ANC in Parliament launches political assault on Tito Mboweni over wage bill

The ANC in Parliament on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s floundering attempt to cut the public wage bill. During a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, ANC members insisted that Mboweni was wrong to freeze public service wages during the current financial year. The ANC insisted on the formal inclusion of the following sentence in the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report: “Government is urged to keep the three-year agreement on salaries which was effective from the 2018/19 financial year up to the 2020/2021 financial year.”

When the Democratic Alliance (DA) pointed out that the effect of this would be to force the state to pay additional wage increases totalling R37.8 billion in the current financial year, the ANC aggressively doubled down on their attack on the Finance Minister.

The ANC’s Mina Lesoma insisted that the final year of the three-year 2018 wage agreement – which helped dump South Africa into the biggest fiscal crisis in a generation – must be honoured at all costs. “If you have agreed on something, they must find a way. Government must not be seen to be reneging from their agreement with organized labour. All of us who are from the unions know that you [must]…respect those agreements.”

Former senior COSATU leader and current ANC chairperson of the committee, Tyotyo James, was explicit: “The [ANC in the] committee says government is obligated to honour signed agreements,” regardless of the devastating costs to the country.

Yesterday’s assault on Mboweni from members of his own political party is the clearest sign yet that the government’s ham-fisted attempt to rein in public spending has caused a gaping split right through the heart of the ANC alliance. If these events are anything to go by, then the fightback against proposed wage bill cuts will soon escalate into open political warfare within the ANC.

As far back as October 2019, the DA introduced a comprehensive plan to cut the wage bill while still granting inflation-linked increases for frontline service delivery heroes like nurses and police officers. We were able to do so because we understand that the real reason for the exploding wage bill is that there are over 29 000 millionaire managers in the state, many of whom are incompetent ANC cadres “deployed” to capture the state. The key to fixing the wage bill is to freeze the salaries of these fat-cat managers and administrators and to reduce the number of managers by a third. This will protect frontline staff while bringing spending under control.

The ANC shortsightedly rejected our proposal, and instead implemented blunt across-the-board wage freezes. Yesterday’s assault on Mboweni by ANC members in Parliament makes it clear that the government is already buckling at the knees as it prepares to cave in to political pressure from unions, leftists and looters. As usual, the ANC is set to choose cadres and cronies over the citizens of our country.

The DA will continue to use every avenue at our disposal to fight for spending reductions that bring the wage bill under control, by ensuring that cuts and layoffs are directed only at millionaire managers and administrators, while protecting frontline staff who actually deliver services.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

Fishing rights: Robbing Peter to pay Paul a pittance

There’s a resource grab happening in fishing. Minister Barbara Creecy has embarked on a program of taking fishing resources from successful individual small-scale fishers and putting them in the hands of the ANC created cooperatives, which have a 100% failure rate. Not a single fishing co-operative has ever successfully operated, created jobs, paid taxes or harvested their own fish. The net result will be the destruction of businesses and workers that are creating value in Western & Eastern Cape communities, in exchange for giving less money to fewer people.

Thirty days ago, the Department published two notices. They invited public comment on two proposals. One was to give 50% of the fishing allocation in traditional linefish and abalone to small scale fishing co-operatives and 25% of the effort in the squid fishing sector. The other was to put three fisheries, those for white mussel, oyster and hake handline, entirely as resources available to small scale fishers only. In terms of current policy all small-scale fishers have been forcibly collectivised into compulsory cooperatives. This gives rise to a host of problems, among them:

  • An important part of South Africa’s fishing resource would be collectivised, effectively producing less wealth and fewer jobs for South Africa’s people.
  • The process is back-to-front. Some rights have already been given to small scale fisheries, and then put on hold after industry protests;
  • The jobs of some 3,000 fishers and processors in the small to medium commercial squid sector alone, will be put at risk;
  • This would expand the small-scale sector beyond limits set out in policies, legislation and regulations drawn up by the Minister’s own ANC government;
  • Part of the definition of small-scale fishing is by the fishing methods used. This would contravene those definitions.

By way of example, it is abundantly clear that the small-scale fishing policy cannot apply to squid. Similarly, the Marine Living Resources Act, which governs fishing, provides a description of small scale fishers which not apply to squid fishing. Squid have never been grouped with species associated with small scale fishing.

The highest price obtainable for South African squid catches is by selling it abroad. This requires the squid to be blast frozen directly after it is caught. Only mechanised vessels can have blast freezers. By definition, small-scale fishers do not use sophisticated, mechanised vessels.

If carried through, the result of this allocation policy will be that small scale fishers who are allocated squid quotas will not be able to catch them and will simply sell them on to people who do not hold allocations, but who own boats, and take a cut. They will fit the classic definition of paper quota holders, a category which the Department has declared itself to be against.

If she follows through with these proposals, Creecy will put at risk the livelihoods of small commercial family run fishing concerns and their employees. She is robbing Peter to pay Paul a pittance.

This is the latest manifestation of the ANC’s Stalinist policy to collectivise fishing rights by forcing all small-scale fishers into cooperatives. Collectivisation of food production has been shown by history not to work. Collectives inevitably end up being controlled by a few, while the wider fishing community whose interests they purport to serve, go without. By their nature too, cooperatives fall victim to the “tragedy of the commons”, where rewards are expected irrespective of the effort put in. Inevitably very little effort is put in as there is no incentive to either work or to preserve a sustainable asset. The result is poverty and a destroyed resource.

This is a classic case of the ANC applying its collectivist ideology. In this case it offends not only economic history and good sense, but also against the laws the ANC itself has written. Even the much vaunted National Development Plan cautions that mechanised fishing produces more jobs, better jobs and more value for the community.

Minister Creecy should withdraw her notices and refrain from threatening the futures of individual small-scale fishers and the livelihood of thousands in pursuit of ANC ideological objectives.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

Only people power can save SA’s economy

This past week tech entrepreneur Elon Musk surpassed Microsoft founder Bill Gates to become the world’s second-richest person while the country of his birth, South Africa, got downgraded deeper into junk status by two of the big three ratings agencies.

Could Musk have achieved what he has if he’d stayed in South Africa? Will he be investing in South Africa any time soon? Not likely.

And nor will many other potential investors. Which should concern all of us, because South Africa’s economy – our lifeline – is in very serious trouble. We are heading for a sovereign debt crisis which as Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has pointed out will lead swiftly on to a banking crisis. Unemployment is at an all-time high of 43%. This is an unnatural level of joblessness and there is nothing Ramaphosa can say to investors to get that number down. Only real reform will do it and if ratings agencies don’t believe that’s going to happen, people shouldn’t either.

South Africans cannot sit this out and trust the ANC’s talk of economic recovery even as their actions – or lack thereof – spell economic suicide. For as long as the ANC controls SA’s economy, we’re heading straight for Zimbabwe. The only way to save our economy is to get economic decision-making power out of the hands of the ANC and into the hands of ordinary people.

And only the people of South Africa can achieve this.

And they can only achieve it at the ballot box.

The ANC has constructed a system of disincentives that repel entrepreneurs and investors like Musk. Most investors will stay away while the ANC hangs out policies like expropriation without compensation, BEE, NHI, Reserve Bank nationalisation, asset prescription, the Mining Charter, Eskom’s monopoly, inflexible labour legislation and the propping up of failed state-owned companies, all of which red flag our country as a no-go zone for investment.

Entrepreneurs and investors are freedom-loving by nature and necessity. That’s why economic freedom and prosperity go hand in hand in economies across the globe. The DA understands this, and we have pushed relentlessly for open energy and labour markets, for secure property rights, for workers’ pensions and medical aids to be protected from a ravenous state. We believe every policy decision in South Africa must aim to put more economic decision-making power into the hands of ordinary people.

Freedom equals prosperity. Power to the people.

The DA have worked relentlessly to create an attractive environment for investment in the Western Cape, so it is gratifying that Google has decided to invest R2.2 billion there despite the ANC’s repellent policy framework at the national level.

If Ramaphosa is serious about attracting investment into South Africa, then he needs to offer real incentives through economic reform. Soothing sentiments at investment summits are not going to cut it, as the ratings agencies know. Investors respond to nothing except the real opportunity to make profits. And that’s a good thing. There wouldn’t be multiple covid vaccines in the pipeline were it not for the profit incentive.

Ramaphosa’s ANC is long on talk but short on action. They endlessly promise reform but have made almost no progress. They call for a week of mourning for GBV victims but reinstate to the ANC’s Mpumalanga executive committee a former MEC who stands accused of raping his two daughters.

They profess concern for the poor but then dip into health and education budgets to subsidize air travel for the rich. They condemn Malema’s incitement to violence against police officers but fall short of charging him. They are all talk, no action. They have lost all credibility.

As we slide deeper into junk status it will be harder and more expensive to get the funding we need to continue living beyond our means. With every day that passes, we dig the debt hole deeper and it gets harder to get out. Next year’s local government elections are a crucial opportunity for voters to use the power of their vote to take back their economic decision-making power. Please don’t sit this out. Vote DA for a people-powered economy that offers the chance of profits to the likes of Musk, and prosperity to all.

More money not the answer to SANDF’s problems

The Democratic Alliance (DA) takes note of the worrying report that the South African Defence Force’s (SANDF) capabilities and prime mission equipment have deteriorated and the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s claims that the only solution to the problem is to increase her budget.

The situation at SANDF is such that there is an increasing risk that it won’t be able to protect the country’s integrity. At the moment, the South African fleet has almost no means to protect our maritime territory and resources, and the air force also lacks the resources to assist in maritime patrolling and exploring.

The Minister’s insistence that the only solution to this problem is throwing money at it, shows simple ignorance of the ANC government’s failed economic policy over the past years. There is simply no more money to bail SANDF out, and the little money there is, is being wasted on pet projects like the South African Airways (SAA).

Instead of fighting National Treasury for more money, the Minister should take the decisive executive, political decision to restructure SANDF into a smaller, more streamlined and modern force that will have less personnel that will be better equipped to deal with South Africa’s defense requirements.

SANDF members should be better trained and armed, with full modern technological capabilities to monitor our borders 24/7 and that will enable all spheres of the defence force to take decisive action at a moment’s notice against any possible threat.

It is also high time President Cyril Ramaphosa, as commander-in-chief of South Africa’s defence forces, stepped in to solve this escalating situation. Left in the hand of Minister Mapisa-Nqakula, the defence forces will continue its decline and will eventually leave the country completely defenseless.

What is happening to SANDF is a complete travesty and an insult to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our country. A smaller, better trained defence force would not only benefit South Africa, but the whole region who often looks to us for guidance and leadership.

The DA will be going on an oversight visit to the Mozambican and Zimbabwean borders over the weekend to see the problems facing border control for ourselves.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

DA condemns characterisation of South Africa’s media as “enemies”

Please find attached  a soundbite from Phumzile Van Damme MP.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has noted comments from some quarters characterising South Africa’s media as “enemies.”

Such language is dangerous and could result in further physical violence against members of the media as we have already witnessed in our country by supporters of some political parties whose leaders have expressed such sentiments.

We stand firmly behind the constitutional right to freedom of the media against any of characterisation as “enemies.” The “fourth estate,” as the media is known, plays an important role in our democracy in holding government accountable, and keeping the public is informed.

The DA also has profound reservations about the independence of certain media houses and the distortions of news and comment that arises as a result.  But this is no reason to threaten journalists.  The DA prefers to respond through setting the record straight, rather than resorting to threats of violence.

Despite the failings of  some media houses, the Media have played a key role in exposing corruption, which has played a crucial role in seeking to establish a culture of accountability in our country.

We would like to repeat that the recourse for what may be coverage deemed unfair is at first instance to raise it with the publication. Should agreement not be reached, recourse exists in terms of the Press Ombudsman and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa.

We urge South Africa’s media to do their work without fear-or-favour and report any physical violence to the police.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

DA concerned about budget cuts to the Second Chance Matric Programme

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is concerned that continued budgetary constraints for the Second Chance Matric Programme will hinder efforts to support more learners to obtain their National Senior Certificate (NSC) and will result in many falling through the cracks.

The programme exists to offer those who have failed to meet the requirements of the NSC a second chance to obtain a matric qualification.

The Second Chance Matric Programme can play a vital role in ensuring that learners who failed their NSC have an opportunity to complete their Matric.  However, this programme can be rendered useless if budgetary constraints continue.

Over the past five years, since the programme was launched in 2016, less and less funds have been allocated to it. When looking at the current budget, for instance, the programme’s budget decreased by over R18 million – from R60 million in 2015/2016 to R42 million in 2020/2021.

The fact that this programme is not receiving adequate budgetary funding from the Department of Basic Education will result in many learners falling out of the system without having obtained their Matric certificate – a requisite qualification for entry into the job market.

Education should be an area which receives additional funding rather than having its funding slashed. Quality education will never be possible to achieve when the funding keeps getting cut. Government cannot continue to prioritize  vanity projects such as the bankrupt SAA at the expense of funding crucial education programmes.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

District Development Model will further destroy tourism

In a presentation by the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) made to the Tourism Portfolio Committee this week confirmed that the District Development Model (DDM) would further destroy tourism and the tourism sector.

In an unusually united and unanimous outcry by all members of the multi-party Committee, they expressed that the root cause of the non-development and regression of tourism was the failed ANC State at every level of government.

In every instance, previously successful tourism sites have collapsed under the ANC’s incapable governance, incompetence and corruption.

A 2019 oversight inspection to the Howick Falls by the members of the Tourism Portfolio Committee can be used as an example of this failure and why the DDM cannot work. For years numerous busses filled with tourists would visit the Howick Falls daily. Today, less than a handful of busses visit per month.

The DDM is nothing more than a plan to ensure that South Africa’s Prime Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma gets more control with little or no interest in delivering services, no developing tourism or growing jobs in the sector.

This was clear from the replies by CoGTA officials that this is their focus. Additionally, it was clear that not one single official understood tourism in the remotest.

As far as the “Prime Minister” Dlamini-Zuma is concerned, she couldn’t be bothered as she spoke at length but said nothing and simply left early. So much for any commitment to tourism and job creation.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

Urgent intervention is needed in truck attacks

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to urgently investigate and make arrests in relation to the ongoing attacks on trucks across South Africa. Just last night there were a plethora of attacks that put the lives of the drivers at risk and resulted in destroyed property.

What these attackers seems to forget is that the destruction of these trucks has a wide economic impact – far wider than the financial damage to the trucking company and the driver. Truckers are the lifeblood of the South African economy. With the rails in such disrepair, many South African businesses rely on trucks to deliver goods and produce and would not survive without this vital service. Without truck drivers, our economy would be in even deeper trouble.

While the DA commends President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reaction to the attacks, the ship has sailed on his request for a report regarding this matter from the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele. Attacks on trucks and truck drivers have been steadily increasing for the past four years. The time for reports has gone. Now is the time for decisive action to be taken against what can surely be regarded as economic terrorism. There needs to be high-level investigations and urgent arrests so that those responsible are held to account.

South Africa cannot afford to be held hostage by those seeking our economic destruction through wanton acts of violence that endanger lives and livelihoods. A multi-stakeholder action plan lead by the Transport Minister needs to be tabled urgently.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

DA rejects proposal by ANC to extend NLC Chairperson’s tenure

The Democratic Alliance (DA) rejects the attempt by the ANC at Tuesday’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry to extend scandal-ridden, Alfred Nevuthanda’s tenure as Chairperson of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) by a further 3 months.

This comes after both Parliament and the DA’s legal opinions found that the process followed by Minister Ebrahim Patel to shortlist candidates for the position of NLC Chairperson – would have been unlawful. Not only will this result in a delay in the appointment of a new Chairperson but this means that the NLC will be without a Chairperson by virtue of the fact that Nevuthanda’s term expires on 1 December 2020.

The Hawks Serious Economic Offences Unit and the Presidency’s Special Investigative Unit are currently investigating several projects that were granted funds during Nevuthanda’s tenure – which has resulted in massive public outcry.

In addition, the Portfolio Committee was told by Parliament’s legal advisor that there was no provision in the Lotteries Act of 1997 to allow for any further extension of his term to take place.

It is clear that this attempt may have been and attempt by the ANC to allow Nevuthanda and his fellow travellers an opportunity to destroy critical evidence that may lead to future prosecutions.

The DA will not allow for this to happen and is ready to approach the courts if Minister Patel opts for this course of action.

Therefore, we call on him to appoint an independent caretaker chairperson until the process to select a new chairperson is concluded.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

SA needs 365 days of activism to tackle gender-based violence

South Africa’s coronavirus pandemic has highlighted, in gruesome detail, the rising scourge of gender-based violence in our country.

For the many women and children in South Africa who were forced into isolation with their abusers, our country’s national lockdown was a time of terror.

As much as 51% of South African women have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner, and the worrying spike in gender-based violence under lockdown serves as a reminder of the crucial work we must all take up to bring a swift end to this crime in our country.

Today as we observe the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the Democratic Alliance recommits itself, both where we are in government and in opposition, to bring an end to this prolific crime which robs women and children of their basic rights and freedoms. South Africa does not need 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we need 365.

The DA recognises that tackling gender-based violence in our country requires a multifaceted and comprehensive approach including victim support and empowerment programmes, violence prevention initiatives and, more importantly, education and public awareness campaigns to bring about behavioural change which is the root cause of this crime. Here are just come of the initiatives we have rolled out where we govern:

  • The Western Cape Department of Community Safety has tasked Advocate Leslie Morris to monitor gender-based violence and domestic violence cases in the Court Watching Brief Unit;
  • The Western Cape Department of Social Development currently funds 20 shelters in the province which can accommodate victims and their children for up to 3 months, and 4 emergency shelters which accommodate victims for up to 3 weeks; and
  • The Western Cape Department of Education’s Safe Schools holiday programme creates safe spaces and activities for children during the holidays and includes content on gender-based violence, sexual abuse and gender equality to empower learners.

For a full breakdown of how the DA is fighting the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa, visit our website at

Tackling gender-based violence isn’t a convenient campaign or a catchy slogan, it is a pledge to which we must recommit ourselves each and every day, for the women of our country, and for the basic freedoms of which they are robbed by crippling fear of harassment, violence, and rape. It is these basic freedoms that we as the DA fight to uphold and protect as a liberal party.

I am recommitting myself to bringing an end to gender-based violence, and I call on each and every male DA public representative, member, and activist to do the same.

Because women deserve the freedom and the right to feel as safe as we do in our homes and places of work, on our streets, and in our cities. Let’s #CommitToEndGBV

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.