SACP, Cosatu warn ANC on national state of disaster looting

SACP general secretary Solly Mapaila. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

SACP general secretary Solly Mapaila. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 16, 2023


Pretoria - The SACP and Cosatu have urged the ANC to ensure that no politically connected individuals and organisations have illegal access to funds meant for the national state of disaster on energy.

Millions of rand were looted following the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 when the national state of disaster was declared.

The two ANC alliance partners made the call following their bilateral meeting on Monday, in which they discussed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of the state of disaster last week.

The parties also expressed concern about the ANC’s call to municipalities to ensure that they get off the Eskom grid in favour of renewable energy.

Cosatu's Solly Phetoe. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

However, their major concern was that South Africa was not subjected to looting as happened during the Covid-19 pandemic when high-profile governing party members were linked to the theft of funds meant for the purchase of personal protective equipment. Some of these members are now facing civil and criminal cases.

In a joint statement, SACP general secretary Solly Mapaila and Cosatu general secretary Solly Phetoe said the declaration of a national state of disaster as an intervention to resolve the energy crisis should not be used to implement a neo-liberal policy framework.

“Also, during the national state of disaster in response to the pandemic, a nexus of unscrupulous public sector officials and representatives and private sector interests corrupted procurement to enrich themselves.

“The government must not allow this to rear its ugly head again. To this end, mass mobilisation will also be essential. The energy national state of disaster must benefit our people who need a solution as a matter of urgency.”

The SACP and Cosatu reaffirmed their call for an urgent Alliance Economic and Energy Summit, towards a common economic, energy and social policy direction, saying it should help South Africa to resolve the interrelated crises of energy and high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality, and strengthen the fight against corruption and crime.

The two parties hailed Ramaphosa's decision to consider the appointment of a minister of electricity, but expressed concern that they were not consulted.

“While the idea to appoint a minister of electricity in the Presidency may be well-intentioned, the lack of consultation directly contradicts the spirit of a reconfigured alliance and programmatic unity,” they said.

“Our joint commitment to the reconfiguration of the alliance aims to see the alliance play its role as a strategic political centre of the national democratic revolution, as opposed to tailing what the government decides with no consultation, including imposing policy direction on the movement.”

The two organisations said the pronouncement undermined the role of the alliance, excluded a consideration of other options, and portrayed a picture of presidential unilateralism.

The SACP and Cosatu also vowed not to be part of any programme to collapse public entities such as Eskom, saying they rejected the statement by the Presidency that government departments and local governments should get off the Eskom grid in favour of renewables through private sector involvement.

“The notion will remove a key income stream from Eskom and harm it further. The state cannot abandon its responsibility to generate, transmit and distribute energy in favour of private capital and leave the workers and poor with no power.

“As a public utility, Eskom must be supported adequately to thrive. The government should look for better ways to address its debt as a matter of urgency, as part of the wider imperative to turn Eskom around.

“This imperative should include increasing the total productive capacity of the state to generate electricity to meet the energy needs of the people,” Cosatu and the SACP said.

Pretoria News