WATCH | Load-shedding an ANC-made problem, says DA at Luthuli House

25 January 2023 - 15:51
By Sisanda Mbolekwa

The DA marched to ANC headquarters Luthuli House on Wednesday demanding that the governing party account for the energy crisis, arguing the rolling blackouts have been caused by the ANC's cadre deployment policy and corruption.

Addressing her party's supporters at the “power to the people” march that started at Mary Fitzgerald Square, DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube said they wanted to make it clear to the ANC that load-shedding and blackouts resulted from the ruling party’s poor governance, mismanagement and corruption. 

“This is an ANC-manufactured problem, that is seeing abantu bethu [our people] going hungry every day, seeing abantu bethu joining the unemployment queues and living in rolling blackouts for 12 hours a day, therefore the solutions must come from them,” Gwarube said. 

She added that as the official opposition party, they were refusing to accept the dire situation and would not let the ANC plunge the country into darkness. 

“If you don’t switch on the power, we will take it from you,” said Gwarube.

Protesters join the DA's march in Johannesburg's city centre over chronic load-shedding.
Image: Thulani Mbele Protesters join the DA's march in Johannesburg's city centre over chronic load-shedding.

Kevin Mileham, a DA MP who serves on parliament's energy portfolio committee, echoed Gwarube’s sentiments. 

“It’s been 15 years of load-shedding, but the ANC knew about the programme long before then. In 1998 they were warned that if they didn’t build new power stations before 2007 SA would run out of electricity, and that’s exactly what happened,” Mileham said. 

He added the ruling party rushed out a tender in 2007 to build Medupi and Kusile, the two biggest coal power stations in the world, yet 15 years later those plants are not finished, are years behind schedule and hundreds of billions of rand over budget. 

DA Youth leader Nicholas Nyathi rallied the crowd behind the march and said it would go down in history as the day each and every South African united behind a cause that says “genoeg is genoeg [enough is enough]”.

“When others said they will defend Luthuli House, we stood up and said we will defend the dreams, hopes and aspirations of ordinary South Africans,” Nyathi said, referring to ANC Youth League (ANCYL) members who vowed to defend the ruling party’s headquarters “at all costs”.

ANCYL task team national organiser Tlangi Mogale said they felt the need to come and peacefully protect the ANC head office. “We feel strongly that there is no political party that can wake up and decide to march to another party’s politics headquarters to submit a memorandum that has nothing to do with such an office.”

Mogale said despite the ANC being the governing party, it had delegated its powers to the management of Eskom and its board. 

“In fact, according to their logic, it means we could also march to the DA, as we are in a situation where in their Gauteng metros [there are issues]. For example, there are serious problems of wasteful expenditure and financial mismanagement in Joburg, but we have never wanted to march to the DA — in fact, if we felt the need to, we would march to the municipality,” Mogale said.

Responding to the DA claims that the ANC’s cadre deployment policy and corruption are the reason for the energy crisis, Mogale said the DA was the last party to talk about corruption.

The parties dispersed shortly after DA federal leader John Steenhuisen addressed his supporters.

ANCYL members then moved to energy minister Gwede Mantashe and ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula at a dialogue hosted at University of Johannesburg to discuss the ongoing crisis.

Newly elected ANC NEC member and national convener of the ANCYL task team Nonceba Mhlauli also announced the league would embark on its own march to Eskom next week.


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