DA welcomes appointment of Justice Theron

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the appointment of Justice Leona Theron to the Constitutional Court Bench.
She has made a significant contribution during her career, and also on the Bench, and we are confident that she will continue the hard work in her new capacity, and contribute to the continued independence of the judiciary.
Her appointment comes on the day that the President chose to describe the judiciary as “a form of minority rule” and a “counter to democracy”.
While these statements are nothing new from the President and are yet more comments in a long line of attacks on the judiciary and their independence, the Democratic Alliance remains confident that the judiciary will remain strong in the face of such unfortunate utterances, and that Justice Theron will, along with her colleagues, jealously guard that independence.

#NoConfidence: South Africans must unite as a date is set for the end of Zuma’s ruinous presidency

The DA welcomes the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to schedule the DA-sponsored Motion of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma for 3 August.
I have twice written to the Speaker since the Constitutional Court ruled on the matter of the secret ballot on 22 June. Finally, we have been given a date.
We call on Mbete to timeously apply her mind and make a decision on the secret ballot, as the Constitutional Court reaffirmed is within her discretion.
South Africans should be buoyed by the fact that Jacob Zuma’s ruinous presidency could come to an end in a month’s time. All that is required is for their representatives in Parliament, irrespective of party affiliation, to do the right thing.
Zuma’s presidency has been an unrelenting and unmitigated disaster for this country, especially for those unable to find work who now number a staggering 9.3 million people.
It is the recent revelations of state capture and the weekly revelations of how the Gupta and Zuma families colluded to loot and pillage the state that should leave individual Members of Parliament with no doubt in their minds how they should vote on 3 August.
The end of the Zuma presidency is in sight. South Africans should use the coming weeks to unite in purpose and make it clear to those who represent their voices in Parliament that when the Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma is put to the House, they must vote with a resounding “AYE”. We call on all South Africans to join the DA and take to the streets on 3 August to bid Zuma and his cronies ‘good bye’.

DTI must explain why Gupta-linked company failed to meet localisation goals

The DA has written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, Joanmarie Fubbs, requesting that an inquiry be launched into the 2012 appointment of Chinese firm, CRRC, by Prasa.
CRRC, the product of a merger between Gupta-linked China South Rail and China North Rail, received a plum offer in a R50 billion tender after it was contracted to supply 591 of 1064 trains Prasa had commissioned, but despite this CRRC failed to meet the required localisation targets.
CRRC allegedly paid R5.3 billion in kickbacks to Tequesta to secure the tender. Tequesta’s sole director Salim Essa, a known Gupta associate, structured the deal.
Government-linked think tank Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies has documented the slow pace of localisation and it appears that no locomotives were built in South Africa.
Multinationals that are contracted to the state are required by law to meet localisation targets and failing to do that is acting in bad faith.
Transnet granted generous concessions to the Chinese companies which had built the first 60 locomotives in China, yet a number of these locomotives had faulty alternators and this could have been avoided had the build programme taken place in South Africa, overseen by local officials.
Despite Minister Rob Davies raising concerns over the willingness, or lack thereof, of Chinese locomotive suppliers to meet stated localisation commitments for the contracts, the deal was approved. Minister Davies needs to explain why this non-compliance with localisation targets was allowed to go on for so long.
The fact that the lucrative contract was awarded to CRRC despite the company failing to uphold its end of the bargain shows that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sees nothing wrong in being complicit to an irregular deal.
An inquiry into this deal will reveal why the DTI approved this likely dodgy deal.  If there was irregular behaviour involved, the DA will ensure those responsible are brought to book.

The DA will lay criminal charges against the Guptas for washing public funds through Dubai

I will lay charges against Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta, Rajesh Gupta, Ronica Ragavan and Kamal Vasram, in terms of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (No. 121 of 1998) and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (No. 12 of 2004), with the South African Police Service following revelations that public funds were used to pay for Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia’s wedding at Sun City in 2013.
Today it was revealed that a total of  US$  8 099 950 was transferred from “Estina”, a 4 400-hectare farm outside Vrede funded by the Free State government, and then washed through a complex web of Gupta front companies, including Gateway Limited, Global Corporation LLC and Accurate, using two banks -­ Standard Chartered and the State Bank of India -­ before being used inter alia to settle a US$ 3 333 400 account, through a South African registered Gupta company called Linkway Trading, for Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia’s wedding at Sun City in 2013.
We hope this matter will be properly investigated because the fact is that it is grotesque that President Jacob Zuma’s most important clients, the Guptas, used public funds, meant to assist the poor, to pay for Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia’s wedding at Sun City in 2013.

BOKAMOSO | DA’s approach to mining empowerment will focus on jobs, growth, mineworkers and mining communities.

South Africa has the richest endowment of minerals of any country in the world. Our mining industry could and should be playing a major role in uplifting the lives of poor South Africans and redressing past injustices. Instead, the mining sector is in retreat, floundering under the weight of ill considered, incoherent policy, much of it designed specifically to facilitate crony empowerment.

The forced takeover of Optimum Coal Mine by Gupta-owned Tegeta is a classic example of how current empowerment policy enables corruption. Glencore-owned Optimum became devalued to near bankruptcy after Eskom refused to buy its coal because it wasn’t 50%-plus-1 black-owned. This enabled Gupta-and-Zuma-owned Tegeta Resources to buy Optimum at a massive discount, with unprecedented “pre-paid” financial help from Eskom to make the deal happen. 

The new Mining Charter seeks to further institutionalise such opportunities for crony empowerment through more stringent preferential procurement and prospecting regulations. Inevitably, mining jobs are being lost and mining investment is drying up. The sector’s contribution to tax revenue is in decline. Poor, black South Africans are being disempowered.

A DA national government would move swiftly to arrest this situation and turn it around, so that mining can once again play its rightful part in fighting poverty, unemployment and inequality. Our approach can be summed up as focusing on both broad-based earning and broad-based owning.

The DA believes the greatest contribution mines can make to the country is in employing the greatest number of poor South Africans possible. Without doubt, job creation is the single best way of putting wealth in the hands of as many black South Africans as possible. This requires a policy approach aimed at rapidly growing the mining industry.

Of course, the other consequence of rapid growth would be greater tax revenue, to be spent progressively on improving the lives of and opening up opportunities to poor, black South Africans.

But broad-based earning is not enough. We also need broad-based owning. The single-biggest focus of mining empowerment policy should be on transferring mining shares to mineworkers. A DA national government would incentivise mining companies to turn mineworkers into shareholders and partners.

And we would ensure that surrounding communities benefit from mines, either through contributions paid to an independent development trust or through shareholdings transferred to mine communities.

We reject the forced transfer of ownership to a small elite group of connected cronies, in the name of empowerment. This will only serve to reduce mining investment, reduce the number of mines, reduce the number of mining jobs, reduce the tax revenue from mining, reduce the number of mineworker shareholders, and reduce the potential benefits to mining communities.

We also reject outright the idea of a state mining company. As the Gupta-captured ANC has amply shown, state-owned companies tend very quickly to become mired in a toxic sludge of corruption, inefficiency, incapacity and skewed incentives.

As for the foolish notion of nationalising the mining industry, that lunacy would quickly suck South Africa into failed state status, shedding jobs, tax revenue and hope faster than one can say: “Venezuela”.

The DA knows and has what it takes to achieve true broad-based black empowerment, with wealth creation that benefits everyone. And we intend to start putting our policies into action in 2019.


A DA government will not forget Ntabankulu like the ANC has

Note to editors: The following remarks were made by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, as part of his #Change19 Tour in Ntabankulu in the Eastern Cape. 
My fellow South Africans,
Part of the beauty of this area is that it lies off the beaten track, far from development. But that also means it is easily forgotten by those tasked with looking after it. And that is what has happened here – the ANC government has forgotten all about you.
They have forgotten that, after all these years, you still don’t have proper houses or adequate services.
They have forgotten about the terrible state of the roads into this community, and the dangerous bridge between here and Phepheni Village that has cost many people their lives.
They have forgotten everything they once said about improving your schools and opening opportunities for your children.
They have forgotten that they once told you that you will own your land and your home.
This here is your land. You should have a title deed for your property, because this will help you achieve financial independence.
But let me tell you today: The ANC does not want you to own the land you live on. If they did, they would have fixed it by now and you would be land owners. That is what the DA is doing where we govern, so why can’t they? Because they don’t want to.
Even worse are the people who use land reform as a disguise for helping the ANC and their Gupta friends to steal billions of Rands meant for communities like yours.
There are those who may speak of land, but actually they are nothing but a front for the Guptas’ radical enrichment programme. This became very clear yesterday when a bunch of thugs went to intimidate, threaten and assault journalists who have been exposing the corruption of the Guptas and the ANC.
The Gupta proxies’ campaign to undermine media freedom in an attempt to shield a corrupt family is a new low in our country. They have been exposed as nothing but hired muscle for a massive crime syndicate.
Don’t fall for the stories of people who promise you land with the one hand, but then steal from you to give to the Guptas with the other. They are traitors, and very soon they will find themselves isolated and on the wrong side of history.
When the DA is in national government, we will make the development of rural communities like yours a priority. And this includes real, meaningful land reform through title deeds.
We will ensure that your children have access to proper schooling so that they don’t start off with a disadvantage in life. And we will implement a rural development plan that will ensure that areas like Ntabankulu municipality are places of opportunity.
In the DA you will see what it means to have a government that works for all people, and not just some.
Now you might say to me: All political parties are the same – they all make promises before elections and they all disappear afterwards. Why should we trust the DA?
And my simple answer is: Look at what happens where the DA has been put into government. Look at what we have achieved where we have been given a chance.
The Auditor General just released a report on South Africa’s local governments, and the report makes it very clear: DA-run governments are miles ahead of ANC governments when it comes to looking after the people’s money and making this money work for them in basic service delivery.
The DA has added even more metros and municipalities to its list of local governments, meaning even more South Africans now get to experience what a difference an honest and caring government can make in their everyday lives.
We know we don’t have the right to govern these municipalities forever. If we should ever start breaking our promises, we know the people will vote us out again. This makes us work harder and it ensures that we respect every last cent of public money.
What we do in these local governments, we can do in national government too.
South Africa is heading for a post-ANC future. We are heading for a time when a new coalition government will take over from the ANC in 2019 and start to turn our country around.
Change is coming to every part of South Africa including this, the home of Madiba. You will finally get what he wanted for you: democracy and real freedom you can use.
We can make a difference in your lives, but you first need to trust the DA with your vote. Not forever – just one election at a time. If you ever feel we’ve broken our promise to you, then use the power of your vote to replace us too.
But I give you my word here today: The DA will never forget you like the ANC has.
Thank you.

Mbalula must update the nation on SAPS investigation about SABC 8 attacks

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Communications Portfolio Committee Humphrey Maxegwana to request that the Police Minister Fikile Mbalula be summoned to Parliament to provide an update on SAPS’s investigations of attacks against the SABC 8.
It has been almost a year since the SABC 8 reported death threats, assaults, house break-ins, and many other sinister intimidation tactics following their legal action against the subverting of press freedom at the SABC by Hlaudi Motsoeneng and his acolytes mid last year. It is outrageous that to-date, not a single person has been arrested, or held accountable for these attacks.
The untimely and tragic death of RSG Senior Producer and one of the SABC 8, Suna Venter from “Broken Heart Syndrome” – believed to be caused by trauma and prolonged periods of unnatural stress – demands that justice be served. Those responsible for the utter terror she was subjected to over the past year must be held accountable and brought to book.
It cannot be that a young woman is abducted, tied to a tree and the grass around her set alight; shot in the face, and repeatedly terrorised, and no one is held accountable. Justice must be served for Suna and the rest of the SABC 8.
Mbalula must therefore appear before Parliament and provide an update of SAPS’s investigations about the cowardly attacks on our journalists.
In particular, he must inform the nation about whether former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, former SABC CEO James Aguma and former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi were ever questioned about the attacks and threats, and if not, order that this happen immediately.
It is up to Parliament to play its role in protecting the constitutional right to press freedom and protect journalists from intimidation. Parliament’s silence and lack of action will be complicity.
The media play an important role keeping the South African people informed and in a time where captured forces propagate misleading rhetoric, journalists who dare speak the truth to power must be protected more than ever.

Public Protector agrees to DA’s request to investigate Minister Lynne Brown

The DA can confirm that the Public Protector’s office will be investigating Minister Lynne Brown for possibly violating the Executive Members’ Ethics Code, following a request by the DA.
The DA welcomes this investigation by the Public Protector, as it will go a long way towards holding the Minister to account.
Minister Brown seemingly failed to divulge if there had been contracts of engagement between Eskom and the Gupta-linked Trillian, in a written reply to a DA parliamentary question.
AmaBhungane has now, however, established that Eskom had, at the time of the reply, already been invoiced by the either Trillian or one of its subsidiaries for more than R250 million.
These findings were also confirmed in an explosive report released yesterday, which established that Eskom had indeed paid Trillian R260 million for work it never did. This report provides further proof of the Minister’s apparent breach of the Ethic’s Code.
The Public Protector’s investigation is an indictment of how the Guptas have completely captured Eskom.
The Minister’s failing leadership saw to this capture of Eskom. Our state-owned enterprises have become a haven for the Guptas to loot and plunder the public’s money.
The DA will continue to stand up and fight against the Guptas’ and ANC’s corruption so that it can be brought to an end.

DA debates 2017/18 budget for Department of Roads and Transport

The following speeches were delivered today in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature by the DA’s Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport, Fred Nel MPL, and Spokesperson for Roads and Transport, Neil Campbell MPL during the debate on the Department of Roads and Transport’s 2017/18 budget.
Speech by
 Fred Nel MPL
“Transport budget lacks coordinated planning and strategic direction”

  • Roads and Transport is a key department that plays a significant role in directing spatial development and economic growth in the province. It is therefore disconcerting that its budget for the new financial year has been cut.
  • In the budget there is nothing that ties in with Gauteng’s spatial development and economic development objectives. It operates in isolation, when in fact it should be an integral part of the province’s economic development strategy.
  • There is also a lack of coordination between local and national government when it comes to transport planning in Gauteng.
  • The budget in front of us today reflects a lack of coordinated planning and strategic direction. It seems as though the budget was designed to give each “corridor” in the province a project so that everyone is kept happy.
  • This budget does not indicate how roads and transport infrastructure will be aligned with the planned megacities which seems to be central to the future spatial development strategy of the province.
  • Not only will the Department have almost five hundred million Rand less in its budget, but it will have to cope with a further billion Rand less compared to the adjustment budget of last year.
  • It is also disconcerting that the maintenance budget has been the greatest victim in all this, having to deal with huge maintenance pressures with four hundred million Rand less.
  • In a DA-run administration we would not cut the budget for such an important department which faces huge demands on its limited resources.
  • The current configuration of its budget does not recognise this role and therefore the DA cannot support the budget.

The full speech can be obtained here.
Speech by
Neil Campbell MPL
 “Transport budget ignores the plight of the forgotten poor commuters”

  • In my time here, tens of billions of rands have been spent by the Department but we still have a dysfunctional public transport system and rely mainly on notoriously dangerous private mini-bus taxis to move the public.
  • The rail system, our much vaunted public transport backbone, is comprised of two entities; the antiquated PRASA system – dirty, slow, uncomfortable, unpunctual, beset by corruption and very unreliable; and the upmarket Gautrain, which works well but is unaffordable to most commuters, has cost Gauteng billions of rands already in subsidies and will continue to do so for at least the remainder of the current contract and probably beyond.
  • The provincial bus system, which still operates largely on outdated apartheid contracts and routes, is comprised of bus fleets of questionable roadworthiness.
  • Our DLTCs are crowded, understaffed, ill equipped, beset by corruption at all levels and inadequate for demand. Eye test machines lie broken at all stations with only one or the exception, two machines in working order at the head of long queues.
  • I know that Dr Vadi is trying to do the right thing but he is often constrained by the National Department.
  • A DA government would synergise all spheres of government so that they work toward the same goals simultaneously – a public transport system that serves our people effectively.

 The full speech can be obtained here.

DA Gauteng Debates Provincial Treasury Budget for 2017/18

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance, Adriana Randall MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance, Mike Moriarty MPL, during the debate on the Provincial Treasury 2017/18 budget.
Speech by
Adriana Randall MPL
“This budget must work for the people of Gauteng”

  • This must be a budget for our people, a budget for growth and a budget for prosperity. The kind of growth and prosperity that sees homes being built and jobs being created. That is what the people of Gauteng want done with their money.
  • Due to the ANC’s mismanagement of the economy, SA has more than nine million people who are without work, of which six million, are mainly young and black. To paint an even bleaker picture, three million young South Africans under the age of 25 are Not in Education, Training or Employment (NEET).
  • There is no question around the need to transform the economy so that more people are able to participate in and contribute to it. So we must therefore not allow the people of Gauteng to be under the impression that it will come under so –called radical economic transformation, which is nothing more than a ruse to cover the nefarious and shadowy acts of a criminal network in Saxonwold.

The full speech can be obtained here.
Speech by
Mike Moriarty MPL
“Gauteng’s not so open tender adjudication process”

  • The MEC and the Department has been crowing about the open tender system for some time. However, if one tries to ascertain where and when the next tender adjudication is to be then you will struggle.
  • This is after a google search for “Gauteng tender adjudication”, which produces a list where the top story is from 2 April 2015, two years ago, saying “First Gauteng tender decided in public” and the second link is Treasury’s website.
  • So I ask you MEC, please can you assist. Can you please tell this house where and when the next public tender adjudication will be and how can we find out for ourselves in the future?

The full speech can be obtained here.