As our country faces sustained loadshedding, Minister Patricia De Lille has revealed that her Department has spent almost R800 000 on diesel to run generators at Ministers’ houses.  This is over and above the money spent on ostensibly replacing 13 redundant generators on behalf of said Ministers.  While a further 4 new generators are in the procurement stage.

Nobody needs to be reminded of the dire impact of loadshedding on the lives of ordinary South Africans.  We hear daily of babies being born by candlelight at clinics, desperately ill people whose reliance on oxygen places them in life-threatening situations and businesses that are becoming more and more financially constrained due to the impact of hours and hours without electricity.

And while taxpayers sit in the dark, their hard-earned taxes are being used to fund a darkness-free existence for the very Cabinet responsible for the Eskom crisis.  In a time when South Africa lurches from one crisis to another and our citizens are barely managing to put food on their tables, Minister De Lille is nothing more than a modern day Marie Antoinette.  Her “let them eat cake” approach means that she is not only shielding the relevant Ministers from the negative impacts of loadshedding experienced by the rest of the country, she is also shielding them from accountability by ignoring my request to provide details of which Ministers have benefitted from generators and diesel.

This is unacceptable.  Where taxpayers’ money is used, we demand transparency regarding that expenditure.  The DA will again request the details of the Ministers who are the beneficiaries of this loadshedding largesse and should Minister De Lille continue to protect them from exposure, we will submit a Promotion of Access to Information (PAIA) request for further particulars.

It is time that the ANC politicians realise that they are elected to represent the people, not ordained to lord it over others and that living large at the expense of ordinary citizens is not their birth right.  And they most certainly should not be protected from the fallout of their failed policies.  The DA will continue expose the abuse of taxpayer money to fund the governing elite.

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Samantha Graham-Maré

Samantha Graham-Maré, MP is the DA Shadow Minister: Public Works and Infrastructure.

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