Deadline day and there is still no updated IRP from Gwede Mantashe

Despite assurances from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s National Energy Crisis Committee and the subsequent January 2023 update on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan by the Presidency, that the review of the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will be concluded by the end of March 2023, Minister of Energy, Gwede Mantashe, is on course to miss this self-imposed target. There has been no official communication from DMRE on the status of the review or whether an updated IRP will be released by midnight today.

Without an updated IRP, South Africa will be forced to continue relying on the outdated energy assumptions of IRP 2019 do not reflect what must be done to address the ongoing electricity crisis. Mantashe has repeatedly failed to produce an updated IRP, thereby compromising the country’s ability to effectively make costed projections on electricity demand and the energy sources needed to address it.

The first IRP was released in 2011 (referred to as IRP 2010) under the proviso that it will be updated every two years. IRP renewal windows were missed over the course of the last decade and the latest version, IRP 2019, has remained unchanged for four years. A major shortcoming of IRP 2019 is that it still pushes for prioritised investments in new coal power plants and nuclear energy, a complete contrast to the current reality of increased participation by independent power producers within the renewable energy space.

Mantashe’s stonewalling and refusal to release an updated IRP is hardly surprising, as he has spent much of his tenure as Energy Minister stubbornly advocating for expensive or climate damaging energy sources such as clean coal, nuclear and gas. His intransigence is reinforced by labour unions who demand that coal generation remains the largest component in the energy mix, despite growing evidence that renewable energy has become cheaper and could get South Africa out of the current electricity crisis a lot quicker.

The DA holds the brief that an updated IRP should reflect South Africa’s current energy realities and projected energy demands by:

  • Increasing projections on electricity that can be generated from renewable energy sources to reflect increasing capacity from IPPs who have been approved in all the bid windows;
  • Changing baseline assumptions on baseload from coal and nuclear towards renewable energy sources and dispatchable batteries;
  • Institutionalising rooftop solar as a key source of embedded power generation;
  • Opening up the energy generation market from a single seller to a multi-seller dispensation to facilitate competition and price rationalisation; and
  • Increasing investment in grid capacity to support IPP projects.

Updating the IRP was one of the key performance targets that Mantashe agreed to in his performance agreement. That he is still the Minister of Energy after repeatedly failing this target, is as much an indictment on Ramaphosa himself and the internecine factional politics within the ANC.

Makwana’s 60% EAF fantasy falls flat

Eskom Board Chairperson, Mpho Makwana’s promise that the Energy Availability Factor (EAF) will reach 60% by 31 March 2023 has been a resounding failure after the utility’s weekly generation availability tracking data shows that the EAF currently stands at a measly 52%.

With industry experts having consistently pointed out that Eskom will not be able to ramp up its EAF in the short term, Makwana’s insistence on a high EAF by the end of March can only be interpreted as deliberate political messaging that was designed to give false assurance to the nation while buying time for the ANC.

Now that the 60% EAF fantasy has fallen flat, Makwana should get out of the way and let Eskom executives and engineers handle communications on Eskom operations. In the midst of an electricity crisis, it is important that Eskom remains honest with South Africans and refrains from propagating misleading projections on power supply.

The DA has always maintained the position that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for Eskom to improve its EAF using its aging coal fleet as a primary energy source. The coal fleet has proven to be unreliable and is constantly breaking down as more units reach their end of life. Removing impediments for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and encouraging more investment in renewable energy is a critical first step in turning the needle on the EAF.

In addition, it is important that investment in transmission infrastructure is prioritized over the medium to long term to provide IPPs with capacity for access to the grid. This was underscored in December 2023, when it was revealed that 23 green power projects in the last round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme could not be awarded due to grid constraints.

Instead of making grandiose public promises, Makwana and the new Minister of Electricity, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, should concentrate on the coming winter months which are projected to have severe power constraints after the return of Koeberg’s Unit 1 was delayed even further to September 2023.

DA condemns Minister Didiza and MP Majodina for using taxpayers’ money to campaign for the ANC

With many polls projecting that the ANC will achieve less than 50% of the vote in the 2024 national elections, the party’s appointees in government have, as an act of desperation, resorted to the unlawful use of taxpayer money to campaign for the ANC. The latest culprits in this unethical practice is the ANC Chief Whip in Parliament, Pemmy Majodina who used the ANC old looting tactics of hijacking Ministerial functions for political point scoring. Minister Thoko Didiza should know better that a government function cannot be used for political mobilization.

According to a flyer released by the ANC advertising the event, Department of Agriculture and Parliament of South Africa logos are used as a draw card to what is essentially an ANC event. Both Minister Didiza and Hon Majodina will apparently hand over garden tools to households in the Senqu Local Municipality tomorrow, 1 April 2023. This is a flagrant abuse of state resources and a gross violation of ethical conduct in political campaigns.

The DA calls on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), in its capacity as South Africa’s electoral referee and custodian of the guidelines for electoral conduct, to immediately call the ANC to order and demand that it refrains from abuse of state funds to pursue its political programmes. Failure to do so will contaminate the electoral playing field and set a dangerous precedent in our electoral ecosystem.

It is highly likely that Minister Didiza and MP Majodina are blatantly engaging in this unethical conduct to ‘test the waters’ before other government departments join in on the channeling of state resources to ANC political events. For a party that is broke, and has been unable to pay its employees, the temptation to dip into public funds to bankroll its political campaigns remains very high.

As South Africans get ready to remove the cancer of ANC corruption in 2024, the DA exercise extra vigilance against a desperate ANC that will stop at nothing to ensure that it retains power by hook or crook. The unlawful conduct of Minister Didiza and MP Majodina in tomorrow’s ANC event has to be nipped in the bud before it contaminates the environment for free and fair elections.

#DAcongress2023: DA ready for its biggest and most historic Federal Congress ever

The DA prides itself on its sound internal democratic processes. And this is what we will showcase during this weekend’s Federal Congress.

This weekend all roads lead to Midrand as the DA holds it Federal Congress, the largest and the most diverse in the history of the party.

Tomorrow and on Sunday nearly 2 000 delegates from all parts of the country will descend on the Gallagher Convention Centre to elect the party’s new Federal Leadership. We are a truly inclusive party with 45% of our delegates and activists being non-public representatives coming from our branches.

The Congress is important for South Africa because the leaders elected may very well be the leaders who will reshape national government as the ANC’s support again drops below 50% in 2024.

The size of the event speaks to the tremendous growth of the DA over the years. The party has exponentially grown, since 2015 where we had just over 1200 delegates.

It is a truly international event that will be attended by more than 400 members of the media, including representatives from countries such as England and France.

The nearly 2000 delegates to Congress are made up of branches activists, councillors, Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) from across the country. Each province will be sending a sizable delegation depending on their proportional support and branch formation in new territories for the DA.

The party now governs for millions of South Africans in several metros and local municipalities across the country.

As such, it is crucial that we deliberate and vote on resolutions which seek to address the many issues that confront the people of this country. These will include resolutions on building the economy and creating jobs, urban and rural safety, and the restoration of the parliament of South Africa.

Over the next couple of days, the DA will discuss and vote on 43 resolutions, seeking to drive the DA’s policy agenda and give practical expression to our values of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity.

The resolutions presented will build on, and extend, the DA’s policy offer for creating an inclusive society. The resolutions will speak to key areas of exclusion with a focus on how the DA will address them as a party of national government.

The Congress will be broadcast live. South Africans can also watch the full broadcast by visiting We also invite those following on Twitter to use the hashtag #DAcongress2023.

All preparations are complete, and we are ready to welcome our delegates, South Africa and the world to a Congress that will shape the future of our country.

ANC Government Policies Fuel Inflation Crisis


Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Dion George MP.

Today, the Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee announced an increase of 50 basis points in the repo rate, signifying that debt servicing costs will rise during a time when our nation is grappling with an ANC-triggered cost-of-living crisis.

Today’s announcement serves as a measure to mitigate the damage caused by the ANC’s anti-poor fiscal policy framework and the party’s inability to respond to the soaring cost of living and growing food insecurity.

Government has failed in its primary responsibility to ensure that an environment conducive to economic growth exists and has sat back as the spending power of South African households absorbs one blow after the other. Instead, it ensures that its cronies are well protected and cushioned from this reality.

Alarming inflation data released last week exposed the true magnitude of the crisis – annual inflation for overall goods has soared by 7.1%, with transportation costs rising by an astonishing 9.9%. In 2022 alone, the retail prices of white and brown bread shot up by 20% and 19%, respectively. Maize meal prices surged by 32%, leaping from R26.62 to R35.29. These steep increases hit impoverished and vulnerable South Africans the hardest.

Yet, the ANC government remains indifferent. ANC ministers are far removed from the harsh realities everyday South Africans confront. Instead of establishing fiscal policies to cushion the impact of rising prices and constant power outages, they squander tens of millions of Rands in taxpayer funds on their own water and electricity bills at state-owned official residences.

Active steps can be taken to shield hard pressed households from this growing storm. The DA has a comprehensive plan to relieve the burden on vulnerable households. Although Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has dismissed our proposals, we continue to urge government to immediately expand the zero-VAT rated food basket to include essential items like bone-in chicken, beef, canned beans, wheat flour, margarine, peanut butter, baby food, tea, coffee, and soup powder. VAT on these products disproportionately affects the poorest 50% of South Africans, who are already battling to keep food on the table.

Moreover, abolishing the fuel levy is an easily implementable and affordable solutions that would instantaneously lower petrol prices, transportation costs, and food prices, while enhancing the solar tax rebate will aid in curbing inflationary pressures by assisting producers in becoming independent of Eskom’s incompetence and NERSA’s impending electricity price hike.

The DA will not passively observe as an incompetent and uncaring government persists in playing politics with people’s lives. We will intensify pressure on the government to adopt viable economic policies and promptly tackle the cost-of-living crisis, especially concerning food prices.

In 2024, the DA will unseat the ANC government and establish a climate that encourages both consumer and business-friendly conditions while addressing the challenges faced by economically marginalized South Africans. The future beckons – the DA will seize it.

The DA’s Federal Congress is a milestone event for South Africa’s future

In less than a week, the Democratic Alliance will hold its Federal Congress – the largest the party has ever undertaken, and arguably the most important political event for all South Africans ahead of 2024’s General Election. This is not because the DA is South Africa’s official opposition. It is because in South Africa’s current political circumstance, the DA is now South Africa’s government in waiting, and the results of the DA’s Federal Congress will likely determine the future of South Africa and our democracy.

Opinion polls conducted by the Social Research Foundation, Rapport newspaper, and even internally by the DA and the ANC have all pointed to one inevitable outcome in 2024: the ANC will lose its majority and South Africa will, for the first time ever, be facing a national coalition government. Change is on the horizon for our country, and with the DA waiting in the wings, it is the leaders whom the party elects in the coming week who will lead South Africa into a new coalition dispensation. When you look at it this way, you realise that the DA’s Federal Congress is a milestone event for South Africa, the results of which could reshape our country for generations to come. But what does the DA’s Federal Congress mean for the South African voter?

This is a very good question indeed. To answer it, one must first remember that South Africa’s political system does not permit the direct election of presidents. Rather, the political party itself determines who will lead it and voters are then given an opportunity to vote for the party as a whole. Secondly, one must look at which political parties hold elective congresses, how they are undertaken, and what interests are represented in the internal election. This is especially important as political parties often elect leaders based not on the interests of the country, but on those of the party itself.

There are only two political parties in South Africa that hold regular and public elective congresses. The ANC holds its National Congress every five years, and the DA holds its Federal Congress every three years. The only exposure most South Africans have to a party’s internal democracy, is that of the ANC. For decades the governing party’s National Congress has become synonymous with bribery, corruption, and a system in which brown envelopes and EFT transfers determine the outcome of an election.

The corruption South Africa sees in its government, is merely a reflection of the corruption entrenched within the ANC as the governing party. And when the stakes are so high, competition can become deadly. This is why ANC delegates are killed ahead of congresses, and why ANC branch meetings descend into chaos across the country. When democracy and meritocracy are replaced with kleptocracy and intimidation, the will of the people becomes the will of the few. The Democratic Alliance could not be more different.

Governed by the party’s Federal Constitution, the DA’s Federal Congress is the most exciting and unifying event for the entire party. It is also an exciting event for South Africa. This is because the process to elect new national leadership within the DA is not determined by bribes and backdoor deals, but by a set of robust and rigorous systems and processes entrenched within the party’s guiding legislation.

These systems and processes ensure that the Federal Congress can never be hijacked by bribes and intimidation. Instead, candidates running for leadership positions in the DA launch and promote manifestos, engage in public debates, and win over delegates with ideas and solutions. Leaders are chosen based on a track record of delivery and meritocracy, and in true liberal fashion, this excludes arbitrary markers of identity such as age, race, culture, or religion. It is the dream of non-racial democracy realised – a contest of ideas that spurs on innovation, discussion, and the unity of shared values and principles. But what makes the DA’s Federal Congress stand out, is the sheer diversity and weighting of our delegates.

When the DA says that it is the only party that represents all South Africans, we really mean it. Chapter 6 of the DA’s Federal Constitution stipulates that a minimum of 45% of all congress delegates must be non-public representatives. This means that at least half of all voting delegates are not members of parliament, a provincial legislation, or councillors, but ordinary activists and branch members who understand the needs and desires of their respective communities. In this way, the DA ensures that the proportion of votes cast in leadership elections is not dominated by those already in public office. This is one of many ways the DA’s Federal Constitution prevents self-interest from directing the party’s leadership contest.

And with an active branch in every ward across South Africa, Federal Congress creates a platform for South Africans from all backgrounds to make their voices heard. This is why DA delegates so look forward to our Federal Congress every three years, because it affords all South Africans an opportunity to take part in an election to lead their party, and their country towards a future that is inclusive of all their desires and concerns. It also completely debunks the notion that the DA is a white party, because the 2000 delegates who vote for the federal leadership are comprised mostly of black South Africans.

DA Federal Congress delegates hail from both urban centres and the rural countryside, from rich households and poor, from communities of black, white, coloured, and Indian, and from churches, mosques, and temples alike. This bringing together of so many different South Africans under one roof means that delegates are united not by personal interest, but by the diversity of ideas, and a commitment to elect leadership in whom each and every South African feels they are represented. This is ultimately what makes the DA so strong and connected – the feeling of trust by delegates that the will of the people is always upheld.

Where delegates hail from non-DA wards, the future aspirations of the party are also well represented. Delegates from the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape, for example, will bring with them the hopes of Ward 33 where the DA grew from 8,86% to 38,29% in just over a year. This means that even where the DA remains in opposition, it still affords congress delegates an opportunity to cast their vote and choose the leader they feel can grow the party even further.

When we take all of this into account, one thing becomes very clear: South Africans must pay close attention to the internal elections of political parties. But, more importantly, South Africans must pay close attention to the internal elections of the Democratic Alliance at next week’s Federal Congress.

Thanks to its guiding Federal Constitution, systems and processes, and diversity of exciting and dynamic voting delegates, the DA is set to host yet another slick and professional Federal Congress in which each and every South African can feel proudly heard and represented. But this congress, in particular, will be remembered for generations to come.

For as the ANC finally falls, it is only the DA that is big enough to chart a new path towards growth and prosperity. And this path will ultimately be determined by the leaders elected at the DA’s Federal Congress 2023. The good news is that South Africans can rest assured knowing that this decision will be made fairly, carefully, and in a manner that is inclusive of the interests of all citizens.

I am very excited about the DA’s Federal Congress next weekend, and each and every South African should be excited too. For as the DA once again sets itself apart as a party of true democracy, so will the DA set South Africa apart as a truly non-racial, meritocratic, and inclusive society when the ANC finally falls in 2024. This is something that all South Africans can look forward to.

Minister De Lille might be gone, but her washing line is not forgotten

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Samantha Graham-Maré MP.

Almost 3 years after Minister Patricia de Lille’s failed Beitbridge Border Fence, both the Minister and her erstwhile Advisor, Melissa Whitehead have evaded sanctions.

Instead of being reprimanded De Lille has been moved to the Department of Tourism and Ms Whitehead is no longer employed by the Public Service.

While several officials have been issued written warnings, and some from the National Bid Adjudication Committee suspended without pay for between one and three months, De Lille is yet to face the music.

The Beitbridge border fence process emanated from a directive issued by Minister De Lille that clearly identified the companies to be appointed without allowing for proper procurement processes to take place. The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) also found that Ms Whitehead had acted inappropriately by being involved in the project with site visits, instructions for variation orders, and decisions about the scope, cost, and specifications of the fence. All of these fall outside of her scope of employment as a Special Advisor.

The Auditor-General has reported that there is no evidence of any disciplinary action being taken against Ms Whitehead, despite claims by De Lille. Furthermore, there are indications that Ms Whitehead has left the Public Service, which would prevent any further disciplinary action being taken against her.

There is no political will to hold minister De Lille accountable for her pivotal role in the embarrassing and wasteful expenditure of the Beitbridge fence.

We will not allow this matter to be forgotten and will continue to investigate the Minister’s involvement and influence in the R37 million scandal until she is held to account.

DA Cllr Maryke Davies voted in as Speaker of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality

Note to editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Dr Roy Jankielsohn MPL.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State congratulates Cllr Maryke Davies on her election as the Speaker of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality. During a council meeting on 29 March 2023, she was elected by a majority vote of 53 out of 93 valid votes.

The DA will ensure that Cllr Davies will use her position to promote transparency and accountability in the municipality and work towards improving the lives of all residents of Mangaung. We look forward to working with her and other council members towards achieving these goals.

Competition Commission Report Confirms Rising Cost of Food Crisis

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Dion George MP.

Last week, StatsSA unveiled a disquieting 7.1% increase in inflation. A closer examination of the numbers exposes a far more distressing reality: food prices have surged even more, and the food price crisis continues unabated.

The Essential Food Pricing Monitoring (EFPM) report released yesterday substantiates this, highlighting that basic and essential food items have seen steep price increases in the past year. The investigation scrutinized the prices of essential food products such as bread, cooking oils, maize meal, rice, flour, margarine, and pasta at the retail and wholesale levels.

From January to December 2022, white and brown bread retail prices rocketed by 20% and 19%, respectively. The price of maize meal surged by 32%, jumping from R26.62 to R35.29. These steep price hikes hit poor and vulnerable South Africans the hardest.

The upward spiralling cost-of-living is the direct result of the ANC’s disjointed economic policies that obstruct economic growth. In times of inflation, market friendly fiscal policies are necessary to cushion the impact of rising prices, yet the government continues to neglect, or even mention, the cost of living crisis.

While ensuring there is no collusion and manipulation by retailers and producers, the South African government must provide the infrastructure necessary for businesses to thrive. The ANC government has failed in this regard, as food inflation remains elevated and rolling blackouts continue to disrupt business operations. These are the consequences of a government that has failed in implementing effective fiscal policy, and this failure is a significant contributor to high food costs.

The DA has a clear strategy to alleviate pressure on vulnerable households. We call on the government to immediately consider expanding the zero-VAT rated food basket to include essential items such as bone-in chicken, beef, tinned beans, wheat flour, margarine, peanut butter, baby food, tea, coffee, and soup powder. Dropping VAT on these items disproportionately impacts the poorest 50% of South Africans, who are already struggling to put food on the table. Scrapping the fuel levy is affordable and would immediately lower the price of petrol, the cost of transport and food prices.

We will ramp up the pressure on the government to implement workable economic policies that will steer our economy towards growth and urgently address the cost of living crisis. In 2024, the DA will unseat the ANC government and create an environment that fosters both consumer and business-friendly conditions.

Women in cricket finally rewarded for their outstanding achievement

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Tsepo Mhlongo MP.

The DA welcomes the support from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture for rewarding the historic achievement by the Proteas Women’s cricket team at the recent ICC T20 World Cup.

The team received R 7.5 million in bonuses and an additional R15 million over 3 years towards the development of their professional league.

This funding will go a long way in supporting the team and motivating young and upcoming women in cricket.

The women’s team showed that with the necessary support women in sport can perform alongside the best in the world.

We urge the department to provide more funding across the board for women’s teams.