MK party will end load shedding, cut fuel costs – Zuma

African Democratic Change leader Visvin Reddy after having a marathon meeting with former president Jacob Zuma in Nkandla on Tuesday night. Photo supplied.

African Democratic Change leader Visvin Reddy after having a marathon meeting with former president Jacob Zuma in Nkandla on Tuesday night. Photo supplied.

Published Jan 4, 2024


Durban — The uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party has vowed to end load shedding and reduce fuel costs when it takes over the government from the ANC after the elections.

This emerged at a meeting between former president Jacob Zuma and the leader of African Democratic Change, Visvin Reddy. The long meeting at Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla ran from Tuesday night until Wednesday morning.

In a series of videos shared by Reddy, the two leaders discussed key issues which included crippling load shedding and high fuel costs which have both threatened to collapse the country’s economy.

Zuma said the MK party will prioritise ending load shedding, adding that there would never be load shedding. The country was not supposed to be having load shedding since he stopped it by bringing in people who stopped it, Zuma added.

Load shedding was started deliberately by people who wanted to do business in their own way, he said. After discovering that he stopped it, those people were removed and the new ones brought back load shedding, he said.

“I made a statement that there would never be load shedding and we were supposed to have no load shedding up to now.

“The people who came back wanted it because, as people say, they wanted to use the kind of business that will grow their companies, that’s what happened.

“They chased the people who were doing (stopped load shedding) and removed them from the companies, and actually wanted to arrest them,” said Zuma.

During Zuma’s tenure, he brought in Brian Molefe as chief executive, who was credited with ending load shedding between 2015 and 2017. It was at that time that Zuma announced load shedding would never happen again.

Zuma’s claim of Eskom sabotage was also recently echoed by former president Thabo Mbeki, during his address at a dialogue hosted by the Thabo Mbeki School of Public and International Relations at Unisa. Mbeki said the ruptures at state-owned enterprises, including Eskom, were a deliberate effort to collapse the economy and was a co-ordinated attack on the state.

Mbeki, who is also Unisa Chancellor, dismissed the notion that load shedding came as a result of the government’s failure to heed advice to increase power generation in 1998 which resulted in the beginning of load shedding in 2008.

On high fuel costs, Reddy revealed Zuma had said Sasol would have to be nationalised to ensure that people benefit from reduced fuel prices. Zuma also supported the ADeC’s idea of levying taxes on monopoly industries to reduce fuel tax which was a burden to poor people, Reddy said.

“The meeting with former president Jacob Zuma was productive and informative. We discussed the pressing issue of high fuel prices in South Africa and its impact on the most vulnerable members of society,” Reddy said.

It was encouraging to hear that Zuma is aware of “our campaign” and supports the idea of levying taxes on monopoly industries to reduce fuel taxes, Reddy said.

“We were particularly heartened by Zuma's acknowledgement that Sasol should be returned to the hands of the people to ensure the benefits of reduced fuel prices are shared among the wider community; not just the company’s owners.

“As we look ahead to the elections, we believe the role of MK will be crucial in shaping national policy,” said Reddy.

“Zuma’s previous track record of keeping fuel prices in check is a testament to his commitment to the wellbeing of ordinary South Africans.

“We hope that his continued involvement in the political landscape will bring about positive change and meaningful action to alleviate the burden of high fuel prices,” said Reddy.

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said Zuma should be taken seriously when he said he would end load shedding because he was talking from experience, not imagination, as he had ended load shedding in the past.

He also backed the plan to nationalise all state-owned companies that even the apartheid government had controlled for the benefit of the people.

Sasol is a South African company which produces fuel from coal under the state but was privatised in 1979. Reddy said Sasol is currently exporting petrol to neighbouring countries while SA is importing fuel.

African Democratic Change has become the first party to announce that it will form a coalition with the Jacob Zuma-backed uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party.

Although some of the discussions were confidential, Reddy confirmed to the Daily News that his party would work with the MK party after the general election which is expected to be held this year.

Speaking to the paper on Wednesday, Reddy said his party was one of the like-minded parties to that of Zuma and the MK and they had met to discuss strategies on how to rescue the country from the ANC’s failures.

He had come to realise that small parties have no role in shaping national politics, Reddy said. Therefore, it was important to consider voting with the like-minded to make a meaningful impact rather than barking alone in the opposition benches with “no one to take you seriously because you are just small fish in a big pond”.

“We discussed various pertinent issues with Zuma and my party would indeed form a coalition government with MK as I believe that MK will garner enough votes to lead the government after the elections,” he said.

Reddy, who is also a vocal councillor in eThekwini, is a veteran politician. After being with the Minority Front for many years, he left it and joined the DA in 2004 but spent less than a month there before jumping to the ANC.

Citing his reasons for dumping the DA and joining the ANC, Reddy said the DA was hellbent on reverting the country back to the yesteryears of apartheid.

In 2014 he ruffled feathers in the ANC after a Facebook post which the ANC called divisive.

Reddy subsequently left the ANC. In 2020 he was part of the founders of the ADeC and contested the 2021 local government elections which earned him a seat in the eThekwini council.

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