DA blames Gupta’s troubled Optimum mine for load-shedding

Workers protested, burning tyres at the mine’s gate a week ago over unpaid wages stretching over months.


The Democratic Alliance says the State Capture by the Gupta family which got the Optimum Mine in Middelburg to the hands of the Guptas has really impacted on Eskom’s capacity to generate electricity.

The party on Friday described the mine as the “face of State Capture” and said had it not been for it Eskom wouldn’t be struggling with coal supply.

Eskom is reportedly having a serious coal shortage, with a number of power plants having few days of coal left.

The trouble faced by the Gupta mine are a result of the closure of their bank accounts by the four major banks after being accused of corruption, money-laundering and capturing the state, leading to them being unable to run their businesses, including the Optimum Coal Mine.

Leaders of the party including Mpumalanga Premier candidate Jane Sithole, Parliamentarian Natasha Mazzone and Geordin Hill-Lewis visited the mine last week Friday where workers had burnt tyres, protesting over unpaid wages which they said stretched over a period of several months.

Mazzone said the Gupta family through Tegeta Exploration and Resources which bought the mine from Glencore in 2016 “pillaged” the mine and “caused great havoc”.

“Workers have not been paid and the country is experiencing load-shedding because coal is not being mined. So we are here because Optimum Coal Mine is the very face of state capture,” Mazzone told the media.

She said what needed to happen now was for public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe to come together and “sort out this problem”.

“It is also of utmost importance that these rich fat cats are brought to book – they have been earning money while workers who have done their jobs diligently have not been paid,” she said.

“We cannot have poor families starving while these fat-cats prosper at their expense,” Mazzone said.

She said her party would raise the issue in Parliament.

She added the workers were bearing the brunt of state capture, something they have nothing to do with.

“We cannot allow those implicated in corruption get off scot free, whilst the victims of their crimes suffer in silence. We will absolutely raise this in Parliament, the DA is the voice of the people and we will represent those who are suffering as a result of state capture,” she said.

(edited by ZK)

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DA complains about increasing KwaMhlanga rape cases, lack of police resources

They said the situation is worrying as now sexual abuse becomes “a system”.


The DA in the Mpumalanga province wants an end to the scourge of sexual abuse as well as a properly equipped cop shop.

The party said since last year the number of reported rape cases in the KwaMhlanga area of Mpumalanga increased from 118 to 146 this year and they believe the number of rape incidents are rife when taking into considerations unreported cases.

Mpumalanga Premier candidate Jane Sithole together with DA Women’s Network leaders Nomafrench Mbombo and Annerie Weber submitted a memorandum of demands to the KwaMhlanga police station after a minor was raped in the area a week ago.

The KwaMhlanga police allegedly sent the minor back home when she tried to open a case, apparently citing that the officers responsible for rape victims were not available.

In their memorandum to police boss Brigadier Winnie Mavuso Monday mid-day this week, the three leaders said they wanted the cops to do more in making sure the victims of rape were protected.

Earlier, Sithole told the residents that the scourge of women abuse was actually “a system” and needed to be fought the “same way we fought Apartheid”.

She said it was worrying that KwaMhlanga continued to be leading in terms of rape cases and was unacceptable.

“That is wrong and if we sit down as community and do nothing it will continue. And also what made the suspects to be released so early is because the police are not able to handle evidence,” Sithole told the community members.

She said a week ago a child was raped in the area and the cops sent her back home without opening a case, apparently because the officials responsible to handle rape cases were not available.

“Today it can be a neighbour’s child or somebody you completely don’t know and if you don’t stand up against it, tomorrow it’s your own child or yourself,” she said.

“I always say that Apartheid was defeated by the community. The community stood up and said ‘we are sick and tired of this system’ and today this system of sexual abuse must be defeated by the community,” Sithole said.

In her address, Mpumalanga DA Women’s Network leader Annerie Weber said it was “inhumane” to take advantage of unemployed women and sexually abuse them while promising to give them jobs.

“It leaves women devastated and degraded and ripped of their dignity,” Webber told the community members.

“Women deserve fair access to jobs,” she said, “we will not sit back while women are exploited by perverted officials who abuse their positions of power and take advantage of women’s desperation for employment,” she said, adding the DA will always be there for women.

SEE ALSO: DA decries Msholozi township ‘sex for jobs’ scandal

DA Women’s Network national leader Nomafrench Mbombo, who is also the health MEC in Western Cape, urged the KwaMhlanga residents to stop voting for ANC.

She said the ANC was responsible for policies that ensured unemployment and forced husbands to leave their homes and go work in Gauteng.

“It is women who carry the whole burden at the end of the day. Do you know why you are still the highest unemployed here in Mpumalanga? It’s because six months later when we come for votes you will receive food parcels and then vote for the same government, for the same party that gave you no job,” Mbombo said.

The police said they would investigate the issue of the child who was sent back without a case opened and were happy to work with the communities in responding to such issues as the lack of resources.

(edited by ZK)

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DA’s women structure to march for ‘honest’ KwaMhlanga policing

They say recently a child was raped in the area and the community caught the man but police actions left many community members disappointed.


The DA’s women network is taking a war to the KwaMhlanga police station.

They want the cops in the area to do their jobs “honestly” and “professionally”.

Both DA women’s network leader Nomafrench Mbombo and Mpumalanga Premier candidate Jane Sithole will lead the march to the cop shop.

The party says people continue to receive poor services from police and they suffer as a result.

“Recently, a young girl was raped and despite community members catching the perpetrator in the act and calling the police, the SAPS took an hour to respond,” provincial spokeswoman Buchule Putini said.

She said when the DA investigated the matter, they were told the station does not have enough vehicles to attend rapidly to reports.

“There are no rooms where victims can be kept safe overnight and there is a limited number of trained police that handle sensitive cases,” she said.

The safety of women and children in South Africa is under attack, the party said.

“And we cannot put trust in the unequipped police. In 2018 there were 1260 assault cases reported in the province,” Putini said.

DA women’s network will hold a public meeting with the residents of KwaMhlanga and then hand over a memorandum to the KwaMhlanga police station.

(edited by MLM)

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EFF, DA gang up against sports MEC Thandi Shongwe

The EFF in the Mpumalanga province has written to Premier Refilwe Mtshweni to have sports MEC Thandi Shongwe recalled while the DA has written to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate allegations that Shongwe received a R1.5 million “bribe” for the procurement of the Nelson Mandela statue.


In their memorandum to Mtshweni, the EFF’s Collen Sedibe says the former speaker’s conduct “compromises the principle and standards of good governance, corrupt free, open and transparent government”.

“Pursuant to the number of fraud and corruption cases laid against honourable BT Shongwe during her tenure as the speaker of the provincial legislature and the recent proven allegation of abuse of office as an MEC and misuse of the state cell phone to an amount of more than R60 000 a month, the EFF hereby request the honourable Premier [Ms] RM Mtsweni to recall Mrs BT Shongwe as the MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture with immediate effect,” Sedibe writes.

ALSO RELATED: ‘Scopa is useless – reason we went to police’ – Sedibe

The DA’s Jane Sithole says they have written to Mkhwebane to ask her to investigate allegations that Shongwe “pocketed a R1.5 million bribe during the procurement of the Mandela statue”.

ALSO SEE: Auditor-General to investigate R8.3 million Mandela statue

“During a recent sitting of the Mpumalanga provincial legislature, MEC Shongwe couldn’t admit or deny that she accepted a bribe but chose to rather try and embarrass other members of the Legislature instead of answering the question.

“MEC Shongwe is no stranger to controversy related to hyper-inflated tenders as she has been linked to multiple inflated tenders during her time as speaker of the provincial legislature,” Sithole said in a statement.

Shongwe’s spokeswoman Sibongile Nkosi didn’t answer her phone on Tuesday morning.

Sithole in a statement said Shongwe used to “enjoy the perks of [then Premier DD] Mabuza’s protection”.

“The Public Protector must do a full investigation into MEC Shongwe so that she can pay back any money gained from corruption. We will continue to monitor this situation in our effort to build One South Africa For All,” she said.

(edited by ZK)

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DA decries Msholozi township ‘sex for jobs culture’

The Premier candidate visited the area this week to launch her party’s Listening Tour.


The DA in the Mpumalanga province is concerned of how the people of Msholozi township are “denied fair access to jobs”, it said.

Leader Jane Sithole launched the party’s Listening Tour in the Mbombela township and said what they found in that township is “saddening”.

“According to the residents of Msholozi township, it is common practice for potential employers in and around the area to ask for money or sex in exchange for jobs,” Sithole said.

She said many women described how violated they felt because they “were essentially being forced into prostitution”.

“And in most times, the promised jobs wouldn’t materialise,” Sithole said.

“It is the most vulnerable members of our society who bear the brunt of a weak economy and who are forced to live without basic services. This leaves them vulnerable to sex pests who use the promise of employment as a means to prey on their vulnerability,” the premier candidate said in a statement.

Sithole, who was elected provincial leader this year during an elective congress, was announced by her party in September 2018 as the Mpumalanga premier candidate.

She promises to change things for the better. She said will restore the dignity of the “province’s forgotten residents” through a programme of accelerated delivery of quality basic services.

She added the people in the area have found hope in the DA despite everything.

“Members of this community welcomed the DA with open arms and committed themselves to working with the DA and its vision for change that builds One South Africa For All,” she said.

(edited by ZK)

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