Cape Town's sixth 'Smart Park' opens

The City of Cape Town’s latest smart park is officially open to the public
The facility in Seawinds near Lavender Hill is the City’s sixth smart park, following similar ventures in Atlantis, Nomzamo, Delft, Khayelitsha and Gugulethu.

The park includes a water play area where children can learn about the water cycle and splash around in shallow water, an area focused on younger children’s play, a multipurpose playground, two multipurpose courts that can host a variety of ball games, a picnic area and covered stage, as well as outdoor exercise areas.
The water play area works on a recycle process, where water is reused and circulates through the river stream and log channel. Inside the pump house, the reused water is cycled through a filtration process. Overflow from the underground storage tank is fed back into the surrounding trees via a subsoil drain pipe.

Gigaba and SAA board breach Companies Act

The DA has written to Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of Finance, to request that he urgently provide reasons for why the South African Airways (SAA) annual financial statements are not ready, as is required by law.
Minister Gigaba seems to have been mischievous when he says in his letter of the 20th of September 2017, to the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF), that it was not foreseeable that the SAA annual financial statements would not be ready in time for an Annual General Meeting, before the 31st of August 2017.
It was completely foreseeable given that SAA is clearly not a “going concern” and that Gigaba himself, as well as the SAA board, were likely to do everything in their power to delay the finalisation of the annual financial statements until they are able to secure funding from the national revenue fund by way of section 16 of the PFMA, the PIC or some other illogical source to enable SAA to be assumed to be a “going concern” for another year.
The SAA board appear to have delayed the annual financial statements despite section 30(1) of the Companies Act, which states that these be finalised within 6 months of the financial year end, which was up on 31st of August 2017.
Therefore, by not ensuring these statements were ready by the stipulated time, they are now in breach of the Companies Act.
The international rating agencies are watching how Minister Gigaba handles the SAA crisis very closely. Right now, he is acting irresponsibly and getting it wrong. It seems that all of this is just to comply with the wishes of President Jacob Zuma to keep his close friend Dudu Myeni on the SAA board.
Malusi Gigaba’s reluctance to act decisively to put SAA into business rescue and on the road to either privatisation or, if this proves to be not possible, into liquidation, will very likely only have a heavier toll on the already 9.3 million unemployed South Africans.

Transport Minister must explain ineffective road safety campaigns

Reports that more than 20 people have died on our roads over this long weekend so far and that dozens more have been injured are deeply concerning.
The fact is that the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, has utterly failed to explain, why far too many people die on our roads, despite millions being spent on numerous road safety campaigns.
Clearly, these campaigns are not working.
The DA will again write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi, to request that she urgently summon Minister Maswanganyi to explain in detail exactly what campaigns were set up to try curb road deaths, how much these campaigns cost and further, why they have been so terribly unsuccessful.
Every year, the Department of Transport through the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), continue to use the same tired approach to try to bring down the death toll on our roads.  This approach is literally the very definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome.
The RTMC has even admitted to the portfolio committee that the biggest issues contributing to deaths on our roads are moving violations, faulty brakes and smooth tyres yet their campaign addresses absolutely none of this.
In order to save lives on our roads, South Africans must be empowered with information on road safety by effective campaigns. This is the only way we can hope to bring down the unacceptably high number of people lost on our roads.

Myeni approached PIC for R6 billion for SAA

The DA has noted the media report that Ms Dudu Myeni has asked the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) for R6 billion to bail out beleaguered South African Airways (SAA), an airline that she has basically run into the ground.
While the PIC reportedly refused these requests this is yet another reason, to add to the mountain of reasons to remove Myeni. She now appears to be involved in the planned raid on pensioners’ money to prop up SAA and other bankrupt State-Owned Enterprises.
PIC boss, Dan Matjila, apparently had to answer to allegations against him that were mysteriously apparently leaked after he turned down Myeni’s request. It’s concerning that Matjila is apparently unable to do his job without political interference.
The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, is dead wrong. The presence of Ms Dudu Myeni on the SAA board at all, let alone as Chair, is neither a legal requirement nor is it prudent. In fact, it is downright irrational and completely irresponsible of Gigaba to try to find technical means to retain Myeni on the SAA board.
SAA has been in constant need of rescuing, facing a R10 billion funding crisis in a few days’ time. The setbacks for SAA continue to pile up:

  • Citibank has reportedly refused to extend their R 1.8 billion loan beyond the 30th of September 2017;
  • The balance of the lenders of the R 6.8 billion due for payment by the 30th of September 2017 has apparently indicated their reluctance to extend their loans particularly if Myeni remains on the SAA board;
  • The international ratings agencies are watching how Gigaba handles the SAA crisis very closely; and
  • There is no time left for any special appropriation bill to be passed by Parliament before the 30th of September 2017.

With Matjila facing an internal audit for doing his job, it’s difficult to have faith in the PIC when the politically connected seek access to the R1.9 trillion of pension money that Matjila manages to further enrich themselves. It’s unethical to use the citizens’ hard-earned pension funds to rescue the failing SAA, once again.
Despite all this, Gigaba is prepared to put the economic future of South Africa, and the 9.3 million unemployed South Africans, at risk in order to comply with the wishes of President Jacob Zuma to keep his close friend Dudu Myeni on the SAA board.

DA remains committed to serving the people of NMB

Reports today about the possibility of an election in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) where a DA-led coalition has been in government, seek to distract us from the most pertinent issues.
The reality is that the people of NMB rejected the ANC at the ballot box during the 2016 Local Government Elections. They made it clear, through their vote, that they wanted total change. They gave the DA and our coalition partners the mandate to govern with the commitment to root out corruption and deliver basic services fairly and equitably.
The coalition government has already made great progress in rooting out corruption, bringing about financial stability and delivering services across NMB, more so to poor areas which were neglected by the previous ANC government.
We cannot seek to put those very same voters through an election when their voices have been heard loud and clear, not just in NMB but in Tshwane and The City of Johannesburg.
We also cannot be held to ransom and be forced to make decisions which will not be in the best interest of the people that we serve.
The DA remains committed to working with all our partners to ensure that we do not fail those who have entrusted us with a mandate to lead them to a corruption-free and working city.
We will continue to engage further with those whom we govern with so we ensure that we do not lose sight of what is most important, the voters.

Motshekga must put learners first during Sadtu strike

The DA will call on the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to ensure that learners are safe and that their educational needs are put first by liaising with the police ahead of Wednesday’s strike by the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).
Learners must come forward on Wednesday if they are in any way threatened, injured or attacked and the DA will assist them in laying charges against Sadtu and hold the Minister to account for inaction. Many teachers are hardworking and deplore violence but often Sadtu harasses learners and non-striking members during its protests and they cannot continue to threaten the constitutionally enshrined rights of learners to education and safety.
Motshekga must ensure that there are contingency plans put in place, especially since matric exams start very soon and learning should not be hindered at this time. These final exams are vital to learners’ post-school futures and disrupting them would be irresponsible and unfair.
Strikes in the education sector have for too long compromised the safety and well-being of our children and it is for this reason the DA intends to have the posts of principals, their deputies and other critical staff members at schools declared essential services.
The DA believes in the right to strike, but we cannot condone violent behaviour and intimidation.
Motshekga must choose to either put the needs of children first as Minister or stand with the disruptive Sadtu, which clearly does not care about the future of our children. Teachers should develop our children and support them in building their lives, not destroying them, and it is Motshekga’s responsibility to ensure our children’s futures are not compromised by strike action.

Don’t let economic exclusion be the heritage of our children too

The following speech was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the old Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) building in Newtown, Johannesburg. Maimane was joined by DA Gauteng Leader, John Moodey, DA Regional Chairperson, Khume Ramulifho, and DA National Spokesperson, Refiloe Nt’sekhe.
My fellow South Africans
We are blessed to live in one of the most colourful and diverse nations in the world. Our strength lies in this diversity. We are greater than the sum of our parts.
We don’t want to be a homogenous society with uniform views on the world. We don’t want to speak one language, share one culture or practice one religion.
South Africa is like a bright garden, brimming with many different flowers. This is what makes us who we are, and we must celebrate this diversity.
On this Heritage Day, it is wonderful to see all this variety in our society – to see so many people embracing their own history and taking pride in their culture. It truly is a day where we get a glimpse into the worlds of our fellow South Africans.
Given our brutal history, where large sections of society’s culture and traditions were dismissed and oppressed, it is important that we reclaim our heritage. It is important that we say: This is part of who I am, and no one will take it away from me again.
But when we talk about our heritage, we cannot only speak about these unique cultural practices. Because we share a common heritage too. We have inherited something as South Africans that cuts right across race, language, age and religion.
Half a century of Apartheid rule – of the oppression of one race over another – has left us with a shared heritage that is as much a part of our identity as our cultures and our languages. And this shared heritage is the deeply skewed economy from which millions of our people remain excluded.
Our shared heritage is a society where a child’s opportunities in life are still determined by the circumstances of her birth.
We’re gathered here outside a building that has a profound symbolic meaning when it comes to this unjust society of ours. This building used to house the Johannesburg Stock Exchange – an institution that represented the exclusion of black South Africans from the economy.
It stood here as a monument to Apartheid’s biggest weapon: economic dispossession. It said that ownership of the economy was reserved for a minority and that resources were extracted for the benefit of some, not all.
It reminded black South Africans that while their labour was good enough to build the country, they themselves were not deemed good enough to own any of it.
All of this was meant to change after 1994. The political freedom that came with the right to vote was meant to be followed by economic freedom. Because only through full participation in the economy – through jobs and through owning property, businesses and shares – could people consider themselves truly free.
And for a while it looked like this would happen. As people’s daily lives improved and access to education and jobs improved, it seemed as though the promise of economic freedom would become a reality.
But ask most South Africans today, and they will tell you that this promise of economic freedom has faded to the point where it feels like a distant dream. They will tell you that they feel let down and abandoned by their government.
More than two decades into our democracy, the project of building a prosperous and inclusive economy has ground to a halt, because the people entrusted with this project have shifted their attention to other things.
They have turned their attention to ways of helping themselves to the money meant for the people. They have turned their attention to fighting off the factions that threaten their grip on power and wealth. And they have completely forgotten about the people.
The result is growing poverty, growing unemployment and growing anger.
Today, 55% of South Africans live below the poverty line. That’s more than 30 million of our people.
Today, more than 9.3 million South Africans can’t find work, most of whom are under the age of 35.
Today, South Africa has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world.
Today, South Africa has among the highest income inequality in the world.
That is our shared heritage. And it is the duty of each and every one of us to change this – to ensure that this does not become the heritage of our children too.
It is our duty to build an economy that is truly inclusive. Not the fig leaf of ownership that the current BEE model has provided.
Because if you strip away the wealthy cronies who got rich thanks to their ANC connections, you’re not left with a lot of black ownership of our economy. I mean real economic empowerment for ordinary South Africans.
It is our duty to fix our broken education system so that children can leave school confident that they have something to offer the world. We must give them the skills they need to make the most of every opportunity out there.
It is our duty to support and nurture every job-creating business, no matter how big or small. This means making it simpler to run a business and employ people. It also means investing in the sectors with the highest potential for job creation.
It is our duty to unite South Africans around shared values and to fight the scourge of racial nationalism wherever we encounter it. We cannot allow our country to slide back to a place where people are turned against each other because of the colour of their skin.
It is our duty to bridge divides between people; to build roads and transport networks that connect us.
It is our duty to step into each other’s worlds more often and really get to know our fellow countrymen and women. To learn each other’s languages.
And, above all, it is our duty to bring change where it is desperately needed. Each of us has the power of the vote, and with this power comes responsibility. We owe it to our country to use our votes to bring change.
And we owe it to our children to ensure that their heritage is a more just, inclusive country than the South Africa you see today.
A South Africa in which the place where you are born and the colour of your skin are not the things that determine your tomorrow.
A South Africa that no longer has white suburbs and black townships, or a white JSE and black enterprises.
A propserous South Africa that belongs equally to all her people.

Gigaba must keep his hands off the PIC

Reports that the National Treasury is trying to force the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to commit to providing an alarming R100 billion to bail out the numerous struggling State-owned Enterprises, including R12 billion for South African Airways (SAA), are disturbing, to say the least.
The PIC oversees the biggest fund in Africa, managing some R1,9 trillion in assets mainly belonging to the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).
While the DA has repeatedly warned of this possibility in particular for the SAA bailout, these reports confirm the possibility that the Minister and Deputy Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba and Sfiso Buthelezi, who is also the Chairperson of the PIC, are planning a raid on the pensions of millions of hard-working government employees and pensioners.
It is therefore deeply concerning that there is also allegedly a plot to remove the PIC’s current CEO, Dan Matjila, which was reportedly a greedy attempt by the Gupta’s to hi-jack the PIC and loot from the people of our country.
Gigaba is yet again seemingly at the centre of a push to put the pensions of millions of government employees at risk, and in the process playing the role of the mismanagement and corruption enabler.
It seems that, given a very open-ended investment mandate given to the PIC by the GEPF, the PIC would be able to make billions of rands of pensioners funds available for “investments” in mismanaged SOE’s such as SAA without the PIC first getting the go-ahead from the GEPF.
SAA has had many turn-around strategies in the past which have not worked and the new ‘plan’ feels like dejavu with Dudu Myeni at the helm of this nightmare. Myeni must go and SAA needs to be put under business rescue so that it can be stabilised and privatised.
Gigaba must not be allowed to plunder the PIC and the future financial security of government employees just to bail out utterly dysfunctional State-owned Enterprises, which have been run into the ground under the ANC.

All DA governments to review KPMG contracts

The DA currently governs, either directly or in coalition, in more than 30 municipalities across the country and have now taken the decision to review all KPMG contracts to ensure that none of the work has been compromised by unethical practices.
It has emerged that KPMG’s integrity has been compromised by numerous dodgy dealings with the Gupta family. The organisation and its senior management have seemingly been actively involved in the project of state capture and were implicated in the axing of then Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, off the back of the so-called SARS rogue report.
Now that National Treasury has announced that government departments and entities will review all KPMG contracts, it is imperative that they now take the lead and empower the structures below to do so.
All DA-led administrations prioritise clean and efficient governance that allows us to deliver services to the people who entrusted us with their vote.
Therefore all work done by KPMG must be reviewed thoroughly, so as to ensure the highest standards of good governance have been met.
The DA is committed to fighting corruption in both the public and private sectors and will continue to do so in the interests of corruption-free government that works to deliver services to the people of South Africa.

BOKAMOSO | State capture: SA must build a culture of individual accountability

Strong institutions require individual accountability, and they require strong individuals who can effect accountability. Ask KPMG, which is now under heavy fire for enabling and benefitting from state capture. They’ve learnt this lesson, but it may be too late. Their formal systems were slow to hold individual decision makers responsible, and now the entire organisation is at risk. At best it will suffer major reputational damage. At worst, an outraged (and accountability-hungry) public will mete out an inappropriately severe punishment, forcing clients to dump KPMG, causing the entire organisation to collapse like the Gupta’s PR firm, Bell Pottinger, did last week.
Without doubt, all those decision makers at KPMG who were responsible for enabling or turning a blind eye to Zupta state capture must be held to account and criminal charges should be pursued against them. And KPMG must accede to Gordhan’s request for full disclosure of KPMG’s role. But to shut down the whole company is to wield a blunt instrument that is unlikely to achieve real justice. The fact is, when leaders are able to evade accountability, it puts their whole organisation or institution at risk. And this is exactly what is playing out in our democracy. We have failed to hold individual political leaders responsible.
All evidence – and there is plenty to go by in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report State of Capture and in the 200 000 GuptaLeaks emails – points to Zuma, his son Duduzane, the Guptas and cabinet ministers Malusi Gigaba, Mosebenzi Zwane, and Lynne Brown as the main state capture players. And yet not a single prosecution has been launched.
The DA has laid criminal charges against all the main state capture players, but SAPS, the Hawks, and the NPA have done nothing at all. If the DA were in power, a Special Investigating Unit would have been launched. Above all others, the duty to bring these perpetrators to book rests with NPA head Shaun Abrahams, who is nowhere to be seen. He has failed us immeasurably.
And the National Assembly has failed in its constitutional duty to hold these individuals to account. The ANC rejected the DA’s request for an ad hoc committee to investigate all the allegations. Instead, in June 2017, four Parliamentary Portfolio Committees – Public Enterprises, Home Affairs, Public Service and Administration and Mineral Resources – were tasked with “urgently” probing allegations. These have proceeded at a snail’s pace. Only the Public Enterprises Committee has begun to hold hearings. Lynne Brown stated in that committee that there was nothing untoward between Trillian and Eskom. And yet since then, much incriminating evidence has come to light. We have referred Brown to the Ethics Committee for misleading the public.
Three months have passed, yet the other three committees have failed to summon a single minister. Not even Malusi Gigaba who, as Minister of Home Affairs, used his personal discretion to grant naturalised citizenship to the Guptas, enabling them to classify as BEE recipients and access tenders. Bizarrely, the Director General has been suspended for this decision, even though he opposed it.
This is a massive indictment on Parliament, and an indication of just how weak the institution has become – because the ANC believes it is untouchable electorally. Section 92 of the Constitution states that: Members of the Cabinet are accountable collectively and individually to Parliament for the exercise of their powers and the performance of their functions. Parliament needs to find and use its teeth. It must establish a properly resourced ad hoc committee to undertake a thorough, holistic investigation. And then it must advise the President that these ministers are unfit to hold office.
Last week, the DA was in court to try to force the President to abide by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s instruction to him to establish a judicial inquiry into state capture, led by a judge appointed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. The DA was also in court last week to try to force the NPA to prosecute the President on 783 counts of corruption. We await rulings on both these cases. Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is failing South Africa too. Her investigation of these ministers should be an urgent priority for her office.
The DA believes strongly in individual accountability. (We have just fired a councillor in Johannesburg, for wrongdoing.) The ANC eschews individual responsibility in favour of the collective. They have consistently protected guilty individuals and so they, as a collective, must take responsibility. The entire organisation deserves to be rejected by the electorate. Whereas the majority of KPMG’s employees played no part whatsoever in enabling Zupta state capture, the same cannot be said of the ANC. Dr Makhosi Khoza, who resigned from the ANC yesterday, said in her resignation speech:
If we were to prosecute all known corrupt cases including those implicated in the Gupta e-mails‚ almost 80–90% of the ANC leadership at all levels of government would have to replace their shiny tailored suites and pretty dresses with orange overalls.
Corruption is not a victimless crime as our President would have us believe. On the contrary, it is a crime against every single South African, and we are all very much the poorer for it. Many will be poorer still if the Zuptas succeed in capturing their next target for corruption: the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages the Government Employees’ Pension Fund. This week, Zupta cronies tried unsuccessfully to remove PIC chief executive, Dan Matjila. They will not give up easily. And nor should South Africans. As the KPMG affair has shown: ultimately, the power lies with the people. We must use it wisely.