When things fall apart the ANC turns a blind eye

Fellow South Africans

Honourable Members,


Mr President, last week I sat in this House and listened to you. I asked myself on what credibility does this government address us. With the increase in violence against women and children, a country that can’t keep the lights on, collapsing municipalities and Home Affairs that can’t protect our borders. 

On what credibility does this government look at ordinary South Africans across this country who look to this government and only see darkness. We, the people of South Africa, are here to hold you to account Mr President. It’s time to stop being shocked and face the people of South Africa. 

You said nothing about the Department of Home Affairs, you know why? Because everything is falling apart, and when things fall apart the ANC turns a blind eye and continue as if it is business as usual. While you were amongst the first people posing for pictures at the Tshwane home of Jabu Baloyi, who was killed when taxi drivers took a stand on fighting drugs in the city, it is shocking to learn that you stood here and said nothing on securing our borders to prevent more South Africans from dying like Jabu.

In September 2019 we lost nine (9) South Africans when there were xenophobic attacks in our country, at the time your silence was deafening and yet you stood here and chose to say nothing. 

While we wait for your government to finalise the Border Management Authority Bill we expected you to guide us on how you currently plan to secure our borders.

Mr President in your speech you were silent about the fact that on the 2nd of February 2020, a police officer was murdered in Diepsloot by an undocumented foreigner. Crimes committed by undocumented persons are very hard to solve as the perpetrators are almost impossible to trace.

How many murders must go unsolved for your government to realise this is an important matter, that needs urgent attention. Where is the urgency? We cannot be comfortable in this House. Mr. President you cannot be comfortable. 
The DA has a plan to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration.

We believe that it is important to:

1. Assist, support and care for legitimate refugees and asylum seekers; and
2. Attract foreign nationals with scarce skills to South Africa to help us grow our economy and create jobs;

And the DA will secure our borders and stop illegal immigration by:

1. Arresting, detaining and deporting those who repeatedly enter the country illegally;
2. Ensure undocumented immigrants are regularised or assisted in leaving the country if they do not meet the criteria for remaining in the country;
3. Strengthening our border posts. Through proper control and order, we can create corruption-free and effective border security and control;
4. Eradicating the corruption and inefficiency endemic to Home Affairs.
I am shocked that you kept mum about long queues at the Department of Home Affairs Offices, its network that is always offline, and allegations that citizens of our country are expected to pay bribes to skip the queues.

If last week’s SONA speech is anything to go by you further demonstrated that you do not care about women of this country when you failed to articulate government’s plan on fighting fraudulent marriages which mostly affects women of this country.

On Gender Based Violence you said “We implemented an emergency action plan and prioritised R1.6 billion to support this plan until the end of the current financial year. There has been progress in several areas”. What progress? What areas? 

Amahle Thabethe from Springs has been missing from the 6th April 2019.

In September Precious Ramabulana was raped and killed in her room.

Belinda from Standerton together with her daughter has been missing since the 28th of January.

While the family members continue to search for their loved ones we will leave no stone unturned searching for your backbone, Mr. President, to take bold decisions on important matters affecting our country.

Your 5-point emergency plan has failed. it has also failed to address shortage of SAPS officials and insufficient resources.

I have conducted oversights at Govan Bethal, Standerton and Sakhile SAPS and our oversight revealed that while the population is growing the government has failed to increase the number of SAPS officials and there is a shortage of vehicles and where they have vehicles their vehicles have 300 000+ kilometres on the clock. 

Though SAPS have adults and minor rape kits they are not provided with buccal swaps which causes delays investigating sexual offences.

Strengthening municipalities that the President is talking about is long overdue iDA iyona  ehamba phambili, eMidvaal sithole ukuhlolwa kwamabhuku ezimali okuhlanzekile iminyaka esithupha ilandelana. 

Kanti ke naseLekwa siqeda ukususa esikhundleni uSodolophu no Somlomo ngezinsolo zokukhwabanisa nokungalethi izinsiza zabahlali baseLekwa, bekuyisiqalo lesi baningi abalandelayo.

Siyathemba kusasa angeke nibabuyisele ngoba Loko kuyokhimbisa ngikusobala ukuthi anibakhathaleli abahlali baseLekwa.

Ngiyabonga Somlomo 

The incapable talking-head of an incapable stat

Honourable Speaker,
Over the past few weeks, I have been encouraged to see the President promoting the DA’s
long-held view on building a capable state. 
As someone who deliberately chose to build his multimillion Rand mansion in the DA-run City of Cape Town, he was obviously mightily impressed by the quality of service delivery in
this city.
So, inspired by our success, the President started talking about the DA’s capable state. 
However, he quickly realised that he could never actually build a capable state like we have, because that would mean choosing the country over the corruption of his own party.
Per slot van rekening beteken die bou van ‘n bekwame staat juis dat korrupsie en kader ontplooiing uitgeroei moet word, en dat individuele landsburgers bemagtig moet word in plaas van ‘n allesoorheersende staat. 
Om te verwag dat die ANC dít sal doen, is soos om ‘n jakkals aan te stel om ‘n ogie te hou oor die hoenderhok.
Dit is die rede waarom ons sit met ‘n President wat blykbaar glo dat deur bloot die woorde “bekwame staat” te sê, sy woorde outomaties waar word.
This year’s State of the Nation Address was a grotesque example of just how out-of-touch this President truly is. 
On the day of SONA, Eskom desperately scrambled to keep the lights on at all costs to enable the annual presidential delusion about a capable state, smart cities and bullet trains.  
But as soon as the president was comfortably back at his generator-powered mansion, the rest of the country was immediately plunged right back into darkness. 
If the honourable President stepped outside his bubble for a moment, he would see an urgent message from the real-world: the incapable ANC state is collapsing all around us.
So, beyond hollow rhetoric, what is the President actually doing about our collapsing state?

Honourable Speaker, let’s see what kind of example he is setting.
• Mr President, why haven’t you fired your health minister, who appointed his niece
as chief of staff despite a cloud of corruption hanging over her? 
En tog verwag U dat Suid-Afrikaners hierdie minister moet vertrou met hul lewens,
sowel as met honderde miljarde Rande, as deel van U waansinnige plan om
gesondheidsorg te nasionaliseer.
• Mr President, what have you done about your water and sanitation minister, who
appointed the disgraced Menzi Simelane and Mo Schaik as special advisers? 
Their only experience with sanitation came when they flushed hundreds of millions of taxpayer Rands down the toilet.
• Mr President, when are you firing your communications minister for abusing
taxpayer funds to pay for her wedding anniversary celebrations in New York and
• Mr President, what is a Hazenile addict still doing in the ministry of energy when he refuses to free citizens from the tyranny Eskom?
When the citizens of this country look around them, they see every single day that the honourable President is nothing more than the incapable talking-head of an incapable state.
As die President werklik ‘n duit omgegee het oor die bou van ‘n bekwame staat soos in sy nuwe DA-beheerde tuisdorp, sou hy onmiddellik tot aksie oorgaan om ons staatsdiens te red van finale ineenstorting. 
Instead of insulting South Africans by calling them “negative,” he would do his job and give them reasons to be positive.
To prevent fiscal implosion, his government would grow a backbone and cut the wage bill.
To save basic services like education, health and social protection, the state would hang “for sale” signs on state-owned looting enterprises.
And if there was any real interest in building a truly capable state, the government would support the DA’s Professional Public Service Bill to root out cadre deployment and ensure that public servants are appointed on the basis of skill and merit. 
But the President and his incapable state does none of this, because it would require them to choose country over party. 
There’s at least one bit of good news though, honourable President. The DA remains
absolutely committed to bring the same capable state that convinced you to move to Cape Town, to the whole of South Africa. 
Until that day comes and with apologies to Shakespeare: 
“The capable state struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by a hollow man, full of sound and fury, 
Signifying nothing.”

Overhaul our education system that is contributing heavily to youth unemployment and poverty, to save the future of our nation


Malungu Abekekileyo

Bantu Base Mzantsi Afrika

Ndiyanibulisa ngale Ntshona langa


Mr President, I stand here today having travelled across the country and interacted with the realities of our students and management in at, at least, 16 TVET and University campuses.

I did so in order to grasp the real issues on the ground rather than listening to glossy presentations in air-conditioned boardrooms.

Growing up in rural Tsolo, I managed to acquire a better education and escape poverty ONLY through the charity of scholarships, which allowed me to access some of the best educational institutes. I, however, remain an outlier of success to the many I completed grade 1 with, enxu JSS emahlubini kuTsolo.

That’s the only reason why I am able to stand on this very podium today.

We know all too well from history that a government controls and keeps its people in the shackles of poverty by giving them a POOR QUALITY education which entrenches dependency.

This is why over 10,4 million South Africans are unemployed of which 58% are young people and many qualified graduates remain unemployable due to being subjected to poor quality education.

I stand here today on behalf of the millions of young South Africans who were not as lucky as I was and have been left behind by your government Mr President, who watched with the hope of finding answers to many of their challenges through your SONA speech, but there were none.

I stand here on behalf of;

– Mr Shedzi an engineering lecturer from eNkangala TVET college in Mpumalnga forced to accept learners produced by our broken basic education system, into an NCV course with no prospects of succeeding.

– Ms Hendricks at False Bay college transferring skills to students through an outdated Nated Curriculum of the 1970s and enrol some in over-saturated courses that are not relevant for industry, the job market nor entrepreneurship.

– The thousands of TVET college students who receive below-average allowances compared to university students yet they reside at the same accommodation, they commute on the same transport and purchase food at the same retailers.

– The 192 000 students who are unable to register due to historic debts that could permanently put their future on a halt.

– Contributing to this whole mess is a corrupt NSFAS that has completely failed at managing the funds of poor students, As we speak 126 Northern Cape Rural TVET students that still await 2018 allowances.

– Bonele a blind student at Nelson Mandela University – and other students living with disabilities – who have to wait for over a year to get their allowances or assistive devices from the corrupt NSFAS.

– Walter Sisulu University students and similar institutions with unmaintained residences that get flooded, campus buildings falling apart, highly unhygienic facilities and no access to reliable WIFI. Yet we want to loosely talk about 4IR!

– Precious Ramabulane, a former Capricorn TVET college student in Limpopo who was raped and stabbed 52 times at an unsafe off-campus accommodation and many other victims of violence on and off our campuses. I still can’t explain the feeling after having visited the house Precious was staying Before she was brutally murdered.

– I stand here on behalf of the 134 000 unemployed graduates sitting at home because the department of higher education and SETAs have failed to produce their certificates to go try look for work since 2008.

Madam Speaker, Mr President these are some of the key issues putting the future of our brothers and sisters on hold.

If you don’t act now Sir, we will continue to produce graduates with outdated skills, through over-saturated courses,  with poor quality skills, unable to compete in the job market nor can solve our problems and become entrepreneurs. You will continue to leave thousands in debt, with no skills to show for it, let alone a certificate or academic record in hand.

I, however, stand here bearing solutions not just to tell you all the problems; Here are some of the immediate action steps you should have announced; in line with DA’s higher education policy that can help strengthen our education system.

1. The Ministry must review the outdated curriculum and ensure that there is engagement with industry, business and academics ensuring that our curriculum is relevant for the 21st Century and future world of work.

2. Completely overhaul NSFAS, reimagine how it operates, and procure qualified IT technician to build a seamless ICT infrastructure to merge data from institutions and NSFAS for timeous distribution of allowances to avoid fraud and corruption that has taken place.

3. Mr President, make an honest commitment towards freeing students from historical debt for both universities and TVETs incl the Missing Middle

4. While we welcome the announcement of the R64 billion in student accommodation (tell us your plan on the how and when) your government plans to take away R750 million from the current infrastructure grant to maintain existing buildings for TVETs and HDIs. Trim the fat from corruption and allocate more money to maintain the already existing infrastructure. Furthermore, engage the departments of public works and human settlements for unused buildings for the purposes of student accommodation and lecture rooms.

5. Working together with the South African Police Services as well as the departments of social development and higher education must put together a safety plan to end student deaths and the scourge of gender-based violence.

6. The State Information Technology agency must urgently work with CSIR, DHET and Umalusi to develop a seamless ICT process in producing certificates in real-time.

7. Ensure that local governments are capable and well run to help give the necessary support to students through services like the DA-led City of Cape integrated transport system, the Nelson Mandela Bay turning problem buildings into student accommodation and the Tshwane metro police patrolling at campuses during peak times.

In conclusion, we as leaders simply cannot keep on coming here to debate with people who have no idea on what’s happening on the ground. Young people are impatient with slogans that keep changing with no proper plan of action nor timelines.

Kudala uthunyiwe Mongameli, susibalisela’ngo khawuleza, khawude wenze ngoku!

I urge you, Mr President, to stop the dreaming, and act on these now and not in 2030!

I thank you!

SA needs quality healthcare, not flawed NHI


The President’s latest SONA has confirmed that he has chosen the politics of his party over fixing the challenges of the country.

His address was stitched together by slogans; based on information that is out of touch and delivered for no one else besides the ANC internal audience.

Once again, the people of South Africa became a distant consideration for him.

The President spoke about the enthusiasm for the proposed National Health Insurance Bill without giving the full context of the South African reality.

Having been to some of the most forgotten parts of this country in the past months, the demand for quality healthcare has been made clear by abantu bethu.

With every public hearing; in whichever town, South Africans told of horror experiences with the health system.

This is because, for the past 25 years, the health system has been shoddily patched up and carried by healthcare workers.

This public participation process has also revealed the lie which has been told to people who are desperate for change.

It became evident that many had been sold a dream that the failures of the ANC government will be immediately rectified by the NHI Bill.

Yet we know that this is not true.

Omama base Free State described the helplessness of waiting for an ambulance until the next day while a loved one is dying in their arms;

They spoke of the fear of needing life-saving ARVs and being told ayikho uze ubuye ngenye imini ngemali phofu abangayaziyo izokuvela phi;

Otata abadala base Vryburg articulated the limitation of facilities that have outdated infrastructure that cannot accommodate those who use it.

This immediately reminded me of the overcrowding that led to the death of 10 babies at Tembisa Hospital in a few weeks;

And the scar that will forever remind us that this government allowed for hundreds of mentally ill patients to die in the most undignified manner;
Many are victims of the nation-wide oncology crisis that has women from ezilalini bebhubha kabuhlungu yi-cervical cancer kuba kungekho ncedo.

The waiting period in Limpopo is close to a year from diagnosis to treatment.

There are cancer patients in this country who have been placed on a death waiting list while the ANC government izingomba isifuba ngokuzisa iinkonzo ebantwini.

The Chairperson of the Health Portfolio Committee, Dr Dhlomo, would know this well, as this was the case during his tenure as the KZN MEC for Health.

We should never be mistaken.

The people of South Africa know what they want.

They want dignity and a quality health system.

What is most tragic though is how the governing party is using the NHI Bill to mask its governance failures, promising an overnight transformation of the health system, when they know this is false.

This government knows that as the Bill stands, it will not improve the quality of healthcare for all South Africans;

It will not invest meaningfully in infrastructure and for better clinics and hospitals;

It will not ensure the filling of critical vacancies of nurses and doctors;

Or fix the tendering system that often leads to critical medication stockouts.

This Bill, misdiagnoses the problem and inevitably does not supply the solution.

South Africa needs universal healthcare. But does not need the flawed NHI Bill.

It is a poor and unaffordable funding model; that will empower the politically connected; create another SOE and still fail the millions who have been short-changed by this government.

In South Africa most people have access to healthcare but it is shockingly poor.

We cannot expect South Africans to wait any longer for the change they deserve.

At the same time, to place 58 million South Africans on a single NHI system without the investment needed will only lead to complete collapse of healthcare.

It is possible to improve the health system while reforming how it funded.

It is possible to clean up the rot and recover the R22 billion lost to corruption annually.

It is possible to choose South Africans over politics.

That is why the DA has brought solutions to the table.

We have tabled the Sizani Universal Healthcare Plan which -if implemented- would address both the question of healthcare funding and quality of care.

This plan would ensure that we afford every South African access to quality healthcare regardless of their economic status.

Unlike the NHI, we would be able to guarantee quality access because of the massive emphasis on investment to improve outcomes.

Mr President, if you truly care about the plight of millions who rely our health system – both public and private- lead your party back to the drawing board on this Bill.

Bring to the table opposition members, civil society, healthcare professionals and abona bantu basebenzisa iinkonzo zempilo to craft a plan on how we would improve healthcare; regulate the private healthcare sector to improve health outcomes and ultimately rescue an already ailing system.

As South Africa stumbles from one crisis to the next, we dare not fail their healthcare needs.

We can no longer afford your refusal and inability to make tough but necessary decisions.

Mr President, on Thursday when you respond to this debate, you will have an opportunity to choose South Africa over the factional battles at Luthuli House.

Choose to see our people – not as voting fodder – but as those who deserve better than empty slogans and stillborn plans.

Eskom is dead. Give power to the people!

Speaker, Mr. President, fellow South Africans,

This debate takes place in the midst of a national electricity crisis, to which few in government will admit.

We sit in darkness for hours every day, despite ongoing promises from the President – the man who in 2014 was tasked to turnaround ESKOM and end loadshedding. It is tragic today to go back and read that News24 headline from December 2014: “Ramaphosa to oversee ESKOM, SAA turnaround.” Mr. President, the only turn these entities took under your watch, was from the emergency room to the funeral parlour.

Our mining sector – once the backbone of our economy – is floundering, because, among other things, it cannot get enough electricity. 5 years after that headline placing ESKOM and SAA under Mr. Ramaphosa, another headline from December 2019 – laid bare the truth: “SA mines shut operations because of ESKOM.”

Yet the ANC clings to Eskom and pretends it can be saved. South Africans know otherwise. ESKOM is dead. It is beyond redemption. And it is time that this government acknowledges this.

It is in this condition for one reason, and one reason only: the mismanagement, lack of planning and sheer corruption of the ANC and its cadres and cronies. Just as every viable state-owned entity has been hollowed out, plundered, and broken, so our nation’s entire electricity supply has been destroyed. 

While ANC government leaders live with generators, permanent security, and state housing, the people of this country go through hardship and pain as the lights go off every day. They walk on dark streets at the mercy of violent crime; rape, robbery, and murder. They cannot study. They cannot cook. Their businesses cannot operate. Their lives and livelihoods are literally being stolen.  

We had hoped that in this critical hour, President Ramaphosa would seize the opportunity last week to take ownership of the problem, deal decisively with ESKOM, and provide South Africa a path to a powered future. But the incapable state and its incapable President never take bold action. 

SONA was the last chance for the ANC to do the right thing and announce the immediate splitting and privatizing of ESKOM. What we got instead, were small changes, small concessions, small retreats – too little, too late – if they come to be at all. 

While bold action was lacking, the Democratic Alliance does welcome some of the commitments the president made about energy transformation. The question he must answer is: When? When will all this take place? Because all the president and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy will say is “soon”. 

The Democratic Alliance has long called on Minister Mantashe to sign the section 34 determinations which are gathering dust on his desk. The City of Cape Town is going ahead with a court action to force the issue, because he still hasn’t actually done anything, despite a lot of talks. 

We have repeatedly asked him to immediately open bid window 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme. But whenever anyone speaks about renewable energy, in any context, Minister Mantashe accuses them of being a lobbyist. 

And just minutes after the President announced last Thursday that Bid Window 5 would open “soon”, Minister Mantashe backtracked on this commitment, saying “I’m not a fundamentalist about bid window 5” and that “we must be systematic and ensure that it is sustainable”. Given that the first four bid windows are regarded as best practices worldwide, it is surprising that the minister thinks the next needs more tweaking.

Encourage and incentivize residential self-generation. More and more South Africans are prepared to become self-reliant with regard to electricity generation. Instead of making things more difficult, let’s ease up on the regulatory environment and allow them to do so.

The DA stands firmly for every South African being allowed this freedom from ESKOM, and we won’t relent. In this regard, Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act can be amended by the stroke of a pen. Go back to what parliament approved in the first place when the Act was originally adopted. 

When South Africa went to stage 6 load-shedding in December, the minister should have immediately sought to purchase excess power from the existing IPPs, who are constrained to only sell limited quantities to the grid, as determined by their licences and power purchase agreements. Currently, any excess power generated by IPPs goes to waste. The South African Wind Energy Association estimates that about 500MW is immediately available, at a cost of around 40 cents per KWh, and more could be forthcoming as new projects come online.

The Minerals Council of South Africa estimates that up to 1.7 GW of electricity could be produced for own use by mines in the next 4 years, something they have been begging for years. That simple move would encourage investment in our mining sector.

We can’t be talking about nuclear plants or Grand Inga when South Africa’s financial situation is so dire. We also can’t be looking five and ten years down the line. We need to look at how we can make ourselves less reliant on an archaic monopoly like ESKOM, and more energy secure right now!

Mr. President, open up the electricity market now! The private sector can deliver better, cheaper and more efficiently than ESKOM. The DA’s Independent Electricity Management Operator Bill is currently before parliament. This would create a separate, independent market operator to purchase electricity from all producers and make our electricity generation sector more competitive. We call on all parties in this House to support this.

We know that Minister Mantashe has been called a tiger in the bedroom, but he appears more like a grumpy old tomcat curled up next to his coal fireplace when it comes to his constitutional obligations. He is slow to act, reluctant to change the status quo, and absolutely unwilling to upset the unions who are his real masters. Just like the unions are ruling the roost at SAA, it seems the same is true at Eskom. But that’s what the ANC gets for being in bed with COSATU.

Most importantly, Mr. President, we cannot and must not throw pensioners’ life savings into ESKOM. This is just theft from the poor and the elderly to fund ESKOM corruption.

And, Mr. President, if Minister Mantashe is not willing to act NOW on your commitments regarding electricity generation, replace him with someone who will.

Our darkest days will not just be load-shedding if you do not act.

STRAIGHT TALK: SONA and Ramaphosa: the night and knight of delusion

Long and well-spun as it was, Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address can be distilled down to a single naked fact: it didn’t deliver the reforms we need to reverse South Africa’s slide into bankruptcy. It didn’t even come close.

“Gradually and then suddenly” was Hemingway’s description of how you go bankrupt. We’re entering the “suddenly” phase, with our credit set to be junked soon after Mboweni delivers his budget speech later this month.

Yet Ramaphosa missed his Rubicon moment to fix the fundamentals.

He failed to administer even the basic CPR required to stabilise the patient. If the DA were in government, this is the shock treatment we would have delivered last night.

  • Solve our energy crisis by committing to 1) break Eskom’s monopoly entirely by opening the energy market to full competition, allowing companies and households to generate and sell electricity unhindered by the state, 2) sell off Eskom’s power stations to pay off its R450 billion debt, 3) free Eskom’s leadership to drive operational efficiencies.
  • Rapidly revive investor confidence by decisively walking away from expropriation without compensation, national health insurance, nationalising the Reserve Bank, and forcing pension funds to invest in state-owned companies.

And Ramaphosa denied our economy the treatment – long prescribed by the DA – that would nurse it to long-term health:

  • Make bold changes to our labour legislation to unleash entrepreneurship and job creation.
  • Stand up to SADTU to end their stranglehold on our basic education system, so that teachers can be properly trained, monitored and incentivised.
  • Do away with cadre deployment and BEE so that the appointments and tenders are on merit and in the best interests of the poor. This would do far more to fix our health system than will NHI.
  • Devolve SAPS powers to the provinces and metros as per international best practice.
  • Commit to reining in the public sector wage bill, by freezing wages for all managers and administrators for three years and reducing the number of such managers earning over a million rand a year by a third.

Though not nearly enough to arrest South Africa’s slide, we welcome the commitment to add additional energy to the grid and to back the DA’s long-fought proposal to allow municipalities to procure their own power from independent producers.

But mostly, we were dished up delusion: a state bank when the post bank is already unable to do its job; a sovereign wealth fund when the government already spends R1000 million more per day than it gets in taxes; a smart city when most municipalities are bankrupt or dysfunctional or both; coding and robotics for kids who can’t read; a capable state with cadre deployment.

It would be funny if it weren’t ruining millions of lives and destroying our future.

Ramaphosa’s problem is that for every major policy decision confronting him, he must choose between his party and his country. Either he goes the route that provides patronage and populist support to his party (NHI, EWC, SADTU etc) or he goes the route that generates inclusive growth for South Africa.

He chooses the ANC over South Africa every time.

It’s time for South Africans to wake up. Cyril is not the knight in shining armour that came to save us. We need to build a new majority for reform in South Africa. The DA will be at the forefront of this charge.

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.

SONA must focus on jobs, the economy, and safety for all

Tomorrow President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) following the 2019 national and provincial elections just 6 weeks ago. Despite the current fractious position we find ourselves in, there remains a collective sense of expectation that just maybe this SONA will mark a break from the past and charter a new way forward for our nation.

Make no mistake, our country is at the precipice and ready for change. Racial, linguistic and nationalist tensions are worryingly high, the economy is a friend to very few, and the overwhelming majority of South Africans live in fear for their lives and livelihoods. Things are fast approaching boiling point, and the time is ripe for social and economic reform.

As Leader of the Official Opposition, I have been steadfast in my approach towards the President. The DA will not be opposition for opposition’s sake. Mr Ramaphosa will have my full support when he acts in the best interests of South Africa. Similarly, he will face the full might of the official opposition when he acts to the contrary.

Tomorrow the President has a unique opportunity to restore confidence in the country by providing policy certainty that steers our economy towards a path of growth and prosperity. A future in which citizens feel safe, corruption is seriously dealt with, and services such as healthcare and education are delivered in a fair manner to all South Africans.

It is our view that in order to do so, he must make bold, uncompromising decisions despite how unpopular they may be within certain factions of his party. The future of South Africa hangs in the balance, and President Ramaphosa must now show the nation that he indeed is fit to lead.

It is within this context that we today set out the DA’s expectations for the State of the Nation Address.

Jobs and the Economy

The only way to create jobs, sustainably lift millions out of poverty, and give people the hope of a future of shared prosperity is an economy growing at much higher levels. Developing economies across the world have demonstrated that when sustained growth is achieved, more jobs are created, salaries and wages increase, and the quality of life is objectively better.

The key impediments to growth are the supply and cost of electricity, labour legislation reform, fundamental policy uncertainty, uncertainty around the protection of property rights, and low levels of investment – both domestic and foreign.

1. Electricity cost and supply

President Ramaphosa needs to announce government’s intention to allow major cities to procure electricity from any capable supplier, establishing a competitive market for power generation that lowers costs – especially for the manufacturing sector. This would in turn create much needed power for the under-resourced national grid, staving off the need for rolling power cuts. Secondly, the President should proceed with the breaking up of Eskom into separate entities, one for generation and the other for supply. This is the most sustainable way of protecting the grid while allowing new producers to come on board.

This should be coupled with a decision to not allow any more bailouts for Eskom. Our country cannot be coal dependent for much longer, and there ought to be a concerted effort to pursue alternative, cleaner energy sources including wind, solar and gas.

  1. Labour Legislation Reform

To mitigate the protracted strikes, the President should implement the DA’s strike ballot proposals. This includes:

  • Making it a requirement for ballots to be held before there is a strike action by unions – a key initiative to ensuring all strike action stems from a democratic decision of workers;
  • Holding labour unions accountable for any damage to public or private property as a result of strike action; and
  • Holding labour unions financially accountable to pay damages to individuals who have successfully brought cases of intimidation and/or assault against trade union members during strike action.

In addition to this, an independent committee tasked with reviewing our rigid labour legislation regime and its impact on investment, growth and job creation should be established.

Our labour policy is some of the most archaic in the world and the main inhibitor to job creation. This labour legislation review would need to include reforming the National Minimum Wage with Sectoral Minimum Wage as the ideal alternative.

We need to explore the option of allowing people to exempt themselves from minimum wage legislation which will allow higher access to work for those unemployed South Africans.

  1. Policy uncertainty

One of the primary inhibitors of inclusive economic growth is the guess game many local and foreign investors have to play when it comes to government policy. There exists very little certainty as to government’s “rules of the game”, with doublespeak occurring on a regular basis.

Providing policy certainty is the “cheapest” stimulus that Ramaphosa could announce as it requires no money and would have a profoundly positive effect on business sentiment and confidence.

This begins with the President at once stopping speculation about the role and nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and end the self-defeating discussion on the expropriation of private property without compensation.

There is also uncertainty in the mining sector causing the near-collapse of the industry, which remains a vital export earner and employer in the economy. The dispute over empowerment requirements must be resolved in favour of investment and growth because a greater empowerment share of an ever-shrinking industry is pointless and does not serve anyone’s interests.

In trade, there is a genuine threat that South Africa will suffer as an innocent victim in a trade war between the trade “superpowers.” This is an opportunity to speak with moral authority and make the case for more open global trade based on mutually agreed rules. We should show leadership in this by working to complete the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) urgently.

Such announcements would send a clear signal that South Africa is open for business, which would in turn grow our economy and create much needed jobs.

  1. Public investment

In order to invest in infrastructure, we have to cut costs elsewhere as the public purse has run dry. This requires a fundamental spending review focused on the public wage bill, which is clearly unsustainably inflated in favour of very expensive “head office costs” – with not enough allocated to frontline delivery staff like nurses, doctors, teachers, police officers, social workers, and border patrols.

The President should announce a salary freeze on all nonessential public sector posts, with a view to drastically cutting middle management and redirecting that money to funding much needed infrastructure projects across the country.

5. Additional measures

There is an urgent need for SOE reform across the board and the President needs to announce his intention and table a solid plan for full SOE reform of all SOEs.

A moratorium on bailouts to SAA should be announced, and the airline placed in business rescue before the end of June 2019. This would demonstrate that government will not waste another cent on badly run, corrupt SOEs.

The Carbon Tax should be scrapped immediately. It is nothing but a tax on manufacturing, when we should be looking to lower the costs of doing business for manufacturing companies by all means possible. The cost of this tax will be borne disproportionately by ordinary consumers through higher electricity charges and manufacturing businesses and will have no major benefit in reducing carbon emissions, since the greatest emitter is Eskom.


In recent months there has been an unprecedented spike in violent crimes affecting rural and gang-ridden communities. This follows promises made by President Ramaphosa before the elections to bring about rural safety and security in South Africa.

It is high time the President acts and reintroduces rural safety units at once.

South Africans deserve safer communities and an honest and professional police service that actually serves them. However, provinces remain severely under-resourced, under-trained, under-equipped and under-staffed. President Ramaphosa should therefore also announce his intention to devolve the South African Police Service (SAPS) powers to capable provinces so that the SAPS can ensure more efficient and effective planning and responsiveness closer to the ground.


For the past two decades, corruption has seeped into every organ of the state. From the Arms Deal to Nkandla, rooting out corruption requires bold leadership from the very front.

For the past seven months, President Ramaphosa has been embroiled in a corruption scandal relating to Bosasa, a company that has questionable ties to the ANC for over 20 years. The President – and his son, Andile – have allegedly benefitted to the tune of millions from a company well known for bribing government officials. This is now subject to a Public Protector investigation following a complaint I laid.

I have today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, calling for the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee on the Public Protector’s imminent Bosasa report to interrogate the Bosasa scandal – which includes President Ramaphosa’s dealings.

If the President is truly serious about rooting out corruption, he should have no qualms in publicly supporting my call and subjecting himself to the Ad Hoc committee.

Service Delivery

It is high time the President takes a decisive stand against the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) which continues to hold South Africa and its children to ransom. The union has fought against all accountability for teachers, placing the interests of millions of children second to the interests of union bosses.  The implementation of teacher competency tests and principal performance agreements that SADTU has been blocking for half a decade would be a welcome show of independence from the unions by President Ramaphosa, and he should introduce these tomorrow.

To add to the list of dangerous policies that needs to be scrapped must surely be the National Health Insurance (NHI) which is unsustainable and unfeasible. The President needs to announce that that the NHI will be scrapped.


The question that should be on the President’s mind as he addresses the nation tomorrow is where the country is going and how we are going to get there. If his answers to these questions are in the best interests of the people of South Africa, he will have my full support going forward.

Mr Ramaphosa needs to be bold, brave and uncompromising. He ought to place the nation’s interests ahead of the ANCs interest. Only then will we begin to move our country forward.

Expropriation without compensation still a big part of the ANC’s election campaign

President Ramaphosa seems more determined than ever to rush through land expropriation without compensation for political gain in the upcoming elections.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Deputy President David Mabuza will lead the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform that will work alongside the Constitutional Review Process. We also note the establishment of the advisory panel of experts that will advise government on its land reform programme. It is due to report back by the end of March 2019.

We have been unambiguously clear about our commitment to redressing the violent history of land dispossession in this country and have always viewed land reform as a social justice imperative which all South African must rally around. Conversely, the DA holds the view that the Constitutional Review Committee’s report that recommends the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation is flawed.

It is for this reason the DA will challenge the legality of the Constitutional Review process should this procedurally flawed report be passed. We maintain, the Constitution is not a barrier to land reform. The barriers are rather corruption, constrained budgets and a lack of political will by the failing ANC.

The ANC had 24 years to address this injustice and they failed. Changing the Constitution is simply an attempt by the ANC to buy itself time, so that it can continue its looting while citizens of this country languish in abject poverty.

We do not oppose land reform, we oppose the ANC’s attempts to use expropriation as ‘get out of jail free’ card. Their failure to take land reform seriously must not be awarded with another term in office.

Unemployed not included in discussions over National Minimum Wage

The DA is concerned that the voices of South Africa’s 9.2 million unemployed are not being heard in the ongoing discussions over national minimum wage.

On 26 March, Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, admitted that government’s bid to ram through the National Minimum Wage Bill (NMWB) before the 1 May deadline set by President Cyril Ramaphosa during this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) was unachievable. Significantly, the minister conceded that the adoption of the proposed labour legislation is up to Parliament, not the Executive.

The Portfolio Committee on Labour was recently briefed by the Department on public submissions received for the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, The NMWB Bill and the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill.

It was during these briefings that the process of public participation was called into question. Indeed, the committee has not heard from the poor, young and unemployed South Africans who will be most significantly impacted by the proposed changes.

The DA is concerned that those who struggle most to gain access to the job market have been ignored during the public participation process and we reiterate our call for the portfolio committee to be allowed the necessary time and opportunity to consider the proposed bill, free from political interference.