ANC government finally kills the local cruise ship tourism sector due to inaction

The largest privately-owned cruise ship company in the world, MSC Cruises, yesterday reconfirmed, on its website, its statement made on 18 February 2021 that delays “to approve cruise operations in South Africa had led to the Company cancelling all its remaining sailings for the 2020/21 season.

For many months since the job-killing lockdown was imposed on South Africans, MSC has worked with government in an attempt to resume operations within the confines of lockdown regulations.

In December 2020, the cruise ship company opened up their ship to onboard inspection by government officials from a number of departments, which included the Departments of Transport, Health, and Home Affairs as well as the South African Maritime Safety Authority.  Despite all these departments indicating satisfaction with the vigorous protocols that were in place on the ship, government has never approved the resumption of cruise ship operations.

Whilst cruises have resumed in various parts of the world, the cruise industry in South Africa has been killed.  This means that any tourism that would have included cruise ships has been halted.  As a result, all direct jobs, mainly on board the vessel, and all indirect jobs, such as those that supply the vessel with various infrastructure, has been killed.

Before lockdown, the cruise ship industry in South Africa was one of the fastest in the world as more and more South Africans experienced cruise holidays.  The inaction by government to approve the resumption of operations of the cruise ship industry has cost thousands of jobs and millions of income.

The DA will submit parliamentary questions to the various ministries enquiring why authorisation was not granted to resume cruises when inspections had unambiguously demonstrated the safety of crew and passengers.

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

DA calls on Gordhan to ensure that SOEs cooperate with SIU in corruption probes

Please find attached soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

The DA is calling on the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to ensure that all State-owned enterprises (SOEs) that are being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) cooperate and provide the Unit with all it needs to conclude its investigations.

This after News24 reported that key documents pertinent to the wide-scale corruption investigation at Eskom have gone missing.

Not only does there appear to be a concerted effort to now hobble this SIU investigation into corruption so widespread that one Eskom manager has previously said, “There almost isn’t a single contract at Eskom that is not tainted by corruption in some way or another. Even the tea and sugar contract at Megawatt Park seem warped…”, but when SIU head advocate, Andy Mothibi, requested resources in 2019 to further the investigation, he received a cold shoulder from the SOE.

All SOEs seems to be employing the same playbook, with the SIU running into similar issues with its investigation at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) where a lack of documents and paper trails are cause for major concern.

Let us be clear; no matter the roadblocks these SEOs lay before the SIU, the DA has full confidence that the Unit will expose every piece of rot. Those individuals guilty of corruption are simply prolonging the inevitable. South Africans will no longer tolerate this malfeasance and capture while they are suffering to provide food for their tables.

Corrupt individuals and those Ministers who aided them and benefitted from this corruption will be cast aside, as they should be.

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

A reason to hope.

A shallow dive into the recent news cycle will deepen one’s sense of despair. But there is reason to hope and reason to act on that hope.

The third wave is hitting Gauteng, Free State and Northern Cape and appears to be just weeks away in other provinces. Fourteen months under a state of disaster with varying levels of lockdown and yet South Africa faces the third wave unprotected and vulnerable with not enough beds and oxygen and less than 1% of the population fully protected against serious Covid. (Recall that it takes 2-4 weeks to develop full immunity once vaccinated.)

To make matters worse, our vaccine rollout continues to be held back by a shortage of vaccines, a failure for which president Ramaphosa must ultimately take full responsibility.

To cover for this failure, the National Coronavirus Command Council is considering moving SA to “an adjusted lockdown level 2”. If the NCCC announces irrational blanket bans, it will deal a deathblow to thousands of businesses and jobs teetering on the edge.

Meantime Health Minister Zweli Mkhize is distracted by shocking revelations of Covid corruption that implicate him in his department’s allocation of a sham R150 million contract to his close friend and former associate’s company Digital Vibes.

It is a chilling portent of what is to come if the Health Professions Council of South Africa gets its way. Last week, it told Parliament that the current reserves of the medical schemes must be transferred to the NHI which should be the only health funding mechanism.

Consider the implication for health outcomes if one individual, the Minister of Health, gets full control of SA’s R450 billion health services procurement budget.

Citizen safety also seems more fragile than ever after the horrific incident in Zandspruit where nine young people were stripped naked and burnt to death in an open field by a vigilante group fed up with local crime and policing failures.

Yet rather than taking measures to make South Africans safer, government’s solution to policing failures has been to cut the budget for visible policing and to release the Firearms Control Amendment Bill which proposes a ban on firearm ownership for self-defence. At the same time, it has increased VIP protection for the political elite.

Our power-hungry national government can’t deliver on its basic responsibilities but is amassing more power than ever before.

Understandably, this barrage of bad news leaves one feeling helpless and hopeless.

But there is a South African success story that the media seems strangely reluctant to tell.

The DA in government shows that a successful South Africa is possible. This claim is not the facile promise of a party in opposition. It is the real track record of a party that runs 27 governments across four provinces in South Africa.

Consider how the recent news cycle would have differed had the DA been in national government.

The DA-run Western Cape Government is confident it has prepared enough beds, oxygen & staff to ensure no person is denied access to life-saving medical treatment at a third wave peak. This removes the need for all but the most low-cost, effective interventions to push out and flatten the wave (masks, handwashing, social distancing and limiting indoor gatherings), meaning both lives and jobs are saved.

Unlike its national counterpart, the Western Cape Department of Health spends the entire health budget on delivering health services to citizens and can therefore focus on this objective without the distraction of corruption scandals. As proof, it received a clean audit for the second year in a row – the only health department in the country to do so.

The province has everything in place for a rapid, efficient vaccine rollout, and is constrained only by a shortage of supply from national government.

While the rest of the country lives in evermore fear, the Western Cape Government is making residents feel safer through their Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP), which is on track to meet its target of deploying 1000 officers in high-crime areas of Cape Town by October 2021.

The DA gets things done. Which is why the best-run province, the best-run metro and the top five best-run municipalities in South Africa are all governed by the DA, according to independent audits and rankings.

The fastest route to a successful South Africa is to bring this DA difference to more towns and communities across the country. A thorough analysis of by-election trends shows the DA is growing in wards representing both black and white voters.

However, it is concerning that smaller ethnic and race-based parties are splintering the opposition in specific areas, making it harder for the DA to achieve the crucial objective of beating the ANC. These parties are effectively the “opposition to the opposition” and could end up doing far more harm than good, no matter their true intentions.

Therefore it makes sense for everyone to get behind the DA, to give maximum momentum to the project of replacing the ANC with a credible alternative government.

And I’m happy to report momentum is already on our side for the upcoming municipal elections. Our hugely successful and vibrant virtual rally launch showed that we are ready and eager to contest the local government elections on 27 October. Join us and support us. Together, we can grow this South African success story.



DA congratulates the City of Tshwane on approval of their new fully funded budget

The DA in Gauteng wishes to congratulate the DA-led administration in Tshwane who supported and approved a fully funded, pro service delivery budget in council today.

This budget finely balances the dire financial situation left by the Illegal ANC administrators and the need of for service delivery to Tshwane residents.

The budget is prioritizing service delivery to residents by committing funds to projects like streetlight repairs, stabilizing the electricity grid, upgrading waterworks and the water network and improving clinic services.
DA Mayor Randall Williams and his team followed an approach to tariff increases that leaves residents more in control of their municipal spend. This, while utilities are increased by 14.59% for electricity and 8% for water due to bulk increases from Eskom and Rand Water Respectively.

The bold decision was taken to keep property rates and taxes as low as possible by only a 2% increase. While residents have control over their electricity and water usage, property rates are based on a valuation roll residents have no control over and thus it makes sense to lend a helping hand in this manner to make up for the Eskom electricity increases.

It is important to note that in total revenue the City only sees an increase of 4.5%. This, combined with the R4billion deficit inherited by the Illegal ANC administrators means that this budget is reliant on long term loans to ensure service delivery.

After facing two Moody downgrades during the administration period, the Freedom Front Plus who voted against this budget did not put residents first and risked further downgrades and the city reaching junk status.
The DA ensured that this budget is laying the foundation to ensure positive future credit ratings by allowing for a R20.7 million surplus, which is possible due to carefully considered cost control measures.

The approval of this budget is welcomed by the DA and we believe this is a step in the right direction to provide stability in the City of Tshwane, which is much needed by the residents of the city.

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

Closure of 130 post offices a potential threat to social grants

Please find attached soundbite by Bridget Masango MP

The closure of 130 post offices could have serious consequences on social grant recipients. The DA will be submitting parliamentary questions to the Departments of Social Development and Communications to find out what contingency plans have been put in place for the payment of social grants which may be affected by these closures.

The South African Post Office (SAPO) CEO Nomkhitha Mona confirmed to Parliament that out of the 130 branches due for closure, there are still 80 branches left to face the cut.

The closure of SAPO branches could be potentially catastrophic to the distribution of social grants. SAPO was ultimately awarded the contract to distribute grants exactly because of its wide footprint through the country and its ability to reach millions of poor South Africans in the most rural of communities. The closure of these cash distribution points will potentially leave vulnerable grant recipients in a lurch.

The relevant departments, SAPO and SASSA must therefore provide urgent clarity on the following issues:

  • Which post offices have and are being closed;
  • Criteria used in categorising and identifying which branches to close;
  • How postal services will be impacted in affected communities;
  • The extent to which social grants payment will be at risk; and
  • Contingency plans to mitigate risks.

Poor South Africans, cannot continue to pay the price for mismanaged, poorly operated and corrupt SOEs. The closure of these post offices is yet another classic example of how poorly the ANC government runs SEOs, and unfortunately, as is often the case, it is the poor and vulnerable who bear the brunt.

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

DA calls for hybrid approach to vaccine rollout, including walk-ins 

Please find attached soundbite by Haseena Ismail MP

The DA calls on the Department of Health to implement a hybrid approach to the vaccine rollout programme. It is becoming clear that the EVDS appointment system is not efficient on its own. While those who have appointments should be prioritised, vaccination sites should allow for walk-ins of those who are 60 and over as well as persons who can provide evidence of serious comorbidities.

The appointment system is simply not effective given the fact that it is exclusively online; people are struggling to register; and many who have successfully registered are yet to receive appointment dates. A hybrid approach between the appointment system and walk-ins could potentially speed up the vaccine rollout.

The third wave has begun, and government is still fumbling their vaccine rollout. The quicker we vaccinate South Africans over 60, the quicker we can start to prioritise those who are living with comorbidities.

The fact that we have only managed to vaccinate 700 904 (1.08%) people to date, means that at this rate we will not meet our 5 million inoculation targets for those over 60 years of age. We cannot afford to be stuck in perpetual lockdowns at the expense of lives and livelihoods.

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

NAC Expired Projects and Surplus Fund needs urgent investigation

Please find attached soundbite by Veronica van Dyk MP.

The DA will write to the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, to request an independent investigation into the National Arts Council’s (NAC) Expired Projects and Surplus Fund Policy after two reports revealed that the Policy seems to contravene Treasury regulations and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

The DA has previously written to the Minister for clarity as to why this policy is still in place when it contravenes Treasury regulations 6.4.1 and 6.4.2, to which the Minister has yet to provide an answer.

The Fund was first investigated by the Business Innovation Group (BIG) in 2016 and again by the Public Protector in 2020 after the head of the South African Roadies Association (SARA), Freddie Nyathela, complained in 2015 that the then NAC CEO, Rosemary Mangope, applied for funding on his association’s behalf without informing him.

Both the BIG and Public Protector’s reports highlighted the Policy has “gaps which renders it prone to abuse”“not transparent”“unfair and uncompetitive”, “procedurally unfair” and “not consistent with the spirit of the law”. Yet, this Policy has not been repealed. The Public Protector’s report specifically mentioned that although Mangope had no obligation to inform Nyathela of the annual partnership proposal she submitted on his association’s behalf as the Policy did not explicitly provide for it, not informing SARA amounted to “improper conduct” and “maladministration”.

The fact that no effort seems to have been made to review or repeal this Policy after the release of the two reports, and the Minister’s silence on the matter show that there is no political will to rectify this travesty. Without Nyathela’s vigilance and due diligence, SARA would never have been informed of the funding application and that money would have disappeared into the great abyss of corruption at the ANC. It seems that the governing party is unwilling to close this trough, but the DA will not allow the ANC unfettered access to crucial funding for the arts and culture sectors.

The Minister must explain the continued existence of this fund, and all previous beneficiaries must be investigated to ensure that no further malfeasance happened on the ANC’s watch.

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

Alexkor proves the dire need for Minister Gordhan to either act or resign

Due to its own incompetence regarding its capacity to finalise its auditing duties, State-owned entity Alexkor, a failed mining company, published its annual report for fiscal 2019/20 seven months after the due date.

It is exactly for this reason that I introduced the Public Finance Management Act Amendment Bill last year, so that Ministers such as Pravin Gordhan can be held accountable for not submitting audited annual reports timeously.

As expected, the failed SOE received a disclaimer of opinion for the second consecutive year, with the Auditor-General’s office specifically noting that there are material uncertainties that cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern.

This is not surprising considering that Alexkor’s internal accounting systems are an abysmal failure and incongruent with basic accounting standards. For instance, no reviews of the residual values and useful lives of property, plant and equipment were undertaken at each reporting date, the entity had no proper record of inventory, and failed to provide appropriate audit evidence regarding its cash flows as well as its contingent liabilities. The latter omission is especially egregious considering the fact that Alexkor’s debts make up almost 75% of its total assets.

Furthermore, Alexkor also failed to submit its annual tax return to SARS within the required time period, amongst other tax irregularities stretching from failing to remit certain PAYE amounts and failing to submit a Royalty Tax return. It seems that when it comes to tax compliance, Alexkor is taking entire chapters straight from Luthuli House’s corruption playbook.

Yet, in light of all of the above, which does not even encompass all of the irregularities at Alexkor, the directors of the company are ostensibly “satisfied that Alexkor is able to continue its operations for the foreseeable future”, even going as far as saying that the financial statements are “based on appropriate accounting policies, supported by reasonable and prudent judgments and estimates.” Such reasoning makes one wonder whether Yakhe Kwinana, the disgraced CA that was given an accounting lesson at the Zondo Commission by Advocate Kate Hofmeyr, is advising the directors on the financial viability of the entity they are running into the ground.

Minister Gordhan needs to realise that time is up and that his continued failure to uphold the values of accountability and transparency as enshrined in section 195 of the Constitution renders him a constitutional delinquent deserving of being axed. He must ensure that both Alexkor and the PSJV, a joint mining venture with Richtersveld Mining Company, complies with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act.

The DA further calls for the community who owns the land and the mining rights to engage a competent company to deliver on this rich resource for the benefit of the community, contractors, and the state in terms of royalties and taxes.

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

Minister Zweli Mkhize should step down over Digital Vibes multi-million rand contract

Please find attached soundbite by Siviwe Gwarube MP

This morning, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that the reports which have been exposed by the Daily Maverick over the past months are accurate – the awarding of the Digital Vibes contract by the Department of Health was irregular as confirmed by the Auditor General.

This R150 million dubious contract was allegedly awarded to close associates of Dr Mkhize to provide communication services to him over the past year. This is despite the fact that many of these services should be provided by the Department and his ministry staff. The Auditor General flagged a number of irregularities including a possible conflict of interest with this contract.

It is now clear that this looting of public money has happened under the leadership of Dr Mkhize while there is a glaring conflict of interest. It cannot be that the very person entrusted with the Covid-19 response in the country is embroiled in this kind of scandal involving public money. Minister Mkhize should step down pending a full Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigation.

The Minister cannot be both the player and referee in an investigation that involves him directly. He must simply step down to allow the independent investigation to take its course and for President Cyril Ramaphosa to give an update on who will be criminally charged and held accountable for this grand theft.

The DA has also called for President Ramaphosa to expand the scope of the SIU investigation to include the new information which has come to light. The internal departmental investigation is wholly inadequate and more work needs to be done in order to uncover the true extent of the rot in this scandal.

South Africa is in the middle of a deadly pandemic. A fraction of the population is yet to receive their vaccines with the system buckling under pressure very early in the process. We need a political head that is beyond reproach. It is clear that Minister Mkhize is no such leader and should be removed while this matter is dealt with without undue influence.

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

Zondo commission: DA welcomes criminal charges against Dudu Myeni

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbite by Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP.

The DA welcomes the announcement by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry that criminal charges will be brought against former South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson, Dudu Myeni. This after she initially defied a summons to testify before the commission yesterday.

Myeni’s legal representation, Advocate Nqabayethu Buthelezi, offered the ludicrous excuse that Myeni did not have access to the necessary documentation to testify and that she had no idea that she had to appear before the commission as she had recently changed legal teams.

But Judge Raymond Zondo and the commission’s evidence leader, Advocate Kate Hofmeyr, saw through this farce and Myeni will now have to face the music for acting in breach of the summons to give evidence before the commission in lieu of attending a family function.

The DA is of the firm view that there should be nowhere to hide for those individuals trying to evade cooperation with the Zondo commission.

Let this be a lesson for all State-capturers and corrupt politicians and their well-connected cadres, the long arm of the law is relentless, and you will face the consequences of your actions.

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