The following remarks were made today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Mmusi Maimane, at the launch of the party’s North West Premier Campaign outside the recently shut down Shiva Uranium Mine in Klerksdorp, North West Province. Maimane was joined by those affected by these job losses, along with DA North West Premier Candidate, Joe McGluwa, and DA North West Provincial Chairperson, Carin Visser.
Fellow South Africans
The Guptas may have left our shores, but their legacy will live on for a long, long time. This mine here, Shiva Uranium, stands as a monument to the corruption of the ANC and their project of selling our country to the Gupta family.
Today the mine has failed and the Guptas have fled, but for the hundreds of workers here the nightmare continues. Since July almost 200 Shiva employees have not received their salaries.
When the Guptas took over here, they spoke of 4500 jobs that would be created. In the end barely 800 jobs were added, and that number is even lower after retrenchments in December.
They have left the environment here unusable for farming, they have left farm workers’ houses in the area damaged by mining explosives and they have left the mine at serious risk of flooding and sink holes as no water is being pumped out.
In place of the Guptas have come the Zama-Zamas – armed men with night vision equipment who are not only mining illegally, but also looting the mine for metal, copper wire, vehicles and other equipment.
This mine is a legacy of not only the Guptas, but also of the ANC government – both national and provincial. Because much of the state capture looting happened in provinces where Zuma’s loyal lieutenants like Supra Mahumapelo and Ace Magashule allowed the thieves to run riot.
And despite all the talk of rooting out corruption, no one in the ANC has faced any consequences for the biggest heist in the history of our democracy. I assure you, under a DA government this will not happen. Under a DA government anyone found guilty of corruption will be sent to prison for 15 years. That’s the only way to deal with this scourge.
In the meantime, while the rest of the country tries to find answers and closure to State Capture in the Zondo commission, let us not forget that for the workers here at Shiva Uranium there will be no closure until they get paid what they are due so that they can take care of their families.
Many of these families have joined us here today. They are desperate for answers and they are desperate for the money they are owed. But they have also realised that these answers will not come from the ANC government.
Let us also not forget that this mine is not all the Guptas have left behind. They also left behind debt of more than R280m – money borrowed from the Industrial Development Corporation to purchase this mine.
Yes, the Guptas may have fled. Supra may have been replaced here in the North West. Zuma may have been replaced in the Presidency. But nothing has changed – not here at this mine, not in this province and not in national government.
This is the same ANC that oversaw the tragic events that took place at Marikana six years ago, for which no one has faced real consequences. This is the same corrupt ANC that still presides over the same failed economy with the same failed policies.
Even those cadres exposed as Gupta stooges in the ANC’s provincial and national governments were kept on under Cyril Ramaphosa. Some were even promoted to Deputy President and Secretary-General.
And instead of ensuring that what happened here at Shiva doesn’t happen elsewhere, the ANC government’s new version of the Mining Charter will do the exact opposite. It is custom designed to achieve more of these transactions.
Fellow South Africans,
We need change in our country. And not the superficial change of a “New Dawn” with endless talk shops, roadshows and task teams that never get round to doing anything. We need real, tangible change that can be seen and felt in communities across the country.
And nowhere is this more evident than here in the North West province. This place was run like a massive mafia syndicate by Supra Mahumapelo, with millions of Rands worth of tenders going to the Guptas and other connected individuals while the province was left broken and on its knees.
Last year not one single municipality in the province managed to get a clean audit, and eight municipalities and ten provincial departments have been placed under administration.
Schools here have failed, roads are pot-holed and raw sewage runs down the streets of many communities. This province is on the verge of collapse, but arguably the biggest failure of all is that the North West has a broad unemployment rate of over 43%.
Almost half the working age population of the North West cannot find jobs, and most of these people are under the age of 25. Young people have been let down by this government. Many of them feel they have to leave the province in search of opportunities. This is not the South Africa and the North West province we want to see.
There is only one party that can bring change to the North West, and that party is the DA. Only the DA has a plan to unlock the potential in our economy by making it attractive to investors and by supporting new small businesses.
Only the DA has a mining policy that will enable mines like Shiva Uranium, as well as all the other gold and platinum mines in the province, to flourish and provide jobs.
Only the DA can run the kind of clean, corruption-free government that sees all the people’s money spent on services for the people.
And the man who will lead the charge for the DA as our premier candidate in this province is the hard-working, principled Joe McGluwa.
Joe will offer this province everything that Supra Mahumapelo wasn’t. He has an exemplary career in politics that spans over 30 years, starting as a councilor in the Matlosana Municipality before going on to serve as a Member of Parliament.
During this time, Joe’s integrity has never been brought into question. He has served his province and his country with passion and honesty, and his colleagues know him as a humble leader who likes to roll his sleeves up and get stuck into the work.
After years of suffering under the ANC and their Gupta handlers, this province needs a man like Joe McGluwa at the helm.
He’s a man of actions, not words. He’s someone who believes in the strength of family and community. Someone for whom integrity and honesty mean everything.
And, importantly, he is someone who unites rather than divides – the type of leader committed to bringing change that builds one South Africa for all its people.