The leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mr Mmusi Maimane, greets DA members at Makhuvha Stadium.
"We won't allow China’s model of 'debt-trap diplomacy' to take root in South Africa," said the leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mr Mmusi Maimane.
He was speaking to a large crowd of DA members at the Makhuvha Stadium on Sunday.
With the multi-billion development of the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ) currently underway, Maimane said what had not been punted by Pres Cyril Ramaphosa was the quid pro quo (an exchange of goods or services, in which one transfer is contingent upon the other) that had been agreed to with these Chinese companies. "What the President did not mention yesterday was the Power China International Energy Project in the Musina-Makhado SEZ. This is the construction and operation of a 4 600MW coal-fired plant to be built over the next few years," Maimane added.
"It appears this power plant will be used solely to power this SEZ. There are many serious questions about this development, about none of which the President has been forthcoming."
In the interest of South Africa, Maimane said,they needed clarity on the timeline of the new coal-powered plant, who would build it and whether the power station would only serve the planned new Chinese-controlled industrial park.
"South Africa is on the brink of plunging into complete darkness due to a lack of energy. Ramaphosa’s new strategy cannot be to sell our country to the highest bidder. We all know what happens when countries sign such deals with China. Just ask Sri Lanka, who had to surrender an entire port and surrounding land. Or Zambia, who stand to lose Lusaka International airport to the Chinese. Or Djibouti, who face the possibility of handing over some key assets to China," Maimane added.
According to him, the DA has a clear plan to reform the energy sector and to stabilise electricity supply, but they have to privatise the generation entities of Eskom immediately, allowing a diverse range of energy sources to enter the grid, increasing competition and lowering costs. "We would instruct Eskom to immediately freeze the build on the last two outstanding units at Kusile, and instead look to bring on more IPPs to provide power. Eskom’s debt is spiralling due to cost overruns on the two big coal builds, while the units are not running at full capacity due to design and build flaws," Maimane said.
The DA will also reaffirm Eskom’s engineering and maintenance employees as an “essential service” that cannot enter into strike action; install major smart meters for municipalities to force municipalities to collect revenue timeously; and allow well-functioning metros to source energy directly from independent energy suppliers.
Maimane told the crowd that it was time for real change. "The DA can bring that change. Our agenda for reform will build One South Africa for All where there’s a job in every home, our communities and streets are safe, our borders are secure, basis services are delivered to all, and corruption is eliminated," he said.