EFF proves it does not care about the poor

The following speech was delivered today in the National Assembly by DA Shadow Minister of Communications and Team One SA Spokesperson on Corruption, Phumzile Van Damme MP.

There is a party here, I would like to talk about it and its corruption.

I am not talking about the one in green, black and gold.

If corruption was an Olympic sport, they would always win gold.

So, my rebuttal sheet about them is empty.

Siyabazi bona nemali yabantu, ichappies nescathulo.

I would like to talk about the ones who come here dressed in overalls and gumboots, and the outfits of abo Mama bethu who clean houses for a living.

These are people who claim to care about the plight of the poor.

There could be nothing further from the truth.

Their only concern is how the fill their pockets till they bulge with the people’s money.

Their access to governments is an opportunity to see if tenders can be directed to their friends and family.

Did we really think the corruption would end with On-Point Engineering and Ratanang Trust?

In the same way Mr Jacob Zuma, ubaba ka Duduzane, used his son to amass wealth through corrupt means, uBhuti ka Floyd did the same for Floyd Shivambu and his party.

We simply cannot trust this party’s forensic investigative skills. It would be like trusting King Herod to guard a crèche.

Siyabonga, nizamile, but I think we will rely on the experts.

We have asked the Hawks to investigate the EFF, who we trust will conduct a forensic investigation over the EFF’s accounts.

We hope the Ethics Committtee will not drag its feet and investigate the matter of a conflict of interest regarding the R10 million Mr Shivambu is said to have received from his brother.

If the matter goes to Hearing, the committee must be open to the public.

And the committee must use all tools available to it including summoning witnesses and documents.We can’t have our people misled by wolves in dyed red wool proclaiming to care about them, they must be exposed for who they truly are, the Corrupt Eatists.

If the DA was in government, corruption like that of VBS and those implicated, if found guilty would be an immediate 15 years in jail.

We will fight corruption; create fair access to jobs; make our police service honest and professional; secure our borders; and speed up the delivery of basic services.

Sikhathele abantu abadla imali yabantu base South Africa.

Tronk toe!

The ANC was at the centre of the VBS Mutual Bank heist

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered today in the National Assembly by DA Shadow Minister of Finance, David Maynier MP.

  1. Introduction

We know that the black, green and gold of the governing party was at the centre of the “grand bank heist” at VBS Mutual Bank.

And we know that the kingpin of commissions was Danny Msiza who was the provincial treasurer of the governing party in the Limpopo Province.

We know this debate is a desperate attempt to divert attention away from the role of the governing party in the “grand bank heist” at VBS Mutual Bank.

2. “Scheme of Looting”

We now know that VBS Mutual Bank was turned into a “washing machine” converting municipal deposits, that were illegally obtained into “gratuitous payments”, that were used to finance the lavish lifestyles of the looters at VBS Mutual Bank.

We know the “looting scheme” was:

  • greased by fixers paying “commissions” to secure municipal deposits;
  • greased by directors paying “bribes” to buy silence; and
  • greased by auditors benefiting from “facilities” to cook the books.

There were too few people like Mariette Venter and Yvonne Page, who had the courage to stand up and say “no” to the looters at VBS Mutual Bank

The victims of the grand bank heist at VBS Mutual Bank were, of course, the poor depositors, stokvels and burial societies who entrusted their savings to VBS Mutual Bank.

3. “Hidden from View”

The final report on the “grand bank heist” at VBS Mutual Bank, prepared by Advocate Terry Motau SC, is a masterpiece of forensic work and writing.

The final report claims that the looting was “hidden from view” and that had the truth been told the regulators would have been able to act and the looting could have been stopped.

However, it is simply not true that the “looting scheme” at VBS Mutual Bank was “hidden from view”.

The fact that VBS Mutual Bank was taking illegal deposits from municipalities was known, and was in the public domain, from at least 14 October 2016.

Which is more than a year before VBS Mutual Bank was placed under curatorship by the South African Reserve Bank.

The National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank, did take action, sending an e-mail advising municipalities that funds could not be deposited at VBS Mutual Bank.

The effect, believe it or not, was this: VBS Mutual Bank –

  • tried to interdict National Treasury from engaging with municipalities; and
  • accepted R 1 billion more in deposits from municipalities, after receiving the warning from National Treasury.

We have to be clear that the reason VBS Mutual Bank was placed under curatorship was that it became a “scheme of looting” that not only falsified its financial statements, but also falsified its reports to the regulators, with the knowledge of the external auditors, who were receiving “gratuitous payments”.

However, it appears that, although National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank acted, they acted too late, only clamping down several months after it became clear that municipalities were making illegal deposits at VBS Mutual Bank.

That is why we need an independent inquiry into the action taken by the National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank after they became aware that municipalities were making illegal deposits at VBS Mutual Bank.

4. Conclusion

The real tragedy in the end, of course, is that when it comes to the “grand bank heist” at VBS Mutual Bank the looters are likely to get away with their loot because the governing party has destroyed the capacity of the state to investigate and prosecute serious commercial crime in South Africa.

VBS looters must be held accountable

The following speech was delivered today in the National Assembly by DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Kevin Mileham MP

Speaker,

It’s been called the greatest bank heist in South African history. And the sad thing is that it was perpetrated with the knowledge and active participation of the bank’s management and officials.

But the rot goes much deeper than this. These greedy individuals brought on board the municipal managers (MMs), chief financial officers (CFOs) and mayors of 15 municipalities.

They did this through bribery and pressure from senior government officials and other well-connected political figures. People like Danny Msiza, the Treasurer of the ANC in Limpopo, and Florence Radzilani, the Deputy Chairperson of the ANC in the same province. People like Brian Shivambu, the brother of EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu.

94 VBS staff members have been retrenched. But they aren’t the guilty parties. No, the bloodsucking leeches and parasites that have fed off of the savings of some of our country’s poorest citizens must be held accountable.

Speaker, the VBS heist was blatant in its audacity, but completely unsophisticated in its implementation. It was little more than a giant pyramid scheme, which saw some R1.2 billion of municipal funds disappear, never to be seen again.

The consequences of this heist have been dire:

  • The curator of VBS has indicated that it is unlikely that municipalities will get their deposits back. He initially suggested that they might get 10c on the rand. It now appears that this was optimistic and that they are unlikely to get anything at all.
  • This means that these municipalities – which include some of the poorest and worst run in the country – will be unable to deliver the basic services that are their primary function. So once again, the residents lose out because of ANC mismanagement and corruption!
  • In Fetakgomo/Greater Tubatse Municipality, for example, the municipality is in all likelihood not going to be able to pay the wages of municipal staff this month. Basic services such as water supply and the completion of hundreds of RDP houses are on hold because of the loss of some R245 million illegally invested in VBS.
  • In Greater Giyani Municipality, where R161 million was illegally invested in VBS, the newly appointed municipal manager has indicated that there will be a long-term impact on service delivery.
  • In the Vhembe District Municipality, Mayor Florence Radzilani and ANC Deputy Chair in Limpopo (who cried because her R300,000 “Christmas” from VBS wasn’t enough) admitted – she admitted – that the municipality had been doing business with VBS since 2014. They lost R311 million, which equates to a third of their annual operating revenue. And here’s the kicker: in July this year, she said that they “didn’t know of any regulation … that restricted the investment.”

Maybe she, and the other 14 mayors, MMs and CFOs, should try reading the Municipal Finance Management Act, because section 7(3)(b) specifically prohibits municipalities from opening accounts with mutual banks. Treasury even notified these municipalities that they were acting illegally, but they thought they knew better.

Every single one of the municipalities with deposits at VBS Mutual Bank is included in the 87 distressed and dysfunctional councils identified by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Zweli Mkhize, earlier this year.

Two of them – Vhembe District Municipality in Limpopo and Madibeng in North West – received disclaimed audit opinions, essentially meaning their financial documents were so poor that the Auditor-General could not make a pronouncement on them. And what action has the Minister taken? None! Only one of the municipalities that lost money in the VBS Heist is under administration, and most do not have a financial recovery plan in place.

And lest we forget, there were others affected too: the 22,000 retail depositors who trusted their local bank with their life savings, only to see it plundered and used to fund the luxurious lifestyles of neo-Marxist, Gucci revolutionaries like certain members in this House. To buy helicopters and Lamborghinis. And Louis Vuitton luggage.

The retail depositors, at least, were protected up to R100,000 through Reserve Bank guarantees. Not so the stokvels and burial societies and small businesses who entrusted VBS with their finances – they won’t be getting their money back.

Speaker, it was only through questions from the Democratic Alliance that the illegal depositing of funds in VBS by municipalities was exposed. It has only been the DA that has called for the heads of those municipal officials and mayors involved in the scam. It is only the DA who has laid charges against those involved.

This is because it is only the DA that truly has the interests of all South Africans at heart. It is only the DA that is not motivated by politics of the stomach, but rather by a desire to truly uplift our country and create One South Africa for All who live in it.

The ANC should hang its head in shame – as should all those who have stood by and watched this outrageous theft without taking action.

DA blocked from conducting oversight inspection at OR Tambo SAPS

Today law enforcement officials at OR Tambo International Airport refused to cooperate with DA Team One South Africa Immigration spokesperson, Jacques Julius MP, and Gauteng Provincial Legislature member for Community Safety, Michele Clarke MPL, as they attempted to conduct an oversight inspection of the SAPS office at OR Tambo.

“No preparations were made for the oversight inspection and they were given the run-around. It is really unfortunate. As public representative, it is our constitutional obligation to make sure that SAPS is held accountable. Today, again we were barred from doing our constitutional duty”, says Julius.

The DA had visited the airport last week Friday and agreed to return this week to allow the authorities to prepare to engage the DA officials. Upon returning today, however, even with advance notice of the parties who would be present and the purpose of the visit, the DA was once again met with stonewalling.

The airport sees drugs worth millions of rands smuggled through every year. While drug-related cases at OR Tambo have decreased from a peaked of 704 cases in 2009 to just 77 this year, cases in the neighbouring community of Kempton Park have increased from 121 in 2009 to 458 this year.

These numbers clearly suggest that the failure of security measures at OR Tambo International Airport, which is fueled by collusion between corrupt officials and criminal syndicates, is resulting in an exponential increase in the amount of drugs making their way into our communities.

“At OR Tambo we also know from a previous oversight visit that they are operating at only about 50% capacity in terms of vacancies, which is horrendous given that it’s one of the biggest airports not only in South Africa but a hub for the entire continent.

“I believe we were blocked from conducting oversight here today because the SAPS here has something to hide,” says Julius.

It is worrisome that last week KZN’s Acting Police Commissioner issued a circular instructing SAPS in the province to ban the DA from conducting oversight in the province.

It seems as if this circular may also have reached Gauteng.

“We will not stand for it. We will return to the airport next week and every week thereafter until such time as the South African Police Service demonstrates a proper respect for our Constitution and the Rule of Law,” says Julius.

The DA will not stop fighting until all South Africans live free from the toxic grip of illicit drugs. This requires an honest and professional police service.

Let’s vote out job-killing corruption, and vote in change that builds one SA for all

The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the Eastern Cape provincial launch of the party’s Team One SA campaign outside a failed public/private job-creating initiative in Chatty, Port Elizabeth. Maimane was joined by Eastern Cape Premier Candidate, Nqaba Bhanga, Team One South Africa Spokesperson for Women, Nomafrench Mbombo, and DA Federal Chairperson, Athol Trollip.

Fellow South Africans,

Today we kick off the DA’s 2019 election campaign in the Eastern Cape. A campaign in which, over the next seven months, we will take our message of “Change that Builds One South Africa for All” to every corner of this province.

And while our focus this morning is on bringing our vision of a better future to the people of South Africa, our attention tomorrow will be on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s first Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, where he will have the opportunity to show whether the ANC can finally put its own interests second and the people’s interests first.

Our people are suffering, and they are suffering as a direct result of ANC policy failure. Our recession, our falling currency, our tax increases and petrol price increases, our spiraling unemployment and our growing poverty aren’t because of global conditions. Our global peers are growing. Our African neighbours are growing. Our economic trauma is all self-inflicted.

Tomorrow Minister Mboweni has a chance to start correcting this. To disassociate himself from EFF-style rhetoric and to walk away from his damaging statements on state intervention in everything from mining and banking to land ownership. This is his chance to finally put poor, unemployed and mostly young South Africans first.

Minister Mboweni has an opportunity tomorrow to show that he can increase private sector investment, that he can stabilise national debt below 50%, that he can take rational decisions on our failed SOE’s, that he can bring stability to SARS and that he can provide clarity on the mega-loans being negotiated with China behind closed doors.

If he can’t do this, then it surely makes no sense to persist with this ANC government.

Fellow South Africans, there is a very good reason why we’re launching our election campaign in Chatty, and specifically here by this building behind me. We chose this site because this building stands as a testament to the corruption and neglect of the ANC in government here in NMB.

What you see here – the crumbling structure, the stripped out interior and the lack of any activity and enterprise – is a perfect metaphor for the legacy of the ANC. The very same ANC who, with the help of the EFF and the UDM, have now been allowed back in to government here so that they can pick up where they left off.

Back in 2003, this building was chosen to be the home of the Bethelsdorp Hand Weavers, a carpet factory started as part of a project to provide jobs, develop skills and eradicate poverty in this part of NMB. It was run by an NGO that received funding from the local ANC government, and it employed 200 women from the community.

In principle, this all sounds good. But in reality, this turned out to be just another looting scheme where the money ended up in the pockets of a few corrupt individuals, and government provided no oversight and no control over where its funds went.

And so, while the corrupt got rich, this enterprise failed. The women who worked here went for months without being paid. Today, a decade after the factory closed its doors, most of these women are still unemployed.

In a province like the Eastern Cape, and specifically a community like Bethelsdorp with its sky-high unemployment rate, it is shameful that there was no accountability in the ANC government for precious public money, and particularly money meant for job creation.

And yet this is the standard operating procedure for the ANC. Here in NMB, this kind of looting of public money happened in virtually every contract, tender and project undertaken by the ANC government over two decades. It was all just easy money, and no one bothered to think of the people affected by it.

When Jacob Zuma said, back in 2009, that charges against him should be dropped because corruption wasn’t a “real crime” and that there are no victims involved, he wasn’t just speaking for himself. He was speaking for every ANC minister, mayor and councillor who believed that all money was there to be taken.

Well, I’m here today to tell them they are wrong. Corruption has victims. Real people with families and dependents. Parents, siblings, breadwinners. Corruption’s victims are those who are left to deal with the unemployment and poverty, and all the crime, drugs and violence that follows.

The people of Bethelsdorp are victims of corruption. The hundreds of women who lost their jobs at this factory are victims of corruption. Their families who were counting on an income are victims of corruption. These factory doors may have closed ten years ago, but they remain victims today.

If you want to know why communities like these need change, just speak to the people affected by corruption-failed projects like these. Some of these women are here with us today. Ask them if they want to go back to the ANC way of doing things.

We cannot go back there. The Eastern Cape certainly can’t go back there. This is the province with the highest expanded unemployment rate in South Africa. Almost 46% of working-age men and women in this province cannot find a job. Young people leave this province in droves in search of opportunities elsewhere.

That is why we are gathered here today to launch our election campaign in this province. We are here to say: Our country needs change. We need a fresh start so we can rebuild our society and an economy that works for all.

Under the ANC government we ended up with a massively divided nation. There are those on the inside, people with jobs, education, opportunities, and there are those on the outside, millions of South Africans who live in poverty and who have no hope of finding employment. This must change.

Under a DA government we will bridge this divide. We will focus all our efforts on bringing the outsiders into the economy by supporting enterprise, attracting investment and helping businesses large and small to create jobs. We will unite South Africans around this goal instead of dividing, blaming and creating enemies.

The DA will bring change that builds one South Africa for all.

No other party is promising to do this. No other party even pretends to speak for all South Africans, or offers a plan that will grow the economy, create jobs, make our communities safe and speed up basic service delivery.

Under the leadership of our Premier candidate, Nqaba Bhanga, we will take this message to every city, town and village in the province. Because it is of the utmost importance that we bring clean, accountable DA government to the people of the Eastern Cape.

In two short years, the DA-led coalition government in NMB brought more progress to areas like Bethelsdorp than the ANC did in two decades. Not far from where we’re standing is the new depot for the new Integrated Public Transport Service. Also near us is the new station for the Metro Police. Roads were tarred, basic services were expanded.

Now all this progress is threatened once more by the reinstatement of the ANC/EFF coalition of corruption in this metro. This is a step backwards, towards neglect, towards poverty and towards unemployment.

Fellow South Africans, we need to move forward as a country, not backwards. And to do so we need a government that looks to the future, not the past. There is only one party that can be this government, and that party is the Democratic Alliance.

DA responds to Patricia De Lille queries

We note a number of media reports related to a City of Cape Town Council appointed independent investigation, which according to these media reports recommends that criminal charges be laid against Patricia de Lille amongst others, for interfering in City tenders and the legal duties and obligations of the former City Manager, Achmat Ebrahim, in instituting legally required disciplinary actions against officials guilty of violating the law. We, as the DA, have always maintained that this wholly independent investigation should be allowed to run its course so that the full extent of the governance breakdown in Cape Town under de Lille could be independently and fully investigated.

It is important for the public to understand that there are two investigative reports, both which by all accounts point to continuous interference and misconduct by Patricia de Lille. The second more substantive report, which by all accounts includes 2000 pages of detailed evidence, based on interviews, legal submissions and other inputs paints a grim picture of Patricia de Lille’s conduct as Mayor.

We await and respect the outcome of Thursday’s Council meeting where the results of this independent investigation are tabled. We would be hopeful that Ms de Lille and her associates do not seek to confuse the public any further on this matter.

MTBPS2018: Tito Mboweni needs to get serious about cutting wasteful expenditure in SA

Please find attached an English soundbite by DA Shadow Minister of Finance, David Maynier MP.

We cannot expect ordinary people, who are battling to make ends meet, as a result of tax increases and petrol price hikes, to continue to fork out for:

  • bloated executives, and legislatures, which will cost R50 billion over the medium term between 2018/19 and 2020/21;
  • staggering national debt, and debt service costs, which will cost R592 billion over the medium term between 2018/19 and 2020/21; and
  • zombie state owned enterprises, such as South African Airways, which will cost R22 billion over the medium term between 2018/19 and 2020/21.

Which is why we need a comprehensive spending review focused on cutting wasteful expenditure in South Africa.

PRASA Board members paid R3 million incorrectly but no plan to pay it back

A reply to a DA Parliamentary question has revealed that during the 2016/17 financial year, eight PRASA board members incorrectly received a total of R3 million that they were not entitled to. The reply also confirmed that no plan had been made to ensure the millions are paid back to the embattled entity.

This violates Section 38 (c) i-iii of the PFMA of the general responsibilities of the accounting authority (in this case the PRASA board) which in terms of Section 86 justifies criminal proceedings to be instituted.

The breakdown of the incorrect remuneration is as follows:

(a)(i) During 2015/16 no remuneration monies were incorrectly paid.

During 2016/17 the following Board members had remuneration monies incorrectly paid to them:

(a)

Employee No.

(b)(i) & (iii)

2016/17

(c)(i)

Amount paid back

(c)(ii)

Amount Still owed

(d)

Payment Arrangement

(e) & (f)

Interest paid

1. R211 420. 92 Not paid back R211 420. 92 None None
2. R358 532. 19 Not paid back R358 532. 19 None None
3. R245 797. 44 Not paid back R245 797. 44 None None
4. R315 028. 27 Not paid back R236 271. 20 None None
5. R324 036. 04 Not paid back R324 036. 04 None None
6. R350 909. 18 Not paid back R350 909. 18 None None
7. R291 941. 62 Not paid back R291 941. 62 None None
8. R 1 077 322. 12 R 1 077 322. 12 None None

This is especially disturbing considering that the entity’s annual report recently released by the Auditor General found R1 billion in fruitless and wasteful expenditure. PRASA’s net loss for the previous financial year was R925 million.

It is clear that PRASA is in shambles and is plagued by scandal after scandal. The DA will formally write to the Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, asking why he has not done anything about this situation. It’s clear that these board members are blatantly ignoring their responsibilities and the Minister is protecting them by not acting.

The DA demands that the Minister explain how more than R3 million was wasted on the over payment of PRASA board members’ remuneration and why no plan was made to ensure that this money is repaid.

BOKAMOSO | Venezuela: Beware of those who steal from the poor in the name of the poor.

I recently met with two Venezuelan opposition politicians who had travelled here to give us a first-hand account of how and why Venezuela has imploded. They gave us a clear and urgent warning not to head down the same dead-end road of populist, socialist policies that has led to Venezuela’s failure.

Just a generation ago, Venezuela was the richest country in Latin America with GDP per capita similar to Norway’s. Today it is a failed state with over 80% of its population living in poverty, battling food and medicine shortages. Its healthcare system has collapsed, and infant mortality has skyrocketed with malnutrition given as the main reason for baby deaths. Annual inflation is at 1000000% and the economy has halved in size.

Why? Because Venezuelans fell prey to the myth of the strong, charismatic leader. Hugo Chavez promised them a socialist utopia. He promised to be the Robin Hood who would take from the rich and give to the poor. His socialist agenda was the same toxic mix of expropriation, nationalization and institutionalized corruption that the ANC and EFF are flirting with here in SA.

What started in 2001 with a policy of expropriating unused land without compensation very soon ramped up to expropriating productive land and businesses.  Food and other shortages arose as investment dried up. The state responded to food shortages with price controls, which inevitably caused even more productive land to fall into disuse. The state now controls almost all economic activity.

Economic oppression inevitably turned into political oppression, because a collapsing economy cannot fulfil the populist promises made to people. So, to protect their power and privileges, Chavez’s ruling party destroyed the democratic institutions – a free press, a functional legislature, free and fair elections – that would enable people to take back power.

Democracy has collapsed into authoritarianism, replete with intimidation and imprisonment of political opponents. It is very hard for Venezuelans to see a way out. So instead, they are getting out. Literally leaving the country in their thousands, in search of food, medicine and freedom.

Even though SA is in a critical state with so many crises vying for attention that we have become numb to most of them, we still operate under the assumption that “it will never happen here”. But that’s what the Venezuelans thought too. Hearing their story firsthand was a reality check. Because Venezuela’s early warning signs are flashing in SA today.

Ramaphosa’s ANC is moving South Africa decisively away from liberal democracy and towards more populist, socialist policies that concentrate power in the state. They are meddling more and more in the economy, even while failing in their core mandate to provide health, education, police, infrastructure and welfare services to the nation.

They are pursuing a raft of interventionist policies that will be disastrous for our economy: expropriation without compensation, the mining charter, proposed changes to BEE (the ANC’s fig leaf for institutionalised corruption), the recently tabled Employment Equity Amendment Bill which empowers the Labour Minister to set racial quotas in businesses, the National Minimum Wage Bill to be enacted soon, and the Competition Amendment Bill now before parliament.

The new finance minister, Tito Mboweni, is committed to pursuing further socialist, interventionism policies, if his recent tweets are to be believed.

Meanwhile, they are allowing the cornerstones of our democracy to crumble. Most damning of all is the breakdown of our criminal justice system. Ramaphosa has had over two months (and almost a year’s warning) to appoint a National Director of Public Prosecutions to head up the National Prosecuting Authority but has so far failed to do so.

This week, the auditor general confirmed that our government is losing over R4 billion in irregular expenditure every month and yet Ramaphosa has no sense of urgency to capacitate the NPA to deal with this corruption. It’s been almost a year since the Steinhoff scandal was exposed, but still no arrests or prosecutions have been made. It is unlikely that those in VBS and Vele who benefitted from the VBS heist will be arrested and prosecuted.

Because of all this, every single economic indicator in SA is moving in the wrong direction: our economy is contracting; unemployment, poverty and inequality are growing; investor confidence is declining as seen in the steady fall of the rand; ease of doing business is declining; food, fuel and electricity prices are going up with further fuel and electricity hikes in the pipeline; and national debt is growing – we recent passed the R3 trillion mark.

We’re in a vicious circle, as this downward trajectory pushes the ANC into a corner reducing their space to implement the necessary structural reforms and making them more likely to resort to further populism.

In desperation, they are turning to the EFF, whose support they will need if they get less than 50% in 2019. They teamed up with the EFF to take the Nelson Mandela Bay metro from the DA-led coalition, even though that meant returning it to the same people who stole millions from the city before 2016. Both parties are implicated in the theft of millions from Limpopo’s rural poor in the VBS heist.

The modus operandi is the same as in Venezuela. The ANC and EFF are stealing from the poor while claiming to represent the poor. Both parties are relying heavily on charismatic, popular leaders, and have little regard for democratic institutions that check and balance power.

Hugo Chavez, the great liberator, became the great oppressor. He exposed the myth of the strong leader and the perils of personality politics and populism.  Today, the people of Venezuela can only dream of free and fair elections. While we still have the luxury of these, we should use them wisely, and fight for our freedom.

Just as it is a lot easier and cheaper to maintain a road than it is to build a new one once a road has fallen into total disrepair, so it is a lot easier to defend democracy while some of the basic foundations of democracy still exist. The 2019 national elections are the arena in which South Africans can fight for freedom and real reform that places liberal democratic institutions and good, clean government front and centre of SA’s agenda.

DA governments lead in provision of basic services, education, healthcare and job creation. We prioritise delivery to the poor and don’t tolerate corruption. In 2019, we are aiming to get the ANC below 50% in Gauteng and the Northern Cape. If we can lead coalition governments in those provinces, we can start demonstrating the DA difference there too.

Many voters believe that Cyril Ramaphosa needs a “stronger mandate” in 2019, so that he can save South Africa from the ANC. Effectively, this means they feel they should vote for the ANC to save SA from the ANC. Venezuela’s experience should warn people not to rely on personalities, but rather to support real reform and liberal democracy. In 2019, a vote for the DA will be a vote for strong, independent institutions that protect our nation’s freedom and wealth.

Tito Mboweni must deal with a “six pack” of challenges during the “mini budget” in Parliament

Please find the Preview Statement of the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement 2018 here.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “new path” of economic growth, employment and transformation was shattered when the economy slipped into recession in South Africa.

We are now in deep economic trouble, with ordinary people, experiencing an income squeeze, following tax increases and petrol price hikes, and with 9.6 million people who do not have jobs, or who have given up looking for jobs, in South Africa.

What this means is that the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni’s, “mini-moon” is over and he faces a six pack” of challenges that will have to be dealt with in his “maiden” Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, which will be delivered on 24 October 2018 in Parliament.

We believe the minister should:

  • define himself by explaining his flirtation with radical economic transformation and clarifying his views on extending state ownership in the mining sector, establishing a state bank and creating a sovereign wealth fund;
  • present a credible plan to boost economic growth to at least 3% by announcing a package of structural reforms designed to increase private sector investment;
  • hold the fiscal line by announcing a comprehensive spending review and presenting a credible plan to stabilise national debt at, or below, 50% of GDP;
  • restore public trust by announcing that the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service, Tom Moyane, will be removed and a new appointment will be made without delay;
  • announcing that the national airline will be placed in business rescue with a view to privatising, or part privatising, South African Airways; and
  • disclosing the terms and conditions of the confidential R33.4 billion loan to Eskom from the Chinese Development Bank.

We believe that if Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, deals decisively with the “six pack” of challenges during the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, he will give hope to the 9.6 million people who do not have jobs, or who have given up looking for jobs, in South Africa.