Independent panel confirms that Ramaphosa has a broken the law

The DA has noted the findings of the independent panel established in terms of the National Assembly rules; giving effect to Section 89 of the Constitution.

This is a defining moment for our constitutional democracy and must not be taken lightly.

The panel makes some serious findings against the president, chief among them being that he may have violated the constitution. These are grounds for impeachment proceedings in Parliament. This is exactly why our focus must now be on the Parliamentary process.

While a vote on whether to institute impeachment proceedings against the president requires a 50% majority, we do hope that the ANC in Parliament will put party interests aside and abide by the constitutional obligation we all have.

The DA will study the report and the DA Leader will make an announcement on steps to be taken going forward tomorrow.

DA Speeches- 16 days of Activism for no violence against women and children

The speeches below were delivered during the debate on 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children in the National Assembly on Wednesday, 30 November.

Solly Malatsi MP–  Government failures are creating an enabling environment for GBV to thrive

Annerie Weber MP16 days of activism against gender-based violence – to end the violence against women and children

Karabo Khakau MPPresident Ramaposha chose Mr Bheki Cele over the Safety and Lives of Women

DA’s Land Justice Bill to turn millions of rural citizens into property owners

Please find attached a soundbite by Thandeka Mbabama MP.

Earlier this month, the DA called on the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to probe government human rights violations for denying land ownership for millions of rural South Africans living in so-called “communal” or “trust” areas. Today, we are ready to announce our next step in our fight for rural citizens.

It is very clear that government is failing to implement Section 25(6) of the Constitution, which explicitly states that “A person or community whose tenure of land is legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an Act of Parliament, either to tenure that is legally secure or to comparable redress”.

Since the ANC has failed to uphold this provision of the Constitution for three decades, the DA will now do it for them. The DA’s national caucus last week approved the development of our groundbreaking Land Justice Bill, which will remedy the existing legal lacuna in communal land rights by providing all persons living in communal areas, as well as beneficiaries of land reform programs who currently farm on state-owned land, with the opportunity to obtain private title to their land.

The aims of the Bill are (1) to direct the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to create mechanisms to provide title deeds to all land reform beneficiaries who currently farm on land owned by the State under programs like the Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS), as well as (2) to provide title deeds to all citizens living on communal land who want to become fully-fledged landowners.

The Bill’s clarion call is: “Title deeds and private ownership for all who want it!”

Up to 17 million South Africans currently live on communal land without any legally-protected land rights. In fact, as the DA revealed last month, much of this land is still legally owned by apartheid-era institutions like the “Minister for Native Affairs.” This lack of formal legal protection places citizens living in communal areas at extreme risk of dispossession.

Perversely, the same problem afflicts thousands of emerging farmers who have benefitted from land reform schemes, where farms were purchased from commercial farmers by the State. However, instead of transferring these land reform farms to beneficiaries, emerging farmers have been turned into tenants without the ability to leverage the land in order to raise capital or obtain private title.

Turning land reform beneficiaries and the 17 million people living in communal areas into fully-fledged landowners will constitute the single biggest step forward for sustainable land reform in South Africa’s democratic history. It will also yield tangible benefits to beneficiaries and to our broader society, including:

  • Creating equality between urban areas – where million of people already enjoy private property rights – and rural areas where many still do not enjoy private ownership protections;
  • Protecting landholders from evictions by providing legally recognised private title;
  • Allowing for the leveraging of property to raise capital;
  • Improving food security by empowering land reform beneficiaries to become successful commercial farmers;
  • Enabling these new property owners to pass formal title down through their family via succession law;
  • Improving access to credit by using property as security for loans;
  • Encouraging investment in some of the poorest parts of our country, including by property owners who will know that any expenditure incurred in improving their property will be legally protected.

To lay the foundation to provide private title to all who want it, the Bill will direct the surveyor-general to survey all currently unsurveyed land parcels on state owned land and tribal and communal land. The purpose of this survey will be to understand the boundaries between properties in these areas.

The usage of satellite and aerial photography will be authorised. Upon the completion of the survey, the Bill will direct the Deeds Office to run public participation processes to identify all landholders who occupy parcels in these areas in terms of leases or permissions to occupy (PTO) as well as the nature of any land rights held in practice.

The Bill will then seek to convert these land rights into individual or communal title at the request of the landholders. This formal registration process will recognise a continuum of land rights and will include communal use rights registered as servitudes.

The Bill will further require the Valuer-General to provide each beneficiary who obtains private title through this Bill with a valuation certificate, and for the State to assist beneficiaries with drawing up a will to protect these valuable assets.

After 30 years of ANC failure, this landmark Bill will finally fulfil the requirements of Section 25(6) by providing legally secure land tenure to land reform beneficiaries and 17 million of the poorest citizens of South Africa. The DA calls on all political parties and all societal stakeholders who wish to restore the dignity of people in rural areas, and who believe that all South Africans should have equal rights to own private property, to support the DA’s Land Justice Bill.

Lessons from Gauteng metro upheaval

ANC one-party dominance is drawing to a close. We cannot afford to replace it with unstable coalitions. The recent upheaval in the Gauteng metros provides crucial lessons for South Africa ahead of the 2024 national election. We ignore them at our peril.

Johannesburg

On 25 October, the DA’s Mpho Phalatse was reinstated as mayor, replacing ANC mayor Dada Morero who was in office for just 25 days. This, after the DA won its High Court case to have the ANC coalition’s motion of no confidence which forced her out on 29 September ruled unconstitutional and invalid.

The judgement is something of a victory for Johannesburg residents and the rule of law, setting a legal precedent that should deter councillors from pursuing illegal processes and frivolous reasoning to topple opponents.

But the fact remains that the political situation in Johannesburg is inherently unstable due to an enormously fragmented council where 18 parties are represented, with no party having an absolute majority, and with 8 of them having just 1 seat in the 270-member council. Phalatse’s new coalition remains at risk of being ousted.

Ekurhuleni

On 8 November, DA mayor Tania Campbell was reinstated as mayor of Ekurhuleni having been ousted two weeks before in a motion of no confidence. Her 10-party minority coalition had spent 10 months working to undo the damage done by the ANC over the past two decades and achieving meaningful progress for residents. She has now formed a new minority coalition which remains at risk of being ousted.

Citizens suffer

The citizens of these two metros are the real victims of this political upheaval. Political instability inevitably disrupts and compromises service delivery, with the poorest citizens suffering most. Being unable to afford private provision, they are most reliant on government services.

If the dynamics within metro coalitions are replicated at national and provincial government level post 2024, it will lead to permanent instability, with South Africa possibly even becoming ungovernable.

The problem with PR

Proportional Representation electoral systems tend to encourage a fragmentation of politics into a large number of parties. In South Africa this is particularly extreme because a party can get a seat in Parliament with just 0,2% of the vote.

Yet even a party this tiny, with minimal electoral support, can bring down a government if that party’s seat is needed to make up 50%-plus-1 in the coalition. In Johannesburg, for example, COPE got fewer than 2500 votes out of more than a million voters. Yet their one councillor, Colleen Makhubele, brought down the DA-led multi-party coalition.

When no party wins an absolute majority, tiny parties can become “king makers”, wielding power that is far out of proportion to their electoral support. This makes them vulnerable to being bribed by larger parties that need their support to get into government, posing huge risk to the stability of coalition governments.

Electoral threshold

Other countries with PR electoral systems, such as Germany, Denmark, Austria, Belgium and Greece, have avoided instability by setting electoral thresholds. In Germany, parties require a minimum of 5% of the electorate’s support to get into national government while in Denmark it is 2%, Austria 4%, Belgium 5%, and Greece 3%.

To stabilise coalitions in South Africa, the DA has proposed an electoral threshold of 1 or 2%, among other legislative changes, which we will seek to introduce through Private Members Bills.

Promotes democracy

While preventing a tiny party from getting a seat in a legislature may be seen as somewhat undemocratic, allowing tiny parties to decide whether the ANC or the DA runs a government is a gross subversion of democracy. In pursuit of a generally democratic outcome and stable coalitions, we need to be willing to sacrifice a small degree of proportionality.

Avoids complexity

By preventing a proliferation of tiny parties, an electoral threshold also prevents cumbersome coalitions consisting of large numbers of parties, such as Tshwane’s 7-party coalition and Nelson Mandela Bay’s 10-party coalition. Decision-making is naturally slower and large coalitions battle to act with common purpose. Inevitably, delivery is compromised.

The DA-led multi-party coalitions in both Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni have managed to achieve meaningful successes while in government, despite the challenges of managing complex minority coalitions. But had the DA held outright majorities or been able to form majority coalitions with just one orSecurity of tenure and greater flexibility due to simpler decision-making processes make for better governing outcomes. This becomes very clear when you look at Cape town, Midvaal or uMngeni, where the DA governs outright, or Hessequa and Breede Valley municipalities, which are run by stable DA-led majority coalitions.

Two-horse race

If voters are serious about replacing the ANC with a functional government that can move South Africa forward, then 2024 needs to be a two-horse race between the ANC and the DA. A recent poll by the Social Research Foundation put the DA at only eleven percentage points behind the ANC nationally. In the next eighteen months we will close that gap still further.

Nóg ‘n oorwinning vir Afrikaans: DA verslaan Khampepe-verslag se aanslag teen taal op Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch

Die Demokratiese Alliansie (DA) het nog ‘n slag geslaan vir Afrikaans, hierdie keer op Stellenbosch. Kort nadat ons die Afrikaanse Taalmonument in die Paarl beskerm het teen die ANC, en Blade Nzimande se pogings om Afrikaans as “uitheems” te verklaar verslaan het, het die DA nou ook korte mette gemaak met die gewraakte Khampepe-verslag se aanbeveling dat Afrikaans geheel en al afgeskaf moet word aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch (US).

Kort na die uitreiking van hierdie verslag deur oudregter Sisi Khampepe – wat Afrikaans gelykstel met rassisme en aanbeveel dat die universiteit se taalbeleid hersien word om ontslae te raak van die taal – het die DA op 11 November ‘n prokureursbrief geskryf aan US-rektor Wim de Villiers. Die brief het dit duidelik gemaak dat die DA regstappe sal doen indien die verslag se aanbeveling oor die afskaffing van Afrikaans in werking gestel word. Ons het dit ook beklemtoon dat die DA die gelykstelling van Afrikaans aan diskriminasie en uitsluiting verwerp en dat dit onaanvaarbaar is vir ‘n hele gemeenskap om toegang tot moedertaalonderrig te verloor op grond van onderhoude met slegs 22 persone uit ‘n universiteitsgemeenskap van meer as 33 000.

Die DA het ook geskryf aan die trustees van die Het Jan Marais Fonds met die versoek dat alle befondsing aan die universiteit onttrek word indien die Khampepe-aanbeveling oor Afrikaans deurgevoer word. Jan Marais het in 1915 die skenking gemaak waarmee die US gestig is, op die uitdruklike voorwaarde dat befondsing onttrek moet word as Afrikaanse onderrig ooit afgeskaf word.

Volgens berigte is die Khampepe-verslag se aanbevelings Maandag op die spits gedryf tydens ‘n vergadering van die US-Raad in Stellenbosch, waarvan die DA se Dr Leon Schreiber ‘n verkose lid is. Te midde van volgehoue DA-druk het De Villiers volgens berigte tydens die vergadering toegegee dat die US se taalbeleid, in lyn met die DA se eise, nie verander sal word nie. ‘n US-woordvoerder het blykbaar na die vergadering bevestig dat Khampepe se aanbeveling oor Afrikaans verwerp.

Die DA verwelkom hierdie dramatiese ommeswaai as ‘n uiters belangrike deurbraak in ons veldtog ter beskerming van die reg op moedertaalonderrig. Oudregter Khampepe se bevindings oor Afrikaans was beledigend en ondeurdag, en die inwerkingstelling van haar aanbeveling sou die doodsklok lui vir die taal op Stellenbosch.

Danksy die DA se vasberade aktivisme, is Afrikaans gered van totale ondergang aan die einste universiteit waar dit tot akademiese taal ontwikkel het. Ons sal nou seker maak dat die US sy woord gestand doen deur nie Khampepe se aanbevelings oor Afrikaans te implementeer nie.

Hierdie uitsonderlike oorwinning vir Afrikaans bewys dat die ondergang van ons inheemse tale nie onafwendbaar is nie, en dat die DA ‘n betroubare bondgenoot is vir almal wat hul taalregte wil beskerm teen aanvalle soos dié van Khampepe. Die DA sal voortgaan om die harde werk te doen om te verseker dat die US nie, soos talle ander universiteite, die pad van algehele verengelsing loop nie.

Another victory for Afrikaans: DA defeats Khampepe report’s attack on language in Stellenbosch

Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Dr Leon Schreiber MP.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has struck another blow for Afrikaans, this time in Stellenbosch. Shortly after we protected the Afrikaans Language Monument in Paarl from the ANC, and defeated Blade Nzimande’s attempts to declare Afrikaans as “foreign”, the DA has now defeated the Khampepe report’s recommendation that Afrikaans must be entirely abolished at Stellenbosch University (SU).

Shortly after the presentation of this report by former Judge Sisi Khampepe – which equates Afrikaans with racism and recommends that the university’s language policy be revised to get rid of the language – the DA, on 11 November, wrote a lawyer’s letter to Stellenbosch Univeristy rector Wim de Villiers. The letter made it clear that the DA will take legal action if the report’s recommendation on the abolition of Afrikaans is implemented. We also emphasized that the DA rejects the equating of Afrikaans with discrimination and exclusion and that it is unacceptable for an entire community to lose access to mother tongue education based on interviews with only 22 persons from a university community of more than 33 000.

The DA also wrote to the trustees of the Het Jan Marais Fund with the request that all funding be withdrawn from the university if the Khampepe recommendation on Afrikaans is implemented. Jan Marais made the donation with which the university was founded in 1915, on the express condition that funding must be withdrawn if Afrikaans teaching is ever abolished.

According to reports, the Khampepe report’s recommendations were brought to the fore on Monday during a meeting of the Stellenbosch University Council, of which the DA’s Dr Leon Schreiber is an elected member. Amid sustained DA pressure, De Villiers reportedly conceded during the meeting that the university’s language policy, in line with the DA’s demands, will not be changed. A SU spokesperson apparently confirmed after the meeting that Khampepe’s recommendation on Afrikaans was rejected.

The DA welcomes this dramatic turnaround as an important breakthrough in our campaign to protect the right to mother tongue education. Former Judge Khampepe’s findings about Afrikaans were insulting and ill-considered, and the implementation of her recommendation would have sounded the death knell for the language at Stellenbosch.

Thanks to the DA’s determined activism, Afrikaans was saved from total destruction at the very university where it developed into an academic language. We will now make sure that SU lives up to its word by not implementing Khampepe’s recommendations about Afrikaans.

This exceptional victory for Afrikaans proves that the demise of our indigenous languages ​​is not inevitable, and that the DA is a reliable ally for all those who want to protect their language rights against attacks like those of Khampepe. The DA will continue to do the hard work to ensure that SU does not, like many other universities, follow the path of complete Anglicisation.

ACSA subpoenaed to appear before the Portfolio Committee on Transport for tender corruption at OR Tambo International

The DA-sponsored subpoena for Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) to account to the Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCoT) was today unanimously supported in the Committee by all parties represented.

ACSA chose to snub the Committee on three occasions since September. ACSA was scheduled to appear before the Committee on the 27th of September, 12th of October and the 29th of November 2022, to account for tender corruption at OR Tambo International, but on all occasions they chose to ignore the Committee.

ACSA has undermined the sacrosanct oversight role of Parliament – a dangerous trend that seeks to render the Parliamentary process ineffective, but also borders on the obstruction of Parliament to fulfil its oversight role – an action that is illegal.

The DA has argued strongly and successfully for ACSA to be subpoenaed to appear before the PCoT, and that if they fail to do so, Parliament must initiate legal processes to ensure that they come before the Committee to account. This will allow the Committee an opportunity to get to the bottom of what transpired before the awarding of the controversial ACSA vegetation control and grass cutting tender for ORT and to what extend the contract was “doctored” to suit a certain company.

The DA is aware that ACSA was hoping to remove the issue from the public domain, by delaying to account to the Committee.

The DA will continue to strengthen the parliamentary oversight role, which is the only mechanism that the people of South Africa have to hold the Executive to account. The PCoT has unanimously resolved to subpoena ACSA in January 2023.

NERSA allowing ‘ANC political gremlins’ in decision making to blame for Eskom tariff decision delay

NERSA’s decision to postpone the announcement of its decision on Eskom’s tariff increase application has spawned credible speculation that it was a political decision taken by the regulator’s commissioners to ‘shield’ the ANC from public outrage, from what was expected to be a significant increase in the price of electricity.

To justify this unprecedented decision to delay the tariff increase announcement, NERSA blamed “gremlins that slipped into its calculations” for the postponement. For the discerning public, it would appear that the only ‘gremlins’ that slipped into NERSA’s calculations were the NERSA commissioners compromising the independence of the regulator to ‘accommodate’ ANC elections.

NERSA is supposed to function as an independent statutory body, as laid out in the National Energy Regulator Act, 2004. Its work must be free from any suspicion of political interference in order to preserve its statutory integrity.

Should it be established that its decision today to delay the announcement of Eskom’s tariff application was influenced by considerations for the ANC’s elective conference, the board and commissioners should be held to account. To dispel these concerns, NERSA should convene an urgent press conference within the next 24 hours to give the real reasons for the postponement, not the gremlin fairy tale that they gave.

NERSA missteps have been piling up of late after it recently missed its own deadline to announce a new tariff methodology to set Eskom and municipal electricity tariffs. Due to this delay, Eskom will have to continue determining Eskom tariffs according to the existing methodology where costing has to factor in cost of supply and ‘reasonable’ margins.

The DA still stands by its position that Eskom’s 32% tariff application is outrageous and should be scrapped. A week ago, we wrote to NERSA asking them to reject the entity’s tariff application request for the simple reason that the entity is unable to make a reliable supply of electricity and appears to have placed the country on an unofficial semi-permanent loadshedding schedule.

Unless NERSA makes a public announcement giving real reasons why it delayed today’s tariff decision, any subsequent decision that it will take going forward will be viewed with a cloud of suspicion. To preserve the regulators’ integrity and independence, it is important that NERSA commissioners come clean and be honest with members of the public.

Finance Minister won’t commit to NHI – financial modelling required

The DA has, from the outset, maintained that without some form of financial feasibility studies, the National Health Insurance (NHI) cannot be considered.

This was confirmed by the Minister of Finance, Enoch Gondwana, in his response to our written parliamentary question (PQ) with regards to financing this horrendous bill, given the current fiscal constraints.

He was clear in his response, saying “the cost model will not automatically translate into budget allocations, as these would have to be made as part of the budget process which will take into account the macro-economic environment and fiscal space.”

In recent parliamentary portfolio of health committee meetings, the DA has taken a tough stance on the necessity of a financial model, as well as a meeting with the Finance Minister, to address the concerns. It has become abundantly clear, that such a financial feasibility model does not exist. Yet, the our repeated requests in committee and through letters to the Ministers of Health and Finance and the health and finance committee chairs, for a comprehensive presentation on the funding model and the financial impact of the NHI Bill have fallen on deaf ears.

Given Minister Gondwana response to our PQ and Dr Nicholas Crisp’s, the Deputy Director-General: National Health Insurance (DDG), repeated statements to the media and the portfolio committee that the NHI will be funded through taxes, it remains crucial that the committee receives clarity on the NHI costing and funding.

The Davis Tax Commission, established by former President Jacob Zuma, made it clear that even with increasing personal income tax and VAT, NHI funding would still have a shortfall of millions.

The ANC Government has ignored this report and is determined to push the NHI Bill through Parliament, despite the reservations raised from opposition parties, experts, health stakeholders and the public.

South Africa continues to teeter on a fiscal cliff. The country is overextended on its loans, unemployment has rocketed, fuel and transport costs are astronomical and the huge hike in the cost of living has left the country poorer than ever.

Furthermore, the health sector currently faces R125 billion in medical negligence claims. The poor and vulnerable cannot foot the bill for the failure of this government.

To raise taxes, VAT or put any other financial burden on the perpetually shrinking tax base, who is already suffering due to the current economic crisis – brought on by State capture, cadre deployment, ineptitude, and corruption – will drive South Africans into further poverty.

Public health facilities are a disgrace. Infrastructure is collapsing, there are staff shortages at almost every facility, and there are continual reports of shortages of medical supplies and medicines.

Instead of using their budgets to upgrade facilities and appropriately staff them, the ANC government wants to use the money to establish boards, units and layers of structures in the NHI Bill, which will have no impact on the bad state of the public health system as it stands now and will further exacerbate the myriad and growing problems.

The DA wholeheartedly supports universal health coverage. In effect, South Africa already has universal health care. Had the ANC succeeded in properly managing public health care, there would have been no need or opportunity for the private health to come into being and flourish. The NHI Bill will not solve the problems of the public health sector. Only proper planning, infrastructure management and development, and ridding hospitals of cadre deployment, will ensure that quality universal health care become a reality – especially for the poor and vulnerable. Trying to rob Peter to pay Paul will never be the solution.

QLFS: Planned public sector strike a slap in the face of the unemployed

Please find attached soundbite by Michael Cardo MP.

The threat of continued public sector strike action this week is a slap in the face of millions of unemployed South Africans, who are desperate for work, destitute, and plagued by the persistent cost-of-living crisis.

The jobless would give their eye teeth for the kind of sheltered employment and wage increases which many striking public sector workers regard as their above-inflation-remunerated birth right.

Such is the fault line between South Africa’s economic insiders and outsiders.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q3: 2022, released today, the number of unemployed people (including 3.5 million discouraged jobseekers) stands at 11.2 million.

The DA welcomes the marginal reduction in this figure — and the fact that the official unemployment rate decreased by a percentage point to 32.9% – but the scale of the jobs crisis remains monumental. Of particular concern is that there were 10.2 million young people aged 15-24 years in Q3: 2022 who were not in employment, education or training (the so-called ‘NEETs’). This is almost a percentage point higher than the equivalent rate in Q3: 2021.

Joblessness poses the single greatest threat to our social fabric, and the ANC government doesn’t have a clue what to do about it.

The government should be focusing on an extensive programme of labour market reform so that the private sector can be freed up to employ predominantly low-skilled workers at scale.

Unfortunately, many trade unions are more interested in protecting the narrow interests of their own members than in fighting for the unemployed to enter the labour market. The self-seeking entitlement of striking public sector workers, who are prepared to bring the country to a halt, typifies this attitude.

Looming strike action will only serve to weaken the country’s fragile economy even more. As ever, the unemployed – and particularly unemployed youth – will bear the brunt of the consequences.