#KZNOncologyCrisis: DA to grill MEC Dhlomo at special health meeting

Today, my colleague, Dr Imran Keeka MPL and I are picketing outside of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Legislature ahead of the special meeting of the portfolio committee on health. The KZN Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo is due to attend in order to discuss his submissions to the South African Human Rights Commission regarding the province’s ongoing oncology crisis.
This special meeting is frankly long overdue. More than 300 cancer patients tragically lost their lives because of the apparent negligence of MEC Dhlomo and the provincial and national health departments.
MEC Dhlomo must be held accountable for his hand in the tragic deaths of the victims.
Dr Keeka will, therefore, use this meeting to highlight some of the pertinent issues in the KwaZulu-Natal health sector. Some of the issues Dr Keeka will be addressing include:

  • The ongoing horror stories of how vulnerable and sick patients continue to suffer and sadly passed away due to lack of cancer treatment in the province.
  • The oncology crisis is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is an apparent lack of Nephrology, pharmacology, mortuary services and EMRS services in KZN.
  • The hostility towards Members of Parliament and Members of the Provincial Legislature when they perform oversight visits at public hospitals. We must have access to health care institutions.
  • The DA’s continued calls for the MEC to vacate his positions. He must go.

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has worked tirelessly to get justice for the victims of this crises.
Officials in the province have tried to block our attempts to hold the guilty parties accountable. The DA, however, remains resolute.
Justice delayed is justice denied and the DA simply will not allow for the affected victims to suffer any longer.

Zuma must use Zambia trip to call for HH's release from prison

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes President Zuma’s planned trip to Zambia tomorrow, on the invitation of the President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu. President Zuma must use this engagement with President Lungu to raise South Africa’s strong objections to the crisis unfolding in Zambia under Lungu’s watch. In particular, President Zuma should denounce the inhumane treatment in prison of the Zambian Leader of the Opposition, Hakainde Hichilema, and to call for his immediate release.
Hichilema was arrested almost four months ago for allegedly attempting to block a motorcade in which President Lungu was a part of. The opposition leader now faces charges of treason – a crime punishable by death in Zambia. The human rights abuses faced by Mr. Hichilema must be condemned in the strongest terms. It is clear that these trumped up charges are a witch hunt by an increasingly threatened President Lungu, and pose a very real threat to democracy on the African continent.
We call on President Zuma to show leadership and disassociate himself with anti-democratic dictators on the continent, such as Edgar Lungu. The “quiet diplomacy” of the past cannot be allowed to repeat itself and, as history has shown, has the potential to allow for democracy to be undermined. South Africa must work with its neighbours to protect democracy because, in Africa, a threat to democracy for some is a threat to democracy for all.
We will continue to advocate for the advancement of vibrant, competitive, multiparty democracy, the rule of law and the entrenchment of human rights and free speech across Africa.

DA welcomes appointment of competent Jarana as SAA CEO

The DA welcomes the appointment of Mr Vuyani Jarana as the CEO of SAA. Mr Jarana has an impressive record in business and we wish him well at SAA.
SAA presents challenges much bigger than Mr Jarana has ever faced before. The only way to save SAA will largely depend on Mr Jarana being given a free hand to take the robust action that is required in order to ruthlessly cut the bloated cost structure that is dragging the airline into liquidation.
At the parliamentary meeting with SAA tomorrow we will ask the hard questions about the current bankrupt state of the airline and what the remuneration package and performance requirements for Mr Jarana are.

One year of DA governance: South Africa reacts

Exactly one year ago today South Africans went to the polls in the most historic and game-changing election since 1994.
Our young democracy witnessed its most notable shift in power, as we won three new metros in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay, adding to the DA-run City of Cape Town.
Today, to mark our one year in government, we held a press conference to report back to the people of South Africa on the progress we’ve made in our metros.
See the reactions below:
We know that while much progress has been made, there is still a long way to go. We are committed to doing more and delivering more for every South African who falls under a DA-led government.
See what we’re doing in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Cape Town.
Real change is on the way. This is just the beginning!

One year on, and the DA is making real progress in our Cities

The following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a press conference at the Jabavu library in Jabavu, Johannesburg. Marking exactly one year since the 2016 Local Government Elections, Maimane highlighted the achievements by DA-led governments in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay over the past year. The Leader was joined by the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille, the Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, the Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, and the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Athol Trollip.
Exactly one year ago today, South Africans went to the polls in the most historic and game-changing election since 1994. Our young democracy witnessed its most notable shift in power, as the Democratic Alliance (DA) won three new metros, in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay, adding to the DA-run City of Cape Town. This meant the DA took control of more than 50% of our country’s local government budget, governing for over 16 million South Africans.
The 2016 Local Government Elections marked a watershed moment in our nation, as together we took a critical step towards a post-ANC South Africa by forming governments with parties from across the political spectrum. These governments committed to three basic goals: to stop corruption, to create jobs, and to deliver basic services.
Along with our coalition partners, and other opposition parties, we agreed to put our differences aside and focus on our shared goals. I am pleased to announce that one year on, the national coalition agreement last year still stands. While coalitions pose their own unique challenges, and are often difficult to manage, they are the future of South Africa – and must be embraced. Moreover, these cities will provide the blueprint for a 2019 coalition at national government level, led by the DA. We are preparing the road to a post-ANC South Africa; a new beginning for our country.
We acknowledge the enormous responsibility bestowed upon our party and its elected officials, and from day one we have worked hard to ensure that the mess we inherited from the ANC is reversed, and that stable and efficient governments are put in place, committed to creating jobs and delivering quality services to the people. In DA-run governments, the people come first, not the politicians.
As a party committed to transparent and responsive governance, we believe that citizens have a right to be informed as to what their governments are doing, what progress is being made, and how their taxmoney is being spent. As such, I am joined today by the Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, the Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille, and the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Athol Trollip, to report back to the people of South Africa on the progress being made in these cities.
When DA-led governments assumed office in the metros of Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay in August last year, they were faced with the mammoth task of turning around cities which were besieged with ANC corruption and maladministration on almost every level. The ANC had – for over two decades – run these administrations into the ground. They had become hotbeds of corruption and looting under the ANC, and were in financial and administrative disarray. The extent of the mess we found cannot be overstated.
In Johannesburg, we inherited a city characterised by a historical neglect of the basics of local government. There was little to no real service delivery, and a growing population of jobless South Africans desperate for opportunity. There were serious backlogs in critical areas, central to achieving economic and job growth, which required immediate action.
the City of Johannesburg currently has 1920 open investigations ranging from corruption and fraud, theft, building hijacking and the like; all totalling approximately R10,4 billion in revenue lost by the City. These cases are equivalent to just under 19% of the City’s total budget. Moreover, cases relating to allegations of corruption represent astounding R8.9 billion in lost revenue alone which could have been used to provide needed services to residents and upgrade city infrastructure.
Added to this, the ANC had created a massive backlog in infrastructure development and maintenance, and there existed a R232 billion funding gap, which would directly jeopardise our capital expenditure needs. Moreover, we were left with a housing backlog of 300 000 – while the previous administration only delivered 3500 houses per year on average. This was a crisis waiting to unfold.
The billing crisis the City is currently working to fix is a direct result of the previous ANC administrations sheer failure to institute proper processes, and enforce equitable payment methods. The DA-led administration is focused on resolving this matter.
Moreover, we inherited a city with 180 informal settlements, many of which have no basic services and people who have waited for decades on a housing list which has never been transparent and available to them.
In Tshwane, the DA-led government was handed a bloated and inefficient bureaucracy, riddled with financial irregularities. The City was on the verge of bankruptcy with a deficit in excess of R2 billion. The Office of the Executive Mayor had a total staff compliment of 998 personnel, many of which were ANC members drawing money from the state while doing nothing. Moreover, the Office of the City Manager inherited a structure inflated and bloated to include four Deputy City Managers, eight Regional Executive Directors, and their deputies, carrying a salary bill of R96 million a year.
We were also faced with R10 million worth of invoices submitted to the former Office of the Speaker for “work” done during the period 2014, 2015 and 2016. This “work” could not be corroborated, nor was there justification for the payments.
The ANC administration also saw fit to spent R12 million to upgrade the R90 million mayoral house, which ended in disaster. Large scale loss occurred, as the plumbing system, cupboards, and even the roof were left damaged. Mayor Msimanga took a decision to sell this mansion to free up funds for service delivery projects.
In Nelson Mandela Bay, the abuse of public funds was evident from day one. We immediately discovered questionable contracts entered into by the previous administration – the most telling being for the supply of light bulbs at R600.00 per bulb. Moreover, the former Mayor saw fit to splash out R250 000 of the people’s money to get his face onto the front cover of a magazine.
We then discovered a contract worth R22 million with Mohlaleng Media which duplicated the work of municipal staff and predictably delivered negligible outcomes. Mayor Athol Trollip immediately froze this contract.
The ANC also saw it fit to blow R21 million on a vanity project called the ‘City of Champions’ that was nothing but a frivolous waste of money with no local government purpose, function or outcome.
From day one, DA-led governments have moved to dismantle the corrupt systems we found, banned the extravagant perks and privileges enjoyed by ANC governed officials, and introduced thorough and corruption proof processes and systems to fundamentally overhaul what the previous ANC administrations had deliberately designed to enrich their cronies and comrades.
While there is still much to do in these cities, we have made significant progress to change the system towards people-orientated governments that are clean, efficient, and accountable to the public.
I would now like to touch on this progress in each of the metros.
Under the DA-led government in Johannesburg, the City is well on its way to strengthening its hand as the economic powerhouse of Africa.
People from all around the country flock to the City in hope of finding opportunity and creating a better life, and as such, the City is under great demand to deliver. Mayor Mashaba’s administration has risen to the challenge and has taken huge strides in moving Johannesburg forward.
Transport within the City has been a long standing challenge, with hundreds of thousands of residents requiring access to reliable public transport. Metrobus operates just under 400 buses carrying over 50 000 passengers daily, some of whom are amongst the poorest residents of our city. The City has thus increased Metrobus’s capacity by 50%, adding 200 new buses to its fleet, providing residents with greater access to transport.
Added to this, Metro Bus has added additional operating time on the OR Tambo International Airport route during off-peak hours to connect commuters with airlines. This will mean that Metro Bus will now offer seven daily trips to and from the Airport terminals and at Gandhi Square in Johannesburg CBD.
In the current financial year, the City has allocated R105 million for the installation and repair of broken traffic signals throughout the City. This year alone, 89 intersections were re-cabled and are now joint free. There has also been an 18% reduction in the average number of daily traffic light faults over the past seven months. This has resulted in a 55% reduction in the average traffic light downtime per day.
Access to decent sanitation is a basic human right, and ought to be a priority for any caring government. This matter was neglected by the previous ANC administration, and as such, the DA-led government more than doubled the previous sanitation budget, increasing it from R17 million to R40 million. This will enhance the delivery of decent sanitation to the City’s informal settlements, highlighting our commitment to restore the dignity of Johannesburg’s forgotten people.
To improve access to services for some of our poorest residents, the City has rolled out extended operating hours at 6 clinics across Johannesburg, including clinics in Princess Park, Freedom Park, Randburg, and Zandspruit.
For some, municipal libraries remain the only safehaven to study after hours in pursuit of a better education. Despite this, access to these libraries was limited. Therefore the City moved to extend operating hours at 10 of our regional libraries – some open until as late as 22h00. Libraries in Jabavu, Orange Farm and Diepsloot being but a few. This will go a long way in ensuring that our youth, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, have safe learning and studying environments after hours. Since piloting this project just two months ago, more than 2000 users have benefitted from the extended operating hours.
Moreover, R482 million has been set aside within Pikitup’s budget for cleaning informal settlements over the next three financial years, guaranteeing that a cleaner living environment is not reserved for just a few.
A still visible legacy of apartheid is prevalent in the City’s housing shortage. Yet, last year the previous ANC administration had a target of developing only 3,750 mixed housing development units. Alive to this injustice, the DA-led government increased this target to 5,000 in the City’s current financial year and a total of 17,200 over the medium term.
Added to this, the City has set itself the task of upgrading 10 informal settlements this financial year. Whereas the ANC set itself a target of upgrading only 2 in the past financial yea. We have budgeted R1.9 billion to upgrade 50 informal settlements in the medium term.
The City’s fire services were severally under-resourced when the DA took over last year. Mayor Mashaba greenlit the purchase of 28 new state-of-the-art fire engines, at a total cost of R189 million. The City has also taken steps to employ an additional 160 firefighters to enhance the capacity of its Emergency Management Services (EMS).
The effects of drug abuse and drug related crimes have long plagued the city, wreaking havoc on individuals, families, and communities. The City thus launched a brand new K9-Narcotics Unit to tackle this scourge. The unit, made up of various authorities including police and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, is a specialised team of officers and dogs who are trained to handle hijackings, robberies, bombs, kidnappings and drug-related incidents.
To date, the Unit’s laser focus on drug related crimes in hotspot areas has yielded much success, including the seizure of 56.28kg of dagga at an estimated street value of R 1.2 million; recovered R60 million in stolen mobile phones; and the seizure of 27 kilograms of illicit drugs with an estimated value of more than R44 000 in Turffontein and Roodepoort
When the DA-led government took over in Tshwane, the Capital City was on the verge of bankruptcy – with a deficit in excess of R2 billion owing to two decades of reckless governance by the ANC. Since then, Mayor Solly Msimanga’s administration has begun addressing a multitude of cross-cutting problems to help stabilise the city, grow its economy, and provide basic services to the disadvantaged. This will be done through a balanced IDP supported by a fully-funded budget.
The City inherited an almost R700 million broadband contract which the city is currently working to put on solid legal and financial footing so we may continue with the roll out of Tshwane free Wi-Fi in a manner that does not threaten to bankrupt the city. The aim is to proliferate our Wi-Fi offering to ensure that more residents gain access to it while it is self-sufficient and is not solely reliant on the city as was the case in the previous administration.
The City is currently also in the process of extricating itself from a R2 billion smart metre contract which was found to be irregular by the Auditor-General. Legal proceedings are currently underway and we are optimistic that this will put the city in a much better position to provide affordable and sustainable electricity to our people.
Within one year, the City has also uncovered corruption by the previous administration, which includes the City Hall scandal, the shoe polish debacle to the tune of R30 million the Dineokeng Tribe One-Nicki Minaj fiasco that cost the residents of Tshwane in excess of R60 million and is currently under investigation by the DA-led multi-party administration. In addition to this, the extravagant Mayoral Mansion is currently in the process of being sold to free up much needed funds for the financially beleaguered City. To add to this, blue lights were banned, and the policy for international travel was revised to ensure that all travel cost effective and had tangible returns on investment for the city and its residents.
In terms of economic growth and job creation, the City has attracted R2.29 billion rand in investment in just nine months – exceeding its own target. In the new financial year, the City is creating 23 000 EPWP work opportunities to alleviate the burden of poverty and ensure people can find work.
The delivery of title deeds is a critical step towards empowering South Africans, as registered ownership of land is an economic asset. The DA-led government in Tshwane has to date handed over 2804 title deeds since assuming office and is scheduled to handover 6000 title deeds to residents in the 2017/18 in a transparent and objective process, and will continue to streamline this process in order to deliver title to all who qualify
With respect to service delivery to communities which have been left behind, the City of Tshwane is hard at work. This year, the City’s partnership with Eskom has allowed it to ensure that over 80% of households have access to electricity. Electricity delivery and cost has been addressed through the Embedded Power Generation programme which has streamlined small and medium size power companies’ access to the market, democratising access and provision, and ultimately lowering the cost of electricity.
Along with this, City electricity infrastructure, such as the Eldoraigne substation, has been upgraded to ensure safe and consistent supply. Over R13 million has been invested in the restoration of water infrastructure around the city, ensuring that clean water is a right, not a privilege.
Additionally, 6690 additional households were provided with a full water meter connection (Inter alia Rama City, Mabopane Ext 1, Kopanong, Winterveld, Zithobeni Heights and Zithobeni 8 & 9). This while 5256 additional households were provided with a water borne sewer (Inter alia Rama City, Mabopane Ext 1, Kopanong, Winterveld, Zithobeni Heights and Zithobeni 8 & 9)
Large scale infrastructure in areas such as the Hammanskraal extension 10 project, and the construction of tarred roads in Soshanguve Extension 12 and 13 have ensured that these communities have safe, dust free, and convenient transport routes in and out of the City.
To create a much safer and secure city the DA-led administration has allocated R2 billion to the metro police for efforts to rejuvenate the inner city so we can attract more investment and to the Anti-Cable theft Unit which Mayor Msimanga established to deal with the criminality that hampers the provision of reliable water and electricity to our people. These units have led to a marked decrease in such criminal behaviour. Being an open and honest DA in government, it must be noted that the issue of cable theft is a serious challenge which we are still a long way from correcting but we are working tirelessly to do so.
Appreciating that drugs are a massive problem in the Capital City, this administration, late last month, signed 23 service level agreements with NPOs charged with assisting us with the war on drugs and not drug addicts. These service level agreements supported by R40 million from Tshwane 2017/18 new budget will go some way into dealing with, what is a, huge problem experienced by the people of Tshwane.
Lastly, the City instituted a raft of programmes designed to save money, chief among these being the strategic sourcing of goods and services by government, opening of the tender adjudication process, and online e-procurement systems – all aimed at curbing waste within government.
Nelson Mandela Bay
From day one, the project of turning around the fortunes of Nelson Mandela Bay was of particular importance to the DA-led government, as it was one of the worst performing metros in the country under ANC Mayor, Danny Jordaan. After only a single year of DA governance, the City rose from the second lowest trusted metro in the country, to the second highest – a real vote of confidence in Mayor Trollip and his government.
In the DA administration’s first budget, 90% has been allocated to previously disadvantaged individual and communities, ensuring that those left behind are afforded equal access to opportunity and the playing field is levelled. The City’s Capex rate is at 93%, and boasts a 93.7% revenue collection rate – the best financial position the metro has been in for over 7 years.
12 000 informal households are in the process of receiving running water and sanitation for the first time; a number that will continue to grow until all residents have a home they can be proud of.
One of the City’s flagship projects, Operation Buyisa Isidima, was launched this year, with a particular focus on fixing the housing crisis and giving people title to their homes. This has seen the handover of more than 2000 title deeds in a fair and transparent manner. The project seeks to address the housing backlog – currently standing at 80 000 – and to root out corruption in the housing list process.
In order to create a safer city, the DA-led administration established the City’s first Metro Police Service. This world class service consists 114 well-trained officers, with two satellite offices in Bethelsdorp and KwaNobuhle. The fight against crime in Nelson Mandela Bay is well underway.
Creating opportunity for those who have been left behind is a top priority for all DA-run governments. Thus far, the City has created 4000 new job opportunities, ensuring that individuals are able to participate in the economy and create a meaningful life for themselves and their loved ones.
To ensure that residents have increased potential for growth, the City will provide bursaries to 1800 students – to the total value of R34 million. Moreover 300 young people have already this year gone through learnerships in the City, to ensure that they have the requisite skills to provide them access to better jobs.
Hand in hand with the above programmes, the Mayor will establish a “Jobs Desk” in his office that will facilitate the municipal bursary process, and will expand incentives for business to employ first time job seekers.
Lastly, the Mayor took significant steps to reverse the ANC’s status quo of “government first, citizens last”. The use of blue lights in the City was stopped, all domestic business class travel for politicians was banned, and an anti-corruption hotline was launched to root out corruption in government.
City of Cape Town
In the 2016 elections, the residents of Cape Town gave the DA a fresh mandate to govern the City for another term, and to continue the progress already made by the DA-controlled government in the preceding years. Since then, Mayor De Lille and her government have been hard at work to continue the City’s innovative and pro-poor agenda in a clean, honest and efficient manner.
In the City of Cape Town, creating work opportunities for our people through economic growth remains a top priority. In the past year, despite the poor economic conditions which persist nationwide, the City attracted R2.67 billion worth of investment, resulting in the creation of 6236 new jobs. Moreover, in order to create and sustain an enabling environment for economic growth and job creation, R22 billion has been invested over the last four years in a wide range of infrastructure projects to foster innovation and ease the burden of doing business in the City.
Moreover, in order to empower young people and establish an equipped work force, the City will spend a total of R21 million on an array of bursaries, apprenticeships, and learnerships for young people who do not have access to such funding during the current financial leave.
Access to the internet is a determinate factor both in the development of new technology-dependent businesses, as well as access to information for individuals. To this date, over 790 kilometres of fibre-optic cable has been rolled out throughout the city, and 301 city-owned buildings are connected to this network. The extra capacity that we have built is what we are renting out to the private sector. As a result, students in libraries can now access information faster, our clinics are more effective and can process and catalog key information faster, and business can compete with others in developed economies.
Focusing on small businesses as a primary catalyst for economic growth, the City has established a one stop shop solution to support small and medium sized businesses (SMMEs). Its Business Support Project will provide assistance to 500 SMMEs per year, for the next 5 years, facilitating their growth and ensuring that entrepreneurs are given a real opportunity to innovate, grow and succeed.
In order to ease the burden on jobseekers, the City will be providing free transport for those looking for work – a South African first. The Mayor has allocated R6.6 million to subsidise free bus rides on MyCiti busses for jobseekers, enabling greater access to opportunity for those who are left out of the economy.
In terms of redress, the City has led from the front in empowering black-owned companies and individuals. The City has issued 92% of its 219 000 purchase orders to BEE-compliant vendors – to the value of almost R14 billion.
To address the unjust legacy of apartheid spatial planning, the City will expedite the delivery of housing opportunities through affordable housing in close proximity to economic hubs. 10 City-owned sites have been identified in the city centre, Salt River and Woodstock to be used for over 700 affordable housing units for those who need it most. There are future plans to create affordable housing in smaller inner-cities such as Bellville, Parow, Khayelitsha, Claremont, Mitchells Plain and Wynberg.
The City has also sped up the delivery of title deeds, empowering individuals to use their property to leverage their own success. By June 2016, the City had registered more than 148 000 historic title deeds. Just last month, the Mayor handed over 5000 title deeds in the communities of Mfuleni, Wallacedene, Wesbank, and Kallefontein.
Lastly, the City has begun a number of community projects in targeted areas, including the construction of R23 million library in Dunoon, a R28 million housing project in Macassar, a R66 million road project in the Kommetjie, and a R46 million primary health clinic in Pelican Park.
The DA recognises that while much progress has been made, there is still a long way to go. Now more than ever, the people of South Africa are looking to the DA to cement itself as the alternative government in a post-ANC South Africa. We thus commit to doing more and delivering more for every South African who falls under a DA-led government.
Our governments will continue to work hard to ensure that where we govern, we govern in an open, transparent and people-orientated manner. After decades of neglect by previous ANC administrations, the people of Johannesburg, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Cape Town can have hope in their governments that are focused on delivering for the people. Where we govern, jobs are created, corruption is eradicated, and services are provided to all.
Being in government in these cities 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
Come 2019, South Africans will be faced with a decision at the polls. We can either allow the ANC to continue their looting and inability to govern, or we can elect a DA-led coalition to national government – one which will revive the dream of ’94 and get South Africa working again.

DA welcomes a step closer to holding 'Dodging' Dlamini to account

Note to Editors: Please find attached Zulu and English soundbites by the DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP

The DA welcomes the appointment of Justice Bernard Ngoepe to head up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini’s, role in causing the social grants crisis.

Some of the key matters that the inquiry will deal with are:

  • Whether the Minister sought the appointment of individuals to lead “workstreams” who would report directly to her; and
  • The reason why the Minister did not disclose to the Constitutional Court the fact that she appointed individuals to the “workstreams” and that they reported to her directly.

Dodging Dlamini has tried to shift the blame to the accounting officers, namely the former Director-General, Zane Dangor, and the former CEO, Thokozani Magwaza. However, this has failed and rightly so.

The DA have long been of the view that Dlamini manufactured the crisis, possibly for financial gain.

This is a welcome a step towards ensuring that Dlamini is held accountable and will shed light on the real reasons as to why SASSA was not able to institutionalise the grants payment system.

The DA looks forward to a date for the Inquiry being set and to ensuring that the Minister is made to face up to playing games.

Ministers mum on Government links with Bell Pottinger

The Ministers of Communications, Police, Public Enterprises and Small Business Development have chosen to remain mum on their links to Bell Pottinger.
The DA submitted a range of Parliamentary questions to all government departments asking them whether they or their entities have made use of the services of Bell Pottinger.
The DA submitted these questions in the interest of transparency, as it is important that the public know the full extent of Bell Pottinger’s relationship with our government.
Of all the departments, which responded to our questions, the Department of Tourism is the only department to confirm their links with the PR firm.
The DA’s questions appeared in Parliament’s questions paper on 26 May 2017 and their replies were due by 9 June 2017.
According to the National Assembly Rule 145(5)(a):“A question for written reply must be replied to within 10 working days, provided that the responsible Minister may in writing request the Speaker for an extension not exceeding a further 10 working days on good cause shown”.
However, none of the four Ministers requested an extension for any of our questions.
Therefore, the utter silence on this matter is highly concerning, especially considering in light of all the information coming to light, seemingly confirming that the ANC government has been captured by the Guptas.
Following the destructive propaganda campaign, Bell Pottinger designed for the Guptas, which saw the PR company exploiting racial divisions in our country, we need to know which departments have been in cahoots with Bell Pottinger and the Guptas.
The hearing into the Bell Pottinger’s behaviour, following a complaint laid by the DA, will be heard by the Public Relations and Communications Association in London on 18th of August 2017.
The DA is determined to ensure that Bell Pottinger, not only accounts but commits to reinvesting any profits from their dealings with the Guptas back to South Africa.

DA deeply saddened by Basic Education committee crash

The DA was shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the awful crash in which members of the Basic Education Portfolio Committee were involved this morning.
The DA wishes to extend its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of the MP who passed away.
We join them in mourning their loss and wish them strength during this difficult time.
We further extend our best wishes to the three other members of the committee who were injured in the crash and who are receiving urgent medical attention. We trust that they will make a speedy recovery.

Now is the time to not remain silent, Deputy President Ramaphosa

The following remarks were delivered by DA Leader Mmusi Maimane at an event today where he delivered to Deputy President Ramaphosa a petition signed by 1 million South Africans calling for President Zuma to be fired.
My fellow South Africans,
People often ask me: “What can ordinary South Africans do to save our country from the looting that is taking place?”
People want to step into the fight. They feel justifiably angry, but they also feel powerless. They see the evidence against Jacob Zuma and Guptas piling up like this big, flat mountain here next to us, but to them it seems like the guilty are getting away with it.
And to these people I say: Do everything you possibly can. March with us. Write to an MP. Use your vote. Sign a petition. Exhaust every single avenue. Because together these actions cannot go unnoticed.
Today I have brought with me the signatures of over a million South Africans who did just that. More than a million South Africans who want us, the Members of the National Assembly, to put our country first and fire Jacob Zuma.
And I have brought them here to the steps of Tuynhuys so that I can leave them in the hands of the Deputy President. Because if anyone needs reminding of exactly what must be done to save our country, it is Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mr Ramaphosa, I call on you today to do what you know is the right thing. There is only one ethical and honourable course of action here. You know it, I know it, and every single South African knows it.
We call on you to vote to fire President Zuma in next week’s Motion of No Confidence. We also call on you to use your position as Leader of Government Business to encourage ANC MPs to vote in accordance with their oaths of office, and to vote President Zuma out.
Three weeks ago you told the world that you will not remain quiet when it comes to the looting of our country through state capture. You said:
When things like these are spewing out in our national discourse, we cannot turn a blind eye. We cannot keep quiet. We now know without any shred of uncertainty that billions of Rands of public money have been diverted into the pockets of a few.”
Those are fighting words. But words mean nothing until you put them in action.
For the millions of South Africans who suffer every day in this country under this disastrous government, your loyalty to the ANC means nothing. They want straight answers and they want accountability. They want you to do your job.
And when you say you will not remain silent about those who are looting our country, the people of South Africa want you to speak up where it really matters. Not at an SACP congress. Not in interviews. Not in the media.
No, if you want to show us you are a man of your word – a man of integrity – then raise your voice where it matters. As the Leader of Government Business, you are arguably the most influential voice in the cabinet and in the ANC caucus. This is where you must not remain silent.
Because if you’re out there in the spotlight of the media saying one thing, but doing the exact opposite in the benches of the ANC and behind the closed doors of caucus and cabinet meetings, then there is only one conclusion South Africans can draw: You cannot be trusted.
Apart from your own sworn duty to your country – which compels you to do the right thing and vote in favour of the Motion of No Confidence next week – you have a responsibility to hold your ANC colleagues to their duty too.
Some of these colleagues have spoken out recently and said that they intend to vote with their conscience. MP’s like Makhosi Khoza, Pravin Gordhan and Mondli Gungubele. But these people have been threatened with disciplinary action – even with their jobs. Is this what you fear too, Mr Ramaphosa?
It seems that if you have a conscience in the ANC, you are done. This is something Gwede Mantashe confirmed on Monday when he said: “If they had a conscience, they should have discovered it before they agreed to be in Parliament on an ANC list.”
Surely this cannot be true, Mr Ramaphosa? Gwede Mantashe must be wrong. Surely there must be space within your party for men and women to act with courage of conviction; to put South Africa first.
We’ve been here on seven occasions in the past. And in seven previous Motion of No Confidence votes you and your colleagues in the ANC benches chose to stand behind a corrupt president rather than the people of South Africa.
This eighth vote will likely be the last chance you will have to prove yourselves. If you fail to use it, you will sink along with the ANC.
Whether by secret ballot or open ballot, there is only one possible correct vote on this motion. Anything other than support for the motion will be a dereliction of your duty, and this includes a choice to abstain from voting.
Anyone who aspires to the highest office in the land has to stand with the people. This should go without saying.
The signatures in these boxes represent the will of the people. There is no grey area when it comes to what is expected of you. The ball is in your court now. Let your conscience guide you, and know that the people will not forget your decision.
Thank you.

[IN PICTURES] Mmusi Maimane’s visit to Morokweng

The #Change19 tour moved to Morokweng, in the North West where DA Leader Mmusi Maimane continued to engage with community members during his door-to-door visits and public meetings.

I was left saddened and angry at the conditions that many people here have to live in.

– Mmusi Maimane

The leader went on to remind the people of Morokweng how the ANC government has proven, over and over again, that it does not have the will to kick a corrupt president and his corrupt cronies out, and that their only hope lies in a fresh start under a new government.

Until we rid our government of the parasites that suck our country dry, communities like Morokweng will always suffer because it’s impossible to serve both the Guptas’ greed and the people’s needs.
-Mmusi Maimane

He also assured the community that should they lend us their votes in 2019, we will make their needs our priority and we will not forget them like the ANC government has done.