DA Federal Congress 2023: Nominations are now officially open

The Democratic Alliance is well on track to host the upcoming Federal Congress on 1-2 April 2023, and nominations for leadership positions are now officially open.

The following positions are to be elected: Federal Leader, the Federal Chairperson, and three Deputy Federal Chairpersons. Furthermore, members of the Federal Council elect a Chairperson and two Deputy Chairpersons, as well as a Federal Chairperson of Finance.

Nominations received will be interrogated by the Federal Statutory Obligations Department under the direction of Greg Krumbock MP, Bridget Masango MP and Desiree van der Walt MP, Electoral Officers of the Federal Congress elections.

Candidates are required to uphold the DA’s Standards of Conduct for Internal Elections which outlines the rules of engagement. This document clearly stipulates that “the Party accepts that campaigning for offices may be robust, but expects campaigns to be conducted in a way which is in the best interest of the Party and its supporters”.

Completed nomination forms and the accompanying documents mentioned above must be submitted by no later than 23:59 on the 13th of March 2023. No late applications will be accepted.

The DA looks forward to a positive period of campaigning, in line with the DA’s values and rules for internal elections.

The only way to honour the life of Dr Frene Ginwala is to rebuild Parliament

The following speech was delivered today by the DA Chief Whip, Siviwe Gwarube MP, during a Special Joint Sitting of Parliament to honour the life of the former Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Frene Ginwala.

On behalf of the DA, I would like to formally extend our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Dr Frene Ginwala; her political party the African National Congress (ANC) and all those whose lives were touched by her work over the course of a life well-lived.

Siyavelana nani.

Siyayazi ukuba uwile umthi omkhulu.

The death of the first speaker of the first democratic Parliament comes at a seminal time in our country and indeed for this institution too.

The angst, despair and anger among South Africans is palpable.

This country-wide anxiety about the future coincides with the deaths of some of the founding figures of our democracy, a symbolism which cannot be ignored.

It does require the leaders in South Africa to recommit themselves in word and deed to the very promise of 1994.

It requires us to interrogate what legacy has been left behind by people like Dr Ginwala and how best we can carry on the path that they charted for us all.

The death of this formidable feminist, academic, freedom fighter and trailblazer has made me – a young leader in South Africa – pause for thought about the role that we are playing in bettering the lives of the people who elected us to serve them.

Are we building on the gains of people like Dr Ginwala so that their life’s work and sacrifices are not in vain?

Or have we abandoned the hope and commitment of 1994?

Many have spoken of the gravity of the moment when that first democratic Parliament was founded.

It was an institution built on the foundation of a racially segregated South Africa; a country that many had written off; pointing to examples of civil wars across the continent.

However, many committed themselves to building a democratic South Africa where the colour of your skin does not determine your lot in life.

Parliament as an institution was critical to that national project.

It was in those Houses that laws were passed that would go on to give effect to our Constitution, a document lauded world-over for being progressive.

Dr Ginwala began the work of establishing the culture, rules and procedures of Parliament; working from a completely blank slate.

But from the work that was done then, we know what an effective Parliament ought to do.

It elects a President; pass laws; holds the executive to account and provides a platform for issues affecting South Africans to be ventilated.

Lo msebenzi siwenza apha namhlanje suwuhlakulelwe ngoo Dr Ginwala.

In preparing for this tribute, it was important that I not limit my preparation on all that is written about Dr Ginwala, but to speak to people who were in Parliament during her tenure as the Speaker of the National Assembly.

I spoke to James Selfe, who has since retired but spoke warmly about Dr Ginwala. He too was part of that historic class of 1994. Someone who differed with the Speaker politically but had immense respect for her work and her commitment to the institution.

He recalled to me how fair she was. How – her political persuasions – never clouded her judgement when it came to instilling discipline in the House.

He recalled how detail- orientated she was, committed to the spirit and the letter of the rules of Parliament as a presiding officer.

He spoke of how her work as the inaugural presiding officer truly deepened South Africa’s democracy.

This is no doubt, an incredible legacy.

And so the responsibility is now ours, honourable members.

We need to restore this Parliament to standard and caliber of the first Parliament.

If we are to honour the life of Dr Frene Ginwala, we must rebuild Parliament.

We need to make sure that the rubble which was once the House that changed the course of South Africa is rebuilt, without any delay.

We need to make sure that contribution of the first Speaker of the National Assembly is recorded in the Parliament that will be rebuilt, similar to the Mandela Bust which stands proudly in front of the Assembly.

Honouring her work cannot be just in the form of memorial material.

It needs to be reflected in how we treat this House.

We need presiding officers who will commit to the rules of the institution; unmoved by their own political affiliation.

We need to bring back the spirit of working across party lines. South Africans need to see us united in our commitment to bringing change to their lives.

We need to abandon the unprogressive tendency of shooting down ideas because they do not come from our own political party.

The issues facing South Africa are urgent. And they require the kind of political maturity the likes of Dr Ginwala had.

And so as we bid farewell to her, we also express our deep gratitude.

Silapha nje, sine Palamente enemithetho nemiqathango, yimisebenzi ka Dr Ginwala nabanye.

Anga angaphumla.

Ungqatso ulifezile.

Singu Mzantsi Afrika Siyabulela.

Resignation of JETP Finance Head raises concerns about the future of the Partnership

The DA has noted the resignation of Mr Daniel Mminele as head of the Presidential Climate Finance Task Team. Mr. Mminele was involved in developing the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET-IP) which drives the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP).

There is no clarity yet as to who will take over from Mr Mminele and this has raised serious concerns about the future of the JETP.

Last year the DA raised the matter of ongoing delays around the development of the plan, which aims to make use of the $8.5 billion pledge from developed countries to shift South Africa’s energy production away from coal and towards renewable energy.

It is the DA’s belief that this commitment, made in good faith by the International Partners Group (IPG) comprising of the United States and European countries, was not being treated with the required urgency at the time by the ANC government. This was due in part to disagreements between senior ANC leadership regarding the shift towards increased renewable energy.

If the DA had not raised this matter via Parliament and its committees, the plan may have been shelved due to the ANC’s internal disagreements on the future of renewables. The senior leadership of the ANC does not seem to trust the commitments made by the developed world towards assisting with the green transition and instead chooses to defend high emitting countries like China.

We have recently seen this attitude in the report back to our committee by government negotiators, who repeatedly condemned developed countries for not giving more money to the developing world.

During a presentation to the portfolio committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries on the COP27 negotiations on the 27th of January 2023, the chief government negotiator repeatedly condemned the developed world for GHG emissions but refused to issue even the slightest condemnation towards China, which contributes over 25% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

The negotiator openly stated that they believed that any moves towards holding China to account for GHG emissions were simply part of a US conspiracy to isolate China and that the government would not be part of a strategy of “divide and rule.”

The truth is that the ANC government’s close relationship with the Chinese Communist Party means that they will never condemn China for their massive GHG emissions. The SA government has also made it abundantly clear that China should not have to contribute even a cent towards the proposed loss and damage fund as SA sees them as a developing country.

The ANC government’s condonation of China’s rampant pollution should not come as a surprise as the ANC continues to turn a blind eye towards offences caused by political regimes that it views as traditional allies.

Minister Modise must answer for Soldiers under fire in DRC

Note to editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Kobus Marais MP.

The DA notes with sadness the incident where a South African Air Force Oryx helicopter was shot down on Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo between Goma and Beni.

The commander was critically wounded while the flight engineer unfortunately died. The co-pilot was able to steer the helicopter to Goma Airport.

The DA offers heartfelt sympathy to the family of the flight engineer and express our gratitude for his service to our country. We wish a speedy recovery to the commander, who’s in hospital in a critical state, and the home squadron in South Africa.

The DA has requested the Minister of Defence, Thandi Modise, to urgently brief the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) on the circumstances of this incident and provide answers on whether there was a deviation from our policy/standing or standing order, which holds that South African Oryx helicopters should fly in pairs, escorted by Rooivalk helicopters. If policy was not followed we need to know why not and who will be held accountable.

We cannot unnecessarily endanger the lives of our soldiers because of budget cuts and withdrawals.

It is perhaps time to consider whether the highest priority is still to have our air support capabilities in foreign countries while we have a critical shortage of air defence capabilities in South Africa along our land- and maritime borders.

Government must immediately cut fuel levies to save small businesses and ease consumer burden

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Jan de Villiers MP.

The ANC’s mismanagement of the load shedding crisis is wreaking havoc on businesses of all sizes. Companies in all sectors have warned of the toll load shedding is taking on their operations as they have to spend money on fueling generators.

The DA therefore calls on government to immediately review its fuel price determination model and scrap the fuel levy to alleviate this undue burden on the business sector, in particular the SMME sector and low-income consumers who are facing a full-blown cost of living crisis.

South Africa has one of the most oppressive fuel tax regimes in the world with a 56% year-on-year increase in fuel prices. This leaves large South African corporations struggling to bear the additional costs of running their generators. One of these is Shoprite, who recently spent an additional R 560 million (R3.1 million per day) during uninterrupted stage 5 and 6 load shedding over the last few months on diesel to keep the lights on.

If large corporations are struggling, how are small businesses expected to survive this crisis since fuel has become an unaffordable luxury.

The ANC administration imposes a devastating 33% tax on fuel prices through various levies, exacerbating inflationary pressures on South Africans, in particular low-income and vulnerable groups. The government regulated fuel price had effectively killed competition and failed to deliver efficient cost-reflective fuel prices.

A retrospective analysis reveals a shocking 425% increase in the Road Accident Fund (RAF) levy, a 225% increase in the general fuel levy, and a 119% increase in the basic fuel price since 2008. These increases have led to a crippling increase in the cost of doing business in South Africa since most businesses have to resort to generators to transact.

Scrapping the fuel levy is therefore not just a matter of keeping the lights on, but it is also about providing a lifeline to small businesses who are taxed into poverty by the ANC government.

Eskom CEO appointment requires steel, not pliancy

Finally, as if we’re not facing an electricity crisis, an advert has been published – almost two months after the resignation of the incumbent André de Ruyter, to appoint a new Eskom CEO.

The position, as advertised, reports to the Chair and has to comply with government policy. Under recognised corporate governance practices, the Chair doesn’t get involved with the CEO’s responsibilities, which helps maintain clarity of roles and separation of powers.

Clearly this has escaped the attention of those who drafted the advert for the position. And the fact that failed government policy is responsible in large measure for Eskom being in the parlous position it finds itself appears also to have missed the attention of the drafters.

Or has it? Has the advert perhaps been drafted with a particular individual in mind?

The responsibilities of a CEO of an entity in crisis do not appear to be top of mind. Nor the stage of the company lifecycle which, apart from a focus on setting and executing organizational strategy, building the senior leadership team, making capital allocation decisions, setting vision, values, and corporate culture and communicating effectively with all stakeholders, requires a professional who has evidenced success in fixing damaged utilities charged with delivering electricity at low cost to he public.

AS the DA called for years ago, this needs the attention of the “Red Adair” of the electricity business.

This would require the skills of an engineer, vested with additional attributes of crisis management. Moreover it would require an individual who has the space and the wherewithal to stand up to the flawed dictates of a compromised shareholder – someone who has a practical, pragmatic orientation and is an analytical problem solver with both detail orientated and architectural, system-oriented thinking abilities.

This is not about “turnaround”; it is about salvage and the future of our nation, and a competent applicant would need to stand up to the interviewing panel as a first step in showcasing his or her ability to demand the degrees of freedom necessary to fix a sinking ship.

That requires steel and not pliancy, the absence of which will ensure continued failure as a tool of a government well versed in that capacity. In the unlikely event of this coming to pass, it would be best be if he brought his own coffee in a flask from home.

The DA looks forward to scrutinising the choice – when eventually made – which we will vet ruthlessly, as is required under the circumstances

DA submits PAIA application on Tottenham deal

Please find attached a soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP.

The DA will be submitting a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application for all documentation pertaining to the proposed South Africa Tourism (SAT) R1 billion Tottenham Hotspur deal.

In particular we seek documentation that shows that South Africa and tourism would benefit from this deal. This is particularly important considering that the SAT press conference created more confusion and additional questions than answers.

In the last few days, three members of the SAT board have resigned directly because of this deal. Additionally, there appears to have been no competitive bidding process, which makes this whole matter irregular.

It is vital that this information be obtained as soon as possible, particularly considering that President Ramaphosa’s spokesman has publicly announced that the President does not support this deal. However, sources reveal to the DA that this deal was to be included in the SONA speech by Ramaphosa this week. Ramaphosa must thus come out unequivocally against this deal.

Throughout this controversy, Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu has been deafeningly silent on this issue. Although this is not out of character for Sisulu, as political principle of this portfolio, she should have pronounced and clarified this matter publicly.

Our research reveals that “some board members” of SAT, as well as the South African High Commissioner in the UK, had already been at the stadium to assess and verify the “feasibility of this proposed venture” to be a “tier one partner of this football brand.” Our PAIA application should clarify these allegations.

While local tourism enterprises receive no support to mitigate the on-going loadshedding and its impact on tourism, the SAT saw it fit to spend this exorbitant amount on a foreign football club with no assurance that tourism in South Africa would benefit from this.

I will not let this matter be swept under the carpet. All information pertaining to this matter must be made public so that there is clarity on this matter and if indeed taxpayers money is being wasted on a scheme which appears to show signs of potential corruption.

NDZ: The DA will not support a State of Disaster that puts the same incompetent ministers back in charge

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Kevin Mileham MP

The DA vehemently rejects the suggestion made by the ANC’s NEC for Minister Nkososana Dlamini-Zuma to lead the State of Disaster that may be declared on loadshedding.

Should President Cyril Ramaphosa accede to this outrageous decision, the DA will take the necessary steps to oppose and fight against it.

During Covid-19 Dlamini-Zuma abused her powers under the State of Disaster that was declared to deal with the pandemic. We will not agree to any outrageous plan to have her punish South Africans once again over an electricity crisis that was manufactured by the ANC.

The DA will not support a State of Disaster that puts the same incompetent ministers back in charge.

Now that it has become clear that the ANC wants to hijack the emergency response to the electricity crisis for nefarious purposes, the DA now demands that before any State of Disaster is declared, a detailed outline of its structure and how it will be implemented must be tabled in Parliament.

The DA has put Ramaphosa on notice. Any State of Disaster declaration that seeks to punish South Africans and opens doors to looting and corruption will elicit a strong DA fight-back.

Load shedding equals job shedding

Note to Editors: Please find an attached soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP

The Democratic Alliance is deeply troubled by the ANC government’s hapless handling of the load shedding crisis, and the disastrous impact this is having on the South African economy. The ongoing energy shortfall is destroying businesses and industries, hindering economic growth, and ramping up unemployment.

The DA can today reveal the devastating impact of load shedding on South Africa’s labour market. Approximately 581 988 potential job opportunities have been squandered in the past two years alone. This serves as a reminder of the immense challenges faced by our workforce and the urgent need for decisive action to halt the jobs bloodbath.

According to PwC’s ‘Economic Outlook for South Africa in 2023’ report, the country had the potential to achieve a robust growth rate of 7% in both 2021 and 2022, but was hamstrung by load shedding. The actual growth figures fell far short at 4.9% and 2.5% respectively, resulting in a significant loss of potential job opportunities for the citizens of South Africa.

The relationship between economic growth and employment is well-established. One cannot exist without the other. If companies are unable to grow and do not see their sales improving, they will not increase their capacity to produce more goods.

Of course, the exact number of jobs generated per 1% growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) varies depending on various factors such as the industries in question, government policies, and macroeconomic variables. However, no ANC policy —monetary, fiscal, or structural — can undo the damage caused by load shedding.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that a 1% increase in South Africa’s GDP would result in a 0.6% increase in employment. Based on this correlation, it can be estimated that had the South African economy realised its potential growth rate of 7% in 2021, an additional 189 297 jobs could have been created throughout the year. If the economy had continued to grow at 7% in 2022, an additional 392 362 jobs could have been generated. This totals approximately 581 988 missed job opportunities over the past two years.

The ANC government’s failure to address the load shedding crisis constitutes a gross injustice to the people of South Africa. The ANC has effectively deprived hundreds of thousands of individuals of a means to generate an income. The ANC’s foot-dragging and incompetence with regard to load shedding demonstrates just how little this government cares for the welfare of its citizens. The longer the lights stay off, the more jobs we lose. It is time, therefore, to unplug the ANC from the Union Buildings, and switch off its power at the polls.

Parliament to demand answers from SA Tourism over R1 billion Tottenham deal following DA pressure

Please find attached a soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP.

An urgent meeting by the Tourism Portfolio Committee to discuss the controversial Tottenham Hotspur R1 billion sponsorship deal has been confirmed to take place on Tuesday 7 February 2023.

At this meeting the committee will have the opportunity to interrogate SA Tourism about the pending deal.

The revelation today that SA Tourism’s interim CFO has ties to the agency that would cash in on this deal, makes this meeting urgent and critical.

Yesterday’s press briefing by Themba Khumalo, the Acting CEO of SA Tourism, has left more questions than answers. The DA will demand answers on, amongst other things, if Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu was aware of the deal? We also want a confirmation of the exact figures involved in this deal.

The DA believes that sports teams are not required to promote South Affrica. This money must be used to to buy diesel to alleviate loadshedding, or go to tourism infrastructure.

Sports teams are not required to promote South Africa, rather loadshedding should be resolved which will in turn easily bring tourism back to our shores.