The Expropriation Bill could lead to more land invasions

Click here to protect your ownership rights by objecting to expropriation without compensation.

The Expropriation Bill has the potential to lead to further possible land invasion should it be enacted.

While some of the issues in the Bill are glaringly problematic, some are more nuanced. Perhaps the most controversial clause, however, is not only overtly concerning, but the unintended consequences if it remains in the Bill, could be catastrophic.

Section 12(3)(c) provides that nil compensation may be paid, irrespective of whether or not the owner has title deeds to the property, “where an owner has abandoned the land by failing to exercise control over it”. There is no definition of the exercise of control, and there is no clarity around how the exercise of control would be determined. Merely that the lack of control would be sufficient to result in expropriation without compensation.

With the potential adoption of the Expropriation Bill in this current form, land invasions could very easily become the means by which expropriation without compensation can be forced. Once a property has been invaded, it is for all intents and purposes, no longer under the control of the owner. Cue Section 12(3)(c) of the Expropriation Bill and expropriation without compensation.

While this interpretation might appear to be cynical, it is important to bear in mind that legislation should always be drafted with the worst government in mind. It would be naïve to believe that unscrupulous and greedy officials would not make use of such a loophole to secure land for nil compensation, if such a provision exists.

Land invasions have recently become one of the biggest problems facing municipalities and private land owners throughout the country. Whether motivated by genuine need or political opportunists, existing legislation and the State of Disaster are already weighted in favour of the illegal occupiers. A lacuna between the Trespass Act and the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act is paralyzing police and creating an enabling environment for illegal land invasions and occupations. Recent court decisions in both the Western and Eastern Cape have further entrenched the rights of the illegal occupiers over the legal title holders of land with reparations and reinstatement of structures being ordered.

Property rights are a foundation of a constitutional democracy. The DA recognizes that expropriation of property is required for public purposes such as building roads or dams or other infrastructure. It is also necessary for the purposes of land reform. And even though this Bill might address the latter, that is not its primary intention.  This is not a magnanimous piece of legislation and we must not be lulled into believing that the perceived “greater good” is more important than the protection of individual rights. This Bill, especially in Section 12 is a very real threat to private property rights and requires extensive reworking in order to address those threats.

We call on all South Africans to engage with this Bill and to make their submissions by 28 February 2021 via email at or send “Hi” via WhatsApp to 060 550 9848.  Your right to own property depends on it.

DA gives notice of proposed amendments to Disaster Management Act

Find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Cilliers Brink MP

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will introduce draft legislation to limit the power of the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to extend a national state of disaster and to issue lockdown regulations.

Last week a notice to this effect was published in the Government Gazette calling on interested parties and institutions to submit written representations on the proposed content of a draft Disaster Management Amendment Bill which the DA will introduce.

Currently Parliament has no role in the decision of the minister to declare and extend a national state of disaster. Unlike in a state of emergency, Parliament also has no power to disapprove of regulations issued under such a declaration.

This constitutional loophole has led to economically devastating abuse of power by government and compelled businesses and organisations to go to court for information that should have been tabled and debated in Parliament.

The DA’s proposed amendments reflect the case we have made in court against the constitutionality of Section 27 of the Disaster Management Act and the remedies which we seek. Regardless of whether or not we win this case, the issue has to be brought to the floor of Parliament.

The aim of the bill is to close the loopholes for ministerial lawmaking and a command style government. This could in our view be achieved by inter alia:

  • Requiring the minister to promptly table in Parliament any declaration of a national state of disaster, any regulations made and directions issued pursuant to such a declaration, any any proposed extension of a national state of disaster;
  • Empowering the National Assembly to, by resolution, invalidate any such extension, regulations or directions.

Here is a copy of the notice.

The DA calls on South Africans who share our concerns to give their input on the content of the bill.

Click here to protect your ownership rights by objecting to expropriation without compensation.

Budget Response: A grants cut to pay for more bailouts

The Finance Minister’s commitments to getting debt under control by 2025 and cutting the wage bill by a massive R300 billion are welcome. These are not new pledges, they were contained in the October 2020 MTBPS. Nevertheless, we are pleased Minister Tito Mboweni stuck to these targets. However, the credibility of these targets is questionable. The targets are based purely on the government’s ability to actually deliver the wage cuts they have now budgeted for. This sets up a major conflict between the ANC and public sector unions, which if lost, will result in a major fiscal and debt blowout.

But this was not the story of today’s Budget.

This was a Budget that will raise the cost of living for those South Africans who face the hardest times. It is a budget that kicks South Africans while they’re down.

As unemployment has spiked to above 42.6%, South Africans who have lost their jobs, as well as the elderly and those living on social grants, will wonder what they have done to deserve this.

It isn’t hard to spot what was wrong with the Budget Speech today.

  1. Minister Mboweni said he wouldn’t increase taxes. Then he increased petrol tax by 27 cents a litre. This was a tax con. This will increase the cost of living for every South African. Taxi and bus fares will go up, as will food prices, as goods will cost more to move around the country. This is a regressive move that burdens the poor (who spend more of their income on food and transport) unfairly.
  2. The Minister has actually cut allocations to social grants for the first time. Grant recipients will receive increases of around 1%, far below low-income inflation of around 4%. As hard as this is to even believe, it is there on pages 61 and 62 of the Budget Book. The foster care grant, the child support grant, and the disability grant, all see allocations cut. In this year alone, social grants are cut by R5.8 billion. This shows the extent to which interest on debt is eating into other critical expenditure. This is an indefensible choice to make. As the DA did in our Alternative Budget, the government should have protected social spending and prioritised other cuts.
  3. The Minister announced yet another immoral bailout for SAA of R4.3 billion, an enormous R31.7 billion for Eskom, and R7 billion for the Land Bank. Each year these bailouts are repeated, and each year the government promises they will end. The truth is that there is no plan to end them, and they will not end until these zombie state companies are broken up, sold off, or shut down. Every year the DA has warned that these endless bailouts will mean cuts to essential spending. That time of reckoning is now here, as the ANC is now cutting social grants by R5.8 billion to bail out SAA again with R4.3 billion. The trade off is direct, and is paid for by the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
  4. Despite the Minister’s strong words, the funding for the vaccine rollout is totally inadequate. This is the most obvious and basic thing the Minister had to get right today – provide enough money for a vaccine for every person. This is not just the right thing to do to save lives, but is the best economic recovery strategy the government could hope for. It is clear the government is planning on a 3 year vaccine rollout. This is too slow, too little, too late. The DA’s Alternative Budget included a full R35 billion allocation for vaccines for everyone.

Finally, despite all of these commitments, government will still borrow R541 billion more this year. Over the next 3 years, the government will spend nearly R1 trillion just on paying interest on debt. This means that this year government will pay roughly the same in interest on debt (R278.3 billion) as it spends on all the other goods and services (R279.5 billion).  The state now spends 2.6 times more on interest payments than on policing, and interest now even outstrips the healthcare budget, and the social welfare budget.

This was not a budget to be proud of. It placed the burden on the poor.

Click here to protect your ownership rights by objecting to expropriation without compensation.

DA seeks transparency over EC names changes that will cost millions, in the middle of a pandemic

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will submit written parliamentary questions to the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture regarding the recent name changes in the Eastern Cape, focusing on the cost of these name changes and the public participation process that was followed prior to the changing names of cities, towns and airports in the province.

It is important to interrogate whether the public, especially those residents living in these towns and cities, was given adequate and reasonable time to make their voices heard on the issue. Was the process advertised in due time and were every voice considered?

Given the public outcry after the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, gazetted the changes, it would seem as though government was simply engaging in a box-ticking exercise under the guise of “transformation” and ultimately ignored the voices opposed to the name changes. This was clearly nothing more than a political ploy by the ANC government to garner votes in an election year.

But this decision to side-line submissions from the public by rejecting 139 objections, including two petitions with 180 signatures, might have been a step too far for the ANC government. In answer to legitimate concerns about the cost of the project and suggestions on how the money could be better spent to invigorate the economy and maintain and update infrastructure, the Department had the audacity to reply in a statement that “This transformation agenda seeks to redress the imbalances of the past, therefore no quantifiable price tag could be put on it”.

This is the same Department that has failed to support the arts and culture sectors of South Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing it to its knees and leaving multitudes in the industry jobless, homeless, and starving.

This is the same Department that is unable to maintain historic sites as it is mandated to do and wilfully lets it fall into disrepair.

It is the same Minister who continues to put his ANC agenda above the lives and livelihoods his ministry should protect.

The DA stands behind Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Nqaba Bhanga’s comments that the name changes for Port Elizabeth were a big mistake and that it would have far reaching consequences.

How much more money will the Department be allowed to waste on vanity pet projects while South African artists and athletes are suffering? And that during a pandemic that has left the economy in tatters and millions more without work and even the hope of finding employment. Minister Mthethwa should be ashamed. He is a failing Minister in charge of a rotten Department.

Click here to protect your ownership rights by objecting to expropriation without compensation.

DA submits comments on Expropriation Bill; public has only 4 days left to make submissions to Parliament

Yesterday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) submitted our comments opposing the Expropriation Bill to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, and we encourage South Africans to make their voices heard on this disastrous legislation before 28 February 2021.

The DA is opposing this Bill in the strongest possible terms as it has a number of worrying issues that endanger people’s property rights:

  • Several of the points in the Expropriation Bill are ill-defined and leaves room for government to take advantage of citizens and unfairly expropriate their property, like defining and expanding on what in the “public interest” entails.
  • Intangible property is mentioned once in the Bill and never expanded upon. This could allow government to expropriate more than just land or property like houses, and ventures onto things like copyright, patents and intellectual property. Determining the value of this would require specialist knowledge and this category of property should ideally not be included in this Bill.
  • The way the Bill allows for the expropriation of State land affords government the right to refuse said expropriation. Citizens are not afforded the same right, and in a Constitutional democracy it is unacceptable that the State has more rights than individuals.
  • Should property be damaged during the expropriation process, the Bill allows that it should be repaired to a reasonable standard, but fails to define this standard or make provision for an independent expert to oversee the repair.
  • The Bill provides that municipalities or municipal managers should respond to requests for information regarding property to be expropriated within 20 days, but fails to state the repercussions should a response not be forthcoming.
  • Encumbrances, like mortgages, should be taken into account when valuing property set to be expropriated, but the Bill does not adequately allow for this.
  • Section 12 of the Bill has a number of concerning issues;
    • The lists of circumstances under which nil compensation can be paid currently states “included but not limited to…” which opens the door for an unlimited number of new circumstances to be introduced. The list must either be scrapped from the Bill or be deemed sufficient as is, but government cannot be allowed to add circumstances to the list on a whim.
    • The fact that control over land is placed above the rights of title deed holders would create fertile ground for land grabs and land invasions and would leave the owners of the land powerless to oppose this. A definition for “exercise control over” must also be provided.
    • Prejudices against land prospecting for investment purposes is also highly concerning.
    • The State should be obligated to negotiate in good faith and not just “attempt to reach an agreement”.
  • Disputes should be settled before expropriation has occurred, and not after as currently in the Bill.
  • The Bill should outline the specific acceptable purposes and uses of land which is expropriated by the expropriating authority.
  • Email should be added as a method of delivery in Section 24.

The DA encourages all South Africans to make submissions to the committee before the public participation process for the Expropriation Bill comes to an end on 28 February 2021.

Submissions can be emailed to Ms Nola Matinise at, it can be sent on WhatsApp to 060 550 9848 and submitted via this Submission Page. A request to make oral submissions to the Portfolio Committee can also be made.

Click here to protect your ownership rights by objecting to expropriation without compensation.

Minister Nzimande should clarify the defunding of key teaching and nursing courses

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, to explain the reasons behind NSFAS’s canning of funding for key study areas, crucial to today’s functioning of our economy, most notable nursing and teaching.

In the release of a circular (see here) that went out earlier this week, NSFAS CEO, Andile Nongogo, announced the defunding of the following key areas of study:

  • Legacy two-year diplomas
  • Bachelor of Education
  • Bachelor of Nursing Science
  • Overall funding of Post-Graduate qualification

While Nongogo has now clarified that these funding cuts will not relate to undergraduate studies, it is still concerning that postgraduate studies will not be funded. Particularly related to nursing and teaching.

It is shocking to note that in line with the crucial shortages of both teachers and nurses, especially during the covid-19 pandemic, that the Department has decided to remove funding in these key areas. In addition, research, science and innovation are crucial to getting ahead of the pandemic for future economic or social challenges. Researchers and scientists are playing a crucial role in combatting today’s health pandemic, yet the Department aims to defund the future development of these critical postgraduate qualifications.

The above-mentioned removal of key courses is in complete contradiction to the Critical Skills List (see here). The list highlights the following critical skills, which are directly related to the courses NSFAS has decided to defund:

  • Engineering manager (requiring post-graduate qualification)
  • General medical practitioner (requiring postgraduate qualification).
  • Registered nurse for community health (requiring postgraduate qualification)
  • Registered mental health nurse (requiring postgraduate qualification).
  • University lecturer (requiring postgraduate qualification).

Earlier this week, NSFAS released a media statement (see here) in response to the outrage regarding their defunding plans for key study areas. The NSFAS statement response states that in 2016, the Department of Higher Education Science and Technology Minister Nzimande first introduced the phasing out of certain “legacy qualifications”. 2016 is however outdated and the skills that might have not been in demand then is definitely in demand now.

The Minister must re-evaluate what he views as legacy qualifications to ensure that the university curriculum is complimentary to the needs of the economy. Additionally, he must give clear communication about these phasing out plans. There is too much confusing and unclear communication from NSFAS, which leaves students and the community out in the dark. Students and industries need clarity on what courses will be replaced with a similar or potentially more relevant courses or what will be phased out altogether, and the relevant implications of such a decision.

Click here to protect your ownership rights by objecting to expropriation without compensation.

President Ramaphosa should institute a SIU investigation into Minister Mkhize

Please find the attached soundbite by Siviwe Gwarube MP.

Reports emanating from a Daily Maverick investigation reveal shocking findings that Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, is implicated in an improperly awarded contract by the Department of Health.


The investigation has found that long-time personal associates of the Minister allegedly pocketed Covid-19 funds after being appointed as consultants of a KwaZulu-Natal company. The company, Digital Vibes, was paid R82 million to provide Covid-related services to the Department. 


The DA will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa to institute a Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigation into these very serious allegations. Corruption during this Covid-19 pandemic has reached crisis levels. We have seen politicians use their influence and proximity to certain individuals to improperly award contracts; siphon public money and not be held accountable for their crimes.


That is why it is important for the President to act swiftly and ensure that the facts around this alleged improper contract are exposed and those guilty of this egregious crime are held accountable.

The DA has noted that the Department of Health has launched an investigation into these allegations, however, we are of the view that any investigation should be independent and free from any possible internal influence. 


Minister Mkhize is leading the country’s response to the Covid pandemic. There cannot be a cloud of doubt hanging over his head about possible abuse of state resources.

Click here to protect your ownership rights by objecting to expropriation without compensation.

Budget: Only the DA will get SA’s debt under control

Albert Einstein was being perfectly serious when he quipped that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. If we don’t resolve our debt crisis very soon, South Africans are going to learn this the hard way with sudden, deep, painful cuts across state spending.

On Monday, the DA released our Alternative Budget, a credible and costed plan to get the ANC’s debt under control, and thereby protect essential social spending, such as on grants, health, education, and safety.

With very achievable spending cuts, and whilst still protecting essential social spending and frontline staff wages, the DA’s Alternative Budget turns debt around by 2024/25, and at a 2.5 percentage point lower peak debt rate than the ANC, which optimistically forecasts getting debt under control by 2025/26.

Getting debt under control sooner means lower debt service costs (because lenders see us as less risky, so are prepared to lend at lower interest rates), which then allows for greater investment in social spending.

DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube will be discussing the budget at 11am today on the DA’s Inside Track, with shadow minister of finance Geordin Hill-Lewis, economist Mike Schűssler and others.

No one should underestimate South Africa’s debt problem. We’re borrowing R2 billion every day at high interest rates, with no real plan or ability to pay back this fast-rising debt. That’s completely unsustainable – something’s got to give.

Currently, interest on debt is our fastest-growing expense category. We already spend R1 in every R5 of tax revenue on it, and that will become R1 in every R2 within a few years, unless we get our debt under control. As our interest payments grow, so the amount we have left for poverty relief shrinks.

At some point – probably in the next three to seven years – we’ll have a full-blown sovereign debt crisis, when lenders stop lending to SA altogether. The consequences will be profoundly painful for society – wider poverty and deep cuts to social spending. As with other government failures, the poor always suffer most.

Unsustainable debt is also deeply unfair on young people, who’ll have to pay it back out of their tax earnings one day. Every child born in South Africa today immediately carries a debt burden of their R67 000 share of South Africa’s R4 trillion of debt.

Reforms that enable our economy to grow are the only way to get South Africa out of this crisis other than painful spending cuts.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is acutely aware of this, but has been unable to force these through, for purely political reasons. Having lost the ability to deliver on their promise of a better life for all, the ANC has opted to deliver a better life for connected cronies to shore up their political support, at the expense of the majority.

So the DA will be tabling every one of the most critical reform measures in Parliament, and will press ahead with this reform agenda where we are in government. With significant support for these reforms on the opposition benches, only about one third of ANC MPs will need to support them, to get them pushed through.

A faster-growing economy has incredible power to reverse our economic fortunes. It would bend our unemployment trajectory, which is now at 42.6%, and grow tax revenues without increasing tax rates. Economic growth of just 1.5 percentage points above our current average growth rate will resolve our national debt crisis.

Along with economic reforms to unlock growth, we also need a budget that gets debt under control in the earliest possible time. The DA’s Alternative Budget:

  • Allows for a fully-funded vaccine rollout of R35 billion.
  • Allows for inflationary increases in social grants, health and education.
  • Protects working families from higher taxes.
  • Protects wages for frontline public sector workers – who are poorly paid relative to middle and senior management officials.
  • Stops bailouts to failing state companies such as SAA, Eskom and the Land Bank.
  • Allows R250 million to help cities procure independent power responsibly.

It is never easy to cut budgets, but it is far less painful than allowing SA to descend into a full-blown debt crisis. So the DA proposes the following spending cuts:

  • By freezing nominal public wages at the October 2020 limits.
  • By reducing the number of managerial posts in the civil service, through retrenchments and a hiring freeze until the number is down by 9000 – roughly a third.
  • By freezing nominal budgets of departments other than those that protect the most poor and vulnerable.

The DA is the only party that South Africans can rely on to build a more prosperous country for poor people today and for future generations. A vote for the DA in the 2021 local government elections will be a vote for growth and sustainability – and for Albert Einstein’s logic that the sooner you get debt under control the better.

Parliament should demand better from government on Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today, during the DA’s debate of National Importance on the government’s vaccine rollout plan

Covid-19 has been the toughest test of the world’s governance models.

It illuminated the cracks in health systems; the weaknesses in executive functions and stretched the capacity of the legislative arms of the state.

South Africa has not been spared from these tests.

Over the past year, it became clear that the decades of mismanagement of our health system; the under-investment and neglect of infrastructure would cost us dearly in the battle against this pandemic.

We saw government resort to secrecy and err on the side of lockdowns and restrictions.

We saw our healthcare facilities struggle to provide beds and, in some cases, oxygen for those who needed hospitalization.

In many instances, the pressure was so severe that mortuaries could not cope with the demand for burials.

We saw Parliament fumble; tripping over itself when it came to holding the executive to account.

While we eventually found our rhythm with virtual sittings of the House and accountability sessions in portfolio committees, this pandemic found us flat-footed and ill-equipped to rise to the occasion.

The partisan nature of Parliament made holding government to account an impossible task.

In committees that are composed of a majority of ANC members, the executive was often protected and tough questions blocked despite the crisis the country has been in.

Members of this House chose party lines over tough decisions that we so desperately needed.

For many in the Executive accountability; checks and balances – which are key tenants of our constitutional democracy – were viewed as attacks.

Pertinent questions were treated as antagonism.

And when the opposition started to ring the alarm about the vaccine rollout plan late last year, we were told ‘all is under control.’

Except it was not.

It was only months later when countries similar to ours started to roll out their vaccine plans that we started to scramble for scraps on the international table. 

Throughout this entire test of democratic South Africa, the true heroes were our healthcare workers.

Aba ngamagokra nama gokrakazi aye asithwala kwaphela unyaka sisilwa nalentsholongwane.

Baninzi abathe baphulukwana nobom babo besebenzela isizwe sabo; benceda abantu beli.

Siyababulela ngogalelo lwabo. Eneneni ngesingekho apha ngaphandle kwabo i- healthcare workers zethu.

Kumasapho abo, siyanibulela ngokusiboleka omama, otata, osisi, nabantwana bethu kulemfazo.

However, this battle is far from over.

We are only at a different phase of this pandemic.

We are at a crucial time where government is expected to acquire and roll out an effective vaccine against the 501YV2 variant that is dominant in South Africa.

The process until now has been marred with challenges – some beyond our control and some of our own making.

When it became clear that government was not forthcoming with a concrete and codified plan of how it would fulfil its own goal of vaccinating over 40 million South Africans by year-end – we approached the Western Cape High Court to force the Presidency to do so.

You see, we cannot perform our constitutional obligations of holding government to account if we have no benchmark against which to gauge its performance.

When the legislature failed to demand this from government, we had no choice but to require a court of law to do so.

The Constitutional Court has played this role before when it compelled the Department of Health to rollout ARVs back in 2002 from a case brought to it by the TAC.

It was only after the DA’s court action that government finally provided some semblance of a detailed response.

The excuse that no codified plan that would be tabled in this House for scrutiny because of

an environment that is highly competitive and forever changing is lazy. At best.

Parliament cannot be treated as an inconvenient stop for the executive; an annoying stakeholder that must be pacified.

It has to be a centre of excellence;

Where we as members take it upon ourselves to ask those difficult questions.

Despite changing factors; there must be a plan that details:

  • Manufacturers that government is negotiating with – this doesn’t mean undermining sensitive negotiations – but an indication of where we are with the process.
  • Expected doses of the vaccine – it has become clear that we will obtain vaccines from various manufacturers and they will have different needs for distribution and storage – those are the details that government must be ready to share;
  • Provincial readiness for the rollout of phase 2 and 3 which will prove complicated given our broken health system and deeply unequal access for millions of South Africans;
  • The budget allocated – what provinces will be responsible for and what Treasury has committed to this process. The Minister of Finance has an opportunity tomorrow to provide a far more detailed plan around this tomorrow during the Budget Speech;
  • Commitment to halt vanity projects like SOE bailouts;

Are we so used to mediocrity that asking very basic questions like this requires resorting to legal channels?

Can we not demand more from our government?

Countries world over are vaccinating people in their millions, we have yet to breach the 50 000 mark.

Pointing this out is not being negative or oppositional, it is demanding more. And that is our job.

In reality, here are the facts:

  • The vaccine committee was only established in September last year while other countries had already started to negotiations with manufacturers in May of 2020;
  • South Africa only registered with the COVAX facility on the 10th of December and that was the only intervention at that stage while other countries had started putting jabs in arms;
  • The Department of Health only begun negotiations with Treasury for procurement deviations last month – an indication of an impossibly delayed strategy;

The longer we take to vaccinate people, the higher the chances of another virus mutation which undermines the efficacy of vaccines and worsens our chances against a possible 3rd wave.

That is why it is crucial for us all in this House to respond to the call of this crisis:

We ought to place our party affiliations aside and unite in driving government to rollout a vaccine to as many people as possible regardless of where they are;

We need to unite in the call for an ad hoc committee to hold the inter- ministerial committee account to ensure deadlines are met and the process is corruption free;

And we need to unite in our understanding of our role and execute it ruthlessly;

The rules of the National Assembly empower us all to establish an ad hoc committee that will deal with a specific issue – like the vaccine rollout plan.

It will send the most assuring message to all South Africans if we can all vote for the establishment of this committee, regardless of who sponsors the motion.

We would be able to summon the executive; issue deadlines; perform oversight; hold them to timelines and ultimately make sure that this task is carried out as efficiently as possible.

The next phases of the vaccine rollout plan are difficult and crucial.

Phases two and three will mean a wider rollout of this vaccine to the most vulnerable across all corners of the country.

Of course, this will be met with massive challenges, but we too can be of great assistance in raising awareness about the importance of vaccines, conducting oversight in our constituencies and ensuring that clinics and distribution centres are ready.

We cannot relegate ourselves to being cheerleaders and celebrating mediocrity instead of demanding better for the people we serve.

Let us all show up for the people of this country and get their government to work to save lives and livelihoods.

There has never been a more watershed moment for this House than now.

We owe the people at home that much.

Reform labour laws to curb unemployment crisis

Please find attached a soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP

The sky-high unemployment rate revealed by the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the 4th Quarter of 2020 (which stands at 42.6% on the expanded definition of unemployment) underscores the need for urgent legislative changes to make the labour market more flexible and absorptive.

That is why the DA will be submitting significant amendments to the Labour Relations Act in Parliament in support of the economic reform agenda, to help create an environment more conducive to job creation.

The key takeaway from today’s QLFS is that between the 3rd quarter and 4th quarter of 2020, the number of unemployed people increased by 701 000 to 7.2 million. This excludes 2.9 million discouraged work-seekers.

The official unemployment rate increased from 30.8% to 32.5% between the third and fourth quarters, or by 1.7 percentage points. This is the highest unemployment rate recorded since the start of the QLFS in 2008. The unemployment rate for those aged between 15 and 24 stands at an alarming 63.2%. The unemployment rate for those aged between 24 and 34 rose by over 3 percentage points to 41.2%.

Despite paying lip service to the private sector as the main jobs-generator in his State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his administration continue to focus myopically on the public sector to stimulate employment.  We have been told that since the announcement of the Presidential Employment Stimulus in October 2020, more than 430 000 jobs and “livelihood opportunities” have been created through public employment schemes like teaching assistant programmes, municipal infrastructure maintenance programmes and the like. This is a drop in the ocean. These “jobs” are short-term and piecemeal and will have very little effect in helping to overcome the unemployment crisis in South Africa.

Only the private sector can create jobs at scale and rapidly absorb predominantly unskilled workers into the economy. That means freeing business from the chokehold of state regulation. Yet, the trends are not good. Small business continues to suffer because of the extension of collective bargaining agreements to parties that didn’t sign them in the first place.

The recent extension of an agreement with the Bargaining Council for the Fast Food, Restaurant, Catering and Allied Trades to all employers and employees in the industry will cripple small businesses in the sector and lead to job losses. On the other hand, the recent double-digit, above-inflation hikes to minimum wages in the agricultural sector (a sector which has the ability to absorb large numbers of unskilled workers) are going to lead to another jobs bloodbath.

It is all very well for President Ramaphosa to make the right noises about private sector-led job creation. But until his government agrees to a programme of legislative reform to free up the labour market, the unemployment crisis is only going to get worse.

Click here to protect your ownership rights by objecting to expropriation without compensation.