DA demands immediate action to resolve electricity crisis

Support the DA’s plan to save Eskom, before it takes the entire country down with it: https://keepthelightson.co.za/

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today written to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, demanding that he take immediate steps to address the worsening electricity crisis in our country. With Eskom having announced stage 4 loadshedding, the Minister must prioritize procuring alternative sources of electricity and opening the grid to independent power producers (IPPs).

Among the primary causes of Eskom’s problems is the fact that not a single generation unit at Khusile, which has taken 8 years to build and cost approximately R200 billion, is operational.

The Minister missed an opportunity when the Integrated Resource Plan was finally adopted earlier this year to announce the easing of licensing requirements for entities generating less than 10MW, to give the required Section 34 determinations to the 17 applications (including the City of Cape Town and several large mines) that wanted to be permitted to purchase directly from IPPs, and to ease the regulation of residential small scale embedded generation.

This fresh round of rolling blackouts comes on the back of an already shrinking economy, and will further impact economic growth as we head into the festive season and the height of South Africa’s tourism influx.

Minister Mantashe must act now. The DA has indicated its willingness to work across party lines to resolve this crisis, by introducing the non-partisan Independent Electricity Management Operator (IEMO) bill to parliament. We call on Minister Mantashe to support this initiative and help us fix South Africa’s electricity supply.

DA to present its Cheaper Electricity Bill in Parliament tomorrow

A copy of the Cheaper Electricity Bill can be downloaded here.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will on Tuesday present its Private Members Bill, the Independent Electricity Management Operator (IEMO) Bill also known as the Cheaper Electricity Bill, before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises.

The DA once again calls on our colleagues across the political divide to set our differences aside and support the introduction of this Bill in order to ensure secure energy security and future for all South Africans.

Electricity is an essential source of energy without which no economy can flourish,  but Eskom’s monopolistic stranglehold on electricity production and distribution has, without doubt, led to the precarious situation South Africa finds itself in today with regards to the provision of electricity. It has sabotaged our future and has been the single biggest risk to the South African economy.

It is for this reason that, the DA argues for greater competition and for private players to enter the electricity market.

The DA’s Cheaper Energy Bill seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and transmission/distribution entity. Our plan would see a generation entity which is privatised in an effort to break Eskom’s monopoly on the production of energy, allowing Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to compete on an equal footing in the generation sector.

Well-functioning metros will be able to source energy directly from IPPs and electricity supply will ultimately become more stable, cleaner and cheaper.

The introduction of this Bill comes at a time when the governing party has literally brought the power utility to its knees, through years of corruption and maladministration, threatening to take the entire country down with it.

South Africans have lost faith in the utility’s ability to keep the lights on and the utility has effectively become a zombie enterprise that is both over-inflated and burning through taxpayers’ money at an alarming rate.

The DA is of the view that our Cheaper Electricity Bill is the only way to guarantee a profitable, efficient Eskom and an energy secure South Africa. We have reached a stage with Eskom where we have to put our political differences aside, as it is in all of our mutual interests to ensure that Eskom gets back to working for all South Africans. Failure to this will result in, not only the collapse of Eskom but the collapse of South Africa.

Medium-Term Budget: Mboweni allows a debt blowout

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni today revealed the true horror of our nation’s precarious financial situation. We acknowledge his honesty that things are worse than imagined. We also welcome his tough talk on cutting the public wage bill and on the mismanagement of state-owned entities (SOEs).

But the Minister’s number one priority in this speech was to present a credible plan to control national debt and rein in the deficit. The fact is that he did not do this. For all the tough talk, the Minister’s bark was worse than his bite. The spending cuts he did announce – roughly R50 billion over the next two years – will not be nearly enough to slow down the ballooning of national debt, and will not be enough to restore credibility with ratings agencies.

Earlier this week the DA made a credible proposal to cut the wage bill by R168 billion in three years, while protecting frontline service delivery staff like teachers and nurses. Today the Minister echoed that call, with tough talk on the wage bill, but didn’t do anything about it. All of the cuts he announced will be applied to “non-compensation” spending, with no cuts to the R630 billion wage bill. Effectively, he procrastinated again on the tough action needed to turn our finances around.

Far from reining in the deficit, the Minister’s proposals see the deficit expanding to an alarming 5.9% this year, and blowing out completely to 6.5% next year.

Far from getting national debt under control, debt will skyrocket by a truly staggering R1.5 trillion in the next three years alone. By then we will be spending R299 billion a year just on interest payments. This will be more than we spend on educating our children (R262 billion), more than we spend on healthcare (R222 billion), nearly triple what we spend on police (R104 billion), and more than we spend on social grants (R206.8 billion)

National debt has exploded from 54% of GDP in 2017/18, to a projected 71.3% of GDP in 2022.

And far from ending support for zombie SOEs, the detail of today’s proposals reveal another R33 billion for Eskom and a R9 billion debt write off for SAA. While the basic services on which the public rely are being cut, more money is being spent on failing SOEs. This is an indefensible choice.

Further procrastination will have terrible consequences for South Africans, particularly for the poor, as service spending is squeezed out by debt and salaries. We urge the Minister to implement the DA’s proposal to cut the wage bill.

Rolling Blackouts: If Eskom can’t be honest with the public, they must account to Parliament 

After announcing that Eskom will implement stage 1 rolling blackouts today and not anticipating any further blackouts, the utility suddenly announced this morning that due to a major setback at Medupi, stage 2 blackouts would be implemented from midday.

Clearly, Eskom’s press briefing on Thursday evening was a publicity stunt to save face in the midst of an electricity meltdown.

The floundering, confusion and dishonesty can no longer continue. The public needs clear answers from Eskom and Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, on the state of affairs at the beleaguered power utility.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, to request that Eskom’s entire executive, board and Minister Gordhan is summonsed to appear before the committee for their evident inability to deal with this crisis.

In terms of Rule 167 of the Rules of the National Assembly, a committee has the power to “summon any person to appear before it to give evidence on oath or affirmation, or to produce documents”.

The DA is of the view that Eskom has not been forthcoming, especially after it seemingly misled South Africans when it refuted the DA’s revelation that it had issued a warning to municipalities that power cuts were on the cards for the months of September and October.

Until Mr. Jabu Mabuza can categorically tell the truth, we suggest that he says nothing at all until such time he accounts to Parliament.

South Africa cannot afford to leap from blackout to blackout without any political and board accountability. These rolling blackouts will no doubt have consequences on productivity and job security.

In the midst of this crisis, President Cyril Ramaphosa has remained completely silent. Confirming that his government does not have a plan to keep the lights on. Unlike the ANC, the DA has a plan.

Our Cheaper Electricity Bill, will stabilize and secure South Africa’s power supply and seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and distribution entity. It will bring on board Independent Power Producers, which will result in a stable, cheaper and efficient energy supply.

In the coming days, the DA will hand over our plan at the Union Buildings as we believe that energy security in South Africa requires cooperation across the political divide.

DA to table “economic recovery plan” in Parliament’s upcoming debate on SA’s unemployment crisis

The DA welcomes the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Thandi Modise, to grant my request for an urgent debate of public importance on South Africa’s jobs crisis. The DA will use Parliament’s debate of national importance on the jobs crisis to table our “Economic Recovery Plan” – a comprehensive package of reform interventions that are unashamedly pro-growth, pro-investment, and pro-job creation.

This “Economic Recovery Plan” will include the following proposals, among others:

  • Splitting Eskom into two separate entities while allowing IPPs to come on board by passing the ISMO Bill;
  • Rejecting the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill that threatens to collapse our health sector;
  • Immediately placing SAA under business rescue;
  • Beginning the rollout of a Voluntary Civil Service Year for young people;
  • Cutting the Public Sector Wage Bill; and
  • Creating an enabling environment for job creation by freeing up micro enterprise and relaxing labour legislation.

Our country’s economy is in a dire state and on the verge of passing the point of no return – which we may never fully recover from. Urgency is now more vital than ever, and I implore Parliament’s programming committee to set a date for this debate at the soonest available opportunity.

The ANC government has made history again – albeit for the wrong reasons – as the number of South Africans without a job has now crossed the dreaded 10 million threshold, with an expanded unemployment rate of 38.5%. Despite longwinded promises of reform from Mr Ramaphosa, we have seen no noticeable improvement in the economy, the unemployment rate, and the living conditions of ordinary South Africans.

Instead, since Mr Ramaphosa assumed the Presidency, 746 000 more South Africans have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Ramaphosa appears to either have no plan to fix this crisis, or no power to do so within his own party. We cannot continue along this path any longer, we need urgent and wholescale reform.

In the two weeks since the StatsSA confirmed that 10.2 million South Africans are now without a job, neither the President nor the ANC government has taken action and put forward a concrete plan. Two weeks ago I therefore also wrote to the President to establish an economic crisis recovery plan with relevant government stakeholders and political parties to reform the economy, Eskom and stem the jobs losses. I am yet to hear back from the President.

Parliament must now rise to the occasion and play its part during this leadership vacuum. The debate will need to address unsustainable levels of government spending; how to stop runaway bailouts to mismanaged SOEs such as Eskom; the size and growth of the Public Sector wage bill; and how to stimulate both local and foreign investment. Investors have lost all confidence in this government and are selling South African assets at an unprecedented rate. If we fail to stop this trend we will soon be staring down the barrel of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.

South Africa is fast running out of time. In order to avoid economic collapse, we need a clear, concrete plan for urgent reform. The DA will table such a plan during this debate, and will work hard to gain support for this plan across party lines.

Only the DA can manage the real problems South Africa faces. The DA’s governance track record speaks for itself. Where we govern, we govern well, get stuff done and have a solid agenda with workable solutions. Our approach to the economy is no different.

DA calls for responsible resolution to Eskom senior managers’ salary demands

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with concern demands by Eskom managers for a salary hike and the reported warning by the utility that a strike and load shedding might be possible later this year if this demand is not met. Reports also indicate that the senior managers have now approached the CCMA to resolve to matter.

The DA calls on all the parties involved to resolve their salary disputes in a responsible manner by not plunging the economy and the utility into even further distress.

Should this salary hike be granted, it could cost the power utility – which is already in its worst ever financial state – up to R300 million.

Due to a deepening financial crisis and R20.7 billion in losses in the past financial year, ordinary South Africans will now be expected to pay up yet again as Eskom’s senior managers, who earn between R1.5 million and R3 million a year, are requesting higher salaries and bonuses.

Senior management should be an example when it comes to austerity measures by reviewing salaries instead of holding the country and the economy to ransom because they have not been given a salary increase.
Eskom’s financial trajectory is not sustainable. South Africa cannot afford a recurrence of load shedding, as we stare down the slow collapse of the entity. This will have irreparable consequences for our already ailing economy and ordinary citizens.

In order to reduce the cost of electricity and bring about much-needed competition, the DA introduced the Cheaper Energy Bill as an alternative plan to save and stabilise Eskom to secure South Africa’s power supply. This will break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation entity which is privatised and a transmission/distribution entity and ensure that South Africa is not being forced to pay for the corruption and mismanagement which has taken place at Eskom.

The DA will continue to fight for an efficient and well managed Eskom, which will put the interest of the country first because South Africans deserve reliable energy to the economy to empower people to grow the economy and create jobs for the millions of unemployed South Africans.

DA welcomes Mayor Mashaba’s action against prolonged Eskom power cuts in Johannesburg

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, requesting an urgent meeting with Eskom following a series of unjustifiable and prolonged power cuts in areas such as Diepsloot, Ivory Park,  Soweto and Orange Farm.

Mayor Mashaba has also vowed to institute urgent dispute resolution proceedings between the City and Eskom with the energy regulator, Nersa, in terms of Section 4 of the Electricity Act, should the utility fail to meet his request.

Eskom has instituted credit management procedures in the affected communities as a result of non-payment by some residents.

While the DA holds the view that those who fail to pay their electricity bills should be held accountable, we condemn Eskom’s apparent illogical punishment of entire communities.

It is unfair and frankly unethical that paying residents should have to bear the brunt for the actions of a few residents.

The DA also notes reports that Eskom has made a decision to not repair or maintain its infrastructure in areas with a high non-payment rates.

It is absolutely deplorable that the power utility would choose to not repair and uphold its own electricity infrastructure. This decision will not only sabotage services and economic activities in these communities, but Eskom will also be shooting itself in the foot as future repair costs will most certainly skyrocket.

Eskom has no right to punish innocent and law-abiding residents for the failures of others. The utility must not forget that its mandate to paying residents is to ensure the reliable and sustained provision of electricity.

SOE Review: R100bn lost in two-years

On Wednesday the Democratic Alliance (DA) wrote to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, requesting a full-scale review of our failing and debt-ridden state-owned entities (SOEs), which have cumulative losses amounting to almost R100 billion. According to the National Treasury’s 2019 Consolidated Financial Statement report, loss making public entities raked up a consolidated loss of R50.65 billion in 2016/17 and R45.82 billion in 2017/18.

These financial losses increase on a daily basis and are proof that the status quo is no longer feasible. South Africa’s SOEs must, as a matter of urgency, be completely overhauled. Their insurmountable debt poses great risks to our economy and the functioning of our societies, as many of them are bankrupt and completely unable to provide the services they are mandated to deliver. Furthermore, several of these hundreds of SOEs duplicate functions and should not even exist in the first place.

The DA will continue to fight for this comprehensive review, which should be conducted to evaluate which SOEs are necessary, which SOEs need to be dissolved, which should be partially privatised, and which should be privatised in their entirety.

It is time to be pragmatic, and to stop playing politics. SOEs represent some of the biggest monopolies in the South African economy, and by conducting a comprehensive review, government would be providing citizens with a clear indication that they are willing to start the process of structural change to protect our economy from further financial losses.

We cannot be sentimental about SOEs when they add little to no value to the people of South Africa and the economy. The country’s is in crisis, it therefore requires urgent reforms, starting with Eskom.

A plan for our shared tomorrow

The following speech was delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, during the joint sitting for the debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament. 

Madam Speaker

Honourable President

Honourable Members

At the very moment a child will be born in South Africa. This child is born in a modern, hi-tech hospital – most likely the same hospital where her parents met her several months ago for the first time on a 3D scan.

They will soon take her home to a safe community where she and her family will be protected by private security. Later she will attend a good school where she will have access to a wide range of subjects that will prepare her for a fast-changing future.

Her path through school, then university and finally into a career stretches out ahead of her. Yes, she will have to work hard at every step of the way, but all the opportunities she needs in life will be there for her to take if she so chooses.

At the same time, another child is also born in South Africa. She is born in a clinic on the outskirts of a small town. Neither of her parents has a steady job. She will live in a poverty-stricken community gripped by fear and crime, with little option of escaping.

She will have no choice but to go to the nearest school, even though most of the children there don’t reach matric, and most of the teachers are regularly absent.

There is no path laid out for her to a future with a degree, a career and security. If she’s lucky enough to finish school, she might be lucky enough to get a job. Any job.

This, Honourable Members, is the reality of our country.

We live in two separate worlds, determined by the circumstances of our birth.

When we speak about inequality, it’s not merely an issue of income or wealth. It’s an inequality of opportunity. An inequality of dreams and possibilities.

We are a country of insiders and outsiders, and right now we’re making no headway in breaking down the walls between these two groups.

The image we were treated to by the President on Thursday evening of a future South Africa with hi-tech cities, high-speed trains and classrooms where children are taught to code and analyse data and no child goes hungry. While these may be experienced by some, the majority are left out and left behind.

Honourable Members,

Three stats released this past month paint the true state of our nation. The first was our record-high broad unemployment rate, which now stands at 38%.

The second was the contraction of our economy by 3.2% this first quarter – the highest in 10 years.

And the third was that our net investment has now fallen for the fifth consecutive quarter.

Read together, these numbers paint a picture of a country in deep, deep trouble. We no longer attract investment, which means we can’t grow the economy, which means that every month more and more South Africans join the ranks of the unemployed.

This is a crisis for us, but I believe we can turn it around if we act now.

Fellow South Africans,

Our priority should be to fix what is broken and build a South Africa where all can be guaranteed an equality of opportunity – be it in the classroom, on the sports field, or in the workplace. The DA is the party of equal shots, not equal outcomes.

To meet these urgent challenges we don’t need dreams. We need money, we need the right people and, most importantly, we need a plan.

And in order to do that, we don’t need to build new smart cities, Honourable President. We need to make our current cities smart.

We must broaden access and connect all young people to the information and the opportunities that still remain available to only a few.

And one place to start, Honourable President, is with our long-overdue spectrum allocation. The longer we delay this, the wider the technology and communications gap becomes, and the longer data prices will not fall.

Instead of a new bullet train, Honourable President, let us rather fix and protect the trains we already have – the trains that are meant to take thousands of ordinary South Africans to jobs and back home every day.

Let us put all our efforts into building a country where black children and white children, city children and rural children, all have quality education and equality of opportunity.

Without bold intervention, challenges don’t simply disappear, as history has repeatedly shown us.

Honourable members

By the end of the 19th Century, cities like New York and London were facing a crisis that seemed to have no solution. As these cities grew and developed, the tens of thousands of horses needed to transport people around had left the streets knee-deep in manure.

New York had to employ an army of workers to clear the streets every day. In London, The Times newspaper reported back in 1894 that every street in the city would be buried under nine feet of manure within 50 years if nothing changed.

Of course, this didn’t happen. And the reason for this is that a bold new solution, driven by new technology, had made the horse-drawn carriage obsolete.

Henry Ford’s new and affordable motorcar had replaced horses in the cities, the manure problem went away, and the course of history was changed forever.

Honourable Members, if we are to overcome our challenges here in South Africa, it will also require innovative and solutions – not doing more of the same.

But all President Ramaphosa could give us on Thursday was, to use another Henry Ford analogy, a faster horse.

We don’t need a faster horse, Mr President, we need a bold plan to steer us towards the South Africa of the future. A plan that responds to the three most important global drivers of the future, which are climate, technology, and disease management.

Fellow South Africans, the future is upon us

We must ask ourselves what kind of planet will our children inherit, will they be prepared with the right skills to step into this future, and can we ensure that our population remains healthy and resilient? These are the questions our plan needs to address.

Today we have floods in KZN and droughts in the Western Cape. This is the future we must plan for, and so before we build smart cities, we should build sustainable cities.

Elsewhere in the world countries are using smart technology to keep their people healthy and safe. Solutions like smartphone screening to detect cervical cancer. This should be part of our plan too.

I hear everyone speaking of the fourth industrial revolution these days, but I’m not sure they always know what this is. Giving our children tablets at school is not the fourth industrial revolution, but preparing them for jobs that don’t even exist yet is.

The overwhelming majority of all new jobs will not come from mining or retail, or even manufacturing. They will come from fields such as data mining, digital design, coding and a host of technology-driven micro-enterprises.

We need a plan that modernizes our economy for the future. Because if we don’t, we will meet the same fate as the Kodaks and Nokias – and soon, the Multichoices – of the world.

These companies seemed to hold invincible monopolies, but they failed to keep up with the changing world. They failed to modernise, and they got left behind.

Today hardly anyone uses a Nokia phone. Children don’t even know about Kodak. That’s how fast you become irrelevant.

We must have a vision of our place in the future. We must think big, and we must know where we are going.

Our vision is One South Africa for All in which each child has access to quality education, a modernized economy that puts at least a job in every home, access to healthcare and basic services for all, and where citizens live in safe communities free from crime and corruption.

A South Africa that is reconciled, prosperous, and a beacon of hope for developing countries across the world.

But that’s only one part of it. The other part – the more important part – is how we get there.

Doing what’s best for the country inevitably means the President will have to make decisions that will be met with resistance within his own party. That is why his SONA was devoid of any meaningful reform, because it would mean:

Standing up to powerful unions and alliance partners.

Upsetting the network of patronage that has been so good to so many cadres for so long.

Rethinking policy that hasn’t worked in decades.

And stepping out of a mind-set and an ideology that belongs in a different time.

None of this is easy, which is why it hasn’t happened. And so instead of real, tough reforms, we are stuck with yet more vague promises of a “faster horse”.

While our nation is in deep crisis, I believe we can turn it around if we act now. We can begin building a modernized African country comprised of strong individuals who are able to compete with the world’s best.

They say the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is right now.

The same goes for the reforms needed in our country and in our economy. We could have used these reforms twenty years ago, but since that didn’t happen, we need to implement them right now.

We need to plant the trees for our children’s future, knowing that we might not sit under those trees ourselves.

Today, propose seven reforms that will enable us to become the modern, inclusive country we all dream of.

The first reform is to our SOEs, and particularly to Eskom.

The last thing we should be doing now is committing ourselves to a decade or more of bailouts for Eskom. We must immediately split Eskom into two entities and open the market to more independent power producers – particularly solar power in our sun-rich nation.

Solar power is to the energy sector what Uber became to the transport industry, and we cannot afford to be left surprised and left behind.

We must allow well-functioning municipalities to buy directly from IPPs. Eskom requires us to move away from being coal dependent to other technologies.

While we’re splitting Eskom, we must also sell off SAA. It is a luxury we neither need nor can afford.

The second reform is to our education.

Let us introduce charter schools across South Africa, and particularly in our poor and rural communities. These are partnership schools between the private sector and public sector where children have access to schools less than 5km from home that have the best teachers, infrastructure and technology.

Not only will this clip the wings of the powerful and destructive union SADTU, it will also offer parents real choice. We can’t have our children bundled into taxis and sent far from home just to receive a decent education.

Yes, teaching our young children to code and analyse data will be crucial in preparing them for the future. But how can we do so in schools where ten-year-old children cannot even read for meaning? That’s where we must start.

The third reform is to our healthcare.

Forget about the NHI, Mr. President. It cannot work, it’s own pilot projects have shown this. Please stop it now before we waste further resources and time on an unrealistic pipe dream for which we simply don’t have the money.

You will find, in the DA’s Our Health Plan, a range of solutions that will make quality healthcare available to all South Africans without destroying our national budget. Solutions that provide access to free primary healthcare for all that can be rolled out quicker, cheaper and more fairly.

Let us also invest in smart healthcare technology, as this is the future of disease management and prevention.

The fourth reform is to our labour legislation.

If we want to make South Africa an investment destination once more, then we have no choice but to relax our labour laws.

Our current rigid legislation has not only driven investment away, it has also created two classes of citizen – the employed and the unemployed – and has made it near impossible for people enter the economy and find work.

Let’s relook at our tax structure and introduce tax incentives for people who create new jobs and setup a Jobs and Justice Fund so we can invest in research for economies of the future.

And let’s also relook the national minimum wage in its current form. We should be talking about sector specific minimum wages, as well as a possible op-out clause for young work-seekers.

The fifth reform is the building of a capable state.

If the shocking revelations at the Zondo Commission have confirmed one thing, it is that cadre deployment and monopoly politics are a one-way ticket to state capture.

Whether these deployments are to government, to SOEs or to Chapter Nine Institutions, the interests of the party always get put before the interests of the people.

Mr. President, you should lead by example and stop delaying and frustrating the Public Protector’s investigation in your Bosasa dealings.

Let the Public Protector do her work, and once the report is finalized, appear before a Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee so that the matter can be dealt with in an open and transparent manner.

You spoke of trimming the size of the cabinet, Honourable President, but then you undid this by keeping on all the deputy ministers and, in some cases, doubling up on them.

It is entirely possible to cut the number of ministries even further to just 15, and to do away with deputy ministers.

The sixth reform is extending property ownership to millions of dispossessed South Africans.

Let us speed up the delivery of title deeds – both urban and rural – so that all South Africans can benefit from the freedom of owning their property. This will create certainty in the agricultural sector, providing more job opportunities for our people.

Both black and white South Africans must be able to access the benefit of owning private property as an economic asset that allows the transfer of wealth from one generation to another. Let’s give shares to South Africans so that they can hand over a future which was disrupted by our painful past.

And the seventh reform is to devolve the power over our police services to provincial governments.

If we want to keep South Africans safe in their homes and on their streets, we need to turn SAPS into a well-resourced, well-trained and highly professional crime fighting unit.

But more urgently, we need to put the police service in the hands of the government that is best-placed to respond to the needs of the community. And by this I mean the provincial government.

We must also do the same with our passenger rail services. Hand them over to provincial governments so that we can ensure that hard-working South Africans have a safe and reliable commute to work and back home.

These seven reforms will pull our country back from the brink and give us a foundation from which we can contemplate any future we can dream of.

Honourable Members

Ten years from now I want to see a South Africa that looks completely different from what we see today.

DA governments are already forging ahead, and have begun innovating, modernizing and growing the cities, towns and province we govern.

That’s why where we govern, you’ll find unemployment at the lowest in the country due to our obsessive focus on city-led economic growth and innovation in sectors such as agro-processing and tourism.

Today the Cape Town-Stellenbosch tech ecosystem is the most productive in Africa, employing over 40 000 people – more than Lagos and Nairobi combined – and rightly earning the title of ‘Africa’s tech hub.’

In terms of renewal energy, more than 8 in 10 municipalities in the Western Cape already have laws in place to allow for independent solar energy generation and most of them are ready to sell clean energy back into the grid.

This is what city led economic development looks like and why we continue to take the ANC government to Court over the right to diversify energy and buy directly from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

In terms of education, the DA-run Western Cape’s investment in the future of eLearning has seen over R1.4 billion invested over the past 5 years – delivering 1 160 refreshed computer labs, 28 870 devices for learners, 11 000 resources on our online portal.

To date, 70% of all teachers are trained in eTraining and over 80% of schools are connected to free internet. The Western Cape’s retention rate from Grades 10 – 12 is the highest in the country, at around 63% for the 2018 matric results. No other province managed to achieve a retention rate of over 50%.

In healthcare, the Western Cape is only province to have digitised patient records in public healthcare, spanning 54 hospitals, 300 primary healthcare facilities, and 13 million patient records. The province also is home to the eco-friendly Khayelitsha Hospital, which provides free access to healthcare for tens of thousands of poor South Africans.

The DA has already begun working. It’s now time Mr. Ramaphosa joins our efforts and collaborates with us at all spheres of government to build the country we all deserve.

Today I appeal to you to join with us in our plan.

Allow our governments to keep the lights on

Execute the plan for us to have trains that work

Devolve the power of police to a provincial competency so we can effectively fight crime

Free up small business to create work for our people

Sell off our beleaguered SOEs

And modernize and de-unionize our children’s basic education system

We have a plan, so help us with this plan, Mr. President.

If you’re prepared to do that, you will have an ally in me and in the DA.

But if you can’t or won’t, then I’m afraid you’ll need to make way for a DA government that can and will create a better South Africa for All.

Zondo Commission needs to probe whether former Minister Brown lied to Parliament about Trillian contracts

The DA welcomes the judgement handed down by the High Court in Pretoria which ordered Trillian Capital, a Gupta company, to payback R600 million of the R1,7 billion that it generated in ‘consultancy fees’ on Eskom contracts.

The court judgement is a victory against corruption and an indictment on former Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynn Brown, who has been exposed for misleading Parliament.

In a 2017 reply to a DA question, Brown denied the existence of the contracts or that any monies had been paid to Trillian by Eskom. Brown should now be called to appear before to the Zondo Commission to answer fully for this deliberate attempt to cover up this billion rand heist. She must also account for any knowledge of the Gupta-lead and ANC condoned widespread looting of the state-owned entity, that contributed to crippling Eskom and which has since brought our economy to the precipice as a result of rolling blackouts.

The former Minister has claimed that she has nothing to hide. She should, therefore, have no problem in presenting herself before the Zondo Commission to account for Eskom’s failure during her tenure as Minister.

This judgement sends a clear message to everyone who benefited from the Gupta criminal enterprise, that all public funds obtained through clandestine means will be recovered.

The DA has fought long and hard to ensure that the extent of state capture at Eskom was exposed and we will continue to fight to ensure that those responsible are held to account and that the people’s stolen money is recouped.