Hansard: NA: Mini-plenary 1
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 16 Mar 2023
No summary available.
MINI PLENARY - NATIONAL ASSEMBLY (VIRTUAL)
THURSDAY, 16 MARCH 2023
PROCEEDINGS OF VIRTUAL MINIPLENARY
Members of the mini-plenary session met on the virtual platform at 14:00.
The Acting Chairperson Ms R M M Lesoma took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon members, before we proceed I would like to remind you that the Virtual Mini- Plenary is deemed to be in the precinct of Parliament and constitutes a meeting of National Assembly for debating purposes only.
In addition, hon members to the Rules of Virtual Sittings, the Rules of the National Assembly including the Rules of Debate apply. Members enjoy the same powers and privileges that apply in the sitting of the National Assembly.
Members should equally note that anything said in the virtual platform is deemed to have been said in the House and may be ruled upon. All members who have logged in shall be considered to be present and are requested to mute their microphones and only unmute when recognised to speak. This is because the mics are very sensitive and will pick up any noise which might disturb or interrupt the member on the podium. When recognised to speak, members please unmute your microphone and where connectivity permits, you may connect your video, but you must also say it upfront that you are unable to put on your video.
Hon members may make use of the icons on the bar at the bottom of their gadgets or screens which has an option which allows you as the member to put up his or her hand if you want to a point of order. The secretariat will assist the presiding officer or the Chairperson to recognise members to speak. When using the virtual system members are urged to refrain or desist from unnecessary points of order or interjections.
Hon members, lastly, I wish to remind you that you are meeting in a mini-plenary session and therefore any decision will be taken in a full sitting of the National Assembly. The first item on the Order Paper, hon members is a motion in the name of the hon, the Leader of the Opposition Party. I now recognise the Leader of the Opposition Party, hon John Steenhuisen over to you, sir.
Mr W M THRING: House Chairperson, my apologise, I had my hand up. My apologies for interrupting. But I think just maybe, if you could get somebody to assist you with your video presentation. It may be fading you into the background, it brings the picture on the foreground. So, the picture that we getting of yourself is not the bad.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Okay, I will sort that one. Meanwhile, let me recognise the Leader of the Opposition Party. Thank you, hon member for that.
ESTABLISHMENT OF AN AD HOC COMMITTEE IN TERMS OF RULE 253 TO INQUIRE INTO THE FULL EXTENT OF THE ALLEGED WIDESPREAD CORRUPTION AND UNABATED OPERATIONS OF CRIMINAL NETWORKS AND CARTELS AT ESKOM
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chairperson, thank for the colleagues that are present today, for this debate. South Africa has been plunged in darkness and despair. And as Electricity Supply Commission, Eskom, collapses under the
weight of organised corruption, our economy has been starved of electricity that needs to operate.
As the economy collapses, so do the lives and livelihoods of 60 million South Africans. So, fellow members of Parliament we are gathered here today, because I have tabled a motion to establish a adhoc committee to investigation allegations of systematic sabotage and looting at Eskom.
As the elected representatives of the people of South Africa, our role today is to debate the need for this thorough inquiry of organised corruption at Eskom and then to vote at the later stage.
The fact is Eskom will never be fixed until we know who and what is breaking it. And the fact is that only a parliamentary inquiry can give a proper platform and protection to those innocent people, who know what has happened at Eskom and have threatened and subdued and silenced by the connected syndicates to the extend right to the upper reaches of government.
Those with information must not be ... [Inaudible.] ... like the bitter debacle or poisoned like Andrew de Ruyter. They need the full protection of a parliamentary inquiry, if we are to ever establish the truth. And given the Andrew de Ruyter poisoning, this ... [Inaudible.] ... determine effort to stop the truth from coming out.
And colleagues make no mistake these allegations are serious. The maiden intelligence reports contain a detailed information gathered by private investigators. The reports tell us that four criminal cartels who are operating inside Eskom, plundering its resources, bleeding it dry and bringing our country to its knees.
These four criminal groups steal billions of rands by controlling Eskom procurement processes. All the people in the buying and selling processes are either part of the criminal cartel or they are bribed or compromised.
These cartels break Eskom infrastructure on purpose, so that they can profit from all the work and parts needed to fix them again. This is why Eskom pays R238 000 for a wooden handle mop, R80 000 each for knee guards worth R320, R58 000 for a roll toilet paper and R65 for a bottle of milk.
But that’s small change compared to what Eskom overpaying for coal. Let’s be clear the only objective of these criminal cartels is to transfer vast amounts of public money. Money meant to sustain our energy supply to small number of people to make them extraordinary rich.
Now, we shouldn’t even need to debate this, obviously South Africans need this inquiry and we need to do it urgently, because we cannot fix Eskom until we know who and what is breaking Eskom.
And it should be an easy decision for us today because we are the elected representatives of the people of South Africa.
Each of us sworn oath to uphold the Constitution. Which says clearly the Parliament’s role is to watch over the government and make sure the country is being run for the benefit of the people of South Africa. Each of us sworn oath to act in South Africa’s best interest, to put South Africa first. So, yes it should be an easy decision.
But, there’s a complication because the intelligence report linked two senior members of President Ramaphosa Cabinet, the four criminal cartels. The report suggests that it is the ANC that is bleeding Eskom dry. And, it is the ANC that is profiting of Eskom destruction and it is the ANC that is collapsing the economy.
Yes, sadly South Africa’s leaders are also Eskom’s bleeders. Indeed, the cartels are called the Presidential Cartel, the Mesh Kings cartel, the Legendary’s cartel and the Chief cartel.
The report reveals that these ANC leaders pay cash for luxury cars and they wash their hands in a 15-year-old whisky while the lights remain off. The report also reveals that the senior ANC leaders exercise firm control of these contract awarded.
It controls people hired by Mpumalanga power stations, to approve contracts of friends and family. It controls senior officials in Mpumalanga such as police and traffic police chiefs and city councillors.
The information suggests that contract beneficiaries pay them kick bags for tenders awarded to his influence and that this money is shoved into jojo tanks on his private property.
These are serious allegations and they reach up to the top and of the heart of government, yet again the ANC finds itself as accused number one.
So, Parliament has an opportunity to restore its image in the wake of the devastating findings of the Zondo Commission in its own failings during state capture. It has chance to redeem itself from the shame of Nkandla debacle and has the chance to return Parliament to its rightful place as the arena of the executive accountability.
So, the real question says: will the ANC Members of Parliament, MPs choose to protect South Africa or they choose again to protect the ANC? Thank very much Madam House Chair.
Mr M G MAHLAULE: House Chairperson, there is a tendency amongst opposition parties to prematurely call for adhoc committees on all manner of issues. While the parliamentary rules allow for the formation of adhoc committees and how these may operate, the rules do not state on what basis these committees may be called. In the case of section 194, there was substantive prima facie evidence against the Public Protector to call for an adhoc committee.
There must be prima facie evidence for the calling of such an adhoc committee as currently there are only allegations that are currently untested and need to be tested.
It would be a caricature of the findings of the Zondo Commission to suggest that an adhoc committee is required to deal with the comments made by De Ruyter in his interview.
What Chief Justice Raymond Zondo meant in the report is that there must be oversight rigour in the normal parliamentary process.
In our case, normal parliamentary process for oversight and accountability has not broken down on this matter and any other matter concerning the energy crisis.
There are portfolio committees such as Public Enterprises, Mineral Resources and Energy as well as the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, SCOPA, dealing with Electricity Supply Commission, Eskom, which are sufficiently empowered to do so.
The reality is that the call from hon Steenhuisen for an adhoc committee to enquire about the allegations made by De Ruyter is premature as the respective portfolio committees are currently preparing to deal with the issue and establish the facts.
Furthermore, it should be obvious that portfolio committees are made up of all political parties and these committees will
first have to play their oversight role and establish accountability in terms of load shedding and issues related to the eradication of corruption in the entity which is part of the ANC-led government policy.
Therefore, the investigation and formation of an adhoc committee cannot be preceded before the established portfolio committees have done their work concerning this matter to establish the facts.
This matter is not one-sided as hon Steenhuisen seeks to project in a narrow focus in his call for an adhoc committee. There are multiple critical components which the Portfolio Committees on Mineral Resources and Public Enterprises require to focus on to end load shedding and ensure the security of the supply of electricity.
Moreover, the committees dealing directly with the entity will have to deal with the issue of state capture and corruption in the entity. The parliamentary process in terms of governance and oversight has not broken down and portfolio committees must be allowed to do their work first to establish the facts and based on the balance of evidence to take the work forward.
What you are doing hon Steenhuisen in terms of this motion is to put the cart before the horse in expectation of getting to a destination and it cannot be done and should not be done.
What is worse in this situation, calling for an adhoc committee based on untested allegations of Mr De Ruyter was to assume that these allegations are true and require an adhoc committee.
Your press statement calling for an adhoc committee accusing the ANC as a whole for corruption was wrong, as rotten apples in a basket do not reflect the state of all apples. The DA has its fair share of rotten apples in its basket and the party should know better by now that the ANC never calls for adhoc committees for the many rotten apples in the DA basket.
What is even worse, in this case, is that the DA has already taken a biased view on the matter of the allegations made by De Ruyter in an interview and made up its mind on the role of the former Chief Executive Office, CEO. The DA has already congratulated Mr De Ruyter on his role as the CEO at Eskom.
However, the role of Mr De Ruyter as former CEO is also a source of grave concern, concerning the allegations. De Ruyter
had a board which is the chief accounting authority and he himself as the chief accounting officer was from a fiduciary point of view, duty bound to deal with the allegations he raised in an interview in terms of the law.
For example, if De Ruyter felt that there are leakages of nearly R 1 billion a month then why was there no forensic conducted and brought to the attention of the board and the shareholder? Those involved in the corrupt activities were not charged by the former CEO which is a problem, as this is a legal requirement in terms of the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act.
It should be obvious to hon Steenhuisen that the 8,5 billion is a pledge from the international community for a transition from being carbon-intensive to clean energy and that the money has not been given to South Africa yet. No banker in the world will make such cash available without bankable business plans which outline the repayment of capital loans and interest.
To add insult to injury in this regard is the DA congratulating De Ruyter as CEO in terms of the interview rather than on his actual performance at Eskom. Mr De Ruyter arrived at Eskom where the energy availability factor was at
69,6% and upon his departure, it is around 48% which is the cause of load shedding.
The former CEO was supposed to fix that. He was also tasked to deal with the issue of corruption and problems related to procurement. While there was some success in this regard, there was equally failure on the part of the former CEO and therefore the allegations in the interview.
The innocence of the ANC or if there are some guilty elements that does not lie in the support of an adhoc committee called by the DA, but rather through De Ruyter making evidence available and due legal process being followed. The De Ruyter interview was not based on evidence, and evidence is required for the law enforcement agencies to act and for Parliament to oversight and thereby ensuring accountability in the form of consequence management.
The ANC rejects corruption in all its forms and law enforcement agencies need to act decisively to deal with all corruption at Eskom and not just so-called cartels that hon Steenhuisen was talking about.
The ANC has a programme to deal with load shedding and ensure the security of supply of electricity. Here again, hon Steenhuisen chooses to ensure that he calls for an adhoc committee without wanting to allow the ANC-led government to implement its plan to end load shedding.
For the people of this country, this is not a political football to try to steal elections, but a real issue.
Therefore, the ANC-led government does not seek a political adhoc committee on the issue of load shedding which requires making business decisions premised on technical solutions to resolve the problem.
An adhoc committee does not need to deal with the electricity crisis or corruption at Eskom as the established structures such as the board and management are tasked to do so and report to the portfolio committees in Parliament.
Therefore, there is no need for the establishment of an adhoc committee in terms of Rule 253, and worse, one that is not objective and biased from its conceptualisation and inception which will not add value to deal with the issues of corruption or load shedding.
These require to be dealt with through the current parliamentary process to establish the facts and on the balance of evidence Parliament may or may not decide to take further action.
Hon Steenhuisen is always ahead of himself and in the process undermines the role of the established portfolio committees to effectively carry out their functions. Perhaps it is time that hon Steenhuisen receives some National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, bursary to undergo some tertiary education to elevate the level of understanding and contribution to Parliament so that he can make a meaningful contribution to South Africa’s economic development. Thank you very much.
Mr G K Y CACHALIA: Chairperson, one of our key aspects of our jobs as parliamentarians, it is an oversight, especially in times of crisis. And so, it is absolutely crucial that the full extent of the alleged widespread corruption and unabated operations of criminal networks and cartels at Eskom be fully investigated - particularly as any attempts to fix the utilities predicated of eradication of such ongoing criminality - with a clear agenda. Any absence of such focus will allow this criminality to continue unabated and we all know that while this continues, the utility cannot be fixed.
In the absence of such fixes, load shedding is here to stay and we all know what that means to our shrinking economy, to lives and livelihoods.
This is why we are calling for an establishment of an ad hoc committee and it is by no means premature because there is a historical starting point which must be acknowledged and laid squarely at the feet of the ANC. Remember Hitachi Power Africa, an ANC corruption at Eskom that paid millions of rands in success fees for lobbing, to assist Hitachi to clinch rotten deals at Kusile and Medupi giving the ANC investment arm, Tata ma Chancellor House a 5 000% return and gave the nation in return a power deficit responsible for endless load shedding.
The committee needs to investigate the cancelation of the appointment in 2019 of Bowman Gilfilian Inc to investigate numerous contracts at Eskom ranging from construction projects to consultation work, valued at more than R178 billion. And in the light of Andre de Ryter’s departure, the security of tenure of investigation he reinstated during which the special instigation unit fought a lone battle as graft at the company. More than a 110 criminal matters have been reported to the police since 2018 with an additional of 60 cases reported to
the NPA by the SIU. Many linked to the construction of the multibillion rand Kusile Power Station in Mpumalanga that range from wastewater power plants and accommodation to coal haulage and in the purchasing of milk and toilet paper in huge inflated prices, as the hon Steenhuisen has pointed out.
It needs to report on Econ Oil Energy’s deals to supply Eskom with fuel of more than R15 billion at inflated prices by paying inducements, including donations to the ruling party. It needs to consider intelligence reports obtained by the Daily Maverick that link two senior members of President Ramaphosa’ s Cabinet to four cartels operating inside Eskom. Links that expose these cartels to the sabotage of Eskom’s power stations and to a programme of political destabilisation. Links that de Ruyter was pursuing which led to an attempt to his life, no wander he resigned.
It needs to re-examine intelligence gathered in the field before for the ANC’s elective conference in 2022 that suggest direct links between the sabotage and the cartels and an orchestrated programme of political destabilisation involving senior SAPS officers, including a certain brigadier with the Eskom cartels. It needs to look into why the CEO said he did not believe the government has the political will to end
corruption in Eskom and why he was summarily dismissed for this, having tellingly remarked that evidence suggest that it is a feeding trough for the ANC.
According to de Ruyter one billion is being lost to corruption every month at the utility. He has documented this, no wander Eskom is broken and little wander that Eskom is breaking the country. Investment is shrinking joblessness is burgeoning and every aspect of our country and its people are affected. On top of this PWC’s economist, Lulu Kruger, reported that 208 days of load shedding in 2022 reduced real GDP by up to 5,8 percentage points - the effect is devastating. This, while de Ruyter’s concerns expressed to a nameless senior government Minister about attempts to water down governance around the
$8,5 billion earmarked to fund the transition away from fossil fuels, solicited the following response “ah, you know, you have to be pragmatic – you have to enable some people to eat a little bit.
De Ruyter says he told an unnamed Minister that a high-level ANC politician was complicit in the cartel activities. “The Minister then looked at a senior official and said, ‘I guess that it was inevitable that it would come out anyway’, which suggests that this wasn’t news,” So, to put it another way, we
need to know, by way of metaphor, why given that the whole village knows about the flagrant infidelity of the wife of a certain villager, the ostensibly ...[Inaudible.] party was unwilling to sanction the offenders? Perhaps he was too busy attending to his buffaloes instead, and too busy minding the money under his mattress – so to speak?
Come, come let us get real people and let us institute this ad hoc committee. One that has teeth and eyes unlike the high bound and rubber stamping parliamentary portfolio committee that I seat on lamenting. I thank you.
Ms N V MENTE: Thank you very much, House Chairperson, on Monday 20th of March 2023 the Economic Freedom Fighters, led by the commander -in -chief, president Julius Malema and all concerned citizens of this country will embark on a national shutdown to demand electricity and that Mr Cyril Ramaphosa must go. We are going to use our voices protected by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa to raise our concerns because here in this House by mere use of majority the only hope of our people gets diminished. We are taking to the streets by the 20th of March nothing will move and we have advised all businesses to be aware of the action day. No one will stop us just like no one stopped any white organised
protest, even those who undermined our country and even displayed their apartheid flag, even the own cartels who are controlling the governing party and think that their tankers will transport diesel and petrol, they are going to commit terrible mistakes.
SAPS must be aware, if they offer escort to such truckers they should start offering the support and escorting every truck that comes into the country which becomes a subject of criminals and drivers being killed on a daily basis. We will defend the defenceless masses of our people with our bodies and our bodies will be on the streets all of us, as fighters and the concerned citizens of this country. Every progressive force will put their bodies on the street.
House Chairperson, the widespread corruption and unabated operations of the criminal networks and cartels are institutionalised in the evergreen contracts that we have been fighting for. Long-term contracts and coal contracts that the ANC has turned a blind eye to and ignored. We are not going to be guided by the arrogant and incompetent Andrey de Ruyter’s allegations when we have always known all along about the corruption at Eskom.
When we matched to Eskom on 28th of February 2020, we told Mr de Ruyter that corruption is rife at Eskom and we warned him not to be part of the problem, but be part of a solution. He did not listen to us, he became part of the problem when he started putting his friends in strategic positions and hiring them as consultants without even following the processes of government. He started taking illegal instructions for Ministers and the minister of the SOEs to cancel contracts that were correctly awarded only to award them to his handpicked companies and those companies that were advised by the Minister of SOEs, Minister Jamnandas. We know that de Ruyter took an illegal instruction to cancel a contract awarded to Econ Oil, accompany owned by a black woman, because he was instructed by Mr Pravin Gordahn and colluded with an Indian Judge to rely on a non-existent affidavit to arrive at a favourable judgement, which today has never been reversed.
The contract that was awarded to Eco Oil was then awarded to FFS, a white-owned company that has Investec as one of its owners, and we know that Investec is a Mr Pravin Gordahn’s company. So, we are not going to be part of picking a target from a group of wrong doers and the target is corrupt minority black-owned companies when the majority of white-owned companies that enjoy large share contracts continue with
corruption and its business as usual. A white-owned company was overpaid R5 billion, but there was no outrage. Instead, Mr de Ruyter is the one who protected this company.
Lastly, Chairperson, coal contracts make up the biggest spending item for Eskom accounting for more than 50% of the budget. We know that Eskom is paying double the market price for coal, but nothing is being done even when we advise Parliament on the processes to be followed in this matter. If there is any ad hoc committee that we must establish to get to the bottom of this corruption at Eskom, the committee must enquire into all contracts at Eskom, new and old contracts, enquire into all evergreen contracts, enquire into all contracts between Eskom and smelting companies that get electricity practically for free, enquire into all studies that are imposed on Eskom to follow without asking questions. That is why today we have FDGs that we cannot fix, they can only be fixed outside. [Interjections.]
Mr B A RADEBE: Thank you, Chairperson, I am rising on rule 85. The speaker on the podium referred to the Minister of Public Enterprises that he has issued illegal instructions to the former group CEO of Eskom, and that his company illegally benefited about 5 billion from the contracts of Eskom. You
know very well, Chairperson, that such an allegation must be brought through a substantive motion, so that the Minister can be able to defend himself where necessary. Thank you.
Ms M R MOHLALA: Corruption must never ever be protected.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Oh no, order, hon member! Please! Hon Mente, you know better that if you make an allegation, you need to make it a substantive motion. Please refrain from making such comments. Thank you. You may proceed.
Ms N V MENTE: Thank you, Chairperson, this is an information
... [Interjections.] Am I not supposed to be answering and justify what I said?
THE CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): One-minute, hon Mente, you know I can’t ignore a point of orders.
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES: Hon Chairperson, I want to support hon Radebe and state categorically that these lies cannot be perpetuated in a Chamber like the National Assembly. They are lies.
Ms K N F HLONYANA: Chairperson, you are not protecting our speaker please. He is now arguing the facts.
THE CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): I am going to order the IT to mute you. Hon Mente, I have made a ruling that you must desist from making such allegations except if you are making a substantive motion. You may proceed.
Ms N V MENTE: Thank you very much, Chairperson, since the Fifth Parliament we have dealt with the issue of Eskom before various Committees of Parliament even the Scopa Committee where in Andrey de Ruyter was even told to stop hiring people on instruction of Ministers. That is information before various committees of Parliament dealing with Eskom. Let me continue, Chairperson, any ad hoc committee that does not seek to investigate these and only focuses on the two-time street thugs based in Luthuli House will only scratch the surface of corruption at Eskom. And Chairperson, let me alert the members of Parliament that even the ANC when it says these are baseless lies, the very same ANC has written to various committees of Parliament to pursue the investigation of this and the only way and the method of Parliament to pursue these particular investigations is when Parliament establishes a committee assigned to investigate and pursue these matters. It
cannot be that the very same ANC says these are baseless lies. It is not true. In our committees, we are dealing with the letters of ANC that are requesting committees to propose this kind of an action. Thank you very much, Chairperson. We will see you on the 20th on the streets when we demand Eskom to bring our lights back. [Interjections.]
Ms M R MOHLALA: We must never try to protect nonsense.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): order! Order, hon members! Order!
Ms L H ARRIES: Twenty March, we will deal with you.
Inkosi E M CEBEKHULU: Hon Chairperson, like most South Africans, we want to know who and what are the actors who have contributed to plundering Eskom. We want to have them, not only exposed, but they also have to account in the highest form. However, if the establishment of the committee would be another tick box exercise and does not deal decisively with the sabotage that has crippled Eskom, then it would serve as useless. We acknowledge the existence of the third-party participation in the operations of Eskom and the contribution that these criminal networks and cartels have played in the
running down of Eskom. And we also see the value in the establishment of this committee, to unveil all that has happened within the entity, under the nose of the ruling party.
We also have to be realistic and more intentional when it comes to the purpose of the committee itself. It should not merely serve as a platform for recommendations, without any obligation to fulfil those recommendations. If that is the case, we would then be complicit in the perpetuation of crime taking place at Eskom and the ultimate doom of our country and our economy. We need to tackle the limitations in the function and powers of this committee. If not, it will simply become another exercise in wasted expenditure.
We are not blind to the real cause of the problem that Eskom is facing, which in fact, are greed, corruption and thievery in the ANC itself. The weak and compromised leadership in the ruling party has not only been involved in this particular incident of corruption, but has, through their own actions, deliberately corrupted the entire system.
The government has allowed Parliament to throw money at a nonfinancial problem for over a decade. To this end, if
government does not know about the persistence in corruption in the entity, it highlights either an unacceptable ignorance or outright complicit behaviour from the ruling party.
A positive outcome can only be assured, if the members of this committee are individuals of integrity who appreciate the magnitude of the problem and place the interest of our country first. Only if committee processes and procedures are objective and transparent, will we be able to root out the criminal culture which has manifested so deeply in government.
The IFP welcomes the establishment of the ad hoc committee. Thank you very much.
Dr P J GROENEWALD: Hon House Chair, I want to say that I listened to the hon member from the ANC who spoke before and I challenge the ANC to tell us at which portfolio committees or joint standing committees there is an investigation into the corrupt activities in Eskom. I challenge them to say that. I serve on the Portfolio Committee of Police. We did not receive any such situation where we investigate.
However, that is not the point. The point is that, in terms of section 92 of the Constitution that states very clearly that
the members of Cabinet individually and collectively are accountable to Parliament and the question that must be asked is: In what manner is the Cabinet accountable to this House. We as members of this House must ask ourselves: In which way and what way do we see and have oversight, to ensure that there is accountability?
The atrocities taking place at Eskom is well known to the public. It is in the newspapers, and I am not going to elaborate on that. Therefore, the people we represent are asking us the questions: What did you do about all these allegations? Let us take the allegation from Mr De Ruyter referring that the Minister was informed of two other Ministers involved in corrupt activities. The hon Minister Gordhan admitted that, yes, it has been reported to him. So, it is not a matter of investigation of whether or not; he admitted it.
Then, any person who wants to ensure that there is accountability, must then endorse such an ad hoc committee as suggested here by the hon Mr Steenhuisen. We have a constitutional obligation to ensure that accountability. I cannot understand how it is that Parliament has never established a committee to say, hon Gordhan, come forward and
tell us who these other two Ministers are, and have a further investigation because they are accountable to Parliament. And don’t hide behind the smokescreen that it must now be further investigated by the security structures.
No, we have that responsibility. I can assure you that the people of South Africa are accusing the Members of Parliament and specifically, the majority party, the ANC, because if you do not agree, then Parliament does not accept.
Daarom, as ons werklik ons plig van verantwoordbaarheid teenoor die kiesers wil nakom, moet hierdie komitee gevestig word. Ons moet daardie Ministers voor daardie komitee laat verskyn en die korrekte feite plaas, sodat die mense van Suid- Afrika kan weet wie die mense is en watter Ministers of Adjunkministers betrokke by misdaad en korrupsie is, sodat hulle tronk toe kan gaan en ophou om die belastingbetalers se geld te steel. Ek dank u.
Mr S N SWART: Chairperson The ACDP, like so many others were shocked by the startling revelations made by former Eskom chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter. Having been part of the Eskom Oversight Inquiry, and having read the findings of
the Zondo Report, we thought that the state capture, corruption, and criminality at Eskom, which has contributed to the high levels of load shedding, had largely been exposed, was being investigated, and a number of Eskom officials and private contractors had been charged. We were mistaken, however.
Mounting evidence, including Mr De Ruyter’s explosive revelations, indicate that criminality at Eskom is not only continuing, but appears to have reached new and higher levels. Despite the ANC’s protestations that it has learnt its lesson and now seeks to comply faithfully with the recommendations contained in the Zondo Report, state capture is sadly still very much alive and well in the country.
Eskom in particular is plagued by widespread corruption, with criminal syndicates operating seemingly at will to loot the coffers. This at a time when unprecedented levels of load shedding have had a devastating impact on households, businesses and the economy at large. What is even more alarming being the allegations that government was not only aware of the ongoing corruption and criminality, but largely turned a blind to the extensive looting, estimated to be in the region of a staggering R1 billion per month. What makes it
even worse is that, it is alleged that a high level Members of Cabinet was intricately involved.
Yes, Mr De Ruyter was and is under an obligation to report this and other serious allegations to the law enforcement agencies in terms of ...[Inaudible.] But he apparently did meet with high-ranking police officials regarding the criminal syndicates at Eskom. According to media reports, Minister Gordhan, together with Mr Sydney Mufamadi, who was President Ramaphosa’s national security adviser, were briefed by Mr De Ruyter and the senior investigating official. It is also reported that, the national police commissioner had also been briefed by him on allegations of corruption and he in turn had appointed this senior police official.
It is clear that existing portfolio committees has not been effective enough, despite their best intentions. During the Eskom Parliamentary Oversight Inquiry, the Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee spent about 18 months sitting continually and, sometimes until very late at night to inquire into state capture and corruption at Eskom, and we only scratched the surface So, it is very clear that an ad hoc committee is needed.
The people of South Africa are outraged at the ongoing load shedding and allegations of looting. They demand action, including Parliament to exercise its oversight function more stringently. The ACDP supports the ad hoc committee. I thank you.
Mr B H HOLOMISA: House Chair, hon members the UDM supports the motion. The Medupi and Kusile power plants were hailed as mega projects that would change the energy landscape for South Africa. We are still waiting for these white elephants to do their intended job. The entire tender was suspect because of the Hitachi and Chancellor House deal. It is incumbent upon this House to investigate this and other alleged corruption at Eskom, post-haste as the looting continues at Eskom.
The treasurer-general of the ruling party must come and explain how exactly the ANC benefited from Hitachi and Chancellor House and any other deal at Eskom.
As public representatives we are beholden to our constituents whose lives and businesses suffer due to load shedding.
Furthermore, our economy cannot sustain the current energy calamity, and we have a responsibility to get to the bottom of this mess.
NgoMvulo siza kuba phaya kwiNkundla ePhakamileyo ePitoli. Sifuna kanye ezona zizathu zibangela ucimi-cimi wombane kweli lizwe. Asiyixelelwa inyani kuba kwelinye ithuba kuthiwa amalahle amanzi kuphinde kuthiwe amalahle axubene namatye, kwakhona siphinde sive ukuba ngabantu abafuna ukonakalisa uEskom ngabom. Sifuna ke ngoku ukude sizivele kuba kaloku ukuba ngoku kuza kuthiwa masibhatale imali kwaNersa ekubeni imali ithathwe yi-ANC ...
... through Hitachi and the Chancellor House ...
... kutheni le nto kusiziwa kuthi, makuqutyiswane namasela. Mababuyise la mali ukuze kugqityezelwe la maziko ombane.
Masiyiyeke apho, siza kudibana ngoMvulo umhla wama-20. Juju uze uye kundikroba phaya enkundleni ndiza kuba phaya. Ukuba ndinalo ithuba, nam ndiza kukukroba kulo mngcelele uza kuwenza ePitoli. Enkosi.
Ms J C N MKHWANAZI: Thank you House Chairperson, hon members and South Africans. Chairperson, the parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee will never produce a fair, wider and more accurate
nature of corruption at Eskom better than the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture has already done.
Calls to establish the parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee to investigate systemic corruption at Eskom based on Andre de Ruyter’s interview contains significant flaws. In particular, it is rare for an ex-employee to speak well or report passly free interaction with their former employer
Hon Chairperson, unsurprisingly, de Ruyter’s interview should be seen in a similar light. So, De Ruyter’s allegation should be treated as a sour grace rather than something worth investigating further through a parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee to uncover the truth.
Although de Ruyter’s distorted allegations have generated criticism of the ANC led government by opposition parties and the South African citizenry, it is not possible to retype the reality. The reality could be typed as follows hon Chairperson:
Eskom has put the financial means and human resources and its disposal to dictate corruption and fraud as well as any form of procurement processes abuse in line with the
recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the State Capture.
As a result, Eskom established a State Capture Task Team which worked collaboratively with the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, and the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, to proactively implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
Hon Chairperson, recently, Eskom’s State Capture Task team has made tremendous efforts to recover unlawful payments of over R3,1 billion from mix ups and countless other service providers through collaborating partnership with the NPA and SIU. As part of exploiting civil recoveries, Eskom is currently pursuing approximately a R3,8 billion through civil action against its former executives and de Ruyter who were the brain and heart of the State Capture and this is done in collaboration with the law enforcement.
Hon Chairperson, this recovered billions and others underway indicate that the Eskom’s State Capture Task Team is not limited to impressive appearances but rather yield the kind of actions and effectiveness needed to address endemic corruption at Eskom which is the pivotal domestic state-owned enterprise,
SOE, in the sector that serves as the back bone of the South African economy.
Hon Chairperson, of course there has been limit in Eskom Task Team’s work and gaps exist between what the task team’s implementation plan promised on paper and what it is delivering in practice.
For instance, criminal procedures fail to maintain the desire cases to speed but this does not imply that the task team remains efficient and that a parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee can succeed the desired results that the task team implements.
Instead, Eskom State Capture Task Team has proven to be very active at implementing the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the State Capture and ensuring that the desired goals are met.
Hon Chairperson, for example, the task team has successfully reduced the costly corruption activities that were commonly placed at Eskom by taking disciplinary action against management, employees and directors as well as deregistering and blacklisting delinquent suppliers from the Eskom database.
These disciplinary actions have had unlimited success as they resulted in some delinquent directors being suspended from the professional bodies such as the South African Institute for Chartered Accountants, SAICA.
Hon Chairperson, a new contractor is being placed under the provision block until supplier disciplinary processes are concluded. Moreover, Chairperson, these disciplinary actions have resulted in the opening of 144 criminal cases within the SA Police Service, SAPS, against Eskom employees for fraud and corruption which only 41 cases resulting in the criminal procedures under the Criminal Procedure Act.
In addition to that, 42 of 183 employees that terminated their contracts were dismissed for fraud and corruption as part of the effort to unearth corruption and fraud.
Hon House Chairperson, unlike the parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee, that is for long in nature, Eskom’s State Capture Task Team fast track government reforms that are problem driven and are tied to results that are not too distant.
Chairperson, in short the task team is time bound to ensure the rapid implementation of government reforms and rapid feedback about the reform process.
More importantly, there are sufficient follow ups that are done by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, to ensure that the task team governance reforms work more actively and intent than ever. These follow ups by Scopa have yield an achievement for example, Scopa has resolved to invite de Ruyter to appear and fully elaborate on the corruption allegation he has levelled against Cabinet Ministers.
Hon Chair, this shows that the call for parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the systemic corruption at Eskom is nothing but a proposal of more of the same as the Ad Hoc Committee will in fact duplicate the functions of Scopa and some extend of Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprise.
Apart from the task team, Eskom has rationally and streamlined breaches campaigns to bold attics integrity and compliance programmes and at rooting out corruption, fraud and sabotage. Some of the key milestones include:
A crime risk management designed to combat amongst other things bribery and corruption, financial crime, physical asset crime, cybercrime and anti-money laundering at Eskom.
Secondly, a single investigative unit to be established to manage all investigative matters relating to fraud and corruption.
Thirdly, an automated procurement system to better manage procurement spending and protect against integrity breaches, include tools such as price tag and digitalised of stock control, the use of augmented procurement model in certain businesses areas and the use of e-action.
Chair, lastly, the know your supply campaign which entails proper screening on all business partners be it through detailed do diligent exercises, audit or proactive screening of directors.
Hon Chairperson, these campaigns have led to the foundation of intervention towards combating crime, corruption, sabotage especially in the supply of coal to Eskom. In particular, trucks involved in possession of sub-grade coal destined to Matla, Camden and Kendal power stations have been impounded once the drivers were arrested between October and November 2022.
In December 2022, the Hawks raided numerous illegal coal yards in eMalahleni that were involved swapping quality coal with sub-grade coal destined for Eskom power stations. Eskom lost billions of rands due to this type of irregular coal supply.
This is primarily the reason why reforms in Eskom procurement process are tied to legal and regulatory mechanism to expose corruption, bribery, sabotage, patronage and the abuse of power by government officials responsible for providing monitoring and oversight to Eskom.
To compliment reforms in Eskom procurement processes, the Department of Public Enterprise has rolled up management framework across all SOEs under its portfolio. The objective of this framework is to eradicate conflict of interest within SOEs through procurement processes that prohibits the awarding of contracts to SOEs board members, employees as well as their close relatives that hold a financial interest.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Hon Chair, I wanted to find out if hon Mkhwanazi can take a question about which portfolio committees are investigating Eskom corruption?
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon Mkhwanazi, are you willing to take a question?
Ms J C N MKHWANAZI: If I finish on time hon Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Thank you hon member, you are not willing to take a question, you may proceed.
Ms J C N MKHWANAZI: Thank you hon Chairperson. Financial interest in one of the relative SOEs interestingly, none of the board members across all SOEs was found doing business with the respective SOEs. This already achieved to set positively on the ANC led government genuinely to fight against corruption.
Hon House Chair, therefore, the parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee will not add any value because Eskom State Capture Task Team and its collaborative partnership with Hawks, NPA SIU and the Department of Public Enterprise is addressing corruption, fraud and bribery, sabotage efficiency within the utility in a very sustainable and controlled manner yielding the desired outcome.
Hon Chairperson, we are an ANC government at work, the only home and hope for the millions of South Africans will continue to not lose focus but genuinely deliver on the expectations of South Africans. We will fight corruption in a systematically and sustainable manner. I thank you very much Chairperson
Mr V ZUNGULA: House Chairperson, Parliament has a duty to play an effective oversight role over the executive. When Parliament fails in its mandate, the widespread corruption in government continues. In light of the problems facing our country, Parliament must fulfil its constitutional mandate and play an effective oversight role.
As ATM, we wrote to the Speaker for the existing committees of Scopa, Mineral Resources and Energy and Public Enterprises to play an effective oversight role on the matter. In the absence of the existing committees doing their work, an ad hoc committee has to fill that gap. It cannot be that an accounting officer of state-owned utility that is destroying the lives of the people by load shedding, makes such allegations and Parliament does nothing.
André de Ruyter must also state to Parliament why did he not utilize the existing oversight mechanisms in Parliament. Why
choose a media outlet to make those statements? Because we as a committee of Mineral Resources, did summon him. He has never spoken of such corruption in those committees. Therefore, it cannot be that he makes those statements in media houses and not make them under oath in Parliament. The non-action of Parliament after such allegations, makes it complicit in the corruption of Eskom.
We know that a week in Parliament benefits the governing party as its action won’t be checked and it does not account for public resources. In order to fix Eskom, all contracts, particularly evergreen contracts, must be scrutinised, and contracts that are illegally awarded and do not make financial sense to Eskom, must be cancelled. There is no way Eskom would be turned around without scrutinising all contracts. All evergreen contracts, all on-call contracts, all contracts with foreign companies, must be scrutinised, and parliament must not be selective in dealing with wrongdoing.
Parliament must entrench a culture of accountability, and it must be real accountability. We need a strong and effective institution in order to turn things around in our country.
Parliament must restore the trust of the citizens by doing
what the Constitution requires of it. As the ATM, we do support the creation of an ad hoc committee. I thank you.
Mr S M JAFTA: House Chair, ad hoc committees are envisaged in Rule 253 of the National Assembly Rules. A proposes drafts to establish an ad hoc committee in order to probe systematic act of corruption and criminal cartels at Eskom is premature.
There is no denying that Eskom is leading with massive acts of sabotage and looting. Accounts of corruption at the utility company were laid there by non-other than Eskom’s CEO Andre de Ruyter. The Hawks is on course to raid these acts of economic sabotage. It is our considered view that an ad hoc committee is undesirable at this stage. It has the knock on effect on diverting our attention, resources and oversight function away from Eskom.
We know that portfolio committees are empowered in terms of Rule 227 to make recommendations into organs of state functioning and structure. Therefore, the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, including the Standing Committee on Public Enterprises, is better suited to conduct a similar enquiry over Eskom. Hon members, we also wish to caution the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to desist from politicising the work of Scopa. While Eskom must be held
accountable, it serves no functional purpose to plunge Scopa into the terrain of cheap politicking. That is not what Scopa is about, both in terms of practice and Rules of the National Assembly.
Hon members, as you rise to deepen public accountability, you must hold Eskom accountable in an efficient and effective way without stretching our resources and resolve. We therefore do not support this draft in its current form. It is premature. I thank you.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: House Chairperson, thank you for the opportunity. House Chairperson, the issue of Eskom is not something that happened in the last five years, but it has been ongoing. Concerns were raised many years ago in 1995, in the year 2000, and in 2007. Some political parties in this House - at that time - were part of the ANC that you equally take responsibility, rather than now coming and finding faults, but very little or nothing at that stage to be able to address the concerns that were raised at that stage.
The second point I want to make is on the issue of de Ruyter. Don’t you think he should also be charged? He was paid with taxpayers’ money. He had a job. He knew about the corruption
and looting and everything that was going on there. He didn’t deal with it while he was there. He waited for an opportune moment when he was leaving and then he raised it. But under his watch, the question is how much money was embezzled? How big did the corruption become? And why did he not take appropriate action? Now you are telling me that I had coffee with some police officer and not officially lodging a complain as the CEO? The one that is the custodian and ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon Shaik Emam, I advise that you witched off your video ...
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: ... [Inaudible.] ... that is the first argument that I want to make. Because he had already gone to the ... He talks about the issue of Minister Gordhan or whoever it is he said it is inevitable. Inevitable means that whoever is looting and is corrupt, it’s inevitable that it will come out eventually. They always say a criminal leaves a loophole, leaves a gap. The same thing that is happening with the others that have been charged criminally, serious allegations, and nobody does anything about it.
Now the NFP is not satisfied that an ad hoc committee now - at this time - will solve the problem. Firstly, ... [Inaudible.]
... and then let’s look at it. What is important now, is that we know all the weaknesses and problems that are taking place at Eskom. Some of which we knew many years ago, the skills, the lack of maintenance, the evergreen contracts. I sang a song about it like a stuck record. I hear it being mention again, the political parties that were there, all these years
... [Inaudible.] ... So I think that it is not in the interest I noticed that everything, another enquiry ... oversight. That is what is happening. We need to address that to be able to
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon Shaik Emam, I guess that we have lost you ...
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: ... at this stage. We will perhaps look at it at this stage when it is more convincing, when more evidence unfolds. Other than that we believe that with acts of criminality, let the law enforcement agency ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon Shaik Emam! Hon Shaik Emam, on my screen you are frozen.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: ... Let us not come here ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): I suggest you switch off your video and try to conclude. Okay! Hon members, we shall proceed to hon Sarupen. Over to you, sir. One second hon member. Hon Shaik Emam, I have advised you to switch off your video. You are frozen.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Yes, I don’t know if its sabotage or what. But anyway ... [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]
Mr W T LETSIE: He is sabotaged by the DA.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Hon members, order! [Interjections.] ITC, please mute any member that is recognised please. I did say it earlier on. Over to you, hon Sarupen.
Mr A N SARUPEN: House Chair, today’s debate was incredibly disappointing, but not surprising. Over the last decade we have seen - when it comes to corruption and accountability – a standard ... [Inaudible.] ... scapegoating, obfuscation,
blame-shifting and denial. It’s the norm for the ruling party and its allies. It was the norm under President Jacob Zuma, and today the playbook was dusted off and brought out again.
The revelations around the Eskom, both in the Zondo Commission and again recently by former CEO Andre De Ruyter, point to a dire need for Parliament to step up and fulfil its role to conduct oversight over the executive, especially in an environment where you go for 12 hours without electricity.
Parliament has a duty - when allegations of cartels linked to senior politicians are made - to probe this matter deeply, to summon documentation, to examine the evidence, to hold members of the executive to account, and to make findings accordingly. But this does not suit the ANC.
The ANC has systematically neutered this Parliament and created an imperial executive – and it is only with an unaccountable imperial executive - that these cartels in coal mining linked to politicians can arise. Not a single prosecution or any accountability to show for it. Now, the ANC spent most of this debate being hypocrites, saying that Mr De Ruyter should have reported the matter to the police. This is ironic – considering that the President took two years to report the theft of money from his couch to the police.
In any event, Mr De Ruyter stated, clearly that under obligation by law, he reported his findings to his superiors in the various ministries. It appears that Ministers have
selective amnesia as to what was reported to them from Eskom over the last three years, and that the intelligence gathering was not taken any further precisely because the gathering of this evidence would implicate members of the executive.
The truth is that Hitachi Power Africa was fined in foreign jurisdictions for its collusion with Chancellor House. The seeds of mass scale corruption at Eskom, underpinned by a dubious relationship with the majority party, was sewn in 2008 when load shedding began and cadres saw an opportunity to loot at a scale never seen before. The consequence of this is that Eskom’s massive debt burden, which was used to fund cronyism and corruption, is now being foisted onto the taxpayers, spending for nurses or teachers, for doctors, for police officers, now the critical services.
By rejecting an ad hoc committee today, the ANC has shown that they are not learning lessons from the Jacob Zuma era. That they are not interested in heeding the lessons of the Zondo Report. They demonstrated today that they are not interested in holding their own people to account. What we have seen in these attacks and sad insults against the Leader of the Opposition, is that they have actually ignored discussing the
fact that Eskom is ... [Inaudible.] ... South Africa and an economic crisis on a day to day basis.
If the arms deal was the ANC’s original sin, Eskom is ANC’s total descend in to wickedness. We heard ... [Inaudible.] about frameworks and plans which we know will never be implemented. So, this is why public polling shows the ANC is on its electoral knees and the death of the ANC can’t come soon enough. When then the era of one party’s dominance comes to an end, I have no doubt that this Parliament will find its backbone and will be happy to institute all necessary ad hoc committee investigations required to find out who had destroyed energy generation in South Africa, and at that point, I can assure you, there will be a reckoning on behalf of the public. Thank you very much.
Mr K E MAGAXA: House Chair, the ANC rejects the request by the DA to urgently establish an ad hoc committee to investigate the allegation of systemic corruption at Eskom because this request is drawn from an incomplete and misleading conclusion made by Andre de Ruyter. De Ruyter’s conclusions that the ANC- led government forestall Eskom’s ability to address corruption, fraud and sabotage is not correct. Eskom has
dramatically improved its ability to escape the box it has been put in during the hay day of state capture.
In December 2022 the South African National Defence Force, SANDF, military personnel were deployed to deter the growing threats of sabotage, theft, vandalism and corruption at four of Eskom’s power stations in Mpumalanga province. As a result, cracks have begun to emerge at the behest of coal cartels that supply poor quality coal intended to sabotage the utility’s infrastructure and operations. These operations were a way of providing the cartels with an easy source of money.
Collaborative partnership between Eskom, the SANDF and the Hawks shows that Eskom is proactively committed to initiating the process of implementing conception relevant solution to corruption, fraud and sabotage at hand without a parliamentary ad hoc committee.
While the examples of corruption, fraud and sabotage at Eskom go beyond coal to include diesel, valves and cables, the most important thing is that acts of crime are no longer everyday occurrences for most of Eskom’s power stations. In short, Eskom is not irreparably broken as DA would wish. Instead, it suffers from a few ailments such as corruption, fraud and
sabotage which are the annual ring legacy of the state capture. These ailments are therefore indicative of a much deeper condition that was built into Eskom at the very start of state capture.
Nevertheless, Eskom has purposefully and explicitly designed and implemented reforms to insulate itself from these ailments in a way that strengthen its role as a country’s national utility responsible for supplying electricity to meet the demands of citizens and businesses. For example, Eskom has established the state capture task team which is working closely with the Special Investigating Unit, the South African Police Services, the State Security Agency and the National Prosecuting Authority to implement the Zondo Commission recommendations. In line with the Zondo Commission recommendations, the South African Police Services and State Security Agency are assisting Eskom to screen all contracts and companies before they gain admission to Eskom’s database. These are some of the internal policies that are being proactively strengthened and implemented to mitigate corruption, fraud and sabotage.
We note the gains of the internal policies, therefore far resulting in the arrest of 43 perpetrators. We are aware that
some of these policies will take time before they yield desired outcomes, partly due to the lack of co-ordination between the existing partners in the state capture task team. Unfortunately, this information is supposed to be at the hands of Members of Parliament, but it is frustrating to see people who belong to this committee where these things are always presented, saying nothing about it.
Without energy security the realisation of these overarching policies will remain elusive if not a pipedream. We appreciate that the appointment of the Minister of Electricity is in line with the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan and the National Development Plan. The Minister will play a pivotal role to fast track and address all the operational challenges.
House Chairperson, there is tangible reliable evidence which reflect that Eskom fares well in terms of addressing corruption, fraud and sabotage. Moreover, the Minister of Public Enterprise, Mineral Resources and Energy and Minister of Electricity as well as the Portfolio Committees on Public Enterprise, Mineral Resources and Energy, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts are well capacitated to provide
checks and balances on the work of Eskom’s state capture task team.
While we are cognisant that these checks and balances take time to perfect, this does not suggest that a parliamentary ad hoc committee is a paragon of accountability as portrayed by the DA and other opposition parties. In fact, oversight and accountability, including reporting consequence management for corruption, is the work of the portfolio committee. The work for eliminating corruption lies with the board, management and law enforcement agencies. In short, a parliamentary ad hoc committee is neither the birth place of solutions nor can it foster deliberative decision-making, but this does not imply that parliamentary ad hoc committees are necessarily doomed.
Instead, our own argument as the ANC is that Eskom can take the kind of action and effectiveness required to deter corruption, fraud and sabotage without a parliamentary ad hoc committee guiding it in any fundamental way. Therefore, we are saying no toward ad hoc committee and yes to parliamentary portfolio committee being allowed to do their work and establish facts based on evidence.
Hon Steenhuisen’s proclivity syndrome that drives him to use unsubstantiated allegations as a basis for establishing an ad
hoc committee is wrong, subjective, bias and myopic, and demonstrate political emptiness, and therefore it should be rejected. The DA should be reminded that when Mmusi Maimane and Herman Mashaba left them they accused the party of racism, which is a very serious allegation. The ANC didn’t call an ad hoc committee to investigate such a serious allegation of racism in the DA as there was no prima facie evidence to substantiate that claim.
However, we need not ignore the racial undertones and the right wing parties, such as the one led by DA, obsession with de Ruyter’s childish allegations. Yes, these are childish allegations, House Chairperson, because he behaves like a spoilt rich child who throws his toys all over the room precisely because his R18 million per annum job reached a dead end. De Ruyter himself confessed with his own mouth that he has dismally failed to get the nation out of load shedding despite being paid massive bags.
In February 2020 he committed himself to end load shedding in three years. Our Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprise rallied support behind him despite our reservation for that lengthy period. The Minister, the President, the Treasury and the people of South Africa all surrounded him and treated him
like a prince. Just a month before the end of the three years he promised and committed, he came back requesting another two more years. In fact, if the truth can be told, de Ruyter used Eskom to drive his independent power producers’ agenda in order to capture Eskom to private accumulation at the expense of the poor of this country who are, by and large, black people.
Because he is a white man, bourgeoisie racist media, including these pathetic racist political parties, have to believe this including his former homeland general who is excited about court. How can a rational person believe a group chief executive with all the necessary powers, on his last day in his office that he left in disgrace, makes such stupid allegations and you just don’t have any form of criticism but believe him. Oh my God! Please give me a break. Thank you, House Chairperson.
Mr J J MCGLUWA: Chairperson, point of order.
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Yes, I am recognising you for the point of order.
Mr J J MCGLUWA: House Chairperson, I want you to investigate whether it’s parliamentary to use the phrase ‘Oh my God’ in your speech. [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Ms R M M Lesoma): Order, hon members! [Interjections.] No, no, hon member, I am going to ... [Inaudible.] [Interjections.] No, hon Magaxa, please. Hon members, I shall hand over to hon Xasa to preside over the next debate. I now recognise the Leader of the Opposition. Hon Steenhuisen, over to you, sir.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hon House Chairperson, two years ago in May 2021, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, apologised to the nation for Parliament’s role in state capture. In doing so she admitted that Parliament was complicit in state capture because it failed its constitutional duty to hold the executive to account. At that time the ANC stood as accused number one as it does now. At the time the ANC Members of Parliament were called on to protect South Africa, but like they are doing today, they have chosen to protect the ANC.
Indeed, Judge Zondo made it clear that Parliament has all the powers to stop state capture but it did not stop it because
the ANC and Parliament did not want to stop it. Now, the opening speaker of the ANC spoke about the importance of higher education and mentioned things like the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, but then he and his speakers chose to bring their 30% argument, although for the last speaker I think 30% would be generous, to the debate. [Interjections.]
Ms V T MALINGA: You know nothing about NSFAS because you do not have any higher education. [Interjections.]
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: The reality is that the Zondo Commission and its findings are nowhere at any parliamentary committee, just as the allegations are nowhere in any parliamentary committee because the ANC does not want to deal with that. It is not surprising because ... let’s put facts on the table. We all know that this person being referred to is Mr D D Mabuza, and we all know how connected he is with the ANC and we all know how terrified the ANC ... [Inaudible.][Interjections.]
Ms V T MALINGA: Point of order, Chair.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: ... this information. That is the reality here today. The ANC is going to wait until he is safely in Russia like they waited for the Gupta’s to be in Dubai and Mr Agrizzi to be in Italy before this Parliament slowly gets off and does anything. That is why load shedding is going to be with us for time to come. This corruption is never going to come to an end because the ANC doesn’t want it to come to an end. The only way it’s going to come to an end is when this country cuts the power of the ANC in the next election in 2024. They have shown today their lack of argument, their poor grasp of the allegations and what needs to be done and the fact that they should actually, in Mkhwanazi’s case, rather go and resign and be part of Eskom because she clearly doesn’t want to do her job, as a Member of Parliament, which is holding the executive accountable. This is going to be another failure of Parliament. Wait and see and when we have another commission of inquiry ... [Inaudible.] [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): There is a point of order ... [Inaudible.][Interjections.]
Ms V T MALINGA: You should be taken to court for mentioning people’s names and casting aspersions here; D D must sue you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): I wanted to recognise that point of order but because of the transition I was late and now I can’t hear. I am not sure if you want to pursue that, hon ... there were many hands here. Hon Gwarube, you wanted to say something?
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Yes, House Chair. Perhaps you may have missed it because of the transition that you speak of, but members of the ANC are routinely shouting on the platform and not called out for it. I just want to remind members that this is a parliamentary sitting; this is not out in the street. So, can people behave accordingly? [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: We know! [Interjections.]
Mr W T LETSIE: We are here because we know that. Don’t tell us that ... [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Hon members, can you be orderly? I am going to recognise all of you. Can you be orderly? I was listening to hon Gwarube. I am not sure if you are done, hon Gwarube, can I come to hon Radebe?
Mr B A RADEBE: House Chairperson, I think that the Leader of the Opposition is out of order. He cannot come and attack a person who cannot defend themselves. He knows very well that the former Deputy President of the country is no longer a Member of Parliament. He cannot be attacked because he cannot defend himself. I think that is clear cowardice. Thank you, House Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Well, I think that one is known by the Leader of the Opposition, and I think we will look at it and see what can be done about it. Hon Majozi? By the way we need to proceed and get into another debate. Hon Majozi?
Ms Z MAJOZI: House Chairperson, I think firstly when we start with the debates the chairperson at that time will explain how we must conduct ourselves and what will happen if a member has a point of order. It can’t be that there are people who are just casting aspersions and saying whatever that they want to say to a member that is on the floor debating. We are all here and have a right to hear and listen to what other members are saying. So, House Chairperson, I request at your discretion that we eliminate such things because it is truly not fair that we are listening and members are just coming in as they like.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Thank you very much. I wanted to entertain the engagement and take notes, but I think we will come back to say what needs to be done. This was partly due to the transition; the then chairperson was leaving and a new chairperson was coming in. We were not sure who should be taking the points of orders. Let us close this matter and if there is anything that needs us to come back then we will do that. We shall now proceed to the last item on the Order Paper which is a subject for discussion in the name of the hon Maotwe on the Electricity Crisis in South Africa — What is to be done? Can I recognise the hon Maotwe?
ELECTRICITY CRISIS IN SOUTH AFRICA – WHAT IS TO BE DONE
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Hon Chairperson, the EFF president and Commander-in-Chief, president Julius Malema, held a media briefing yesterday and made it clear that we are not going to be intimidated. On 20 of March 2023, we are taking to the streets to demand an end to electricity blackouts. We are going to demand an end to this self-inflicted electricity crisis. On 20 of March 2023, we are taking to the streets to demand a working Eskom that prioritises generation of electricity and scheduled maintenance to reduce breakdowns.
We are taking to the streets to demand an end to racist and discriminatory electricity blackouts that target rural areas and townships. We welcome the support of all progressive formations, political parties, labour movements, and many other organisations, including NGOs, who are tired of electricity blackouts. The ground forces of the EFF have been everywhere on the ground, mobilising our people, conscientizing them and making them aware of the importance of the national shutdown. Indeed, our people are tired of electricity blackouts and will take to the streets in their hundreds to demand and demonstrate their frustration and anger at an unreliable electricity supply.
We do not have a history of violence, but do not push us. House Chairperson, four things have caused the electricity crisis that faces South Africa today: Number one, when the ANC-led government was warned that at some point that electricity demand would surpass supply unless the country build new electricity generation capacity. They did not listen. It was only after the load shedding that happened in 2008 that the ANC took the warning seriously. Not only did we start building Kusile and Medupi late, but we also did not complete them on time and within the budget. Instead, it was
an opportunity for the ANC to loot through its investment company, Chancellor House, and Hitachi.
Number two, House Chair, is Eskom's failure to manage coal contracts that make up a large part of its budget. Even when it was clear that they were paying double the market rate.
Number three, is the failure to have a comprehensive, aggressive, and well managed maintenance plan. This was made worse by the appointment of an incompetent person who failed to manage a mere food packaging company. Number four, there is a deliberate program in place to collapse Eskom and make it dysfunctional in order to sell it for a fraction of its value.
To Mr Ramaphosa and his handlers, the privatisation of Eskom is a means to an end. What they want is to sell us electricity for profit at a premium and control every sphere of our lives. While there may be many other reasons, these are the main ones that have led us to this crisis. What have been the results?
More than 1 900 hours of load shedding in 2022. This is 79 days. This means that for 22% of the year 2022, South Africa did not have electricity. This year, it is projected to be worse, and we can see it is already going there.
Mr B A RADEBE: Hon Acting House Chairperson, on a point of order: I am rising on Rule 84. The member has used an unparliamentary language that the President has handlers. I think it cannot be accepted. Thank you Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): I will follow up on that. I will check and give feedback. Thank you.
Ms M R MOHLALA: The truth hurts.
Ms K N F HLONYANA: Handlers are handlers, what do you want us to say? There is no any other word, no colourful word. [Interjections.]
Ms M R MOHLALA: The truth of the matter is that he has handlers.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Order hon members, obviously I will go through because there are many people who are speaking. I said I am going to come back with the feedback to this point of order that was raised in terms of unpaliamentary language. Now, I do not know who are these others that are taking over.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: This year, it is projected to be worse, and we can see it is already going there. The SA Reserve Bank has projected that the country will have 200 days of electricity blackouts. That is 4 800 hours of electricity blackouts and more than half the year in complete blackout. The government party has demonstrated that they do not have the political will or a believable plan to stabilise electricity supply beyond the privatisation led by the National Treasury.
The only way we are going to grow South Africa’s economy is if we stabilise all energy sources. What is to be done? We must explore other forms of energy generation, including the use of uranium for industrial development, public purposes, and use by all. The state should invest in green energy, which must include the manufacturing and installation of green energy alternatives, not corrupt Independent Power Producers, IPPs.
We must divorce ourselves from the delusion that we are going to discontinue the use of coal. It is not going to happen.
Like the deputy president of the EFF said, we must explore carbon capture and storage. We need to connect into the national grid the Floating Re-Gasification Units, the FRUs. We should plug in the 1 220 megawatts of electricity from the approved car power ship from Turkey.
We must approve the proposal by Rosatom to build a nuclear power station in a way that will not undermine our fiscal sovereignty. And this means we must explore models such as build, operate, and transfer. We must ensure that the
$125 million approved by the African Development Bank for modernisation of the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Complex in Mozambique is completed on time. This is what needs to be done to stabilise energy sources.
We know that Eskom is privatised, and when we take over power, we will undermine the capitalist driven, greedy project that is using the National Treasury to impose nonsensical conditions on the so-called Eskom debt relief. I thank you, Chair.
Mr Z LUZIPO: Hon House Chairperson and hon members of this House, one takes this as a very important debate in society in general. However, let me borrow from Thomas Sowell when he said and I quote:
The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.
We therefore take this debate very serious because it requires capacity to think, but also to provide solutions.
Hon Chairperson, indeed the country is indeed on the grip of an electricity crisis which requires a coherent and implementation plan that will ensure the best practical solution. The current levels of load shedding are very harmful to the economy which therefore makes a slow recovery since the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the unemployment rate that we continue to experience as a country. Moreover, the stage six load shedding continue to undermine the wellbeing and development as it impacts on schools, health, water supply and other social and socioeconomic challenges that we continue to be faced with.
Therefore the ANC-led government has taken effective steps in the formation of the NetCom plan to deal with the electricity crisis. So, the question is: What has to be done to solve the electricity crisis which has become an issue and in particular from the side of the opposition?
The debate on electricity crisis has been held in the House on many occasions. It was recently part of the Sona debate.
Hon Chairperson, the point one wants to bring forward is that we have had multiple debates on electricity crisis. The question is: Do we engage on debates of this nature, simply because there are slots available or we enter on debates of this nature with the concrete intentions to ensure that we provide solutions. I think that it is the challenge that we are facing.
It is also important to note that the ANC-led government has commenced in dealing with the problems associated with Medupi and Kusile to ensure that these plants can optimally function. Integral to this was dealing with companies which were involved in state capture and corruption. However, it is important to note that more than R3 billion has been recovered from those companies that were involved in such acts of criminality.
Furthermore, steps have been taken to improve the coal quality to Eskom plants as there has been interceptions on coal delivery by particular cartels and syndicates which include the mixing of coal with stones.
We think that those are some of the land marks that we should appreciate. The work that has been done is the work that should be appreciate.
It is also important to note like other hon members have raised that part of the problem at Eskom has been the issue of the electricity availability factor. The fact of the matter is that at the time of the former chief executive officer, CEO, of Eskom when he came into being with the promise that load shedding would be the matter of the past within six months. We have not seen that. In fact the electricity availability factor at that time was at 69,6% and at the time of his departure, it had dropped up to almost above 49%. That demonstrate that we have had a crisis that at on the other side was someone who had no clue of what it was supposed to be a projected improvement of the power utility.
It is also important to note that the question therefore at the centre of this is that in any debate or issues that relate to electricity, Eskom remains the base in which we move from in terms of improvement of electricity challenges.
Hon Chairperson, I think it would be important to therefore highlight and look at the issues that have to be attended to.
Amongst those is obviously to continue to fight criminal elements that we continue to hear about. It is also important to encourage and not just post experience, but during that experience and encourage those who are given responsibility to be in charge of the institutions like Eskom to report all cases of corruption not as a post factor exercise, so that decisions that are taken especially at the level of a platform like Parliament, are more informed not that to be second guessed. For in future this means that Parliament, including its committees will take decisions on the basis of a less factual information that is presented. That is for me as Members of Parliament should emphasize that. In any institutions of government, let there be truthful presentations to portfolio committees of Parliament and to Parliament itself, so that Parliament should not take decisions on a matter that is not accurate. At the end of the day it gets blamed for acting on what one would call misinformation.
What are the issues that needs to be addressed at Eskom, but also in terms of electricity?
One of the key issues is that we have to ensure that the electricity availability factor, improves from where it is now
to at least 90%. That is possible in anyway. One of the issues that we have to deal with is to address the issue of unplugged capability loss factor. That means those are forced outages.
Secondly, is also to address issues of management stability. Amongst those issues is that we must have management that is prepared to address internal challenges and improve its capacity to take decisions. It is also important that there must be a comprehensive maintenance plan that is in place so that we can be able to address some of the shortages. Most importantly is that there must be some immediate interventions that are made. That include issues that relate to maintenance. One hon member made an example here, which I think is a critical issue when it comes to planning that at some point we were on stage six and the reason we went to stage six was because coal was wet. That is poor management because no one does not know that wet coal is not correct in terms of electrifying exercise.
We need to improve intragovernmental trade in this case is that many of the government entities continue to trade separately even when it is possible even when it is possible to have continental wealth. It is therefore important that with the interventions that are being made those state
institutions especially state-owned companies that can provide their capabilities to address the issue of electricity crisis by providing specific and specialised services that also be taken into consideration.
The just energy transition must occur based on ensuring that baseload supply is restored and this part must ensure that the restructuring of Eskom into generation transmission and distribution as the transmission company would be a standalone company which will enable further generation capacity to reach the market.
In essence, meeting the supply, demand and balance is critical to end load shedding. However, at the same time, the ANC-led government we will seek to ensure that the development of further generation capacity to ensure local through the implementation Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.
Government solutions in electricity supply in this country are outlined and contained in the NetCom plan. During the Sona debate the hon President announced the appointment of the Minister of Electricity to ensure that government plans for the reduction of load shedding and its elemination are implemented. These were the consideration of the impact to the
economy and society at large of the load shedding particularly of stage six.
Therefore Eskom’s timeframe for maintenance of plants and improving the energy availability factor needs to be short- term. Thank you, hon Chairperson. [Time expired.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Yes, before I allow the next speaker, I would like to caution hon members – there was a stage when hon members were speaking from all angles. I could not warn anybody because I could not identify anyone.
Let all members be warned that if we disrupt the session, I will not allow that as the Chairperson and would obviously kick out anybody disrupting. People must speak when recognised. Can I now proceed and recognise the hon Mileham.
Mr K J MILEHAM: Chairperson, it’s often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That’s exactly what the ANC government has done with the electricity crisis in South Africa. They’ve wasted time and money on war rooms, commissions, committees and plans that only serve to preserve the status quo. They have rewarded the very same people who
have caused the problem with more power and influence. They’ve repeated the same empty promises, that loadshedding will end soon, without any evidence or action.
At what point does this madness end? At what point is the ANC government going to acknowledge it has failed South Africa, our people and our economy?
The topic of today’s discussion is the electricity crisis in South Africa, what is to be done? It’s solutions-focused. So, let’s look at how we address the issue.
The first solution must be to get rid of the incompetent and corrupt ANC government that has mismanaged this electricity crisis from the very start. We need a capable, transparent and accountable government that can think outside the box and act fast to fix our energy shortfall.
Fortunately, we have an excellent example of such a government, right here in the Western Cape where the DA is building resilience and independence from Eskom at a local and provincial level.
Where the DA governs, like in Cape Town, George, Stellenbosch, Kouga and Midvaal, the municipalities are aggressively pursuing their own sources of electricity, whether from own generation, independent power producers or more recently, by allowing small scale embedded generators, essentially residential and commercial rooftop solar, to feed sutras electricity into the municipal distribution network and be paid for this at an attractive rate.
Steps are being taken to make it easier for consumers to install their own generation and to make it cheaper to do so. In Cape Town, for example, the municipality has done away with the requirement that grid-tight systems must be a net consumer of electricity.
The Western Cape provincial government has just announced
R1,1 billion in emergency funding to respond to the short-term impact of loadshedding on government services, to secure diesel to keep essential public services running, to help ... [Inaudible.] ... of schools from loadshedding and to provide poorer households with emergency power packs that will reduce the impact of loadshedding on daily tasks.
Chairperson, we need to open the doors to decentralise power generation. This would necessitate investment in grid infrastructure and the rapid unbundling of the Eskom monopoly; a process which appears to have stalled completely despite more promises from the President and his cronies.
We need to build transmission lines to our renewable energy resource rich areas, the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape, and rapidly convert our decommissioned coal plants in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, where we already have grid infrastructure to renewable resources and other sources of generation.
We need to fast-track independent power production. We can do this through red tape production, incentivising investment and allowing municipalities and businesses the space they need to procure electricity directly without the big brother command and control mentality of Eskom and National Energy Regulator of SA, Nersa.
We need to be able to build generation where it is needed, not where it is convenient.
A key component of any future electricity infrastructure in South Africa is storage. We need to invest in large-scale electricity storage solutions to enable the integration of intimate and renewable energy sources like solar and wind into the grid. [Sound cut off for few seconds.]
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Hon Mileham, you are frozen. I don’t know what is the problem. Hon Mileham, you are frozen.
Mr K J MILEHAM: ... management. The national solar water heater programme has been stalled for years and is costing the country hundreds of millions in storage fees.
The roll out of energy efficient lighting has come to a grinding halt. Little is being done to encourage consumers to conserve electricity. The time has come for some bold messaging in this regard and an aggressive campaign for energy efficiency.
We need to manage the electricity. We do have better. By encouraging citizens and businesses to adopt energy efficient practices, we can reduce the demand for electricity and lessen the burden on the power grid.
I’ve previously pointed out how the 2019 integrated resource plan was out of date the minute it was gazetted. Despite promises from President Ramaphosa and Minister Mantashe, we are still using this inaccurate and problematic document as a basis of our electricity planning.
South Africa needs a new Integrated Resource Plan, IRP, now, not in three years’ time. And it needs to be realistic. We cannot afford to buy into misguided pronouncements of the Eskom board that they will achieve an energy availability factor of 60% by the end of March 2023, when they can barely hit 50% in mid-March and show little likelihood of improvement in the near future.
We must prioritise the maintenance and upgrading of existing electricity infrastructure. This will ensure that our electricity supplier is reliable and efficient, and can meet the needs of our growing population. As part of this, it is vital that we secure our cables, our substations and our transformers.
The SA Police Service, SAPS, cannot be permitted to stand
idly-by and watch as cable theft occurs in front of their very police stations.
At the same time, we need to protect our electrical workers and contractors. In a horrific incident last week, four bona fide electrical contractors were killed by vigilantes who thought they were cable thieves. This cannot continue.
Where the DA governs, we have taken a comprehensive and a forward-thinking approach to solving the electricity crisis. We have shown that we have practical solutions that reduce the impact of loadshedding ... [Interjections.]
Mr W T LETSIE: Like in Tshwane ...
Mr K J MILEHAM: ... [Inaudible.] ... that by promoting independent power producers and renewable energy, improving energy efficiency and using technology to manage our energy system, we can build a more sustainable and reliable electricity system that benefits all South Africans.
But we cannot do this alone. We need the support and
co-operation of our fellow South Africans, and we need a national government that is committed to building a more sustainable and reliable electricity system for all.
We can continue down the path of insanity or we can choose a new path. A path that leads to the real solutions and a brighter future for all South Africans.
In 2024 let’s turn the lights back on, let’s vote for a DA national government. Thank you.
HON STEENHUISEN ON FORMER DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Hon members, before I proceed. There were many issues that I said I will come back to you about.
The first one is when hon Steenhuisen was said to have talked about former Deputy President Mabuza. That’s allowed, it’s a political statement. Mr Mabuza can use the law to request a right to reply.
PRESIDENT HAS HANDLERS
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): On the issue where one member said the President is having handlers. It should be ruled out that one. It’s out of order. If the member wants to bring that, it should have been done in a substantive motion, in terms of Rule 85.
That member must withdraw that statement. It’s hon Maotwe. I would expect you to withdraw there.
Actually, that talks to the integrity of the President and him not sticking to his oath of office.
Hon Maotwe, are you prepared to withdraw? If not, then I’ll obviously instruct some action. Hon Maotwe!
Ms O M C MAOTWE: House Chair, what do you want me to withdraw?
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): That the President is having handlers.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Yes, Mr Ramaphosa is having handlers. Mr Cyril Ramaphosa has got handlers and I will never withdraw.
And we’re taking it to the streets on the 20th of March on Monday ... [Interjections.] ... to remove Mr Ramaphosa from Office of the Presidency ... [Interjections.] ... Mr Ramaphosa must go. He must resign on the 20th of March. Nothing will stop us, nothing will deter us, Chair. We will not withdraw anything. Ramaphosa has got handlers ... [Interjections.] ... we will not withdraw anything ... [Interjections.] ... he must be removed ... [Interjections.] [Inaudible.] ... shutdown this country on the 20th of March ... [Interjections.] [Inaudible.]
... money of the country is stashed in his mattress and sofas, and we will never recognise him as our country’s President ... [Interjections.] ... since ... [Interjections.] [Inaudible.]
... to be President when he started spending money ... [Interjections.] [Inaudible.] ... confirms that there’s no declaration of anything Mr Ramaphosa and ... [Interjections.] [Inaudible.]
Mr B A RADEBE: Chair, we are being abused ... Chairperson, mute this person and not us.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Table staff, please mute anybody who speaks without my permission. Otherwise you are making it difficult for me to control the meeting.
Hon Papo, you wanted to say something? But I’ve ruled on the two matters and hon Maotwe is out and ...
Mr A H M PAPO: Chair, you’ve made a ruling which was defied. I think you must consult on what should follow, on the fact that a Presiding Officer makes a ruling and is defied. There are procedures which must be taken ... [Interjections.]
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Are you the adviser of the ... wena [you] ... hey wena [you] Papo, are you the adviser now? You are the adviser now? ... [Interjections.]
Mr A H M PAPO: ... you see now? Like now, I’m on the platform, the person who defied you is still having ... on the platform, nobody has removed that member. I’m on the platform, she’s interfering ... [Interjections.]
Ms O M C MAOTWE: ... I’m not going anywhere, I’m here, I’m calling for ... [Interjections.]
Mr A H M PAPO: ... which reinforces my point that there must be punitive measures against member Maotwe who thinks that we are political toddlers ...
Ms O M C MAOTWE: ... we’re shutting down this country on Monday ... [Interjections]
Mr A H M PAPO: ... and is out of order, Chair. Please can you remove this ... who’s now high jacking this sitting for their nonsensical so-called shutdown.
Ms K N F HLONYANA: Nonsensical? Nonsensical? Who are you saying the shutdown is nonsensical?
Ms O M C MAOTWE: You are nonsense, you are nonsense. Don’t call us nonsensical ...
Ms K N F HLONYANA: Chair, can you please call this member of the ...
Ms O M C MAOTWE: You are nonsense, wena [you] Papo ...
AN HON MEMBER: Wa gafa wena ...
58 votes ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Hon Maotwe should have been removed from the platform a long time ...
Ms O M C MAOTWE: I’m not going anywhere, Chair. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. You must remove that nonsense Papo. You must also remove him. He’s not your adviser here. Who is he to speak without being recognised?
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): I did recognise ... [Inaudible.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Chair, I want to
appeal to all members: Can we be honourable in our approach! Once the Presiding Officer has made a ruling, can the ruling be respected, please! We are all hon members. Can we please adhere the House ... [Inaudible.] Thank you, Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON ((Mr F D Xasa): Can I also appeal to the Table Staff: If I order that somebody be removed, let that happen.
Because, otherwise, I will not be able to control all this.
I think I’ve taken note of what hon Papo was saying. We’ll follow up on that.
But I indicated that anybody who just stand up and speak without my permission will be automatically removed from the platform.
So, please, Table Staff, assist me to do that. Thank you.
I’ve given rulings in both issues. Can we proceed and call hon Madokwe!
Ms N V MENTE: Chair, sorry. Before you call Madokwe. Point of order.
Chair, I think you are being unfair and inconsistent in your ruling. Hon Papo and Letsie have been insulting Treasurer- General, TG, hon Maotwe, on this platform calling her stupid, calling her nonsense and all sorts of things. And nothing is ruled on that. It’s not parliamentary, it’s not allowed. You can’t call a Member of Parliament stupid and nonsense, you’re speaking nonsense and all of those things, and nothing happens to them. They remain in this platform and then Maotwe must be removed. For what good reason, Chair? That’s inconsistent.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): No, it’s not inconsistent. In the context that you are raising these matters now, so, I’ll
look at them, the two terms that you have used, I’ll look at them and I’ll come back and rule on the matter.
Mr W T LETSIE: Chairperson, after checking what hon Mente has alleged about our names, after checking that, can she be called to apologise, at least, to some of us who have not uttered any of the words that we are alleged to have said!
Thank you very much.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): We’ll also note that.
Mr B A RADEBE: Chairperson, I also call that the Table Staff will check someone from the EFF who said hon Papo is nonsensical ... is a nonsense, must be removed. I think that’s unparliamentary according to Rule 84. Thank you.
Ms P MADOKWE: Thank you, House Chairperson. The country is on its knees and our people are getting impatient on us for just convening meetings debating and there is no tangible change on the ground. The EFF has consistently provided a clear guidance on how to avert the energy crisis we are currently facing. But for years, our suggestions have been ignored.
We will have one crisis after another as long Cyril Ramaphosa serves as this country’s President. This is a man who when told to walk black for once, goes to the whites in Stellenbosch and colonial Britain and United States of America, USA, implementing their environmental imperialist and privatization agenda, jeopardizing our sovereignty and very lives. It is not only Eskom that has collapsed under his leadership, all our state-owned enterprises, SOEs. We ... [Inaudible.] ... around this issue for as long as we want, Chairperson. But at this juncture ... [Interjections.] ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Hon Madokwe, there is a hand. Can I recognise hon Radebe?
Mr B A RADEBE: Thank you, Chairperson. I rise on a point of order and on Rule 82. The member on the platform has just called the President on his first name terms which is not allowed in the House. Thank you, Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Can you please withdraw that?
Ms N V MENTE: It’s Mr Ramaphosa.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Can you please withdraw that, hon Madokwe?
Ms P MADOKWE: The President of the Republic of South Africa. Thank you. Can I continue, Chairperson?
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Yes, continue.
Ms P MADOKWE: Thank you. We can tiptoe around this country for as long as we want. But at this juncture, nothing short of joining the national shutdown on the 20th of March and insisting that its demands be met would have any impact. We refuse to play to this gallery where we just speak and if are likely not to be kicked out or muted, sit and wait for talk shops where there is never any implementation.
Since 1998, they have been repeated warnings to the government about a looming electrical crisis. And we have now experienced load shedding for almost for 15 years. This is unfair to the people of South Africa. The EFF has long offered practical remedies to the energy crisis as the ruling party has failed to resolve it. After 20 March, when we have more rational individuals who are in charge of this nation’s affairs, we
will collectively fix our nation and find a solution to the energy crisis.
Anyone who is unwilling to put in the necessary work will follow “ntate [Mr] Phala-Phala.” First and foremost, government needs to review the entire Eskom board and remove anyone who has other obligations except fixing Eskom whose affiliation with Eskom is not to save Eskom, but serves to further ensnare the clause of the greedy profit-driven and racist private sector into our already troubled Eskom.
Chairperson, de Ruyter dismissal was insufficient. If anything, he too needs to go on trial for his involvement in the sabotage of Eskom. He has had many years to reveal what he is revealing now, before more than four portfolio committees of this Parliament during his tenure, committee he has undermined throughout. His current tender tantrums are solely intended to spare himself the humiliation of being tossed aside by their godfather Jamnandas before their agreed departure date of end of March.
Chairperson, if we are serious about solving this energy crisis. Eskom Board Chairperson, Mpho Makwana, who recently urged out South Africans to find alternatives outside of Eskom
must go immediately. This is a deliberate admission that the chairperson and his collective have no intention to salvage the energy crisis we are facing, but to continue the distraction started by de Ruyter.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): May I recognize hon Radebe.
Mr B A RADEBE: Thank you, Chair. The member again has violated Rule 82. She has referred to the Minister of Public Enterprise in first name terms. Thank you.
Ms M R MOHLALA: But his name is Jamnadas.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): I think you know better how to refer to an hon member. Can you do that hon...?
Ms P MADOKWE: It’s fine. Minister Jamnadas, there’s no problem.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Yes.
Ms P MADOKWE: Thank you very much. Can I continue?
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Yes.
Ms P MADOKWE: To bring the more scientific aspects of salvaging Eskom, we must resist the new colonial agenda that seeks to coerce South Africa and other developing nations into using renewable sources instead of coal. If one were to look at Eskom’s coal-fired power stations, they would see the extent of our country’s dependence on coal. We have billions of tons of coal’s reserves which can last us hundreds of years. This was admitted by Minister Samson Mantashe, whose stance on mainly coal power generation has become very wishy- washy she, since that old lady from the US, came to our shores and met with them.
The EFF has for years called for an energy mix which will in the main use clean coal and existing carbon capture technologies, renewable energy, nuclear energy, and any form of energy that will not be harmful to our people, our economy, and our environment. The President of this country got excited and went around signing loans, tying us to decommissioning plans we have all rejected. As a result, no one wants to explore the existing technology developed by our own entities that speak to clean coal. He must take out the cash he has stashed in his furniture and return to the US their cheques.
We are not charity cases nor [Inaudible.]
To restore Eskom to its former status, a team of highly skilled engineers, which include those who formally raised our energy availability factor to around 78% should be assembled.
The Independent Power Producers, IPPs, have been in used since 2018 and have not resolved load shedding. Government must stop misleading us. If anything, they must tell our people that IPPs cost almost four times other energy sources. The state is entangled in disastrous contracts with IPPs who are charging astronomical figures for their services and that IPPs ... [Interjections.] ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Hon Madokwe, there is a point of order. Hon Abraham?
Ms P N ABRAHAM: Is the hon member prepared to take a question?
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Are you prepared, hon member?
Ms P MADOKWE: I am not here for questions, Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): No. The member is not prepared. Proceed hon member.
Ms P MADOKWE: Thank you, Chair. The state is entangled in disastrous contracts with IPPs who are charging astronomical figures for their services. And that IPPs that in the main will benefit their funders and people’s brothers-in-law are currently refusing to provide electricity because we are unable to pay the prices they demand, which will substantially raise the cost of electricity for our people. This country has the capacity too, and should establish its own green energy industry, as opposed to surrendering one of the most basic responsibilities of the state to the funders, close allies and family members of the ANC and DA leaders.
In conclusion, Chairperson, the South African Government must accept the assistance provided by its Brazil, Russia, India and China, South Africa, BRICS, partners to address the energy crisis through more affordable fuel and ways to produce. The only reason South Africa has not accepted assistance is because your President’s obsession with appeasing his masters at the British Empire, which he visited soon after the funeral of “queen zama zama” and the US, which even had the audacity of ambassador sitting in on strategic meetings of their party, signifying blatant capture. He must go now. Thank you, Chairperson.
Ms N V MENTE: Hear! Hear!
Inkosi E M BUTHELEZI: Thank you very much, hon Chairperson. The subject we are discussing today is most welcome because it gives us an opportunity to direct ourselves towards a permanent solution for our energy crisis in South Africa.
However, it’s very unfortunate Chair, that it has taken us this long to get to this point, considering that we have known this problem for years.
Eskom is a very important infrastructure in order for us to achieve our developmental goals. This is clearly defined in its mandate as it is supposed to provide electricity, create job opportunities ... [Inaudible.] ... skills and generate profit. Instead, it has done quite the opposite in all material respect. The biggest question is, how did we get here?
Because the total collapse of Eskom is thievery, greed and corruption in the ruling party, compromised leadership and cadre deployment. As the former Eskom Chief Executive Officer, CEO, currently puts it that Eskom has been a “feeding trough” for the ANC.
Even amiss of the incompetence of the government, let us not be deterred from the reality that we do need energy, we do need electricity, and we also need sufficient power generating utility. Eskom has shown that it cannot handle the pressure that comes with electricity generation and supply.
To answer the question that surrounds this debate as to, what needs to be done? The entity and the department that oversees it has to ensure proper planning, refurbishment and maintenance of the infrastructure in all power plants in accordance to increase demand and population. We need to ensure proper accountability. We also need to ensure that all leakages within the system are closed. But ... [Inaudible.]
... those relating to financial losses, mismanagement, and corruption.
Most importantly, we need to remove the ANC from the helm of this country. We need to rid ourselves off the rot within the ANC, we need to rid ourselves off the compromised leadership of the ANC and elect leaders with integrity and ... [Inaudible.] ... will to put our country back on track on the trajectory of recovery and growth.
We need to terminate with a sense of urgency the contract with the ruling party, the ANC. Which has revealed its true nature. The ANC has shown that it does not care about citizens of this country. It only cares about looting and putting this country in a total calamity.
The intention of the ANC to destroy this country has just been exposed through the debate we had previously on the formation of the ad hoc committee to dig deeper into Eskom’s crisis.
What did they do? They are opposed to it. And why? It’s because it’s going to reveal their clandestine activities and the rot within the ruling party. As long as the ANC is leading this country, nothing will ever change for better. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson.
Dr W J BOSHOFF: Agb Voorsitter, die vraag is wat aan die elektrisiteitskrisis in Suid-Afrika gedoen moet word. As mens vra wat die staat moet doen, is die antwoord net dit wat niemand anders kan doen nie. Hier is natuurlik verskillende benaderings ter sprake. Die ANC glo aan die ontwikkelingstaat, waarin die staat ’n toonaangewende rol speel, maar in vennootskap met die privaatsektor. Die EFF staan by Leninistiese kommunisme, waarvolgens die staat alles namens
die mense besit. Die VF Plus is een van die partye wat reken die mark moet ’n groter rol speel en die ANC en EFF noem ons soms, om daardie redes, markfundamentaliste.
Ms K N F HLONYANA: Chairperson, why is this man debating about us?
Dr W J BOSHOFF: Die werklikheid is dat enige stelsel kan werk, as sekere voorwaardes geld. Van bo tot onder moet bekwame mense aangestel word; niemand moet nie hulle salaris vanuit die onderneming aanvul nie; elke werknemer moet tot die primêre projek van die onderneming meewerk; die langtermyn moet altyd voor oë gehou word.
Gewoonlik werk private eienaarskap beter om onbekwaamheid, laksheid en oneerlikheid uit te skakel Die staat is gewoonlik beter daarmee om verby die volgende finansiële jaareinde te kyk, na die volgende geslag, of selfs die volgende eeu. Dit is gewoonlik. Suid-Afrika is anders.
Maar eers, die energiekrisis is ingewikkeld, want die teenkant daarvan is ’n klimaatskrisis. Boonop word wêreldwyd verwag dat
vloeibare brandstowwe in die vervoersektor grootliks met elektrisiteit vervang sal word.
In ’n funksionele, eerlike en goedgesinde staat, een met ’n caring government [regering wat omgee] sou ’n krisis van hierdie aard nooit ontstaan het nie. Langtermynplanne sou uitgevoer en gereeld hersien gewees het. Daar sou iets soos ’n social compact [sosile kontrak] gewees het, om dit te verwerklik.
Gelukkig is daar projekte, selfs binne die staat, wat voortleef. Klein, modulêre kernkrageenhede is wel in Suid- Afrika ontwikkel, maar na die projek beëindig is, is dit oorsee voortgesit en kan binne enkele jare in Suid-Afrika toepassing vind.
Waterstof as metode om hernubare energie te berg, word gelukkig in die Departement van Wetenskap en Innovasie gehuisves, nie in minerale hulpbronne en energie nie. Hierdie twee bronne kan in die toekoms die basislading oorneem, wat tans van steenkool afhanklik is.
In die tussentyd moet Eskom opwek wat hulle kan, en doodseker maak die netwerk se frekwensie word gehandhaaf. Solank dit
gebeur, bly die netwerk staande en kan bykomende produsente daarmee sinchroniseer. Dan moet die staat die mark open, sodat enige energieprodusent, die netwerk vir eie gebruik en verkope kan aanwend. Dit kan verbruikers van mikroprodusente wees, met ander woorde, wat produseer and verbruik, groter besighede van dieselfde aard, of megaprojekte, spesiaal vir kragvoorsiening.
In 1923, toe Eskom gestig is, was die privaatsektor op korttermynwins ingestel, terwyl die staat verder kon kyk. In 2023 het Eskom talle personeellede in diens wat hulle sakke so vinnig moontlik wil vul, terwyl die privatesektor ’n langtermynsiening neem.
Wat gedoen moet word, is die volgende: Eskom moet opwek wat hy kan, solank hy kan, en die netwerk staande hou. Die private sektor sal die res doen, want die private sektor is nie maar net “white monopoly capital” nie.
Dit is ook miljoene gewone mense wat hier is om te bly, wat groter en kleiner besighede besit, daar werk, of in besluitnemende posisies is en in gemeenskappe woon. Di smense wat kinders verwek, grootmaak en na kleinkinders uitsien of reeds het. Wat hulle deel sal doen – nou én later.
Ha nyane ha nyane, o etsa haholo.
... sê die uitdrukking. Dit is hoe die ANC Eskom gebreek het en dit is hoe die gevolglike krisis te bowe gekom gaan word. Die staat kan ’n rol speel, maar eers as die ANC verwyder is. Ek dank u.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): Members are allowed to heckle each other, but hon Hlonyana is consistent in disturbing the debate. I am noting that. Actually, that’s a warning.
Mr W M THRING: Hon House Chairperson, the ACDP, like most South Africans have been exposed to the endless reports of bribes and kickbacks relating to the ANC and Eskom. We’ve seen the state capture report and the current revelations by the former CEO of Eskom. I have said this before and it bears repeating. The nation’s electricity crisis has clearly been caused by ANC mismanagement of Eskom, including its corruption and the party’s refusal to carry out sufficient maintenance for years.
One of the major consequences of the load shedding power cuts has been severe damage to our international image and consequent loss of investment for economic growth. In 2001, Eskom was rated the best power utility company in the world. Two decades later Eskom has been called the most hated company in South Africa for our interminable power cuts. Eskom has gone from a profit of R1 billion to a loss of R14 billion, and its staff costs increased from R11 billion to R33 billion.
And yes, Mr President, it is government’s obligation to provide electricity. Electricity is a derived right, one on which all other stated rights function and municipalities do not operate outside the government framework and government is obligated to ensure that municipalities deliver services.
Eskom has become a basket case and is bankrupt. The ACDP has been at the forefront calling for a political, managerial and administrative clean up at Eskom. Our leader, Dr Kenneth Meshoe, has asserted that Eskom does not need another politician with the title of the Minister of Electricity, but it needs a professional, skilled engineer, regardless of skin colour, who knows how to restore Eskom.
Clearly, the solution to the Eskom crises involves a
multidimensional approach which includes renewables, nuclear, hydroelectricals and coal. Clean coal technologies which are being implemented throughout the world is a must and for without it some 55 000 jobs in the coal industry will be at risk. Fraud and corruption must be aggressively dealt with and planned, competent maintenance adhered to. We must recognise the private sector as collaborators, and not enemies. Much progress could be made in the energy sector if we moved forward in tandem rather than faltering with distrust.
With sound leadership and governance the situation can be turned around. It will take integrity and political will. The ACDP has that will. I thank you.
Mr V ZUNGULA: Chairperson, this debate requires that we put politicking aside and confront the root causes of electricity crisis. The crisis of load shedding is ruining the lives and livelihoods of millions of South Africans. Citizens are tired of load shedding and their hope is that Parliament will play an effective oversight role in order to end load shedding. We are in this crisis because there is a deliberate plan to privatise Eskom. What should happen is the following.
All evergreen contracts in Eskom must be cancelled. Coal contracts must be in line with the recommended the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, Nersa, prices, corruption must be fully investigated and the Hawks must waste no time in charging perpetrators. Eskom must embark on a drive to service power stations. Maintenance of power stations is critical for the efficiency of power stations. Eskom must upgrade generation and transmission infrastructure. Managers with a track record of turning around power stations must be deployed to poor performing power stations. Board members and executive that are owning and linked to the independent power producers, IPPs, must be removed from Eskom leadership.
Given the crisis we are in Eskom in consultation with the relevant departments must do everything possible to extend the decommissioning schedule of the power stations that are due for decommissioning until we are out of these crisis. Advanced coal and diesel management systems must be deployed to power stations. There must be a live tracking and accounting of coal and diesel from source to the sites. Eskom must attract skilled and experienced personnel from the market to train and mentor existing employees. These experienced staff members must be site based and their contracts must be linked to tangible key performance targets. Eskom must improve the low
staff morale and top performing teams and individuals must be rewarded. Eskom need capable skill personnel such as engineers, artisans with a clear mandate of turning around the power utility instead of board members, executive and managers who are in Eskom to create a market for IPPs.
To the people of South Africa, as the ATM was saying, our mind should never be conditioned to accept this normality as part of our lives that we have favourite load shedding schedules.
We should not be having load shedding in the first place. We have enough coal, enough power stations, many skilled individuals that can run Eskom to provide electricity for the entire country. This government does not have a political will to resolve load shedding. We the people must reclaim our power and put in place a government that is caring, a government that feels the cries of the people, a government that serves us, a government that is committed in resolving the problems of the people, and that is an ATM-led government. Next year people must vote ATM. Thank you.
Ms V T MALINGA: House Chairperson, greetings to yourself. I’m asking for a permission not to open my video to maximize connectivity. The ANC-led government plays an active role in allocating resources to address load shedding and electricity
crisis, while the Energy Crisis Committee, Necom, is responsible for shaping the implementation of the energy action plan. However, there are serious limits to how far the ANC-led government’s active role and the effectiveness of the Necom in implementing the energy action plan can go. For instance, the declining refinery capacity in South Africa poses critical security of supply of diesel risk. Sadly, lack of investment in local refinery capacity coupled with the disruptions in the supply of diesel became because of the Russian-Ukraine conflict turn the running of Eskom and independent power producer, IPP’s, diesel dependent open cycle gas turbine into a costly exercise that is unsustainable.
While open cycle gas turbines, OCGTs, are instrumental in ensuring that the country does not experience higher stages of load shedding when the system is strange it is clearly unjust to suggest that the ANC-led government and the Necom have the super powers to make Eskom less vulnerable to the changing demand and supply dynamics in the oil market.
Nevertheless, the ANC-led government will be supporting Eskom to secure additional funding to cover the OCGTs costs for the rest of the financial year. More importantly, there is tangible evidence indicating that trends in load shedding are changing for the better due to the use of the OCGTs to close
the widening gap between the demand and the supply of electricity. Consider for example, Eskom has been rotating load shedding stages rather than keeping load shedding at one higher stage for a prolonged period to protect the competitiveness of our key economic industries with the highest employment multipliers such as agriculture, mining, transport and manufacturing. Moreover, the rationale for rotating load shedding stages is built upon the strong foundation of pulling more people and small businesses into the mainstream economy through a reliable supply of electricity as a catalyst to a rapid response to the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Of course, Eskom’s rotation of load shedding stages has had fledged or minimal positive spill over effects in the strategic sectors of the economy implying that the energy action plan requires an impetus to achieve its stated objectives of ending load shedding and electricity crisis with promising results. The ANC-led government has introduced to instrument to directly reverse the qualitative and quantitative impacts of load shedding and electricity crisis on the strategic sectors of the economy, small businesses and households. In particular, the Minister of Electricity and the declaration of a National State of Disaster vary in their
potential to responsiveness to an ability to address load shedding and electricity crisis within a short space of time.
The declaration of a National State of Disaster is encouraged because it provides the ANC-led government and Necom, Eskom with access to channels that are usually closed under democratic processes. More specifically, this National State of Disaster will exempt these institutions from the lengthy procurement processes undertaken to procure renewable energy sources and critical parts for maintenance. Whilst there is a legitimate role in applying for exemption, what is clear is that this is not a blanket removal of the existing regulations, but a provision of exemptions with clear targets to reduce load shedding and electricity crisis. Hence unsurprisingly the Auditor-General of South Africa will be brought into assist with the appropriation and spending of funds in a manner that does not erode transparency and accountability.
The unbundling of Eskom into three divisions responsible for generation, transmission and distribution provides the much- needed impetus to ending load shedding and electricity crisis since the rationale behind the calls for unbundling is that by opening the electricity market, competition among multiple
electricity generations and distributors will increase as the barriers to entry are reduced, and important catalyst in this direction is the Electricity Regulation Act which will be tabled this year to jump-start a competitive electricity market intended to address load shedding and electricity crisis while simultaneously driving electricity prices down to improve access to affordable electricity as outlined in the National Development Plan.
However, balancing the trade-off between driving electricity prices down and ensuring that all costs are good and sufficient returns are made on the investment is one of the major challenges in the electricity market. This is probably the reason why the Minister of Electricity was introduced to ensure that electricity prices set by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa can balance the financial positions of electricity generators while protecting households and businesses from higher electricity hikes. Addressing load shedding and electricity crisis requires the strengthening of Eskom’s ability to mobilise resources aimed at improving investment in the maintenance and the expansion of infrastructure.
However, there are concerns relating to significant revenue leakages in Eskom which are due in large part of the declining culture of corruption and fraud as well as the culture of nonpayment by municipal distributors that owe Eskom to the tune of R56,3 billion as of 31st December 2022. The municipal debt requires an active partnership not only between Eskom and municipalities, but also between political parties as most of these indebted municipality distributors are governed by coalitions. While this suggest is that load shedding and electricity can be partially attributed to the instability in South Africa’s coalition politics at the municipal level as this instability often results in municipalities not being able to provide quality public services or honouring their debt obligation on time.
Therefore, DA, EFF, IFP and the Freedom Front Plus must take full accountability for load shedding and electricity crisis as they are part of coalitions that are complicity in the irregular payment of electricity bills at the municipal level which culminates in Eskom’s debt. As regards, the declining culture of corruption and fraud, Eskom has introduced reforms that are linked to the larger goal of anticorruption given the legacy of graft in the utilities procurement processes. It is worth noting that Eskom has implemented the crime risk
management and an automated procurement system to manage the procurement of goods and services with ... [Inaudible.] ... while simultaneously combating a corruption bribery and fraud. These initiatives have yielded major gains and achievement thus far. More importantly, they are resulted in deregistration of delinquency suppliers in Eskom’s database disciplinary action against delinquency suppliers, disciplinary action against delinquent employees and flagging delinquent employees for future employment, while there are positive science that corruption and fraud are declining in Eskom. These initiatives will not eradicate corruption and fraud completely within a short space of time.
However, the ANC-led government remains committed to eradicating corruption and fraud within government and state- owned enterprises, SOEs, including Eskom despite the resistance of the recalcitrant perpetrators. I thank you, House Chair.
Mr S M JAFTA: Hon Chairperson, this is probably the third debate on the same subject. This exposes the poor handling of this calamity.
Eskom was not always this messy, hon members. It was Africa’s leading electricity producer, it was ranked 11th in the world for installed capacity and the sixth largest African company across all sectors.
Today Eskom has lost its momentum. It has lost rigour and is a sovereignty risk. Its debt is close to R400 billion. Eskom has been ran down by years of incompetency, looting and mismanagement.
In 2014 Eskom’s then Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Tshediso Matona, said the following of Eskom “There’s no crisis at Eskom. I think the way Eskom gets reported on creates the perception of a crisis.”
In the following year in 2015, the then ANC Secretary-General, Mr Mantashe, said “The crisis at Eskom is a positive crisis.” What positive about the crisis at Eskom in 2015, we wonder?
Only the then Secretary-General of the ANC and now the Minister of Department of Minerals, Resources and Energy can tell.
We have long advised that Eskom must be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, JSE, in order to raise capital and liquidity.
We have said we need to leave the transmission of electricity to Eskom while inviting other players to be in charge of electricity generation. Our views are informed by Eskom’s own admission that it may take two to three years to reduce loadshedding.
This acknowledgment exposes the fragility of the state of our electricity supply. We can no longer afford to lean towards clinical ideological strictures which have no meaningful value to end loadshedding. I thank you, hon Chair.
Mr T A Le GOFF: Chairperson, our country is at a critical juncture in its history. And the primary determinant that will decide whether South Africa becomes a failed state or alternatively becomes a resurgent, modern, forward-looking regional power in Africa, will be entirely decided to how we respond to our national electricity crisis.
While there many pathways which we can take to respond to this crisis, there are only a few that have any reasonable prospect
of success. All of these solutions, in some manner of speaking, involve, in the short-term, obtaining as much power as is practically possible from Eskom’s installed generations capacity.
And over the long-term all of them involve additional energy generation capacity being produced by sources that are external ... [Inaudible.] ... Eskom.
We only have to look to a country like Vietnam to see what is possible with the right kind of leadership. They managed to install over 9GigaWatts of rooftop solar PV and wind energy generation capacity in just one single year.
In the year 2020 Vietnam effectively ended their electricity crisis in just 12 months. Something we have not been able to achieve in 17 years.
So, the question is not whether or not we can do this in South Africa; we absolutely can. The real question we should be asking ourselves is: Who exactly is standing in the way of us achieving these types of outcomes?
It is also very important to acknowledge the reality of the climate crisis in this debate. It is for this reason that the just energy transition must provide us with the necessary guard wells to ensure that we steer our country forward to daught a type of energy resilience which is fundamentally sustainable and that does not borrow from our children’s futures to take easy shortcuts that might inadvertently precipitate even a more dangerous environmental crisis for us to deal with in the future.
But we also need to be very honest and have an honest conversation about where we find ourselves. The age of centralised state-owned power generation in South Africa has passed. We have had our chance at running an own encompassing power utility that could have produced cheap and affordable electricity for us all.
But the truth is, that after nearly two decades of criminality, mismanagement and a generalised lack of care, the Eskom that existed 20 years ago is just no more. And there’s just no way to realistically return it back to its former glory.
The DA is under absolutely no illusion about just how difficult the challenge for us is going to be to overcome. The threats of a catastrophic national blackout loom large, our economy is faltering and all of our socioeconomic progress as a country hangs in the balance.
Though we desperately need Eskom to be stabilized and to remove the criminality which is so deeply engraved in it, we have acknowledged the harsh reality that former CEO of Eskom, Mr Andre de Ruyter, has made so explicitly clear.
A single point of electricity production and supply in South Africa is also our single greatest point of weakness. This is why where the DA governs, in places like the City of Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay, we are rapidly moving to procure additional sources of energy from the private sector to protect South Africans from state failure.
Later this month, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis will put out to market, a tender for 500MegaWatts of despatchable energy capacity, placing it on track to protect its residence from the first four stages of loadshedding.
That is also why the DA-led Western Cape government is spending R1,1 billion in the coming year to reduce its dependence on Eskom.
Only the DA is responding to the electricity crisis at a pace and skill that meet the present moment of urgency head-on.
Only a diversified, decentralised, green energy system will be resilient enough to meet our present and future energy demands and lead us to the peaceful and prosperous South Africa we all still dream of. I thank you.
Mr S N GUMEDE: Because I am on load shedding, I request that my video be off. Whilst the EFF tends to talk more about Eskom as a problem case, the party should be careful to rely on selection biases to give the impression that things are getting worse, and not better at Eskom. The most important point to note therefore is that there is a wide diversity of progress at Eskom that cannot be simply captured by EFF’s partial views.
Relevant to note is that Eskom revenue increased by 21% from R204 billion to R246 billion in the previous financial year. This increase was due to the increase in electricity tariffs and the partial recovery of volume sales. Whilst Eskom revenue
has increased significantly, most of it covers debt costs as the second cost driver after primary energy cost. This explains Eskom’ severe maintenance underperformance over a protracted period.
The degree of debt cost is of course frequently cited as a reason why the reliability maintenance of Eskom power stations have stagnated, and thus the country continue to have a high number of stages of load shedding in considering the issue.
The ANC-led government has decided to take R254 billion of Eskom’s existing debt to give the utility the space to prioritise the maintenance of power stations to improve the energy availability factor.
Although conservative opposition parties like the DA and the FFPlus are concerned about the limits of how far the
R254 billion debt relief can go, there are potential significant progress to be made from the ground-breaking intervention, for example, the R254 billion relief would give Eskom the latitude to deploy best skilled sufficient capital, and best original equipment manufacturer support in critical plants to conduct reliability maintenance in Kendal, Matla, Majuba, Duvha, Tutuka, and Kusile power stations. The recovery
of these six power stations will stop load shedding indefinitely.
Of course addressing load shedding does not breach the generation capacity gap, but it exposes the shortcoming of the EFF’s highly misleading impression that there no progress in ending load shedding at Eskom despite the institutionally intervention meant to address it.
In addition, the R254 billion debt relief will enable Eskom to prioritise capital expenditure in the transmission and distribution networks, which is crucial with regard to bringing more renewable energy sources from Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape onto the Eskom grid to address the current shortages as a matter of urgency.
House Chairperson, the energy action plan, which is monitored by the National Electricity Crisis Committee, Necom, has delivered much with regard to overall key interventions since July 2022. The energy intervention plans that have been realised include, amongst others, the Necom has instructed departments to cut red tape and streamline regulatory processes for energy projects including reducing the timeframe for environmental authorisation of 57 days from over 100 days
previously, reducing the registration process from four months to three weeks, and ensuring target grid connection approval are provided within six months.
The new ministerial determination has published
14 771 megawatts of new generation capacity from wind, solar, and battery storage to accelerate further bid window. Project agreement for 19 projects from Bid Window 5, and six projects from Bid Window 6 of the renewal energy programme representing
2 800 megawatts of new capacity will soon proceed to construction, this year.
Acknowledging these key interventions achievements enables us to make better sense of the effectiveness of the Necom in implementing the energy action plan to reduce load shedding and energy crisis. Obviously, opposition parties like EFF, the IFP, UDM and ACDP that are hell-bent on the preconceived ideas that the ANC-led government is inefficient would never capture these achieved key interventions in their vocabulary because acknowledging such stories might compromise their existence.
... akukho soka ladla kahle imbangi ikhala.
Nevertheless, the fact that the energy action plan has achieved serious milestones between July 2022 and March 2023, indicates that the Necom has the capacity to make change happen. And with the introduction of the Minister of Electricity, and the declaration of the state of the nation disaster to respond to the electricity crisis, the energy action plan will rationalise and streamline to address load shedding and energy crisis directly thereby leading the best practical solution.
House Chairperson, the National Treasury has also introduced the solar panel tax incentive as outlined in the energy action plan to encourage individuals and business to invest in new unused solar photovoltaic, PV, panels of 275 megawatts. This incentive is crucial in several respects, namely, the roll out of solar panels will minimize dependency on the grid, which is an indirect input in an attempt to end load shedding, whilst simultaneously reducing the cost of electricity which tend to weigh more on the poor, and the cost of electricity will be lightened by the feed-in tariff for small scale embedded
generation, which enable households and businesses to sell excess electricity generated using solar panels back to Eskom.
The City of Cape Town has already started the implementation of the feed-in tariffs, and we hope the DA energy action plan and implementation track records this cutting edge intervention and attribute it to the ANC rather than itself as it is always the case.
Apart from the solar tax incentive, progressive spending is critical to reducing load shedding and energy crisis.
Unfortunately, there are many areas of concern regarding spending in government and at Eskom, which calls for measures to increase accountability and transparency.
President Ramaphosa announced in the state of the nation address, about a month ago, that the Auditor-General of South Africa will be brought in to ensure continuous monitoring of Eskom and government expenditure to guard against any abuse of funds ring-fenced to respond effectively to the load shedding and energy crisis.
More importantly, in line with the Zondo Commission’s recommendations, Eskom is implementing an automated
procurement system to better manage procurement spend and protect the data against integrity breaches. This shows that the ANC-led government is willing to assist Eskom to improve its procurement system to any greater ... [Time expired.]
What about the additional minute?
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): It has been included already. Thank you very much. I think you have delivered your message. Hon members, before I allow the last speaker to speak, let me rule on the issue of the use of terms and counter accusations. It looks like on this matter, we will have to rely on the Hansard, and therefore a ruling this time will not be possible. That will be delivered in the full plenary after consultation with the Speaker. So, that’s the ruling.
Can I allow the last speaker of the EFF to close the debate?
Nks N V MENTE: Ndim lowo Sihlalo. Sihlalo, kucacile ukuba i- ANC ayinalo iqhinga ...
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): I see a hand. Before I allow you, hon Radebe, what is the hand for?
Mr B A RADEBE: The speakers’ list which was agreed upon, which was final around one o’clock indicated that hon Maotwe was going to close the debate as it was her motion. Hon Maotwe was ejected out of the House because of her defiance to the presiding officer. So, House Chairperson, there is no way that someone can speak on her behalf. She cannot be given space to close the debate. Thank you House Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): No, hon Radebe ... [Interjections.]
Ms N V MENTE: That Rule does not apply.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr F D Xasa): We are giving the space to the party, and not to hon Maotwe. That’s my ruling on the matter. Can we allow the speaker to proceed?
Nks N V MENTE: Masibulele, Sihlalo.
At least you acquaint yourself with the documents of Parliament.
House Chairperson, the ANC has no plan. Now, we hear that coalitions are to be blamed for the ANC mayors and thugs who stole the Eskom budget, and today they are sitting with Eskom bills that are not paid.
The captain of a ship is a disaster. Eskom has appointed yet another European consortium to review all coal plants. It was not enough that Biden imposed on us how to deal with our coal mines, yet we have the expertise here in South Africa that can look into the development of Eskom, that has been given a blind eye. It is not surprising though, this European consortium that has been given an opportunity to take money, which is a bailout to Eskom is an ANC activity of thuggery.
Twelve million people can’t find jobs, and they resort to opening their own small businesses. What happens to those small businesses? They are forced to close due to the lack of power supply. The ANC speakers came here to talk about Eskom improving. Eskom is at its worst. Mortuaries are shutting down. Our people no longer observe their rituals or cultures
because they must bury their loved ones within a very short time or choose to bury decomposed bodies.
Thieving and thuggery is the order of the day in all Eskom transactions, and they do this with impunity because the majority of the ANC in Parliament shuts everything down.
Criminals are rejoicing and harassing our people during the dark hours of the load shedding.
The economy is on its knees, losing at least one billion a day, especially when we are on stage 6. Rural areas and townships are lucky to have access to electricity ... [Interjections.] ... [Inaudible.] ... four hours before ... [Time expired.]
We call upon everyone on Monday to come join us. [Interjections.] Thank you very much.
Ms J C N MKHWANAZI: Hayi, siyeke wena ngale nto yenu engazukwenzeka. Ingathi uyayazi nento elungileyo nengalunganga.
Nks N V MENTE: Uze utsho pha kunyoko.
The mini-plenary session rose at 16:56