The Shadow Public Enterprises Minister Natasha Mazzone has grilled Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday, just hours before the polls open for the 2019 Elections. The DA MP – best known for her firebrand speeches in Parliament – wants the president to disclose more information on the deals to procure “emergency diesel supplies” for Eskom.
It’s understood that the opposition party have had a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request denied. Mazzone and her team wanted to investigate how much has been spent on the utility’s fuel reserves since 2007, but they’ve had the door slammed in their face.
Natasha Mazzone asks Ramaphosa: “What are you hiding?”
For the shadow cabinet minister, the silence has been deafening. As Pravin Gordhan’s opposite number, she has been following the progress of Eskom closely and firmly believes that the ANC are misappropriating funds in order to keep the lights on up until Wednesday’s vote.
According to her, load shedding will return when all election formalities are complete and South Africa will return to a chaotic load shedding schedule.
She’s accused ANC officials – and Ramaphosa himself – of wanting to spend more than seven times the diesel budget in 2019 alone, just to stave off the threat of power cuts while parties are on the campaign trail:
“The truth is that Eskom is on the verge of collapse and these temporary measures will not prevent the inevitable. South Africa is facing a dark and cold winter after being misled by Ramaphosa, whose only plan has been to keep the lights on till the 8th of May.”
“Considering the severe mismanagement and corruption that has strangled Eskom over the past decade, we cannot allow the ANC government to hide the full details of any of their diesel contracts, leaving us in the dark with regards to the security and future of our energy grid.”
How much could be spent on Eskom’s “emergency diesel”?
Mazzone went on to lambast the decision to “obscure fuel costs from the public” by the Ramaphosa Administration and quoted reports which suggest R4.5 billion could depart from the emergency diesel fund. The annual budget is set at R666m.
The DA have campaigned relentlessly against the failures of Eskom, and previously shared an alternative plan to keep the lights on in South Africa. However, with no power cuts since March, the ANC’s electioneering fuel tank has remained full to the brim. But, as Mazzone predicts, we may be looking at a few leaks later this winter.