Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Minister and fellow South Africans, it is a great privilege to stand before this House today as a newly elected Member of Parliament, to deliver my maiden speech in the service of the people of our nation. At this time, I am reminded that, despite the vagaries of our past, we are now and will forever be one nation with a single and shared future. I am also cognisant of the overwhelming desire of South Africa's people for their politicians to place partisan interests aside and work together. To that end, hon Minister, I wish to assure you of my unwavering commitment to the country's Constitution, and my sincere desire to work with you in the interests of our people.
House Chairperson, we are not blind. In fact, we are acutely aware that 300 years of colonialism and apartheid have entrenched severe development challenges that are further magnified by economic forces of globalisation. We acknowledge the continuing legacy and intergenerational consequences of colonialism and apartheid. We are intensely aware that undesirable colonial and apartheid patterns of capital accumulation have continued unabated under successive ANC-led governments. We know, too, that this is the case in the energy sector, where the ANC has actively defended the status quo, despite this not being in the broader interests of our country or our people.
It is broadly accepted that South Africa has followed a heavily capital and energy-intensive development trajectory, powered almost entirely by the extraction, sale and use of coal. With its roots in the mineral discoveries of the late 1860s and 1880s, and known as the mineral-energy complex, this development trajectory is a product of the original compromises established between British colonial masters and the country's original industrialists. Along with cheap energy, the colonial and later the apartheid-era state subjected some people to cheap labour. Cheap energy and cheap labour were a boon to South Africa's mines and the narrow industries associated with mining. The social consequences of this state-aided policy were, however, devastating.
In 1996, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that the mining industry's involvement with the state in the formulation of oppressive policies and practices that resulted in low labour costs could be described as first-order involvement in apartheid.
Firmly entrenched in this perspective, the DA expresses its concerns about the failure of this and all previous ANC-led governments to shift South Africa's development trajectory towards a broader industrial path in which a diversity of industries and sectors are engaged to compete for capital and appropriately priced energy, but within a framework of fair labour practices.
Yet, the ANC is doing nothing to achieve real structural change in the energy sector. The mineral-energy complex is left untouched as this government refuses to dismantle Eskom's monopoly, or reduce our country's dependence on coal. As such, the continued application of this apartheid- era logic will continue to reverberate across South Africa's economy and society.
With the minutes remaining, let me draw your attention to the burning issues. Firstly, I call on the Minister to come clean on the extent of the energy crisis affecting the nation. The idea that Kusile and Medupi will mean a return to business as usual ... [Interjections.]