DA mourns the passing of a towering legend, Oliver Mtukudzi

The Democratic Alliances (DA) joins the people of Zimbabwe and the world’s jazz fraternity in mourning the death of world-renowned jazz legend, Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi.

His untimely passing leaves a void that will not be easy to fill. His death comes almost exactly a year after the passing of another jazz luminary, Bra Hugh Masekela. Africa and the world’s music industry will take a while to recover from the loss of towering figures in the mould of Mtukudzi and Masekela.

Mtukudzi was one of the greatest talents ever to emerge from Africa. The soul and sincerity of his music came from the fact that he mostly sang in his mother tongue of Shona, which transcended cultures and serenaded fans all over the world.

We extend our condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Tuku. May his music live forever.

Tinoti famba zvakanaka mwana wevhu, pako wasakura wazunza. Zorora murugare Oliver Mtukudzi.

Beit Bridge Border Post in a melt-down as Zimbabwean nationals seek refuge in SA

Note to Editors: This statement follows an oversight inspection by the Democratic Alliance Spokesperson on Immigration, Jacques Julius MP, to the Beit Bridge Border Post between Limpopo, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Mr Julius.

Today, the DA conducted an oversight inspection at the Beit Bridge border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe to assess conditions following unrest and violence in our neighboring country. It was important for us to check the readiness of Home Affairs officials at the border, as thousands of people are expected to seek economic refuge and safety in South Africa.

During our visit to the Beit Bridge Border, the DA engaged with officials who confirmed our suspicions. The already compromised immigration system at Beit Bridge is crumbling under the pressure of thousands who are seeking refuge as they are running away from what has become a nightmare in their own country.

During the oversight it was clear that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assertion that all is well in Zimbabwe and that economic sanctions should be lifted is not only untrue but also deeply irresponsible. People have died. Bystanders have been shot senselessly, homes have been raided and the entire country is on lockdown. According to the border officials there was a single day in January when over 130 000 people crossed the border to South Africa.

The ripple effect of this is that the understaffed Home Affairs officials are not prepared for such demand.

The situation in Zimbabwe has developed into a humanitarian crisis as local authorities have cracked down on protestors and civilians. The crisis in Zimbabwe will no doubt exacerbate what is already a broken South African immigration system which is failing to offer efficient and effective immigration services.

Thus, it is imperative that our borders are adequately resourced and prepared for the expected influx of Zimbabweans seeking passage into South Africa. While our doors must always be open to legitimate refugees and asylum seekers, it cannot simply be a free-for-all lawless situation.

The DA has therefore written to President Cyril Ramaphosa not to adopt the quiet diplomacy which defined the Mbeki-administration. South Africa cannot handle this crisis in Zimbabwe the same way former President Thabo Mbeki did.

The DA will not stand by while the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe are violated, South Africa needs leadership and change that can deal with the problems we face. The DA is the only party capable of fixing immigration and border security which has crumbled under the failing ANC.

The ANC is wrong – they do want to take South Africans’ pensions and homes

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes that the ANC has lodged a complaint with the IEC regarding an advertisement the Party published in a KwaZulu-Natal newspaper and flyers that have been distributed stating that the governing party wants to take citizens’ houses and pension funds.

The ANC’s claim that the DA is spreading “disinformation, fake news and fear mongering” cannot be further from the truth.

The reality is that the ANC is attempting to take away citizens’ homes and pensions.

This was evident when the ANC, along with their policy unit, the EFF, pushed through the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution, to allow for land expropriation without compensation.  This would make government the sole owner of all property and land, and citizens would have to rent their homes and land from government for life.

Furthermore, in its manifesto the ANC unreservedly states its intention to change the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) mandate as well as to prescribe to financial institutions where they must invest the money they hold in trust on behalf of pension and retirement fund contributors.

Due to their chronic failure in government, the ANC now wants to take the hard-earned pensions of ordinary South Africans to rescue sinking state-owned entities (SOE).

The ANC is wrong, the only ones who are using apartheid-style tactics are, in fact, the ANC themselves. Prescribed assets are exactly what the National Party resorted to in desperation when they could not raise capital in the international markets.

The ANC’s complaints are thus baseless and we fully encourage and welcome an IEC probe.

Beitbridge Border Post in a meltdown as Zimbabwean nationals seek refuge in SA

This statement follows an oversight inspection by the Democratic Alliance Spokesperson on Immigration, Jacques Julius MP, to the Beitbridge Border Post between Limpopo, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Mr Julius.

Today, the DA conducted an oversight inspection at the Beitbridge border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe to assess conditions following unrest and violence in our neighboring country. It was important for us to check the readiness of Home Affairs officials at the border, as thousands of people are expected to seek economic refuge and safety in South Africa.

During our visit to the Beitbridge Border, the DA engaged with officials who confirmed our suspicions. The already compromised immigration system at Beitbridge is crumbling under the pressure of thousands who are seeking refuge as they are running away from what has become a nightmare in their own country.

During the oversight it was clear that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assertion that all is well in Zimbabwe and that economic sanctions should be lifted is not only untrue but also deeply irresponsible. People have died. Bystanders have been shot senselessly, homes have been raided and the entire country is on lockdown. According to the border officials there was a single day in January when over 130 000 people crossed the border to South Africa.

The ripple effect of this is that the understaffed Home Affairs officials are not prepared for such demand.

The situation in Zimbabwe has developed into a humanitarian crisis as local authorities have cracked down on protestors and civilians. The crisis in Zimbabwe will no doubt exacerbate what is already a broken South African immigration system which is failing to offer efficient and effective immigration services.

Thus, it is imperative that our borders are adequately resourced and prepared for the expected influx of Zimbabweans seeking passage into South Africa. While our doors must always be open to legitimate refugees and asylum seekers, it cannot simply be a free-for-all lawless situation.

The DA has therefore written to President Cyril Ramaphosa not to adopt the quiet diplomacy which defined the Mbeki-administration. South Africa cannot handle this crisis in Zimbabwe the same way former President Thabo Mbeki did.

The DA will not stand by while the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe are violated, South Africa needs leadership and change that can deal with the problems we face. The DA is the only party capable of fixing immigration and border security which has crumbled under the failing ANC.

Western Cape Policing: You are dead wrong Minister Cele

The Minister of Police has misled the residents of Bonteheuwel today. It was not his first time. Today he told an untruth when, according to the media, he claimed that “there are more policing resources in the Cape metro than in any other region in SA.”

The latest available police to population ratio for the area surrounding Bonteheuwel is about 442 people for every one police officer. Nationally, the SAPS have 1 police officer for every 375 people – according to the Minister himself the ideal ratio is about 1 police officer for every 220 people.

The under-resourcing of Bonteheuwel and its surrounds is part of a bigger trend for the Cape Town Metro and the Western Cape Province. According to the statistics supplied by SAPS to the Provincial Standing Committee on Community Safety, the police to population ration in the Western Cape stood at more than 560 people for every one police officer in 2018. The statistics also showed that national government had permitted the number of SAPS officer in the Western Cape to drop by 4502 over the past 4 years.

This is a disgrace and means that national government has set this province up for failure and has betrayed its people – they carry the responsibility for the blood of the more than 5000 people who have died at the hands of gang violence over the last decade.

Even the hasty re-establishment before the elections of the Anti-Gang Unit exposes the terrible truth that national government disestablished the organised crime and gang units in 2002 and refused to reinstate them despite calls for their return over the last decade by the City and Provincial government. Even now when they were finally reinstated it was simply accomplished by populating them with staff from the various police stations across the City, thereby further depleting the staff capacity of some of these already under-resourced police stations.

To be clear, Nationally there is on average 1 police officer for every 375 people, despite the fact that the national minister himself says there should be 1 police officer for every 220 people. In the Western Cape, there is 1 police officer for every 560 people. The statement by Minister Cele is therefore not true and is a deliberate attempt at distorting the truth about why this province is experiencing a crime and gang violence epidemic and who is responsible for it.

When the Hawks established their Narcotics Enforcement Bureau in 2017, they assigned only 9 officers to the Western Cape, where more than 36% of the country’s drug crime are reported. By comparison, Gauteng received 24 and Kwa-Zulu Natal 25. By late 2017 Western Cape still languished behind with only 9 officers while the number in Gauteng was bumped up to 34 officers.

In terms of the Constitution, policing is the responsibility of the national government. The ANC government has failed the people of Cape Town and the Western Cape spectacularly in this regard. The City has had to step into the breach deploy extra policing staff to take up the slack and perform policing functions being neglected by national government, such as rail commuter safety, liquor enforcement, gang enforcement and marine resource protection (anti-poaching).

The City will continue to put resources towards trying to make these communities safer. Mayor Dan Plato has committed to R100 million rand extra policing staff a year for the next 3 years which will allow us to triple the Metro Police and make huge gains towards improving safety in Cape Town’s most challenged communities.

The ANC should not play politics and support the DA’s plan to fix Eskom crisis

The DA has noted the reported recommendations from the task team established to find a way to fix Eskom. This panel is now doing work that is long overdue when the entity is now on the brink of collapse. This is why it is essential that the ANC government must not play politics with the future of Eskom, and adopt the DA’s plan to break up the monopoly in order to find a sustainable and long-term solution to this crisis.

The DA has led the charge on ways to fix Eskom over the last year, with the development of the ISMO Bill which seeks to break Eskom into separate entities, namely into a generation and transmission entity. Unlike the task team’s recommendations, our offer would see some of the generation entity privatized in an effort to break Eskom’s monopoly, allowing private entities to compete on an equal footing. It will also allow well-functioning metros to apply to enter into agreements with electricity generators directly, giving them scope to choose who supplies them with electricity and reduce the risk of load shedding.

There is broad agreement that Eskom is the single most important state-owned entity (SOE) in South Africa, but there is also agreement that its parlous financial state is the single biggest threat to South Africa. The ANC government has allowed Eskom to slide to the brink of collapse through State Capture, over-staffing, poor leadership, mismanagement, corruption and nepotism.

The DA has considered the recommendations of the task team, notably the proposal to restructure Eskom by breaking it up into three separate public entities, namely generation, transmission and distribution. We have also taken note of their other proposals, notably a massive bailout and a substantial increase in electricity tariffs. Both are alarming and cause for concern.

Eskom is already unable to service its R419 billion debt burden, all of which is underwritten by the government, and is facing the prospect of this debt rising to R600 billion over the next few years. The proposal to have government take-over R100 billion of this debt is unacceptable and would amount to the biggest bailout of any SOE in our country’s history. Now is the time for tax payers to say they have had enough.

Meanwhile, South Africans are bracing themselves for increased electricity tariffs with NERSA conducting public hearings. Eskom has called for a 15% increase in electricity tariffs, asking ordinary South Africans to once again foot the bill for the ANC government’s incompetent management of our power utility. Now is the time to be vigilant and for electricity consumers, who have had to suffer through power outages and rising electricity costs, to say they have had enough.

We have done extensive work on this ISMO bill which will restructure Eskom into a more competitive and nimble generation entity that can deal with its debt burden more effectively. It will provide a revamped energy sector and it will break Eskom’s monopoly stranglehold.

We call on the ANC to support our ISMO bill and to join us in finding a workable solution for the Eskom crisis. The panel’s recommendations do not go far enough in solving this crisis. The only way to fix Eskom is to adopt the DA’s bill.

We also call on South Africans to recognise that the DA has workable solutions to a range of problems and ask them to entrust us with their vote as we build One South Africa for All.

Put the corrupt in prison, not Parliament

The following remarks were made today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, in Umlazi, eThekwini, during the KwaZulu Natal leg of his Kasi-to-Kasi Tour. Maimane was joined by DA KZN Premier Candidate, Zwakele Mncwango.

Fellow democrats,

It is great to be here today in KwaZulu Natal, to bring the DA’s message of One South Africa for All to the almost 12 million people who call this beautiful province home.

One South Africa for All is a vision I personally hold dear, and a vision the DA is fighting for each and every day. That is, to bring change that creates a prosperous and reconciled nation that works. A South Africa in which jobs are created, corruption is eliminated, our communities are safe, our borders are secure, and basic services are delivered to all.

Because the truth is, South Africa is still split into two nations. We are still a nation of insiders and outsiders – of “haves” and “have nots”. We remain divided along racial, economic and social lines, and it is these divides that halt our progress. The DA’s vision is to break down these divides, whereas the ANC continues to keep us divided as this serves their own narrow interests.

Fellow democrats, corruption remains the biggest obstacle in our pursuit of One South Africa for All. Corruption is not a victimless crime, as former President Jacob Zuma would like to believe. The victims of corruption are the outsiders and the “have nots”, who remain locked out of the economy without any hope of a better tomorrow. And the beneficiaries of corruption are ANC fat cats who use their positions to make themselves extremely rich.

Over the past few days, testimony before the Zondo Commission has given us an intimate account of ANC-style corruption as it relates to the embattled facilities company, Bosasa. These revelations have shattered the well-peddled myth that corruption in the ANC was simply a feature of Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family. A system of corruption that builds a wall between insiders and outsiders is alive and well within the ANC.

From bottles of brandy to braai-packs to monthly cash bribes, ANC officials, heads of parastatals, and government ministers were bribed in order to ensure public money was channelled way from South Africans and into the pockets of Bosasa executives. From Nomvula Mokonyane to Lindiwe Sisulu; from Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to Vincent Smith; from Lindiwe Zulu to Gwede Mantashe – the ANC chose to turn its back on the people of South Africa in pursuit of personal gain.

Worse still, President Ramaphosa himself is personally and directly implicated in the Bosasa scandal. Not only did he receive half a million rand “donation” from Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson, towards his ANC presidential election campaign, but the President admitted in Parliament in reply to my oral question that his son Andile does business with Bosasa.

Following the Zondo Commission revelations, it is difficult not to view this R500 000 donation as a bribe. The fact is that Ramaphosa received R500 000 from a company that has been paying the ANC bribes for the better part of two decades. And it is to this that the President owes the people of South Africa the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Since Ramaphosa became President, not one ANC connected individual involved in corruption has been arrested. We need to ask ourselves frankly, what has changed? Cyril Ramaphosa will always sacrifice the unity of South Africa in favour of the unity within the ANC. We saw this here in KwaZulu Natal two week ago, where Ramaphosa and former President Jacob Zuma were arm in arm, cutting cake and drinking champagne.

Fellow democrats, this is not the South Africa we imagined in 1994. It was Nelson Mandela who, when referring to the ANC, said the following words:

“Little did we suspect that our own people, when they got a chance, would be as corrupt as the apartheid regime. That is one of the things that has really hurt us.”

We cannot continue along this path any longer. The ANC, like their counterparts in Zimbabwe, thought they could trick South Africans by simply changing the bus driver of a broken down bus. However, South Africans in their numbers are realising that we don’t need a new bus driver, we need to change buses. We need to climb onto a bus that is headed in the right direction.

This is where the DA’s offer provides South Africa with a clear choice. We can choose the ANC’s record of perpetual, unabated corruption. Or we can choose a different path. The DA’s record in government when it comes to corruption speaks for itself. We have zero tolerance towards corruption as it steals opportunity from ordinary South Africans.

In the Western Cape, corruption has been eliminated, as the government continues to produce clean audits, year in and year out.

In Johannesburg, the DA-led administration has uncovered over R20 billion in corruption inherited from the previous ANC administration – opening up criminal cases with the SAPS.

And in national government, Bosasagate offenders will be first in line and find themselves behind bars for 15 years in prisons that Bosasa and ANC government facilities management still hold the keys to.

Bribery is corruption, and this is the very antithesis of bringing change that builds One South Africa for All.  We must always stand up to corruption as it steals opportunity away from ordinary South Africans.

My call to South Africans is to join us this weekend in registering to vote for change that builds One South Africa For All.

Suspension of PIC officials doesn’t get Ayo Technology R4.3 billion back

The ANC government should get serious about recovering money looted from the Government Employees Pension Fund.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to Mondli Gungubele, the Deputy Minister of Finance and chair of the Public Investment Committee (PIC) board, to request details on the action to be taken to recover the R4.3 billion the PIC wrongfully invested in Ayo Technology Solutions a company valued at a mere R67 million.

Earlier today the PIC announced that it had suspended Fidelis Madavo, Executive Head of Listed Investments and Victor Seanie, Assistant Portfolio Manager, for apparently flouting governance and approval processes with respect to the R4.3 billion Ayo Technology Solutions (Ayo) investment.

It was apparent from the outset that the PIC investment of R4.3 billion of pensioners money in Ayo, was designed to enrich persons possibly within the PIC and very likely Independent Media head Iqbal Surve, a political ally of the ANC, who controlled Ayo Technology Solutions.

The mere suspension of PIC executives will do nothing to recover the clearly corrupt investment of pensioners’ hard-earned money. The boards of the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) as well as the PIC must immediately take legal action to recover the R4.3 billion from Ayo Technology Solutions, Iqbal Surve and all persons who may have been enriched by this corrupt investment. Any further delays in taking action will reduce the chances of ever recovering even a portion of the R4.3 billion of GEPF pensioners looted money.

This is yet another example of how the ANC government poses a great threat to South Africans’ pension funds. The DA will continue to fight for pensioners, and to fight corruption that erodes your hard earned pension funds.

BOKAMOSO | DA can put a job every home

Election 2019 should be all about jobs. South Africa’s core problem is our unnaturally high unemployment rate. Poverty, inequality, crime – all these will remain dangerously high while there are 9.8 million (mostly young) adults without a job in South Africa. Conversely, poverty, inequality and crime will come down if we can shift millions more people into the productive economy.

A DA national government would aim to put a job in every home in South Africa. Our track record in DA-run Western Cape Province suggests we can do this.

Over half (95 000) of the 188 000 new jobs created in SA in the past year were created in the Western Cape. This was achieved despite the hostile regulatory environment imposed by the ANC national government and a crippling drought in the area.

The Western Cape accounts for only one-eighth of SA’s population. Just think how many jobs could be created if the entire country were DA-run!

(Note that the DA does not claim to create jobs. Rather, our approach is to create an environment which fosters job-creating entrepreneurship and investment, and which extends opportunities to all.)

By comparison, the ANC’s 2019 manifesto can be summarized in one sentence: South Africa’s unemployment rate will remain unnaturally high if the ANC remains in government. Their manifesto promises to create 275 000 new jobs each year. Frankly, everything else it says is just noise.

Numbers speak louder than words and this number is telling us all we need to know about our future prospects under an ANC government.

Let’s be charitable and assume the ANC breaks with tradition and keeps this promise. (Only 188 000 new jobs were created in SA in the past year, so this is not a forgone conclusion. Unfortunately, the total number of people needing jobs increased by 525 000 in the same period, meaning another 337 000 people joined the ranks of the jobless.)

If only 275 000 new jobs are added to the economy each year, joblessness will continue to go up and soon it will breach 10 million and be headed for 11 million. South Africa will know no peace, stability or prosperity under these conditions.

At 275 000 new jobs per year, it would take 35 years just to produce jobs for the current 9.8 million people who need them. But since the job market grows by an additional 550 000 people each year, there’ll be no clawing back of that number.

So, it is fair to say the ANC’s manifesto is a blueprint for the status quo of unnaturally high unemployment, poverty, inequality and crime. It is an admission of defeat.

This is the crux of the difference between the DA and the ANC’s approach in government.

The ANC’s focus is on creating a black elite, even at the expense of improving the lives of the black majority. This approach has divided our country into two South Africas – the haves and the have-nots.

The ANC’s approach has essentially created an insider/outsider economy. Insiders – those with jobs and connections – are protected and enriched (through policies such as highly restrictive labour legislation, national minimum wages and BBBEE) at the expense of outsiders who are locked out of opportunities, with little prospect of ever entering the economy.

The DA’s approach builds one South Africa for all by breaking down the barriers that keep people locked out of the economy and by extending opportunities to all. This is the only approach that will bring down South Africa’s unemployment rate and effectively fight poverty, inequality and crime.

The upcoming election is the most crucial our nation has faced since 1994. Election 2019 is a chance to bring real change to SA. If you want to support the DA’s job-creating approach and our vision of one South Africa for all, please check that you are registered to vote by going to check.da.org.za.

This weekend 26-27 January is the final registration weekend. If you are a first-time voter or are not yet registered, please make sure you visit your nearest voting station between 8am and 5pm on either the Saturday or the Sunday, with either your green ID book, your smartcard ID or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate.

Please use your vote to support job creation and build one South Africa for all.

#Bosasagate: DA to submit latest allegations against Vincent Smith to ethics committee

The DA will be submitting a supplementary affidavit to Parliament’s Ethics Committee detailing the latest allegations against ANC MP, Vincent Smith, relating to payments he received from Bosasa.

The DA first referred Smith to the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests in September 2018 when it emerged that he allegedly received security upgrades and other benefits from Bosasa over a three year period starting 2015.

Testimony from former Bosasa COO, Angelo Agrizzi, at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture detailed how Smith was also paid R100,000 a month, allegedly for influencing committees at Parliament.

Vincent Smith previously served as chairperson for the Standing Committee on the Auditor-General, as well as the crucial Ad Hoc Committee on the Funding of Political Parties and the Joint Constitutional Review Committee. He is currently set to serve on the Ad Hoc Committee to Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution.

The DA will also be laying further criminal charges against Smith, as well as new charges against former ANC MPs, Vincent Magagula and Winnie Ngwenya, all of whom served on the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services at a time when Bosasa was earning billions on contracts with the Department.

It has now been five months since I first laid criminal charges against Smith and reported him to the Ethics Committee.

Today I will be submitting a supplementary affidavit to the Ethics Committee containing the allegations tabled at the Zondo Commission yesterday. We will also be laying criminal charges against previous ANC MP’s, Magagula and Ngwenya.

It is clear that the ANC dominated Ethics Committee have every intention of stringing out the investigation into Smith until the dissolution of the 5th term of Parliament, at the end of March this year. If we know one thing for sure, it is that the ANC coalition of corruption has zero political will to cleanse their ranks of the endemic filth they have become characterised by.

A DA run government will have a zero tolerance approach to corruption.