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Guess which are exempt from loadshedding, our ministers or most of our hospitals?

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    Nat Quinn
    We South Africans are a beleaguered lot. We’ve had to watch the endless and unavoidable media attention garnered by the ANC over its Electoral Conference, its extended Electoral Conference and its 111th birthday celebrations.
    The saturation media coverage is standard fare. After all, the ANC is the ruling party (and has been for all 30 years of our democracy). However, we don’t deserve the anger and depression we have experienced in watching a party that is responsible for ensuring the destruction of our economy having a total wank. And at the end of it, nothing meaningful happened.
    Thirty years in power, and the conference started over eight hours late. And this is the same ANC that has the gall to believe that it can create a capable state! After all, they didn’t have to contend with load shedding – apparently the SAPS saw to it that the venue wouldn’t be subjected to the massive inconvenience that we live with daily.
    The ANC decided for the sake of efficiency that it would hold the elective part first, to avoid the rush at the end of the conference to deal with policies that affect each one of us, and none to the good. From the 2017 conference I give you expropriation without compensation, nationalising the South African Reserve Bank in order to print money, and a proposal to create a “step aside” rule.
    The first two are a disaster for the economy. The third was to give an impression that the ANC would deal with corruption in the ANC, but it is meaningless for us, because those who’ve had to step aside are only those charged with a crime and they generally belong to the Zuma faction, more formally misnamed the Radical Economic Transformation Faction. (There is no policy difference between the RET and the Ramaphosa factions).
    The Zondo Commission said that procurement by the state had to have as its first obligation value for taxpayers’ money, with black economic employment as a subsidiary factor, not as the determinant for success in the awarding of contracts. Zondo said this in the context of ANC cadre deployment and black economic employment lending themselves to levels of corruption and incompetence at eye-watering levels. Ramaphosa has once again emphasised, after this conference, that broad-based black economic empowerment remains a cornerstone of its policies.
    So, back to my original point: in five days the ANC managed to elect its Top 6 (now 7 to give a fillip to its commitment to gender parity). Three positions did indeed go to women: first deputy secretary-general: Nomvula Mokonyane; second deputy general secretary: Maropene Ramokgopa; treasurer general: Gwen Ramokgopa. But why oh why was Nomvula Mokonyane appointed? Well, I supposed that as she wasn’t subject to the “step aside” rule, then as a loyal member of the ANC she was suitably qualified. But we had to watch this person, who oversaw enormous levels of corruption and incompetence, elevated to the highest levels in the ANC as our water minister. I suppose this is the ANC’s problem, not ours. However, all the ANC’s problems appear to be ours; so we swallow the rising bile and move on.
    Just to illustrate what we have to put up with, the media also reported that a delegate had written a scathing letter to the ANC Electoral Chairperson, Kgalema Motlanthe, accusing Cyril Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe and Treasurer-General candidate, Bejani Chauke of vote buying during  the conference. The receipt of this letter has not been confirmed by the ANC electoral committee.
    I watched a television interview with a young delegate, who had never been to a conference before and represented a very poor community, saying that he had heard offers being made of R10,000 and more to change votes at the conference.
    So, now our levels of indigestion have risen to burning level. Now we’re gagging with days of Stage 6 rolling blackouts. Being a small business owner is a nightmare. The CEO of Eskom, André de Ruyter, appears to have survived an attempted poisoning, and undoubtedly both he and his family have been subjected to threats. His COO Jan Oberholzer and his family have definitely been subjected to death threats.
    Yet Ramaphosa reassures us saying the ANC has a plan, but we’re really not sure what it says or if it actually exists. We’re not taken into the government’s confidence even though we’re under huge stress and our taxes will pay for whatever is done in the name of the plan.
    The aneurism blew, however, on reading that the ministers are not subjected to load-shedding. The Department of Public Service and Administration tells us that official residences, where Cabinet ministers and their deputies reside, are exempt from the Eskom’s load-shedding.
    ‘Remember, just like the President’s residence is a national key point, those residences, because of the fact that they host members of the executive, they also become national key points.
    ‘The risk of load-shedding for those properties is eliminated’, departmental spokesperson Moses Mushi told Newzroom Afrika.
    Apparently ministers still get load-shedding at their private residences. “Security around our executives needs to always be protected.’
    Mushi also said Cabinet ministers and their deputies do not pay for utilities like water and electricity while living at their official residences.
    ‘Yes, it is true. The reason for that is because the residences occupied by members of the executive are official residences.
    ‘The members do have their own homes in whatever province they might be coming from, where they continue to pay for their water and electricity. They are appointed at the pleasure of the President and are expected to work in Pretoria,’ he said.
    While in Pretoria, the members of the executive are ‘available to serve the nation’, he said.
    ‘Government provides them with the official residences because we expect them to be available to the nation 24 hours without any disturbances or excuses to be able to go into communities at any time. As such, the government provides the official residences for them, as members of the executive.’
    As secretary-general of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) Zwelinzima Vavi said, ‘Can you believe it, that we live in a country where the ministers are simply living in their ivory towers, completely isolated from the crisis that is unfolding in the country’.
    Apparently, the government issued a statement clarifying that ‘as stipulated in the Ministerial Handbook, which contains guidelines for members of the executive, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) is responsible for the costs associated with the provision of water and electricity to any state-owned residence’.
    Government spokesperson Phumla Williams said the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure was bound by government prescripts to accommodate members of the executive.
    Well, I don’t know about you, but I think it’s more important that my cardiologist, who has to be available 24/7 for real life-saving work, has electricity. To do so, he/she/they will have had to install an inverter or solar panels and batteries at his/her/their own cost.
    So why doesn’t the cabinet pretend to care by showing some character and saying that their official residences are not to be treated as national key points. Therefore, they should expect to suffer blackouts like the rest of us and pay for back-up measures from their salaries, not at taxpayers’ expense.
    What are the chances of that?
    Guess which are exempt from loadshedding, our ministers or most of our hospitals? – Daily Friend
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