Minister of No Tourism must provide a date for reopening of international travel to prevent more job losses

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be writing to the Minister of no Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, to request that she provides a date as to the opening of South Africa’s borders for international travel as well as the preparation thereof.

This comes after the Minister’s comments at the launch of the National Tourism Month this week reconfirming that she has no clue or understanding about tourism and its functions in reality. Unbelievably, Kubayi-Ngubane said that local tourism enterprises which cater for international tourists must adapt their offerings to suit the domestic market while our international borders remain closed.

If truth be told, Kubayi-Ngubane is indeed the ‘Minister of No Tourism’, because she is oblivious to the fact that when a tourism product is designed and priced for the international market, rates can’t be dropped because domestic travellers don’t carry strong foreign currencies.  The Minister of no Tourism surely cannot expect that airlines, for example, drop their prices to the same rate as that of taxis or buses, it simply is not financially feasible.

It is for this reason that the DA will be writing to the Minister of no Tourism to request that she provides the tourism sector with a date as to when our borders will reopen so that the international tourism sector can start preparing for tourists and promoting South Africa to the world. She needs to provide a date backed by scientific evidence, not one that is thumb sucked by her colleagues in Cabinet.

International tourists will only book their holidays only once they know when our borders will open. And local tourism enterprises need a date to start making reservations, planning for Covid-19 health measures, and in order to boost the economy and save livelihoods.

Domestic tourism is but one component of this sector, there are many businesses that continue to suffer economic hardships with jobs still being lost.

Farm Murders: Time for all parties to band together to demand immediate implementation of rural safety strategies

Please find the attached English soundbite from Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, DA Shadow Minister of State Security, as well as a video.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on all political parties that pledged their support to the farming community in Parliament’s Debate of National Importance on farm murders to band together and demand the immediate and effective implementation of the Rural Safety Plan.

We welcome the 180-degree turn by the ANC which has suddenly decided that the murderous farm attacks are serious and need to be addressed. First, it was the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, who broke ranks, followed by a veritable deluge of ANC comments – culminating in a statement by Deputy President David Mabuza yesterday.

We want it on record that we are not concerned about the motivation behind this volte face, whether it is a reflection of ANC in-fighting with one faction attempting to show up current President Cyril Ramaphosa who denied that farm attacks are happening, or not.

The point is that our campaign has booted this issue off the back burner – where it has languished for some 20 years ignored by governing politicians and media alike. This nation swore in its Constitution to keep every South African safe and not just some of us, and it’s past time that these tortures and murders must be stopped.

The DA was most pleased that the ACDP, IFP, ANC, FF+, UDM and Al Jama’ah supported us in our Debate of National Importance in the National Assembly yesterday.

We did note that the Minister of Police Bheki Cele pulled out of the debate, which he was scheduled to close, but all we ask is that he does his job and pushes the National Police Commissioner to reintroduce rural safety units, and beef up our rural South African Police Service (SAPS) stations so that the fine words in the Rural Safety Plan can actually be lifted off the page and implemented.

As such we will be writing to the Chairperson of the Police Portfolio Committee, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, asking that she summons the Minister before the Committee at the earliest possible date to ensure that his promises are delivered on. We need to know the nuts and bolts of how these units will be funded, and how soon they will be put into operation. This is delivery on a promise made by the then President Thabo Mbeki who cut the Commandos of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in 2003 with zero warning, and who promised that a specialised Rural Safety Unit would take their place. There has been no movement in this regard since.

Better late than never.

We would ask that all those parties which supported the DA in its debate yesterday, join us in demanding that the Government do more than just talk and make promises. Our rural communities – farmers, farm workers and their families – don’t have the luxury of time. They are being viciously attacked 24/7.

As thousands of bikers protested around the country, two farmers were murdered in KZN. As I was speaking in the National Assembly, an elderly couple and their carer were bludgeoned almost to death in the Free State.

Reports of attacks are a daily, sometimes hourly, occurrence.

To those who attempted, and failed, to make the debate yesterday about race: playing the same tired song over and over will never make it true. The DA has been crystal clear that farmers, of all races, are being attacked, that farm workers of all races are being attacked, and that visitors to farms, of all races, are being attacked.

We are in one South Africa together for better or for worse, and we need to stop the race-baiting and focus on keeping our citizens safe, and our agricultural output secure.

To that end we have called for a multi-portfolio summit including Agriculture, Police, Defence Force and State Security to work through the myriad rural security threats, find short-and-medium-term solutions to implement immediately, as well as a definitive long-term solution to what has now reached crisis proportions in our country.
We cannot sit back while our farmers are flooding out of the country to grow food for other nations – such as the United States and Zambia – we need them here.

DA notes the resignation of John Moodey

Mr Moodey’s departure is both unfortunate and unnecessary. The Democratic Alliance (DA) believe that he is making a mistake because the DA is the only Party that can unseat the ANC and deliver a fair, effective and accountable government.

John has cited alleged unfairness through the charges he faces before our Federal Legal Commission. We confirm that due process was followed, as it always has been. We reject the allegation that these charges amount to a witch-hunt against him.

It is very unfortunate that he plays the race card to justify his decision to avoid due process.

The DA remains committed to growing our support in all communities across our diverse society. To this extent, we are pleased to see our growth during the last 5 months. We are well on course to become the core of a realigned majority that will defeat the ANC, bring good governance, ensure an economic recovery and an open opportunity society for our country.

We thank John for his service and wish him well for his future.

Click here to contribute to the DA’s legal action challenging irrational and dangerous elements of the hard lockdown in court

What’s going on in the Kruger Park?

There are a growing number of reports that indicate apparent management failure in the Kruger National Park. I will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries to request the SANParks CEO and Chairperson be invited to explain, in detail, what is going on.

A significant part of the park’s overnight accommodation is not available for rental to guests.

Despite being mandated to increase visitor numbers, the Park is now saying variously that:

  • Some staff had been moved into guest accommodation during the Covid-19 lockdown;
  • “Much needed refurbishment” is underway and SANParks only expected tourism to re-open in mid-September;
  • 2 Rest camps are only open for minimal accommodation (one of them being Skukuza one of the largest camps);
  • 3 other camps are entirely closed and one will only reopen between mid-October and the second week of November; and
  • The SANParks CEO says “the bulk” of unoccupied units have suffered animal damage during lockdown and are being repaired.

SanParks says it is bringing “civil and criminal charges against a guest for allegedly “racist” Facebook posts that claimed bookings were not being honoured or were not available because accommodation was being occupied by staff. The Park spending public money to sue customers seems to lack any sense of proportion. If there has been racist offence, as has been alleged, then there are other ways of dealing with this. This is equivalent to a restaurant or hotel suing a customer for a bad review on social media. What this action does do is make the Park management look like its being unnecessarily defensive and it is in the public interest to know why.

A number of questions are prompted:

  • Why is such extensive refurbishment planned all at once;
  • How much guest accommodation housed staff, and is that still blocking the accommodation from being used by guests;
  • How exactly has Covid caused cleaning staff not to be able to operate even two weeks after the lockdown was eased;
  • How much accommodation exactly was damaged by animals, and how badly, and was this because of a lack of supervision during lockdown;

The Kruger Park is a great national asset. It needs to maintain good relations with the public. Above all, it needs to be open about what is going on. Official communication is fuzzy at best. Threatening guests shows a failure to understand the hospitality industry. A large part of park’s funding comes from tourism. Tourists need to be encouraged, not fought with.

Click here to contribute to the DA’s legal action challenging irrational and dangerous elements of the hard lockdown in court

Masithethe ngazwi linye ukuze silwe, soyise ukubulawa kwamafama, abasebenzi-zifama, kunye nabahlali basezilalini

The following speech was delivered during the Democratic Alliance (DA) Debate of National Importance on the Recent Scourge of Farm Attacks and Murders. Please find attached a soundbite in IsiXhosa by Thandeka Mbabama MP

Enkosi Mhlali ngaphambili

Bantu bakuthi, ndiyabulisa  kulemini yokuqala kwinyanga yoMsintsi, inyanga eza nentwasahlobo nokuzalwa kutsha (rebirth) kwe mithi, iintyatyambo neziqhamo emasimini. Ndithi namhlanje masizifune, sizibuze uba sekutheni intliziyo zethu ziliflathele kangaka ilizwi likaYehova ku Exodus 20:13 elithi  “uze ungabulali” Uthe uThixo xa edala umntu wamdala ngoko mfanekiso Wakhe. Xa ke siyekela ukubulawa kwabantu, nokuba ngabeliphi ibala, siyekela ukuba kuxajelwe umfanekiso kaThixo.  Ndinqwenela uba nathi sibe nentwasahlobo yokuzalwa kutsha, intliziyo zethu zithambe, sibenovelwano kubantu abangamaxhoba  ezi zihhelegu.  Oluhlaselo nobulawo ngokungena lusini lwamafama, abasebenzi-zifama, nabahlali basezilalini mihla le, alunyamezeleki, yaye ayiyonto esinovuma ibesisenzo semihla ngemihla. Siyi Democratic Alliance (DA) siyithatha ngokungqongqo  lenkohlakalo yaye sizimisele ukuyilwa ngako konke esinako

Mhlali ngaphambili, amazwi avela kwi nkonzo zepolotiki ezithile ezikhuthaza abantu uba maba thathe imihlaba ngokungekho semthethweni ; norhulumente ophetheyo ongayihhoyanga into yokuhlukunyezwa kwabantu basezifama nasezilalini ngokunjalo, inika izikrelemnqa isibindi sokwenza nantonina….besazi uba akukhonto ezakubehlela ngokomthetho. Kumafama, abasebenzi zifama nabahlali basezilalini sithi sikhona siyiDemocratic Alliance. Sesiqalile uku

  • Sebenzisana nenkonzo zawonke amafama ukubancedisa ekubeni balungiselele ukuzikhusela ngokupatrola indawo zabo
  • Ngenjongo zokuphuhlisa amafama athuthukayo sizakuqhubeka ukubanceda bafumane umhlaba ngokusemthethweni ngoku qhakamshelana ne dept. yeALRRD
  • Sizakuqhubeka nokulwa utshintso luka Section 25 womgaqosiseko ngoba asivumelani norhwaphilizo lomhlaba ngaphandle kwembuyekezo. Urhulumente makagqibezele ilandclaims ezishiyekileyo, anikezele  ngomhlaba ophantsi kaRhulumente .
  • Ndithetha nje sixakeke ngepublic hearings zeULTRA Amendment Bill enenjongo zoku nceda amanina abenamalungelo afana nawoTata ekufumaneni umhlaba

Ezinye inkozo sezichaziwe ngoogxabam kwinthetho zabo ngaphambili. Lilonke siyi Democratic Alliance sithi let us put our differences aside as political parties and condemn with one voice the killing of our farmers and farm workers who not only put food on our tables but have the right to life as prescribed in our Constitution.

Enkosi

Click here to contribute to the DA’s legal action challenging irrational and dangerous elements of the hard lockdown in court

CSA’s racial quotas will not fix chaos in South African cricket

The Democratic Alliance (DA) rejects Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) commitment to only appoint “Black consultants” across the board to speed up transformation. This was confirmed by its newly appointed acting CEO, Kugandrie Govender, today.

This internal commitment from CSA to the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, will stop the Proteas from utilising some of the best-skilled cricket players such as Jaques Kallis to help coach our national cricket team. Appointments should be based on skill and merit and instead of handicapping the team, the CEO could rather increase the talent pool of consultants to address transformation in that way.

The DA is committed to transformation in sport, but this can only be achieved with political will on the part of the government to develop sports at a grassroots level. The reality is that this decision to enforce a racial quota system will not address the dysfunction that is currently reigning in South African cricket.

This decision by the cricket authority will not in any grow or strengthen cricket in South Africa, but it will only serve to exclude certain South Africans on the basis of race. This is completely at odds with our Constitution, which explicitly states that no South African should be discriminated against based on the colour of their skins.

Click here to contribute to the DA’s legal action challenging irrational and dangerous elements of the hard lockdown in court

How many farmers have died in the making of this speech?

The following speech was delivered during the Democratic Alliance (DA) Debate of National Importance on the Recent Scourge of Farm Attacks and Murders in Parliament. Please find attached a soundbite by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP.

When our nation took that determined step into the future by building a new democracy here on the southern-most tip of Africa, the great minds of that time carved out a Constitution that protected us all. Each and every one of us. Guaranteed. It demanded schooling – for us all. It demanded healthcare – for us all, and it demanded safety – for us all.  Not for just for some of us, for all of us.  With no exception.

We are speaking here today in the Democratic Alliance (DA) Debate of National Importance focussing on the recent scourge of farm attacks and murders of farmers and farmworkers.

Why? Because there is no other industry that touches the lives and the tables of each and every South African. Agriculture is one of our greatest employers, one of the sectors most likely to drive back poverty, indeed is one of the great engines of our very economy. Agriculture-related businesses have work-streams leading to and from each farm, and employ hundreds of thousands of us.

Agriculture is a major pillar of our economy – with the added bonus of a strong global consumer base pulling in much-needed foreign exchange.

That being said, it was in 2011 that the South Gauteng Division of the High Court bizarrely found itself having to rule that singing a song that called for the slaughter of this section of our population, our farmers, was hate speech and illegal.  Sadly it is still used with impunity by some in this country, who try to score political capital by fuelling hatred and the call for blood.

Well there are repercussions when one calls for violence.  On Sunday morning I was woken to hear of the latest farm murders … of well-known KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) farmer Glen Rafferty and his wife Vida.  Shot dead when they arrived back home after visiting friends.

Their faithful dog was also shot and lay next to their bodies. This while tens of thousands of bikers rode all around the country in protest against farm murders.

On social media I saw comments relating to their murders, “Good” said one, and “Good, but I feel sorry for the dog” by another. “Land thieves got what’s coming”.

Well, the DA has been reporting to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) the vicious and hate-filled social media posts which congratulate the murderers every time they kill a farmer or farmworker.

That is what the hate-filled narrative pumped out over the past two decades has engendered in the children of our country.  Those who make such comments are now being taken to court.

So “Commissar Ngubane”, “P Phoenix”, Lungisani Simayile – expect a visit. Take note of what my colleague the Honourable Thandeka Mbambama says in her speech a bit later on.

The DA has been speaking out against farm attacks for over two decades, but it was as we watched the attack numbers rising during this country-killing lockdown, that we drew a line in the sand.  This was because the Police Minister, Bekhi Cele, chose to forbid the patrolling systems the farm owners had set up over decades, in an attempt to keep their families safe. There have been 21 murders and 147 attacks in these past four months alone.  Our farmers are three times more likely to be murdered than a police officer.

We released a 16 point plan of action in June, and just weeks later there was a triple homicide in the Northern Cape. For the first time anyone could recall we saw a Rolls Royce operation from the SAPS, helicopters, dog units – Crime Intelligence – it was all brought in to apprehend the perpetrators.  And they did.  It’s just a crying shame for the Brand family that they didn’t use that drive, that equipment, and that manpower to prevent the deadly attack before it happened.

The men and women who feed South Africa don’t sleep. They do nightly patrols around their farms, and I know of wives who watch their husbands on cameras as they do their patrols in the dark. Watching for attackers, waiting to see if tonight is the night their beloved husband will be killed.  Unless they farm in Lekwa, Mpumalanga, where the electricity is cut week after week so the farmers live in total terrifying darkness as animals die of cold and everything rots in their fridges.  They live the reality that it is four times more dangerous to be on a farm, than in any other area of South Africa.

It was a massive slap in the face of our farmers when the current President denied that these murders were taking place. On 26 September 2018 he spoke in New York, saying that there were “no killings of farmers…in South Africa”. Yet in 2017 and 2018 combined there were 136 murders on farms.

Farmers (black and white), farmworkers (black and white), and visitors to farms (black and white) were being killed then, and are still being killed today. What he said then was false. A complete and utter fabrication.

In a matter of weeks a petition asking the President to retract his hurtful words has hit some 42 000 signatures.

Farmers and farmworkers in South Africa, instead of being supported as VIPs within a valued Strategic Asset, feel they have become persona non grata. The Police Rural Safety Plan is pulled out, reworked, and relaunched regularly.  Rinse, whitewash, repeat.  Without equipment and manpower, the rural stations have zero ability to lift those fine-sounding words off the page.

My colleague Honourable General Okkie Terblanche, a real General who left the SAPS with full honours, will go into this later on.

Today countries around the world are eyeing our farmers with an acquisitive gleam in their eye – 2 000 of them left to farm in the USA over the past three months; our farmers have turned Zambia into one of the top food exporters on the continent – and where are we?

From 120 000 commercial farmers, we are down to 38 000.

Why?  Because when a farmer is dragged to his death behind his bakkie – his family just packs up and leaves.

When a woman is gang-raped while her husband is stabbed to death – that is what happened to a black farmer and his wife – do you think she has it within her to stay on that farm?

But people are killed elsewhere I hear. Of course, they are…nearly 59 of us daily.

It is the isolation in rural areas that gives criminals days and nights to torture a family to death.  Do you think there is anything a parent won’t offer up if his two-year-old is held down and raped in front of him?  I have heard about medieval tortures involving boiling oil, boiling water, a power drill, red hot irons, fire.  And these days the perpetrators frequently steal nothing. Not even a cellphone. We need research to tell us why.

What we do know is that we need more than the most expensive Washing Line in the world to prevent those who may seek to cross our borders illegally with the intention to commit crimes. Let us be very clear, we are not blaming all crime on foreign nationals.

Our Provincial Court Watching Briefs today ensure we are on top of every farm attack, and at every court hearing.

But we need a joint-summit to work through the myriad rural security threats.  We need clear short- and medium-term solutions, and the political will and drive to ensure their implementation. We need a long term solution for an issue that looks set to drive our country to the brink of starvation.

It is quite possible that as I’ve been speaking another woman or child has been screaming on a farm in our country – and it is possible that there are those around us who will glory in their eventual deaths.

This hatred, these murders, must stop. We must make them stop.

Click here to contribute to the DA’s legal action challenging irrational and dangerous elements of the hard lockdown in court

DA to ask Speaker to look into Parliament’s flawed rejection of Cheaper Electricity Bill  

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply disappointed in the manner in which the Independent Electricity Management Operator (IEMO) Bill was handled by the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy. The Bill was today rejected by the Portfolio Committee as being “undesirable” and thus will not progress further.

The IEMO Bill, colloquially referred to as the “Cheaper Electricity Bill” was introduced by Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip, Natasha Mazzone, in December 2019, in an effort to create an independent public-private partnership that would manage grid operations, electricity planning, source electricity from a variety of generation plants and sell it to municipal and industrial customers. It was an attempt to create a level playing field between Eskom (as the country’s primary generator) and independent power producers (IPPs).

From the outset, it was clear that the ANC, EFF and IFP were opposed to the bill, with comments such as “we reject this bill with contempt” and “this is an effort to reintroduce apartheid” being bandied about in committee. Even Minister Pravin Gordhan got in on the act: he accused the DA of seeking to expropriate Eskom’s assets into private hands without compensation.

One of the other major criticisms was that the Bill was unconstitutional, in that it sought to those allow metropolitan municipalities, which had the technical and financial capabilities (including having received a clean audit), to source power directly from power producers. No evidence was led as to why this was unconstitutional, nor was an opinion sought from the State Law Advisors or Parliamentary Law Advisors, despite requests from the DA that this be done.

The DA is of the opinion that the process followed is not in keeping with the Rules of Parliament (specifically Rule 286) and will be writing to the Chairperson of Committees, Cedrick Frolick MP, and the Speaker of Parliament, Thandi Modise MP, in this regard. We believe that that committee members had established their positions before the first presentation was made, and thus did not give the Bill the appropriate consideration or deliberation. Furthermore, despite repeated requests from the DA, no effort was made to address the sticking points or to reach any sort of compromise.

This is indicative of the way in which the ANC and EFF in particular have complete disdain for any ideas not born in their own ranks, despite the upside for all South Africans. With loadshedding back in full force, and Eskom predicting that this is likely to remain the case for the rest of this year at the very least, we cannot afford to throttle our economy in any way.

This Bill not only would have opened up South Africa’s electricity supply market, but would have gone a long way to make South Africa an attractive investment. The DA will continue to push for a more open, affordable and efficient electricity sector, and will be taking all possible measures to ensure that this Bill and the proposed independent grid operator see the light of day.

Click here to read more about the DA’s plan to drive the cost of electricity down, introduce competition into the energy sector, and diversify the country’s energy sources to introduce more renewables, as well as our record of action on the electricity crisis over the last 8 years.

DA ready to grill National Lotteries Commission

Tomorrow, 2 September 2020, at 09:00 the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) is due to appear before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade, Industry and Competition.

This comes after the Democratic Alliance (DA) placed the Committee Chairperson, Duma Nkosi, and the NLC under immense pressure to come and account for the fact they failed to release their lists of Covid-19 Relief Fund and 2018/2019 grant beneficiaries.

It was only after the DA obtained a legal opinion on the release of these lists and laid criminal charges against the entire NLC’s board that this information was made public.

Each and every step of the way, ANC members of the Portfolio Committee have tried to stifle the work of Parliament by defending the NLC indiscriminately.

Tomorrow is the day of reckoning for the NLC and they must prepare themselves to be grilled.

The proceedings can be followed on Parliament’s YouTube channel.

Click here to contribute to the DA’s legal action challenging irrational and dangerous elements of the hard lockdown in court