DA reiterates call for De Lille to provide housing for the people rather than politicians

Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Geordin Hill-Lewis.

• Please see pictures here, here, here and here, as well as videos here and here.
• Please see below a map of Acacia Park and the surrounding national government-owned land:

The DA has today handed over a memorandum to the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure in the ANC government, Patricia de Lille, as well as to the Cabinet.

In the memorandum, the DA requests that the national government immediately surrenders its lease over Acacia Park and other parliamentary villages to provide housing for the people rather than politicians.

These facilities currently house a handful of Members of Parliament while the people suffer homelessness and housing shortages. Instead of leasing and maintaining this enormous 57-hectare property, Members of Parliament should be given housing vouchers which they can redeem for accommodation in Cape Town. This will save the state millions of Rands currently wasted on maintaining these properties. Once the lease has been surrendered, the DA-led City of Cape Town will negotiate to buy Acacia Park and partner with the private sector to build homes for thousands of Capetonians on this well-located land.

The DA’s memorandum also requests that the national government immediately begin the process to sell, terminate lease agreements or otherwise release the following mega-properties to the City of Cape Town for development in partnership with the private sector: Ysterplaat, Wingfield, Youngsfield and Culemborg.

Where small parts of these properties are currently utilised by the military, the national Cabinet must resolve to move these military operations to a site located well outside the urban edge of Cape Town. These military sites were created at a time when Cape Town was much smaller, but given the way in which the city has grown, the land on which they operate is now urgently needed for housing development.

Given the cruel, callous and vindictive manner in which the national government and the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure have consistently rejected Cape Town’s constructive requests to release national government-owned land for housing, this memorandum serves to inform the Minister and her ANC Cabinet colleagues that we will not give up on this fight for the people of Cape Town.

DA welcomes GOOD’s support for our proposal on Acacia Park

Please find attached a soundbite by Geordin Hill-Lewis.

  • Please see below a map of Acacia Park and the surrounding national government-owned land:

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the announcement made earlier today that GOOD, a junior coalition partner in the ANC national government, supports the DA’s call to release land owned or leased by the military – presumably including Acacia Park – for housing.

In a statement released this morning in response to the DA’s ongoing efforts to force the release of Acacia Park to provide housing for the people rather than politicians, GOOD’s Brett Herron states that “The GOOD Party agrees with the DA that the old military bases in Cape Town, or parts thereof, would be helpful if they were turned over to housing.”

The DA has specifically called for this process to start with the release of Acacia Park, which is a move-in ready social housing project currently occupied only by a handful of Members of Parliament, but our call to provide housing to the people rather than politicians has been callously rejected by the Minister of Public Works in the ANC government, Patricia de Lille.

Since De Lille is also the leader of GOOD, this begs the serious question of whether De Lille is now openly defying her party by refusing to agree with the DA’s call to release Acacia Park and other land owned or leased by the national government? Given that De Lille also serves as the Minister for Public Works in the ANC government, does this mean that she would rather defy her own party and abandon the people of Cape Town in order to comply with the ANC’s long-standing efforts to undermine housing delivery in Cape Town?

While we welcome GOOD’s decision to follow our lead on this issue, the DA urges the GOOD party leadership to urgently intervene in De Lille’s apparent refusal to help the people of Cape Town. With GOOD now backing the DA’s call, it appears that De Lille is the only one preventing the release of Acacia Park to provide housing for the people rather than politicians. The DA will not relent in our quest to secure these mega properties owned or leased by the ANC national government for the benefit of the people of Cape Town.

ANC government should hang their head in shame on this World Rhino Day

Please find attached a soundbite by Dave Bryant MP

Today is World Rhino Day where the international community takes pause to consider the plight of these majestic, ancient animals. The remainder of the world’s rhinos are located in South Africa, where they continue to be poached at a pace faster than their growth rate. In simple terms, this means that if poaching is not drastically and urgently addressed rhino will go extinct in the wild within the next fifty years at least.

The vast majority of poaching is taking place in the Kruger National Park which is managed by SAN Parks, an entity of the ANC government. In Kruger Park the white rhino population has dropped by 67% over the past ten years from around 10,600 in 2011 to just 3,549 individuals in 2019. While the ANC government is keen to point to a recent drop in poaching numbers at Kruger National Park, the reality is that this is simply because there are far fewer rhino left to poach. 241 rhinos have already been poached in Kruger Park this year alone. This is bizarrely deemed to be acceptable as the government’s “poaching target” is 250 rhinos a year.

The travesty of rhino poaching at Kruger National Park is symptomatic of all entities that have been under the control of the ANC government. Not only has this government been unable to prevent incursions into the park, they have repeatedly failed to take those responsible to task and to break the international poaching syndicates. Many of those involved in local poaching syndicates continue to get away with slaps in the wrist. Some cases have been ongoing for between 7 and 10 years and there is a lack of urgency to deal with those involved. There continues to be an aversion from the ANC government to properly address corruption and collusion within Kruger Park. The DA continues to call for the proper use of polygraph testing for all Kruger Park staff, including those in executive positions.

The ANC government also appears to be hesitant to take action against foreign governments whose citizens are involved in the illegal trade in rhino horn.  Why are the relevant ministers not giving ultimatums to these foreign governments to force them to help curb the illegal trade? The ANC government has proven that they lack the sufficient backbone to take these governments to task for other international criminal syndicates so perhaps we should assume that the illegal trade in rhino horn would be no different.

It should be a very telling sign that the ANC government saw it fit to cut the budget for SAN Parks for the coming year instead of giving more towards anti-poaching efforts. Government should be putting its money where its mouth is and ensuring that SAN Parks is properly equipped and empowered to address the poaching crisis at Kruger Park.

This ANC government has had its opportunity to address the plight of rhinos over many years and has shown that it is completely incapable of having any serious impact on preventing the ongoing poaching and the international illegal trade in horn. Today is a day that the ANC government should be hanging their heads in shame.

High Court finding on Mining Charter a massive defeat for the ANC

Please find attached soundbite by James Lorimer MP.

The finding by the Pretoria High Court that once a mining company has met the mandatory black empowerment figure, it does not have to keep meeting it with every change of ownership, is a massive defeat for the ANC government. It is simultaneously a victory for the mining industry and an opportunity to make South Africa’s mining industry properly investable.

This ruling could put an end to 3 years of uncertainty caused by the ANC’s 2018 version of the Mining Charter. The attempt to make re-empowerment a permanent feature, meant any mining investor would have to continually meet the cost of having to recruit new black owners, if the previous ones sold their shares. This was a serious disincentive to investment, as it made all but the richest mining prospects a losing proposition. Investment has fallen off commensurately.

The judgement has also rendered void all the complicated regulations related to procurement empowerment, which make mining extremely difficult. This is a big win for the ease of doing business, and is a big blow to companies which seek rents without adding value.

The case has the added authority of having been decided by a full bench of the court. The judgement emphasizes that the Mining Charter should be a pact between government and industry, not merely a means by which government can impose its will without contradiction. This has been one of the reasons the DA has opposed the Charter, and believes it should be scrapped.

Minerals Minister Gwede Mantashe is now faced with a choice: He can seek to do with regulation what he failed to do with the Charter, and reimpose all the odious regulation by another means, or he can appeal the judgement; his second choice would be to change course, recognise that the mining industry is being strangled by his attempts to control it, and free mining companies to operate without all his controls. This would attract investors, build the industry and, most importantly, create jobs.

Sadly, previous experience has showed that Mantashe and the ANC believe it is far more important to engineer the racial composition of the industry rather than allow it to flourish, and he will likely miss this opportunity. He should think carefully before he does so.

Sports federations grants not yet received: DA calls on Mthethwa to give an explanation

The DA calls for clarification from the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture over its failure to provide several sports federations their grants for the current fiscal year.

The DA has learned that sports federations such as Swimming South Africa, Boxing South Africa and Gymnastics South Africa have yet to receive their funding or, at the very least, letters of allocation from the government. 

This is particularly troubling given the critical role that federations play in promoting the growth of South African sports and ensuring fair access to them.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on many sports organisations across the sports world, and these grants are a vital source of funding that is critical to their survival, especially during these challenging Covid-19 times.

The DA calls on Minister Nathi Mthethwa to explain why funding is being delayed.

Is Nersa’s approval of Karpowership licences legal?

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Kevin Mileham MP

The DA condemns the decision by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to approve three generation licences to Karpowership. We call on the regulator to give reasons as to why it granted Karpowership the licenses despite concerns that were raised by coastal communities and other stakeholders.

We also have serious reservations on whether Nersa, in granting these licenses, considered their compliance with Section 11 (2)(e) of the Electricity Regulation Act. This section requires a licence application to include “the plans and the ability of the applicant to comply with applicable labour, health, safety and environmental legislation, subordinate legislation and such other requirements as may be required.

It is public knowledge that Karpowership does not have environmental approval and that the appropriate permits from the National Ports Authority have not been obtained. We also know that Eskom has not signed power purchase agreements with them. 

Accordingly, the DA questions whether Nersa’s decision in this regard is not premature and whether the regulator has rubber-stamped the now deeply flawed Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP). 

It is clear that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy was grossly negligent in the formulation, management and adjudication of the RMIPPPP bid process. 

Nersa’s subsequent approval of the three Karpowerships licenses, when there are still so many questions left unanswered, is therefore highly contentious. 

If you want to be free of the ANC’s electricity crisis, the DA has a plan

Please find attached pictures from DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen‘s oversight visit to to the Modder East Substation in Ekurhuleni, here and here

In this election, voters can vote to free themselves from the ANC’s electricity crisis.

Today, DA Federal Leader, John Steenhuisen, and DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Kevin Mileham, conducted an oversight visit to the Modder East substation in Ekurhuleni which went up in flames last night, leaving large parts of the metro without electricity. It is time for South Africa to be liberated from the ANC’s electricity crisis, symbolized by electricity outages

This is a regular occurrence in Ekurhuleni due to the abject failure of the municipality to secure a stable and reliable electricity supply in the metro, coupled with failures at a national level by Eskom which has ageing and rapidly decaying infrastructure and declining generation capacity.

Ekurhuleni is one of hundreds of municipalities plagued by rolling blackouts and electricity collapse due to decades of infrastructure neglect and corruption which has hollowed out local government capacity, severely compromising the provision of basic services.

What South Africa’s local municipalities need is a DA-led administration to liberate them from our country’s electricity crisis – residents deserve a government that gets things done to keep the lights on and grow local economies. In metros and local municipalities where the DA governs, electricity supply is stable and reliable, and we are even making groundbreaking advances to offset load shedding, break Eskom’s tenuous monopoly on electricity supply, and give residents and consumers more choice to be energy independent.

In the DA-led City of Cape Town, we have made use of the 160 megawatts Steenbras Hydro Pump Station as part of the Steenbras Dam to supplement our electricity supply when needed. The result is that Cape Town is able to offset stages 1 and 2 of Eskom’s load shedding by feeding our own supply into the grid. So while the rest of South Africa sits in the dark, Cape Town still shines bright.

In DA-led Stellenbosch, our Mayor Gesie van Deventer has signed a memorandum of understanding with partners in the private sector to break free from Eskom entirely. In line with the Electricity Regulation Act promulgated in 2020, Stellenbosch has begun the process to become the first municipality in South Africa to become completely energy independent, purchasing electricity from independent power producers using green and sustainable alternatives. This is what happens when you vote for a party that gets things done.

At a national level, the DA is also pushing for more enabling legislation for independent power producers to open up the grid and create a competitive and thriving energy sector in South Africa. Our Independent Electricity Management Operator (IEMO) Bill, also known as the Cheaper Electricity Bill, was tabled at parliament in December 2019 to create an independent public-private partnership that would manage grid operations and electricity planning, source electricity from a variety of generation plants, and sell it to municipal and industrial customers. We are tackling the root cause of electricity collapse right at the source to free South Africans from the crippling effects of load shedding under the ANC.

The story of Ekurhuleni is not unique – towns and municipalities across South Africa have no energy security at the hands of incompetent ANC governments. We need a solution out of this crisis where the needs of South Africans are placed above the needs of greedy ANC cadres.

The DA has a plan to fix South Africa’s electricity woes, but we need a clear mandate in municipalities across the country. In this election, it is time to vote for a party that has a proven track record of delivery and a promise for more. In this election, South Africans must lend their votes to the DA, because the DA is the only party that gets things done.

Sisulu silent whilst SA remains on Red Lists

Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, needs to break her silence and provide an urgent update on how her department plans to address South Africa’s current status as a “red list” destination for various countries.

The fact that South Africa has remained on the red list for travellers and tourists of various countries is an indictment of the bumbling and clumsy manner in which government has been handling the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, which rank the most important countries for tourism and trade for South Africa, have seen that the lack of certainty and efficiency by government and have as a result kept South Africa on their travelling red list. This has direct implications for tourism and the many jobs that will potentially be lost if we remain on red lists.

Throughout all this time, and since being appointed as Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu has been deafeningly silent on this issue.  As Tourism Minister, Sisulu should be leading the charge, coordinated with other departments, in fighting that South Africa is taken off any red list.

As things stand, any person travelling from South Africa to the UK will be subject to arduous Covid testing and have to quarantine for 10 days after landing on UK soil at designated hotels at the traveller’s own cost.  The prohibitive costs for South African travellers are around R47 000 per adult and R29 000 for children over 11 years of age.  Even children younger than 11 will need to be accommodated for about R7 000.  South African travellers to the USA will incur similar costs.

These extra costs will impact businesses and trade between these countries which are of the most important countries for South Africa.

The DA will therefore be writing to Minister Sisulu enquiring what she and her department are doing to get South Africa off red lists and what she intends doing on this matter going forward.

This situation cannot be left unattended as the tourism sector and the sub-sectors connected to tourism and travel continue to shed jobs and businesses daily.  Unofficial statistics from within the tourism sector indicate that about 1 million people have lost their jobs due to the continued and in some instances illogical lockdown that government has maintained for over a year.

DA welcomes Afriforum joining our fight for provincial referendums

Please find attached soundbite by Natasha Mazzone MP.

The DA notes Afriforum’s plans to approach the Constitutional Court in an effort to force Parliament to change the country’s referendum legislation to give premiers legislative powers to call for referendums.

The power to do so has been a growing issue and the DA has long fought for our principle of federalism and the devolution of power to provinces.

The DA appreciates Afriforum joining this fight – we have already set the ball rolling with our Private Member’s Bill (PMB) which seeks to repeal the Referendums Act and amend the Electoral Commissions Act and would allow premiers their Constitutional power to call for referendums. Our PMB was gazetted and thousands of inputs of supports were received during the public comment stage.

The next step for the DA and the parliamentary law advisors will be to study the thousands of comments received, thus allowing us to finalize the draft Bill with parliamentary legal services.

The only foreseeable outcome of Afriforum’s application before the Constitutional Court is the Court’s expectation that Parliament should put forward legislation – which is exactly what the DA is doing with our PMB. The DA will never presume to stop Afriforum from pursuing a just cause, but this course of action would be a duplication of efforts.

We believe in following the correct course of lawmaking and approaching the courts only when all other measures have been exhausted, and will continue to fight for a power shift to provinces to better address service delivery and other issues of their residents.

De Lille cruelly dismisses proposal to alleviate housing shortage as “stupid” and “a joke”

The outburst of petty insults from Minister of Public Works in the ANC government, Patricia de Lille, will not deter my commitment to fight for more affordable housing for Capetonians through the release of large tracts of government land.

Our call was simple: houses for people, not politicians. That call is not “stupid” or a “joke”. It is a sensible, achievable call that De Lille has supported herself in the past. Her views have clearly changed since her appointment to the ANC national government Cabinet.

Minister De Lille may have abandoned Cape Town, but we have not. We will keep fighting for more affordable housing for more Capetonians.

Last week, I launched my plan to address the housing shortage in Cape Town so that more residents can live a life of dignity. I committed to speeding up the release of city-owned land for this purpose. I also called on the national government to release the massive tracts of land that it owns or controls, because these pieces of land dwarf anything else that is available in Cape Town for housing.

That is why I last week wrote to Minister De Lille requesting her to cancel the lease over Acacia Park so that the City of Cape Town can buy the land and release it for the development of affordable housing.

Unfortunately, in an interview responding to my plan over the weekend, De Lille showed little sympathy or understanding of the pressing need for housing of so many Capetonians. Instead, she dismissed my call for her to release Acacia Park as “stupid” and “a joke.”

The infrastructure that already exists at Acacia Park makes it a move-in ready social housing project – located close to major business nodes, with a school, its own train station, parks and a swimming pool.

Most puzzling of all is De Lille’s dismissal of the DA’s call to release national government owned land for housing, when she previously issued exactly the same call.

The DA has obtained correspondence sent to then President Jacob Zuma by De Lille when she was still mayor of Cape Town on 6 February 2014. In the correspondence, De Lille notes that “land holdings owned by the National Department of Public Works…which if released for housing purposes, would play a significant role in reducing the housing backlog in the city.”

But now that De Lille is herself the Minister of the Department of Public Works in the ANC government, she dismisses the same long-term solution she once embraced as “a joke.”

In her interview this weekend, De Lille went on to defend the continued use of the 56.8-hectares of Acacia Park to house Members of Parliament on the basis that the National Party also used this valuable land for politicians, and instructed the DA “to go and ask the National Party” to release the land. This suggestion makes little sense however, as it is the ANC national government – of which De Lille is a senior member – that is in power and has for 27 years overseen the continued exclusion of people in desperate need of housing from sites like Acacia Park, as well as the Wingfield, Youngsfield and Ysterplaat military bases.

We have long known that the national ANC government vindictively refuses to release well-located pieces of state-owned land to the DA-led City of Cape Town.

By dismissing the needs of the same city she once served as mayor, it is clear that De Lille has become nothing but an agent implementing this same cruel and vindictive ANC policy towards the people of Cape Town.