It is time for Dudu to go

Media reports today that Chairperson of the South African Airways (SAA) Board, Dudu Myeni, will remain until her close friend “uBaba”, President Jacob Zuma, ends his term in 2019 is simply mind boggling.
I have written to Ms Myeni to request confirmation that these reports are true and if so, why she believes it is in the interest of the crumbling SAA for her to remain, despite commitments that her appointment would come to an end at the beginning of September.
It is clearly nonsensical for the Cabinet to once again capitulate to the wishes of a discredited President and to not instruct Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of Finance, to adhere to the commitment that was made that Ms Myeni would be appointed as SAA board chair for one year.
Ms Myeni must be fired with immediate effect to prevent her continued destruction of the little that is left of SAA.
SAA is bankrupt and near to liquidation. Suppliers have not been paid in full in July and August and the SAA cash flow indicates that they will also not be paid in full in September.
The airline has been running at losses of R350 million every month in the current financial year and if it can find benefactors to provided additional cash to pay its staff salaries and suppliers for the second six months of the 2017/18 financial year, is heading for a loss of R4 billion in the 2017/18 year.
Even if the banks were to miraculously extend their loans to SAA, this will not provide any cash and SAA will not be able to continue trading without a cash bail out from the South African taxpayer. It is certainly not a “going concern”.
There is R6,7 billion payable to banks by the 30th of September 2017. National Treasury has already been forced to pay Standard Chartered Bank R2,2 billion when they refused to extend the loans to SAA.
City Bank has apparently also refused to extend their loans to SAA beyond the 30th of September 2017 and today there are reports that Nedbank have informed SAA and National Treasury that they will not be able to extend the term of their loan beyond the 30th of September 2017 unless, possibly amongst other conditions, Ms Myeni is removed as SAA Board Chair and from the SAA Board.
It is clear that it is time for Ms Myeni to go. Keeping her on would be irresponsible and would essentially ensure SAA’s destruction.

Motion for an early election is about putting South Africans first

Please find attached a soundbite by the DA National Spokesperson, Phumzile Van Damme MP.
On Tuesday, 5 September, the DA’s motion calling for an early emergency election will be debated in Parliament.
An early democratic election, in terms of Section 50 of the Constitution, will provide South Africans with a new opportunity to rid the country of the toxic leadership of the Zuma-led ANC government.
Millions of South Africans live in misery with life becoming increasingly unbearable.
All this, while our limited state resources are being looted and funneled by the Guptas to Dubai with the help of President Jacob Zuma, his son and their cronies.
The South African people deserve better than the ANC. They deserve an efficient and corruption-free government.
This is why an early election is important. We need good leadership in the Union Buildings, who will put the people of this country first.
We, therefore, urge all South Africans to sign our petition in support of this motion to ensure that every party in the National Assembly knows that the South African citizens have lost all faith in the Gupta-controlled ANC-government.
The ANC completely lost its legitimacy to govern our country when it decided to continue its support of their corrupt and captured President in the 8 August Motion of No Confidence.
The DA calls on all MPs, across all party lines in the National Assembly, to support our motion, and put the South African people first.

DASO wins Presidency at Lovedale College and assumes control of the Alice Campus

Students of the Lovedale TVET College have elected the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) candidate, Zikona Mbewu, as the SRC President of the college. Yesterday, DASO also assumed control of the Alice Campus SRC with an overwhelming majority of 5 out of 7 seats.
DASO in the Eastern Cape welcomes these results with great excitement. More and more South African students trust the DA and DASO to represent them. Our share of the votes grew from 15% to 46% in the last election.
It reflects the growing support and trust that the DA has amongst young South Africans from poor and vulnerable backgrounds who are desperate for an alternative that can give them the opportunities to break out of the shackles of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment.
Lovedale College Alice Campus students have exercised their right to vote for a well-run SRC that will ensure a safe, caring, inclusive and forward-thinking campus with opportunities for all students.
We would like to thank all these students for their support in this election and all our activists who have worked tirelessly throughout the campaign to ensure that we secure a victory for students. When DASO wins, all students win.
This win will allow us to attempt to put an end to the years of corruption and mismanagement by both the SASCO-led SRCs and alleged ANC-aligned management at the campus. We are confident that the best days are ahead of us and soon Lovedale College students will finally see an SRC that works selflessly and advocates for their needs and welfare.

Firing acting Chief Procurement Officer Schalk Human is a victory for state capture

Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba’s decision to fire acting Chief Procurement Officer Schalk Human, together with two other senior officials, without any explanation, is a victory for the “get National Treasury brigade”, including President Jacob Zuma, the Guptas and ANN7.
The fact is that Schalk Human and the officials who worked with him were some of the most important soldiers in the battle against state capture, and yet they were made to walk the plank by a minister who does not have the guts to stand up and fight for National Treasury.
What makes it worse is that the minister is trying to hide behind the Director-General of the National Treasury, Dondo Mogajane, in an effort to deflect responsibility for what is a shocking decision that risks compromising National Treasury.
We need to know what the minister knew, and when he knew it, and so I will, therefore, be submitting a series of parliamentary questions probing the firing of Schalk Human and other senior officials, at National Treasury.

DA requests urgent meeting with the EFF

The DA notes with great disappointment the decision by the EFF to abscond from the councils of the three metros governed by the opposition party coalitions.
The fact is that in August 2016, the people of South Africa made it clear that they no longer trusted the ANC to govern. The people of our metros voted for a new beginning and placed their trust in opposition parties.
The short-sighted decision by the EFF to stay away from councils has only served to put the power back in the hands of the ANC. Essentially, the EFF is defying the mandate provided to the opposition by millions of voters, a step which seeks to cripple service delivery and job creation where we govern.
The reasons stated for their discontent are unclear.
The DA, together with COPE and the ACDP, acted to remove the former deputy mayor, Mongameli Bobani, after months of consultation with the UDM about his very questionable conduct, which sought to undermine and destroy the coalition agreement.
Mr Bobani has on several occasions voted with the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMB) and against the will of the people. This, in addition to being implicated in corruption within a department in the City he was responsible for.
The DA remains committed to working with other opposition parties, including the UDM. We have continuously stated that, in the interest of the coalition and delivering services to the people of the metro, the UDM should nominate an alternative candidate who will ensure that we can focus on delivering services for the people of NMB.
The residents of these metros made it clear they were rejecting a corrupt ANC government which no longer served them. Therefore, condoning corruption or supporting the ANC, even in the interest of keeping the coalition together, is not an option.
The DA will accordingly request an urgent meeting with the EFF leadership to discuss this matter.
We cannot afford to let internal squabbles subvert the people’s business and undermine the great work that has been done by our coalition governments.
The DA is committed to serving the people who have put their trust in those who can deliver services and we will not waver on our commitment to fulfilling our promise to do so. We trust that the EFF is too.

Bell Pottinger appeals DA’s complaint

Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP.
The DA can confirm that Bell Pottinger has submitted an appeal to the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), in reference to the decision to uphold the complaint filed by the DA.
The PRCA Board of Management will now meet again on Monday, 4 September, to consider this appeal and will issue its final ruling on Tuesday, 5 September.
The DA looks forward to the outcome of the ruling and we trust that PRCA will make the right decision in holding Bell Pottinger accountable.
We reiterate our call for Bell Pottinger to do the right thing and disclose all Gupta contracts and monies from their accounts with the Guptas and reinvest it into South Africa.

Energy Department delays and renegotiates IPP agreements in bid to secure nuclear

The DA is deeply disturbed by the long delays in signing the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) contracts.
Especially concerning is the announcement today by the Minister of Energy, Mmamoloko Kubayi, that the DOE will be renegotiating the tariffs for these renewable contracts.
This delay and renegotiation is most likely a smokescreen initiated by the Department of Energy and Minister Kubayi in a bid to buy time to ensure the implementation of nuclear energy. This is made abundantly clear by the freeze of all new renewable projects from October, until such time as they have thoroughly scrutinised and aligned it to the IRP and IEP.
The DA will encourage the affected stakeholders to go to court if necessary to ensure that their IPP contracts and prices are upheld. The IPP renewable energy programme is an established and internationally recognized economic model which should be defended.
The delays are costing people their jobs and could result in further closures of renewable energy companies. On top of this, the renegotiation process also sends the wrong signals to the energy industry and appears to be an attempt to stifle growth in the renewable energy sector in favour of nuclear power.
We will ensure the government pursues the most viable approach to maintain the supply of power to the country. Given our renewable resources, and job creation opportunities, South Africa should be prioritising renewable energy and not costly nuclear power.

BOKAMOSO | Our pledge to voters and our values are not negotiable in coalitions

In the build-up to the 2016 Local Government Elections, we made the same promises to people wherever we campaigned. And those promises were that, if we were to be voted into government, we would improve service delivery to poor residents, we would root out corruption and we would bring growth and jobs to these communities.

We promised people a clean break from the corruption, the waste and the unaccountability of their incumbent ANC local governments. And we told them that we wanted to be held to our election pledge. Wherever I campaigned I said: If the DA fails to live up to its promises, then people must use their votes to fire us. And I meant these words.

Fast-forward to immediately after the elections, when the results in several metros put the possibility of coalition governments on the table. In our negotiations with other parties – and ultimately in our coalition agreement with them – we reiterated our election pledge to the people, and we made it very clear that honouring these promises would be our non-negotiable condition for co-governance. We were (and still are) prepared to work with all parties, as long as they shared our core commitments to end corruption, deliver services and create jobs. We would not tolerate a corrupt coalition partner or one that put our ability to deliver services at risk.

The behaviour of Councillor and Deputy Mayor Mongameli Bobani of the UDM, over almost the entire period our coalition government has been in office in Nelson Mandela Bay, was aimed at disrupting the council on which he served and preventing it from doing its work. This started from the get-go, when he refused to give up the VIP blue lights in his vehicle. This made him the only person in all DA-run cities or DA-led coalitions to break the agreement on blue light vehicles.

From the start Councillor Bobani’s intention was to sabotage the operation of the Nelson Mandela Bay government. There is no other explanation for repeatedly voting with the ANC and against the coalition government. There is no other explanation for laying baseless charges against the City Manager and the Executive Director of Corporate Services. There is no other explanation for holding his own parallel State of the City event.

And then there is the prima facie evidence, contained in two separate independent forensic reports, of maladministration, fraud and tender irregularities that occurred within departments under Councillor Bobani’s authority. These reports state that the instructions for the actions in question came from the Deputy Mayor’s office. They also recommend that the Metro attempt to recover the missing funds and take criminal action against those involved.

Furthermore, Councillor Bobani voted against the establishment of a Women’s Caucus Committee. He also voted against a Jobs Desk, which was planned for the Mayor’s Office, which had targeted 20,000 youth jobs over the next three years.

Any one of these incidents would be grounds for removal from his post. Together, his position becomes truly indefensible. Yet the UDM’s national leadership under Bantu Holomisa refused to budge, threatening first to pull out of the coalition – a threat they have since back-tracked on – and later to take the DA to court in order to have Councillor Bobani reinstated. Sadly, the communication from the UDM has become racially divisive, which contradicts the core values of our co-government project.

But this is where it is important to remember the DA’s position on coalition governments: We’re only in it for the people. The only reason we hold office in the metros is to speed up delivery, eradicate corruption and open opportunities for people. We’re not there to govern at all cost. If any of our coalition partners insist on making these metros ungovernable, we must draw a line in the sand. And it is important that our partners realise this too. Because if they think you’re prepared to govern at all cost, they can and will put you in an impossible position.

It is deeply regrettable that Councillor Bobani has been given free reign by his party to wreak havoc in the Nelson Mandela Bay Council. We have tried over the past eight months to resolve the issue, and we will continue to do so. But this does not alter our position: We will not allow our own values, our own integrity and our promise to voters to be sacrificed.

DA welcomes landmark Kenyan Supreme Court order for a new election

The DA welcomes today’s order by the Kenyan Supreme Court for a rerun of the country’s controversial presidential election.
The Court found that the “presidential election was not conducted in accordance with the constitution, rendering the declared results invalid null and void”.
This was after Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga, challenged the results which initially saw the re-election of incumbent President, Uhuru Kenyatta.
New elections have been ordered by the Court to happen within 60 days.
This is a landmark judgement and a victory for democracy throughout the continent.
The DA trusts that the new election will be a fair reflection of the will of the Kenyan people and that they will be free from violence.

DA calls on Gigaba to dismiss Myeni immediately

D-day has now arrived for Dudu Myeni to vacate the SAA Board Chair position.
Despite the evidence of her incompetence and the dire straits that the airline has been managed into under her watch, National Treasury has reportedly asked Myeni to remain as SAA Board Chair until the Annual General Meeting (AGM) probably sometime in November 2017.
The DA have therefore written to Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, to demand that he dismiss Myeni with immediate effect.
This extension of Myeni’s office term contradicts reassurances Gigaba gave that Myeni would not remain as the SAA Board Chair.
Former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, unfortunately reappointed Myeni as the SAA Board Chair, on the proviso that her appointment was only for one year.
A statement by the Department of Government Communications on the 2nd of September last year stated that “Eleven new non-executive directors have been appointed to the Board of SAA for a three year period starting from 1 September 2016. Ms Duduzile Cynthia Myeni, the current Chairperson of the Board of SAA, has been reappointed for a period of one year.”
Since his appointment, Gigaba has indicated that Myeni’s term as SAA Board Chair would come to an end:
On the 15th of June 2017, Gigaba stated ‘At the upcoming AGM, we will attend to the matter of appointing her successor…’ and on the 4th of August 2017, Gigaba said that ‘We’ll start a process to replace the chairperson and a decision will be communicated later.’
Given the financial crisis at SAA, Gigaba should have foreseen that the AGM would be delayed. An SAA AGM is only likely to be called after the annual report has been finalised which is unlikely to happen until the Directors can convince the auditors that the airline is a going concern.
Despite the objections by her close friend, President Zuma, SAA is a financial disaster largely because of the disastrous tenure of Myeni as a Director and the Board Chair.
Gigaba must for once honour a commitment made by the ANC to South Africans and fire Myeni with immediate effect. There will be no improvement at SAA until Myeni is removed.