State must recover R1.2 billion from State capture enablers and facilitators

Please find attached soundbite by Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP.

The DA is calling on the relevant law enforcement agencies to prioritize the recovery of R1.2 billion from the enablers and facilitators of State capture, as recommended by the Zondo Commission. In various parts of the Commission’s five-volume report, specific recommendations are made in which the State is instructed to recover state money from individuals and organisations who were enablers of State capture.

Based on these findings, and the DA’s own calculations from the information provided in the report, the total amount that these individuals and organisations must pay is R1.2 billion. State capture enablers and facilitators either received monetary benefits for facilitating the award of State contracts to Gupta enterprises or procured services that were never delivered.

While the DA welcomes the Zondo Commission’s recommendation that the R57 billion laundered by the Guptas through local and international networks be traced and recovered, the R1.2 billion that the Commission indicated should be directly recoverable from State capture enablers, must be paid back without delay.

According to the Zondo Report, the enablers and facilitators of State capture:

  • Manipulated contracts to benefit Gupta enterprises;
  • Prejudiced State-owned enterprises (SOEs) through irregular payments;
  • Received advance payment for services that were never delivered;
  • Made irregular and unauthorised payments to individuals; and
  • The preferential procurement from Gupta enterprises.

The DA insists that the ANC government ensure the following corrupt cadres and cronies pay back their blood money:

  • Timothy Mokhesi, who as the former head of the Department of Human Settlements appointed and paid Blackhead Consulting/Diamond Hill Joint Venture R255 million to identify and remove asbestos from roofs of houses provided by the Free State provincial government, despite the company’s “misrepresentation” of its ability to do the job. The Zondo Report called the project a “considerable scam from its inception” and said it was clear that it was always intended to benefit the company and various government officials.
  • Mosebenzi Zwane, the former Free State MEC for human settlement, who “failed to provide proper provincial leadership” regarding a R1 billion housing project when former Free State Premier Ace Magashule changed the scope of the project without consulting the Department of Human Settlements or the contractors for the project. Along with Moses Mpho Mokoena, the former head of the Department, Zwane also illegally paid the contractors R500 million in advance.
  • Not only did the Zondo Report state that the Commission would have been unnecessary had the State Security Agency (SSA) investigated and halted State capture when the first signs emerged, it also found that former State Security Minister David Mahlobo overstepped and interfered with and ran SSA operations. The State lost R1.5 billion between 2012 and 2018 – some which Mahlobo received as large amounts of cash. He also facilitated the payment of R2.5 million a month in 2015/16 and R4.5 million per month 2016/17 to former President Jacob Zuma.
  • It was under Thulani Dlomo, the head of Chief Directorate of Special Operations (CDSO), that SSA was abused for Zuma’s benefit and Presidential Security Support Services reported slurped up SSA resources.
  • The Zondo Report called former spy boss Arthur Fraser a law unto himself regarding his use of SSA money.
  • Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng cost the SABC R420 000 by organising a discounted deal with ANN7 for archival SABC footage. SABC ultimately never received payment. He also bullied SABC executives into accepting a deal with MultiChoice in the country’s migration from analogue to digital broadcasting thereby costing the public broadcaster a potential income worth billions. Motsoeneng was also involved in the SABC’s partnerships with ANN7 and The New Age (TNA) to host the TNA Breakfast briefings on which the public broadcaster continually made a loss, while ANN7 and TNA profited.
  • The Zondo Commission recommended that money be recovered from Zwane, Ace Magashule, and the former head of the Free State Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Peter Thabethe, for their involvement in paying R280.2 million to Estina – the Gupta-linked company responsible for the disastrous Vrede Dairy Project.
  • The Guptas and the ANC cadre deployees used Transnet as their own personal piggy banks, “primarily through the Gupta racketeering enterprise”. Contracts worth R41.2 billion were awarded to companies linked to the Guptas or their associate Salim Essa. All the money must be recouped from former Transnet CEOs, Brian Molefe and Siyabonga Gama, and the former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Anoj Singh, as well as all other board members involved in State capture.
  • The Airports Company SA (ACSA) must recoup money misappropriated by the Gupta-linked Regiments Capital and the company’s former and current owners, SAA, Nedbank, and Standard Bank under the interest swap contracts.

The State capture billions is taxpayers money that should have been spent improving the lives of South Africans, Instead, it were used to line the pockets of a corrupt ANC government and their comrades. The first step to correct the ‘great heist’ of the State capture era is to recover State funds from the enablers and facilitators of State capture as a matter of urgency.

Power to the people

Fifteen years into the electricity crisis and 24 years after energy experts and the DA first warned government about looming power shortages, President Ramaphosa on Sunday announced an energy crisis plan that finally makes sense.

The plan is to open the electricity sector to independent power producers of all sizes and to fix Eskom by bringing back skilled engineers and holding malfeasance accountable. The DA and energy experts have been calling for this approach all along, and Andre De Ruyter has been calling for it since he became Eskom CEO.

Crucially, the plan vindicates each one of the DA’s four core principles for organizing society. The ANC-created energy crisis illustrates why each of these principles is an essential prerequisite for a successful South Africa.

Commitment to the rule of law

Eskom will not be fixed until corruption and sabotage are dealt with decisively and those who break the law are held accountable. Looters must be forced to pay back the money and saboteurs jailed for the destruction they have wreaked on society. Eskom has accumulated R400 billion of debt because corruption has been allowed to flourish unchecked. The utility was forced to resort to Stage 6 loadshedding because saboteurs knew they could get away with breaking the law in pursuit of their selfish interests.

The rule of law advances the common good and protects the weak against the mighty, preventing the abuse of power and empowering ordinary people. It promotes order, stability, fairness and economic growth. At the heart of the rule of law is the principle of accountability, which requires openness and transparency. This is why the DA has initiated a process for a parliamentary ad hoc committee to oversee President Ramaphosa’s new National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) established to drive his energy crisis plan.

The president has located the NECOM in the Office of the Presidency, the only ministry without a dedicated parliamentary oversight committee. The DA yesterday unveiled our 10-point action plan to improve parliament’s ability to hold the executive accountable, with a dedicated committee to oversee the Presidency being one of them. Even Chief Justice Zondo pointed out this omission in his report.

The president has centralized more and more power in his office, to the point that he has effectively outsourced power to a parallel cabinet that bypasses parliamentary accountability. His motivation may be that his own cabinet is simply incapable of solving South Africa’s energy and other problems. But nonetheless the centralization of power in the presidency is an extremely concerning trend that must be reversed. South Africa needs decentralized decision-making that brings power closer to people. Which brings us to the DA’s second core principle.

Commitment to a social market economy

A social market economy refers to an economy in which individuals, households and businesses rather than the government hold the decision-making power over what to purchase, where to invest, and how much to produce. Government has an important role to play in improving access to markets by championing open and competitive markets. The ANC has instead chosen to guard Eskom’s monopoly fiercely with a barricade of bureaucratic red tape because the utility has been their prime source of patronage and procurement corruption.

The DA wants an open, competitive energy market where everyone is allowed to buy and sell, because this drives supply up and prices down. Opening the energy market to private producers will bring online a diversity of supply, making South Africa’s energy system more flexible (giving it the ability to adapt quickly to change) and therefore more resilient (giving it the ability to recover quickly from adversity), and more sustainable both from a financial and environmental point of view.

A market economy is all about empowerment. Empowering organisations, households and municipalities to generate and sell electricity provides people with more electrical power and also with more financial power, because it grows the economy and jobs.

The energy crisis plan should have gone further and specifically removed all constraints on competent municipalities and metros from generating, buying and selling power. Nevertheless, DA governments haven’t sat around waiting for permission to do what is best for their residents, which is to purchase lowest-cost power where they can, to drive electricity prices down and supply up. Many are already making real progress towards energy security.

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced this week that the City will pay cash for excess electricity sold back to the grid by commercial and industrial generators. This is a first in South Africa and will soon be rolled out to households too. DA-run Stellenbosch already gets over 5 MW of electricity from private and municipal solar panels and are eager for commercial and industrial generators to feed as much energy as they can back to the grid. DA-led Ekurhuleni has signed up over 40 independent producers. Other DA governments are following in these footsteps.

A market economy rather than a centrally controlled economy is all the more important in South Africa’s context of an incapable state, where government from the cabinet down simply lacks the capacity to solve problems, and where technical know-how resides mainly in the private sector. This brings us to the DA’s third core organizing principle for society.

Commitment to building a capable state

The plan to bring back skilled engineers who were pushed out of Eskom, and the formation of NECOM to drive the plan, reflects the importance of a capable state. The DA has long called for public appointments based on merit alone. Ability to deliver to the public must be the only consideration so that the poor, who are most reliant on the state, get the best possible service delivery at the lowest possible prices.

Building a capable state requires commitment to the principle of the separation of party and state. The Zondo Commission laid bare that the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment caused the state capture, corruption and hollowing out of capacity that sent Eskom into a death spiral taking South Africa’s economy with it. The DA is fighting in court to have cadre deployment declared unconstitutional and illegal, as per Chief Justice Zondo’s conclusion. It is shameful that President Ramaphosa has decided to use taxpayer money to defend this policy in court.

Commitment to nonracialism

The crisis plan shows that when the rubber hits the road, the ability of public servants to deliver is far more important than their race. Draining Eskom of highly skilled white engineers may have done wonders to grow the ANC’s patronage system, but it came at the expense of access to reliable, low-cost electricity for all, jobs for the unemployed, and a healthy growing fiscus. Real social transformation is about the latter.

The president’s plan should have gone further and waived all preferential procurement requirements for the energy sector, which add cost and complexity and greatly delay processes that are urgent. They may enrich a small, connected elite, but again this is at the expense of real transformation that requires low-cost energy and economic growth and access to opportunities for all.

The DA agrees absolutely on the need for social transformation. SA’s high and racialized inequality is appalling and unacceptable. But short cuts like replacing engineers with cadres and tenders for pals is not the way to do it. President Ramaphosa’s R55 billion for 700 black industrialists has done nothing to pull 35 million South Africans out of deep poverty and comes at their expense. Real social transformation is set out in the Bill of Rights not in the BEE codes.


Why did energy shortages and Eskom debt have to reach crisis proportions before this plan was announced? It was introduced with great reluctance and only because South Africa’s energy system has been destroyed to the point where it is now hurting the ANC’s prospects for re-election.

South Africa cannot afford to reach crisis point before we learn the lessons and bring the necessary change. Judge John Hlophe was finally suspended by the Judicial Service Commission this week, having done immeasurable harm to the Western Cape judiciary for twelve years. We don’t have the luxury of responding so slowly to matters that harm society.

The DA cares deeply about South Africa and we are committed to bringing real change that empowers all South Africans. We strive to implement our core principles where we govern, and we are striving to show that multi-party coalitions built around these core principles can bring the progress South Africa so needs. Today we are announcing a multi-party government for Nelson Mandela Bay, and in 2024 we hope to do the same for South Africa.

Prasa’s Ramatlakane must be fired

The DA calls on the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, to fire Prasa chairperson, Leonard Ramatlakane. This after he blatantly lied at a media briefing.

According to reports, Ramatlakane claimed that the original exposé on Prasa’s blunder to buy trains that were too tall to use on South African railways was based on incorrect information. The Daily Maverick reported that the original Rapport story was in fact based on several eyewitness accounts with follow-ups written from various documents received from numerous credible sources, including a 2014 report from Prasa’s engineering team that found the Afro 4000 locomotives to be tall for the rail lines.

Ramatlakane also made claims that the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) debunked the media reports, when they had in fact confirmed them and highlighted the concerns about height of the locomotives.

Ramatlakane’s third lie that the locomotives were auctioned off and are now safely operated on South African railways, were rebutted by Traxtion, the private rail operator who bought several of the locomotives. While Traxtion did buy some of the locomotives, the company has confirmed that the trains are operating between Zambia and Tanzania and that they had to be transported to Zimbabwe via trucks as they could only complete the journey to Zambia via railway from there.

Furthermore, both a 2017 Supreme Court of Appeal ruling and the Zondo commission found that the locomotive to be non-compliant.

It is unacceptable for the chairperson of a State-owned enterprise (SOE) to lie and cast aspersions on the media, the justice system and the Zondo commission in order to try and escape accountability. Prasa’s mistake cost the country R3.5 billion and have left hundreds of thousands of rail commuters stranded. The fact that Ramatlakane is essentially a recycled ANC hack and a product of cadre deployment is further evidence of this heinous practice that gave rise to State capture and continues to undermine the country.

South Africans deserve working railways. They deserve heads of SOEs that tell the truth and are held accountable when they do not. When chairpersons, such as Ramatlakane, are found wanting, their heads must roll. No more second or third or fourth chances.

DA blasts Sisulu’s suggested 50/50 race quota for schools

For more than 25 years the state of our schools and that of basic education have deteriorated rapidly – proving once again that the ANC literally destroys everything that it touches.

In the light of this, it was shocking to hear the proposed solution by the ANC’s Social Transformation Committee Chair, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, to introduce a so-called “50/50” racial model in schools.

The DA will not stand for this. The DA has committed itself to the principle of non-racialism that will effectively redress the continued economic exclusion of 30 million impoverished citizens while simultaneously doing away with continued Apartheid-style racial classification, such as this.

This proposed racial engineering by the ANC is strongly in line with their support for the draconian Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill and particularly the “Lesufi clause” that seeks to disempower school governing bodies.

This is a classic example of the ANC misdiagnosing a problem and then giving it the wrong remedy on top of that. Again, the pathological ANC seeks to use race as a way to catagorise and treat people, this time innocent school children.

The likes of Lindiwe Sisulu and Panyaza Lesufi will not fix or even improve the state of our schools and of basic education. In fact, they will be its death knell.

The only way to fix our schools is to implement the DA’s 6-point plan:

1. Build schools to get rid of mud/asbestos and pit toilets;

2. Introduce collaboration models wherein well-run schools partner with those that are dysfunctional to improve quality teaching, leadership and governance;

3. Regulate online and blended learning and ensure access to ICT and Wi-Fi;

4. Develop and reskill teachers to teach the skills and knowledge required by the modern labour market, industry and entrepreneurship. Further legislate a National Independent Schools inspectorate to monitor quality teaching in the classroom;

5. Dual mother tongue text books for teachers so that learners can study in their mother tongue to improve their reading, comprehension, writing and numeracy; and

6. Review SASAMs and Lurits to ensure that we better track, trace and retain learner drop-outs to keep more children in school.

The DA rejects the minister’s suggestion to racialise schools instead of fixing dysfunctional schools that affect the majority of black children in this country.

DA unveils 10-point action plan to get Parliament to work for the people

The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, John Steenhuisen MP, during a media briefing. He was joined by the DA Chief Whip, Natasha Mazzone MP, and DA Deputy Chief Whip, Siviwe Gwarube MP.

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Natasha Mazzone MP.

Click here to download a photo.

Today, South Africa’s Official Opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has released its parliamentary reform document to give effect to a raft of recommendations to fix Parliament and bolster the institution’s oversight capacity, as recommended by the Corder Report on Oversight and Accountability, the Fifth Parliament Legacy Report, the High Level Panel Report by former president Kgalema Motlanthe and, most recently, the Zondo Report.

The fact that countless recommendations to fix parliament over several decades have continuously been ignored by ANC speakers, shows that the ruling party has no intention of holding its own accountable and preventing the kind of severely damaging and regressive corruption which took place under their watch. If the ANC will not reform parliament to work for the people, then the DA will.

Today we are announcing a host of actions which will bolster the central role of Parliament in our democracy. It is time to change Parliament from a rubber-stamping lapdog under the ANC to an effective oversight body so that events like State Capture and Cadre Deployment will never bring South Africa to its knees again.

The DA has, for many years, highlighted the failure of Parliament to hold the executive to account and this stance was finally vindicated with the release of the Zondo Reports, which criticised how the ANC majority in Parliament continuously protected Presidents, Ministers and most worryingly, state capture, at the expense of the people of South Africa.

This stems from the ANC’s policy of Cadre deployment, where MPs are seen as being deployed to Parliament to do the bidding of the party. This continues even today, when the Speaker of the National Assembly refused the DA’s request to establish an ad-hoc committee to investigate allegations surrounding the theft and alleged cover-up at President Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm. This demonstrates the continued shielding of the executive by Parliament, contrary to the accountability role Parliament is tasked to play by our Constitution.

As constitutionalism is a core value of the DA, the party will seek to embrace, further and defend all aspects of the Constitution. It is essential that Parliament functions properly – our democracy depends on it. This requires that the principle of separation of powers be strengthened in respect of Parliament in particular. Under the doctrine of separation of powers, Parliament should

operate independently of the other two branches of government – the executive and the judiciary.

While the DA has played an instrumental role in promoting a culture of accountability, there is a need for structural parliamentary reforms to ensure the institution can perform effective oversight and operate more independently of the executive in the future. Parliament cannot continue any longer under the current shielding of the executive by ANC MPs. If we are to ever get past the shocking revelations of state capture, we will need an effective Parliament which is willing to take the executive, and even its own members, to task.

Accordingly, the DA presents the following actions to improve separation of powers within Parliament, and ensure greater parliamentary oversight over the executive:

1. Establishing a committee to oversee the Presidency

There is currently no effective and regular oversight mechanism over the acts and omissions of the President and the Presidency, with even Chief Justice Zondo pointing this out in his reports. To close this gap, the DA will submit a proposal to the Speaker in concurrence with the Rules Committee– to call for the establishment of a Portfolio Committee to conduct oversight over the Presidency throughout each parliamentary term.

2. Increasing the accountability of the Speaker to ordinary MP’s

There is no effective accountability mechanism to hold the Speaker to account from the perspective of ordinary MPs. To ensure improved oversight, the DA will seek to add an additional responsibility of the Speaker to account before Parliament generally, and to answer questions from ordinary MPs.

3. Increasing representation of opposition committee chairpersons and regulating committee systems

The effectiveness of a committee depends in large part on the quality of the chairperson. Presently, almost all chairpersons are derived from the ANC, after being endorsed by their NEC, and on the recommendation of their

Cadre Deployment Committee. What this means is that far too often, the executive is shielded from any attempts at interrogation or questioning from opposition MPs.

To give effect to these changes, the DA will seek an amendment to the Rules that allow for a set number of committees to be chaired by opposition MPs based on representation levels in Parliament as well as reducing the number of votes required to call a member of the executive before the committee.

4. Fixing Parliamentary Oversight and Ensuring Meaningful Public Participation

One of the biggest issues facing portfolio committees is their lack of budget. Out of a budget of R2 billion per year, the portfolio committees receive only about R50 – R60 million of these funds to perform crucial oversight roles.

Additionally, there is currently no legislation governing oversight visits of MPs and this leaves uncertainty pertaining to the circumstances under which oversight can be done, and what remedies are allowed should an oversight visit be denied.

To fix these issues, the DA will introduce legislation that will provide greater clarity on the powers of oversight afforded to MPs and make explicit provision for unannounced oversight visits. The DA will also advocate for a greater proportion of the Parliamentary budget to be allocated to portfolio committees so that proper, frequent, and effective oversights can be conducted, and meaningful public participation occurs.

5. The enhancement of the Parliamentary Protection Services

The presence of the SAPS within Parliament is problematic as the police service is ultimately controlled by the executive. There is a need for a stronger independent Parliamentary Protection Services which should perform most of the security functions within the precinct and require SAPS to account to them whilst on the Parliamentary precinct. This would enhance the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature and ensure that the SAPS cannot be used by the executive to ‘bully’ Parliament.

6. Increasing the frequency of Presidential oral question sessions

The President currently provides Parliament with oral replies to questions at least once per quarter. In the UK parliamentary system, the Prime Minister must answer questions in Parliament every Wednesday. The DA will seek to increase the level of regularity that the President is required to answer questions within Parliament to at least once a month, thereby solidifying the central role that Parliament plays within our democratic system.

7. Creating penalties for cabinet members who fail to appear for meetings or answer oral questions adequately

Far too often, members of the executive fail to appear for parliamentary meetings on time or at all – with belatedly tendered excuses offered. It has also become an increasing occurrence for them to fail to adequately answer oral questions, or even at all. The DA will seek to create new Parliamentary Rules which outline pre-set repercussions for a Minister who fails to attend a pre-determined number of question sessions or fails to attend a committee meeting without adequate cause.

8. The reintroduction of the interpellations debate

Debates in Parliament currently follow a highly stringent format which permits only one question, and subsequently a single follow-up question. The DA will request that the Rules Committee allow for the reintroduction of the interpellation which is when a MP can request a mini debate on a given topic which then allows greater dialogue and interaction between members of the executive and MPs.

9. Amending the rules to create sanctions for failing to answer PQs timeously or adequately

Parliamentary Questions are vital for critical oversight and play a crucial role in holding the executive accountable. However, it has become an increasing occurrence for some PQs to be answered late, inadequately, or not at all by Ministers. The DA will amend Rule 136 to require that a Minster who fails to meet their obligations in terms of responding to Parliamentary questions, be referred to the Powers and Privileges Committee for contempt of Parliament.

10. Ensuring that Parliament processes and takes timely action on the State Capture Report

The DA has been working to ensure that Parliament does not simply sweep the findings and recommendations contained within the State Capture Reports under the rug. The DA will petition the Speaker for the establishment of an ad hoc committee under Rule 253. This Committee will monitor and implement the recommendations of the State Capture Reports.

The DA will be keeping up the pressure in the coming months to ensure that the findings of the Zondo reports are processed and actioned upon in a timeous manner by Parliament. We will not allow this report to be forgotten by Parliament, with no firm action being taken to reform the institution where required.

The effective functioning of Parliament is central to rebuilding our nation and ensuring that abuses of executive power, on the scale witnessed in the preceding years can never occur again. These steps that have been mentioned will be brought before Parliament in the coming months.

With the 2024 elections around the corner, should we encounter any opposition to these steps to good governance and accountability by the ANC, or any other party, we will be sure to show all of the hard-working South Africans whose jobs, livelihoods and tax money have been destroyed and squandered over the years, that the ANC does not intend to ever change its corrupt, cadre deployment and state capture ways.

We urge all South Africans to support us in our efforts to restore Parliament to its rightful place at the center of our democracy.

Health and Police Ministers must clarify if charges have been laid against Dr Anban Pillay

Please find an attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

The DA has written to the Ministers of Health and Police, Dr Joe Phaahla and Bheki Cele, respectively to enquire whether criminal charges have been laid against Dr Anban Pillay, as recommended by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) Report into the Digital Vibes scandal.

The SIU recommended that Dr Pillay be criminally prosecuted for financial misconduct, as envisaged under the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Should the Ministers confirm that a charge has not been laid, the DA will open a case against Dr Pillay.

Dr Pillay’s punishment of a final written warning valid for 15 months, suspension without pay for three months, and a salary level demotion for 12 months for the four charges against him of which he was found guilty of one, is hardly sufficient for the irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R152 million. This malfeasance involving money meant to educate and inform the public on how to protect themselves against Covid-19 is inexcusable.

The SIU Report indicated that Dr Pillay committed fraud when he made numerous material intentional misrepresentations in a letter he wrote to National Treasury on 11 May 2020 in an attempt to obtain belated approval from Treasury to deviate from normal procurement procedures. As part of the Tender Evaluation Committee (TEC), Dr Pillay and his co-conspirators, Popo Maja and Shireen Pardesi, irregularly and irrationally favoured Digital Vibes and ensured they get the contract.

Dr Pillay’s current punishment does not fit the crime. It sends the message that there is no consequences for collusion or corruption. While the South African public were suffering through losing loved ones, unemployment and wondering where their next meal will come from, the ANC government and their comrades were living large on taxpayers’ expense. We all deserve to see justice for this travesty.

DA initiates process for a Parliamentary Ad-hoc committee to oversee the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) and implementation of the Energy Plan

Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Kevin Mileham MP and a soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP. 

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a 5 point energy plan to respond to the electricity crisis and the establishment of a National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) to oversee its implementation, the DA has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, recommending that Parliament takes immediate steps to establish a parliamentary Ad-hoc committee to oversee NECOM and the implementation of the energy plan.

With no portfolio committee holding the President accountable, including lack of clarity on what powers this body will decide to apportion itself, it is important that Parliament plays an active role in ensuring accountability and enforcing its oversight function as required by the Constitution.

South Africa simply cannot afford to have an energy crisis committee that will be a law unto itself, as was the case with the rogue Corona Virus Command Council. Parliament must be briefed on its terms of reference and the frequency with which it should account to the Ad-hoc committee.

In addition to exercising oversight over NECOM, the parliamentary Ad-hoc committee will play an important role in ensuring that all the commitments made in the Energy Plan are implemented timeously.

South Africa has had a myriad of interventions before that were meant to address the electricity crisis, from war rooms, tasks teams to inter-Ministerial teams, but they have all come to nothing due to poor oversight and implementation. With South Africa’s future dependent on an energy secure future, Parliament should show leadership and provide consistent oversight on the energy measures announced by the President.

The DA will play its role in holding the government to account through an Energy Plan Implementation Tracker which we will launch shortly. The trackers’ primary objective is to keep Ramaphosa’s government honest on project implementation and red tape reduction milestones. The tracker will particularly hold the President accountable on the commitments made to add new generation capacity.

The DA stands ready and willing to contribute to any genuine national effort aimed at addressing the energy crisis and get South Africa working again. The President will have our support in the implementation of the energy plan as long as he remains committed to transparent and accountable implementation of the plan with the urgency required.

Loophole with proposed school infrastructure legislation changes allow DBE and Minister to avoid accountability

Please find attached soundbite by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP.

The DA rejects the proposed amendments by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to the education sector’s infrastructure laws. We will write to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to request the retaining of the reporting requirements. We will also request that the parliamentary portfolio committee for basic education summon the Minister and her Department to Parliament to account for their attempts to obfuscate the regulatory mechanisms through which authorities are supposed to be held to account.

In 2018, the court ordered Minster Motshekga to address numerous gaps and shortcomings in the regulations for the norms and standards for the Public School Infrastructure Act she adopted in 2013.

The purpose of the act was to generate an environment that is conducive to high quality teaching and learning. The regulations state that every public school must have access to water, electricity, ablution facilities, security, and internet. They also require schools to have libraries, science laboratories, and areas for physical education.

However, the draft amendments proposed by DBE fails to address the shortcomings in the education sector’s infrastructure law. In fact, the proposed amendments will only serve to aid the Department and officials in their pursuit to avoid accountability.

One of the major concerns is that the amendments would remove guidance regarding important details that should be included in annual provincial performance reports. Regulations 4(6) and 4(7), which included very specific reporting requirements, were declared unconstitutional in the 2018 court case, but only in so far as not providing for the publication of provinces’ annual reports. In the proposed amendments, provision is made for the publication of reports, but the new reporting requirements loses specificity.

The ‘old’ regulations also contained an itemized list, which is very valuable in holding all provinces to account, and ensured coherency across provinces. Without these guidelines, there would be no guarantee that the information included in any of these reports will be helpful for communities and school governing bodies to verify whether actual progress is being made.

The removal of these regulations is a regressive step and reeks of another shameful attempt to consolidate power within the central authority that is the governing party.

We call on all educational experts, educational institutions, educational activists, and concerned stakeholders throughout South Africa to submit their comments on the proposed amendments to or the Department of Basic Education, Private Bag X895, Pretoria 0001, before 31 July 2022.

The DBE should focus on creating conducive learning environments, especially for learners from poor and rural backgrounds. Learning environments have a huge impact on performance and learner dropout. The DA will not allow our schools to be used as a tool by an uncaring ANC government that continues fail to get rid of pit toilets and dilapidated mud/asbestos infrastructure.

DA will oppose any planned bailouts to Eskom in MTBPS

The Democratic Alliance will oppose any further taxpayer funded bailouts to Eskom should Finance Minister Enoch Gondongwana announce such measures in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement to be tabled later this year.

In his address last night, President Ramaphosa stated that “National Treasury is working to finalise a sustainable solution to Eskom’s debt. The Minister of Finance will outline how government will deal with this matter in an effective manner when he presents the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in October.

The last time such a pronouncement was made, it resulted in the state providing Eskom with R59-billion over three years through a Special Appropriation Bill, starting in 2019. This was in addition to the main budget providing Eskom with R20-billion a year over ten years. Furthermore, in February 2022, it was announced Eskom would be given an additional R21,9-billion.

The state has created an untenable situation where Eskom mismanagement has been rewarded constantly with taxpayers forking out cash that should be spent on public services. This means that citizens of South Africa pay twice for energy – through their electricity bills, and again through their taxes.

For this reason, the DA will vigorously oppose any planned bailout to Eskom in the coming financial years. Eskom is in its financial mess through years of ANC corruption, and the DA’s position is that Eskom debt should be funded through the privatization of generating capacity rather than through bailouts that deprive South African’s of quality public services, without having any effect on keeping the lights on.

Judge Hlophe suspension should be immediate

The DA calls on President Ramaphosa to immediately suspend Western Cape High Court Judge President, John Hlophe, on the recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission.

Judge Hlophe has tainted the judicial system for over a decade. The President ought to waste no further time in taking his decision.

The suspension of Judge Hlophe is long overdue and this debacle has damaged the credibility of the Judiciary and the JSC.

The finding of misconduct by the JSC against Judge Hlophe affirmed the 12-year-long position of the DA that Judge Hlophe was not fit and proper to lead the Western Cape High Court.

Initially, over 12 years ago, Helen Zille as the DA Premier of the Western Cape started the legal process when the JSC inexplicably dismissed the very serious charges against Judge Hlophe for improperly attempting to influence judges of the Constitutional Court in one of Jacob Zuma’s many legal battles.

Last night the current DA Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, used his seat on the JSC to vote for Judge Hlophe’s suspension – the DA welcomes this bold move by Premier Winde.

This is the culmination of 12 years of work by the DA, and other roleplayers in the justice and constitutional development NGO space. It has involved roleplayers of all types and influence, working together, and sets an important precedent for collaboration between the official opposition and the whole of society.

That it has taken 12 years for Judge Hlophe to be formally put up for suspension, is 12 years too long. In these 12 years Judge Hlophe has been able to exercise enormous influence on the Western Cape High Court, by selecting judges assigned to cases, including his wife who sits on the same bench.

Having publicly stated his very clear anti-DA views on numerous platforms, it has been an ongoing fear of the DA that Judge Hlophe could use that influence in cases before the Court. Nonetheless, the DA has persisted in the fight for Judge Hlophe to be held accountable even in the face of the obvious risk of what this could mean for DA cases before his Court.

We strongly urge the President to take this decision without delay.