DA condemns alcohol transportation restriction over the Easter weekend

The DA notes the ridiculous regulation from the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, that the transportation of alcohol would not be allowed over the next four days of the Easter long-weekend, and that any person found in contravention of this regulation would be arrested.

This is just another heavy-handed restriction by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) in a long line since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, that criminalizes ordinary citizens while true crime flourishes.

The truth is that more people have been arrested during the pandemic for breaking irrational regulations than there have been vaccinations in South Africa. The NCCC never seems to have its eye on the prize – South Africa being fully open, and our citizens safely vaccinated against Covid-19.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) have often enforced irrational lockdown regulations in a brutal fashion, and the DA is very concerned that this regulation could give rise to police brutality over the long weekend.

The NCCC must reconsider its focus and repeal this regulation as a matter of urgency.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA congratulates Western Cape Government on outstanding audit outcomes

The DA congratulates the Western Cape Provincial Government for yet again producing exemplary audit outcomes for the 2019/2020 financial year.

Yesterday, the Auditor-General (AG) announced that in the Western Cape, 70% of departments and entities received clean audits. These results shows that this DA-governed province is the best run in South Africa and is indicative of the DA’s commitment to clean governance, service delivery and creating a capable state.

While the DA-run Western Cape has excelled in its audit outcomes, ANC-governed provinces have proven themselves incapable of running a clean and accountable government.

The fact that the next best province behind the Western Cape is Gauteng at a meagre 30% in clean audits proves that the DA is miles ahead of the ANC who consistently shows its commitment to non-compliance, lack of accountability, corruption and irregular tender processes.

Under the leadership of Premier Alan Winde, the Western Cape has demonstrated itself to be a province that has zero tolerance for corruption, and a 100% commitment to delivering services to residents through a clean and capable government.

Getting government spending right is paramount, especially at a time when many South African families are still reeling due to the effects of the extended lockdown, which affected their lives and livelihood.

The DA brand of good governance has proven that it is committed to deliver service to the people who entrusted it to govern. And we look forward to sharing this commitment to South Africans across the country following the upcoming Local Government Elections.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

Minister Mthethwa must urgently get his act together or face further legal woes

The order by the South Gauteng High Court yesterday for the National Arts Council (NAC) to pay the National Arts Festival (NAF) R3.4 million within 72 hours is an important win for the arts and culture sector in South Africa.

This court action by NAF is surely only the start of the NAC’s legal woes, with ASSITEJ SA, Afrika Burns Creative Projects and Unima South Africa reportedly also seeking legal action, after the Council unceremoniously declared that it would not honour its legal contracts with more than 600 artists, organizations and companies.

The Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, must get his act together, clean house and make haste to retrieve any and all corruptly dispersed funds, and ensure that the original and legally binding contracts with the artists are honoured and paid in full. Future legal action against the NAC would surely cost much more than the competent management of the PESP fund would.

It has also come to light that certain individuals and companies seem to have unduly benefitted from Covid-19 relief aid to the arts and culture sector. The DA has called for SIU and independent forensic investigations into numerous allegations of malfeasance at the NAC, and for the guilty to suffer the full consequences of their corruption.

The Minister and the NAC have proven themselves incapable of caring for the people that make their livelihoods in the arts and culture sectors. It is time President Cyril Ramaphosa rid the country of this dead wood and appoints a Minister with the necessary skill, interest and compassion.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

Denel’s vehicle manufacturing have come to a standstill

An oversight inspection to Denel Vehicle Systems this week revealed a dire picture of the once thriving state-owned company and strategic government partner.

The DA will urgently engage with the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to intervene in the once state-of-the-art combat vehicle manufacturer. The company is reduced to empty factories and have lost a highly competent skilled workforce.

The three prominent divisions – OMC, Gear Ratio and Mechatronics – all of which was responsible for armored vehicles, turret and fire control systems and driveline systems, once boasted with around 1 200 highly skilled staff members. They are currently left with a staff compliment of 200 people being paid at 50% of their salaries. The plants, which manufactured highly sophisticated combat vehicles like RG31’s, RG32’s and RG41’s, are at a standstill. No vehicles are being manufactured due to Denel’s financial woes. The building and plant represents that of a ghost town.

The DA was informed that there were several tenders out, but the process had not been finalized. A contract to manufacture vehicles for the United Arab Emirates have not been started and we found the procurement process has also become so complex that it makes it impossible to ensure that purchases are done in order to continue with business.

Denel Vehicle Systems do not even have the capital to finance tenders and contracts that are in the pipeline. It does not possess of the capital to sustain itself. If a partnership is not brought on board as soon as possible, we anticipate they will not be able to operate beyond May 2021.

The fact that this entity is now also in decline is indicative of the greater decline of Denel SOC Ltd.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

De Lille twiddling her thumbs over sexual harassment claims at SOE

The DA is in possession of two reports addressed to Minister Patricia De Lille and her Deputy Noxolo Kiviet which detail severe governance challenges within the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). These challenges have been on-going for at least 18 months, and have severely hampered the work of the Council.

The reports expose the apparent abuse of power by SACAP’s President in the treatment of black female Councillors. The bullying and harassment being experienced by them is said to be perpetrated by the “President, Registrar and a certain faction within the Council”. According to the reports, this has resulted in the affected Councillors being “targeted, sabotaged, undermined, bullied and harassed incessantly”.

The governance challenges at SACAP are also said to be so extreme that they have also affected the ability of Councillors in the performance of fiduciary duties.

Neither Minister de Lille and nor Deputy Minister Kiviet responded to the reports sent to them on 4 December 2020, other than to say “it would be investigated”. No timeframes were given, nor were appropriate plans put in place to protect the Councillors alleging the harassment.

In early March, the DA submitted parliamentary questions to the Minister regarding the progress on these reports. In response to my questions – three months after the initial reports were sent to her – Minister de Lille says she has now only “directed that an independent investigation of the allegations of harassment of the female councillors by their male counterparts be carried out”.

Asked how she was going to address the severe, on-going governance challenges, the Minister replied that “she had been informed of the about the governance challenges” and “is in consultation with the Council”. No further information was forthcoming.

This is not good enough. The Minister has had three months to action this investigation. Instead, she chose to twiddle her thumbs on the matter while female Councillors were still expected to work under these horrid conditions.

The matter has been escalated to the Commission for Gender Equality and the South African Institute for Architects. However, as the policy leader for the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, we call on Minister de Lille to take responsibility for her Department, to act for the SACAP to get the appropriate policy on transformation – with a specific focus on bullying and sexual harassment – on her desk within three months.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.