Don’t come with more empty promises this afternoon on loadshedding, Mr President

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Kevin Mileham MP

More than a week since President Cyril Ramaphosa allegedly cut short his overseas trip to come and address what has become the longest streak of loadshedding since power cuts started 15 years ago, he has been operating in the shadows and has failed to address the nation on the way forward.

As Ramaphosa gets ready to answer questions in the National Assembly this afternoon, South Africans expect to hear nothing less than tangible interventions that he has made since he came back to address the ongoing electricity crisis.

The reality is that the country is teetering on the brink, with Eskom announcing last night that the country will be placed on an indefinite stage 4 until its diesel supplies have been replenished. What South Africa needs is a President who will lead us out of this crisis and not another laundry list of empty promises.

The severity of South Africa’s electricity crisis is such that Eskom’s coal fleet is unable to provide sufficient generation capacity to break the current bout of loadshedding. The utility now sees the Open Cycle Gas Turbines, which are powered by diesel, as the only option left. This is unsustainable and will put a further strain on Eskom’s shambolic finances.

Instead of spinning his way out as he always does when faced with a crisis, Ramaphosa should:

  • Provide clarity on whether stage 4 will be maintained going forward and for how long?;
  • Give a status update on the importation of power from neighboring countries;
  • Give an account on the real state of Eskom’s coal power plants and the efforts being made to increase generation capacity; and
  • Provide feedback on the Koeberg nuclear plant.

The current challenge is that South Africa must find ways to guarantee its short term power supply needs and the President must provide a clear plan on what his government is doing to achieve this.

Human Rights Commission must investigate effects of surgery backlogs in SA

Please find attached soundbite by Lindy Wilson MP.

The DA is appalled by the Department of Health’s report presented to the parliamentary portfolio committee on health yesterday.

The report highlights the collapse of the health facilities and care in South Africa and the ANC government’s neglect of its citizens.

The DA has requested the Human Rights Commission to investigate how the surgery backlogs impacts the Constitutional rights of our people and deny their quality of life.

The backlog of orthopaedic surgeries, which include fractures, knee replacements and hip replacements, have a backlog of up to 7 years. The implications for those requiring these surgeries is huge. They are living in unbelievable pain and often cannot function optimally. Many end up having to use walking aids and wheelchairs and some have lost their jobs as a result.

Cancer patients requiring mastectomies and other cancer related surgeries will have to wait between 1 and 2 years for life saving surgeries. It is common knowledge that in order to arrest the spread of cancer, biopsies and removal of tumors and masses must be done as quickly as possible. Life expectancy of cancer patients is seriously affected by this appalling state of affairs, and those that could have good lives when treatments are done immediately, will be denied this.

Hysterectomies can take up to 2 years, cataract removals up to 3 years and the list goes on.

Section 27 of the Constitution states clearly that everyone has the right to have access to health care services, including reproductive health care. It further states that no one may be refused emergency medical treatment.

In terms of Section 9, everyone has the right to equality, including access to health care services, which means that individuals should not be unfairly excluded in the provision of health care.

Clearly, in light of the Constitution, people are being denied reasonable access to life saving surgeries and denial of quality of life in the case of orthopaedic and other critical surgeries.

Millions have been spent on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, with failed pilot projects, public hearings and the appointment of staff for the NHI, to the tune of R30 million. This money could have been used to upgrade facilities with staff and infrastructure to avoid this crisis.

ANC repeats history by protecting Ramaphosa – just like they did with Zuma

English soundbite by DA Chief Whip, Siviwe Gwarube MP.

Afrikaans soundbite by DA Spokesperson, Cilliers Brink MP.

The ANC in Parliament has once again failed in its Constitutional obligations by protecting President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet from accountability and scrutiny about alleged abuse of public resources and institutions on his Phala Phala game farm. The governing party voted against the DA’s motion to establish an ad hoc committee that would have investigated matters surrounding this theft.

The ANC is beyond the point of self-correction. They have learnt no lessons from the past decade, instead they continue to hollow out the Parliament in order to shield many in their ranks from accountability. It is truly a sad day in our democracy when a logical motion meant to enable members of parliament to do their work is shot down due to narrow political interests.

This is the same as the ANC in the 5th Parliament who protected former President Jacob Zuma and his ministers from being held responsible for Nkandla and State Capture.

All opposition parties voted in favour of the motion. The ANC and the Good Party voted against it.

Yesterday during the debate on the motion, the DA set out convincing arguments why Parliament would fail in its constitutional duties if this ad hoc committee was not established. It is precisely what the Zondo Commission’s State Capture report meant when it found that Parliament “failed to use the oversight and accountability measures at its disposal” during the Zuma years. It is clear that this trend is continuing under the Ramaphosa presidency aided and abated by the current Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa- Nqakula.

Parliament must be a bipartisan platform where decisions are based on principle and the rule of law and not dictated to by ANC factional battles and political jostling.

As MPs, we had a unique opportunity to fulfill our constitutional obligations of holding the executive to account, but the ruling party has shown its disdain for the institution once again.

History will judge every MP who voted against accountability harshly. In effect, a vote against this motion was a clear message to the people of South Africa that there are a set of rules for the ANC and the politically connected; while there is a different set of rules for ordinary people.

In the coming weeks, the DA will keep a close eye on the work of the section 89 panel that will look at the allegations levelled at the President, exclusively. This panel will make a determination on whether there are grounds for impeachment proceedings against the President.

Expropriation Bill Debate Speeches

Please find attached the speeches that were delivered during the Second Reading debate of the Expropriation Bill, and adoption of the Committee Report on Wednesday, 28 September.

Samantha Graham-Maré MP- Legislating Expropriation without Compensation will not address past injustices

DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure

083 409 9196

Madeleine Hicklin MP- Expropriation Bill not a panacea to ANC’s land reform failure

DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure

082 744 5155

DA writes to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs to have ANYCL members declared undesirable persons

The DA has written to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Denys Anatoliiovych Monastyrsky, advising that it considers having ANCYL members who participated in Russia’s sham referendums in the Donbass region declared as undesirable persons.

The basis of the DA’s call is that these ANCYL members entered Ukraine territory unlawfully and by so doing, violated Ukraine’s immigration laws.

Using the relevant statutes of the Ukraine’s immigration law, Minister Monastyrsky will use his discretion to prescribe the time period within which Khulekani Mondli Skhosana, Stella Mondlane, Venus Lorato Blennies and other ANCYL members who entered the Donbass region unlawfully, will be barred from entering Ukraine territory.

Our submissions follow the steps taken by the Ukraine Ministry for Reintegration to mandate Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies to “investigate evidence that concerns conducting sham referendums – in particular, the legitimacy of entry, stay, and operation of so-called foreign observers…”.

The disdain with which the ANCYL showed to Ukraine laws and its territorial integrity makes a mockery of the rules based international order. It signals to European countries is that South Africa has no desire for reciprocity with regards to visa-regulated international travel.

Even worse, it sends a message that South Africa’s governing party condones the illegal movement of individuals across borders. South Africa could face the real risk of being slapped with more severe entry requirements to these countries for travel and business which is only detrimental to the country in the long run.

As a member of the community of nations, South Africa is expected to show an adherence to the laws governing the movement of people across borders if we are to be taken seriously as a trading partner. What the ANCYL members did was to rubbish this principle and break the law while the rest of Europe watched.

In a rambling statement issued yesterday, the ANCYL exposed their lack of understanding of the principles governing the rights of nations to self-determination. They claimed to be supporting Russia’s self-determination oblivious to the fact that, by endorsing a sham referendum on the land of a sovereign country, they were infringing on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The contradiction in the ANCYL’s stance is that they preach the doctrine of anti-imperialism while at the same time supporting Russia’s imperialist invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs needs to send a strong message that the country will not allow its laws to be violated with reckless impunity. South Africa will not take the fall for the recklessness of the ANC and its youth league – it is time they faced the consequences of their actions.

Terminate the Takatso deal and liquidate SAA

Please find attached soundbite by Alf Lees MP.

The DA calls for the immediate cancelation of the SAA/Takatso deal and liquidation of South Africa Airways(SAA) without any further taxpayer bailouts.

The clandestine deal between SAA and Takatso has taken 16 months to conclude but has not been implemented. In addition, court action has been launched by an unsuccessful bidder for the purchase of the airline or a part thereof.

It is likely that SAA has run up new operational losses in the region of R1 billion or more since its post business rescue operations resumed, and the proceeds from a liquidation are unlikely to meet these new liabilities. Furthermore, Takatso has reportedly indicated that they are not willing to take on any of SAA’s legacy debt, but only willing to fund future operations.

The latest blow to any hope of SAA rising was the news that the International Air Services Licensing Council (IASLC) has revoked 20 of SAA’s international routes without negotiation as the SAA ANC vanity project nose dives due to a lack of capacity.

SAA has apparently exhausted taxpayer bailout funds and seemingly some commercial banks and suppliers are apparently foolishly providing short-term working capital and credit facilities to prevent the airline from once again suspending its operations.

I have today submitted a parliamentary question to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to establish if SAA is utilising any Government Guarantees to raise working capital and credit supplies and if so what the extent of taxpayer liability is.

Conclusively SAA remains a fiasco that the taxpayer is yet again going to be fleeced for more bailouts in the October 2022 Medium Term Budget Statement. The taxpayer cannot be expected to continue footing the bill for SAA’s billion-rand deficits, all the while having a proposed private equity partner who sits idly by holding on to their own cash.

Having failed to heed the DA’s call for the full privatisation of SAA, Minister Pravin Gordhan should now free South Africans from the unsustainable SAA/Takatso deal by liquidating the airline and using the proceeds to pay off outstanding debt.

DA welcomes the decision by Vodacom to ditch Eskom and encourages others to also join

The DA welcomes the decision by Vodacom to ditch the doddering Eskom and to source its electricity from renewable independent power producers.

Vodacom’s move will provide it with renewable energy and provide a blueprint for other South African corporations.

Not only will they pave the way for other network companies to do the same, but hopefully this will open the floodgates of free enterprise to similarly make a plan. This move will also avoid the inevitable network infrastructure breakage, caused by the increasingly high levels of loadshedding that this country has suffered under for the past 15 years.

Currently, these network towers are fitted with batteries and generators that switch on when the power goes off, but the constant and frequent loadshedding prevents a full recharge, which takes 12-18 hours.

The consequence is that the batteries must be replaced far more often than they would without loadshedding.

Vodacom said it had spent around R2 billion just on batteries alone over the past two years.

Similarly, MTN deployed over 2000 generators to counter the impact of higher stages of loadshedding…burning through over R400 000 worth of fuel per month just to keep its generators operational. These companies are incurring huge costs in the face of the current government’s incompetency.

This move by Vodacom will also add electricity to the increasingly emaciated national grid, which at the same time helps South Africa in fighting the ANC-created loadshedding crisis.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has also appealed to the private sector to join this pilot program. De Ruyter calls this: 100 megawatts from 100 companies. He stated that, if 100 private companies joined in and created 100MW each, that would create 10 000MW, which is equivalent to 10 stages of load shedding.

The DA knows that the ANC is unable to fix the situation at Eskom. Indeed, it has been promising to fix it for the last decade, and it is precisely for that reason that the DA believes that Independent Power Production is part of the solution.

The DA knows what it is talking about, as shown by the lower levels of loadshedding in Cape Town – and calls on all private companies that are able, to also join this pilot project that Vodacom has embarked on.


SA needs Coalitions not King Makers

During the past decade, we have seen an increasing number of coalitions formed in municipalities and metros around the country. Due to its position as the second biggest party in the country and being the official opposition, the DA is involved in, and in most cases, the biggest block in these coalitions. While these are not “DA led” but rather multi-party coalitions, the DA does bring the largest group of votes/seats into the coalitions.

Coalition governments are meant to be alliances to serve the people of the municipality, metro, provincial or national government they represent. They are not, and should never be, an opportunity for a party or parties with minimal representation, to change sides and destabilize governments purely in the selfish interest of positions, power, and publicity. The horse trading, ship jumping, supporting of no confidence motions without substance and internal fights for positions are the biggest threat to what should be a united front to fix broken systems and remove corrupt or incompetent people from government.

In the City of Johannesburg, there has been a move by the representatives of other parties in the Technical Task Team, which is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Coalitions, to re-open negotiations on the allocation of positions to different political parties, with particular emphasis on the position of Speaker in Johannesburg. Internal party conflicts have already caused severe delays and disruptions in the City, including the inability to appoint a permanent City Manager, and the current vacancy in the position of Speaker. This move, initiated by ActionSA in respect of the speaker of Johannesburg, has now extended to other positions and also impacts Ekurhuleni and Tshwane. The citizens of these metros and indeed the other coalition partners cannot be held to ransom by the greed and self interest of a few.

The recent removal of DA speaker Vasco de Gama as speaker was a classic example of how coalitions shouldn’t operate. Renegade councillors voted against their own parties’ positions on the vote. These councillors have since been suspended or fired from the parties they failed to represent. Putting aside the allegations of bribery, councillors are elected by citizens who expect them to stick to the values and principles of the party they represent. Power and positions should never be the driving factor especially for a party will minimal representation.

Coalition agreements are not decided on a whim by party representatives around a braai. There are weeks and sometimes months of meetings, discussions, negotiations before a written and binding agreement is in place. These agreements are important for the effective and efficient running of the government the coalition is in charge of. These are not decisions that can or should be changed like children swopping collectables during break, because individuals or parties’ quest for positions may impact heavily on the smooth running of the service delivery plan.

We have already seen that, too often in our political landscape, small parties change allegiance from the governing coalition to the opposition or vice versa, based entirely on what position they will be offered in the other group without any regard given to values, principles, or mandates of the party they represent.

The public are tired of seeing politicians haggling over positions, when they were elected to advance service delivery, and to fix the broken municipalities or metros they represent. The delays caused by internal squabbles is infuriating to residents who want the services due to them and which they believed the coalition governments could deliver. It is equally frustrating for the parties that go to work every day to do the best they can for the residents, only to be pulled into the greedy need for positions and power by some individuals and the parties they represent.

The DA is firmly of the view that the phase of negotiations for positions in the City of Johannesburg  is now over. In fact, it ended when the Coalition Agreement was signed on 22 February 2022 in front of the media and to significant public acclaim. Furthermore, any review of the coalition agreement is, in terms of the coalition agreement itself, is meant to be a structured and careful review, and cannot be done on an ad hoc basis.

We have now firmly entered the delivery phase, when all coalition partners must focus on achieving the joint objectives for government, spelt out in the coalition agreement, and not re-open negotiation on positions. The coalition agreement is not just something everyone signed to then be stuck away in a drawer somewhere. It is the guiding document on what was agreed to, what systems are in place for any disputes and what each signatory had agreed to comply with. It is certainly not a guideline or list of suggestions and any attempts to portray it as such should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

If certain parties cannot even honour a coalition agreement that they publicly signed and declared fealty to in front of the whole country, then voters would be right to ask how these same parties could ever be trusted to honour the promises they make to the electorate.

There will come a time, probably sooner than later, when the question must be asked: Is it worth continuously struggling in a dysfunctional coalition or could more be achieved from the opposition benches? Those who thrive on power and position would do well to remember that

Crucially, if coalitions are going to be the form that governments take in the future, including at national level, coalition agreements must be respected as the basis of building viable and functional governments. If they can be disregarded with impunity by parties seeking other positions, these coalition agreements will not be worth the paper they are written on. These agreements must be the cornerstone of the alliances, the binding document that ensures the initial plans to work together in the interests of the residents and not the politicians and must be adhered to.

The DA is committed to coalition government that provides, stability and good service delivery. We cannot support a process that in effect makes coalition government no better than the factional, extortionist and rent-seeking politics that characterised ANC government. This approach to government is the primary reason for corruption, collapsing service delivery and the failed state. We have to do better than that.

DA to table critical amendments to the Expropriation Bill in Parliament

The Speaker of the National Assembly has confirmed that the amendments proposed by the DA on the Expropriation Bill B23-2020 will be tabled before the second reading of the Bill during the Parliamentary plenary on Wednesday, 28 September 2022.

The amendments have been done in line with Rule 291 of the Parliamentary Rules which allows anyone to introduce amendments to a Bill prior to the second reading thereof. These amendments must be new and not have been the subject of debate during the processing of the Bill by the Portfolio Committee.

It is clear from the fact that this Rule exists, that the drafters of the Rules of Parliament recognised that the inputs and ideas of Members are deemed to be significant enough to allow for them to introduce amendments at the 11th hour and for such amendments to be considered.

Our amendments deal with two critical issues in the Expropriation Bill. The definition of expropriation and nil compensation. In amending the definition of Expropriation, we wish to incorporate custodianship and regulatory takings as forms of indirect expropriation. In both instances, the rights of a property owner to the use and enjoyment of a property are severely curtailed by the state and there is no duty on the state currently to pay any form of compensation.

We wish to change that.

Our second amendment removes all instances in the Expropriation Bill where nil compensation affects private property.

We believe that only state-owned property should be earmarked for nil compensation and only in 2 specific instances. Expropriation without compensation applicable to private property has the potential to wreak havoc on our economy, in our banking sector and in the agricultural sphere. Given that the amendment to the property clause in our Constitution failed to be passed by Parliament, we are of the view that the current clause dealing with nil compensation in the Expropriation Bill is now unconstitutional and should not be adopted.

We have reached out to opposition parties in Parliament to support us in tabling and adopting these amendments to the Expropriation Bill as we believe that they go a long way to provide protection to individual property owners against potential abuse by the state.

We hope that sanity prevails during the debate and that Members of Parliament choose to protect property rights by supporting our amendments as opposed to further entrenching the power of the state by adopting the Expropriation Bill in its current form.

SIU reveals that R1.4 billion was looted from the NLC

“The grotesque use of funding on luxury cars and homes, which was actually intended for old-age homes, drug rehabilitation centres and youth upliftment centres, just shows how twisted these individuals are. The next time the ANC tells you are they pro-poor, do yourself a favour and don’t believe them.” – Mat Cuthbert MP

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has revealed during a presentation to the portfolio on trade, industry and competition that approximately R1.4 Billion of funding meant for grannies, the marginalised and sick was allegedly looted by former National Lotteries Commission (NLC) board members and senior officials.

According to the SIU, the investigation comprises of three phases with the first phase having been completed already. The total value of the investigations per phase is:

  • Phase 1 – R279 710 409
  • Phase 2 – R246 659 310
  • Phase 3 – R905 901 910 .04

The SIU indicated that it has also referred evidence implicating thirteen individuals to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for possible prosecution.

We call on the NPA to ensure that they process this evidence speedily and begin the process to prosecute these individuals.

The SIU has done an outstanding job in uncovering the industrial-scale looting at the NLC but it would be a travesty of justice if the NPA doesn’t pursue criminal prosecution.

While Minister Ebrahim Patel and his African National Congress (ANC) colleagues may praise the work of the SIU and journalists such as Raymond Joseph and Anton Van Zyl in uncovering the rot but the fact is the ANC was the root cause of the corruption that took place at the entity.

They were the same individuals who shielded former board members from scrutiny.

They were the same individuals who chastised the opposition and the media for exposing corruption and maladministration and;

It was members of the ANC who allegedly used the NLC as their personal piggy bank at the expense of the most vulnerable in society.

The grotesque use of funding on luxury cars and homes, which was actually intended for old-age homes, drug rehabilitation centres and youth upliftment centres, just shows how twisted these individuals are.
The next time the ANC tells you are they pro-poor, do yourself a favour and don’t believe them.