Pandor’s silence a tacit approval of ANCYL lawlessness and Putin’s illegal annexation of Ukraine territory

The silence by the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Naledi Pandor, on the ANCYL’s illegal entry into Ukraine and the subsequent annexation of Ukraine territory by Russia, equates to a tacit approval of these illegalities by the South African government.

If Pandor wants South Africa to be treated as an equal among the community of nations, she should publicly condemn the actions of the ANCYL and make a firm declaration that South Africa will not recognize Putin’s illegal referendums in the Donbass region or their outcomes.

Pandor cannot keep hiding behind the veil of ‘dialogue, mediation and diplomacy’ when her party, the ANC, and Vladimir Putin have flagrantly violated Ukraine’s sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity.

In a speech that Pandor made during a media briefing on 8 April 2022, on the Ukraine/Russia conflict, Pandor admitted that ‘South Africa has always opposed violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states, in keeping with the UN Charter.’ Pandor should now put her money where her mouth is and distance the South African government festival of illegalities in Ukraine, acting in concert with the ANCYL.

Last week, the Ukraine government announced that it will be launching an investigation into how the so-called observers of Putin’s referendums in the Donbass, among whom were the ANCYL, entered Ukranian territory. Pandor should now clean and state whether the ANC government will be cooperating with this investigation or not.

Putin’s referendum gimmick has already been condemned by the UN Security Council and Pandor needs to align South Africa’s obligations under international law, and reject the referendums and their outcomes.

Post Office once again showing that it is not worth another Bailout

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dianne Kohler-Barnard MP.

The latest corruption scandal to hit the South African Post Office sounds like a bad joke. It involves a policeman, a teacher and two Post Office workers… These are three professions South Africans should be able to trust implicitly. Instead, the suspects have been arrested for grand-scale fraud at the Post Office.

Reports reveal that two post office workers and their partners allegedly stole R10.2 million from SASSA grants, which are supposed to be paid out to our poorest citizens. In 2020 and 2021 they apparently systematically paid SASSA grants out to ghost accounts they had created.

The Hawks have arrested all four of the suspects in the Eastern Cape, having caught them red-handed siphoning off the money.

It is hardly surprising then, that the Post Office was dumped as a distribution agent for the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants from May this year. Another Failure by Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.

The SASSA grants are distributed via cards and one would imagine that the system was safe. However, the cards today have extremely weak security protection, as the biometrics were scrapped by a government terrified by the threat of a Post Office worker strike. This is despite the fact that the biometrics had by then saved the country R2-billion, by rooting out 1 million fraudulent beneficiaries.

Today they are an easy target for mass thievery.

The DA stands firm in its belief that the Post Office, one of the many bottomless-pit state-owned entities battling operational issues, is beyond repair, and should be liquidated. The funds raised must be used to pay the Post office employees’ medical aid, UIF and pension contributions which the management has carefully and criminally failed to pay over for a number of years.

Land invasions threaten the very fabric of our Cities

Note to editors: Please find pictures here and here.

Friday, 30 September 2022, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Shadow Minister of Human Settlements, Emma Powell, together with the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Members (MMC’s) for Safety and Security, Jean-Pierre Smith, and Human Settlements, Malusi Booi conducted an oversight visit to District Six to observed the scale of the most recent land invasion at this historic site.

The issue of orchestrated and illegal land grabs has become a crisis across South Africa, placing immense financial burdens on all major Metropolitan Municipalities and thousands of private land and property owners.

While land invasions have been a problem for many years, the start of the Covid-19 lockdown vastly accelerated the crisis, with an estimated R2.5 billion worth of property subsequently lost to invasions in Cape Town alone.

In the last two years, the City of Cape Town has responded to more than 14 500 land invasions, and cleared almost 180 000 pegs and structures. In the violent protests that have followed these operations, 80 officers have been injured, and more than 94 vehicles destroyed.

To illustrate the scale of the crisis, the Western Cape Department of Infrastructure spent in excess of R162.2 million last year on security preventing land invasions. In Cape Town, R142.8 million was spent on security costs.

For the 2020/21 financial year, the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements spent more than R 355,8 million to prevent illegal land invasions and the illegal occupation of completed units.

One month into the current financial year (2022/23), the department has already spent R12 306 350.00

Whilst the City of Cape Town’s Human Settlements Department spent more than 97% of its budget during the 2021/22 financial year, the rapid delivery of housing has become severely hampered by the scale of illegal invasions.

The City now has more than 800 Informal Settlements, many still requiring basic services that must be provisioned from grants administered by the national Department of Human Settlements.

Despite more than 350 000 residents waiting on the City of Cape Town’s database, more than 20 000 beneficiaries have been deprived of their rightful housing opportunity as a result of land invasions.

In the absence of any action being taken by the ANC to address the crisis of illegal land grabs, the DA has now submitted to Parliament a Private Members Amendment Bill to the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998.

Unless the legislation that currently protects illegal land occupiers is challenged, the situation will continue to worsen.

The intention of the Amendment Bill is as follows:

– Create punitive measures for those who incite or promote orchestrated and unlawful invasions;

– Provide explicit criteria that must be satisfied during court proceedings prior to a municipality being ordered to provide alternative accommodation to illegal occupiers;

-Allow the courts to determine and limit the length of time alternative accommodation would need to be provided for an unlawful occupier;

– Compel the courts to explore the reasons for the invasion, as well as the maintenance obligations of the occupier’s family when considering judgement;

– Provide an explicit definition of what determines a ‘home’.

The DA has always been at the forefront of protecting property owner’s rights, whilst ensuring that the poorest and most vulnerable in our society are cared for by the State within its available resources.

We ask that members of the public express their support for the bill by telephoning their local radio stations, phoning their local MP’s, sharing information about the bill on social media, and submitting your comments to us at legislation@da.org.za.

Copies of the draft bill can be found on our website.

Load shedding exemption must be expanded to include all hospitals

While the DA welcomes the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla’s announcement that several hospitals will be exempt from load shedding, we call on him to continue engaging with Eskom to ensure that each and every hospital in South Africa will be exempt.

The Department of Health must also ensure that all public health facilities are capacitated with working generators and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) equipment to ensure that all communities have uninterrupted access to health care.

We further call on the Minister to engage with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to amend section 8.6.15 of NRS 048-9:2019 (Part 9: Code of Practice – Load Reduction Practices, System Restoration Practices and Critical Load and Essential Load Requirements under Power System Emergencies) so that hospitals and medical centres are excluded from all future instances of load shedding.

Due to the ANC government’s massive systemic failure to maintain and upgrade the country’s power generating facilities to an acceptable degree, South Africa is facing years of rolling blackouts. Just this week, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter’s musing on the possibility of stage 15 load shedding sent the country into a tailspin.

Continued power supply for hospitals should not be at the behest of a power utility – it must be protected in legislation and regulations.

DASO elects leadership

The DA Students Organisation (DASO) today hosted its first Federal Congress as branches from campuses across the country met virtually.

Liam Jacobs was elected as the DASO Federal Leader.

The following people were elected uncontested:

DASO Deputy Federal Chairperson: Media and Publicity

Boitshoko Gilbert Monnanyana

DASO Deputy Federal Chairperson Administration

Mthokozisi Mandla Sibanyoni

DASO Federal Chairperson

Lenard Malesa

We would like to congratulate all the candidates and students that took part in the first ever DASO Federal Congress. We wish the newly-elected leaders the very best.

Speeches delivered at the DASO Congress

Please find attached the speeches that were delivered at the first Federal Congress of the Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) that was held today.

John Steenhuisen MP- A strong, stable DASO will be critical to the DA’s chances in 2024

Leader of the Democratic Alliance

Ryan Smith

Chief of Staff: DA Leader’s Office
072 385 1918

Yusuf Cassim, MPL- DASO has come a long way

DASO Federal Leader

083 788 5088

Geordin Hill-LewisDASO’s mission is more crucial now than it ever has been”

Mayor of Cape Town

021 400-1300

Johannesburg Coalition Government Address

The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, John Steenhuisen, during a live broadcast.

Good evening fellow South Africans,

After months of efforts to destabilise coalitions across the country, today the ANC succeeded in seizing control of Johannesburg. I warned precisely, a few weeks ago, that this is what is transpiring in the background.

This was done through nefarious tactics that culminated in smaller parties helping them to conduct the kangaroo-style council meeting in Johannesburg today. The ANC’s desperation to get their hands on tenders and contracts from Johannesburg’s R76 billion budget is now clear for all to see.

The outcome of the special sitting of the Johannesburg Council today has led to much speculation about the effectiveness and credibility of coalition politics.

Let me begin by stating clearly that the Democratic Alliance remains committed to coalition government and making coalitions work.

We firmly believe that with the commitment of all parties to work for the betterment of the citizens of this country rather than narrow self-interests, coalition governments have a vital role to play in the political landscape of South Africa.

We believe that what transpired in the council meeting today was unlawful and unprocedural. The sitting was little more than a sham and the Speaker, on debut, showed she is neither competent nor capable of managing a council meeting in the prescribed manner.

Mayor Mpho Phalatse has been the target of a coordinated attack, not because she has done anything wrong, but because she has done everything right. We have always had, and still do have, the utmost confidence in Mpho Phalatse.

Mayor Phalatse has achieved 71% of her targets to date and we have many examples of how the residents of the city have started to benefit from good, clean governance and dedicated service delivery projects for all residents.

I started this address by saying that the very concept of coalitions as a way to save South Africa has also suffered because of the events of the past weeks. I can state, without fear of contradiction, that it is not the system of coalitions that is at fault but the often mercenary way that some participants approach their role in such a government.

This very unfortunate sequence of events started with an unprovoked Motion of No Confidence against our Speaker, Vasco da Gama.

In terms of the signed coalition agreement with all our coalition partners, this position must be filled in Johannesburg by the DA. But due to the treachery of individual members of coalition partners, Vasco was voted out.

We are grateful to all our coalition partners – except COPE – who acted swiftly to expel their rogue members.

After our prescribed processes, the DA re-nominated Vasco to fill the vacant position. On receiving resistance from coalition partners, we were willing to be flexible on the candidate and nominate an alternate, Alex Christians.

Then it emerged that ActionSA had suggested that the DA relinquish this negotiated position and hand it to the IFP. This went against the signed and agreed coalition compact, and the DA drew the line, saying: A deal is a deal. If we revise it, this must occur in terms of the procedures laid down in the coalition agreement itself.

Smaller parties, including ActionSA continued to agitate for the IFP to be handed the Speaker’s position. After thorough discussion, the PA announced that they would not support the DA Speaker candidate.

The ANC, EFF and PA voted together to select the COPE rogue Councillor, Colleen Makhubele, as the Speaker.

Ignoring due process entirely, Colleen Makhubele forged ahead to convene a Council meeting to oust Phalatse as Mayor this morning, in a process so flawed that we will challenge it in court.

It is entirely spurious and false to blame the DA for any of these developments. We have, from the outset, held to the letter and the spirit of the coalition agreement in good faith.

When it became clear that the PA and some other partners were conniving with the ANC, our representatives on the Coalition Technical Task Team wrote a letter spelling out in detail what the coalition agreement required. By then, as it subsequently transpired, the PA deal with the ANC was done.

It is quite clear that the PA will not accept their defeat by the DA in the recent Prince Albert and Matzikama by-elections, and they have brought down coalition governments in Knysna, Cederberg and now Johannesburg.

The blame lies squarely with the coalition partners who refuse to recognise or respect the terms of the signed Coalition Agreements, which they clearly do not believe are worth the paper they are written on.

If these coalition governments are to work, we need our partners to be dependable and stick to the written agreements they signed. These are not mere suggestions to be amended at whim, but binding agreements aimed at the ensuring everyone is on board and shares the same values.

We are grateful to our coalition partners who remained loyal, not to us, but to the coalition agreement, all through this time, and who honoured and accepted as binding the written agreement we all signed.

Now the Patriotic Alliance, along with COPE’s Coleen Makhubele, have decided to join the ANC’s coalition of corruption, and we again urge voters to remember that whenever you split the opposition, the ANC will win.

South Africa needs a strong, united opposition party to take on the ANC and win, and only the DA delivers that.

We are further disappointed that ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba has chosen to consistently attack the DA rather than call out the ANC for their desperate efforts to destabilise opposition coalitions across the country.

His media onslaught against the DA today is little more than an attempt to steer the blame for this collapse away from where it truly belongs. While pointing fingers at the DA, Mashaba has been instrumental in destroying the coalition from within, and was not even present in many coalition meetings with the party leaders to resolve the issues.

In the interests of full transparency, the DA is releasing the contents of a letter we sent on 25 September, where we warned ActionSA that their scheme to violate the coalition agreement would pose an existential threat to the government.

We will not dignify his lies with the social media battle he so desperately wants.

The voters of Johannesburg have every right to be angry that despite their rejecting the ANC, small parties along with the EFF have now handed the city back to the same organisation that has run it into the ground.

We will move quickly to do everything in our power to protect our other coalition governments from this ANC onslaught.

We will do everything we can to rescue failing governments from the ANC’s hands, but often it is the smallest of parties who sell out to the ANC, and against the very people who put them into office.

We want to assure those who believe in democracy and the rule of law that the DA is not done in Johannesburg, and we will continue to fight the forces that put their own greedy agendas ahead of the needs of the citizens of this country.

We are under no illusions that the fight for resources by the coalitions of corruption will increase as the 2024 elections draw nearer, but we will stand firm and we will be guided by not only the values and principles we hold dear, but also by the rule of law.

And finally, I would like to reassure all South Africans that what we are seeing playing out in Johannesburg right now – as messy and painful as it is – is part of the journey we have to take if we want to save South Africa from ANC domination.

I understand how angry and frustrated many of you are right now, and particularly if your vote was one of those that was betrayed. But we dare not back down or give in. That is what they want.

Battling through this disruption and chaos – and learning lessons from it – is the price of progress.

One of those lessons is about the importance of signing and sticking to coalition agreements.

I give you my word today that the DA will never give your vote away to a coalition without a binding written agreement that ensures good governance and service delivery.

Treachery will not stand. Subterfuge will not hold. And we will not succumb to the politics of extortion and blackmail.

Thank you

New Eskom Board – Hello cadre deployment my old friend

Please find attached a soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

The new Eskom Board announced by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has been overshadowed by the deployment of an ANC cadre, Mr Bheki Ntshalintshali, who brings no value to Eskom.

Mr Bheki Ntshalintshali’appointment is nothing more than a cheap attempt to fulfill the ANC’s cadre deployment quota in a state owned enterprise. Ntshalintshali’s has simply been given a soft landing after he was rejected by Cosatu delegates.

For the rest of the Board, the jury is still out. Although an attempt was made to bring some individuals with a heavy engineering background, the government did not go far enough – and some are simply recycled executives with no engineering experience

Eskom’s new Board has been appointed into a perfect storm and they need to provide immediate answers to what is essentially one the worst loadshedding episodes that the country has ever gone through. This requires engineering expertise of the highest order.

The Board could have been freed up to operate in an unencumbered fashion had Ramaphosa’s ANC government listened to the DA’s call for a ring-fenced State of Disaster to be declared around Eskom. This would have empowered them to make decisions without the constraints of existing red tape, cadre deployment and more – all of which is responsible in no small way for the critical situation the utility is in.

The Board’s first order of business is simple – they need to bring Eskom’s power plant maintenance programme back on track, secure short term supply of electricity and end loadshedding.

For this new Board to be effective in accomplishing this objective, it is important that that political interference from the ANC government is kept at bay and board members are allowed to work with Eskom executives and engineers to stabilize the grid.

In order to inspire confidence and obtain public support to what is easily a colossal challenge before them, the new Board should, in the next few days, make a public address on how they intend to address generation issues at struggling power stations and the corresponding electricity supply constraints. This is the least that they can do to assure a nation that is on edge, living in constant fear that the grid can collapse anytime. The time for secrecy, com and and control and obfuscation is over.

The DA expects the new Board to double Eskom’s efforts to procure power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and accelerate the opening up of Eskom land for investment by IPPs – this while it fixes what is broken.

The DA stands and willing to cautiously provide support the new Eskom Board in this national effort to fix our electricity supply challenges and end loadshedding. But this will only work if the Board is willing to play open cards with South Africans and are clear on what needs to be done to secure the country’s energy security.

The DA welcomes the Minister’s comments on devolution of rail

The DA welcomes the answer from the Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula that the devolution of rail to cities & municipality’s will happen in the foreseeable future.

Mbalula responded to a question by DA Shadow Minister of Transport, Chris Hunsinger during the debate on the negative impact of heavy duty trucks on the safety of commuters on the road. The minister’s response was the strongest expression of support for devolution of rail to date.

Placing the management of passenger rail in the hands of municipality’s that can handle it, will alleviate the challenges faced by South Africans.

In April, the City of Cape Town announced that it had received the go-ahead to conduct a detailed feasibility study on the metropolitan rail function. With the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana having expressed support for such devolution.

The collapse of SA’s railway system should be squarely placed at the feet of government. Commuters are facing high transport costs due to astronomical fuel prices and the collapse of the passenger rail system. We need practical solutions to shield commuters from this abject failure by devolving public transport management to capable municipalities, as the minister agreed. The devolution of rail networks is a step in the right direction to ensure safe and affordable travel.

The DA will monitor the situation closely and hold the minister accountable for commitments made to the benefit of commuters.

Zenizole Vena failed by government

Please find attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

This week, reports on the death of 15 year old, Zenizole Vena, from the Eastern Cape, rocked South Africans.

The DA calls on the Human Rights Commission to investigate. We will also write to the Police and Health Ministers to look into the matter.

She succumbed to her injuries after escaping from captivity where she was allegedly gang-raped. Her sad and gruesome ordeal was unfortunately prolonged by failures by our country’s health system when she was turned away by a clinic after the incident and later died at the Motherwell police station.

Unfortunately hers is not an isolated experience poor public service from hospitals and police stations. Our constitution makes it clear that no one should be turned away from receiving medical care.

How many times are South African’s going to be let down by this government. Every murder, rape or assault on women and children is one too many.

We cannot accept this as another tragedy and move on. We need to act decisively so there will never be another women or child that suffers the same fate as Zenizole.

The DA reiterates its call for better services at police stations across the country through adequate resourcing and staff training. Especially those who provide GBV-specific services. The expediting of forensic and DNA evidence required for convictions, to ensure victims receive justice is non-negotiable. Increasing the probability of being caught has been perceived as more effective in deterring crime than a harsher sentence.

GBV prevention systems should be enhanced and community support strategies strengthened. This will involve training of frontline workers and key stakeholders to facilitate effective GBV response, prevention, and risk mitigation.

GBV survivors must have access to comprehensive and well-coordinated response services. This entails access to health care services, legal services, emergency material support (shelter, household utensils, blankets, and mattresses etc.) and dignity kits (sanitary towels, hygiene kits, clothing, breastfeeding kits, kits for teenage girls, and post-delivery kits (for mother and baby) etc.

The issues of femicide, GBV and rape in our country requires a collaborative effort and we must hold police and health services accountable for their failures.