DA condemns ANC MKMVA’s threat directed at the Zondo Commission

The Democratic Alliance (DA) finds utterances by the ANC MKMVA President, Kebby Maphatsoe, referring to the likelihood of a coup d’état or civil unrest if former President Jacob Zuma is charged regrettable and gravely concerning.

In a reaction to the criminal complaint laid against Zuma by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture for his antics last week, the ANC MKMVA issued a warning to the Commission to tread lightly and warned that those who love Zuma might react with “emotions” and that this might result in President Cyril Ramaphosa being overthrown.

The DA condemns these utterances with the strongest contempt, as we will not allow the legitimacy of the Commission in uncovering the rot of corruption in the State to be undermined by groupings with shallow populist agendas.

The MKMVA, just like the EFF, is an organisation that display contemptuous attitudes towards constitutionalism. These organisations thrive on violence and have absolutely no regard for the Constitution or the rule of law. This flies against the principles of our democracy.

The DA calls on the Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, to publicly condemn the MKMVA’s attempt to undermine the work of the Commission which is protected by the country’s Constitution.

We cannot allow these disparaging waves of attacks and acts of intimidation against the Zondo Commission by pseudo revolutionaries to weaken and derail our resolve to fight against corruption and looting that has weakened State institutions.

Matric exam leaks: More questions than answers following initial findings

While the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the arrest of a suspect in connection to the leaked Matric Physics and Mathematics examination papers, there are still questions that we urgently need clarity on to ensure the credibility of what is left of the exams and to ensure that it does not happen again.

The following points need clarifying:

  • When can we expect a full report?
  • How many papers were leaked?
  • Did the Department distribute the replacement papers for learners to write once they found out about the leak?
  • How many replacement papers were used?
  • How will the Department ensure that no other papers are leaked?

The DA is also concerned about the potential consequences of the leak.

Will the learners implicated need to re-write the exam? It was reported that the mathematics paper was shared on a WhatsApp group. This means that some learners could be implicated in the leak even though they might not have intended to participate in the offence.

There are also reports that the Mathematics Paper 1 were leaked. Is the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and her Department investigating these reports? And have there been even more leaks that the Department is trying to keep quiet?

The Minister cannot wait any longer to address these questions, as well as give clarity regarding any potential re-writes that would be needed as parents and learners need to prepare.

The credibility of this year’s matric examination is already being questioned, and the Minister must act now to ensure that the hard work and diligence of the 2020 Matrics, who already faced extremely difficult odds, would not be for naught.

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

Agriculture Department must include sector to address State land lease program challenges

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the honesty by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) regarding the challenges in the State land lease program.

The Department informed the portfolio committee members during a briefing last night, that they do not have the capacity to manage the leases of all the land currently registered in the name of the State. This after the department advertised 700 000 ha of State land that will be leased to interested farmers, for which 37 000 applications have been received.

The publication of the list of land that would be available for leases caused many farmers to panic, as they saw land that they were already farming on, on these lists.

According to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, the list consists of farms with no valid current leases and DALRRD plans to use it to regularize land use on all the farms. Most of the farmers on State land’s lease agreements have not been renewed since 2016.

DALRRD further stated that they are looking at offering freehold to those farmers who have been on the land for a long period. The DA welcomes this proposal and would urge the Department to finalise the terms and conditions for such a proposal as soon as possible.

While the DA has been contacted by many farmers who have received letters to vacate the land, the Department reiterated again that no farmers will be “chased of the land” and that the validation process of farmers on State land is ongoing. The DA will be monitoring the situation closely to ensure that this is indeed the case. We will not allow successful farmers to be stripped of their land without a fight.

Farming is already an incredibly stressful vocation and the State land release program must not be and extra burden to bear. As it stands, DALRRD is often the cause of worry and hindrance for farmers.

The agricultural sector must be included in these plans in order to ensure workable solutions are found. The release of State land is a step in the right direction, but it cannot be handled by the State alone.

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

DA Speeches: SABC and Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill

Note to Editors: The following speeches have been delivered in Parliament  during the Debate on the escalating crisis at the SABC and the consideration of the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill

Debate on the SABC:

Phumzile Van Damme MPSABC retrenchments must be dealt with, with empathy and respect for staff
DA Shadow Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies
074 462 1279

Consideration of Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill:

Annette Steyn MPUpgraded Land Bill does not correct injustices of the past
DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
082 323 0027

Thandeka Mbabama MP – 30 years on, the Land Tenure Rights Act has not done enough to meet expectations
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
073 050 9467

SABC retrenchments must be dealt with, with empathy and respect for staff

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament during the Debate on the escalating crisis at the SABC.

Honourable Chairperson,

Let me start by saying this; we feel the pain, distress, anxiety,and depression of those good, hardworking, talented,and deserving SABC staff who stand to lose their jobs.

We understand your anguish. You have mortgages to pay, school fees, car instalments, and just the basics of putting bread and butter on the table. This, at a time when 2.8 million fellow South Africans have joined the unemployment queue due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

This retrenchment process must be dealt with, with compassion, empathy and respect for the dignity of the SABC staff, many of whom have had to live through the terror of the Hlaudi Motsoeneng regime, now has to face a retrenchments process that has dragged on for two years breeding uncertainty and yet more feelings of unease and fear at work.

Let me say this too: unlike other political parties who will stand at this podium today and tell you they will stop retrenchments; we will not lie to you.

Lying to you would be nothing but a self-serving false promises whose only aim is to play to the gallery to gain support at the ballot.

We warn you not to accept help from wolves in sheep’s clothing who will turn around and devour you. You may think those wolves have your best interests at heart. No, it is their interests they have in heart. Trust in the legal processes and uphold the independence of the SABC that many of you have fought for.

When it comes to these wolves, the ANC is the biggest one.

When it comes to curbing unemployment, it does not have a single leg to stand on.

It is not the valiant government it is presenting itself to be, doing its verybest to stop unemployment in our country

Where were you, ANC, in the past few months when 2.6 million people lost their jobs?

Where were you for the for the wave of retrenchments at media houses across the country?

Where were you for PRIMEDIAstaff?

Were you there for the staff at KFM, Cape Talk, and EWN?

Where were you for Multichoice staff?

Where were you for Telkom staff?

Where were you for staff at iconic magazines Bona, Rooi Rose, Farmer’s Weekly, and many others?


Ningezi la nizos’qhomela nenze ngathi like you care about whether South Africans have jobs or not.

You do not care. Aninandaba.

Had to you cared, South Africa would not be in the position where 11 million people are unemployed, with the youth most affected.

Do not tell us of your “reform measures” when instead of using public funding to create job opportunities you gave SAA a R10.5 billion bailout last month on top of R16.4 billion you gave it in February. You do not care about the people of South Africa and making sure there is employment for those who do not have it.

You can move your mouths to say what South Africa wants to hear, but the facts are there on paper, and the facts say that you do not care. Aninandaba.

Now, to the SABC: I want to speak about the factson paper. I want to speak about the law, that we as Parliament must uphold. I will engage in no populism but speak to the evidence and facts we have before us, the truth we should all wake up to and South Africa must know.

At first instance, Parliamentcannot tell the SABC to halt retrenchments. It simply does not have that power. The process that the SABC is undergoing is informed by section 189 of the Labour Relations Act, which, at no stage requires Parliamentary approval.

Secondly, the Minister of Communications, as shareholder, similarly, by law does not have the power to instruct the SABC to halt retrenchments.

I do not know how many times Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has to be told that she cannot interfere at the SABC. Kuzobe kubenini?

Perhaps it must be repeated again and maybe this time she will hear it.

In terms of the Broadcasting Act, the board has the exclusive power “control the affairs of the Corporation”. This includes how the SABC operates the business of the public broadcaster and conducts labour relations with its employees.

Just last week, with the help of Minister Thulas Nxesi, she again gave an instruction to the SABC to halt retrenchments. The Minister went so far as to insist that she will be involved in mediation going forward. This is unlawful.

If she does so, she must be taken to court, a case she will lose, and costs must come from her pocket. Angithi ufuna ukwenza mathanda? Makenze mathanda ngemali yakhe, hhayi yabantu base South Africa.

The SABC is not the SNAS –the Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams Show. It is the public broadcaster, which is protected by law from political interference so it can provide content that represents a plurality of views, variety of news that advance the national and public interest.

Now, the ANC is constantly telling me in committee not to talk about the recent history of the SABC, which is a bizarre narrative from the ANC. But it is understandable why. Because it is the ANC’s fault that the SABC finds itself in this financial crisis due to historical factors.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng was a monster of the ANC’s own making. ANC Minister after ANC Minister protected him. ANC MP after ANC MP protected him.

When he left, not fired, after ceaseless litigation by the DA, and the Parliamentary Inquiry the DA pushed for, the SABC coffers were empty, with only R26 million in its reserves and unable to pay service providers. It will take years to repair that damage.

It is also understandable why the ANC is so vociferous about the SABC’s finances which it knows very well it is complicit in creating. An election is around the corner and the board too independent for its liking.

As an example, the board stood firmly against ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule in 2018 when he told the public that the ANC had decided not to “allow”the section 189 process. The SABC board issued a statement reminding Magashule that his party cannot make decisions about the SABC.

Magashule was later forced to retract his statement and said: “The SABC as an employer, we can’t dictate to them”.Perhaps he can share this information with his colleague Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams.

The board has in fact contributed to a climate of independence at the SABC that for the first time covered an election fairly.

According to Media Monitoring Africa, 99% of the coverage of the 2019 election was balanced and fair. The organisation noted that there was a clear shift to offer more citizens’ voices, political parties were equitably covered and the SABC stood up for its editorial independence.

ICASA shared the sentiment stating that it was satisfied that the SABC took great strides to cover a range of political parties thus ensuring diversity of views. With another election on its way, it is clear that the ANC cannot and will not allow for such fairness.

It is now using the retrenchments process to manufacture a situation where the SABC board is deemed to have failed to discharge its duties and must be dissolved. It wants a board that will be at its beck and call, and not this one that has fought to maintain its independence.

The simple fact is that it will not meet the grounds in the Broadcasting Act to dissolve the board.

We are aware that it has its mole Mamodupi Mohala who seeks to destabilize the board. She will not succeed.

It is an indisputable fact that the SABC staff is bloated. 43% of its funding goes to salaries instead of purchasing content to draw viewers and advertisers –the core source of its revenue.

Its wage bill must be reduced. It’s staffing model must be restructured. It cannot be that any organisation has double the number of supervisors than it does staff.

I have carefully monitored the steps that the SABC has taken thus far to not only cut costs but change its revenue model.

The board informed our committee that retrenchment was not the first option considered; other options were examined. One of which was natural attrition. However, it realised natural attrition would be far too slow to address its huge wage bill. It also gave the option of some employees accepting early retirement or voluntary severance packages. It further informed us that 16 consultative meetings had taken place with seven of them facilitated by the CCMA. And, further time for consultation until the end of December 2020 has been given.

We have also heard the genuine concerns by unions and staff regarding the lack of adequate consultation, and that an urgent application has been submitted by BEMAWU to the Labour Court regarding irregularities. We trust that should that the judgment find that there were indeed irregularities, the process that follows will be informed by that decision.

The bottom-line is this: in order for retrenchments to be halted, Treasury would have to fork out R700 million. There is no R700 million, nor should it be given, as itwas Treasury itself that instructed the SABC to reduce its headcount as part of its bailout conditions.

With that R700 million not forthcoming, and no reduction of the headcount, in a year or two, the SABC will require yet another bailout. That is a bailout that must not be given, which will mean that the SABC will have to close shop and everyone will lose their jobs. It is some now or everyone later.

We reiterate the call for the retrenchment process to be dealt with compassion, empathy, fairness and according to the letter of the law. And once restructuring has taken place, retrenched staff will be given the opportunity re-apply for positions in the new structure.

And there must be zero interference from the ANC, and its Minister who is bereft of any ideas and should have been fired a long time ago.

DA deeply saddened by murder of 80-year-old KZN farmer

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is deeply saddened by the news of the murder of 80-year-old farmer, Mr Mpozana Khumalo, in the Muden area on Friday last week.

According to reports Mr Khumalo was found tied to a tree after he went to check on the family’s cattle and sheep. He had been shot and had succumbed to his injuries.

The DA sends its deepest condolences and prayers to the family of Mr Khumalo and to the Muden community. He has been described as a humble and gentle person who had spent his life farming and tending to the family livestock.

Due to their isolation and vulnerability, as well as the incitement by high profile politicians, our farmers and farm workers are being disproportionality affected by crime. The reality is that they are being attacked and killed at much greater rates than any other group. It seems that every week brings another farm attack or murder.

Given this, the DA remains deeply concerned by the ongoing inaccuracy of rural crime statistics presented by police. We are aware of incidents that have taken place on farms, which SAPS have refused to classify as farm attacks or murders.

The DA has consistently been fighting for all farmers and farm workers, regardless of race, gender or geographic location. This week, we wrote to 10 high profile international human rights organisations in order to bring the plight of our farmers and farm workers to their attention.

The DA will continue to fight for more police resources, harsher sentences, and a criminal justice system that protects the innocent, rather than the brutal criminals that walk amongst us.

If you are in a position to help fund our Court Watching Briefs Unit which closely monitors every farm attack court case to ensure attackers end up behind bars, please make a donation here.

The Path to Building a New Majority

The following remarks were delivered by the DA Leader, John Steenhuisen, at the Press Club today. 

As we all grapple to come to terms with a post-Covid, post-lockdown world, it is crucial that we don’t let one crisis mask an even bigger one.

And we dare not let the extraordinary events of 2020 leave us confused as to which of them is the more serious problem, and which came first.

South Africa was in desperate trouble long before this strange year began. While most of the world, and indeed most of our African neighbours, bounced back to various degrees from the global financial crisis of 2008, we have been on a steady path of decline for well over a decade that had nothing to do with outside forces or acts of god.

And if anything, this pandemic has shifted the attention away from the massive, looming crisis in our economy and our society. It has given us all something else to worry about first before we get back to that other thing that had us so worried before we went into lockdown.

And, crucially, it has given those who have made no headway with our faltering economy a scapegoat to blame for all our woes, current and historic.

We are now led to believe by some that, had it not been for the arrival of the coronavirus in March, we wouldn’t be in this mess, and that our turnaround which was just about to happen has now been set back years.

Which is all nonsense, of course. By March of this year, before the first South African had tested positive and the first lockdown restriction had been announced, we were well into an economic recession and there was no sign of a turnaround on the horizon.

We’d been relegated to junk status by the ratings agencies, SARS was missing revenue collection targets by huge amounts and our State-Owned-Dinosaurs continued to gobble up multi-billion rand bailout after multi-billion rand bailout at the expense of just about every real government responsibility.

None of that had anything to do with the virus or the lockdown, although they have now been made infinitely worse by it.

Every part of our decline – our dwindling GDP growth, our ballooning unemployment, our rising national debt, our falling tax revenue, our parasitic state-owned companies and our apparent insistence on repelling all international investment – is entirely self-inflicted.

Despite our rich natural resources, our established infrastructure, our well-developed mining, agriculture and tourism sectors, and a massive untapped and eager workforce, we have been lagging well behind our African peers for over a decade. 

And we are doing so because of a stubborn refusal by our government to let go of an economic ideology that fizzled out and died in the rest of the world more than three decades ago.

The Berlin Wall might have fallen and the Soviet Union crumbled – and entire economies were reinvented and built from scratch – but our liberation movement government is still fighting this ideological war like that lone Japanese soldier isolated on a remote Philippines island for three decades after the Second World War had ended.

The belief that the state should be central to the economy and to the lives of citizens, that the state should own the land, industries and monopolies, and that the state knows best where and how economic activity should be directed is the single biggest impediment to our progress.

Yes, there are many other issues too, most notably the scourge of corruption that has paralysed virtually every single facet of government service delivery. But even this is rooted in a unique ANC worldview where many cadres of the liberation movement consider material rewards to be the justified spoils of war.

Smuts Ngonyama was dead serious back in 2004 when he said “I didn’t join the struggle to be poor”. And he was speaking for most of his comrades.

But government corruption is just a symptom of this state-obsessed ideology. And you cannot solve it without first removing the opportunity to loot a massively inflated, ineffective state through patronage and tender fraud.

In short, you need sweeping reforms.

You need to start reforming every single aspect of the state by taking power away from government and putting more and more of it in the hands of the people.

You need to make the switch and acknowledge that the private sector is the solution and not the problem. That smart entrepreneurs and investors know far better than government how to recognise and fill needs in the market, and they are far more efficient at delivering most goods and services.

You need to admit that running power companies, airlines and broadcasters is not the government’s strength, nor its primary duty to citizens. When these operate at a massive loss, the opportunity cost is devastating.

You need to realise that the market and international investors don’t care for our backstory. We’re not exceptional to anyone but ourselves. Their decisions are purely rational, and impediments like BEE, crime, corruption and a volatile, inflexible labour market are deal-breakers to most people.

All of these areas need to be reformed. The moment you do that, you will start to see results.

I’m not suggesting that it will be a simple task to halt our downward trajectory. It’s like trying to turn a massive oil tanker around – it doesn’t happen easily or quickly. But we haven’t even started to turn the wheel.

We have a government that does a lot of talking about the need to start doing so, but no one actually grabs the wheel and turns it. And so we continue to plough ahead in the wrong direction.

 We were told at the start of the Ramaphosa administration that we’d dodged a bullet in the NDZ faction, because Ramaphosa had a wonderful reform agenda. If anyone could crack the ANC’s century-old ideological mould, it was this “businessman” who understood the market.

And he certainly said all the right things. He promised us a New Dawn, and alongside him we saw his fellow reformers – people like Tito Mboweni and Pravin Gordhan – who would surely help steer us towards this new dawn.

But almost three years into this administration there can be no more illusions about these so-called reformers. They have all been yanked back into formation. None of the promised reforms have materialised, and instead of a new dawn we’ve been staring at the same old horizon crossing our fingers and hoping for a miracle.

Our recent further downgrade into double junk status has confirmed that the much-vaunted reform agenda of the Ramaphosa presidency failed at the very first hurdle.

Any talk of reform within his own party, any draft plan that puts some of the issues on the table, is immediately shut down and we are left with the same old ANC government with its Cold War-era National Democratic Revolution plan.

 So when the president stands on national TV and tells us about his economic recovery plan, the smart thing to do is to wait for his Finance Minister to deliver his budget before breaking out the champagne. Because that’s when you see the gaping hole between what is said and what is done.

That’s when you see the contradictions between the president’s soothing words, and the realities of the ruling party’s worldview as expressed in its budget decisions.

Our problem is that our government deals in the politics of optics. Saying the right thing creates the illusion of action and buys you enough time until the next instalment of the crisis wipes all those promises and commitments from memory.

So we see our president promising us economic recovery plans, talking tough on gender based violence and speaking about fixing our schools and education while that very same week his finance minister is making budget cuts to police, school infrastructure and housing. All to pay for bailouts to our state airline and other SOEs.

All that comforting talk is noting but pseudo-remedy. He’s offering us aromatherapy when we need chemotherapy.

But the good news amid all this gloom is that we don’t have to wait for the ruling Tripartite Alliance to disintegrate before we can set our economy free.

Just as the East Germans and the Soviets eventually put to bed the failed ideology that had kept them trapped in poverty for so long, we too can walk away from the ANC’s doomed project.

We too can choose to throw off the yoke of suffocating state control and step into the 21st Century, albeit a couple of decades late.

And by “we” I mean the people. Voters. Because that’s the only way to do this. The ANC cannot change its spots. It will never commit to the reforms we need. This so-called reformist presidency of Cyril Ramaphosa was the best shot they would ever have, and he didn’t even come close.

So if the ANC won’t let go of the ropes holding us back, it has to be the people of South Africa who let go of the ANC. Believe me, many are ready to do so.

I know the DA had a mixed bag of results during the recent by-elections, and we certainly didn’t have the 2019 election that we were hoping for, but when you look at overall votes shed during both the recent week of by-elections and in 2019, it is the ANC who was, by some distance, the biggest loser.

A shallow reading of the by-election results – which is all one got in the media coverage – shows that the DA had a net loss of seven seats. And while this was rightly described as a setback for the party, is doesn’t tell the full story.

 While we lost seats to, among others, Good, Patriotic Alliance, The Freedom Front Plus and Al Jama’ah under extremely difficult local conditions – and, it must be said, due to several faults of our own – our support grew among both black and white voters.

 In fact, our total loss of support in all the by-elections where the DA, ANC and EFF fielded candidates was less than one percentage point from our 2019 levels. The ANC lost almost 8 percentage points.

Significantly, one of the wards we won off the ANC was deep in rural Eastern Cape, in Walter Sisulu Municipality, which lies in the north of the province on the Free State border. The ward in question includes Burgersdorp, Mzamomhle and a rural district towards the Gariep dam.

It was in the two voting districts of Mzamomhle that the DA made its biggest inroads, enabling us to take the ward off the ANC. Not much was written about this particular swing, but to us it was very significant.

If black voters in a rural Eastern Cape ward could turn their backs on the ANC in favour of the DA, then it could happen anywhere.

It was always a matter of when – not if – the struggle credentials of the ANC would begin to fade and real life issues would start to overtake historical allegiance in the minds of voters.

That’s already happening, and it is a trend that won’t be reversed. Liberation movements across the continent have taught us this lesson. A lead role in the struggle only buys you a few decades. After that you either perform or you’re out.

The question now is: If the ANC is fading, what replaces it?

If the ANC is facing the possibility of losing its majority in the course of the next election cycle – which seems more and more likely with each passing week – where will the new majority come from?

And here the choice for voters comes down to two very clear and distinct options: Do I still see a future for a united, diverse South Africa, or is that dream no longer viable and should I rather retreat back into a lager of racial, language or religious uniformity?

There may be many options available to voters in terms of parties on the ballot, but the choice is really between these two outcomes. Because every major party in South Africa other than the DA unashamedly flies the flag for one group of South Africans only, whether this is black South Africans, Afrikaners, Zulus or Christians.

As our economic situation worsens and tensions in society rise, this movement away from the centre towards the radical edges of the political spectrum will try to gain momentum. In difficult times it’s not hard to appeal to people’s fears, and to then turn these fears into anger or hatred.

We’re seeing this across the world as the rise of identity politics and various types of nationalism end up turning citizens against each other, and against outsiders.

Here at home, the ugly scenes in Brackenfell are a stark reminder of just how destructive this brand of “us vs them” politics can be.

This is why the DA is committed to building a united, non-racial and rational centre in our politics, because this is where our new majority has to come from if we are to have any chance of success.

This is why our values and our policies are written for all South Africans – because we know that a majority brought together by a shared set of values and a shared vision for our country is the only foundation for building a future.

A majority built around a single identity like race or culture can never, ever do this.

And this is why we proudly adopted the value of non-racialism at our recent policy conference – because we cannot fix the injustice of the past by perpetuating the same divisions that caused this injustice in the first place.

In recent years we haven’t always honoured this commitment to our values. In our desperation to bring change to the metros of Gauteng, we compromised on our values by making concessions to the EFF. We can’t do that again. 

The DA’s plans – and indeed our country’s future – don’t lie with a party like the EFF. Our values and our commitment to democracy and the rule of law mean that there is a red line we cannot cross. The EFF is beyond that red line.

For the DA there is only one criteria of success that matters, and that is the lived experience of people where we govern. If we compromise on this to accommodate a party that doesn’t share our belief in democracy and freedom, we will have given up everything that sets us apart.

If we are given the opportunity to govern in a city or town, it has to be felt that there is a significant change under the DA.

That change was undeniable in Nelson Mandela Bay from 2016 to 2018, and it was almost entirely undone these past two years following the NMB council coup by the ANC, UDM and EFF.

But NMB will have a DA mayor and a DA-led coalition government again, most likely in a matter of days. And that DA-led government won’t sit around crying over everything that went wrong these past two years. It will get stuck into fixing these things and putting NMB back on track.

That’s all that matters. That’s all the DA is, and should be, known for.

We have a similar opportunity in Tshwane to bring stability, accountability and clean governance back to a city that has taken a beating since falling back into the hands of the ANC.

And what we do in these metros will become the blueprint for how to build a new majority in South Africa.

We will show that there is clear blue water between the DA and the ANC on every single aspect of governing these cities.

We will show that running clean governments and shutting the patronage taps makes a noticeable difference to the level of service delivery.

We will show that a meritocracy beats cadre deployment every day of the week.

We will show that the more power you take away from government and the state and place in the hands of the people, the more you free them up to live their lives the way they choose to.

And we will show that a party that speaks for all, cares for all and is a home to all is the only way forward for our country.

I’m not saying it will be easy, but it has to be done. Because that is our country’s only hope.

In the meantime we will continue to perform our responsibility as the official opposition in parliament the only way we know how: relentlessly.

We will continue to hold the ANC government to account on every single issue and we will continue to push for the reforms that everyone – including the ANC – knows must happen.

What we won’t do, however, is take part in the ANC’s faction fights.

You don’t have to be a political analyst to recognise that Thursday’s scheduled Motion of No Confidence in President Ramaphosa is part of counter strike by the Ace Magashule faction through its proxy project, The African Transformation Movement.

It is no coincidence that this motion was brought to the national assembly the moment the legal heat was turned up on Magashule.

 The DA will play no part in a war for control of the ANC, and we will not support this motion. Our 84 MPs weren’t elected to parliament to pick ANC sides. They were elected to parliament to hold the government to account, and to pass legislation that will improve the lives of South Africans. And that is what we intend to do.

So while the ANC and its proxies slug it out for power, we are officially giving President Ramaphosa this final warning and opportunity: Bring your reform agenda and table it in parliament so that we can help you pass it. 

We’ve made this offer before, and I want to repeat it again because President Ramaphosa is fast running out of time. The enemies of growth sit around him on the ANC benches. They will do all they can to prevent crucial reforms from reaching the house.

But if the President were to reach across the aisle, he’ll find he probably has the majority he needs.

Let him bring his reforms and let him bring the votes of those in the ANC who back a reform agenda, and the DA will help him pass them.

He knows he can’t trust half his party, but he doesn’t have to.

But that window of opportunity is closing by the day as the ANC factions jostle for position. He must know he has a target on his back. So let him use this window while it is there.

That could be the first step towards our country’s recovery from decades of poor policies and even worse leadership.

It certainly would be the first step towards building a new majority in the centre of our politics – a majority focused, for the first time ever, on the needs of the people rather than the greed of the leaders.

Now wouldn’t that be something?

Thank you.

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

Game over: Ramaphosa’s government commits fiscal treason by blowing up Mboweni’s pledge to cut the wage bill

The decision taken by the Department of Public Service and Administration, through the State Attorney, to halt court proceedings before the Labour Court on the freeze applied to the state wage bill by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and instead work towards a settlement with destructive unions, signals the beginning of the end of the government’s half-hearted effort to reduce the out-of-control wage bill. As a result of the ANC’s desire to hang onto political power at all costs, South Africa is now hurtling towards a budget blowout and a fiscal crisis from which we may not recover for at least a generation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government has essentially surrendered the public purse to the threats of a few hundred thousand union members at the expense of 60 million South Africans, who now face an uncertain future due to an economy that is already in free-fall.

Minister Mboweni’s supposed plan to hold the fiscal line and freeze the state wage bill has been summarily torn up by political considerations to keep tripartite alliance cadres on side. We all know that the ANC has chosen to appease these cadres and unionists because COSATU had threatened to withdraw its support to the ANC during the 2021 local government election if the ANC implemented Mboweni’s plan.

South Africans will now pay a heavy price from the resultant collapse in service delivery, as the ANC government moves to slash budgets from essential services in order to fund the expected wage settlement.

If there was any doubt before, it has now been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the ANC exists to serve its cadres, not citizens of South Africa. The people of our country are set to face spiraling debt, unemployment and a full-blown balance of payments crisis – just to protect fat cat cadres and millionaire managers.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has failed his most critical test to date. He has allowed his political allies to ram through a wage settlement that he knows the country cannot afford. Instead of leading the country on a path to fiscal sustainability, he has instead endorsed the path of fiscal treason as vested interests in his party push South Africa towards economic collapse.

Fortunately for all South Africans who want our country to avoid economic Armageddon, the DA will use every avenue at our disposal to fight the ANC and Ramaphosa’s fiscal treason. We will not allow this failing and corrupt state to sacrifice the future of 60 million South Africans at the altar of appeasing the same ANC political elite that has brought our country to its knees. Unlike the ANC, the DA unequivocally chooses the people over politicians, our country over party politics, and citizens over cadres.

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

A Children’s Commissioner in every province is a game changer in the protection of children’s rights

As the nation observes 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, the Democratic Alliance (DA) renews our calls for the establishment of a Children’s Commissioner in every province.

The Children’s Commissioner (https://web.facebook.com/ChildrensCommissionerWC) in the Western Cape, Ms. Christina Nomdo, took office on 1 June 2020 in the pandemonium of the global Coronavirus pandemic and the hardest stages of the national lockdown. Ms Nomdo has hit the ground running and has made great strides.

In a short period of time Ms Nomdo set up a governance unit comprising of fifty Child Government Monitors who were nominated by their peers as well as by child rights organisations. This unit communicates on a daily basis using the WhatsApp messaging app on issues affecting children in real time reporting.

Ms Nomdo has submitted submissions on; 1) the Children’s Act, 2) the African Peer Review Mechanism with a focus on secondary education and 3) to the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child with a focus on parenting support by government because all children are worthy of love and protection.

In two months during level 1 lockdown, October – November 2020, Ms Nomdo, held nine Community Children Rights Workshops in the rural areas of the West Coast District reaching Stofkraal and Molsvlei on the border of the Northern Cape. This is the same number of capacity building workshops on the National Plan of Action for Children which the Department of Social Development’s (DSD) had for the entire 2019/20 year.

The National Planning Commission (NPC) in September 2015 included children in the development of the National Development Plan – children were previously excluded from this process. The NPC identified children as an important stakeholder group, partly because they will be the adult population in the future. Children play an intrinsic part of society and it is important to elicit the children’s views on their future.

The DSD 2019 National Child Care and Protection Policy goal is that “[all] children in South Africa receive a continuum of the developmental care and protection services they need in an enabling and supportive environment to survive, development to their full potential, be protected from violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination, and participate in decisions that affect them.”

The establishment of a Children’s Commissioner across the country will see national policy implemented as the state plays a secondary role in the protection of children’s rights with parents and caregivers as the primary protectors.

A Children’s Commissioner in every province has the potential of speeding up government response to violence and abuse against children. The DSD has a Child Protection System in that any caring South African, adult or child, can report abuse to any DSD office, Childline, SAPS or child protection NGO. The report is logged and a social worker is assigned to the case for investigation and action through psycho-social support services or via the judicial court system.

Government systems are often overloaded, slow, backlogged and all the while the child suffers. A Children’s Commissioner is an additional layer of support to children in the Child Protection System as the Commissioner will intervene where there are systemic or strategic challenges as well as monitor cases.

The Western Cape Government is determined to see the Office of Children’s Commissioner grow in its mandate to deliver with a financial budget of R8 million this financial year and with the further employment of three investigation and advice personnel to strengthen service delivery to children.

The incredible service of a Children’s Commissioner should be a government service all South African children and parents should have access to and not only those living in the Western Cape. We call on the Premiers in the various provinces to set up this service in their office.

Imagine the impactful difference a Children’s Commissioner would have in every province across South Africa. It would be government policy in action.

Report neglect or abuse of a child:

Childline: 08000 55 555

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

#Jetgate Bombshell: No minutes exists of meeting between Defence Minister and Zim counterpart

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has learned through a Promotion of Access to Information Act 2000 (PAIA) application that there is no evidence of the meeting that supposedly took place between the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and her Zimbabwean counterpart in September.

In an affidavit Ambassador Gladys Kudjoe, the Secretary for Defence, confirms that no minutes exist of the supposed meeting between Minister Mapisa-Nqakula and the Zimbabwean Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Opah Muchinguri-Kashiri, on 9 September 2020 in Zimbabwe.

According to the affidavit, a letter received from the Office of the Minister on 26 October 2020 stated that the meeting “was a verbal meeting and no minutes were recorded”.

How can there be no minutes to such an important, urgent meeting that warranted the breaking of Ministerial handbook rules to attend it? It is common best practice to record meetings of Ministers on international missions, and surely a meeting deemed important enough to organise in a matter of days would not be the exception.

The only conclusion can be that such a meeting between the two Ministers never took place, because the Minister and her ANC hitchhikers were never in Zimbabwe on State business. Their only business was only ever in service of the ANC and this meeting between Ministers Mapisa-Nqakula and Muchinguri-Kashiri were concocted in a poor attempt to fool the taxpayers who had to foot the bill for the abuse of State resources.

The DA will submit this affidavit to the investigating officer.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula has shown once again that she cannot be trusted to head a department as important as the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, or any department for that matter. This affidavit proves that the Minister is trying to cover her tracks and it is time she faced the music.

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