The DA will not shy away from standing up to the Public Protector

The DA notes the statement by the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, that she will be pursuing legal action against the party, for reportedly calling her “a spy”.
The statement comes a mere two days after the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, at the behest of the ANC, backtracked on instituting a formal inquiry into her fitness for office.
The DA will not shy away from this, or any further legal action, to ensure that the Public Protector’s office is above politicking and not subject to the political interference that seems to have characterised her tenure.

SAPS forensic science lab damage in Amanzimtoti is catastrophic

Today’s DA oversight visit at a South African Police Service (SAPS) forensic science laboratory in Amanzimtoti revealed that not only was the laboratory flooded during the recent super storm in Durban but has in fact been flooded a further three times.
In fact the laboratory section that is housed in one of four buildings spread about eThekwini is now closed and the 120 staff will be moved to the three other national laboratories in Gauteng, the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape for the foreseeable future.  The costs of transporting and housing the staff, as well as moving the thousands of case specimens related predominantly to drugs and rapes, promises to run into the millions.
The DA have therefore submitted Parliamentary Questions to Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, asking for a firm start and projected completion date of the building of the Provincial Forensic Laboratory in Pinetown. We have also asked what the exact backlog is in terms of crime-related samples in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and South Africa.
We were shocked to find that:

  • The land purchased eight years ago for the new KZN laboratory lies idle with no bricks laid;
  • The laboratory staff are spread through four different buildings in the area, rented by Public Works and evidence from almost all KZN crimes is examined here;
  • The evidence related to 456 drug cases have been washed out to sea, losing thousands of Detective man-hours of work;
  • The hired buildings where the laboratory staff work are entirely unfit for use and there is zero security in the buildings;
  • The experts unit that examines biological, chemistry, explosive, questioned documents, scientific analysis and deal with ballistics is housed in a building where the testing of firearms for ballistics has resulted in bullets travelling straight through walls and endangering the lives of other staff; and
  • The Forensic unit of KZN has just 262 of the 500 it should have.

The outcomes from the Public Works decision to house and keep the laboratory in the building to be flooded four times has had a catastrophic effect on our fight against crime.
The DA will not sit back and watch as the forensic output regresses to the 2013 levels when the DNA and drug analysis backlogs increased by 322% from the previous year.
This only compounds the Health Department’s catastrophic Forensic Chemistry Labs where there is evidence of blood samples related to blood alcohol drunken driving cases being poured down drains, unprocessed toxicology samples and blood alcohol unprocessed post-mortem samples lying untouched for years on end.
These delays by the Police and Health Departments’ labs have a severe impact on our criminal justice system and on victims of crime.
The failure to provide timely and professional analysis of blood samples, rape kits, ballistics and all other evidence results causes delays in the investigation and prosecution of crimes and could result in criminals walking off scot free due to a lack of evidence. Unnatural causes of death can mostly only be investigated once results from the lab have been provided and until this happens, families are left without closure.
It is imperative that evidence from forensic labs is provided professionally and timeously.
Crimes simply cannot be properly investigated and criminals cannot be convicted with evidence. This is hard come by and represents thousands of detective hours.

BOKAMOSO | MTBPS: Tomorrow doesn’t have to look like this.

They say numbers speak louder than words. This is certainly true of Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s mid-term budget speech this week. The numbers were practically screaming, telling us we’re fast running out of money. And our rand responded accordingly, dropping about 3% against the dollar. Our national financial situation is bleak and the outlook bleaker still – unless we make some bold, brave changes.
South Africa’s children deserve so much more than the legacy we are creating for them to suffer or sort out. Our government is delivering a textbook case on how to set the next generation up for failure: give them the worst education in the world, and then bequeath them a large, expensive debt burden and a stagnant economy mired in capture and corruption.
Ironically, the ANC is handing over to the next government what the National Party handed to them: a high debt, low growth economy and a population ill-equipped to turn the situation around.
Despite recent tax hikes to the tune of an additional R28 billion boost, we’re expecting a revenue shortfall of R50.8 billion this fiscal year. Yet there are no plans to cut spending or even to overspend more efficiently. And no credible plans to boost economic growth, which is now projected to be just 0.7% for 2017, against expected average global growth of 3.6% (and 8.5% for Ethiopia).
On the contrary, the plan is to keep propping up (“recapitalising”) failing state owned enterprises with new loan guarantees (over and above the R300 billion they’ve already needed) and bailouts. SAA has already received R5.2 billion since June and we’re set to fork out another R8.5 billion to keep it and the SA Post Office going, partly by selling our profitable Telkom shares. A bit like selling the family cow to buy more whiskey. Eskom has a R350 billion government guarantee and is a poster child for governance failures, corruption and operational inefficiency.
So our budget deficit – the amount by which spending exceeds revenue – will be 4.3% of GDP, significantly more than the projected 3.1%. And to plug the gap, we’re planning to borrow another R680 billion rand over the next three years.
South Africa’s debt is the highest it has ever been. As a ratio of GDP, it has doubled since 2009, from mid-20s to almost 50% now. It is set to breach 55% by 2020 and 60% by 2022. This means we’ll owe more than half of what we produce every year to lenders. We are drowning in debt. It is costing us around R500 million rand per day.
Debt service costs have been our fastest growing item of spending, and will be 15% of our budget within three years, meaning for every R1 we have to spend, the first 15c will go to paying off debt. As confidence in our economy continues to fall, it will cost more and more to service debt, leaving less and less to spend on digging ourselves out of an ever-deepening hole.
Almost half of all spending by government is on wages and interest. This is extremely unproductive and unsustainable. It’s one thing to borrow to invest in things which could create growth and jobs for the future, such as a top quality education system or enabling infrastructure. Quite another to borrow money to fund a bloated, inept, patronage-driven state.
This approach to public finances is not just foolish, it’s also completely unfair on our children. South Africa has so much potential. So what are the bold, brave changes we need to make, to build a brighter future for our kids?
In Gigaba’s own words: “Restoring confidence is the cheapest form of stimulus we can inject”. Business and investor confidence has been annihilated by state capture and corruption. Gigaba is at the very heart of this problem, having played a central role in creating the mess he reported on this week.
His party is ideologically confused with no clear vision for our economy and no credibility. It is dying, if not already dead. The cheapest form of stimulus we can inject is to eject them entirely – completely sever their grip on our state.
Our country needs a fresh start; a social compact between the people and a new multiparty government, based on a shared commitment to combat corruption and build a capable, citizen-focused state.
This government must be prepared to take the bitter pills that can remedy our situation. We have to rein in our public sector wage bill and bring public sector salaries in line with comparable private sector jobs. We have to dramatically improve efficiency of delivery and procurement processes.
We need to invest heavily in the fight against corruption, including by adopting new Blockchain technology to make public finances management more transparent and less corruptible. We need to establish a powerful, independent, well-resourced corruption-busting unit, with strong investigative and prosecutorial capabilities.
We have to stabilize and sell off non-strategic, loss-making SOEs such as SAA and improve efficiency at the rest, by employing fit for purpose managers and directors and holding them to account.
We need to reject outright any further investment in nuclear, split Eskom into separate power production and distribution entities, and promote independent, decentralized power production from a diversity of sources.
We need to invest in quality education and training, and we have to build a system and culture of on-the-job skilling through apprenticeships, internships and national service.
We need to relentlessly promote small businesses and make it easier for entrepreneurs to access credit and support. They need a more flexible labour market that enables rather than deters job creation.
We must bring data costs down.
We need land reform that gives real ownership in the form of title deeds, rather than uncertain tenancy.
We need stable, coherent mining policies that are rooted in real-world considerations such as the need to be globally competitive.
Once the economy is growing and investment is coming back in, we can reduce the tax burden on the middle class that has been so overburdened recently, and who are really struggling to make ends meet. This will improve revenue collection and further boost growth.
We need all these things and more. But if there is one silver bullet, it is to eject the moribund ANC and give South Africa a new beginning. There is simply no other way to restore hope for our children’s future.

CoCT to provide a staggering R1,2 billion rates rebates

In line with our commitment to supporting the most vulnerable in society and alleviating poverty, the City of Cape Town has provided rates rebates of more than R93,8 million to 27 989 senior citizens and people with disabilities during the 2016/17 financial year.
The City has also waived R5,5 million in rates for 2 172 indigent residents. The total rates forgone in the form of rebates, exemptions and reductions amounted to over R1,2 billion in the period ending on 30 June 2017.

The rebates forgone for the past financial year underlines our commitment to building a caring and inclusive city, while also maintaining prudent financial management.
– Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town Patricia de Lille

Rates rebates and exemptions ensure that rates are affordable to residents that are most in need. All residents deserve to access opportunities regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.

DA remembers OR Tambo’s legacy

Today the DA joins fellow South Africans in commemorating 100 years since the birth of one South Africa’s greatest sons Oliver Reginald Tambo.
Tambo was a principled leader whose ideas to create a democratic and equal society for all South Africans are still held in high esteem.
We are still optimistic that his idea of a prosperous and non-racial South Africa will be fulfilled.
Oliver Tambo was prepared to die for the cause of the emancipation of Black South Africans and building a country where everyone is equal under the law.
Tambo showed a great deal of determination and resilience at the helm of the ANC leadership during the most difficult periods of the liberation struggle.
It is clear that the current ANC does not uphold the ideals of Oliver Tambo. They have abandoned that dream in favour of self-enrichment at the expense of the people of South Africa
That is why South Africa needs a new beginning, where we can all work towards freedom, fairness and opportunity for all, to learn from Tambo’s wisdom and adopt his spirit of ethical and servant leadership.

ANC Tshwane hurls racist slurs at school

The ANC in Tshwane resorted to the lowest form of racism during a sitting of the Tshwane Council this afternoon by hurling racist insults at learners from a local school who were attending the sitting.
The Grade 10 learners, who the ANC labelled “Voortrekkers” once introduced, were in the Chamber in order to get a deeper understanding of the City’s administration and politics but instead receiving end of the ANC’s vitriol.
It is clear that the ANC does not have the interests of South Africa and the youth in mind and will stoop to racism to advance their argument.
The ANC will be punished at the polls in 2019, when the people of South Africa reject their lies and looting, and vote for a new beginning under a DA-led coalition government.

SAP must also disclose evidence to SA authorities

We note German software giant, SAP’s decision to report it’s Gupta linked accounts to prosecutors at the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission after an internal investigation uncovered “indications of misconduct in issues relating to the management of Gupta-related third parties”.
In September this year, the DA laid charges of money laundering and corruption against the South African subsidiary of the software firm, after it emerged that R100 million in kickbacks allegedly changed hands between SAP and a Gupta-linked company, CAD House, for state business.
The preliminary findings of SAP’s internal investigation have not yet revealed any evidence that payments were made to the South African government, Eskom or Transnet officials has been discovered. However, four executives have been placed on administrative leave with three under disciplinary action.
SAP have voluntarily disclosed this information to US authorities and it must now do the same thing in South Africa, and volunteer this information to the South African Police Services (SAPS).
Following SAP’s admission today, the police have an obligation to investigate fully and to leave no stone unturned.
The South African government and its entities,  under the ANC, have been plundered for the financial gain of the connected few for far too long. It is high time that those who have been involved in selling our country to the highest bidder are brought to book. SAP must hand over any and all information that may have bearing on the investigation, following our charges,  so that we can make sure that those involved are held accountable to the full extent of the law.

#SAACrisis: Billboard must go back up or face legal action

The Democratic Alliance’s legal counsel has written to Primedia Outdoor in order to demand that our billboard, which highlights the ANC-led government’s misuse and abuse of the people’s money, be reinstated by close of business today. Should they fail to reinstate the billboard we will approach the High Court to get judicial adjudication on this matter.
On Monday, 23 October 2017, the billboard was unlawfully removed by Primedia and/or the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), who own the site on which the billboard is mounted.
The reasons for the removal of the billboard appear to be either a punishment for the convening of a lawful and constitutional gathering, and/or concern with the content of the advertisement.  Neither reason can justify PRASA and/or Primedia’s conduct in removing the advertisement.
From the time the DA’s Activists arrived on site to unveil the billboard, PRASA officials became hostile to the extent that they deployed extra security personnel to remove us, despite the fact that we had legal authorisation from the SAPS and JMPD to gather for the event.
It is clear that the ANC has been deeply shaken by truth told by our billboard and have therefore used PRASA as a soldier in their war of hiding the truth from millions of South Africans who pass through Park Station on a daily basis.
The ANC can no longer fight its battles through legitimate means such as offering the people of South Africa with a vision and hope. The DA has already started the work of paving the road towards a new beginning where, inter alia, the people’s money is invested in the economy so that our people can find work and put food on the table.

President Zuma’s withdrawals are nonsensical and bizarre

For radio interviews or soundbites, please contact DA National Spokesperson, Phumzile van Damme MP or Director: Communications, Mabine Seabe, contacts below.
The Democratic Alliance is appalled that, in the dying moments of the response by the President’s lawyer, the President abandoned one of his submissions to the Court, namely that the court order that State Capture report be remitted back to the Public Protector (PP) for further investigation.
If this had been what the President had intended all along, why he has dragged it out in such a cynical and time wasting manner?
This is nonsensical and bizarre. It’s been nearly a year since the Public Protector tabled her report. The President has repeatedly said that he intends to appoint a commission of inquiry, but will not be dictated to about who should preside over the inquiry. Now it appears – much as was the case in the Nkandla and Spy Tapes judgements – that the President is changing tack at the last minute.
We argued in our submissions that it was a competent remedial action by the Public Protector; that similar orders had been made by the PP in previous cases; that it was urgent for there to be a commission of inquiry into the matter of state capture given the gravity of the allegations and the extent of alleged state capture; and that a commission of inquiry, in public, would help to restore the faith of the South African public in political institutions.
We hope that the Court will be with us. This matter cannot drag on any longer. It’s crucial that we get to the bottom of this matter and close this shameful chapter in our history, and to take steps against those responsible, including criminal charges and civil claims.

MTBPS 2017 reveals the full horror of President Jacob Zuma’s catastrophic mismanagement of the economy in SA

The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba’s, “maiden” medium-term budget policy statement exposes the full horror of President Jacob Zuma’s catastrophic management of the economy in South Africa.
The minister’s medium-term budget policy statement reveals a full-scale budget “blow out” with:

  • a massive revenue shortfall of R50. 8 billion, which is the largest revenue shortfall since the global financial crisis;
  • a breach of the expenditure ceiling by R3.9 billion, which was in part caused by the R10 billion bailout of South African Airways, and which had to be offset mainly by using the contingency reserve (R6 billion), projected underspending (R3 billion), and selling the family silver, in the form of shares in Telkom shares (R3.9 billion); and
  • a “blow out” in the budget deficit by R54 billion to R203 billion, or 4.3% of GDP in 2017/18.

The budget deficit “blow out” results in an increase in national debt of R67.9 billion to R2.3 trillion, or 54.2% of GDP and an increase in debt service costs of R900 million to R163.3 billion, in 2017/18.
The budget “blow out” ricochet’s through the medium term pushing national debt to R3.4 trillion, or 59.7% of GDP, in 2020/21.
The full horror of the medium-term budget policy statement and the failure to stabilize national debt is that, in three financial years’ time, we will be spending:

  • R33.8 billion more on debt service costs than we will spend on health in this financial year;
  • R129.7 billion more on debt service costs than we will spend on police this financial year; and
  • R44.7 billion more on debt service costs that we will spend on social protection this financial year.

Worse, any prospect of the recovery now rests with a mystery “presidential committee” under President Jacob Zuma, who is “ground zero” of the meltdown in the economy in South Africa.
That is why we have proposed a package of structural reforms to boost economic growth and job creation, a Comprehensive Spending Review to identify savings, with a view to cutting expenditure over the medium term, and placing the national airline in business rescue with a view to stabilizing and then privatizing South African Airways.