DA-led NMB steps up housing delivery: From years to months

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor, Athol Trollip, recently announced the launch of ‘Operation Buyisa Isidima’ which will be rolled out by a ground-breaking Housing Task Team.
The task team has been instructed to ensure an 8-month turnaround time, from when ground is first broken at a housing project to when the rightful homeowners receive their verified title deeds. Historically, this process has taken years, if it has happened at all.

Those days of poor governance and inept management are over. This new coalition government is committed to restoring the dignity of our people.
– NMB Mayor, Athol Trollip

Operation Buyisa Isidima also focus on preparing an audited and verified list of existing beneficiaries, identifying those who still require title deeds. Estimates indicate that this number could be well over 10 000, all of which this government will audit and hand out to the rightful owners before the end of 2017.
The task team is made up of deeds office staff, land surveyors, town planners, housing delivery officials and a municipal conveyancer.

While there is an immense amount of work that lies ahead of us, I am confident that our vision for a well-run and caring city will be realised.
– NMB Mayor, Athol Trollip

Click here to read more delivery success stories from the DA’s 2017 year in local government

State Capture: DA to lay criminal charges of perjury against “grossly remiss” Zuma

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes today’s ground-breaking judgment by the North Gauteng High Court, dismissing President Zuma’s spurious attempt to review the Public Protector’s State of Capture report, and its binding recommendations. This means that the report stands, and confirms that the President must at once establish a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into “State Capture” – as ordered to by the Public Protector. The commission must be headed by a judge selected by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, established within 30 days, and has 180 days to complete its work.
As the original complaint in this matter, we remain focused on ensuring the Judicial Commission of Inquiry is promptly established, and that the well-known allegations of “State Capture” are interrogated and investigated, and justice is served. The President cannot continue to shield himself, his friends, and his family from accountability.
Today was important victory for the rule of law, and the people of South Africa. This damning judgment by a court of law shows once again that Jacob Zuma is hell-bent on protecting himself, his cronies, and their interests – while breaking the law and trampling on the constitution. Jacob Zuma is unfit to lead and unable to adhere to the highest law of the land.
The Court also made several other substantial findings, including that the President’s conduct in trying to block the release of the Public Protector’s State of Capture Report was an “abuse of judicial process” and an attempt to “stymie the fulfilment of a constitutional obligation by the Office of the Public Protector”. As such, the Court ordered Zuma to personally pay the legal costs of his failed attempt to interdict the release of the State of Capture report in October 2016 – an historic move by the court. Zuma must also personally pay the costs of the review proceedings, which could total anywhere between R4 million and R6 million.
Significantly, the Court noted that President Zuma’s continued litigation in this matter was “unreasonable” and that various statements made resulted in an “irreconcilable contradiction”. The Court chose not to make any findings on whether perjury had been committed, as this was not their task on the day, but they ruled out the possibility of any typing errors, which might have excused the President’s inconsistencies.
Therefore the DA will be laying criminal charges of perjury against President Jacob Zuma tomorrow for his sinister attempt to mislead the courts, abuse judicial process, and ultimately undermine the law and the constitution of the republic. Zuma’s insinuation that this act of perjury was a “typo” is an insult to the courts, and to the people of South Africa.
The DA will brief the media on further action emanating from the judgment. Details of such briefing will be communicated shortly.

City celebrates land restitution with 86 claimant families in Bishop’s Court

In fulfilling its commitment to redress and reconciliation, the City of Cape Town recently celebrated a restitution claim milestone with 86 families who are the rightful owners of the land and who were forcibly removed by the unjust Apartheid regime between 1966 and 1969 under the atrocious Group Areas Act. These families and others who have passed on were moved from their land in Bishop’s Court to the Cape Flats to areas such as Lotus River, Steenberg, Grassy Park, Manenberg, Heideveld and Wetton.
This will ensure that members of these families can live on this land that was so wrongfully taken from their elders. The claimants of the prime land in Bishop’s Court, known as the Protea Village Action Committee, lodged their claim for their land in 1995 and have been on this journey for 22 years.
In 2006, the National Government, the City and claimant community signed a memorandum of agreement in which the City agreed to transfer 8,5 hectares of the land to the claimants at no cost. Today this land is valued at approximately R100 million. In terms of that agreement, the Department of Public Works also agreed to transfer 3,7 hectares of land that was in its ownership to the claimants at no cost.
The City assisted with all planning and legislative tasks related to the resettlement of the claimant community such as the subdivision process which has been concluded.
Meanwhile, the Department of Land Affairs appointed a service provider to assist the claimants with the community development plans.

In the coming months, we will be finalizing the transfer of land in Plumstead, Crawford and Heideveld to claimants. It is my commitment that we will continue doing all we can to ensure that the rightful owners are returned to their land that was so cruelly taken away from them.
–  Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille

Find full article here

DA disappointed by further delays in charging Jacob Zuma

 Please find the attached correspondence from Shaun Abrahams here.
The DA is disappointed but not at all surprised by yet more delaying tactics in the case against President Jacob Zuma on 783 counts of fraud, corruption, money-laundering and racketeering against him.
In the first place, one wonders whether Shaun Abrahams is in a position to grant Mr Zuma an extension until 31 January 2018 to submit representations as to why he should not be charged, given the decision last week by the High Court in Pretoria that Abrahams must vacate his position as National Director of Public Prosecutions.
Assuming he is in a position to do so, these charges are the very same ones put to Mr Zuma in 2007. This case is not complex and the only thing that has changed is the effluxion of time, which is very much a matter of Zuma’s own making.
The DA is also disappointed that Abrahams still refuses to treat Mr Zuma like any other accused. In the normal course of justice, the accused would be charged before a court of law and only then given the opportunity to make representations. However, Mr Zuma continues to receive special treatment and is yet to be charged like any other citizen.
Finally, as we have pointed out exhaustively in our submissions to numerous courts throughout the eight and a half years we have fought to bring Mr Zuma to justice, it is not for the prosecutors, however diligent, to decide if Mr Zuma has a case to answer. This decision must be made by a trial court, and the trial court must decide whether any evidence is inadmissible.
The long history of delaying tactics and obfuscation continue, but the DA remains committed to ensuring Mr Zuma has his day in court.

Mahlobo rushes nuclear plan in time for ANC Conference

It is reported that Cabinet approved a new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) – which will open the door for nuclear procurement – on Wednesday 6 December.
It is bizarre and highly irregular that no official Cabinet announcement was made last week.
This hasty approval of the IRP under the cover of darkness is a full three months before the February 2018 deadline set by former Minister Kubayi, and without the second round of public participation that was promised.
The rush to approve the IRP cements perceptions that new Energy Minister David Mahlobo was appointed to fast track the nuclear deal. And rumours that money has already changed hands with Russian bidders will only intensify.
It is telling that Cabinet has approved the new IRP just before the ANC’s Conference set to take place on 16-20 December.
Zuma, who is believed to be under pressure from the Russians, is clearly worried that a new ANC leadership (and potentially a new Cabinet) may have other ideas when it comes to nuclear. He wants to make it as difficult as possible for any potential successor to put a halt to nuclear procurement.
No rational government would push for the procurement of new nuclear power stations in our current circumstances. Indeed, all reputable studies have shown that we do not need to build new nuclear power stations and that we cannot afford to do so.
The government’s own Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has concluded that the lowest cost for any new investment in the energy sector is a blend of solar, wind and gas – with no nuclear. Even Eskom’s latest modelling confirms that the unconstrained least-cost scenario does not include any new nuclear power.
The truth is that new nuclear procurement has nothing do with the best interests of South Africa, and everything to do with the greed of those set to benefit from a corrupt trillion rand deal.
The South African people have suffered the effects of state capture for long enough. The DA will do everything in its power to stop corrupt and unaffordable nuclear procurement.
We are therefore in the process of consulting our legal team to assess whether the new IRP has been approved lawfully, and what steps can be taken in this regard.

Standing Committee on Finance must get stuck into Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.

David Maynier MP, DA Shadow Minister of Finance, correspondence with Yunus Carrim, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, is enclosed [here]
The scandal surrounding “accounting irregularities” at Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. may be one of the biggest corporate scandals in the history of South Africa.
That is why I have written to the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim, requesting him to consider scheduling public hearings on the scandal surrounding Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.
The public hearings should in my view be scheduled on or about 30/31 January 2018 and the following witnesses and/or institutions should be invited to appear:
Overview & Impact: Mr Dondo Mogajane (National Treasury);
Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. (Supervisory Board):
o Dr Christo Wiese (Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.), Mr Johan van Zyl (Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.) and Dr Steve Booysen (Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.);
Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. (Management Board):
o Mr Markus Jooste (Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.) and Mr Ben Le Grange (Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.);
Auditors: Mr Patrick Seinstra (Deloitte B.V.);
Regulators: Advocate Dube Tshidi (Financial Services Board), Ms Nicky Newton-King (Johannesburg Stock Exchange), Mr Tom Moyane (South African Revenue Service), Mr Lesetja Kganyago (South African Reserve Bank) and Mr Bernard Agulhas (Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors);
Pension Funds: Mr Abel Sithole (Government Employees Pension Fund); and
Asset Managers: Dr Dan Matjila (Public Investment Corporation).
We need to be tough on crime in the public sector, and tough on crime in the private sector, and that is why we need to get stuck into what may be one of the biggest corporate scandals in the history of South Africa

ANC govt stole R330-million from the poor in Mandela’s name

Every day South Africans wake up to fresh scandals that involve those claiming to serve the people and the theft of the people’s money. Billions of Rands go unaccounted for under the mismanagement of ANC administrations across the country – from Gauteng to Eastern Cape; from Mogale City to Bisho. These are monies meant for the development of our beautiful country and her people but instead these monies end up in the back pockets of politicians who have long forgotten what it means to put the people and country first.
The events happening at Nasrec next week will do nothing to stop the ANC from lying and looting. The ANC cannot self-correct; the ANC is dead and South Africa deserves a New Beginning under a Democratic Alliance-led government, which invests the people’s money into building a better country. Only the people of South Africa have the power to stop corruption through the ballot box come 2019.
The DA stands here today, having studied the Mandela Funeral Report, which painfully states that R330-million meant for education through the abolishment of mud schools in the Eastern Cape, was used to buy t-shirts. R330 million meant to deliver electricity to villages was used to enrich those close to power.
What kind of government steals from its people? What kind of government undermines the future of the youth in order to buy t-shirts? The answer is that a corrupt and uncaring ANC steals R330-million, in the name of the late former President Nelson Mandela, from the people of the Eastern Cape and South Africa.
The Mandela Funeral Report paints an ugly yet clear picture of the kind of corruption that the ANC has become so good at. One only needs to read a report of the Public Service Commission or Auditor-General or live where the ANC governs to know that the ANC specialises in looting and lying, in contrast to the DA, which has set the gold standard for government that places people and service delivery first. The theft of R330-million by the ANC in this province is another indicator of a crony criminal network masquerading as a ‘government of the people’.
At the centre of the Eastern Cape Mandela Funeral Funds scandal is the current Eastern Cape Director-General and at the time of committing this crime the Head of the Provincial Treasury, Ms Marion Mbina-Mthembu. Ms Mbina-Mthembu’s name features more than 100-times in the 333-page report by the Public Protector.
During her time as the Provincial Head of Treasury, Ms Mbina-Mthembu authorised decisions that are described as “irrational” and “unlawful”, it is therefore only right that she and others under investigation are held fully accountable for their role in the theft of R330-million.
The former Head of the Provincial Treasury has violated a number of statutory provisions, including the Constitution, Treasury Regulations as well as the Public Finance Management Finance Act (PFMA). These are important pieces of legislation which speak to the conduct of the State, officials and the management of people’s money. It cannot be business as usual while laws and the people are actively and illegally undermined.
The Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities empowers the SAPS to investigate the most severe forms of corruption. We implore the SAPS to act without fear or favour, and to treat this case with the importance it deserves. Investigators assigned to this case must also reject political considerations or pressures.
Ms Mbina-Mthembu and others must face the full might of the law and swop their suits for orange overalls. The Premier of the Eastern Cape must do the right thing by removing the province’s Director-General, Ms Mbina-Mthembu.
The Mandela Funeral Report acts to supplement ongoing investigations and the basis of opening new charges.
Furthermore, we will be writing to the National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, to seek an update on the ongoing investigations.
Without delay, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba must, as instructed by the Public Protector, write to President Jacob Zuma to sign a proclamation directing the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate a litany of legal transgressions “with a view to institute civil action for the recovery of the loss of public money by organs of state in the procurement of goods and services for the funeral of President Mandela.”
The longer the ANC remains in office the more our people will robbed of opportunities. South Africans have an opportunity to usher in a New Beginning, where money is not stolen, schools are built, job opportunities are created and women and children are kept safe.
Corruption is not normal, it is crime that steals from our people, especially the poor. Those found to be taking from our people must put behind bars, not promoted to be the Director-General of the Eastern Cape.
Come 2019, South Africans must say no to corruption. Corruption and ANC are synonymous. By voting out the ANC, they will be rejecting corruption.
Only the DA can build a future for the Eastern Cape and South Africa.

DA calls for SASSA-SAPO agreement to be tabled in Parliament

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the signing of the services agreement between the South Africa Social Security Authority (SASSA) and the South Africa Postal Service that will facilitate the implementation of a new social grants payment system from 1 April 2018.
It is very encouraging that the proposed hybrid model will also involve the use of payment platforms incorporating banks, commercial retailers and small businesses. We welcome the phasing out of cash payments and the building of an inclusive financial system.
The DA now calls on SASSA and the IMC to table the agreement in Parliament in order to give Members an opportunity to interrogate the feasibility of the proposed timelines and cost estimates. There can be no more delays and obstruction by SASSA and Social Development officials.
Parliament has an obligation to ensure that any agreement reached between SASSA and SAPO is feasible and will not inconvenience millions of South Africans who depend on social grants.
Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s attempts to stonewall the negotiations between SAPO and SASSA have yet again exposed her inability to effectively lead the Department of Social Development.
The deal would have been set up far sooner were it not for Dlamini dragging her feet, prioritizing political campaigning while putting the livelihoods of millions at risk, in all likelihood for her own personal gain. This suspicion is enforced by the fact that she did not attend this morning’s landmark announcement.
The DA will ensure that Parliament plays an effective oversight role over the implementation of the deal. Social grant beneficiaries must continue to receive their grants without any disruption.

Zuma delaying again. Time for a real NDPP to Prosecute Zuma.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the judgment by the North Gauteng High Court effectively setting aside the appointment of Shaun Abrahams as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), and ordering him to vacate office. Predictably, the President has indicated he will appeal this judgment, another attempt to delay the start of the criminal trial he should have faced years ago.
No matter the appeal, Shaun Abrahams should vacate office and let someone who can actually do the job take over. He has distinguished himself in his incompetence, by taking absolutely no proactive action on any of the allegations of corruption and state capture that have come to light in recent months. He has deferred to the President, and has consistently failed to assert his own independence and that of the NPA.
We also welcome the Court’s decision to remove the power of appointing a new NDPP from President Jacob Zuma, and to grant Deputy President Ramaphosa the power to appoint a new NDPP within 60 days. Deputy President Ramaphosa should oppose the President’s appeal, and do what the Court has instructed him to do. This is the perfect opportunity for Ramaphosa to demonstrate his real commitment to fighting the scourge of corruption in the state by appointing someone of obvious integrity and independence. We call on him to not wait 60 days to do so, but to do so without delay.
The NDPP is currently working on the existing criminal charges against President Zuma and should be planning the President’s upcoming trial. We need a new NDPP soon who will pursue the prosecution of the President with the vigour that the case deserves, and that has been so lacking in previous National Directors. Whatever happens in this appeal, there is no basis for any further delay to the Zuma trial. We expect that the NDPP should proceed to trial without delay.
This judgment is now the second time that President Zuma’s powers have been limited because he is so compromised. Zuma has proved he is not willing to appoint an independent NDPP who will act without fear or favour towards him as President. Every person he has appointed to the job has been manifestly unsuitable, given the job only to protect the President from prosecution. The NPA was the first state institution to be captured, and the Court has today struck a blow against that capture and in favour of a truly independent, muscular national prosecutor. Similarly, the previous Public Protector ordered the President Zuma should not be allowed to appoint a judge to lead an inquiry into state capture.
This is why the DA has previously proposed that the President’s power to appoint the NDPP be removed, and be vested with Parliament.
It is clear the President is incapable of exercising the powers of his Office. Cyril Ramaphosa should act without delay and appoint a National Director that will begin to restore the NPA’s reputation and its independence.

BOKAMOSO | Six things we must do to get SA’s children reading

This week we learned that 78% of our Grade 4 children are functionally illiterate. This means 4 out of 5 children aged 9-10 cannot comprehend what they read. The implication for South Africa’s future is chilling. We will never achieve the broad justice, equality and prosperity we seek while the vast majority of our primary schools – those serving poor black children – are not able to give children a firm foundation for learning.
These dire numbers come from the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) report released this week, which ranked South Africa last out of 50 high and medium income countries, and found no improvement in our outcomes since the last study in 2011.
It is crucially important that our children learn to read with meaning by the end of the Foundation Phase in Grade 3. It has been said that “once you learn to read you will be forever free”. Functional literacy is the foundation for all further learning, including the learning of mathematics. Children who do not “learn to read” in grades 1-3 will fall further and further behind in grades 4 to 12, when they must “read to learn” in all subjects.
Poor academic performance is one of the main reasons for SA’s incredibly high dropout rate after grade 9. By denying our children a firm foundation of literacy, we put them on the back foot for the rest of their schooling and lives, decimating their chances of ever fulfilling their potential. We deny them a foothold on the ladder of opportunity they must climb if they are to escape the poverty trap.
This is why the PIRLS results are so shocking, and so very significant. They speak volumes about past government failures, and even more about what the future has in store for South Africa unless we make some far-reaching changes.
We can and must do better than this. With enough will, we can fix the system and get our children reading with meaning by the end of Grade 3. We must all agree that imparting solid reading skills is the single most important goal in the foundation phase. Then we must do these six things urgently.
First, we must introduce specialist Teacher Training Colleges that can ensure a pipeline of well-trained Foundation Phase teachers who are able to teach reading, and that can retrain and upskill current teachers where necessary. These colleges must provide sufficient practical training and mentorship, including giving students school-based experience as assistant teachers in high performing schools.
Research consistently shows that the quality of teaching and school leadership are the most important school-based factors determining outcomes. (Of course, the impact of family life is enormous. Children who have parents who read and who read to them are at a great advantage. Families must share the responsibility with the state, and do what they can to get kids reading. Many children are at a significant disadvantage here, coming from families devastated by Apartheid and its legacy.)
There are huge disparities in teaching quality in the SA education system. The inescapable fact is, children from low-income households – almost all of them black – receive a generally lower quality of instruction and school leadership. This unfairness must end.
Second, we must establish an independent inspectorate, mandated and empowered to inspect schools and evaluate the quality of teaching, leadership, management and governance.
Third, this independent inspectorate must be responsible for the regular testing of learners, so that underperformance is constantly being identified. Low performing teachers must receive additional support and training while high performing teachers must be rewarded. It is imperative that we establish a link between performance and remuneration, to incentivise good results.
These three interventions will help deliver the three key requirements for teacher excellence: training, support and incentives.
Fourth, we must aim to expand and improve our school feeding schemes to ensure that no child starts school on an empty stomach. The Western Cape is the only province that provides two meals per day – breakfast and lunch – to kids on the school feeding scheme.
Fifth, we must prioritise the elimination of huge class sizes for Foundation Phase, and seek to provide teacher assistants for all Foundation Phase classes.
And sixth, we must work towards universal enrolment in at least two pre-school years: Grade R and Grade Pre-R. An early start has lasting benefits. The PIRLS report concluded that kids who received pre-primary schooling achieved better results.
These last three are aspirational, in the sense that they would require significant additional budget, which will not be forthcoming if we continue down our current fiscal path. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that the key constraint to achieving high early literacy rates is political, not financial, in nature. SA spends four times as much as Kenya does on basic education per child, yet Kenyan kids achieve better results in reading and mathematics.
Until we get the politics right, South Africa’s kids are going to remain trapped in illiteracy and poverty. That’s why every single voter has a role to play in bringing freedom, fairness and opportunity to the children of South Africa.
This is my last Bokamoso for 2017. On behalf of the DA, I wish all South Africans a blessed Christmas and a safe, peaceful and fun festive season.