Asset Prescription: The ANC is firmly committed to economic insanity

A leaked ANC discussion document (see here) on post-Covid economic recovery specifically proposes for the first time the amendment of Regulation 28 to prescribe pension fund investments. Having alluded to it often before, this document is the clearest indication yet that the ANC definitely intends to introduce asset prescription in South Africa.

The document, at page 32, proposes to “Amend Regulation 28 of the Pension Fund Act in order to increase the access of the Savings of South Africans to fund long-term infrastructure and capital projects, as a result increase the availability of funds to DFIs and financial intermediaries at a reasonable rate of interest.” This is ANC-speak for forcing pension funds to lend money to SOEs and other development finance institutions (like the Land Bank – which recently defaulted on its own debts, and a future State Bank, which the document also proposes).

The DA will fight this proposal every step of the way, because it is fundamentally destructive to economic confidence, and it undermines the pension savings of millions of hard working South Africans. Every person who saves diligently for retirement, and every asset manager and pension fund who manages those savings, should help to stop this.

Asset prescription is not only destructive, it is also totally unnecessary. If SOEs were well run then there would be no shortage of private sector funding ready and waiting to lend them money and fund infrastructure projects. The ANC cannot run SOEs properly, and will not sell them, so now wants to force citizens to pay by sacrificing pension returns. It is a lie for the ANC to say that asset prescription is necessary, or ‘developmental’, when they refuse to consider every better policy option.

Even if this move is eventually blocked, which we will fight to ensure, the economic fallout of even trying to introduce asset prescription will be disastrous for South Africa’s economy. It will sap confidence in the economy, deter investment, and disincentivise pension savings.

South Africa’s best hope to recover from the current economic situation is to pivot from the failed policies of the last decade towards a high growth trajectory. Instead, the document amounts to a doubling down of the ANC’s commitment to the same destructive economic policies that got South Africa’s economy to where it is now. It shows that the enemies of growth in the ANC have an incentive to prolong economic malaise and high unemployment to further their ideological pipe dreams. It recommits to the mantra of ever greater state control, even seeing opportunity to abuse this crisis to assert more state control. How this will be achieved when the state is near-bankrupt is revealed in the proposal to prescribe assets. We will fight to stop this economic insanity.

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DA calls for clarity on inconsistent non-contact sport regulations

While the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the long-overdue resuming of professional non-contact sports announced by the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, on Saturday, we call for clarity on the inconsistencies of the regulations that were announced.

The Minister needs to give clarity on which athletes are considered “professional” and give reasons why amateur non-contact athletes have been excluded.

There are also inconsistencies of who can train for non-contact sports. For example, why can professional contact sports such as rugby and soccer begin training, yet non-contact sport codes such as table tennis, powerlifting, pigeon racing, and shooting, have seemingly been overlooked.

We have also noted that under the newly announced regulations, training and matches will remain prohibited in hotspot areas. These regulations are ridiculous, and will only serve to hamstring the sports sector.

The Minister must clarify these regulations before they are gazetted.

The resuming of non-contact sports is an important step in bringing relief to those athletes who were unable to access a stable income during the lockdown, and who could not apply or did not qualify for Covid-19 relief funding.

The industry has suffered from a lack of proper support from the Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture. Since the beginning of the lockdown and in employing its relief measures, athletes have been left out in the cold in terms of both information and aid. A small handful of athletes were lucky enough to be supported by the Department whose criteria for approval of those who qualified for funding were opaque and confusing at best.

The same can be said for the new regulations, which raises more questions than it answers.

The DA again calls for the Minister to reopen all codes of non-contact sports in South Africa for all levels of participants – from amateur to professional. We also call on the Minister to allow for all non-contact sports matches to take place without spectators, and under strict adherence to health and Covid-19 protocols.

South Africa is part of the global community and the Minster must learn from what other governments are doing to ensure the survival of sports worldwide.

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DA calls on Minister Motshekga to end the confusion around the opening of schools

The Democratic Alliance (DA) strongly urges the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to end the confusion around the opening of schools once and for all.

It is unconscionable that, as learners are already arriving at school hostels in the case of boarding schools, and as teachers in thousands of schools have already spent huge amounts of time and energy working to prepare their schools to be ready to open tomorrow, the Department of Basic Education remains mired in disputes and uncertainty.

The legal, gazetted date for the opening of schools is 1st June. According to our information schools in at least three provinces – the Western Cape, Gauteng and KZN – are fully prepared to go ahead, according to their leaders.

Schools in Mpumulanga and the Northern Cape say they need a very short additional period to be fully prepared. In the remaining four provinces it appears that additional time will also be needed, although many schools in those provinces are ready as well.

We believe that these differences in preparation can be catered for through an expansion of the “phased” concept to include phasing of the opening as well.

Let those schools that are ready open, while those that are not yet ready are given as much support as possible from the Provincial and National departments and, indeed, from parents, their communities and their unions, to open within the next week or two.

Schools that open tomorrow can use the time to settle into the new, hygienic and protective systems, to learn about potential difficulties and problems, and this will act as supportive and helpful knowledge to assist the schools which start later.

The unions’ suggestion that no schools should open unless all schools open, and that we need an “indefinite” period to wait for opening, is inappropriate and will slow the entire process down to unacceptable levels.

Schools that are ready should open as planned. The remainder should continue to work as hard as possible, with union, SGB and community support, to open within the next few days.

We wish all learners, teachers and staff all the best for their opening and trust that they will have a productive new term.

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DA calls on Ramaphosa to discipline Dlamini-Zuma for parliamentary questions

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has formally requested President Cyril Ramaphosa to reprimand and discipline Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for her persistent failure to account to parliament through the mechanism of parliamentary questions. We also have requested that he take action against a number of other Ministers who are worst performers.

Several Members of the Executive are not respecting their duty to be accountable to Parliament through the mechanism of parliamentary questions. In addition, many who do answer questions do so evasively, and do not respect the expectation that replies should be full and frank

The letter is available here.

Parliamentary questions are a key mechanism of Parliamentary oversight of the Executive. It is the primary tool by which Members of Parliament obtain information from Members of the Executive.

The South African Parliament has a long history of respecting the requirement of the Executive to answer questions. During apartheid, predecessor parties to the DA, and in particular the late Mrs Helen Suzman, used the mechanism of parliamentary questions effectively to expose the apartheid government to scrutiny.

The DA has consistently raised the issue of the Executive’s poor performance in answering of parliamentary questions and attendance at oral question sessions for several years now, both at oral question sessions and through various Leaders of Government Business (LOGB) – including when President Ramaphosa served in that role.

We have collated our latest figures on unanswered parliamentary questions, and can report that the following fifteen members of the Cabinet have the highest percentage of unanswered questions as of 20 May 2020:




% Unanswered

% Answered late*

Justice and Correctional Services





Small Business Development










Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation





Social Development










Public Enterprises















State Security





Defence and Military Veterans





Home Affairs





Minister in the Presidency





Trade, Industry and Competition





Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities





You will note that these Ministers also largely failed to table most of the answers they did respond to within the 10-working-days-provision set out by National Assembly Rule 145(5).

In total, 51% of our written questions (141 out of 305) remain unanswered, with many dating back to the first Question Paper of the Second Session of the Sixth Parliament on 13 February 2020.

Over and above this, there is one Minister whose disregard for the institution of Parliament stands out as especially egregious: the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Dlamini-Zuma.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma shows scant respect for Parliament’s oversight role. In every single one of our 24 written questions posed to her since 13 February 2020, the Minister has replied that “the information requested by the Honourable Member is not readily available in the Department”.

Last year, Minister Dlamini-Zuma “replied” with this standard response to 108 out of the 110 written questions we posed to her. So far, the Minister has only submitted 19 amended replies to these, and some of these are also of poor quality.

Her dismissive and perfunctory treatment of questions is a deeply worrying insight into her understanding of the Constitutional requirement that she account to Parliament. This approach to accountability is unacceptable, and should earn the Minister the President’s reprimand at the very least.

We have requested the President to:

  • Include certain clear performance expectations relating to the speed and quality of replies to parliamentary questions, and their regular attendance at Oral Question Sessions, as targets in the performance agreements concluded with each member of Cabinet.
  • Reprimand the fifteen members of Cabinet with the highest percentage of unanswered questions.
  • Delegate additional powers to the Leader of Government Business to empower him to enforce the National Assembly’s Rule 145(5) to ensure that questions are responded to within the 10- working-days-provision.
  • Institute disciplinary steps against Minister Dlamini-Zuma for failing in her responsibility to account to Parliament for the exercise of her powers and the performance of her functions by not responding meaningfully and honestly to any parliamentary questions.

It is unacceptable that Ministers (and in particular Minister Dlamini-Zuma) should be allowed to shirk their accountability to Parliament, and they should be reprimanded and sanctioned.

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Government sends mixed messages on reopening of Early Childhood Development sector

The Departments of Social Development and Basic Education have sent mixed messages on the reopening of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector.

The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, on Friday, gazetted directions on the reopening of the ECD sector. The directions indicate that the sector would reopen on 6 July 2020.

This stands in contrast to a circular sent out on the same day by the Acting Director-General of the Department of Social Development, Linton Mchunu, indicating that the sector shall remain closed and that consultations are currently ongoing.

The DA calls for clarity from both Ministers Angie Motshekga and Lindiwe Zulu on what Government’s plans are regarding the reopening of the ECD sector.

Parents across the country are anxious to know whether ECD centers will open, as more and more people are returning to work as a result of the risk-adjusted level 3 lockdown.

In classic ANC fashion, it seems as though the one hand does not know what the other hand is doing. We need clarity on when ECD centers can reopen so that the necessary planning and Covid-19 protocols can be implemented.

The DA has called for ECD centres to reopen under the risk-adjusted level 3 lockdown if these centres can fulfill and abide by a minimum list of Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

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PIC statement raises more questions

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is concerned that the statement issued this morning by the Board of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is not entirely honest and transparent.

Firstly, if the PIC has indeed prepared an internal document which proposes a R90 billion Eskom debt-for-equity swap plan, then this document should be publicly released immediately. This “proposal” is nothing more than a euphemism for writing off this Eskom debt.

There is no hope of the PIC recouping this money.

Even the rumour of this proposal has already caused distress among other Eskom debt holders, the debt market, and of course among pensioners.

The PIC has a duty to play open cards with the public and the millions of pensioners it serves, and should release this document.

Secondly, PIC Chairman Dr Reuel Khoza needs to explain the inconsistencies between Thursday’s interview and today’s statement. In his interview on Thursday, PIC Chairman Dr Reuel Khoza said that the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) was “in principle in agreement” with this proposal.

The statement today suggests no such discussion has even taken place, and the proposal is still internal to the PIC. This inconsistency must be explained. Has the PIC discussed this proposal with the GEPF or not? Has the GEPF given its in principle agreement or not? If Dr Khoza has been less than frank, this would be cause for serious concern.

Third, the response has been issued 2 days after Dr Khoza’s comments about this “proposal” on Thursday. A clarifying response should have been issued immediately.

We believe the PIC is trying to make a genuine effort to improve its governance after the findings of the Mpati Commission. This is a golden opportunity to show their commitment to grater transparency and to delivering on their core investment mandate.

This proposed debt write-off has enormous implications for South Africa, and PIC must not hide it from the country. It should play completely open cards with the public.

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DA holds successful virtual policy conference on Local Government

The Democratic Alliance (DA) today successfully hosted a fully online policy preparation conference to prepare its Local Government Manifesto for the 2021 Local Government elections.

The conference was attended by a broad spectrum of party members, including DA mayors, MPs, MPLs, councillors and members, both rural and urban, from all nine provinces.

Matters discussed included focusing on building a capable state underpinned by the rule of law where the DA may replace the ANC in government, de-politicising the civil service and orientating government to deliver.

Specific focus was given to basic services, economic development, social development, safety and good governance.

It was further discussed that DA local governments are having to innovate as a result of failures by national and provincial governments on policy areas such as energy – where Eskom’s failures to provide energy has brought local economies to a halt and where the DA has previously supported direct procurement from independent power producers.

Other areas identified where national government is failing municipalities include finance, resilience, safety and transport.

We would like to thank all delegates for their attendance, their positive contributions and for pioneering this digital effort.

We particularly would like to note that sustained attendance was in excess of 90% of delegates.

The DA is on track to develop a set of policies that will result in a credible manifesto for Local Government Elections 2021.

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ConCourt responds to the DA’s challenge of the Disaster Management Act

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the Constitutional Court’s directive, handed down today, that it will consider arguments in the DA’s application for direct access to challenge the Disaster Management Act in the highest court of the land.

President Ramaphosa and COGTA Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are arguing that the DA should not be granted direct access. They are effectively seeking to delay an answer to the central question of whether the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCC) is legitimate.

If the DA is refused direct access, we will need to first challenge the DMA in the High Court, which opens up scope for an appeal to the High Court’s findings. This would mean it could take some months before the Concourt is able to make a final decision on the matter.

The DA has until 5 June to motivate for direct access to the Concourt, and the President and COGTA Minister have until 12 June to argue why such access should not be granted.

In the meantime, South Africa’s fate is being determined by the NCC, a secretive council of questionable legitimacy that is making irrational decisions without executive oversight. Government is effectively usurping the legislative role, thereby disregarding the separation of powers which is the foundation of a constitutional democracy. This is simply not in the country’s best interest.

If the Disaster Management Act does not meet constitutional muster, it means the decisions taken by the NCC under this Act are not valid. This opens the way for more rationality and accountability in the management of this pandemic and of our economy going forwards.

NCC decision-making to date has resulted in one of the world’s longest and most irrational hard lockdowns. This has destroyed millions of jobs and lives, thousands of businesses, and wasted billions in tax revenue, without managing to keep control over the spread of the virus. It has brought on the worst of both worlds – both health and economic disaster – and turned decent people into criminals.

This situation needs to end, and soon. South Africa is in deep trouble. Let us hope that the Constitutional Court finds in the DA’s favour, and grants us access to challenge the DMA.

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The DA seeks transparency over shambolic Sports and Arts Covid-19 relief funding

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is demanding transparency from the Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, on his department’s shambolic handling of the R150 million Arts and Sports Sector Relief Fund.

We have received several complaints from athletes and artists who have successfully applied for relief funding but are yet to receive any payments from the department. They have sent numerous emails to follow up but never received any response, the DA’s emails and messages to the department have also gone unanswered.

This frustration coupled with questions on discrepancies in the payment of those who have already received funding and whether some beneficiaries are receiving their rightful share of the funds raises serious alarm bells on the management of the relief funds.

The Minister must play open cards and come clean on his department’s mishandling of these relief funds. The DA demands answers on the following concerns:

  • How much money has been paid out to athletes and artists;
  • How many beneficiaries have not received any funding;
  • What are the reasons for the delay in the distribution of funding;
  • Transparency on the criteria that the department used to determine who qualifies for funding;
  • Who are the members of the Appeals Panel; and
  • What criteria is being used to adjudicate appeals?

The department needs to be transparent and about how it is rolling out the share of the funds to assist struggling artists and athletes. The Covid-19 relief fund was supposed to be a boost to athletes, artist and people whose income is generated through the sports and arts sector, however, now it seems as though the process has become an endless nightmare of red tape and confusion.

The DA has noted that Minister Mthethwa has taken to Twitter to ask those who have not received their payments to contact him via the platform. We find this deeply problematic because surely the department and the Minister cannot adequately solve these problems on social media.

Furthermore, not all artist and athletes whose livelihood has been impacted during this period will be able to reach out to the Minister via Twitter. If the Minister genuinely wants to assist, he should fix the inefficiencies in his department, and ensure that it provides the necessary support that will ensure no deserving person is left behind without receiving the much needed financial boost.

The DA is extremely disappointed with the Minister’s handling of the entire relief funding process and we wish to reiterate the importance of oversight when it comes to the allocation of these relief funds.

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DA welcomes decision to lapse ad hoc committee to review Section 25 of the Constitution

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Dr Annelie Lotriet, Chairperson of the DA Parliamentary Caucus.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the decision by Parliament to lapse the ad hoc committee to review Section 25 of the Constitution. We have never supported land expropriation without compensation (EWC) and hope that the ANC will also come to its senses and realise that this has never been a feasible idea.

This whole process was based on an unconstitutional motion in the first place. The DA submitted a report objecting to the findings of the first Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on Land Expropriation. The process was not finished and potentially compromised due to insufficient public participation and the findings of the committee being clearly predetermined.  The second committee’s work was built upon the fraudulent and erroneous work done by the first committee.

The truth is that EWC was nothing more than an electioneering tool from an ANC pushed into a corner by EFF rhetoric. With the question marks hanging over the possible postponement of the next election, it should not be any wonder that the ANC has lost its urgency regarding this matter. The DA can only assume that the ANC will regain its vigour when they once again need to court voters.

The DA will submit parliamentary questions to ascertain exactly how much money Parliament has spent on what was essentially a mass ANC canvassing.

As we’ve said before, the DA has always and will always oppose any abrogation of existing private property rights. Economic growth and development are not possible without property rights, and expropriation without compensation will only serve to bring that to a grinding halt.

The Constitution is not a barrier to land reform, the lack of political will, rampant corruption and budgetary constraints are.

Just earlier this week the ANC government proved again that they do not have the best interest of South Africans at heart with its proposed expropriation without compensation plan. Mr David Rakgase had to fight for 18 years to own the piece of land that he’s been working for almost 30 years.

The ANC’s land policies are built on a crumbling foundation. There is no consistency between their words and actions.

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