Speech by Dr Ivan Meyer, DA Federal Chairperson, at Parliament on Sunday, 25 October 2020 at the Black Monday event

The following speech was delivered by Dr. Ivan Meyer, DA Federal Chairperson and Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, at a Black Monday event outside Parliament today. See photos here, here and here.

We are here today #ForTheLoveOfAgriculture.

We are here today #ForTheLoveOfFarmers.

We are here today in solidarity with our farmers, farmworkers – black and white, their children, and their families.

Farmers and farmworkers live in fear in South Africa.

We are here today at Parliament because the President and MPs deny that farmers and farmworkers are attacked and murdered.

Mr. President, wake up and smell the blood of farmers across South Africa.

Mr. President, our hearts are bleeding for our farmers across South Africa.

Mr. President, I have been to the scenes of farm attacks. Mr. President, it is not only attacks, it is the brutality of these crimes.

Mr. President these farmers are honest, hardworking men and women, and all they ask are STOP Farm murders now.

Mr. President, our farmers and farmworkers are the food basket of South Africa.

Mr. President, are you aware that South Africa’s agriculture is exporting 50% of our agri-products on the African continent.

A farm murder in South Africa directly impact the food security and political stability of the African continent.

As the Chairperson of the African Union, you should condemn farm murders in South Africa to protect food security on the African continent.

Mr. President, these farmers are your key to economic recovery in South Africa.

Without these farmers, there is no economic recovery.

Mnr die President, hierdie boere is die kosmandjie van Suid Afrika.

Ons vra dus

  • Stop plaasmoorde in Suid-Afrika;
  • Verklaar plaasmoorde as haatspraak in Suid-Afrika;
  • Verklaar plaasaanvalle en plaasmoorde as prioriteitsmisdade in Suid-Afrika;
  • Bemagtig SAPS in landelike gebiede met meer toerusting en hulpbronne om hul werk meer effektief te done;
  • Stel ‘n hofmoniteringseenheid (die sogenaamde Watching Briefs) in om plaasaanvalle effektief te monitor in kriminele regstelsel;
  • Ondersteun plaasbuurtwagte met hulpbronne, toerusting en elektroniese kameras om misdaad te voorkom;
  • Die boere vra vir belastingskorting op alle veiligheidsuitgawes wat hulle op hulle plase aanbring.

Mnr die President, boere, plaaswerkers, wit en swart, staan vandag hier voor die Parlement, en vra u as die hoof van die regering in die Republiek Suid-Afrika, kom ons stop plaasmoorde.

Dit kan nie langer so aangaan nie.

Een moord is een te veel.

Ons harte is seer vandag, want die mense wat kos op ons tafel plaas word wreedaardig in Suid-Afrika vermoor.

Suid-Afrika kom ons staan saam ons boere, plaaswerkers en hulle families.

Vir ons boere, alle boere regoor Suid-Afrika, aan die in die Vrystaat, Noordwes en Noord-Kaap wat brandstigting ervaar het, kom ons haal ons hoede af en handhaaf ‘n minuut van stilte.

Hier in die Wes-Kaap is ons boere ons landbouers en plaaswerkers ons strategiese vennoot.

In die Wes-Kaap dra landbou 11% by tot die ekonomie van die Wes-Kaap en daarom gaan ek nie plaasaanvalle en moorde duld in die Wes-Kaap nie.

‘n Aanval op ‘n boer en plaaswerker is ‘n aanval op die ekonomie van die Wes-Kaap en dit gaan ek nie toelaat nie.

Ek sluit af, Vandag, Ek salueer alle boere, landbouers en plaaswerkers regoor Suid-Afrika.

Ons boodskap is eenvoudig: Mnr die President, kry ‘n ruggraat en stop plaasmoorde in Suid-Afrika

Didiza’s published list of farms for land reform causes panic among emerging farmers

The plan by the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), Thoko Didiza, to release 700 000 hectares of “underutilised or vacant state land” for agricultural purposes could potentially prejudice emerging farmers after it emerged that some farms on the published list were already underactive agricultural production.

To prevent further panic and ensure that affected farmers get the requisite assurance to proceed with their preparations for the forthcoming agricultural season unhindered, the DA will write to Minister Didiza and ask that she:

  • provides clarity on why productive farms have been listed;
  • confirm whether existing farm occupants were consulted on the government’s intention to place the property on the list;
  • explain the reasons for listing a farm whose occupant already possesses a lease agreement; and
  • provide documented evidence of the reasons that informed the inclusion of each of the 896 farms on the list.

The DA is concerned that the criteria used by the DALRRD to identify ‘underutilised or vacant land’ may have been subjectively applied by Departmental officials resulting in the listing of productive farms.

One of the affected farmers is Mr. David Rakgase who, with the DA’s assistance, recently won the right to full ownership of his Nooitgedaccht farm in Limpopo after an 18 year battle with the government. Despite agreeing earlier this year to transfer full ownership of the farm to Mr. Rakgase, the sudden u-turn by the government to list his farm under the latest land reform programme is not only puzzling but now borders on vindictive victimisation of this elderly farmer.

Similarly, the Gwatyu community in the Eastern Cape recently discovered that their fight to have full ownership rights of their land has only resulted in its listing for possible land reform purposes on Didiza’s list. The Gwatyu case is particularly concerning because, despite being ignored for years by the government in repeated attempts to present their case, they now face the possibility of having their land parcelled out without consultation.

Deputy President, David Mabuza’s assurance in Parliament last week that no one will be forcibly evicted from the land is of little comfort to farmers who have spent years fighting for their right to land ownership. The urgent issue at hand is for Didiza to halt her ‘700 000 hectare’ programme until she has cleared the ongoing confusion on the targeting of occupied productive land.

Catastrophic oils spill endangers Durban’s fragile ecosystem

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is horrified by the catastrophic crude oil spill from a Transnet pipe into the Umbilo River. The crude oil has now meandered down to Durban Harbour and can be seen as far afield as Battery Beach in Durban Central.

DA councillors Melanie Brauteseth, Gavin Hecter and eThekwini Caucus Chief Whip, Thabani Mthetwa, conducted a brief oversight to the site of the oil spill and were greeted with the horrific site of thick black oil permeating the river and its banks. Spill-Tech were on-site to fix the pipe and contain the spill.

The already severely compromised Umbilo river ecosystem which has been the site of major sewage spills and industrial pollution now faces complete ecocide. The impact on the ecosystem, wildlife, and communities dependent upon the river is unknown at this point.

The DA will ensure that eThekwini Municipality and KwaZulu-Natal provincial authorities hold Transnet to account. An immediate investigation must be undertaken into the allegations of Transnet’s ailing pipeline infrastructure as the cause of the oil spill. An environmental assessment of the damage must be commissioned and a plan for the rivers’ rehabilitation drafted, in consultation with environmental experts, to save the Umbilo River.

The devastating impact of the oil spill could take years to remedy. A disaster of this scale should never have been allowed to occur and we must ensure there are no repeat incidents. The ongoing pollution of our waterways is a crisis that has been unfolding unabated in all of South Africa’s provinces for many years.

The DA has submitted a parliamentary question to the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, requesting her department’s plan to address the ecocide of South Africa’s rivers. South Africa is a water-scarce country and we cannot afford the destruction of our precious fresh water sources that many communities depend on.

Minister Creecy’s department needs to urgently step in to assist provincial and municipal authorities to fulfil their mandate as there seems to be chronic incapacity to protect our rivers. Government must uphold the people’s constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to their well-being, as well as the preservation of the environment for future generations.

The DA call on Minister Creecy to urgently convene a meeting with the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Health to devise an emergency plan to save South Africa’s rivers. This is a necessity not only to protect our vulnerable communities and natural heritage, but is also an integral part of South Africa’s climate resilience strategy.

CoGTA Minister must declare State of Disaster for three provinces devastated by fires

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to urgently declare and gazette a state of disaster for fire-ridden areas of the Free State, North West and Northern Cape.

More than 200 000 ha, by last estimation, have already been destroyed by fires on farms in these three provinces. The DA has received reports that farmers and volunteers were still battling blazes at 04:00 this morning, with the strong wind fanning the flames and making it extremely difficult to extinguish.

A declaration of a state of disaster will enable the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to be on standby to immediately assist when the fires flame up again and make helicopters and other vital equipment needed to fight these fires, available.

At the moment farmers and volunteers have to drive for kilometers on end to refill their water tanks in order to fight the fires. And there seems to be little help from municipalities in combatting the flames, leaving members of rural communities to face the danger and destruction on their own.

While the parliamentary portfolio committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has called for Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza to declare a state of disaster, this unfortunately falls outside her mandate. The DA calls for Minister Didiza to engage with the Minister Dlamini-Zuma as a matter of urgency to ensure that a state of disaster is proclaimed immediately so those affected can get the help they need to combat the fires urgently. Farmers must also be assisted with water and feeding for their animals and the restoration of infrastructure on the farms.

The purpose of a state of disaster is to provide immediate crucial aid, after all. Something that these provinces are in dire need of. But while the Ministers are taking their time, people and animals’ lives are in danger and thousands of hectares of land are destroyed daily.

On 23 June 2020, the DA asked the Free State provincial government to assist farmers in the event of fires. “Government should use resources at its disposal to assist farmers during times when they are most vulnerable, such as during droughts and fires.” Intervention from government is essential to these exact disasters, volunteers in the Free State, Northern Cape and North West are currently facing on their own.

The DA is undertaking oversight inspections to these three provinces in the next three days to engage with farmers and volunteers locked in combating the disaster and to investigate claims that some South African Police Service (SAPS) stations are refusing to open cases of arson in these areas. The allegations that these fires were deliberately set need to be thoroughly investigated, and we welcome the arrests that have been made in this regard so far.

Yesterday, the DA laid criminal charges against the EFF Member of Parliament, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, for incitement to arson following a song he sang in Senekal translating to “call the fire brigade, burn these Boers”. We take the incitement to commit property damage and possible injury to life very seriously.

Farms being set alight does not just affect the farmer and farm workers on these farms. These fires will have wide-reaching economic and food security impacts that will affect South Africans all over the country and from all walks of life.

Some of these farmers are still reeling from the drought that have plagued areas in South Africa for seven years and still not a cent of the R35 million given for drought relief in the Northern Cape have been spent to assist the farmers there.

While government is cooling it’s heals and turning a blind eye to the destruction, lives and livelihoods are going up in flames.

#Jetgate: Did the ANC pay back the money? The DA wants proof

In response to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary question, the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, has confirmed that that the State has not yet been reimbursed by the ANC for their junket to Zimbabwe onboard an Air Force jet.

The Minister said that “[any] revenue due to the state flows to the National Revenue Fund (NRF) through departments concerned before it is surrendered to the NRF. As it stands, the Department of Defence is still working on the matter and will inform the National Treasury accordingly once the matter is finalized.”

Minister Mboweni’s response to the DA seems to contradict the ANC’s confirmation earlier this month that it had in fact paid back R105 000 to the Department of Defence and Military Veterans.

The facts are that the ANC delegation abused public funds to illegally travel to Zimbabwe and back aboard the Air Force’s Falcon-900 aircraft. With the aid of Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the ANC flouted Defence and Treasury processes and disregarded level 2 lockdown regulations for their own party-political ends. They simply cannot get away with a slap on the wrist and must repay every cent.

The DA now challenges the ANC to release a proof of payment for the reimbursed funds. If they have nothing to hide then they would easily release the proof before close of business today.

DA welcomes Deputy President’s commitment to discuss our R75k solar tax rebate proposal as a step forward

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the commitment from Deputy President, David Mabuza, that he will discuss our proposal of a R75 000 tax rebate for households wishing to install a rooftop solar system with the Ministers of Finance, Public Enterprises and Mineral Resources and Energy, and apply his mind to seriously implementing this. He made this commitment during the parliamentary question session on Thursday.

The DA first made this proposal as part of our contribution to the budget process in 2019, and the recurrence of loadshedding has made it more necessary than ever. A fully costed proposal was prepared, and submitted to National Treasury. We will now resuscitate this and submit it to the Deputy President as he has requested.

We estimate that it will cost in the region of R4 billion over 3 years, and reach approximately 100 000 households. The estimated saving in electricity is 480MW. The proposal thus eases demand on both the grid and Eskom, boosts the local economy and lowers the risk of loadshedding. Given that loadshedding is estimated to cost the South African economy R1 billion per stage per day, it is clear that just two days of stage 2 loadshedding would more than justify the expense.

Deputy President Mabuza undertook to study the DA’s proposal, and discuss it with his Cabinet colleagues, before reverting to us in writing. We will hold him to this commitment, and look forward to further constructive discussions that can alleviate South Africa’s energy crisis.

Click here to read more about the DA’s plan to drive the cost of electricity down, introduce competition into the energy sector, and diversify the country’s energy sources to introduce more renewables, as well as our record of action on the electricity crisis over the last 8 years.

Mboweni admits R70 billion IMF loan “could be used for salary payments” for ANC cadres

Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, appears to have abandoned the position he took in his February budget presentation to rationalise the unsustainable public wage bill, and is now willing to use debt to finance salary payments to government employees.

Responding to a parliamentary question on whether any portion of the $4.3 billion loan granted to South Africa by the IMF will be used to pay the salaries of public servants, Mboweni conceded that “the loan receipts (or disbursements) will form part of the National Revenue Fund to be used to support existing government programmes, which could include salary payments.”

This sudden change by Mboweni from his avowed position of prudential public financial management to debt fueled public spending is hardly surprising. It is now public knowledge that his economic reform crusade has been rejected outright by his Cabinet colleagues who have repeatedly shown a willingness to send South Africa over the fiscal cliff through unrestrained spending.

For years now, the consensus among International Financial Institutions (IFIs), rating agencies, economists and even some in Treasury itself is that the country’s public wage bill had become unsustainable and needed to be cut to prevent a budget blow out. Initially a strong proponent of this position, Mboweni now seems intent on appeasing the trade unions by acceding to their demands for additional spending on the public wage bill.

By admitting that the IMF loan could be used to pay salaries, Mboweni has reneged on the spending commitments he made in his Letter of Intent to obtain financial support under the IMF’s emergency financing instrument. The LOI committed government to use IMF emergency assistance to support health and frontline services, solve the balance of payments problems caused by the pandemic, protect the vulnerable, support economic reform, drive job creation and stabilise public debt.

As Mboweni gets ready to present the Medium Term Budget Policy statement in a week’s time, his failure to hold the line and defend the public purse from marauding political interests in his own party will have far reaching consequences on South Africa’s long term fiscal stability. The reality is that the country’s unprecedented high budget deficit and debt levels are only set to get worse as a result of an unending appetite for more debt.

The DA has already written to the IMF to register our strong objection to Mboweni’s intention to spend another R10 billion on bailing out South African Airways. In our next correspondence with the IMF, we will similarly inform the Fund that Mboweni has now decided to abuse the $4.3 billion loan to pay salary increases for ANC cadres.

DA lays criminal charges against EFF’s Ndlozi for incitement to arson

Please find the attached soundbite, and video by Natasha Mazzone MP, Chief Whip of the Official Opposition.  A Pictures can be found here and here

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today laid criminal charges against the EFF Member of Parliament, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, for incitement to arson following a song he sang in Senekal translating to “call the fire brigade, burn these Boers”.

These utterances are not only incredibly hateful, but is a call to incite arson, violence and anarchy by Ndlozi and his fellow EFF quasi-revolutionaries.

The DA strongly condemns Ndlozi’s utterances. Not only are they indicative of his vile disregard for the safety of rural communities and their lives, it is also indicative of him and his party’s complete disregard for democracy, the rule of law and private property rights.

Thousands of hectares of land have been on fire and destroyed in the Free State, and while the cause of these fires are still unknown, we do know that a politician sang songs calling “the fire brigade” to  “burn these Boers” and that this was followed by large scale destruction.

The EFF are known instigators of violence and destruction who would rather see South Africa burn in pursuit of their narrow political interests. The DA will not stand by and watch how fascist and racist bullies such as the EFF disregard the laws that govern our country. Unlike the EFF, the DA is a party of rules, laws, constitutionalism and democracy.

It is for this reason that we have not only laid criminal charges against Ndlozi, but we have also laid an ethics complaint with Parliament’s Ethics Committee. We have also referred his utterances to the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the words within these songs and declare them as hate speech.

It is time that Parliament, Chapter 9 institutions and law enforcement agencies show their teeth and take actions against the hooliganism and violence demonstrated by the EFF. These institutions should be at the forefront of investigating and protecting our democracy, they simply cannot cower in the shadows.

While the EFF tries to pull the country into further chaos through race baiting vitriol, the DA will hold our ground as the rational and peace-loving centre that will continue to fight for the strengthening of our democracy.

Statement on Tito Mboweni’s appointment of Ranjeni Munusamy

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is the primary custodian and guardian of the integrity of the National Treasury. He should always act in a manner that sets the example to the rest of government in probity, clean government and ethical standards.

In this context, the appointment of Ms Ranjeni Munusamy in the Office of the Minister is unwise and ill-considered. The appointment should be reversed until such time as the allegations Ms Munusamy faces have been properly tested and aired.

This appointment has, for the first time, brought allegations of state capture corruption into the heart of the Treasury. Ms Munusamy has not been charged or tried for the allegations she faces. 

However, they are of a serious and credible nature, and her explanation of events is so suspicious – that it would have been better not to make this appointment until such time and if she has been cleared of all accusations.

The DA urges Minister Mboweni to reverse Munusamy’s appointment.

We have also submitted parliamentary questions to determine the job description and key performance areas of a “community outreach officer”, level of pay, and what process was followed in making the appointment.

DA calls on Deputy President to facilitate inter-ministerial solution to 9 000 unemployed social workers

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Deputy President, David Mabuza, to facilitate inter-ministerial engagements between the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, and other relevant ministers in Cabinet to address the lack of political will and funding to absorb social workers in crucial areas within the public sector.

During a recent meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, it was revealed that 9 284 qualified social workers are currently sitting at home without any employment due to funding constraints, lack of capacity and a lack of adequate tools of the trade within the Department of Social (DSD).

These unemployed social workers could have a crucial impact on the social ills that plague our society. The Covid-19 pandemic, not only laid bare the social and humanitarian challenges in South Africa, but it also exacerbated it. Now, more than ever before, South Africa requires qualified social workers on the ground to assist and support our most vulnerable communities.

The ongoing failings of the DSD to deploy social workers into critical areas ultimately put issues such as childcare and Gender Based Violence on the backseat. It is for this reason that the DA is calling on the Deputy President, who is the Leader of Government Business, to address the issue of unemployed social workers.

The poor inter-ministerial cooperation between the DSD and the Departments of Basic Education, Health, SAPS and Treasury not only impedes the absorption of social workers into the workforce but also government’s ability to reach vulnerable and at-risk groups. Absorbing social workers within the health, education and policing sectors could address the issues of poor leadership, lack of funding and poor capacity within the DSD and allow for immediate access to much-needed social services.