Minister Mantashe is delaying IPPs

Co-sign DA Leader, John Steenhuisen’s, letter calling for freedom from Eskom: www.powertothepeople.org.za

Minister Gwede Mantashe is delaying mines and municipalities the power to self-generate and procure electricity from independent power producers  (IPPs) despite the very evident electricity crisis the country faces.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) has reportedly indicated that the notice for public participation on section 34 ministerial determinations will only commence in a month’s time. And that the “concurrence” processes for these determinations will take between 3 and 6 months.

The fact is that there is no actual requirement for “concurrence” in legislation. Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act requires that the Minister “consult” NERSA, not that he seek concurrence. It is true that in the Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and Another v Minister of Energy and Others 2017 (5) SA 227 (WCC) court case, there were repeated references to “concurrence” and the process that was to be followed in terms thereof, but legislation is clear: section 34 only requires “consultation”. The court did not consider the fact that concurrence was not a legal requirement.

Furthermore, the applications for these ministerial determinations have been sitting on the Minister’s desk for 5 years. This prompted the City of Cape Town to take the Minister of Energy to court to expedite their application to purchase power from IPPs and the application will be heard at the end of May.

So why have the various Ministers of Energy been sitting on them?

In his State of the Nation Address earlier this year, President Ramaphosa said that section 34 determinations would be issued shortly to rapidly and significantly increase generation capacity. But there is clearly a difference between the President’s definition of “shortly” and that of Minister Mantashe and NERSA. At this rate, we will be unlikely to see any electricity out of these applications before the end of 2021.

The DA calls on President Ramaphosa to put his money where his mouth is and address the electricity crisis that every other part of government seems to be in complete denial over. We need to unblock the bureaucracy that is holding South Africa’s economy to ransom. Our country and our people deserve better.

Mantashe is spanner in the works of President’s energy promises

While the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcements in his State of the Nation (SONA) address last night regarding the energy sector, it is worrying that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe does not seem to be on board.

Shortly after Ramaphosa announced during SONA that Independent Power Producers will be able to sell electricity to financially viable municipalities, Mantashe contradicted him in media interviews afterward by saying he is unwilling to commit to opening Bid Window 5. This essentially makes the president’s promise an empty one.

A limited number of IPPs have received licences to provide electricity to the grid, following the opening of four and half bid windows so far. The Integrated Resource Plan calls for more renewables to be added on an annual basis, but Mantashe has to open the next bid window, which will be the fifth one.

He has not done so, and judging by his statements last night he does not intend to do so anytime soon.

Mantashe has also continuously delayed the signing of section 34 notices, and has been slow to act on the amendment of schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act.

Every day of delay of these urgent reforms is another day of rolling blackouts and another day of severe damage to the South African economy.

Minister Mantashe needs to come clean on what his immediate steps will be to implement the President’s promises without any further delays. We will hold him to account, as well as calling on the President to act against Mantashe if he continues to be the spanner in the works.

Government’s proposed new electricity generation SOE a mad idea

The Democratic Alliance (DA) unequivocally rejects statements attributed to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, that the ANC Government is looking to set up an alternative electricity generation entity. This is utter madness. Instead of making the South African electricity supply sector more competitive, Government is seeking to extend its monopoly over electricity generation.

South Africa doesn’t need another state-controlled entity for electricity generation when there is a myriad of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) who are ready and willing to generate electricity in order to diversify South Africa’s energy mix, making it more reliable and cheaper.

Furthermore, the Minister’s comments that Government is planning on revising Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act to enable mines to generate electricity for own use is an admission by the ANC that Eskom’s monopolistic stranglehold on the energy sector is simply not feasible.

The DA has long held the view that Schedule 2 be amended to allow for self-generation and municipal generation. While Minister Mantashe’s comments indicate a step in the right direction it will by no means address the utility’s debt spiral, massive skills deficit, and deteriorated infrastructure.

Minister Manatshe’s comments and commitments are all good and well but mean nothing if it fails to amount to any tangible change.

What South Africa needs is a competitive electricity generation sector to ensure energy security. As a starting point, Parliament should pass the DA’s Independent Electricity Management Operator private members Bill, which will allow all power producers to compete on a level playing field. The Minister should also take the necessary steps to open the next bid window for Independent Power Producers as a matter of urgency.

The Minister must not make empty commitments just to reassure the people in this time of rolling blackouts that are crippling our economy. He must put his money where his mouth is and take action.

Mantashe’s energy measure’s too little too late

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

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, issued a statement earlier today about government’s planned interventions to resolve the electricity crisis. While the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the fact that he has finally stood up, sadly, it is too little too late.

The section 34 determinations are a very welcome announcement, as these have been sitting on his desk for months. This will allow capable municipalities and large power consumers to procure power directly from independent power producers (IPPs).

His comments about the Request for Information (RFI) for new IPP generation, however, leaves a lot to be desired. The IPP Office is set up to do this work and is globally recognised as being one of the best at rolling out procurement of such projects. New IPP projects (particularly in the renewable sector) are ready to go, and merely await the opening of the next bid window to roll out electricity solutions that are more cost effective and environmentally sustainable in a much shorter timeframe than it would take to procure new coal, gas or nuclear plants. Equally, the Minister must ease regulation on the licensing of small scale plants (under 10MW) and residential generation.

The DA remains committed to working with  Government in finding solutions to the rolling blackouts that are having a devastating effect on our economy. We are willing to engage further with the Minister in this regard, if he is prepared to listen.

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.

Implicated ANC members must appear before Zondo Commission, not hide behind limited “submissions”

Today, ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule, stated that the ANC will make submissions, in response to testimony given by several banks, to the Zondo Commission on State Capture. This is not good enough.

Ironically, Mr Magashula has been implicated in state capture during his tenure as Free State Premier and should be among the first ANC members to appear before the commission to answer key questions.

Numerous other high-ranking ANC officials have been implicated in State Capture. They must appear before the Commission and answer each and every allegation levelled against the party and its members.

The DA’s lawyers have written to the Secretary of the Commission into State Capture, Dr Khotso De Wee, to request confirmation that Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, Lynne Brown, Tom Moyane, Arthur Fraser, David Mahlobo, and David Mabuza be called to testify before the Commission. We await a reply and hope the Commission will consider our request favourably.

State capture stole from the people of South Africa and compromised their future as money that should have been spent on improving lives, was syphoned off to the ANC political elite.

There must be consequences for those who steal from the people South Africa. The DA will fight corruption to ensure that all money is spent on the people and if voted into government, will ensure that anyone found guilty of corruption will be sentenced to 15 years in jail.

We must face up to the fact that State capture did not begin with the election of former President Jacob Zuma in 2009. State capture and corruption is central to the ANC’s very nature and being, and there is much to answer for.

In the interests of justice, the ANC must appear before the Zondo Commission into State Capture

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a picket outside the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Parktown, Johannesburg. Maimane was joined by Team One South Africa member for Corruption, Phumzile van Damme, Team One South Africa member for State Capture, Natasha Mazzone, and Team One South Africa Campaign Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi

Today we are gathered outside the Zondo Commission into State Capture to make one thing clear: the ANC must be called before the Commission, to play open cards and to answer each and every allegation levelled against the party and its members so that South Africans can be assured no stone has been left unturned in the pursuit of justice. Corruption and state capture is an enemy of the poor, vulnerable and jobless, and steals opportunity from South Africans by making ANC-connected cadres rich.

Nine days ago, the DA’s lawyers wrote to the Secretary of the Commission into State Capture, Dr Khotso De Wee, to request confirmation that Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, Lynne Brown, Tom Moyane, Arthur Fraser, David Mahlobo, and David Mabuza be called to testify before the Commission.

Our lawyers have not yet received a response to our letter to Dr De Wee from 18 September. We reiterate this call and implore the Commission to consider this request in light of the sheer depth of corruption and capture, and its damaging effects on the livelihoods of ordinary South Africans. Nothing in the Commission’s Terms of Reference bar it from calling the above-mentioned individuals to appear and to account.

We applaud the great work already carried out by the Commission and look forward to observing today’s proceedings. The Commission has rightly focussed on inquiring into the truth behind state capture and have not permitted a trial of the losing ANC faction from last year’s ANC National Conference at Nasrec to take root. This is not about settling scores, it’s about ensuring those who stole the people’s money are held to account and are put behind bars.

While the ANC must account for their leading role in State Capture and their senior leadership must testify, the Commission cannot become a tool to settle ANC internal factionalism and navigate ANC cadre deployment. These 12 ANC members can mitigate this risk by telling the truth before the Commission.

State capture did not begin with the election of former President Jacob Zuma in 2009. Rather, state capture and corruption is central to the ANC’s very nature and being. Cadre deployment has been an ANC policy for the better part of 20 years, allowing corruption, nepotism, cronyism and ultimately state capture to ensue.

It defies reason for President Cyril Ramaphosa to have not known about ANC involvement in state capture as he was second in command of both the ANC and the country as Deputy President. He must appear before the Commission to explain whether he knew about state capture, and what he did about it once he found out.

The Minister for Woman in the Presidency, Bathabile Dlamini, has famously quipped that most within the ANC have their own ‘smallanyana skeletons.’ South Africa deserves a Commission that will call these ANC members to unearth the truth behind the ANC’s leading role in the capturing of the state.

State capture is a criminal system that continues to operate parallel to national government. Change that builds One South Africa for All hinges on South Africans knowing the truth behind this shadow state.

The DA’s plan to fighting corruption like this includes establishing an independent unit dedicated to identifying, fighting and prosecuting corruption. Our agenda for change also intends to bring in direct elections for all political office holders so that the South African people can hold their Mayors, Premiers and President directly accountable.

The DA will fight corruption to ensure that all money is spent on the people and if voted into government, will ensure that anyone found guilty of corruption will be sentenced to 15 years in jail. The ANC is the same old part full of empty promises and rewarding their failure to fight corruption won’t change anything.

Our Constitutional democracy will not survive another quarter century of state capture. Jacob Zuma’s continued denial of its mere existence drastically increases the risk of a circulation of ANC capture through different actors.

The ANC, as arch architects of corruption and state capture, must appear before this Commission and tell South Africans the truth.

DA lawyers request State Capture Commission confirm 12 ANC witnesses

Our lawyers have written to Secretary of the Commission into State Capture, Dr Khotso De Wee, requesting confirmation that Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, Lynne Brown, Tom Moyane, Arthur Fraser, David Mahlobo, and David Mabuza will be called to give testimony before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

The DA’s complaints against all 12 of these ANC members are a matter of public record and need to be thoroughly investigated. Considering information in the public domain and testimony already heard before the Commission, their testimony is material in allowing the Commission to fulfil its mandate.

Testimonies before the Commission have made it clear that the ANC knew full well that state capture was underway and did absolutely nothing to stop it from happening.

As recently as Tuesday, Mantashe and Duarte were implicated by the testimony given on behalf of Standard Bank at the hearing. While fellow ANC top 6 member and Deputy President, David Mabuza, is three years overdue coming clean about his 2015 trip to Moscow on a Gupta owned aircraft when Premier of Mpumalanga.

Former President Jacob Zuma has been directly implicated in allegations by testimony before the Commission, but while the Commission has requested he submit an affidavit to the Commission, it is not clear whether he will be called to testify in person.

The Gupta’s siphoning of hundreds of millions intended for farmers in the Estina Dairy Farm project has not yet led to any real accountability. Former Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, needs to attest to his involvement in this large-scale looting when Free State Agriculture MEC. It is also critical that former SSA Director General, Arthur Fraser, reveal whether he used the SSA as a bulwark against threats to state capture.

For eight years, the ANC’s Parliamentary majority have shielded the guilty from any real accountability, while state capture continued at Luthuli House, the Union Buildings, Mineral Resources, Home Affairs, Finance, SOEs, SARS, and the SSA. Because ANC capture is the protagonist of state capture.

The ANC must face the music for their leading role in state capture and its senior leadership must testify before the Commission.

An agenda for change to build One South Africa For All rests on South Africans knowing the truth. These 12 ANC members know the truth behind the state capture project and South Africa deserves a Commission that will call them as witnesses to shine light on the proceedings.

 

DA lays criminal charges against ANC officials over alleged Bosasa kickbacks

Please find attached a soundbite in English by the Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen MP.

Today, DA Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen MP, laid criminal charges against ANC MP, Vincent Smith; Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe; Minister of Communications, Nomvula Mokonyane; former SAA Chairperson, Dudu Myeni; Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla; and others in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Act 12 of 2004).

Also implicated are former procurement manager of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Mbulelo Gingcana, and former Head of Correctional Services, Linda Mti.

This follows reports that they received security upgrades and other benefits from Bosasa, also known as African Global Operations, the controversial facilities management that has secured contracts worth R10 billion from various government departments.

These allegedly included:

  • An alarm system, electric fencing and CCTV worth R250 000 for Myeni’s house in Richards Bay;
  • Recording systems, perimeter lighting and CCTV worth R300 000 at Mantashe’s Boksburg, Cala and Elliott houses;
  • An alarm system, CCTV system and electric fence valued at R350 000 for Makwetla’s house; and
  • A CCTV system and electric fencing valued at R200 000 for Smith’s house in Roodepoort. Smith also allegedly received over R671 000 over the past three years and R100 000 in cash from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson on a monthly basis.

Bosasa has throughout the years benefitted from being awarded several large contracts by various government departments and entities, reportedly worth more than R10 billion over the next five to ten years. These include the departments of Justice and Correctional Services and the Airports Company of South Africa.

Given the intersection of Bosasa securing large government contracts, and Bosasa’s provision of various and generous benefits to Smith, Mokonyane, Mantashe, Myeni and the others, all of whom were at one stage or another in a position to potentially help secure some of these contracts for Bosasa, we believe that an investigation into the stated allegations may reveal that criminal offences were indeed committed in terms of sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

The DA stands firmly against corruption and will always ensure that those who violate their oath of office are held accountable.  These serious allegations must be investigated without haste, so the public knows who paid for the upgrades.

The failing ANC has allowed corruption to flourish and compromise its governance of the country, and South Africans can put an end to this by voting DA in 2019.

ANC’s proposed “land cap” amendment will cripple the economy

The ANC’s intention to amend section 25 of the Constitution to limit ownership of agricultural land to 12 000 hectares is an irresponsible and regressive idea that demonstrates the party’s inability to properly understand the nature of modern agriculture in the 21st Century. This proposal is must be rejected in its entirety.

It is well recognized that modern commercial farming requires large scale tracts of land in order to stay productive and competitive – providing jobs and food for thousands of South Africans. This is dictated by economic needs, not by the individual whims of farmers. An act of arbitrary gerrymandering commercial farms would see many farms collapse – rending them no longer economically viable.

Moreover, the knock-on effects would deal a hammerblow to the banking sector, as many farms are subject to property loans with major banks. It is reported that if banks were not to be compensated for these loans, as much as R160bn could be wiped off their books.

As Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe should focus on the challenges in his current portfolio as the mining sector continues to haemorrhage thousands of jobs due to a weakening economy and policy uncertainty. Mr Mantashe should fix the job crisis in the mining sector rather than trying to create another jobs crisis in the agricultural sector.

Make no mistake, land reform is essential to redress the ills of our past. South Africa’s history of racial dispossession has left the country with skewed patterns of ownership that excludes most South Africans from land. And we maintain that the most appropriate way to address this is through the current constitutional provisions.Reckless pronouncements such as this one do nothing to achieve justice. Rather they encourage illegal land invasions which creates chaos in our nation.

The constitution is a sacred document and a blue print for building our shared future. It has not failed us, the ANC government has failed us. Amending the constitution will only enable ANC government corruption to continue giving land to the connected few at the expense of the many which will never achieve justice.

This ANC government is not capable of managing the real problems South Africa faces of building a modern, successful and competitive economy that creates jobs. Instead it has resorted to tried, tested and failed policies which belong in dictatorships of previous centuries.