Of 20 torched Vuwani schools, why has only one been rebuilt?

Linked are pictures taken during the oversight visit of Vhudzani Secondary, Vhafamadi Secondary School, Tshirunzanani Primary, Mugoidwa Secondary and Mashau Primary.
During my recent oversight visit to Vuwani to see what progress had been made in rebuilding the more than 20 schools burnt down during protests last year, I was shocked to see that only one had been rebuilt. Minister Angie Motshekga’s Department of Basic Education (DBE) has a lot of explaining to do.
The DA will write to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to demand that she commit to timeline by which the other schools will be rebuilt.
Protests against the incorporation of the Vuwani District into the Malamulele Municipality began in May 2016 and resulted in 30 000 learners missing school after violence erupted.
Shockingly, a year on, only one of the more than 20 schools that were destroyed has been rebuilt. That school is the Vhafamadi Secondary School and was rebuilt in three months by the Shandukani Foundation and the National Lottery.
If this school was rebuilt in three months, surely the Minister can muster the will to rebuild the more than 20 other schools that have been destroyed.
Basic education is a right guaranteed by our Constitution and the first vital step in empowering our youth, yet the ANC government has utterly failed the children of Vuwani.
Last year, the Limpopo Provincial Government underspent on its school infrastructure grant by R67 million. This money could have been spent on restoring the schools that have been destroyed on Vuwani.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) report titled “Impact of Protest-related Action on the Right to a Basic Education in South Africa” made numerous findings that the Vuwani protests directly infringe on the right to a basic education.
It is clear that the Minister has, in essence, washed her hands of the problem, when she said: “if they continue to burn schools, let it be” on 20 April 2017, when tensions in Vuwani flared up again. This is despite the SAHRC’s recommendations.
Minister Motsekga doesn’t seem to think she has a role to play in ensuring that the Department does its job to repair these schools. She is wrong. As Minister she is ultimately responsible for making sure our children get the best possible education, a task at which she is currently failing in Vuwani.
The Minister must take responsibility for the lack progress in rebuilding schools in Vuwani and commit to a date by which she will ensure the schools are rebuilt.

DA’s Molefe review will proceed after latest Labour Court challenge

The Democratic Alliance’s application to review Mr Brian Molefe’s inexplicable reappointment to Eskom as Group Chief Executive Officer, will proceed, even if Mr Molefe’s latest Labour Court urgent application succeeds.
An order will be taken in the North Gauteng High Court tomorrow, by agreement, that Mr Molefe will not attend at the Eskom head office, or at any of the Eskom sites, for the purposes of performing any duties, subject to the completion of Mr Molefe’s Labour Court matter, where after our review application will be set down for hearing. We intend to intervene in the Labour Court proceedings at once.
Mr Molefe’s Labour Court case is based on the belief that his reappointment to Eskom on 11 May 2017 was a rational decision for the Eskom Board to make, but the DA contends that it was certainly not.
We view Mr Molefe’s urgent Labour Court action as nothing more than desperation. No doubt Mr Molefe’s cronies at Saxonwold were very unhappy that their man-in-Eskom is on his way out.
After damning allegations of Gupta capture, evidence of reckless governance and clear political agendas, we believe Mr Molefe is entirely inappropriate to serve as GCEO of Eskom. His return to Eskom was irrational and it flew in the face of good governance at the power utility.
The DA believes that South Africa deserves better than the cohort of pliable senior officials, installed by Jacob Zuma’s ANC, to plunder our state-owned entities for their own selfish gain, at public expense.

State Capture: DA reiterates call for urgent Ad Hoc Committee

Following media reports today of further Gupta capture of the ANC Government, the DA reiterates our call for National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, to swiftly act on our call for an Ad Hoc Committee to fully probe the relations of captured Ministers and officials, the President and the Gupta family.
We expect Parliament to schedule this Ad Hoc Committee during the coming week.
According to reports today, the Director General (DG) of the Department of Public Enterprises, Richard Seleke, allegedly leaked important information to the Guptas about deals with state owned entities and emailed his CV to President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma, half a year before being hired as the DG.
Similarly, reports today reveal that a former Independent Non-Executive Director of Transnet, Iqbal Sharma, passed on the agenda of Transnet’s board acquisitions and disposals committee – confidential board committee documents – with the Guptas a week before a May 2014 meeting of the board that hiked the costs of a locomotives tender that was expected to earn the Guptas R5.3 billion.
These reports further expose the depth of the governance failures of public entities under Minister Lynne Brown, and allegations of Gupta capture against her. This only adds to scandals at Eskom, Transnet, SAA, Denel – all benefiting the Guptas, and all on Brown’s watch.
Brown must urgently suspend Seleke pending the Ad Hoc Committee investigation. The DA is also investigating adding to the criminal charges laid on 30 May 2017, based on today’s revelations.
We believe that captured and pliable public officials and executives of public entities must be urgently dealt with. For now, we demand the suspension of Seleke pending Parliament’s investigation.
The DA is adamant that Parliament must launch an Ad Hoc Committee investigation into the Guptas’ capture of Jacob Zuma, his Ministers and the ANC government, to get to the bottom of growing evidence that our country has been sold off in large chunks.

DA challenges Zuma to take legal action against Sunday Times over Dubai mansion story

In response to the story on the front page of today’s Sunday Times – which claims that leaked emails show the Guptas have purchased a R330 million mansion in Dubai for Jacob Zuma – the Presidency wasted no time in releasing a statement calling the claims “a fabrication”.
The claims made in the story are not trivial and go to the very nub of state capture by the notorious Gupta family. The allegations are serious, and cannot simply be dismissed via a press release.
Therefore if the story is in fact false – as the Presidency claims – the DA challenges the President to take legal action against the newspaper for publishing false and defamatory information about him and his good friends, the Gupta brothers.
If Jacob Zuma has nothing to hide, then he must proceed with legal action in this matter. That way, evidence can be brought from either side, and the people of South Africa will be afforded the truth in this matter. If the President fails to do so, we can only assume the content of the story to be true – and that his ANC has sold this country to the Gupta family for profit.
I will also be addressing this matter with the President, face to face, when he appears in Parliament later this month to answer oral questions. Parliament in the institution to which the President must account, and I will ensure the people of South Africa are provided with answers to such allegations of wrongdoing.
It has become part and parcel of Jacob Zuma’s presidency to deny involvement in hugely controversial and potentially corrupt matters, only for it to emerge later that the President had in fact been intimately involved. This occurred in the Nkandla scandal, where Zuma denied any knowledge or involvement from the very beginning.
The full-scale capture of our country by the Guptas must be stopped with immediate effect. We cannot allow the President to sell our country to the highest bidder. The DA will continue to use all avenues necessary – including Parliament and the justice system – to stop this rot.

Public Protector agrees to investigate NDZ VIP protection

The DA can today announce the confirmation by the office of the Public Protector that they will investigate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for her abuse of VIP Presidential Protection, as a private citizen.
This follows the DA’s complaint lodged with the Public Protector’s office on 18 April 2017.
It was recently confirmed to Parliament by the then Acting National Police Commissioner General Phahlane, that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma continued to be protected by the VIP Presidential Protection unit while she travels around South Africa for ANC campaigning.
It has now been almost two months since the Dlamini-Zuma VIP scandal came to light and there are no indications that Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, has yet put a stop to it. He is allowing an obscene bill to run up and South Africans know that it is the struggling taxpayer who is going to pay for it.
Dlamini-Zuma is a clear candidate in the ANC leadership succession race, and her use of VIP Presidential Protection as she campaigns is clearly another ANC abuse of public money. NDZ simply cannot be given preferential VIP protection for ANC party business at the expense of the public purse.
There are critical policing resource problems around the country which need to be focussed on. Some of these problems include building more police stations and satellite police stations, capitating Family and Child Services (FCS) units and reducing the backlog at forensic labs with more equipment and personnel.
The NDZ VIP scandal shows that the ANC chooses to protect their own leaders instead of protecting the citizens they are supposed to serve from the criminal threats on our streets and in their homes every day.
The DA looks forward to a thorough and swift Public Protector investigation.

DA suspends Helen Zille pending outcome of disciplinary hearing

Note to Editors: the following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a press conference following a two day sitting of the party’s Federal Executive (FedEx) in Johannesburg. The Leader was joined by DA National Spokesperson, Phumzile Van Damme.
Yesterday and today, the DA Federal Executive (FedEx) met to discuss and deliberate on a number of important matters affecting South Africa.
There was recognition that our country and its people are in pain right now. And all South Africans share a deep level of worry and concern for the future of our country.
Our nation faces crisis after crisis. Unemployment has reached a 13 year high. Our education system is failing. And too many of our women and children live in fear for their lives.  It doesn’t have to be this way.
Together, we are witnessing the death of a liberation movement that many South Africans held dear.  It is now up to the DA, working together with those who share our core values – including other political parties, civil society, and trade unions – to realise a vision for South Africa that delivers a better tomorrow for all our people.
We will continue to focus all its efforts on unseating the Gupta-captured ANC in 2019 and installing a DA-led coalition government. Where we govern, both outright and together with our coalition partners, we are steadily making progress towards improving the lives of South Africans. We are determined to take this progress to national government which we will form in 2019 on the basis of the following shared values: constitutionalism, inclusive economic growth, non-racialism, a capable state and zero tolerance for corruption.
We can work together to rebuild this country the way we want it to be. Clean government, quality education, economic growth, job creation, safety and increased support for those most vulnerable in society.
This is our focus. And we will continue to deliver our message of hope and change to millions of South Africans throughout the country. Nothing should distract us from this goal.
In this respect, the Federal Executive considered the matter concerning Helen Zille that is currently before the Federal Legal Commission.
In order to ensure that our party focuses on building one nation with one future, I have been working to resolve this matter using all available means.
It has become quite evident that Helen Zille and I hold fundamentally different attitudes about the mission the Democratic Alliance needs to accomplish in 2019, and the goals and priorities that flow from this.
Ms Zille’s social media commentary and public utterances in connection with colonialism undermine our reconciliation project. There is no question that Ms Zille’s original tweets and subsequent justifications have damaged our standing in the public mind.
We live in a fragile democracy which means our public representatives must, at all times, be sensitive to the legitimate anger that people still feel about our past and its legacy.
As the Leader of the party, it is up to me to rebuild public trust. In this regard, I asked Ms Zille to tender an unreserved apology to both South Africa and the DA for the damage she has done. Unfortunately, she declined.
In this period, Ms Zille has continued to damage the party with various pieces of communication that seek to undermine what we are trying to achieve. Accordingly, Federal Executive has resolved Ms Zille be suspended from all party related activities until such time as her disciplinary hearing is concluded. A notice of suspension will be served on Ms Zille in this regard.
This has not been an easy decision. But, as the Leader, I must do what is right for the party and South Africa.
I have been inspired these past two days by our party’s resolve and commitment to effecting good delivery where are in government and to effecting change for the people of our great country.
I believe there is great hope for our nation. More and more people are seeing that that we need to forge a post-ANC future. And that future will be a DA-led coalition government founded on the values of freedom, fairness and opportunity.
We will redouble our efforts to take our offer of a united, non-racial and prosperous South Africa to every door throughout the country to build a movement for change that inspires hope about the great future our country can have.

DA to pursue Cabinet reshuffle appeal with urgency

The Democratic Alliance notes the fact that Judge Vally has granted the President leave to appeal against his order that the President has to provide the record of decision and reasons for this decision to drop Pravin Gordhan from the Cabinet.
We are encouraged by Judge Vally’s statement that:
‘I have come to the conclusion that there is no reasonable prospect that another court would come to a different conclusion.’
However, he found that there were compelling reasons, mainly relating to the public interest in the case, that justified granting leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Judge Vally noted that both the President and the DA agreed that the matter is urgent and, as he put it, ‘The door remains open to the President and the DA to approach that Court (the SCA) for an expedited hearing.’
The DA intends to pursue this appeal with urgency and we will be addressing a letter in this regard to the President of the SCA on Monday morning.

South Africa dodges a bullet from Standard & Poor’s

We dodged a bullet with Standard & Poor’s affirming its sovereign credit rating with a long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating of “BB+”, and a long-term local sovereign currency credit ratings of “BBB-”, with a “negative outlook”.
What this means is our long-term local currency debt, which forms 88.2% of our R2.2 trillion net debt, retains its investment-grade rating from Standard & Poor’s.  However, despite this Standard & Poor’s raised serious concerns about “political infighting” undermining economic growth and fiscal consolidation, which is reflected in their “negative outlook” for South Africa.
What Standard & Poor’s ratings action confirms is that the “civil war” within the governing party is killing the economy, and that is why a staggering 9.3 million people do not have jobs, or have given up looking for jobs, in South Africa.

State Capture Inquiry must proceed in Parliament

The DA notes that the ANC has today agreed that an Inquiry into State Capture is needed, after the slew of damning ANC-Gupta emails leaked this week.
The DA believes that it is deeply disingenuous that the ANC is calling for an inquiry into the capture of its own government. There have been numerous opportunities for the ANC to take action against its captured President and its Gupta captors, but it has not done so.
The ANC has proved through its inaction that South Africa does not solely have a Zuma or Gupta problem, but an ANC problem.
On Monday the DA announced our call for a full-scale inquiry into state capture, through an Ad-Hoc Committee in Parliament.
We believe in light of this week’s most damning slew of evidence of state capture by the Guptas and the ANC, that the Parliamentary Inquiry we have called for must proceed urgently. Parliament is mandated by the Constitution to hold the captured ANC Executive to account, and must do so.
The DA’s request to constitute an Ad-Hoc Committee is currently with National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, and we await agreement from Parliament to put the matter before the National Assembly for approval. The Speaker must not delay the formation of this Ad-Hoc Committee.
On the basis of the ANC’s statement today we expect that the ANC will fully support our call for a Parliamentary Inquiry, and we expect ANC MP’s to vote for the Ad-Hoc Committee.
We believe that the Ad-Hoc Committee in Parliament can only get to the bottom of the overwhelming evidence of State Capture through summoning the Guptas, Jacob Zuma and all implicated Ministers to give testimony.

DA requests investigation into astronomical 30% RAF Executive bonuses

Documents in possession of the Democratic Alliance reveal that the Road Accident Fund (RAF) has proposed to its Board an astronomical 30% bonus for its Executives.
Additionally, it is proposed that all staff at the RAF will receive bonuses far above inflation. This despite the fact that the Fund is bankrupt and currently unable to pay road accident victims.
While thousands of road accident victims are being denied their claim monies, executives are about to receive astronomical bonuses.
These documents clearly show that bonuses had not been originally budgeted for in light of the R180 billion in outstanding RAF claims which are currently on the books.
The DA will therefore be writing to the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, requesting that he investigate this matter, specifically, how bonuses so much higher than the inflation rate can be justified within the current economic climate and given the financial challenges facing the entity.
The responsibility should be firmly placed with the Executives – it is ludicrous that they are proposing a 30% bonus for themselves.
These bonuses are justified by claims that the Minister and the Transport Portfolio Committee had approved predetermined objectives. This is simply untrue – at no stage did the Committee make such an approval. The Committee does not have the power to do so.
The DA will not allow State Owned Entities such as the RAF to serve as perpetual personal piggy-banks for a select connected few when the majority of South Africans wait for the RAF to pay them out what is due to them.