DA’s Phumzile van Damme lays assault charges against Medupi Power Station security guards

2019-03-27 19:19
Phumzile van Damme led the DA’s charge against Bell Pottinger. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Phumzile van Damme led the DA’s charge against Bell Pottinger. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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DA MP Phumzile van Damme has laid charges after security guards allegedly assaulted her outside the Medupi Power Station in Limpopo on Wednesday.

Van Damme and Risham Maharaj, a member of the Limpopo legislature, were conducting an oversight inspection of the power station when they were met with resistance from the security contingent at the station.

The oversight inspection included a picket outside the station.

Van Damme also claimed the security manager threatened to use firearms on them.

It was at that point that she took out her phone to take pictures and videos of the incident for evidence, she said.

"Not only was I manhandled but I was also assaulted, leaving my lip bleeding and my phone was stolen only to be returned later by the police," Van Damme said.

According to Maharaj, they requested to enter the premises but were told that they should have notified the power station management first.

But Maharaj believes the real conditions at Medupi would have been hidden if they did that – an assertion Van Damme agreed with.

"The reality is that, had Medupi and Kusile power stations been completed, South Africa would have most probably avoided rolling blackouts," said Van Damme.

"The ANC does not want South Africans to see the true extent of their failures. By barring me from entering the failed and expensive facility, the ANC and [President Cyril] Ramaphosa are attempting to hide a simple fact – there is no real plan to keep the lights on and build the economy."

Brigadier Motlafelo Mojapelo confirmed to News24 that Van Damme laid an assault charge at the Lephalale police station on Wednesday afternoon. He said the police would investigate the matter.

Medupi Power Station security could not be reached for comment. 

The DA has been vocal about issues plaguing power utility, Eskom, and party leader Mmusi Maimane said DA-led municipalities would write to Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, requesting a determination in terms of Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act of 2006 and allow them to bypass Eskom and produce electricity directly from independent power producers (IPPS).

On Friday, Maimane will lead a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to force Ramaphosa to take action on the energy crisis.

Read more on:    medupi power station  |  phumzile van damme
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