Andile Mngxitama charged for incitement to violence

Yesterday, the DA opened a case against BLF leader, Andile Mngxitama, at the SAPS Potchefstroom, for his racially charged calls inciting violence against white South Africans made during a rally he addressed at Ikageng Stadium this past Saturday. The case number is 199/12/2018.

Calling on people to join a militia outfit and inciting violence against individuals or groups of South Africans goes against the very grain of our constitutional order. This sort of behaviour seeks only to divide our nation on the basis of race and threatens the gains we have made towards reconciliation and truly building One South Africa for All.

Mngxitama’s dangerous rhetoric must be condemned and rejected in the strongest terms, and the relevant authorities have a duty to act against Mngxitama and his pseudo-revolutionary grouping.

The DA will not idly stand by and allow those who wish to dump this country back into the darkness of Apartheid to do so unopposed. The SAPS should investigate these charges, which would be an easy exercise to do, as evidence of Mngxitama’s incitement to violence is well documented and in the public domain. Mngxitama should be quickly prosecuted.

Yesterday, my colleague, DA National Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi, reported the BLF and Mngxitama to the South African Human Rights Commission, as well as the Equality Court.

The DA remains the only party that seeks to bring South Africans from all walks of life together, united in our diversity towards a common goal, we can truly reach our maximum potential, building a society based on freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity.

DA reports Mngxitama to Human Rights Commission over “kill whites” comments

The DA will be reporting Andile Mngxitama to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Equality Court in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA) for comments in which he incites violence against white South Africans.

The Equality Court in terms of PEPUDA Chapter 2, sections 6 and 7, states that “no person may unfairly discriminate against any person on the ground of race, including – (a) the dissemination of any propaganda or idea, which propounds the racial superiority of inferiority of any person, including incitement to, or participation in, any form of violence; (b) the engagement in any activity which is intended to promote, or has the effect of promoting, exclusivity, based on race”.

Further to this, the DA North West Provincial Leader, Joe McGluwa, will lay charges against Mngxitima for incitement of imminent violence. We cannot allow Mngxitama’s comments and actions to go unchallenged.

Institutions of the state empowered to investigate and prosecute on matters of this nature have a duty to act.

In a speech delivered at a BLF rally in Potchefstroom on 9 December, and in a series of tweets thereafter, Mngxitama launched into a tirade against businessman Johann Rupert, saying inter alia “if he hires his taxi bosses to kill one black we shall kill five whites” and “[w]e will go to the white suburbs and avenge each black life.”

To view the video in which Mngxitama makes his comments, click here. Evidence of Mngxitama’s remarks on Twitter can be viewed here, here, here and here.

This will not be the first time BLF and their leader find themselves knee-deep in hate speech allegations. This behaviour is undoubtedly a trend characteristic of the BLF, as is clearly evident based on their track record over the past 2 years. In 2018 alone, the following comes to light:

  • The BLF have been accused of hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission, who have simultaneously recommended that the party be prevented from contesting the 2019 elections on the grounds that they have made statements violating the Electoral Act;
  • Spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp has come under fire for his posting on both Facebook and Twitter that “I have aspirations to kill white people, and this must be achieved!”; and
  • Earlier this year, a female lawyer was branded racist by BLF members and attacked in Johannesburg – when EWN asked Mngxitama to comment on the incident, he responded by saying he did not know why she was labelled as racist by BLF members, but that he supported their actions in attacking her and believed whatever they had to say.

These acts follow the BLF’s behaviour patterns last year, namely in September 2017, when Mngxitama tweeted: “For those claiming the legacy of the holocaust is ONLY negative, think about the lampshades and Jewish soap”. This was followed with another tweet: “the aroma of the burning flesh from the furnace of the holocaust may wet the appetite of the SA cannibals”.

The national director of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) Wendy Kahn said the board was seeking orders from court to find Mngxitama in violation of the Equality Act for hate speech, harassment, and to find him guilty of unfair discrimination. Mngxitama responded to these moves by Kahn by stating that the SAJBD was displaying white supremacist tendencies.

South Africa belongs to all who live in it. There is no place for race-based incitement of violence and those who engage in hate speech should be investigated and prosecuted with the full might of the law. We cannot turn a blind eye to or diminish the seriousness of Mngxitama’s naked racism, hate speech and incitement.

The DA will continue to fight for the rights of all South Africans – black and white. We are the only party that will build One South Africa for All and bring the much-needed change South Africans so desperately deserve.

DA welcomes charges against ANC deployed Tau and Makhubo

The DA supports City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Herman Mashaba, who today laid fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering charges against former Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau and former MMC for Finance, Geoff Makhubo. This sends a strong message to those who use the people’s money to line their pockets while the people suffer.

Tau and Makhubo allegedly orchestrated a windfall of at least R30 million for Makhubo by letting him act as a broker for Regiments Fund Managers, which gave them unrestricted access to lucrative contracts within the City.

With the help of Makhubo and Tau’s interference, Regiments was allegedly able to facilitate a R290 million loan to Denel while receiving kickbacks of around R3.4 million from the beleaguered parastatal.

This matter is being referred to the Zondo Commission by the DA, to form part of the inquiry into the State Capture project which saw billions of rands of the people’s money lost through looting and mismanagement.

The DA-led City of Johannesburg has already requested a meeting with newly-appointed National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Shamila Batohi. Now is the time for the National Prosecuting Authority to prove that it is dedicated to speedily prosecuting this case and many others uncovered by the Public Protector, Parliament and the State Capture Inquiry.

The DA has also requested a meeting with the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to provide an update on all the charges that have been laid by the DA in this regard, with no commitment received to date.

As more evidence of the failing ANC’s part in the State Capture project keeps coming to the fore, South Africans are starting to see the full extent of the ANC’s involvement. We are reminded, daily, of why the ANC and its leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, need to appear before the Zondo Commission to explain their role.

A DA government will build One South Africa for All and ensure that the corruption that has been allowed to flourish under the ANC government will end with 15-year jail sentences.

New Dawn, Same Darkness

The following remarks we delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a presentation of the Party’s 2018 Government Review in Parliament today. Maimane was joined by DA Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen MP

It must be made clear up front that Andile Mngxitama’s recent remarks are a violation of human rights and tantamount to hate speech. On Human Rights Day, and every other day.

Section 16(2)(c) of the Constitution makes it clear that “advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm” is fundamentally a human rights violation.

Hate speech must always be spoken out against. Mngxitama’s comments cheapen people rights to human dignity which is a fundamental tenant of what liberal democracy depends on.

This guarantee exists because we are human beings. It does not exist because we belong to a group or because we are any one individual.

This is what the DA is fighting for and why South Africa needs reform. While President Ramaphosa may have tinkered, he has not reformed – it is easy to appoint new boards; electoral reform, less so.

In a year that was billed to be one of fundamental reform, the ANC has continued to fail South Africa. In government, all of the crises that existed at the end of the Zuma presidency have worsened in the first year of the Ramaphosa presidency. In parliament, the ANC has reverted to their default position of complete deference to the new President, rather than holding him and his government accountable.

In contrast, the DA has not allowed our work in Parliament and in government to be clouded by ‘Ramaphoria’. We have continued to hold the government robustly to account, and to deliver better services and cleaner government where we govern.

President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Ramaphosa is coming to the end of his first year in office. He came to office promising tough action on corruption, and to get the economy growing to create jobs. On both fronts, progress has been elusive.

Former President Jacob Zuma may no longer be in power, but he remains out of prison. The public continues to pay for Zuma’s defence costs, despite this likely-illegal arrangement being within Ramaphosa’s direct power to end immediately.

There have also been no further arrests or charges against anyone implicated in state capture, despite there being a surfeit of evidence of serious crimes having been committed. Indeed, the NPA announced its decision not to prosecute Ace Magashule for the Estina Dairy theft, just a week before the appointment of a new NDPP. We hope she will reconsider this decision soon.

State capture continues to be presented as an aberration of the Zuma Presidency, rather than a system of corruption that is the modus operandi of the ANC as a whole. The policy of cadre deployment, picking civil servants for political loyalty over merit, combined with the elevation of the party and its interests over the state, has opened the way for massive endemic corruption. State capture is not a Zuma phenomenon, it is the way the ANC works.

As if to prove this point for us, Ramaphosa confirmed in Parliament that he received a R500 000 donation for his ANC campaign from Bosasa, a company already implicated in widespread ANC corruption, and that his son has a ‘commercial relationship’ with that company. Neither Ramaphosa, his son, or Bosasa, have been willing to reveal further details of this relationship, but the DA will not let up until we get to the truth.

Ramaphosa’s Cabinet remains bloated and filled with delinquent Ministers, and his government has presided over the worst economic recession that South Africa has experienced since the global financial crisis.

Over the past year, it has become clear that the government has no plan on how to fix the economy, beyond talk-shops, conferences and photo-op summits. “Investments” announced were simply the re-announcement of old investments, unemployment has gone up and access to jobs is still manipulated to the benefit of connected ANC insiders, often including demanding sex or cash for jobs.

Compare this to the performance of the DA. Nothing shows the difference between the DA and the ANC better than our performance on job creation and combating corruption. Investment inflows, economic growth and ultimately new job creation has been higher in DA governments than in the rest of the country. In 2018, a full 50% of new jobs created in South Africa were created in the Western Cape. DA governed Midvaal has the lowest unemployment rate in Gauteng.

In Johannesburg, Mayor Herman Mashaba has continued his crusade against corruption. Nationally, the DA has continued to be the only organisation committed to seeing Jacob Zuma help accountable for his crimes. We have laid 10 different charges against SOE executives, board members, corporates and government officials implicated in state capture. We were one of the main driving forces behind the Eskom Inquiry into state capture, requested the Financial Services Conduct Authority investigate financial flows from state capture and wrote to the Reserve Bank of India and the Parliamentary Ethics Committee to probe the capture of the state.

We’ve also taken strong action against malfeasance in our own ranks when we’ve become aware of it, no matter how difficult. And we have resisted the ANC-EFF coalition of corruption in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and in Tshwane.

Parliament

Of the 15 debates that shaped the national agenda in Parliament this year, all confirmed an inconvenient truth: there is no “good” ANC or “bad” ANC, only the ANC. The outcomes of the debates on the recession recovery, fuel price increase and VBS Bank Heist continue to serve as the eulogy of the organization.

A final resting call where Parliament’s lights switched off while the Eskom inquiry report was being debated and the Constitutional Review Committee’s (CRC’s) report’s final words that the bedrock of people’s property rights are up for grabs. While the DA exposed how deep State Capture runs in the national power utility and voted against this dangerous Constitutional amendment, much of South Africa remains in darkness while the people’s Bill of Rights is being walked all over.

As unfair a burden placed by the government on ordinary South Africans has been the VAT increase, ballooning bailouts and spiraling cost of fuel. One might have hoped the recession recovery debate might have offered more responsible alternatives but is was not long until the House found itself processing how R2 billion was looted from VBS bank by the ANC and EFF.

Nothing has changed – the ANC acts only for connected insiders and poor and vulnerable outsiders come stone last. The DA’s laying of criminal charges against Minister Mkhize and former North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, for their involvement in the VBS scandal is only the beginning of our fight for the victims of this national sin.

Speaking up for the voiceless against an unchangeable ANC requires more than actionless debates – it demands the use of law as a tool to drive change. But rather than guiding South Africa’s true north, Parliament’s law-making function has regressed to the back of the national agenda where of almost 50 Bills introduced, the fiscal framework required as few as 10.

If any of these Bills should currently find themselves as South African priority number one, it is the DA’s “cheaper energy bill” which seeks to separate Eskom into separate electricity generation and transmission units, allowing Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to fairly compete with Eskom for power provision. This competition will reduce the leviathan monopoly Eskom has on electricity prices, make electricity cheaper and more secure and ultimately steer our country clear of the heart of darkness.

The DA’s Small Enterprises Ombud Services Bill should have found itself topping the national priority alongside our “cheaper energy bill”, offering an efficient mechanism to solve the late payments crisis with small businesses. Instead the ANC abused its majority to recklessly rush through the National Minimum Wage Bill which will lead to an expected loss of 750 000 jobs.

Where the ANC’s debate and legislatives processes failed the people of South Africa, Parliament had a lifeline to keep the Executive in check through oral and written questions. President Ramaphosa answered a total of 24 questions during four oral questions sessions in the NA and 6 questions during one appearance in the NCOP while Deputy President Mabuza answered 36 questions through six sessions in the NA and 18 questions on three occasions in the NCOP this year.

However, the Deputy President is meant be in the House one session per term and for all intents and purposes, Deputy President Mabuza has been an “absentee Deputy President” in the Fourth Parliamentary term. It is unlikely that he will resurface until late February or early March next year – an unaccountability that President Ramaphosa has allowed to happen.

The DA remains the last standing custodian for democracy and accountability in Parliament where we asked more than half of the 3 655 written questions asked in the NA at an average of 73 questions per opportunity or 23 questions per DA MP and 83.5% of the total 266 questions in the NCOP at an average of over 6 questions per opportunity or 17 questions per DA MP. The ANC submitted a paltry 1% in the NA and less than 3% in the NCOP, content with indifference as long as it limps along on the county’s inside lane.

The Communications (34%), Finance (34%), Water and Sanitation (32%), Social Development (28%) and Health Departments (28%) answered the least questions in the NCOP. It remains an offense to the democratic process that the worst performing ANC government departments have also been the least accountable.

Another season of debates that make a noise but no difference, out-of-touch legislation and unanswered questions in the sphere of government designed to hold the executive to account has come and gone. South Africa is nowhere closer to bringing change that builds One South Africa for all.

2019 Elections

It defies reason to award the ANC with a stronger mandate because nothing will change. Next year’s national election is about South Africa’s future, not the ANC’s.

The DA is currently rolling out an extensive registration campaign, because the only way to truly change the country for the better is if South Africans register and show their dissatisfaction with the direction of the country by voting against the ANC.

South Africans must unite to prevent an ANC-EFF two thirds majority in next year’s election. That result would be dangerous for our country. The ANC and the EFF have shown in 2018 that they will work together to protect corruption, for example in Nelson Mandela Metro, and to divide the country and undermine private property rights by trying to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.

The DA will continue to create fair access to real and long-term jobs, fight corruption to ensure that all public money is spent on the people, overhaul the South African Police Service to become and honest and professional organisation that actually serves and protects South Africans, secure our borders and stop illegal immigration and speed up the delivery of basic services. If this offer resonates, the last weekend of next month is the final opportunity to register to vote for this change in the 2019 national election.

If 2018 began with the great hope of a new dawn, it ends with the growing realisation by more and more South Africans that it is the government itself that needs changing, not just the President.

Change that will builds one South Africa for all starts with registering to vote for it.

Power crisis: It is time for Eskom to play open cards

The DA notes conflicting reports surrounding the current crisis at Eskom and believes that South Africans deserve clarity with regards to the many theories, explanations and excuses provided by Eskom during these very dark days.

There are many reasons for the power failures South Africans are now being forced to endure – ranging from State Capture and a lack of coal to allegations of irregular tenders and Eskom’s use of companies that are unable to provide the services Eskom so desperately needs.

For the sake of clarity and transparency the DA calls on Eskom to provide a list of all the companies it has taken action against with regards to incorrect tender processes. We also call on Eskom to inform South Africans whether it has applied for any urgent interdicts to stop contracts which result in coal shortages.

The underlying problem, regardless of the current crisis, is that the structure of Eskom inevitably needs to change. Eskom has proven it is incapable of delivering power to South Africans within its current operational model, and it has proven so, time and again in many different ways:

  • Eskom recently failed to communicate clearly with PetroSA, a simple mechanism which could have alleviated the degree of load-shedding we are currently experiencing;
  • Money for plant maintenance was re-directed towards Gupta-linked firms in 2015, resulting in new and higher upkeep costs in 2018;
  • The Eskom wage bill and its other finances are out of control; and
  • Poor project management at Medupi and Kusile stations doubled the costs of the building process

Eskom is an entity which finds itself in a state of complete collapse and the only thing that can save it is if the entire structure changes. The mess we currently find ourselves in with Eskom is undoubtedly a result of an ANC which has allowed corruption and irregularities to manifest within our state-owned enterprises.

South Africans deserve clarity and honesty with regards to this crisis. The ANC’s mismanagement of Eskom needs to end, and South Africans can ensure this at the ballot boxes in 2019, by voting for a party that will ensure all South African homes are filled with warmth and light in the next festive season.

ANC rushes land expropriation Bill ahead of elections

The DA notes that Cabinet has approved the new Land Expropriation Bill, which now stands to be gazetted this week and to be followed by a sixty-day comment period till February.

The ANC’s fake concern with land reform intensifies greatly with every election cycle. Rushing these kinds of amendments will only offer a disservice to South Africans, as such a bill has far-ranging consequences and all decisions related to it need to be made with care and consideration.

The DA is furthermore concerned that the failing ANC is using expropriation as an electioneering tool. This being based on the evidence provided by the ANC itself in previous elections, which did the very same with the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act that was pushed through before the 2014 elections. The urgency attached to this Bill is entirely arbitrary.

The process of changing Section 25 of the constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation is still ongoing and there is no objective reason why the process should be rushed or why the Sixth Parliament cannot consider the proposed constitutional amendments before this Bill is passed.

This is pure political expedience.

The DA wants South Africans to own their land and property in a South Africa which suffers from a history of black people being denied land ownership. We do not need to change the Constitution to address this, we need government action. What we most certainly do not need, is the EFF’s plan to make government the owner of all property and land, forcing citizens to rent their homes and land from government for life.

The DA believes that people must own their land because they are the ones who best know how to use their land. Let’s bring land reform that makes the people land owners, not life-long tenants. Lets ensure that this process is done so correctly and not rushed as an electioneering tool to garner votes.

Our success in the Western Cape has shown that we are serious about land reform and it can be done within the current constitutional framework.

Bosasa denies contract exists with Ramaphosa Jr, despite President’s confirmation

Despite President Cyril Ramaphosa telling Parliament last month that he had personally seen the business contract between Bosasa (now African Global Operations) and his son, Andile, the embattled company has stated in writing that such a contract doesn’t exist.

In their reply (attached here) to my PAIA application for access to this contract, the company’s chairman, Mr Gumede, states that “there exists no record that fits the description.”

The chairman then goes on to contradict himself by saying that “African Global declines to furnish this record as the record is not required by you for the exercise or protection of any right”. In essence, this is a blanket refusal for access to any and all contracts the company has with Andile Ramaphosa.

Bosasa and the Ramaphosa’s are hiding something, and we will get to the bottom of it.

I have therefore asked our legal team to advise on what recourse is available in such circumstances. We will not relent in this fight to shine light on what has all the makings of ANC-style collusion, nepotism and corruption.There appears to be a triangle of corruption in place, and it is this very system of corruption that locks millions of South Africans out of opportunity.The fact that Bosasa gave a R500 000 “donation” to Cyril Ramaphosa’s election campaign to become ANC President while the company does business with his son and receives billions of rands in lucrative tenders from government cannot be ignored.

It has been 14 days since I called on President Ramaphosa to immediately appoint a full-scale independent inquiry – headed by a retired judge to be selected by the Chief Justice – to fully investigate the Bosasa scandal, which now involves the President and his family. The President should do so without delay.

Ramaphosa is not the only one to have benefited from Bosasa. A long list of ANC ministers and other cadres of the party have received extensive security upgrades like CCTV cameras, alarm systems and electric fencing free of charge from Bosasa. This list includes Gwede Mantashe, Nomvula Mokonyane, Thabang Makwetla, Dudu Myeni, Linda Mti, Mbulelo Gingcana and Vincent Smith. The company also allegedly funded former President Jacob Zuma’s birthday bashes in 2015 and 2016, to the estimated value of R3.5 million.

We cannot have double standards when it comes to bribery and corruption – particularly not when it involves the highest office of the country. The President’s links to Bosasa – including all payments made to him, to the ANC and to his son, whether directly or through shell companies, third parties or trust accounts – must be investigated in detail

The ANC’s system of corruption steals opportunity from ordinary South Africans and needs to be eradicated in its entirety. The DA has shown that by building capable and corrupt-free governments, jobs are created, inclusive economic growth is achieved, and services are delivered to all.

 

“Black Christmas” for SA as Ramaphosa absent on load shedding

Note to Editors: The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, following the final sitting of the party’s Federal Executive (FedEx) for the year 2018.

Over the past two days, the Democratic Alliance’s Federal Executive (FedEx) convened for its final sitting of 2018, to discuss and decide on matters of importance to the party and our national programme ahead of the 2019 general election.

Eskom and the electricity crisis

On top of FedEx’s agenda this weekend was South Africa’s persistent and crippling energy crisis, which reared its ugly head again over the past month with the reintroduction of electricity cuts affecting all corners of the country. As the DA, we sympathize with South Africans, whether ordinary consumers or vital players in the economy. The fact is we all suffer when the ANC government fails at basic tenets of governance, and fails to provide a basic need – electricity.

While the ANC’s former president Jacob Zuma promised over two years ago, in May 2016, that there would “never be load shedding again”, this promise could never be kept without any fundamental and structural change to both Eskom and the energy sector. Today, even with a new President at the helm, it is the same ANC that governs.

Nothing has fundamentally changed. We are still stuck with the same ANC in government, trying the same tried, tested and failed solutions to the same structural problems in our economy. For the past decade, the ANC in government has repeatedly put Band-Aids onto the bullet wounds in our energy sector – most notably at Eskom. And the result today is a national power utility that is on its knees, threatening to take the entire country down with it.

The Eskom meltdown is not a new phenomenon that can be conveniently blamed on the Guptas. Rather, due to deliberate decisions or lack thereof by the ANC over the past 12 years, Eskom has been transformed from a strong and competitive power giant, into the single biggest threat to our nation’s future. Corruption, cadre deployment, mismanagement of coal contracts, and a decision not to invest in coal-plus mines are the key contributors to today’s crisis.

From the mid 2000’s, the culture of ANC capture inevitably creeped into the State-Owned Entity – and its downward spiral was set in motion. Industry experts were replaced with loyal ANC cadres, the board was packed with “yes” men and women, and planning for long term sustainability was neglected in favour of shortcuts that made connected cadres rich.

A consideration of key indicators paints a grim picture of the abuse and neglect of an entity that has the ability to single-handedly cripple our economy and our nation. The following figures show Eskom’s decline from 2006 to present.

  • In 2006, Moody’s credit rating for Eskom was “A1”. Today Eskom is rated as “b2” – a below investment grade rating.
  • In 2006, Eskom’s total debt totalled R30.1 billion. Today, it has increased tenfold and sits at over R380 billion. There are plans to take on R212 billion more debt over the next four years from R388 billion to an unprecedented R600 billion
  • In 2006, Eskom made a total profit of R4.5 billion per annum. In 2018, the utility made a loss of R2.3 billion.
  • In 2006, Eskom’s cost per kilowatt was R14.25. In 2018, that has quadtripled and sits at R63.40 per kilowatt.
  • And in 2006, Eskom’s employee costs were R7.6 billion. Today it has too quadrupled to R 29.4 billion

Today Eskom is a financial disaster with significantly more debt, more employee costs, higher cost to produce electricity – all while making an annual financial loss. This illustrates a failed entity that’s downward spiralling is compounding at an alarming rate.

Eskom is the quintessential story of the ANC’s modus operandi: governance and decision making that favours the politically connected few over the majority of South Africans.

Ramaphosa’s Role

It must be emphasised that as Deputy President of South Africa from 2014, Cyril Ramaphosa was privy to – and participated in – many decisions that led us to this parlous state we’re in today. In March 2015, Ramaphosa was tasked with appointing a “war room” to oversee Eskom’s fundamental problems, one which appeared to make little change if any to the status quo.

During his spell as Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa would have had knowledge of all the board and executive appointments that exacerbated the collapse of Eskom. These include the appointments of Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh and Matshela Koko among others. Moreover, as head of the ANC’s deployment committee since 2012, many of these appointments would have been run past him, or required the green light from him.

As Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) during this period, Ramaphosa would have had knowledge of the appointment of Gupta-friendly individuals to SOE boards – including Eskom – and any “special work” being performed for the Guptas and their associates. To claim ignorance of this is simply not plausible nor believable.

Millions of South Africans are headed for a “Black Christmas” this year reminiscent of the state of emergency era during the last years of the Apartheid regime in the late 1980’s. For many of us, we remember the eerie atmosphere of fear and instability, the smell of burning paraffin, and the long nights of darkness across townships and informal settlements. President Ramaphosa must take responsibility for this “Black Christmas”, as he evidently sat on his hands over the past 6 years, allowing us to arrive at this juncture.

I today challenge Mr Ramaphosa to come clean, accept responsibility for this crisis, and provide leadership on his plan to save Eskom and reform the country’s energy sector.

It is the DA’s view that we need to take the following immediate steps to reform Eskom and the energy sector, to bring about stability for our economy, and to introduce much need competition that lowers the price of electricity for ordinary South Africans.

Short Term Solutions

Breaking down Eskom’s monopoly over electricity at national government is required if we are to fix our electricity crisis in the short, medium and long term. Currently the role of local government is simply being a distributor for our national utility’s electricity – and as Eskom has no energy, this must change.

We urgently need a solution to the current round of the energy crisis and its clear it will not come from the ANC national government. South African cities must be allowed to open the market for energy where both cities and their residents can have greater choice over how they purchase and consume energy.

The City of Cape Town, one of the most established DA governments in the country, has begun legal proceedings in the Western Cape High Court to compel the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to enable the City to feed power produced by independent producers into the grid. This a massive step towards energy security in the City and will mitigate against electricity cuts that hamper the economy, business, and the lives of ordinary citizens.

Given the urgency of the situation I have discussed with Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato the possibly of approaching the Judge President of the Western Cape High Court, seeking to have this declared an urgent matter. A decision on this will be announced by the Mayor in due course.

If successful in this matter, it will set a precedent that upon consideration could be implemented in DA governments across the country,

Medium Term Solutions

In the medium term, the most suitable way to fix or nation’s electricity crisis is to end Eskom’s monopoly by splitting Eskom into separate power production and distribution businesses, while simultaneously allowing cities to purchase directly from Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The DA has a draft Bill – The Independent System and Market Operator Bill or “ISMO Bill” to achieve just that.

It goes without saying that the only way to keep the cost of electricity down for consumers is to introduce competition in the electricity market. Our ISMO Bill aims to achieve this by legislating the creation of an entity that is financially sound; has efficient systems management; acts as an electricity trader; guides electricity supply and transmission planning; is responsible for the integrated power system; and will dispatch within this integrated system.

The Bill envisages the establishment of an independent body owned by the state tasked with buying electricity from electricity generators. The operator will function as a wholesaler of electricity that sells electricity to distributors and customers at a wholesale tariff. ISMO will function independently to electricity generation businesses to ensure fairness between generators, encouraging competition and innovation

A crucial objective of the Bill will be to allow metropolitan municipalities with a proven history of good financial governance and electricity reticulation management to trade with electricity generators directly, buying electricity straight from the source. In the spirit of accountability, the processes involved with such procurement will be required to be transparent, and any agreement concluded will be required to be the result of a competitive bidding process. Metropolitan municipalities that have shown themselves to be capable of good governance will be allowed to manage their energy requirements without being dictated to by national or provincial government.

This is a major boost for consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs in South Africa’s major cities, which aligns with the DA’s “city-led growth” agenda. We will be formally introducing this Bill to Parliament at the beginning of next year and have already begun canvassing MPs from all political parties to support this.

Without immediate intervention at Eskom, our nation’s future lies at risk. We must act at once to ensure future generations do not say to us that we failed to act when the writing was on the wall.

DA refers Minister Nkwinti to Public Protector for allegedly pressuring officials to lie under oath

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform dismissed more than 10 employees following a Special Investigative Unit (SIU) probe implicating them in possible fraud and corruption.

The DA now has it on good authority that the findings of the SIU investigation have subsequently been brought into question as the department has confirmed that 3 of the 10 employees have been reinstated on the grounds that during the probe, witnesses allegedly committed perjury and testified under duress due to alleged intimidation from the previous minister, Gugile Nkwinti, and his leadership.

These allegations raise questions as to whether the department under the leadership of Nkwinti pressured these witnesses to lie under oath to falsely implicate certain officials in order to cover up corruption.

The Minister himself has been caught up in allegations of corruption during his tenure at the Department of Land Reform. Nkwinti allegedly gifted his friend, Errol Present, a farm worth R97 million which subsequently fell into ruin.

The alleged list of reinstated employees includes the dismissed Director General, Mr Mduduzi Shabane, the former Deputy Director General for Land Reform Vusi Mahlangu. Mduduzi was dismissed on the charge of serious financial misconduct while Mahlangu was dismissed in the wake of the scandal involving Nkwinti and Present.

The DA will now refer Minister Nkwinti to the Public Protector in terms of the Executive Ethic Code of Conduct. The DA firmly believes that there is a scourge of political score settling at play within the department which is to the detriment of South Africans.

It is precisely this chaos and corruption on the part of the ANC government which has bungled the land reform process in our country and delayed justice for black South Africans who were brutally disposed of their land.

The DA will also write to the Public Service Commission and insist on an investigation into the alleged intimidation tactics used against witnesses to purge themselves as well as into the allegations of corruption against the 10 individuals. The Commission needs to enquire as to who all these reinstated or soon to be reinstated individuals are, why there has been a complete turnaround from these dismissals and what the individual charges were.

South Africa requires a government which roots out corruption and have the political will to implement land reform properly. The DA will not stand by while the Constitution is scapegoated for the utter mismanagement and corruption of the Department under the failed leadership of the ANC government.

ANC Power Failures: Our country cannot be held ransom by the Guptas again

Reports today once again revealed the depth of State Capture in Eskom and its complete inability to provide power to South Africans. These reports suggest the reason for our current spout of power failures are due to Eskom having diverted its 2015/2016 maintenance funds to pay Gupta owned firms (Tegeta, Mckinsey and Trillian). Hundreds of millions of rands were moved from Eskom’s vital plant upkeep budget, and diverted to Gupta owned mining company Tegeta.

To add insult to injury, these millions were paid to the Guptas for coal that Eskom has allegedly never received.

Worse, what would have cost the South African tax payer R2 billion in maintenance fees 3 years ago, has now ballooned to R11.5 billion in upkeep costs for power plants that are completely in-operational. Eskom has also forked out an additional R200 million to pay PetroSA for emergency diesel it needed for the winter months of June to October 2018.

South Africans are now literally paying the price of the ANC’s project of State Capture.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will write to the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan to demand that our national government find where our coal went. Our country cannot be held to ransom by the Guptas again.

If it is found that the coal has remained with Tegeta and they do not provide the coal we paid for 3 years ago, then government must force them to pay back the money. The DA will also ask Minister Gordhan what his plans are to ensure that new Eskom plants Medupi and Kusile are firing at full capacity as soon as possible.

These revelations are proof of how the ANC and its officials at state -owned entities (SOE’s) sold our country out to the Guptas. It also reinforces the point that these power failures are a direct result of the failing ANC’s mismanagement and corruption.

The DA is the only party that is capable of truly delivering services to our people. We will build One South Africa for All with the change our country so desperately deserves. We will continue to fight State Capture and we will continue to ensure that taxpayers’ funds are not abused. It is essential that South Africans pull the plug on the ANC at the polls in 2019. We cannot afford another 5 years of ANC mismanagement and corruption of this magnitude.