Licence to loot?

We sat down with Leon Schreiber MP, DA Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration, about the DA’s court action against sweeping national states of disaster.

ChangeMaker (CM): The DA has already briefed lawyers to challenge the SONA 2023 announcement of a sweeping National State of Disaster in court. Given the severity of the load shedding crisis, and the impact it has on joblessness and the cost of living crisis, why is drastic action such as this not the appropriate course of action?

Leon Schreiber (LS): The DA has been in court for nearly two years in an attempt to declare the Disaster Management Act unconstitutional, because the Act gives sweeping powers to Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma with zero parliamentary oversight. That is why we saw massive looting and irrational regulations during the Covid National State of Disaster. Instead of repeating that mistake, the DA has consistently called for any interventions on the disaster that is our electricity system to be strictly focused – or “ring-fenced” – only to that sector. This is to remove the red tape standing in the way of massive private investment and generation, and to bypass BEE, localisation requirements to ensure that Eskom gets enough diesel, is able to hire the skilled employees it needs, and to speed up its unbundling process.

CM: What precautions would need to be in place for a State of Disaster to work?

LS: The Disaster Management Act, in our view, is unconstitutional precisely because it has no precautions to prevent looting and irrational, sweeping regulations that devastate our economy. That is why we are challenging the Act in court.

CM: The DA has won their long-standing battle to expose ANC cadre deployment corruption records! Can you tell us, what exactly is cadre deployment and why is it so important to have it exposed and outlawed?

LS: Cadre deployment is a corrupt system that gives the ANC unconstitutional powers to interfere in appointment processes. By instructing who should be appointed to positions of power, the ANC ensures that “cadres” are appointed because they are loyal to the ANC – not based on their ability to do the job. Cadre deployment is the root cause of corruption, state capture and collapsed service delivery everywhere that the ANC is in power. Thanks to the DA’s court victory for the right to know, we will expose to the people how the ANC interfered with appointments since 2013, when President Ramaphosa became the chairman of the corrupt deployment committee.

CM: Do you think South Africa can recover from the devastation of cadre deployment and state capture, particularly where Eskom is concerned?

LS: Yes, and the first step will be the DA’s victory in another court case to declare cadre deployment unconstitutional and illegal. The DA’s success in municipalities across the country as well as in the Western Cape provinces proves that we can turn around service delivery once cadre deployment is abolished. But the ANC has made it clear that they will defend this corruption at all costs, so the best way to ensure that we end cadre corruption and start building a capable state is by voting DA in 2024.