Denel’s collapse now threatening SANDF’s defence capabilities 

Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Kobus Marais MP

The DA has written to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence, Cyril Xaba, to request that the committee investigates SANDF’s internal preparedness to threats in light of Denel’s decay.

We have seen a letter in which the Chief Director of SANDF’s Force Development And Support, Major General Setete Malakoane, requests guidelines from the Chief of the South African Airforce (SAAF), Lieutenant General Mzayifani Buthelezi, in regards to the SAAF approving payment to Denel in light of the challenges faced by the SOE.

The letter clearly outlines SADF’s concerns and states that:

  • Denel’s current financial situation has created a loss of capabilities” which “has impacted the operation of SAAF and led to most of aircraft systems being unavailable.”
  • The inadequate supply of spares by Denel for maintenance has resulted in the unserviceability of equipment.
  • Denel’s decay has also impacted on a lack of ammunition and combat readiness of SANDF.

This letter is alarming and clearly demonstrates SANDF’s own internal concerns about how Denel’s financial and capacity challenges is now threatening the efficacy of the Airforce and the military in general.

The collapse of Denel now poses a major threat to SANDF’s operational and defence capabilities, and can leave South Africa vulnerable to unwanted threats, especially given the Islamist insurgency in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.

The DA has already requested that the SADNF leadership appear before the committee, however, we also believe as Parliamentarians we have a constitutional responsibility to investigate this impending crisis at SANDF as a matter of national importance due to the possible threat to our country’s security.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA verwelkom Menseregtekommissie-ondersoek van ons klagte teen die Universiteit Stellenbosch oor taal-diskrimminasie

Stellenbosch

Die DA verwelkom die ondersoek deur die Menseregtekommissie na die voortgesette diskriminasie teen Afrikaans by die Universiteit Stellenbosch.

Die DA het vroeër vanjaar die klag by die kommissie aanhangig gemaak oor die universiteit se taalbeleid, nadat dit aan die lig gekom het dat studente al meer op die kampus verbied word om Afrikaans te praat. Eerstejaars by verskeie koshuise is verbied om in Afrikaans in hul koshuiskamers te praat, en die verbod is blykbaar selfs op WhatsApp-groepe en parkiebanke op kampus toegepas.

Op grond van die DA se klag, gaan die MRK nou die mate ondersoek waartoe die US se diskriminerende optrede Afrikaanssprekende studente se regte tot gelykheid op grond van taal, ras of op enige ander ongrondwetlike wyse geskend het. Die ondersoek van die MRK kom op die regte tyd aangesien volgehoue klagtes aan die universiteitsbestuur – en spesifiek aan rektor Wim de Villiers – aanhoudend op dowe ore val.

De Villiers se moedswillige swyging gaan egter nou tot ’n einde kom wanneer die Mensregtekommissie Maandag 10 Mei om 10:00 met hul ondersoek in Kaapstad begin.

Die kommissie het aangedui die leierskap van die universiteit, insluitende De Villiers, sal moet getuig, sowel as ander partye wat by die saak betrek is.

Die DA sal self by die verhoor teenwoordig wees om De Villiers se getuienis te monitor. Ons sien voorts ook uit om self te getuig en om Afrikaanse studente op hul beurt te help om húl stem te laat hoor.

Dit is ook nou ’n gulde geleentheid vir die MRK om die rol van die unversiteit se 2016-taalbeleid te ondersoek, aangesien hierdie beleid amptelik aan Afrikaans ’n mindere status as onderigtaal toegeken het. Dit is die 2016-beleid se weiering om aan Afrikaans gelyke status naas Engels te gee wat die atmosfeer geskep het vir die diskriminasie teenoor Afrikaanssprekende studente selfs in private ruimtes.

Dit is ’n ontseenseglike feit dat moedertaalonderrig van uiterse belang is vir die sukses van studente. Dit is ook die grondwetlike reg van alle Suid-Afrikaners om hulself uit te druk in hul moedertaal en om onderrig te ontvang in die taal van hul eie keuse. Die DA sal daarom die MRK-ondersoek deurlopend monitor om te verhoed dat studente wat voor die kommissie getuig beskerm word teen verdere intimidasie of viktimisering deur die US-bestuur.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

Gordhan’s secrecy surrounding Brussels vaccine flight is impeding Parliament’s constitutional oversight powers 

The Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan has failed to provide adequate replies to questions on the South African Airways (SAA) vaccine flight to Brussels in Belgium on the 24th of February 2021. The DA will henceforth be referring Minister Gordhan to the Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Deputy President David Mabuza, so that disciplinary action may be taken against him for impeding the exercise of Parliament’s oversight powers.

 

Minister Gordhan has bluntly refused to provide details of the flight crew of the SAA vaccine flight to Brussels, attempting to justify his secrecy on the basis that there is apparently an “industrially charged environment at SAA” and that such a disclosure could pose a risk to the employees concerned.  This is a very serious allegation that the Minister is making towards the striking pilots, implying that they might be capable of violent extra-judicial conduct toward the crew if the crew were to be publicly identified.

 

In addition to the blunt refusal to give information about the crew, Minister Gordhan has also simply ignored the questions regarding the aviation regulations and exemptions obtained from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).

 

Minister Gordhan needs to play open cards with the public, who have the right to demand that he uphold the constitutionally enshrined principles of public administration, most notably transparency.

 

Thus far, the Minister has blatantly refused to answer the question of whether government adhered to all the relevant provisions of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) when chartering the Brussels flight. His silence is becoming deafening and may be indicative of guilt.

 

The DA is confident that the Auditor-General will fully investigate the legal legitimacy of the Brussels flight when carrying out the audits of both the Department of Public Enterprises and the Department of Health and expose any likely wrongdoing on the part of Minister Gordhan and his cadres.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA calls for debate of national importance on the failure of land reform in South Africa 

The DA will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, to request a debate of national importance on the failure of land reform in South Africa over the past 25 years. Minister Thoko Didiza’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) has presided over a dysfunctional land administration system that has left land redistribution, land restitution and land tenure reform in complete chaos across the country.

The government’s flagship land redistribution programmes, the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) and the Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) have been so badly managed that it has led to widespread confusion, with affected farmers left facing an uncertain future due to a poor land tenure system.

Under LRAD, the government undertook to transfer land to previously disadvantaged citizens under lease to buy agreements. However, the DALRRD has reneged on the ‘lease-to-buy’ agreements, despite the commitment it made in 2005. On the 22nd of April, the DA wrote to Didiza and asked that she intervenes directly in the case of 6 farmers who were being thrown from pillar to post as they tried to action the purchase clause in their ‘lease-to-buy’ agreements. Didiza has not responded.

Similarly, under PLAS, a programme which was meant to address the skewed patterns of land ownership, the Department has only managed to enter into sale agreements with only 15 out of 730 PLAS beneficiaries since 1995. Farmers under the PLAS programme have now become vulnerable to farm evictions or the refusal by the Department to renew their leases. The moratorium on farm evictions, announced by Didiza, has failed to stop the issuance of eviction notices and the renewal of farm leases for famers under this programme.

The government has repeatedly failed to meet its own deadlines to resolve land claims and land restitution cases. In fact, the High-Level Panel Report to Parliament indicated that there are currently more than 7 000 unsettled land claims and 19 000 unfinalised ‘old order’ (pre-1999) claims. At this rate of progress, the report concluded, it will take 43 years before the backlog is cleared. In 2015, the Constitutional Court declared the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act 15 of 2014 to be invalid and ordered that land claims lodged by 1998 be finalised before new claims are lodged.

The ease with which the government has been able to wield eviction notices against vulnerable farmers has been influenced by lack of tenure security. Farmers have been given short term leases, leaving them susceptible to summary evictions from belligerent officials. A case in point is Ivan Cloete who almost lost his farm after he received an administratively flawed eviction order. It was only after the DA’s intervention that the Department rescinded the eviction order and agreed to give him a long-term lease.

Amending section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, as proposed by the ANC, does nothing to provide justice for landless South Africans. The failure of land reform over the past 25 years has been the lack of action by government to ensure justice is served and land ownership patterns are addressed.

The DA’s position is consistent with the findings of the Motlanthe High-Level Panel Report which stated that “the need to pay compensation has not been the most serious constraint on land reform in South Africa to date.” It identifies evidence of corruption by officials, diversion of the land reform budget to the political elite, a lack of political will, and a lack of training and capacity as more serious stumbling blocks. These are all factors that the government has control over without need for recourse to constitutional amendments.

Parliament has a constitutional obligation to step in where government has failed. The DALRRD has shown itself incapable of addressing the chaos in land reform which has left many farmers at the brink of losing their livelihoods. This has to be fixed as a matter of urgency before the farming sector is plunged into chaos.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

ANC infighting destroys North West municipalities

It is clear that the ANC’s current infighting has a devastating impact on service delivery in North West municipalities.

The ANC is the majority party in all the province’s municipalities, but ANC factions are embroiled in an all-out war for jobs and resources.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on co-operative governance is currently conducting oversight visits to these municipalities. What we have discovered has shocked even ANC Members of Parliament.

While water purification plants and roads fall apart, sewage pollutes rivers and electricity networks crumble, ANC councillors are busy fighting each other (in full view of MPs).

In some municipalities, such as Twaing and Ratlou, two ANC councillors lay claim to the same mayoral position. Municipal managers have also been dragged into these fights.

The result is that nobody charged with government responsibility in these municipalities is focused on management and service delivery.

Normally we would ask for the intervention of national government, but the North West provincial government has been under its administration for years.

The chaos in the North West offers a lesson to the rest of the country on the dangers of a one-party State and the devastation caused by cadre deployment.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

Funding Zondo is worth every cent 

The DA welcomes the additional resource allocation for the completion of the Zondo Commission, so long as this Commission leads to real criminal consequences for every person involved in state capture.

Minister Tito Mboweni erred in February when he failed to allocate extra funds to the Zondo Commission in the main budget. 

The newfound tranche of R75 million announced by Minister Lamola that is to be allocated to the commission is thus welcomed by the DA.

Part of the reason South Africa is in financial crisis is state capture. It is crucial that the oozing, fungating wound of ANC corruption be opened and cleaned out for everyone to see.

Zondo is giving us crucial insights into how the ANC has plundered the state, how the policy of cadre deployment is the true cause, and how Parliament was neutered to stop accountability.

It is imperative that the commission be allocated time and funding in order to conclude its work so that criminal prosecutions against dozens of state capture cadres can be initiated. Until then, it is a worthwhile cost to incur. 

Perhaps if failing state companies SAA weren’t continuously bailed out, Ministers Mboweni and Lamola might find it easier to come up with the requisite funding.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

The DA will not allow South Africa to become a victim of the ANC’s civil war

The events of the past 24 hours have confirmed that South Africans stand before a choice that will define our country for a generation. The choice before us is this: will we sit back and allow the civil war inside the ANC to drag us into a constitutional crisis from which our democracy may never recover, or will we seize the moment to finally break free from ANC rule to save our country?

The DA unequivocally chooses the latter.

The farcical merry-go-round of suspensions and counter-suspensions by the supposed leaders of the ANC confirms that we can either have continued ANC domination, or we can have a prosperous future for our country. But we cannot have both.

On the one hand, it is clear that Ace Magashule and his fellow bandits will not hesitate to burn our country to the ground to hang onto their ill-gotten gains and stay out of jail. On the other hand, it is clear that Cyril Ramaphosa’s feeble strategy of appeasement has backfired spectacularly on a President who puts the preservation of his party over the interests of our country.

Last night, we saw the first shots fired in what is set to become a fight to the death inside the ANC. But make no mistake about it: none of the factions involved in this war are fighting for the people of South Africa. They are all fighting for control over the industrial-scale patronage machine that the ANC has become. And because the ANC is currently still the majority party in South Africa, the damage will inevitably spill-over into our society, which is already suffering under the greatest health and economic crisis of our lifetime.

The reality is that the people of South Africa will be the true victims of this civil war if we don’t urgently end the era of ANC political domination.

In this moment of profound crisis for South Africa, the DA will not hesitate to step up to the plate. Mere months ago, I made the public call that only a fundamental realignment of our politics can secure South Africa’s future. That realignment is now coming to pass in front of our very eyes.

The ANC and the vision of a prosperous South Africa can no longer co-exist. That is why I will be calling for an urgent debate of national importance in Parliament on the threat posed to our democracy by the civil war inside the governing party and the need for us to realign our politics to save our country. We have arrived at a time for choosing, and the DA unashamedly chooses to put the rights, needs, and future of South Africans first.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA calls for restriction on Indian travelers to South Africa, only repatriation flights should be allowed

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP.

The DA calls on government to do the right thing and immediately impose travelling restrictions on travelers from India. This should include the halting of direct and connecting flights from India to South Africa as well as restrictions at sea ports and land borders.

Only repatriation flights should be allowed from India to transport South Africans back home. Repatriation should also be on the strict condition of a mandatory self-quarantine for two weeks or by producing a negative Covid-19 test that was taken after arrival in South Africa, not before leaving.

This call comes in light of India’s battle to combat various variants of the Covid-19 virus, including the dangerous B.1.617.

While Heath Minister Zweli Mkhize yesterday indicated that the variant has not yet been detected in South Africa, there has already been two separate incidents of individuals travelling from India having tested positive for Covid in the last 72 hours.

It would be reckless of the government to only implement measures after this variant may hit our shores. A reactionary approach at this stage would be criminal especially since there has not yet been any real clarity on the severity of B.1.617 and whether current vaccines are effective against the strain.

Further to this, South Africa’s vaccine rollout has been non-existent up until this point. We simply cannot afford to another brutal wave of Covid infections which will cost lives nor anther hard lockdown which will cost livelihoods.

While the DA sympathises with India’s efforts to combat Coronavirus, we have seen how the devastation of the country’s second wave has collapsed the health system. If our authorities don’t act decisively, a possible third wave of infections in South Africa will not only be inevitable but also more deadly than before.

DA calls on Arts Department to urgently produce plan to save museums 

The DA will write to the Director-General of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Vusumusi Mkhize, to present an action plan to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture to save independent and State-owned museums, institutions and historic sites in South Africa as a matter of urgency.

It has recently come to light that both the world-renowned Apartheid Museum and the Liliesleaf heritage site will have to close their doors, and that the Robben Island Museum is also in ruin.

It is true that independent cultural institutions are perpetually in need of funds to ensure the preservation of history, but the continuous lockdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic deteriorated their financial situation to such an extent that these vital sites might have to cease operation.

The callous way the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, and his Department have handled the implosion of the South African arts and culture sectors the last 14 months is shocking. Independent theatres, a vital part of the economic development of their communities, have fallen like flies due to Covid-19 relief funding not being made available to assist them. Those making their living from the sectors have lost their homes, their income and many are starving. Museums and heritage sites are now following in those tragic footsteps.

The ANC government has a precedent of putting the party above the country, so it’s unbelievable that institutions crucial to preserving not only South African history, but also the history of the ANC, would be left in the lurch. The only conclusion is that the ANC knows it’s recent history of corruption can never measure up to its struggle roots. The ANC government should be ashamed of its inability to preserve sites that are essential to the preservation of history.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

Tourism Department to blame for closure of Mzoli’s and other township small businesses

The DA has noted the report by TimesLive confirming that the iconic Cape Town restaurant, Mzoli’s Place, has closed its doors. The shisanyama has been a staple on Cape Town’s social scene and has been one of the latest victims of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ANC’s economic lockdown.

Mzoli’s is but one of many small businesses in the township tourism sector which have had to close their doors permanently. The decline should be laid squarely at the feet of the ANC government, who not only placed the nation on perpetual lockdown with irrational regulations, but also the Department of Tourism’s complete failure to provide adequate support to the sector.

This was confirmed in a recent meeting of the Tourism Portfolio Committee yesterday, in which officials confirmed that the Department is in reality doing nothing for small and medium enterprises (SMMEs) in the sector. The Department confirmed that the only assistance provided was the R200 million Tourism Relief Fund which had been made available to assist SMMEs in the tourism and hospitality sector that were under economic pressure due to travel restrictions during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The R1.2 billion Tourism Equity Fund, on the other hand, was created with the aim to improve participation of black South Africans in the tourism sector. However, this one-dimensional government solution ensured that only a selected number of elites, hand-picked by government, benefited. This, while the hundreds of thousands of tourism SMMEs obtained no assistance of any description.

Creating a new tourism elite who have connections to the governing party will do little to grow and develop the tourism sector and create jobs.

If government ensured that the basics were done, it would go much further than the limited elites that will benefit from extravagant assistance. Our tourism sector would grow faster and would ensure a more inclusive and growing sector if the various spheres of government improved and maintained tourism infrastructure, tourism sites and related infrastructure, such as the construction of roads to inaccessible or hard-to-reach tourism sites and access to water and electricity to tourism attractions.

By doing this, more people would be able to participate in the tourism sector without reliance of government funding which, based on this government’s performance, will be pilfered, lost by corruption and maladministration or distributed to those within the inner circle of the ANC. Incentives, such as training incentives to entrants in the sector and tax incentives as a relief to those hit hard during lockdown, would go much further.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.