Maimane calls for Parliament to reconvene over Eskom crisis

Staff Reporter

DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Monday called for Parliament to reconvene to deal with the Eskom crisis.

Maimane has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete to request the special sitting of Parliament between now and 7 May.

“The National Assembly (NA), which held its last sitting last week Wednesday 20 March, is still able to do the people’s work until 7 May 2019, the day before the national elections. Therefore, the Speaker must simply recall a sitting of the National Assembly to deal with this national crisis,” said Maimane in Johannesburg.

The party is planning a national day of action on Friday to protest against what it says is now a national crisis.

“This is why we will launch a National Day of Action this Friday 29 March, calling on South Africans in every community, town and city across the country, to join us in a collective protest against what is now a national crisis. As when we came together to take a stand against Jacob Zuma and the capture of our state, next Friday will see citizens showing this ANC government that we have the power,” said Maimane.

“The message is clear: there is a plan to fix this crisis and we need to institute this plan now. And we will mobilise next Friday to call on this ANC government to take the action required to fix this national crisis.”

The DA’s proposals to the ad hoc committee would be for parliament to immediately pass the Independent System and Market Operator Bill, which would break up Eskom into separate generation and supply entities. This would ensure that energy would be cheaper and more secure.

Maimane said the committee should also look into the circumstances surrounding the potentially imminent threat of the collapse of the national energy grid, invite experts and industry stakeholders for input, and summon the relevant officials and ministers to account for the current crisis and providing evidence for actions previously taken to prevent this situation.

The ad hoc committee should also propose any urgent and necessary legislative amendments to existing legislation and regulations to deal with this threat.

Maimane said he would also write to Deputy President David Mabuza, requesting an urgent meeting to establish the plans the Presidency and the special cabinet committee on Eskom have in place to deal with this crisis.

“The lack of transparency from national government is not helping the situation. We need national government to play open cards with the people of SA,” he said.

The DA wants to see Eskom’s generation entities privatised and the energy entering the grid diversified to increase competition and lower costs. It wants Eskom to freeze the last two units at Kusile’s build immediately and for it to rather rely on independent power producers. 

“The two big coal builds are pulling the utility deeper into a sea of debt while the units cannot run at full capacity because of design and build problems,” Maimane said.

Further measures proposed by the party are to declare Eskom’s maintenance and engineering employees as an “essential service” that cannot strike; installing smart meters for municipalities to collect revenue on time; and allowing metros that function well to source energy directly from independent energy suppliers.

“It is clear that there exists no plan to fix this mess at all levels of national government,” Maimane said.

Additional reporting by agencies

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