once again being stolen from them. The R13.8 billion investments that the Boegoebaai Harbour and Green Hydrogen Production projects may attract would certainly lure many corrupt and greedy cadres.

While the Richtersveld community is pro-development, it should be done in a responsible manner with community benefit and participation. They cannot be excluded from the benefits of developing the land that belongs to them.