Independent investigator will test City of Cape Town allegations appropriately

The City of Cape Town Council met today to decide on possible suspensions based on allegations levelled against certain individuals within the City of Cape Town. The allegations that have been made are currently being investigated by a totally independent investigator, without fear or favour.
The DA takes this matter extremely seriously. It is vital that the investigation is allowed to run its course and that we do not prejudge its outcome. Once the report is ready, by no later than 29 December 2017, it will be presented to Council.
We reiterate our call for all those who have the City and the DA’s best interests at heart to support and co-operate the investigation into the specific allegations of maladministration.
We will also take steps to ensure that this matter does not disrupt the good work that the City of Cape Town is doing to alleviate the current water crisis and that it will continue to deliver quality services to the people.
We have every confidence that the independent investigator will test the allegations and that, if evidence of wrongdoing is found, the Council will deal decisively with the individuals or institutions concerned.

DA calls for independent panel of experts to probe 78% illiteracy rates

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), which measures literacy rates of Grade 4 learners, has revealed that an astounding 78% of learners in Grade 4 are not able to read in any language. Essentially, our Grade 4 learners are illiterate.
This is a shocking indictment on the provision of quality basic education and shows clearly that Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, continues to fail our children.
It is high time that we get to the bottom of why South Africa consistently places last on most internationally ranked education indices.
The DA has therefore written to Minister Motshekga to demand that she appoint an independent panel of experts to probe the root causes of this unacceptably high illiteracy rate.
This independent panel should comprise of experts in education – not tainted by the likes of SADTU –  and must report back to Parliament urgently, with recommendations and interventions so that our children can be provided with the quality education they need to pursue opportunities for a better life.
The fact is that South Africa consistently places last on most internationally ranked education indices, yet the Minister has failed to institute any effective interventions to ensure learners receive a quality education.
South Africa has been ranked last out of 50 countries that participated in the PIRLS 2016, which compares the reading achievement of participating countries by measuring reading ability, collecting extensive background information about policy, home support, and curricula.
South Africa previously came last out of all participants in 2006. In 2011, we only participated in pre-PRILS, which is an easier bridging measure for low-achieving countries. Yet, even in this easier version, our country was ranked last.
PIRLS is the partner study to Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) which measures Maths and Science scores for Grade 4 and 8 learners.
In TIMSS, South Africa was ranked second last out of 48 countries for Grade 4 mathematics, second last for Grade 8 mathematics and last for Grade 8 science out of 38 countries. We did not participate in Grade 4 science measurement.
Together, these two studies are a pretty damning indictment on our education system, which is hamstrung by various problems, including teachers not being literate themselves, poor management and teacher absenteeism.
It’s time the Minister stops claiming that ours is a “system on the rise” and gets to grips with the real problems of underqualified teachers, lack of basic infrastructure, and terrible service delivery by province.

Over 80 000 learners get help with their fees from WC government

A growing number of parents simply cannot afford to pay school fees in our tough economic climate. This puts a massive financial strain on fee-paying schools relying on the collection of fees to sustain their daily running costs.
Many of the schools in the Western Cape are classified as Quintile 4 and 5 schools (fee paying), which are supposed to be wealthy, but the reality is that they are attended by a large number of poorer learners. In some instances these schools should actually be classified as Quintile 1-3 schools (no-fee schools). The National Quintile system and concomitant funding does not allow this, which shows the flawed nature of this system.
To mitigate the effects of the quintile system, the WCED has this year made an increased amount of over R50 million available to assist Quintile 4 and 5 schools who are struggling to collect school fees from parents.
There are currently 574 public ordinary fee paying schools in the Western Cape. This year the WCED has paid out fee compensation to 554 of these schools. This means that the WCED is assisting 96.5% of fee paying schools. Compensation for school fee exemptions is made available retrospectively for the previous school year, e.g. compensation paid in 2017 is for exemptions granted in the 2016 school year.

BOKAMOSO | DA’s quick fix policies will turn the economy around

The rand’s recent downgrade to junk status by S&P, brought on by rampant looting of the state, will hurt the poorest most. It is a clarion call to action. We South Africans need to make some smart changes to reverse our spiralling poverty and debt trap. We must enable an open, high growth, high jobs economy.
South Africa is a country of two nations. Around 45% of us enjoy the freedom to live lives of worth and dignity, while the other 55% are trapped below the poverty line, literally locked out of the economy. This divide is structural, meaning that it is sustained and reinforced by an embedded unequal access to opportunities. We remain a deeply unfair society.
During Apartheid, the unequal access was entrenched and maintained by race-based legislation that denied black people access to ownership and job opportunities. Since 1994, that unequal access has largely been perpetuated by a combination of poor governance and ill-considered legislation that seeks to enrich and empower a connected elite at the expense of the many.
If we are to end this insider-outsider dichotomy and become one prosperous nation, we need to tackle the governance and legislative issues that are sustaining the great divide of insiders and outsiders.
For every single policy decision, we must ask the question: will this help the 30 million people locked out and left behind? Will it open the economy to the 9.4 million jobless adults, 6 million of whom are under the age of 35? And if the answer is not an unequivocal yes, then the policy isn’t worth the page it’s written on.
On this basis, the DA proposes some critical policy interventions that can be implemented fairly rapidly at no great cost to the fiscus.
First, we must radically reform our SOEs. They are haemorrhaging public money and delivering dismal services at exorbitant prices. On a case by case basis, we have to sell those that are not strategic – or turn them around and then sell them, or even just close them down to stem the bleed. Those that are strategic, we need to appoint fit-for-purpose leadership to make sure they deliver a quality service to the public at the best possible price. The public just cannot keep funding these inefficient, costly companies which only benefit those who’ve captured them.
Eskom is the highest priority. The only reason for the high and growing price of electricity from a company that is teetering on the edge of collapse, threatening our whole economy, is rank failure of leadership. Eskom has been a bottomless pit into which we’ve thrown so much money that our social welfare system is now at risk.
Second, we must reform our labour market so that young people emerging from our dysfunctional schooling system can find employment. SMEs need maximum flexibility if they are to grow, employ as many people as possible, and compete with big businesses. They must not be held back by restrictive regulation and red tape. Even Kgalema Motlanthe’s High Level Panel has admitted that we must not force small businesses to comply with wage bargaining agreements made between unions and large businesses. .
The most important gap to close is not between those who earn high and low wages, but between those who have a job and those who don’t. Until the vast majority of the labour force actually has a job at all, we cannot afford regulation which actively prevents businesses from hiring people. A society with a 36% unemployment rate is completely unnatural and unnecessary, and is brought about by a labour market designed for those with jobs, not for those without jobs. When the schooling system has failed you completely, the very last thing you need is any more obstacles put in your way of finding work.
Third, we need to simplify and reform the empowerment system. Ask 100 black South Africans whether BEE has benefitted them personally and 99 will tell you it has not. That’s not good enough. The current system has been used as a mechanism for elite re-enrichment and corruption. It imposes a heavy regulatory burden on businesses and raises the cost and lowers the quantity of service delivery to the poor. We want companies’ greatest contribution to be to society in general, not just to the elite. That’s why we need a Jobs and Justice Fund, an investment fund that will incentivise companies to help fund new entrants into key sectors.
Fourth, we must reduce corporate taxes, abolish exchange controls, remove trade barriers and establish export processing zones to signal to investors that South Africa is open for business. Wealth and estate taxes are much more effective ways to redistribute wealth, because they do not chase away investors.
Fifth, we must issue visas on arrival to tourists. Tourism is a massive potential source of growth and jobs, as well as foreign exchange. We must fling our doors and skies open to the world’s tourists.
Sixth, we must appoint the best prosecutor to head the NPA – with a constitutional amendment to follow later, that removes the President’s exclusive power to appoint. Corruption is destroying our nation and we need to signal a zero tolerance attitude henceforth.
Without doubt, we need to reduce the size of our state, and make it much more efficient. Our public sector wage bill is entirely unsustainable. And we must fix our education system. These will take time, but they must be done.
But right now, in our tightly constrained fiscal environment, there are many low cost, high impact, immediately implementable policies which will do much to bring economic freedom, fairness and opportunity to our thirty million struggling fellow South Africans – and a new beginning for all of us.

Over 3 000 Tshwane residents finally have deeds to their homes

During a series of handover ceremonies led by the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, a total of 3 078 beneficiaries received title deeds to their state-subsidised houses.
The City has breached the halfway mark for the 6 000 title deeds it vowed to hand over this financial year, 2017/18. The Msimanga administration is speeding up the delivery of title deeds to state-subsidised houses so that recipients have legal ownership of the property where they reside or operate businesses from.
This provides homeowners with an important economic asset to leverage for their liberation from poverty, as well as a home to pass on to their children.

“As per our electoral promise, the DA-led administration is also providing service stands in communities with significant housing backlogs. Beneficiaries of serviced stands are also receiving title deeds and rudimentary services.”
– Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga

Minister Motsoaledi must clarify placements of medical students

The DA calls on the Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to provide adequate clarity regarding the placement of medical students in public hospitals in order to gain the requisite practical experience.
The DA notes with great concern the various media reports highlighting the anxiety of medical students who are yet to be placed to complete their compulsory medical internships.
These graduates are compelled to complete a two-year supervised medical internship in the public sector.
The National Department of Health has a responsibility to ensure the placement of medical graduates in various public hospitals. Since this is a national competence, both Minister Motsoaledi and his Department will have to be held accountable if all eligible graduates don’t find placement in the public health system by 1 January 2018.
It is necessary for the Minister Motsoaledi to urgently intervene and aptly address these concerns, as this could possibly have dire consequences for these medical students.
The DA therefore calls on Minister Motsoaledi to provide certainty pertaining to the placement of medical students.
If it is in fact true that these students have not been placed due to errors in the online system, it is critical that their fears are quelled and that they are reassured about their 2018 placements.
The National Department of Health cannot stay quiet while the medical futures of these students hang in the balance.
The DA will continue mounting pressure on Minister Motsoaledi to act decisively and give this urgent matter the attention it rightfully deserves.

Government Report Card 2017: Under the ANC, the corrupt get richer and everyone else gets poorer

Today we are here outside the Union Buildings – the seat of national government – to present the DA’s 2017 Government Report Card, an appraisal of the ANC national government’s performance over the past year.
2017 will go down in history as one of the most disconcerting years in our young democracy, as the ANC-led national government stooped to new lows in their abuse of power, excessive looting, and shameless execution of state capture without a hint of restraint. With ever-increasing unemployment, half of South Africans living in poverty, a social grants crisis, a 12th cabinet reshuffle, the horrifying Esidimeni tragedy, and the downgrading of our economy to “junk status”, the ANC has collapsed our country and its economy.
This was compounded by the emergence of the now infamous “Gupta Leaks”, providing solid evidence of the ANC’s mafia shadow state, created to serve their interests, and to accumulate huge amounts of wealth for themselves. The promise of true freedom is undermined by the ANC at every juncture, and if there was any doubt that the ANC was unfit to lead our country, 2017 showed us that.
Despite this grim picture of our nation, there is still hope. The ANC has approximately 18 months left in office before the 2019 elections. Our nation desperately needs a new beginning and that new beginning will come in 2019, when the voters of South Africa reject the ANC at the polls and elect a DA-led coalition government.
The ANC cannot self-correct, and is past the point of no return. The solution to our shared future lies in a new coalition government that will serve the people and create opportunity for all.  Our new beginning lies in a post-ANC country.
However, until then, the DA as the Official Opposition in Parliament has a Constitutional duty to hold the Executive to account and to provide oversight – which includes ongoing assessment of its performance or the lack thereof. This is required by Section 92(2) of the Constitution which states that “Members of Cabinet are accountable collectively and individually to Parliament for the exercise of their powers and the performance of their functions.”
Our Government Report Card serves this function by providing a critical overview of the performance of the President, Deputy President, and all 35 Ministers and their respective departments. This is done using the following criteria:

  • The mandate of the ministry or department;
  • Its performance over the past 12 months;
  • The DA’s response to its performance.

On the basis of this assessment, the President, Deputy President, and each Cabinet Minister and their department are scored on a scale for “A” to “F”. An “A” is the highest score achievable, with an “F” being the lowest.
This year the scores are as follows:

 A  0
 B  0
 C  2
 D  5
 E  12
 F  18

President: Jacob Zuma (F)
After the ANC suffered the loss of three metros in 2016, a result that followed the President’s sustained assault on the country’s democratic institutions, one would imagine that 2017 would be a year of introspection and self-correction for Jacob Zuma. But, the opposite was true.
Jacob Zuma upped the ante on his “State Capture” Project, relentlessly pursuing riches for himself and his inner circle at SA’s expense. The emergence of the “Gupta Leaks” provided another headache – adding to his endless court battles to keep himself out of jail, and his plan to ensure Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma succeeds him as President of the ANC.
After a decade of wasting public funds on his legal battles, he conceded that the NPA’s decision to drop 783 counts of fraud and corruption charges against him was “irrational”. He must now face these charges.
The President survived his eighth Motion of No Confidence in Parliament following his decision to fire Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan – thanks to the loyal support of the ANC. Even with the protection of a secret ballot, the ANC consciously and deliberately chose Jacob Zuma over the country, showing us their true colours.
Undoubtedly, the President’s greatest failure this year has been the crushing of our economy, culminating in a technical recession and a sovereign credit rating downgrade to “junk status”. Under Zuma’s ANC, 9.4 million South Africans are unemployed, 52% live in poverty, and 17 million rely on inadequate social grants for survival.
President Zuma has failed dismally, and as such scores an “F”, the lowest possible grade.
If 2017 showed us one thing, it is that in the eyes of the ANC, Jacob Zuma can do no wrong. The party will support him through thick and thin, ignoring constitutional violations, theft, and country-wide State Capture. Because Jacob Zuma and the ANC are the same – neither of which are fit for office.
Deputy President: Cyril Ramaphosa (E)
Since becoming Jacob Zuma’s “number 2” in 2014, Cyril Ramaphosa has been at best a silent Deputy President, and at worst a complicit one. Instead of fighting corruption and State Capture, Ramaphosa spent most of 2017 on the campaign trail in his bid to be elected President of the ANC – showing that he cares only for his own fortunes, and not SA’s.
Even after the emergence of the “Gupta Leaks”, Ramaphosa took not a single step or action against any government corruption whatsoever. It has been all talk and no action. Even after he received the DA’s petition, signed by over one million South Africans, calling for Zuma to be voted out in the August 2017 Motion of No Confidence – he remained silent and kept Zuma in power.
State Owned Entities (SOEs) have emerged as hotbeds of capture and corruption, as Gupta and Zuma appointees ensured multibillion rand government contracts were given to their friends. As Chairperson of the Inter-ministerial Committee on State-Owned Entities, Ramaphosa has sat on his hands amid the looting.
As the Leader of Government Business, Ramaphosa failed to engage with Opposition Party Leaders in good faith. Under his watch, the Executive has been allowed to treat Parliament as its own circus. The President and his Cabinet ministers, under Ramaphosa’s guidance, have shown nothing but disdain for Parliament.
2017 also marked the fifth anniversary of the Marikana Massacre. Ramaphosa has not apologised, visited the area, or met with the widows and survivors. Despite being one of the wealthiest people in SA, he hasn’t given a cent to the victims of Marikana.
This is the mark of an uncaring, detached individual who is unfit to be Deputy President, never mind President. Ramaphosa thus scores an “E”.
Deputy President Ramaphosa has not had the courage to stand up to his keeper. He cares more about his own ambitions, and despite his empty talk on tackling corruption, he has shown he is either unwilling, or unable to take any action. The fact that Cyril Ramaphosa is paraded as the man who can “save” and “reform” the ANC shows just how far the ANC has degenerated. It cannot self-correct, and it cannot be trusted with the future of our nation.
The ANC is dead, and Ramaphosa helped to kill it.
Social Development: Bathabile Dlamini (F)

  • Minister Dlamini has overseen a crisis that has threatened the livelihood of almost 17 million of the poorest South Africans;
  • SASSA failed to terminate its unlawful contract with CPS/Net1 by 1 April 2017, as required by the Constitutional Court.
  • Dlamini appears to be deliberately stifling progress in acquiring a new service provider, and this resulted in the department losing a Director-General (DG) and SASSA losing a CEO.
  • A commission of inquiry has been ordered to determine the Minister Dlamini’s role in the crisis. The commission is set to begin on the 22 January 2018.
  • SASSA obtained a mere 46% of its KPIs this year.
  • The department needs to review social grants in line with the poverty levels as children need to have proper nutrition at as early an age as possible. In order to prevent stunting due to malnutrition, every effort must be made to ensure proper nutrition by strengthening the social security system.
  • We maintain that a hybrid system of delivery is not only viable, but in the best interests of all stakeholders. Only the Minister and her associates stand to gain from the ongoing chaos.

Public Enterprises: Lynne Brown (F)

  • Minister Brown is a captured, ineffective and silent Minister, who is responsible for the appointment of board members at key state-owned entities Denel, Transnet, Alexkor, SA Express, Eskom and Safcol.
  • Through these boards, SOEs have been deeply embroiled in state capture, with the alleged looting of billions of rands through corrupt procurement and consulting tenders reliably linked to the Gupta-Zuma nexus.
  • The former Eskom Chairperson has stated unequivocally in Parliament’s Eskom enquiry that Brown has an association with the Guptas, and had a hand in manipulating the Board on instructions from the President himself.
  • The DA has publicly condemned Minister Brown and reported her to the Public Protector and Parliamentary Ethics Committee for investigation. Minister Brown is captured and must be removed at once.

Mineral Resources: Mosebenzi Zwane (F)

  • Minister Zwane is a well-known Gupta-stooge, having proved his worth to the captured through the Vrede Dairy Farm project, while still Free State MEC of Agriculture. Under his watch, all departmental decisions have been geared toward capturing resources – at the expense of workers and companies.
  • The mining sector is in turmoil, following the gazetting of a new Mining Charter this year – an attempt to secure the interests of ANC cronies. This cost the industry R50 billion, and will be subject to judicial review later this month.
  • The new Mining Charter must be scrapped without delay, and a proper consultative process must take place to develop guidelines that will benefit all who participate in the industry – rather than just those with close connections to the ruling party. Share schemes for miners need to genuinely empower workers and be economically viable.
  • The department must rid itself of Minister Zwane and his cadres if it is to be seen as a source of support and growth for the industry. Investors will never be attracted when state corruption is rife and the determining factor for decision-making is the exploitation of resources for a connected few.

Energy: David Mahlobo (F)

  • This department has been plagued by failings around the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF), PetroSA, renewable energy and the nuclear deal with the merry-go-round of ministers having little leadership input.
  • There have been three ministers over the past year, all of which mandated with one goal: force through the nuclear deal, as soon as possible.
  • The SFF saga, under Minister Joemat-Pettersson, saw the sale of 10 million barrels of strategic fuel to private entities at knock-down prices. The sale, subject to an ongoing court case, could see billions of rands lost, with the fund having to buy back fuel at a much higher price. Despite this, Joemat-Pettersson is set to receive a R2.1 million golden handshake for her dodgy dealings.
  • PetroSA posted a R1.4 billion loss for the 2016/17 financial year.
  • Despite the Nuclear Deal being blocked in court, it remains an impending reality. With Kubayi and Pettersson failing to get this pushed through, Mahlobo has been parachuted in to clinch the deal.
  • South Africa cannot afford – and doesn’t need – a multibillion rand nuclear deal. The DA will fight it on every front.

Basic Education: Angie Motshekga (F)

  • Minister Motshekga has failed to take responsibility for the state of a school system in rapid decline. When asked about the overall state of school transport or the number of cases of teacher misconduct nationally, the department simply passes the buck to the provinces.
  • Key protocols – like those formalising the vetting of teachers – remain unfinished.
  • A number of provincial departments remain dysfunctional, leading to a complete failure of infrastructure delivery, irregular expenditure and staffing problems.
  • The Minister is seeking to pass legislation that would give her already struggling department even more authority, reducing the role of community driven school governing bodies.
  • Teachers’ unions – such as SADTU – must not have the power to endanger the health and wellbeing of learners by abandoning them during strike action. The Minister has failed to stand up to these unions, root out corruption in staff appointments, and the frequent loss of teaching time.
  • The future of our nation is being undermined by this minister and her department.

Higher Education & Training: Hlengiwe Mkhize (F)

  • The most urgent task of the department is to present a credible plan for the funding of higher education based on sound analysis, rather than populist rhetoric.
  • The Heher Commission has now recommended a number of untenable propositions, from scrapping NSFAS in favour of private lenders to accessing pensions and unemployment funds at will. Yet the department continues to tread water – resulting in bizarre rumours of social grant cuts and VAT increases in an attempt by the President to win public support.
  • The replacement of the Minister in the midst of a funding crisis serves to underscore the department’s lack of vision.
  • TVET colleges remain in disarray, and not at the required standard to be a suitable alternate option for students.
  • The DA has recommended a model of tiered financial support for students from different income groups, while continuing to collect fees from those who can afford it. No academically qualifying student should be denied further education due to a lack of funding.

Finance: Malusi Gigaba (E)

  • The National Treasury is trending on fiscal quicksand and making little attempt to escape the dire situation. We face our worst economic climate in close on a decade, with the economy slipping into technical recession earlier this year.
  • The budget deficit announced by Minister Gigaba in his MTBPS resulted 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.
  • Expenditure on interest in 2020/21 alone will be more than what the Government is currently spending on health, police and social protection.
  • SARS is experiencing rapid institutional decay, represented by an exodus of experienced staff and a criminal investigation into Chief Officer Makwakwa. The Tax Ombudsman’s report on SARS highlighted systemic problems, partially corroborated by the R 50.8 billion tax revenue shortfall.
  • SAA has continues to be a burden on the economy. The airline is being mismanaged, operating on an average loss of R 293.8 million from the beginning of the year to July. It was unable to meet running costs and to service debt, resulting in a total of R10 billion in bailouts granted, and another R3 billion proposed in the near future.

Police: Fikile Mbalula (E)

  • In more than seven months on the job, Minister Mbalula has failed to appoint a permanent Hawks Head, while his predecessor Nathi Nhleko was an active participant in a Police “civil war,” protecting an allegedly corrupt Phahlane and the irregularly appointed former Hawks Head Berning Ntlemeza from the consequences of their actions.
  • While the top brass are in a state of flux, the police on the ground have become increasingly under-capacitated, under-resourced, under-trained and under-staffed. As a result, they are falling ever further behind in the war on crime.
  • The latest crime statistics reveal that on average 52 South Africans are murdered and 109 raped every day, and the DA established that the SAPS execute less than 1% of domestic violence arrest warrants.
  • In the 2016/17 financial year, more than a quarter of a million drug-related crimes were detected, and the political killings in KwaZulu Natal remain far from solved.
  • The Hawks have also failed to make any demonstrable progress in investigating or arresting individuals linked to the capture of the South African state.

Water & Sanitation: Nomvula Mokonyane (F)

  • This year has been punctuated by the department’s failure to deal with the ongoing drought, affecting most of the country. This is as a result of the failures of the department of Water and Sanitation to maintain and upgrade the water infrastructure in this country. This was further shown by the Green Drop report of 2014 which indicated that 84% of sewer plants in the country are at critical risk, high risk or medium risk – prone to leaks and wastage.
  • Quite aside from having failed to get ahead of the drought, in spite of being forewarned, the Ministry is further exacerbating the harm being done by dragging its feet on the declaration of the drought in the Western Cape as a national disaster.
  • Administratively, the department achieved only 28% of its infrastructure targets despite overspending its budget by R110.8 million. On top of this, they generated unpaid invoices of R1.5 billion and an overdraft of R2.2 billion, which must be accounted for in the next financial year before the new budget can even be implemented.

International Relations & Cooperation: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane (E)

  • Under Minister Nkoana-Mashabane’s woeful leadership, the department has continued to undermine South Africa’s position on the continent and the globe.
  • Failure to arrest the accused war criminal Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2015 precipitated an impulsive attempt to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.
  • Following this debacle, then Zimbabwean First Lady, Grace Mugabe, was allowed to flee the country and escape justice amidst allegations of assault.
  • There was nearly a billion rand in irregular expenditure by the department, yet almost no disciplinary action was taken against any of the officials.
  • The Minister has made a habit of avoiding accountability by not appearing before the National Assembly since March 2016. Meanwhile, cadre deployment and the conduct and behaviour of our diplomatic corps is a constant source of embarrassment to the South African brand.

State Security: Bongani Bongo (E)

  • Instead of protecting our country, the State Security Agency (SSA) has been used to fight factional political battles and intimidate South Africans who speak out about State Capture, thereby increasingly securitising the State.
  • Minister Mahlobo dutifully contributed to the controversial axing of Finance Minister Gordhan in March with the production of his report “Operation Checkmate”.
  • 2017 was punctuated by a series of suspiciously timed break-ins at key state entities that State Security claim to know little about, and show no signs of investigating.
  • Minister Bongo has entered Cabinet haunted by allegations of fraud and corruption, and questions regarding his security clearance.
  • Bongo utilised his position to attempt to silence the President’s detractors by laying criminal charges against the author of “The President’s Keepers,” while ignoring the very serious allegations this book makes about goings on at the SSA and the role of the Agency’s Director General, Arthur Fraser.

Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs: Des Van Rooyen (E)

  • The single biggest issue that has continued to illustrate the failures of the department has been that of the municipal debt to Eskom. The total municipal overdue debt at the end of August 2017 stood at R11.245 billion.
  • Shockingly, a total of three ANC provinces – the Free State, Mpumalanga, and North West – contribute a significant R8.983 billion to the total R11.245 billion.
  • The chronic failure of ANC municipalities was further proved in the Auditor-General’s report for 2015/16. Across key indicators confirmed that ANC municipalities squander vast amounts of public money, with irregular spending rising by more than 50% since 2014 and R12.77 billion in unauthorised spending.
  • Van Rooyen is a Gupta appointee, and until he is removed, the department will be hamstrung by external factors.

Human Settlements: Lindiwe Sisulu (D)

  • The Department of Human Settlements has failed to deliver housing to poor South Africans, and as per the 2016/17 annual report, the housing development finance programme had a budget of R30.7 million with 57 targets. They spent R30.6 million but achieved only 29 of the 57 targets – a clear overspend and under-delivery.
  • The backlog of title deeds currently stands at 900 000. This failure by the department condemns many South Africa to a life of uncertainly and vulnerability.
  • The current housing list lacks transparency and coordination, thus making it prone to mass corruption and confusion. The Minister’s prioritisation of her presidential campaign over the delivery of houses to people in need has proved to be an expensive, and ultimately fruitless gamble.

Health: Aaron Motsoaledi (F)

  • The Life Esidimeni tragedy, which claimed the lives of 143 mentally ill South Africans, remains a stain of the conscience of this department.
  • Hundreds of people in KwaZulu-Natal have died due to the oncology crisis in this province. The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) found that the National and Provincial Departments of Health were guilty of infringing upon the Constitutional rights of patients.
  • It was revealed that the average waiting period for a patient to be seen by an oncologist is five months, and those waiting to receive radiotherapy usually wait 8 months.
  • The Minister has admitted that there are currently 38 000 vacancies in the public healthcare system, while at the same time revealing that a staggering R2.6 billion has been paid out for medical negligence claims over the past 4 years.
  • This flagrant lack of management of such a crucial department is paid for in lives, as the overwhelming majority of South Africans continue to suffer at the hands of a failing public health care system.

Communications: Mmamoloko Kubayi (F)

  • This department has faced major uncertainty, with three different Ministers taking the helm through the course of the year.
  • While the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) inquiry indicated change for the better, the Public Broadcaster remains compromised and unprincipled.
  • The SABC revealed this year that R597 million is still owed to creditors and that a R74.4 million loss had been recorded in the 1st
  • A R3 billion bail-out had been requested from Treasury in light of this shocking mismanagement. Moreover, the department itself recorded R145 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure and R4.4 billion in irregular expenditure, hardly leading the SABC by example.
  • As her first order of business, Minister Kubayi announced that she will be reviewing a High Court decision limiting her powers to appoint executives. This is cause for major concern and brings into question her commitment to good governance.
  • The recommendations by the SABC inquiry are fully implemented, and those identified in corrupt activities, as well as all the people who lied under oath during the SABC inquiry must be held accountable.

Transport: Joe Maswanganyi (E)

  • Rather than spending public capital on modernising trains and infrastructure, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has to pay out hundreds of millions on losses caused by a loss of income, vandalism, robberies, train causalities and injuries all of which are directly linked to a lack of security and staff on trains and at stations.
  • Investigations as per the Public Protector’s “Derailed” report have stalled and PRASA faces a lack of leadership, as the Minister is yet to appoint a fulltime CEO, CFO and Board. Additionally, PRASA has failed to produce their Annual Report, which is likely to indicate huge sums of irregular expenditure and mismanagement at the entity. State Capture allegations continue to plague PRASA, where both the former and current Minister have dodged accountability.
  • The Road Accident Fund (RAF) continues to bleed funds while the ill-conceived E-toll system as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project is bringing the South African National Road Agency (SANRAL) to its knees. The Ministry has failed to provide clarity on how the systems can remain in place despite the clear absence of sustainable funding models.

Scores for the remainder of Government Departments are as follows:

  • Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries: Senzeni Zokwana (F)
  • Arts & Culture: Nathi Mthethwa (F)
  • Defence & Military Veterans: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (D)
  • Economic Development: Ebrahim Patel (C)
  • Environmental Affairs: Edna Molewa (E)
  • Home Affairs: Ayanda Dlodlo (E)
  • Justice & Constitutional Development: Michael Masutha (F)
  • Labour: Mildred Oliphant (F)
  • Presidency: Jeff Radebe (D)
  • Public Service and Administration: Faith Muthambi (F)
  • Public Works: Nathi Nhleko (F)
  • Rural Development & Land Reform: Gugile Nkwinti (F)
  • Science & Technology: Naledi Pandor (C)
  • Small Business Development: Lindiwe Zulu (E)
  • Sport & Recreation: Thulas Nxesi (D)
  • Telecommunications and Postal Services: Siyabonga Cwele (E)
  • Tourism: Tokozile Xasa (D)
  • Trade & Industry: Rob Davies (E)
  • Women in the Presidency: Susan Shabangu (F)

President Zuma and his ANC government do not have what it takes to create a better life for all South Africans, and move our nation forward. The ANC of Zuma continues to undermine the Rule of Law, the Constitution and the people of South Africa, with only the DA showing what a service delivery and people-orientated government looks and feels like.
The ANC has less than two years left in national government. While this will negatively affect all South Africans, there is hope. The DA will work around the clock to ensure that they held accountable and that the people of South Africa are always put ahead of the narrow political agenda of the ANC.
We will continue to model coalition governments in cities across the country, showing South Africans that there is another choice at the ballot box come 2019. We can remove the corrupt ANC and replace it with a coalition government focused on the people, not their own pockets and paycheques.
The full document is attached here.

Government severely underspends on community media

In reply to a DA Parliamentary question, Communications Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, revealed that the Department of Communications (DOC) and its entities have only spent a mere R1.3 million on advertising in community media in the 2016/17 financial year.
In fact, it was only some of the DOC’s entities that spent money on advertising. The DOC itself, which had a R11.9 million budget for advertising purposes in 2016/17, did not spend a single cent on advertising in community media.
It is quite clear that Government has forgotten about the essential role community media plays in providing entertainment and education in communities that may not have access to the public broadcaster.
Government should be supporting community media and not stifle their voices. It is community radio stations and newspapers which empower our people and bring them to the centre of participating in the national debate.
Community radio is the most affordable and accessible communication technology available to many South Africans in rural communities.  It is an essential tool to assist in carrying the country forward.
Without advertising, community media will fail to make revenue and stay afloat – forcing them to close shop which only perpetuates the lack of diversity in voices and ideas in community media.
The DA believes that Government should adequately and sustainably fund community media. Underfunding or lack of funds will have a severe impact on the quality of programming and the development and retaining of skills.

Minister Dlodlo must immediately resolve dire inefficiencies at Home Affairs

In a reply to a DA Parliamentary question, Home Affairs Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, revealed that at least 344 547 foreign nationals failed to leave South Africa before or on the date their visas were set to expire.
The reply also revealed that more than 15 million people entered the country during 2016. Thousands of them are seeking to find refuge in our country. However, without proper checks and controls, the government will not have an accurate picture of how many foreign nationals stay within our borders illegally.
If this is the case, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will not be able to identify undocumented immigrants, and will ultimately fail to process those individuals who are eligible for a permit.
While the DHA have an Inspectorate Unit tasked with tracing persons who remain in the country illegally, the DA is concerned that the Unit might be under-resourced.
For years the DA has consistently supported greater investment in immigration services and this Parliamentary reply is exactly what the DA has been warning for a long time.
Given the scale and potential ramp in numbers, this reply is an indictment of the DHA’s deeply rooted inefficiencies to carry out its mandate which is to ensure that immigration officers at the border post execute their directive efficiently.
The DA is seriously concerned that if this is what happens in a single year, it must mean that over time, millions of people have entered the country illegally.
The DA will submit more questions to ascertain the staffing and budget of this unit as an under-resourced unit will not be able to trace 340 000 people each year.
Minister Dlodlo must show political will and re-assure the public that she will immediately resolve this unacceptable state of affairs.

Disgraced Dudu Myeni must keep away from SAA

The DA finds it incomprehensible that the hard-won steps towards saving SAA can be so recklessly undermined by the proposal to move the embattled airline from the Finance ministry to the Transport Ministry– a ministry that has so fouled up the e-toll saga.
What makes such a proposal even worse is the news that disgraced Dudu Myeni has been appointed as a “special” advisor to Transport Minister, Joe Maswanganyi, a close ally of President Jacob Zuma. Despite any rules that may preclude her from interfering in SAA affairs, Ms Myeni will likely ignore these and meddle in the affairs of the airline.
The DA will now write to all South African banks that are owed the R13.8 billion guaranteed by the poor people of South Africa. We will request that they immediately inform Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, that they will recall their loans to SAA with immediate effect should the proposal to move SAA away from National Treasury be effected and if there is any pressure put on the SAA board and CEO to run the airline as anything but a commercial enterprise.
Given the mess that SAA has become under the “rule” of Myeni, she surely must be ranked as the most unsuitable person to appoint as an aviation advisor.
The removal of Myeni from the SAA board, the appointment of a new board (including an aviation expert) and, most importantly, the appointment of experienced executives like Vuyani Jarana and Peter Davies signalled the start of a process to attempt to save SAA and most of the more than 10 000 jobs. This would be in vain if the airline is once again treated as a cadre enrichment vehicle and moved back under the influence of corporate warlord Dudu Myeni.
South African banks must ensure that SAA is run on purely commercial lines. They cannot allow SAA to once again become Myeni’s plaything as poor South Africans will suffer the effects of billions of rands in losses as vital services will be forfeited in order to fund the failing airline.