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.

President Ramaphosa, come back to SA and fix the electricity crisis

Support our plan to save Eskom before it takes the entire country down with it:

The following remarks were made today by DA Leader, John Steenhuisen MP, outside Eskom’s Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Steenhuisen was joined by DA Gauteng Caucus Leader, Solly Msimanga MPL, DA Gauteng Chairperson, Mike Moriarty MPL, and Public Enterprises Spokesperson, Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

Fellow South Africans,

Yesterday evening Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC government once again made history, albeit for the wrong reasons, as Eskom announced it would implement Stage 6 rolling blackouts for the first time. This unprecedented move signalled that we are now firmly in a race against time to transform the energy landscape in South Africa and ensure future generations are energy secure.

While President Ramaphosa is currently in Egypt surrounded by ancient ruins from a bygone era, today we too stand in front of a ruin from a bygone era – South Africa’s power producer that faces imminent collapse. The viability of Eskom in its current form is non-existent. This is not a crisis of new making; it has been fast approaching for a decade and more. Yet we face the ever-repeating cycle of drastic energy challenges with little political will to make the decisions required to ensure cheaper and more secure energy is available to the people of South Africa.

It is telling that at the height of what is not just an electricity crisis, but an economic risk and safety threat, the President decided to jet out of the country on an international sojourn to Egypt. Ramaphosa is greatly mistaken if he thinks he can run a country and manage this crisis via a cell phone. This requires bold and decisive leadership, not platitudes. The devastating effect of these blackouts on industry, retail, growth and jobs constitutes a clear and present danger to our economic wellbeing.

Therefore, we reiterate our call for the President to cancel his engagements in Egypt and return home to provide leadership on this self-created crisis. Ramaphosa should address Parliament, taking the nation into his confidence as to what is really transpiring at Eskom. It is unprecedented in a month like a December with such low demand we have rolling blackouts at all – raising suspicion as to what the President is not telling the nation. It’s time to come clean on exactly what the structural problems at Eskom are and how his government plans to address them. The President could signal his seriousness by sacking Gwede Mantashe, who is absent and woefully out of his depth in dealing with this national crisis.

I have today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, requesting that Parliament is reconvened immediately in order for the President to address the legislature, and to consider its options going forward. It is not right that while the lights are off in the country, the people’s representatives are not convening to light the way forward.

In a press statement last night responding to this unfolding crisis, President Ramaphosa said “[T]he energy challenges in this country will not be resolved overnight”. The tragedy is that much can be done immediately to turn the situation around. The most efficient immediate step is using Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act (4 of 2006) which allows the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy to issue a determination that allows qualifying municipalities to bypass Eskom and procure electricity directly from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Contrary to the President’s views, this can be done overnight and would go a long way to resolving energy shortages and pressure on the grid. Introducing IPPs into the mix is now a necessity. in fact, right now Minister Mantashe is sitting with at least seventeen section 34 applications for private generation and purchase of electricity on his desk waiting to be signed – from municipalities, mines and corporations. The President must intervene and ensure these are acceded to within the next 48 hours.

In terms of the role of DA-led governments, I will be instructing every DA mayor in the country to, where appropriate and possible, write to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, requesting such a determination to be granted with immediate effect. The DA-led City of Cape Town has had to take Minister Mantashe to court to compel him to grant such a determination and we are exploring options to move this case to the urgent roll, given the gravity of the latest developments.

In addition, I will be issuing a directive to all DA-led municipalities to develop and implement disaster management plans as rolling blackouts should little sign of ceasing. Essential services such as bulk water supply, sanitation services and clinics must be adequately managed, and all risks mitigated against. In the absence of any concrete plan from national government, we call on all provinces to also develop and implement disaster management plans in this regard.

In the medium term, we must split Eskom into two separate entities – one for generation and the other supply. This would ensure a greater supply of energy to the grid from IPPs and bring down the cost of electricity for ordinary South Africans by introducing competition into the energy market. The DA’s “Cheaper Electricity Bill” seeks to do just that and is currently before Parliament, it sets out a clear, workable alternative to the current dithering by national government and should be fast-tracked.

Where the DA is in government in the Western Cape, we have introduced the Energy Security Game Changer which continues to diversify and conserve energy supply, and we have legalised the household production of solar energy for over 22 municipalities. Despite the work DA governments are doing in the highly regulated energy environment, the change in our energy sector has to come from national government.

In a time of crisis, leadership must stand up and charter the way forward. This is a golden opportunity for President Ramaphosa to redeem himself following years of failure in turning around our failed State-Owned Enterprises. As Chair of the Interministerial Committee on SOEs from 2014, it was his task to avoid the crisis we find ourselves in today. He failed then; he owes it to South Africa to not fail now.

The most patriotic thing South Africans can do is help shutdown SAA

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate on the 2019 Medium Term Budget Policy.


The story of this budget and the circumstances that inform it is the story, repeated so often in so many parts of the world, of the inevitable collision between the vain ideology of state control, and what is fair and right for society.

Our country continues to suffer low growth, and a shrinking economy, as confirmed by StatsSA yesterday, and continues to suffer ever-growing unemployment lines, and growing poverty, but still, the government will not admit the truth that everyone now knows: the state control project has failed.

But our main objection to this budget has not been that it continues the lie of arrogant ideological stubbornness. Indeed, the Finance Minister is one of those who sees clearly the truth, and says plainly what needs to be done.

Our main objection is that the budget is so deeply and so indefensibly unfair to the 10 million unemployed South Africans, and to those living in poverty.

It is simply wrong to ask the public, and particularly the poor, to carry the cost of your failed dogma. It is ethically indefensible.

The truth is, we can build a fairer society. We can build a society in which public resources are used to care for the poor, grow the economy, and spread opportunity to all.

Let us assess it on that yardstick.

Over the course of this budget process, the Democratic Alliance has shown three things:

  1. This budget takes money from basic services on which the public at large, and the poor in particular, depend. It redirects those funds to the bailing out of zombie state owned entities.
  2. This budget takes money from the pockets of working families and redirects that money to bailing out zombie state owned entities.
  3. This budget does not present a credible plan to stabilise national debt. Indeed it sees a further explosion in national debt of R1.5 trillion over the next three years, which will burden present and future generations of taxpayers with higher taxes to pay off that debt.

Over the next three years, just under 3 million babies will be born in South Africa. They should be born into a country that offers opportunity, hope, and fairness. Instead, they will each be born with R500 000 in debt to pay off on behalf of the state, before they have even taken their first breath.

So, this budget pinches from the poor wrangles more from working families and burdens newborn babies.

Taken together, these three points show a budget which does not advance fairness in our society. If anything, it advances inequality and deepens poverty. It fails all of the basic tests.

That is why we will not support this budget. Neither should this House.

This House should not support any Budget that contains bailouts for zombie state owned companies.

Eventually, the stubborn ideology is confronted by reality. The fact is that the state should not run an airline, and I suspect that by the time we meet in February for the main budget, we will not have a state-run airline.

This is a key test of credibility for the government and for Treasury. If the government capitulates, prostrate themselves before unions and offer more guarantees to lenders, they will show themselves totally incapable of doing what is necessary to rein in government spending.

If they fail this test, the government will come here to present the main budget in February with no credibility left.

SAA must be placed into business rescue to prepare for break up and sale as soon as possible.

Not one further cent of public money, or a guarantee backed by public money, should be spent on SAA.

Minister Gordhan says all South Africans must support SAA. That shows that even now, after R20 billion in bailouts in recent years, the Minister still cannot pry himself away from his ideology, no matter what it costs the poor.

No, no, no, Minister. The most patriotic thing for South Africans can do is to help shut down SAA.

The public could force SAA into closure in a matter of days, by simply refusing to fly on it, so that it can be wound up and sold off.


This will not be a restful Christmas for the Minister of Finance.

By February, he must deliver R160 billion in cuts to the public wage bill, he must get debt under control, he must present a plan to slash the deficit, and he must lead the government in shutting down SAA.

And he must do it without cutting services to the poor, and without taxing working families.

That is what we judge him on today, it is what we will judge him on in February, and it is why we will not support this budget.

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.

Unions are betraying their members

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s Debate on Prescribed Assets today.

Honourable Speaker,

The government’s proposition is quite simple.

They have run all of the state-owned entities into the ground.

Those companies now need enormous bailouts just to stay afloat.

But there is no more money for bailouts, because debt is unsustainably high, taxes are maxed out, and we’re running record deficits.

Borrowing is expensive, with 10-year bonds costing around 10%, which only makes the problem worse as interest payments climb.

So, what to do?

The government could do the hard work of fixing the state-owned entities.

But that requires real leadership and real, tough decisions.

It requires a confrontation with unions, and an honest admission that the central dogma of state control has failed.

Those things are just too difficult for the ANC to do.

So instead, the government has reached back in time and plucked a policy straight from the National Party apartheid government of the 1980s.

When that apartheid government was in the final phases of burying itself in the junkheap of history, PW Botha also told the country that pension funds needed to be patriotic.

And so, we come back to the present, with the ANC’s 2019 election manifesto promising to investigate a regime of so-called “prescribed assets”.

This was confirmed by the President during Question Time in this House just two weeks ago.

After a mealy-mouthed obfuscation at first, and after being pressed, he confirmed that prescribed assets are definitely coming.

I could quote you the Hansard, but the President is so verbose, and so slow in coming to the point, a bit like his Presidency really, that you’ll have to go read it for yourselves.

The ANC is reduced to copying the desperate policies of a failing apartheid government. How low they have fallen?

Some may call that moral and political bankruptcy. Others call it the “New Dawn”.

They may euphemistically refer to “prescribed assets”, but let’s be absolutely clear what we are talking about:

They are proposing to force every pension fund, public and private, to lend money to the government and to the state-owned companies.

Normally the interest rate should compensate the lender for the risk of extending the loan.

But if the lender is forced by law to make the loan, then it is the borrower (in this case the government) who dictates the interest rate.

This simply means lower investment returns for hard working South Africans for the rest of their working lives, and smaller pensions for hard working South Africans when they retire.

I did a rough calculation. Assuming the government starts off taking 3% of pension funds, a number that has been bandied about. A 35-year-old South African who is saving R2000 a month in their pension, and who does so diligently until retirement, will lose R1.4 million in savings.

So, let’s cut the nonsense and call it what it is: Pension theft!

This government is proposing to steal from the pensions of hard-working South Africans to pay for their mismanagement.

And don’t be persuaded by the argument that 3%, if that is where it starts, is where it will end.

Once the principle is established that it’s okay to steal, the quantum will be ratcheted up year after year.

The DA warned, in the debate over the amendment to S25, that you cannot compromise on the principle of private property ownership. And that when you do undermine property rights, this doesn’t only affect land, it affects all kinds of property – even your future pension.

I didn’t imagine at the time that this warning would come to pass so soon.

Stealing from people’s future pensions is still theft, plain and simple, and should be fought by every South African who has diligently saved for their retirement.

I do not think the message has even begun to get out there about how dangerous this is.

Let the word go out that the ANC, the self-proclaimed vanguard of the working classes, is coming for the workers’ pensions.

The government doesn’t need to change any law to do this.

This can be done with a simple regulatory change.

We believe such a change would illegally and unconstitutionally deprive people of their own savings without their express permission.

So if the ANC does go ahead with this mad idea, we will table private members legislation to allow South Africans to withdraw their pensions without having to resign first.

And our legislation will allow them to opt out of compulsory pension contributions.

If we don’t do this, you will see thousands of workers resigning from their jobs to save their pensions.

And government employees must not think they are safe.

In fact, the ANC’s proposal is most absurd when applied to civil servants.

The state pays their salaries, and guarantees their pensions, then uses those pensions to buy government guaranteed debt in bankrupt SOEs.

All of these guarantees only last as long as the economy is growing and there is money available to pay for it all. And there isn’t any.

When the money runs out, the “defined benefit” pensions will be the first guarantee to go.

So nurses, teachers, police officers, social workers, doctors, every public employee must also support the DA in fighting this theft of their pensions!

And this brings me to the ANC-aligned trade unions.

Where is Cosatu and its affiliates?

Where are their representatives in this House?

These unions haven’t said a thing, and Cosatu has offered cautious “in principle” support.

Why aren’t they speaking for their members?

Every member of these unions should ask what they pay their membership fees for.

Does Cosatu represent their members to the ANC, or do they represent the ANC to their members?

Cosatu’s slogan is “an injury to one is an injury to all”. But this proposal is an injury to all, and they have not mustered the voice to speak for even one of their members.

Possibly worse than the silence of many unions, is the sickening sycophancy of some in the asset management industry.

Asset prescription is inimical to efficient capital allocation, and is clearly not in the interests of their clients.

Yet these asset managers have shown they are prepared to accept almost any outrage, so long as it is presented in a New Dawn wrapper.

And so now we have the grotesque spectacle of asset prescription proudly endorsed by Colin Coleman of Goldman Sachs, Magda Wierzycka of Sygnia Asset Management and Wayne McCurrie from FNB wealth.

Honourable Members,

Here again we have the alliance of big state, big unions, and big business working together, with no regard for the best interests of ordinary South Africans.

Only the DA is fighting for the working man and woman.

Only the DA is protecting the family, and creating work for the jobseeker.

You don’t get to pilfer people’s pensions without a fight.

And we will lead the fight to stop this theft.


DA calls for full scale review of all SOEs following Denel woes 

Please find soundbite by Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises. 

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan’s announcement in Parliament on Tuesday that a ‘lender’ would pay the remaining 15% of salaries, following revelations that Denel was only able to pay  85% of salaries to its staff for the month of June, is merely a temporary bandage for an entity that is on the brink of collapse.

This unidentified lender, is not a ‘get-out-of-jail-free-card’ but a temporary reprieve. Denel, like other state-owned entities(SOEs), is circling the drain and continues to be plagued by numerous legacy issues that have resulted from years of state capture, mismanagement and graft.

A complete overhaul is required to address the myriad of troubles facing our SOEs. The Democratic Alliance (DA) will therefore write to Minister Gordhan to deal decisively with dysfunctional SOEs by instituting a full-scale review of all state entities.

South Africa has hundreds of SOEs, many of them are either completely dysfunctional, bankrupt, or frankly serve no purpose other than lining the pockets of the connected few. Many of the hundreds of SOEs also duplicate functions and should simply not exist in the first place. They are sucking money from the fiscus and pose a great threat to the South African economy. From bailouts to guarantees, government has risked billions on unproductive and inefficient parastatals.

Now is not the time to throw money at the problem, now is the time to trim the fat. We cannot afford to continue with the status quo, where a government spends billions on bailing out SOE’s instead of spending money on job creation initiatives and service delivery.

SOEs require strong leadership, proper oversight from Parliament and accountability structures that are up to the task, to improve the quality of governance in our SOEs. This will encourage a greater volume of financiers to invest in them ensuring that SOEs work for all South Africans.

We need to stop the continued misuse of SOE’s for political gain.The DA is prepared to work with the ANC government in order to review South Africa’s SOEs and to make them profitable, stimulating job creation and getting South Africa back to working.

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.

It cannot be business as usual for the 6th Parliament while the Eskom threat continues to loom large

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has received a letter from the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Thandi Modise, in which she declined our request for a debate of national importance on Eskom’s financial crisis.

It cannot be business as usual for this 6th Parliament while the debt-ridden Eskom, continues to be engulfed in corruption and mismanagement, posing the biggest single threat to our country’s economy.

South Africans are already burdened with rising electricity costs and a flatlining economy, and is now expected to pay for years of state capture, corruption and poor management that have led to Eskom being over R400 billion in debt.

Eskom has kept our economy down on its knees – with unacceptably high levels of unemployment and job losses due to episodes of rolling blackouts, we cannot let the Eskom threat to our economy continue unabated.

The utility is the single biggest threat to our economy, therefore, Parliament must use its mandate to perform oversight and debate the true extent of rot at the entity.

The DA has long called for Eskom’s anticompetitive throttlehold on electricity production and distribution to be broken. We have a plan to stabilise and secure South Africa’s power supply and that is contained in our Cheaper Energy Bill, which seeks to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and distribution entity.

This would reduce the cost of electricity, bring about much-needed competition and ensure that South Africa will shed a big chunk of Eskom’s debt.

There is no straightforward or easy way of dealing with the Eskom crisis, however a debate on solutions that will rescue the power utility cannot wait for a time of our convenience or else it will be too late.

Treasury reports once again find Malusi Gigaba at the heart of State Capture

A series of damning forensic reports on Eskom and Transnet, released by National Treasury today, once again place Malusi Gigaba centre stage as it details the looting and mismanagement at these state-owned entities (SOEs).

Gigaba yesterday resigned as an ANC MP, following hot on the heels of his resignation as Minister of Home Affairs, probably in the vein hope that he can simply walk away from the key role he played in the State Capture project.

Not so. The DA will never allow Gigaba to just walk away.

Part one of National Treasury’s forensic report alone names Gigaba no fewer than 115 times and details his involvement in Transnet’s dodgy locomotive deal with China South Rail.

Specifically, it found that Gigaba signed as a witness when former CEO Brian Molefe signed the contract for 95 locomotives in 2012. It also details how Transnet provided Gigaba with security services amounting to some R675 000 per annum, even though as Minister of Public Enterprises he was already receiving VIP protection.

The report recommends that the Transnet Boards should quantify and recover fruitless and wasteful expenditure at the utility “from the relevant parties”, namely from Malusi Gigaba.

Treasury’s forensic reports will assist us in holding Gigaba accountable. He can never repay South Africa the billions looted from SOEs under his watch, but Gigaba must not be allowed to enjoy a comfortable retirement at taxpayers’ expense.

#ZondoCommission: Hogan’s testimony proof that State Capture was an ANC-sponsored project

Barbara Hogan’s testimony at today’s Zondo Commission of Inquiry has cemented the fact that the ANC and State Capture are synonymous and inseparable.

The former Minister of Public Enterprises, Ms Hogan, testified how the ANC National Working Committee, Tripartite Alliance and other party bodies did not understand or believe in the separation of the party from the state when it came to State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s).

This is proof that the ANC not only sponsored State Capture, but the ruling party also purposefully facilitated the rot of corruption at our country’s SOE’s.

Ms Hogan at some point explained that she was summoned to Luthuli house to explain her comments on SOE’s instead of to the President or Cabinet.

When it came to appointing a credible replacement CEO for Transnet, former President Jacob Zuma thwarted Ms Hogan’s choice, despite this preferred candidate, Mr Maseko, being recommended by the board and recruitment specialists. Mr Zuma insisted that Mr Gama be appointed as CEO of Transnet, despite misconduct charges that were levelled against him at the time.

Once again, we have clear evidence of heavy interference in the Minister’s authority and usurping of ministerial powers by the ANC. This interference is a potential breach of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.

Clearly the ANC chose to not understand its role – where it started and where it ended – with regards to SOE instructions.

The ANC and State Capture are one and the same – the only way to remove State Capture would be to exorcize the party that enabled it and start afresh.