Sports Minister must bring SSA to heel

Note to Editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Veronica van Dyk MP.

The DA calls on the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, to ensure that Swimming South Africa (SSA) gives account of the various allegations of sexual misconduct at the federation. This after SSA continued its trend of dodging accountability by handing in its report to the parliamentary portfolio committee for sports, arts and culture at the last minute. This meant that committee members did not have enough time to prepare questions on the report.

The DA therefore also calls on the chairperson of the committee, Beauty Dlulane, to reconvene the meeting as a matter of urgency so that SSA can finally be held to account for the alleged atrocities in the sport.

That SSA pulled this stunt during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) hardly came as a surprise as the federation has refused to answer numerous questions from Members of Parliament, the media, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), activists and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) assisting the alleged victims of sexual abuse.

The DA further calls on Minister Mthethwa to obtain the Goldman Report regarding the investigation of sexual abuses at the federation, and to make it available to the committee for scrutiny.

The DA cannot help but wonder at SSA’s continued silence and refusal to release this report. Given the extremely high and ever increasing statistics of GBV in South Africa, we would assume that SSA would do everything in its power to protect vulnerable swimmers from alleged sexual predators. Their actions alas, disproves this hope.

DA Councillor Jeff Zwane of Metsimaholo elected as Mayor

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State is pleased to announce that Councillor Jeff Zwane of Metsimaholo Municipality has been elected as Mayor uncontested this morning.

Mestimaholo has been riddled with mal-administration and serious service delivery challenges for a long time. The time to correct that starts today. The DA is excited to bring the much needed change for the people of Metsimaholo.

Our main focus is to get the basics done by delivering better services and build a financially stable Municipality. Revitalising the local economic growth and turn things around is also on top of the list.

During the campaign, Councillor Zwane told the people of Metsimaholo that he will govern in the interest of the community and he still stands by his word.

It will not be an easy road, however we will get things done.

DA notes judgement on Wild Coast blasting and calls for increased monitoring

Please find attached soundbite by Dave Bryant MP.

The DA has noted today’s judgement relating to the imminent seismic blasting surveys along the Wild Coast. Today’s judgement by the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court in Makhanda will allow the blasting to take place as originally planned from this month onwards and to continue for the next five months. Concerns remain regarding the potential impact on the Wild Coast marine environment and it is essential that the blasting project is now meticulously monitored to ensure that any changes or impacts on the coastal environment are immediately reported.

We remain of the view that a new extensive and independent environmental impact study should have been undertaken and that government should have re-opened the public participation process to allow for concerns to be addressed.

The DA notes that protests against the blasting are planned across the country for the coming days. We urge all those participating in these protests to please do so peacefully and to take into consideration those working at petrol stations who could be negatively affected by direct action.

The protection of the Wild Coast’s fragile marine environment is crucial. There are four marine protected areas along the coast, and whales use this coast line to calf during the summer. It remains to be seen how the blasting will impact both the marine life and the many people dependent on the sensitive environment for their livelihoods.

The DA remains very concerned regarding the potential environmental impact and will monitor the progress of the blasting going forward.

Niks te vier in Universiteit Stellenbosch se nuwe taalbeleid nie

Stellenbosch

Daar is niks te vier vir Afrikaanssprekende studente in die Universiteit Stellenbosch (US) se nuwe taalbeleid nie. Die beleid sit bloot die ideologiese proses voort wat in 2016 onder rektor Wim de Villiers begin is om die universiteit heeltemal te verengels, met Afrikaans en Xhosa wat as goedkoop versierings ingespan word om hierdie agenda te bevorder.

Die Demokratiese Alliansie (DA) het deurlopend insette gelewer tydens die ontwikkeling van die nuwe taalbeleid,waarmee ons gepleit het vir ‘n nuwe benadering wat aan Afrikaans gelyke status met Engels gee. Ons het ‘n petisie met meer as 6 500 handtekeninge aan die universiteit oorhandig en honderde individue gehelp om kommentaar op die beleid te lewer. Dit lyk egter asof die US-bestuur elke liewe een van hierdie derduisende kommentare botweg geïgnoreer of afgemaak het in hul soeke na totale verengelsing.

Die operasionele bepalings in paragraaf 7.1 van die beleid maak dit duidelik dat Engels in alle opsigte die oorheersendetaal aan die US is. Meeste klasse word nou eksklusief in Engels aangebied, met bloot ‘n vae “opsomming” wat aan die einde in Afrikaans verskaf word. Die beleid diskrimineer ook teen Afrikaanssprekende studente wat tolkdienste betref, aangesien tolking altyd tydens die paar oorblywende Afrikaanse lesings aan Engelse studente verskaf word, terwyl Afrikaanse studente slegs in hul eerstejaar geregtig is op tolkdienste tydens Engelse lesings. En die nuwe beleid misluk geheel en al om die nuwe moontlikhede vir meertaligheid wat deur tegnologie en afstandonderrig gebied word, te benut.

Verder word die voorwaarde “waar redelikerwys doenlik” op 16 verskillende plekke in die nuwe beleid ingespan om die gebruik van Afrikaans in te perk en aan bande te lê, terwyl dieselfde voorwaarde nie een keer toegepas word op die gebruik van Engels nie. Op lafhartige wyse gebruik die US ook gedienstig steeds die ANC Minister Blade Nzimande se klassifisering van Afrikaans as “uitheems” in die nuwe beleid.

Die DA is verder bekommerd oor die US se weiering om dit in die nuwe beleid duidelik te maak dat studente nie verbied mag word om Afrikaans te praat in hul koshuise en in ander openbare ruimtes nie. Aan die begin van die vorige akademiese jaar het verskeie US-koshuise die gebruik van Afrikaans heeltemal verban. Hierdie verbod is die onderwerp van ‘n ondersoek deur die Menseregtekommissie wat deur die DA aangevra is. Die US se weiering om dit duidelik te maak dat niemand verbied mag word om hul moedertaal te gebruik nie, wys dat hulle niks geleer het uit die klaaglike mislukking van die 2016 taalbeleid nie.

Die DA sal daarom voortgaan om ons sterk netwerk en vertrouensverhouding met US-studente te gebruik om die situasie op die kampus te monitor sodat ons enige diskriminasie teen Afrikaanse studente onmiddellik kan aanspreek.

Die DA en StudentePlein gaan intussen ook voort met ons hofsaak teen die US se misbruik van die Covid-pandemie om weg te doen met nuwe Afrikaanse leermateriaal. Hierdie hofsaak maak dit duidelik dat die US-bestuur se praatjies in die nuwe taalbeleid oor hul kosmetiese verbintenis tot meertaligheid ‘n blote klug is. Die bestuur se aksies wys dat hul selfs bereid is om hul eie taalbeleid op onwettige wyse te verbreek sodra ‘n geleentheid hom voordoen om Afrikaans selfs verder af te takel.  

Dit is duidelik dat die Wim de Villiers-regime nie sal rus totdat Afrikaans heeltemal aan die US verdwyn het nie. En juis daarom sal die DA aanhou opstaan vir die reg tot moedertaalonderrig aan die laaste universiteit in die suide van die land wat onderrig in Afrikaans kan bied.

DA urges FFC to get to the bottom of Financial Irregularities

The DA notes the decision by the Board of the Fiscal and Finance Commission (FFC) to suspend the CEO pending the outcome of investigations into allegations of financial irregularities by the auditor-general.

The FFC is a statutory body to advise national, provincial and local government on finance and fiscal matters, and budgetary legislation.

Among the allegations, wasteful and fruitless expenditure in the entity in 2020/21 was R2.9 million, which accounts for almost 5% of its total budget. Furthermore, irregular expenditure at the entity accounted for R12.8 million, which is a whopping 20% of the entities budget. Any entity with a total of 25% of its budgeting being classified as either wasteful or irregular expenditure should rightly trigger alarm bells.

The DA has always welcomed the impartial and independent nature of the work produced by the FFC, which has never shied away from criticizing the government for waste and inefficiency. It stands in stark contrast to a Parliamentary Budget Office that suffers from ideological capture.

The DA urges the acting CEO, Mr Chen Tseng, to take the necessary steps to get to the bottom of what has gone wrong at the entity, and trusts he will be given the necessary space take corrective action based on fair and impartial investigations.

DA wins both Mayor and Speaker positions in Fezile Dabi District Municipality and is ready to get things done

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State is pleased to announce that Councillor Dennis Khasudi and Councillor Sidney Pittaway has been elected as Executive Mayor and Speaker respectively of the Council of the Fezile Dabi District Municipality.

Both positions won election to office today at the inaugural meeting of Council after being supported by the councillors of other opposition parties.

As no coalition agreement or co-governing arrangement or agreement were in place before the election, we are deeply aware that the election to office sends a clear message that opposition parties in the Fezile Dabi District Municipality agreed that in order to improve the services rendered by the municipality, a change in political leadership was desperately necessary.

Our office bearers will strive to establish an administration earmarked by sound financial management, honest and clean government and the delivery of good services to all communities.

DA wins Mayor position in Modimolle-Mookgophong

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo wishes to congratulate Councillor Marlene van Staden who has been elected as Mayor of Modimolle-Mookgophong Local Municipality during the council sitting held today.

Mayor Van Staden was elected through a coin toss after there had been two tied rounds of voting (14 votes each), with the EFF and FF Plus councillors voting for our candidate. The council had held four previous council meetings with no resolution on the position of mayor, while a speaker was only elected at the fourth meeting.

Councillor Sinah Langa of the ANC was elected as Speaker at the previous council sitting and Councillor Maria Kekana of the ANC has also been elected as Chief Whip today. The Council also resolved to replace the Acting Municipal Manager, Dr Melusi Mhlanga, with the current Town Planning Director, Ms Dakalo Sinthumule.

The DA is excited and looks forward to continue on its sustained efforts to ensure good governance, revitalise the local economy and provide good basic services for all residents within the municipality.

We are committed to putting the residents of Modimolle-Mookgophong first and ensuring that the municipality gets back to its main purpose of ensuring services for all residents.  

We wish Mayor Van Staden and her team all the best.

Siviwe Gwarube elected as new DA Deputy Chief Whip in Parliament

I am delighted to announce that the DA caucus has today elected Siviwe Gwarube to serve as the Party’s Deputy Chief Whip in Parliament. 

I would like to congratulate Siviwe on her election and look forward to a great term working together. 

The DA caucus has full confidence that she will serve in this position with the same distinction as she is doing in her capacity as Shadow Minister of Health as well as National Spokesperson. 

I would also like to thank the outgoing Deputy Chief Whip, Jacques Julius, for his tenure. 

DA Debate Speeches: 16 Days of Activism

The following speeches will be delivered in Parliament on Thursday, 02 November during the debate on 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children. 

Luyolo Mphithi MPWe need 365 Days of Activism to keep women and children safe
DA Shadow Minister on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities
079 551 9791

Nazley Sharif MP – We are sick of meaningless debates and empty promises
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities
079 875 4930

DA welcomes commencement of sections of Cybercrimes Act 

The DA welcomes the commencement of certain sections of the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill into law. The enactment of this legislation is long overdue and comes at a critical time when South Africa has become a hotbed of cybercrimes and cybersecurity threats.

The Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Act is a strong piece of legislation due to it being subjected to rigorous public participation processes and inputs form across the political divide.

The Act criminalises a number of cybercrimes such as:

  • Messages containing threats of violence and damage to property, inciting violence and damage as well as distributing intimate images of someone without their consent (also know as revenge porn);
  • Unlawfully accessing computer systems and data storage;
  • The interception of, and interference with, data;
  • Financial services institutions, internet and communications service providers are now obligated to report offences within 72 hours of becoming aware.

This new legislation can create a vehicle to prevent and prosecute cyber related crimes but only if the relevant State institutions are properly capacitated, trained and financed. Failure by the government to do this will render this Act null and void.

Over the past number of years South Africa and it’s State institutions have become increasingly vulnerable to cyber security attacks with inter alia the Department of Justice and Transnet falling prey to these attacks, causing huge losses and compromising vast tracts of citizens personal information.

There is evidently a clear need for South Africa to strengthen its response to cybercrimes and this Act is crucial in achieving this.