Don’t put them in Parliament, put them in jail

Issued by Natasha Mazzone MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
12 Feb 2019 in News

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s debate of 2019 State of the Nation Address. 

Madam Speaker;

Mr President;

Fellow Members of Parliament;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is now 2019, eleven and a half years since the construction of the Medupi Power plant started.

It is now 2019, ten and a half years since the construction of the Khusile Power Plant started.

And yet, the entire country was plunged into darkness, with Eskom implementing a drastic stage 4 load shedding programme yesterday. Six units have suddenly gone off-line which is unheard of. This has now moved from just an Eskom problem to a national South African problem. All of South Africa will be affected by a collapsing Eskom, putting our entire economy and millions of jobs in jeopardy.

It is now 2019 and South Africa is still experiencing rolling blackouts, Eskom still has a monopoly stranglehold over our country and its economy. We need to call this crisis what it is. This is not “load shedding”, it is persistent rolling blackouts and it is killing our economy. These rolling blackouts affect every community, every business in every municipality across the length and breadth of our country. Probably the most shocking of all – still not one person is behind bars for attempting to sell our country off piece by piece despite all the charges, all the evidence, and all the commissions of inquiry.

The ANC’s rejig of Eskom is simply not enough. The DA has long been calling for a complete overhaul of this dinosaur monopoly which is killing our economy with power failures and high electricity prices. The DA introduced our “cheaper electricity bill” which will see Eskom split into two separate entities, a generation entity and a distribution/transmission entity. The generation entity will be privatised over time to compete with other independent power producers on an equal footing. Well-functioning metros will be able to source energy directly from independent energy suppliers.

It cannot be that South Africans have no choice as to whom they purchase electricity from.  We have the right to choose our own service provider and to choose our own kind of electricity; be it wind, solar, gas or coal. The notion that this will not create job losses is a simple lie. By diversifying our energy market, we will create jobs, increase competition and significantly drive down electricity prices.  As South Africans we simply cannot be held ransom by the Tripartite Alliance concerns of upsetting one another. We are a country in crisis and we have to act in crisis mode now.

It is time to face the reality that while South Africa may well have exposed State Capture, little has been done to hold those who fed this monster to account. In fact, the more people who are named in these various inquiries, the more I look around parliament and see those very people seated in our benches. What an embarrassment, what an indictment on everything we stand for. Mr. President, I am here today to tell you, do not send these criminals to Parliament, send them to jail.

When last we met at this same forum, I asked that you remove then Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown. I, together with millions of South Africans, heaved a sigh of relief when you announced her removal. Little did we know that she was just the tip of a corrupt iceberg and that we, the people of South Africa, are on a collision course with this iceberg.  There is no longer any doubt that the tentacles of the state capture monster have reached all Public Enterprises, all state departments and all levels of government.

State capture is a disease that has infected the entire nation. Thankfully there is a cure and it works fast, and it acts as a prophylactic for future infection.  It’s called a jail sentence. Mr. President, do not send these criminals to Parliament, send them to jail.

Madam Speaker, there is nothing quite like a witness in the box singing like a canary to get criminals worried. What we have witnessed at the Zondo Commission into State Capture is nothing short of astounding. I now feel like we all know our way around certain Ministers’ homes, we know what meat they enjoy, and more particularly what their tipple of preference is. Mr President, given the knowledge we have regarding the Minister’s penchant for a certain brand of blended Scottish Whiskey, when these Ministers seek re-employment, my suggestion would be to tell them to just “Keep Walking”.

In these very benches sit Ministers who are accused of, literally, accepting bags of corruption money.  One would not think that when design house Louis Vuitton released the “Neverfull” model of handbag, this crime and corruption was the intended usage of the bag – and we laugh, and we scoff, and we are shocked, but still, here sits the Minister.  The question now is, what exactly does it take to get arrested for corruption in South Africa? Mr. President, do not send these people to Parliament, send them to jail.

Our hopes now lie in the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions, and we hope that the new head of the NPA takes orders from the Constitution and the laws of the land, and not from politicians or families flying in and out of Dubai. It simply cannot be that State Capture was being executed under the nose of the executive without every single member knowing. Your “New Dawn” is the same wine being served to us, only in a different bottle.

I have personally laid charges against the likes of:

  • Brian Molefe;
  • Matshela Koko;
  • Trillian;
  • SAP;
  • Just Coal;
  • McKinsey;
  • Supra Mahumapelo’s family;
  • The Bank of Baroda;
  • the Gupta brothers;
  • Nomvula Mokanyane and the list goes on.

We need to see some high-profile arrests, we need assets to be seized and while we are at it, let’s take a few passports away to ensure no one can flee prosecution.

Mr. President, let me tell you without a doubt what South Africans won’t mind having their tax money spent on, it’s a new wing of C Max at the Pretoria Central prison dedicated to those who tried to steal our country.

Mr. President, on behalf of all South Africans, I beg of you, don’t send them to Parliament, send them to jail.