[IN PICTURES] Mmusi Maimane's visit to the North West

The #Change19 tour moved to Stella, in the North West today, where DA Leader Mmusi Maimane engaged with community members, going door-to-door and speaking at various public meetings.

What I saw and heard here today has saddened me.

– Mmusi Maimane

The Leader went on to tell community members that “[the] big issues that people face [in the North West] and across the country – unemployment, poverty and lack of opportunities – need to be solved in national government.
We know by now that this ANC government will not and cannot do so. It is time for change – for a new beginning – and only you have the power of the vote to bring that change.”
You can read the full speech here: Use your vote to change your future
The #Change19 Tour is the our precursor to the 2019 election campaign. The Leader has spent months touring the country, meeting South Africans of all walks of life.

SAA investigation reports reveal possible R5.7 billion in irregular contracts

Note to editors: please find the attached sound bites in English and isiZulu
The DA has now received some of the SAA investigation reports we have been calling for the last eight months. Although possibly incomplete and given to us in hard copy, these reports go to well over 1000 pages.
The DA will be going through them with a fine tooth comb but a preliminary look shows that a full third of SAA contracts, amounting to R5.7 billion, may have been irregular.
A preliminary look at a sample size of 38 contracts investigated by EY, shows 32% of SAA contracts were in the category deemed most problematic.
It is highly likely that this amount may be much higher if all contracts are considered and just goes to show how poorly the airline has been managed.

DA condemns Malema’s anti-Indian comments

The Democratic Alliance strongly condemns the irresponsible and racially divisive comments made by Julius Malema at the EFF rally in Durban over the weekend.
Malema made a number of sweeping statements, aimed at racially stereotyping all Indian South Africans.
Malema’s comments were nothing other than racial fearmongering. It indicates deep-seated prejudiced views that have no place in our constitutional democracy.
The DA would never condone any businesses that do not respect our labour laws or exploits its workers. However, leaders like Mr Malema should be careful not to make generalised racial statements that serve only to fuel racial hatred.
The DA appeals to Julius Malema to apologise for his bigoted comments.
The DA wants to build a non-racial, non-sexist South Africa, filled with opportunities and hope for all our people. We condemn any actions and statements that undermine this vision.

Use your vote to change your future

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a public meeting in Stella, North West Province, as part of the #Change19 Tour.
My fellow South Africans,
It’s great to be here in the North West Province, speaking to you about what we can do to build the kind of South Africa that works for all.
Today in this province, in the North-West High Court in Rustenburg, the trial of 19 men accused of killing non-striking miners in Marikana resumes. This trial will bring some closure for the families of the victims and the community of Marikana.
All those responsible for the terrible events that took place in Marikana must face the full might of the law, and their victims must never be forgotten.
My fellow South Africans,
I have been meeting with residents of this Stella community this morning in their homes, speaking to them about the issues that their families are facing. And what I saw and heard here today has saddened me.
If this is the best that this ANC government of Naledi Municipality can do for you, then you need a new government here. The sooner the better. Because what I saw here this morning is not how citizens of this country are meant to live 23 years into our democracy.
I met families struggling to put any kind of food on the table – some even resorting to collecting expired meat dumped by the local butcher.
I met families who have to walk 500m to the only tap in the area to fetch water for their homes. And very often this tap would be dry.
I met families of three generations where the only income is a child support grant – families that can’t afford the basic school uniforms or books, not to mention any kind of studies after school.
I met people still waiting for electricity, taps, flushing toilets – all the things that a caring government is meant to provide for the people they serve. But that doesn’t happen here, because this ANC government has stopped caring a long time ago.
Throughout this municipality, young people have had to abandon their hope of achieving more, because just surviving from day to day is hard enough. We tell our children they can be whatever they can dream, but we forget how impossible this can seem when you can’t see a way out of your current situation.
This can’t be the way forward for the young people of South Africa. We cannot accept that a whole generation will have nothing to look forward to except unemployment, crime, drugs and teenage pregnancy. We cannot tell our children that they must limit their dreams to the size of a social grant.
No, my fellow South Africans, you are not getting the service you deserve from your government, and you must not accept this.
You must not accept that a single Jojo tank has to provide water to a community of 3000 people. And if it wasn’t for the efforts of the former DA candidate here, Don Diedereck, along with your current DA candidate, Alfred Lekgetho, there wouldn’t even be this one tank.
You must not accept the slow pace of housing delivery here. You must not accept the unfair way in which these houses are handed out. And you must not accept that many of these houses don’t even have taps.
You must not accept the fact that many of you don’t have electricity and that many of you have to share pit toilets.
You have every right to expect more from your government. And if you think the government you voted for has let you down, you have every right to change your vote in Wednesday’s by-election and vote for a government that will serve you.
That’s the benefit of this by-election – it allows you a rare second chance to decide what you want for this community here in Ward 1, and for your municipality.
I want to assure you today that if you put your trust in the DA and in our candidate here, Alfred Lekgetho, we will work hard to repay that trust. We will listen to your concerns, we will respond to your needs and we will make sure that the will of the people of Stella is truly represented in this local government.
And if you then feel that a DA ward councillor has made a positive difference to your community, you can go one step further in two years’ time and vote for a DA government here in the North West province, and in South Africa.
Because the big issues that people face here and across the country – unemployment, poverty and lack of opportunities – need to be solved in national government.
We know by now that this ANC government will not and cannot do so. It is time for change – for a new beginning – and only you have the power of the vote to bring that change.
Thank you.

Schabir Shaik’s medical parole needs to be revisited by the courts

The DA will write to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, to invite him to take the matter of Schabir Shaik’s parole to Court to determine whether he should return to prison to serve the rest of his term of imprisonment, or whether his parole conditions should be altered in such a way that the South African public no longer have to be fed the lie that he is still terminally ill – eight years after his release.
Early in April 2009, Mr Schabir Shaik was released on medical parole from imprisonment after serving just more than two years of a fifteen-year sentence under the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act. Of the short time he served, much of it was in hospital. Mr Shaik had been Mr Zuma’s financial adviser, and many of the offences for which he was convicted were closely connected with Mr Zuma’s alleged role in the defence acquisition programme. Mr Zuma became the President two months after Mr Shaik was released.
At the time of his release, medical parole was considered and granted in terms of section 79 of the Correctional Services Act, which, at that time, read as follows:
“Any person serving any sentence in a prison and who, based on the written evidence of the medical practitioner treating that person, is diagnosed as being in the final phase of any terminal disease or condition may be considered for placement under correctional supervision or parole….to die a consolatory and dignified death.”
According to a reply to a DA parliamentary question, Mr Shaik is still alive and well, so much so that his parole conditions allow him to play one afternoon of sport.
He has not died “a consolatory and dignified death” eight years after his release, and frankly, he is so well that his parole conditions allow him, with permission, to travel to other provinces.
It is clear that he was never “in the final phase of any terminal disease or condition”. The medical practitioner on whose diagnosis he was released was performing community service at the time.
The Health Professions Council refused to launch an enquiry into this charade, and Mr Shaik walked free, doubtless in the expectation of a presidential pardon, for which he applied shortly thereafter, and which was quite correctly refused.
Everyone knows that his release was political expedience at its ugliest. To its credit, Parliament amended this provision in the Act after his release, making release on medical parole far more rigorous.
Yet we still sit with this situation: a person who was quite clearly released erroneously, but much more likely released fraudulently, on medical parole, who continues to make a mockery of the medical parole system.
Should the Minister fail or refuse to do this, the DA will consider its options, including, even at this stage, reviewing the rationality of the decision to grant Mr Shaik medical parole.

Dlodlo must publicly reveal SABC bailout amount

The DA will push for the amount of the bailout the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has applied for to be revealed publicly when the public broadcaster’s interim board appears in Parliament on Tuesday, 1 August 2017.
The Communications Ministry has stated that the decision on the funding proposal submitted by the SABC will be announced after 4 August 2017, only after National Treasury has considered its proposal.
The SABC interim board first announced in May 2017 that it would be submitting a funding request to National Treasury and asked the Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, to engage with National Treasury on its behalf.
It cannot be that a bailout, likely in the billions, may be awarded to the SABC without prior consultation with Parliament, and indeed the public.
We strongly caution Minister Dlodlo against sullying what has been great performance thus far by attempting to sneak past Parliament and the public a multi-billion rand bailout. This matter cannot be decided in secret.
The Minister must take Parliament and the public into confidence.
It is not the first time the SABC has applied for a bailout. In 2009 it applied for a government guarantee of over R1 billion. That amount was made public and not announced to the public once a fait accompli.
The DA looks forward to engaging not only Minister Dlodlo but the SABC interim board when it appears before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on Tuesday on this matter. We trust that the Minister will choose openness over secrecy.
We need to know how much of our money will be given to the SABC, and we need to know it now.

DA offers condolences to those who lost their lives in FNB Stadium stampede

The DA offers our sincere condolences to the family members of the two fans who lost their lives during a stampede outside FNB stadium in Soweto.
Reports indicate one person was critically injured and almost 20 others have suffered injuries.
We support the South African Football Association’s commitment to ask for an investigation into what caused the stampede and the DA will fully interrogate the final report.
We should ensure that our focus is on making the sports arena a safe environment for our fans.
The DA stands together with the families and sports community as they mourn the passing of their loved ones and would like to wish the injured a speedy recovery.
They are all in our thoughts during this difficult time.

Chairperson Khoza must summon Muthambi for family junket

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, Dr Makhosi Khoza, to request that she summon Public Service and Administration Minister, Faith Muthambi, to account for wasting R300 000 of taxpayer’s money on flying 30 people to watch her give a speech in Parliament.
Muthambi must be made to repay every cent she spent on making sure people would come to watch her speak.
Her guests included her son, sister, aunt and mother and former SABC Board Chairwoman, Ellen Tshabalala. A Limpopo police constable was employed by Muthambi as her personal assistant and former SABC boss, Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s, daughter was also hired by her.
These reports have surfaced on the back of revelations that the Gupta family had received highly confidential cabinet meeting information from Muthambi in May.
‘Meddling’ Muthambi, who is seemingly deeply compromised and who is the very same person who oversaw the demise of the SABC, is clearly at it again in her new portfolio.
She clearly has no inclination to serve South Africa but is very happy to fly her family and friends around at our expense.
The DA will not stand for this. Muthambi must appear to account before the Public Service and Administration Committee and be made to pay back every cent of wasted taxpayer’s money.

South Africa is on the cusp of a new beginning

Over the past two days, the Federal Executive (FedEx) of the Democratic Alliance (DA) convened in Cape Town to attend to a number of pressing matters concerning the country and the Party. This statement serves to communicate the outcomes of this weekend’s meeting.
DA governments
This Thursday, 3 August 2017, marks the one year anniversary of the 2016 Local Government Elections, in which the people of South Africa voted to remove the ANC in major cities and municipalities across the country, and voted in DA-led coalition governments.
Over the past year, DA-led governments have been working tirelessly to bring real change to the lives of South Africans who put their trust us. And the fruits of this relentless hard work are now showing.
Yesterday I met with the mayors of DA-run metros of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay, who each provided a thorough update of the state of their administrations, including progress on key job-creating and service delivery objectives, and the extent to which the manifesto of the Party is being implemented.
Despite the complex and difficult task of having the fix an inherited mess from the ANC, our governments are bring real change. Johannesburg has made a solid start on fighting crime and corruption in the city, Tshwane has done great work in attracting investment and delivering basic services, and Nelson Mandela Bay was recently ranked second most trusted metro in the country, up from second last just a year ago. Since being given a fresh mandate to govern in the 2016 elections, Cape Town has continued it pro-poor service delivery agenda, and remains committed to creating jobs and boosting regional economic growth.
Mayor Mashaba has committed himself to fixing the billing crisis in the City of Johannesburg. The Mayor will ensure that the MMC for Finance addresses this issue with the urgency it deserves, so that the residents of Johannesburg can feel confident in the accuracy of the bill they receive, and that the City is available and responsive to complaints.
In Cape Town, Mayor De Lille outlined her plan to mitigate the devastating situation in Imizamo Yethu after a fire caused widespread destruction of homes and property earlier this year. The City’s rebuilding plan is well underway after intensive community engagement. Mayor De Lille also outlined the City’s plan to mitigate the current water crisis in Cape Town, and supplement water supply in the city. We once again call on all residents to use water sparingly.
The DA recognises that there is still much more to be done to bring justice and redress, to open access to opportunities – especially for the poorest, and to promote freedom. The most important element in the lead up to the 2019 National Elections is governing well in every town and city where the DA has been elected to serve. Governing the municipalities where we have won is both a privilege and an incredible opportunity for our party to demonstrate what positive change can happen when voters choose differently, and elect a clean, well-run, and service delivery orientated government.
In this light, the instruction from the FedEx to all DA-led governments is clear: govern with honesty and humility, so that all can see the difference a DA government makes to people’s lives, especially the lives of the poor.
On Thursday 3 August, I will mark the one year anniversary of the 2016 Local Government Elections by addressing a press conference outlining the progress being made over the past year in DA-run metros to deliver services to all South Africans, to create jobs and attract investment, and ensure the people’s money is spent diligently. I will be joined by the mayors of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay. The details of such press conference will be communicated in due course.
Motion of No Confidence
The Motion of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma, which I tabled in March this year, is set to be debated and voted in 10 days’ time – on 8 August. This motion comes at a critical juncture in our country’s young democracy. The political tide in South Africa is beginning to turn; the ANC has never been weaker and we are on the cusp of change and renewal. Since this motion was tabled, South Africans from all walks of life, political parties, NGOs, religious bodies, and civil society at large have united behind the call to remove Jacob Zuma and his continued corrupt, irresponsible and reckless leadership.
The DA will mobilising en masse outside Parliament on the day of the Motion of No Confidence, calling on ANC MPs to do the right thing and vote to remove Zuma – whether by secret ballot or not. We plan to fill the streets of Cape Town, and we call on all South Africans to join in support of this motion to remove Zuma. This is not a political matter, it’s a South African matter. If you are a South African, this motion of no confidence affects you and your future.
We once again call on the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to stop dithering on this matter and make a decision on the secret ballot as prescribed by the Constitutional Court. The DA’s stance on the motion is clear: Secret ballot or no secret ballot, the DA MPs will be voting with their conscience and voting to remove Jacob Zuma once and for all. The country expects ANC MPs to do the same.
In particular, the Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, must put action to his words and vote to remove Zuma on 8 August. The Deputy President has been vocal in his condemnation of state capture, looting and grand corruption within the ANC and in government. However, for this to not just be a handy tool in his campaign for ANC presidency, Mr Ramaphosa must give effect to the will of the people and vote Zuma out, unlike on previous occasions when he showed his true colours, when he voted against a MONC.  He cannot talk about rooting out corruption, while protecting and endorsing Jacob Zuma in the upcoming vote of no confidence. In so doing he is showing that the ANC cannot be rescued from itself, it puts individual ambition and enrichment ahead of the needs of ordinary South Africans.
The DA’s petition to remove Zuma has now reached over 1 million signatures. As such I will this coming week hand deliver every signed petition to the Deputy President, calling on him to heed the will of the people and vote to remove the President. If Mr Ramaphosa is serious about becoming ANC President, he must follow the will of the people and vote Zuma out.
Removing Jacob Zuma is the first step in turn our country’s fortunes around and reigniting the dream of ’94 – a united, prosperous and non-racial society for all.
Moreover, FedEx resolved that if Jacob Zuma is removed as President through our Motion of No Confidence, we must go to the polls and hold an early general election. Parliament ought to be dissolved and the choice must to be put to the people as to who their next president and national government should be. Indeed, the sooner the electorate can elect a new government the better.
Bell Pottinger
FedEx considered the ongoing scandal involving the Guptas and London based PR Firm, Bell Pottinger. It is greatly encouraging that our call for the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) to launch a disciplinary inquiry into Bell Pottinger’s racially fuelled propaganda campaign was heeded, and the inquiry will start on 18 August 2017. We have insisted that this inquiry be open to the public. This will ensure that Bell Pottinger faces legal consequences for their actions, and that justice will be served for their promotion of division and racial hatred for cheap political gain in a still deeply divided society. The DA will have public and legal representatives present at the hearing.
Moreover, I have also personally written to a list of companies who procure the services of Bell Pottinger, urging them to terminate their relationship with the firm. Though legal action is effective, corporations respond to their bottom line faster than they do to judges.
Bell Pottinger must face consequences for their collusion with the Guptas using a hateful and divisive campaign to divide South African along the lines of race. This was coordinated campaign to further Gupta financial interests, and ensure the captured ANC continued to provide lucrative contracts that lined Gupta pockets.
South Africa is not a political playground where international corporations can disregard ethics to turn a profit. Bell Pottinger’s unethical compliance in these projects is unacceptable and the DA has taken steps to ensure they are held to account.
The economy
FedEx addressed the current ANC-created economic meltdown our country finds itself trapped in. We are now firmly in a technical recession after half a year of negative growth, which has already begun to affect most South Africans – especially the poor and jobless.
We resolved that certain immediate steps ought to be taken in order to reverse this situation, and get our economy back on track. These include stimulating micro enterprise, dealing with corruption and political instability, and stabilising SOEs across the board.
Moreover, we must safeguard the independence of our Reserve Bank. Its constitutional mandate to maintain price stability is crucial in the achievement of balanced and sustainable economic growth in South Africa. Any assault on this independence is an assault on our country’s future, and as such we will fight for the Reserve Bank’s institutional independence from government and from any political party.
Political party funding
FedEx considered the recent developments around a renewed call for a fully transparent approach to political party funding.
Last month, the DA supported the establishment of an ad hoc committee in parliament to consider the funding of political parties.
In practice, the disclosure of opposition donors may well pose a major threat to multiparty democracy. This is often not understood by well-meaning groups and individuals, who are unaware of the chilling effect full disclosure might have to democracy. This is because a strong opposition is vital to any flourishing democracy. However complete transparency of all political party funding means that companies and individuals that do not fund the governing party, and choose to fund opposition parties, are at risk of being bullied and victimised by government. Examples abound where such punitive actions have been taken by the ANC and the fear this creates in potential donors is real. This is further evidenced how opposition parties in the SADC region have been punished by similar such legislation implemented by governing parties.
In addition to this, we object to the ANCs submission for an increased allocation of government funding to political parties. The only motive behind this proposal is to save the ANC from bankruptcy, because its performance in government and its protection of corruption and patronage networks, has led to financial support for the party drying up. It must also be noted that through its investment arm Chancellor House, the ANC abuses state tenders to enrich itself.
At the heart of the issue is whether there is any possible corrupt activities as a result of party funding, and at present the legislation governing such corrupt activities provides for strong action to be taken. The fact that little or no action has been taken is more a reflection of the failings of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) than the legislation itself.
We will continue to ensure that vibrant multi-party democracy is defended and that the fig leaf covering the ANC’s real intention – to hobble opposition parties is exposed.
The fight for an alternative, post-ANC South Africa is in full swing. We are forging ahead in creating a shared future for all South Africans. Between now and 2019, we will use every opportunity in government, every single day, to win the trust of voters, and to show South Africans that there is another choice; a better choice, and that choice is the Democratic Alliance.

DA lays criminal charges against suspended Eskom CFO, for his alleged role in capture of Eskom

soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Natasha Mazzone MP.
Today the DA laid criminal charges against the suspended Eskom Chief Financial Officer, Anoj Singh.
Following Singh’s alleged role in a range of corruption scandals and dodgy deals at the power utility, the DA has reason to believe that he has possibly breached the Public Finance Management Act.
The time has come for all of those who have seemingly contributed to the looting of our public funds, face the full might of the law.
The recent suspension of Singh does not absolve him from appearing before Parliament’s inquiry into the rot at Eskom.
The DA trusts that the SAPS will ensure that this case is fully investigated to expose Singh’s apparent role in the rot of corruption that has manifested at Eskom.