Metsimaholo’s government has been Dissolved

Metsimaholo Municipality, which includes Sasolburg, Deneysville and Oranjeville, was placed under administration by the Free State Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department.
The Municipality was led by a coalition government including the DA, EFF, MCA and FF+, but the MCA (Metsimaholo Community Association) pulled out of the coalition, sold out to the ANC, and replaced DA MMCs with ANC councillors.
The ANC then tried to push through a budget that would not benefit the people, which the DA and EFF were not willing to pass. These DA and EFF councillors put their jobs on the line to stand their ground and put the people of Metsimaholo first.
With the dissolution of the Municipality, fresh elections will be held on the 29th of November 2017, with the registration weekend coming up on Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th of October.
This is an opportunity for residents of Metsimaholo to vote the DA in as the majority party.
Together, we can cut corruption and the mismanagement of public money, and redirect it to growing the local economy and creating jobs.
To check your registration station, SMS your ID number to 32810, or call the DA office on 016 973 3438.

Metsimaholo Municipality has been Dissolved

Metsimaholo, which includes Sasolburg, Deneysville and Oranjeville was placed under administration by the Free State Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department.
Metsimaholo was led by a coalition government, including the DA, EFF, MCA and FF+, but the MCA (Metsimaholo Community Association) pulled out of the coalition, sold out to the ANC and replaced DA MMCs with ANC Councillors.
The ANC then tried to push through a budget that would not benefit the people, which the DA and EFF were not willing to pass. We are more than willing to put our positions on the line to ensure the people of Metsimaholo benefit.
Fresh elections will be held on the 29th of November 2017, with the registration weekend coming up on Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th of October.
This is an opportunity for residents of Metsimaholo to vote the DA in as the majority party.
To check your registration station, SMS your ID number to 32810, or call the DA office on 016 973 3438.
Together we can cut corruption and the mismanagement of public money and redirect it to growing the local economy and creating jobs.
 

SAA must be Stabilised, Professionalised and Sold Off

The crisis at South African Airways (SAA) is fast reaching boiling point with debt repayments totaling R6.9 billion due this Saturday, 30 September. Despite this urgent situation, National Treasury has yet to reveal where this enormous amount of money will come from.
Our national carrier has become a bottomless pit into which government continues to pour precious public resources that should be spent on lifting 30 million South Africans out of poverty. It is hard to believe that any government hoping to be re-elected would take money from the poor to subsidize travel for the rich.
SAA’s fortunes will not change if we continue done the current tried, tested and failed path. For almost two decades, the airline has relied on government bailouts and guarantees for its survival. The cumulative total of bailouts since 1999 is R14.4 billion, and National Treasury is currently trying to source another R10 billion for the airline in the next 48 hours. Government has already extended R19.1 billion in guarantees – meaning that nearly R35 billion of ordinary South Africans’ hard-earned money has been dedicated to keeping SAA in ‘business’.
In addition to these bailouts and guarantees, and under the control of Board Chairperson Dudu Myeni, SAA has made a cumulative loss of R15.7 billion over the past five years. The DA has been clear and unwavering in our contention that Ms Myeni is both unfit and unsuitable to be at the helm. It is clear for all to see that this government continues to retain and protect Myeni in her position, in spite of this cash hemorrhage, because of her close political affiliations, including President Zuma himself.
The R10 billion that government is saying SAA needs will only pay off the bank loans of R 6.9 billion due by the 30th of September, the Standard Charted bail out of R2.2 billion at the end of June 2017, and R750 million to pay suppliers who were not fully paid in July and August 2017. The R10 billion will not provide working capital to fund the losses that National Treasury and the latest turn-around plan indicate will continue for the next two years. This requires a further R13 billion in cash injections or what National Treasury euphemistically refer to as “re-capitalization”.
The reality is that SAA is insolvent and bankrupt. It must be stabilized, and sold off as soon as practically possible.
Recovery plans have followed turnaround strategies, all yielding further losses. It is clear that national government is hell-bent on hanging onto the beleaguered airline – no matter the cost to the country and its people. SAA is not a strategic state-owned asset and it plays no role in the developmental agenda of government. On the contrary, over the last two decades it has cost our country dearly and delivered no tangible benefits to ordinary South Africans.
Getting to the bottom of the problem
Despite Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s best efforts, rumours of an impending raid on the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) refuse to go away. With just 48 hours to go before the R6.9 billion is due, we still do not know how Minister Gigaba intends to fund the bailout, and where additional funds will be found to pay suppliers.
The PIC, which administers the pensions of teachers, nurses, police officers and other public servants, has confirmed that they were approached for a R6 billion bailout for SAA. That our government would even consider risking pension funds of public servants is deplorable.
Significantly, the PIC has serious reservations about SAA’s suitability for a loan. At the media briefing on the 26th of September, PIC CEO, Dan Matjila, revealed that a due diligence investigation had been conducted into SAA. This report found SAA to be below the minimum investment standards required by the PIC. Matjila conceded that the outcome was “not favourable” in terms of “the minimum requirements of our client mandate”.
The contents of this report may be the clearest indication yet of the true state of SAA and the DA believes the report should be released for public scrutiny. We will therefore be submitting an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to information Act (PAIA) to obtain a copy of the SAA due diligence report conducted by the PIC.
Holding Myeni and Gigaba accountable
The Constitution sets out the basic values and principles of public administration in Section 195, which states that:
Public Administration must be governed by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, including … [e]fficient, economic and effective use of resources … The above principles apply to … Public Enterprises.”
The national carrier is deemed a public entity in terms of Schedule 2 of the Public Finance Management Act (No. 1 of 1999) and in terms of the South African Airways Act (No. 5 of 2007). Accordingly, SAA is subject to this section.
Sadly, the management of SAA has become the very antithesis of the requirements set out in the Constitution. It is our belief that Malusi Gigaba and Dudu Myeni, in their respective official capacities, have breached Section 195 of the Constitution by not acting in accordance the principals established therein.
Therefore, the DA will be writing to the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, requesting an investigation into this matter. Specifically, the Public Protector must investigate the role played by Ms Myeni in the institutional decay and poor governance of SAA, since 2009, and Mr Gigaba in his former and current role as minister of Public Enterprises and Finance, respectively. Myeni and Gigaba’s careers are intimately entwined with SAA’s demise and they must not be allowed to escape accountability.
The way forward for SAA
SAA can be profitable and a company worthy of being called South African. However, immediate and urgent action is required.
The DA’s solution to the SAA crisis would consist of the following interventions:

  • Remove Dudu Myeni from the board entirely and ensure that the board is made up of independent individuals with suitable aviation and business experience;
  • Initiate business rescue proceedings for SAA in terms of Chapter 6 of the Companies Act (No. 71 of 2008). This will temporarily place SAA in the hands of a capable business rescue practitioner charged with returning the entity to a healthy financial position. This will have to include:
    • The removal of political interference both in strategy and in the employment of skilled and experienced management and staff;
    • Aggressively pursuing profitable routes, some of which were foolishly abandoned over recent years;
    • Renegotiating supply contracts, particularly major supplies such as jet fuel on the basis of best price for the required service quality;
    • Adjustments to employee compliment numbers to bring the airline in line with international staffing norms.
  • Release government’s stranglehold over SAA by finding a buyer for SAA immediately. This ought to include an employee share scheme, making a portion of shares available to SAA employees in order to empower them and give them a real stake in the company’s future successes.

These initiatives will not only bring much needed public accountability to the airline’s governance, but will go a long way to making SAA profitable again. We thus call on Minister Gigaba to place SAA under business rescue before the next bailout payment deadline of 30 September.
Conclusion
South Africans cannot continue to fund a defunct and failing national carrier. In truth, the imminent R10 billion bailout will only be a short term solution and will not fix the underlying issues at SAA. It is time for urgent and immediate interventions that seek to stabilize, professionalize and sell off SAA.

Basic Education Department failed our children by missing construction targets

The Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) annual report reveals irregular expenditure amounting to R1.4 billion and underspending of R874 million on a critical programme which is responsible for school and infrastructure construction. The underspending on payments for capital assets in the school infrastructure budget is R558 million.
Given these massive problems in the construction of schools and school infrastructure, DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi MP, will now conduct oversight visits to failed and delayed school projects in the fourth Parliamentary term.
Next week, the Parliamentary Committee on Basic Education will also receive a briefing by the Financial and Fiscal Commission on spending patterns on infrastructure and the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative and will thoroughly interrogate the issue following this.
School infrastructure should be a major priority for the DBE, but this is clearly not the case as it failed to achieve their targets for all four school infrastructure performance indicators.
Schools cannot be fixed – or even built – if the issue of irregular spending is also not resolved. Among the main reasons many schools have not been completed is the fact that contractors were changed without proper procedures being followed. The Auditor-General drew special attention to the high amount of irregular expenditure. This year alone, R621 million was mismanaged in this way.
This points to a complete failure by the DBE to manage this crucial programme properly. The department and the minister, Angie Motshekga, cannot continue blaming provinces and bad contractors for the delay in delivering safe schools.  It is time for them to take responsibility for the fact that thousands of children continue to learn in substandard buildings.
At an estimate of R40 million per school, 14 state of the art schools could have been built for close to 10 000 learners, but the money is simply not being spent.
Basic education is vital for improving the circumstances of South African children and building their futures, but they cannot achieve and thrive if their learning environment is falling apart. The DA will ensure Motshekga and the DBE are held accountable for once again failing our children.

President Zuma must appoint new SABC Board as annual report paints grim picture

Note to Editors: Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP.
Yesterday, the SABC Interim Board’s term expired. It is now up to President Jacob Zuma to immediately appoint the new SABC permanent Board to get the SABC’s business back on track.
The work of the SABC permanent Board is especially important following yesterday’s tabling of the public broadcaster’s annual financial report for the 2016/17 financial year, in Parliament.
The report paints a grim picture about the state of the SABC’s financial affairs.
The SABC’s contingent liabilities currently stands at R956.7 million, which the report flags as a major risk to the broadcaster. This is due to corporation currently being embroiled in a number of lawsuits. This exorbitant amount could potentially cripple the already ailing SABC. Other areas of concern include:

  • Recorded losses – R997 million after taxes;
  • Fruitless and Wasteful expenditure – R 145.99 million;
  • Irregular expenditure – R 4.4 billion, of which R514.95 million was due to procurement policies not being followed;
  • Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s bonus – R11.5 million for 2016/17 financial year; and
  • Total Director and key personnel’s compensation – R 79.71 million.

It is of absolute importance that the SABC and Communications Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, engage Parliament on how they plan on ensuring that the SABC’s finances recover.
In light of National Treasury’s proposed R3 billion bailout for the SABC, civil society and Parliament deserve to know the full scope of the SABC’s financial affairs and how this proposed bailout will turn things around for the embattled public broadcaster.
Thus, there cannot be any delays. President Zuma must appoint the Board immediately to ensure that they get to work on restoring the SABC back to the world-class broadcaster it once was.
The South African public has clearly lost faith in the SABC, and it is now up to the new Board to restore our faith in the public broadcaster.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng voted South African of the Year

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has been named as the 2017 South African of the Year, according to a poll hosted by News24, as part of Heritage Day celebrations.
The Chief Justice attained 63% of the votes, followed by the Blitzbokke and tennis player Kevin Anderson.
We thank Chief Justice Mogoeng for his unwavering commitment to the rule of law and the South African Constitution. He has played a central role in many Constitutional Court cases this year, including the #SecretBallot case.
Chief Justice Mogoeng famously noted:
The South African judiciary reaffirms its commitment to the principles of independence, impartiality, dignity, accessibility and effectiveness of the courts.
The courts, as provided for in our Constitution, exist to promote the rule of law and to uphold the supreme law of the country, the Constitution.
The South African judiciary has been, and will continue to be fearless in its approach to promote the rule of law and safeguard its independence.
The South African judiciary further reaffirms its commitment to the doctrine of separation of powers – provided for in the Constitution – which vests the legislative autonomy in the Legislature, the executive autonomy in the Executive, and the judicial authority in the courts.
Chief Justice Mogoeng assumed office in September 2011, and his term will run until September 2023.

Treasury must urgently clarify how SAA funding requirements will be met

The DA welcomes Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba’s, press briefing on the matter of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and funding for SAA.
However, National Treasury must urgently clarify how the airline’s funding requirements that are required in a mere four days are going to be met and whether section 16 of the Public Finance Management Act will be invoked again.
Rather than making matters ‘clear and clean’ as suggested by Treasury Director General, Dondo Mogojane, the press briefing has raised more questions than answers.
The Ministers and Director General of National Treasury confirmed that:
• Treasury has had extensive discussions with the PIC on possible funding for the SAA bailout;
• Some lenders to SAA will not extend some or all of their loans to SAA beyond Saturday; and
• There is no possibility of a Special Appropriations Bill in time to secure funding to meet the SAA lenders repayment deadline.
Despite what was confirmed, the uncertainty over how the SAA funding crisis is going to be dealt with remains.
This uncertainty cannot remain until the Medium Term Budget Policy Speech (MTBPS) process is completed and the people of South Africa cannot afford to be left in the dark as to the details of the full recapitalisation plan for SAA that Treasury says will amount to R10 billion in the current 2017/18 financial year.
This uncertainty will have a negative impact on the South African sovereign ratings and must be clarified long before the MTBPS.

Sadtu intends to sow confusion with its remarks on principals’ right to strike

The DA notes the objection by the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and other teachers unions to our proposal that the right of principals be limited and reiterates its call to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to prioritise the safety of our learners during tomorrow’s strike by liaising with the police.
With the matric exams scheduled to start soon, Motshekga must ensure there are plans by her department to avoid violence, intimidation and the disruption of learning as these exams are critical in shaping learners’ futures.
We encourage all learners to report any threats or harassment by SADTU and any injuries that may be inflicted on them by the union’s members. The DA will not hesitate to lay charges on behalf of these pupils and hold Motshekga accountable.
The move by the DA to have the posts of principals and their deputies declared an essential service is motivated by our concerns regarding learner safety and we will not relent until this goal is achieved. Learners are under the supervision of principals during the day and it is therefore important that their right to strike is limited as it is their duty to protect learners from the violence SADTU has become notorious for during its strikes.
The DA believes in the constitutionally enshrined right to strike and we are not suggesting that the limit is extended to all teachers.
The remark made by SADTU General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke, that our proposal is a ‘political gimmick’ only proves that the union does not care about the safety, well-being and rights of children.
Our proposal is guided by the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) determination that it is reasonable to limit the right of certain education sector employees to strike and this is necessary as learners are the worst affected by strike action. South Africa is a signatory of the ILO and cannot act against its principles.
The insinuation by SADTU and other unions that the DA wants to widely limit the right to strike is intended to sow confusion and we condemn this with the contempt it deserves.

DA to lay charges against Just Coal CEO and ANCYL’s Maine for bribery and corruption

Just Coal CEO, Joe Singh, must immediately be arrested following his admission that he paid the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) half a million Rand in a bid to score political favours.
According to reports ANCYL president, Collen Maine, accepted a R500 000 “donation” from Singh, in the hopes that the League would convince Eskom against terminating their contract with Just Coal.
Singh’s shameless on-air confession is an admission of guilt and Maine’s acceptance of the questionable “donation” points towards his complicity in a crime.
This was not just a donation. This was clearly a bribe to persuade politically aligned individuals close to Eskom to act in Just Coal’s interest.
In an interview, Singh admitted that “We did have an expectation, it was that someone politically aligned could deal with [Matshela Koko].”
Despite reports indicating that Maine failed to deliver on this promise, money still exchanged hands in what was clearly a blatant attempt to unduly influence an Eskom executive.
Bribery is a crime and Singh must be held accountable for his illegal and unethical conduct.
The DA also calls on the ANCYL to come clean and prove that this was a legitimate donation and that the monies did not line the pockets of any one individual but that it went towards the empowerment of our youth.
The DA will also be laying charges against Singh and Maine on the allegations that the two possibly contravened Section 3 of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities (PACCA) Act, which states that:
“Any person who, directly or indirectly […] (a) accepts or agrees or offers to accept any gratification from any other person, whether for the benefit of himself or herself or for the benefit of another person; or […] (b) gives or agrees or offers to give to any other person any gratification, whether for the benefit of that other person or for the benefit of another person, in order to act, personally or by influencing another person so to act, in a manner [which is] illegal, dishonest, unauthorised, incomplete, or biased […]is guilty of the offence of corruption”.
Singh’s admission that his company paid the ANCYL to assist Just Coal in extending their Eskom contract can be seen as a general offence of corruption, in terms of Section 3 of the PACCA Act as set out above.
The DA will ensure that Singh and Maine face the full might of the law and account for their questionable conduct.

DA Leader Maimane requests formal meeting with Public Protector

I have today written to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, requesting a formal meeting in order to discuss a number of pressing matters linked to her office, and the performance of her constitutional mandate to investigate misconduct by government departments and entities and to protect the public’s interest.
The role of the Public Protector is integral to the proper functioning of our democracy, and now more than ever, we desperately need a Public Protector who is wholly committed to fighting for the people of South Africa – by tackling State Capture and corruption in all its forms. Therefore I will be raising the followings matters, among others:

  1. Whether she has ever met with any members of the Gupta family, in any capacity whatsoever, and if so, what circumstances necessitated such a meeting;
  2. The latest developments with regards to the new “preliminary investigation” into State Capture, which was announced on 15 June 2017. The investigation aims to determine the merits of several allegations of corruption and unlawful enrichment emanating from the infamous “Gupta Leaks”;
  3. The progress on a number of ongoing investigations following complaints by the DA over the past 12 months. These include the following:
  • Investigation into Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Des Van Rooyen, for allegedly misleading Parliament and the public regarding his visit to the Gupta’s family home in Saxonwold;
  • Investigation into former acting Eskom CEO, Mr Matshela Koko, for allegedly awarding a R1 billion contract to his step-daughter while at Eskom;
  • Investigation into the R 30 million pension payout to former Eskom CEO Brain Molefe, allegedly authorised by Public Enterprises Minister, Lynne Brown;
  • Investigation into Public Enterprises Minister, Lynne Brown, for allegedly misleading Parliament when she failed to disclose if there had been any contracts of engagement between Eskom and Gupta-linked company Trillian Capital Partners;
  • Investigation into former Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba and the naturalisation of, and issuing of visas to, members of the Gupta family;
  • Investigation into Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, and former Acting National Police Commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane for the misuse of state resources in provinding VIP protection to Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; and
  • Investigation into the alleged breach of the Ethics Code and the Power, Privileges and Immunities Act by Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, for willfully misleading Parliament by failing to disclose his personal interests pertaining to the Guptas;
  1. Clarity regarding the allegation that she concealed submissions received from Black First Land First about her investigation into the apartheid-era bailout of Bankorp by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB); and
  2. What her plan of action is regarding those who are actually pulling the strings when it comes to State Capture – including President Zuma, several of his cabinet ministers, and the Gupta family. To date, the real architects and technicians of State Capture have escaped unscathed, while board members, senior executives, and government officials have been used as scapegoats.

We are optimistic that as a constitutional officer bearer, Adv Mkhwebane will accede to this request and be forthcoming with the information sought.
At a time such as this, when our country is under siege by thieves and captors, South Africans deserve to be assured that the constitutional bodies and institutions created to fight for them are indeed doing so, and not acting on political instruction.