DA welcomes historic ruling on Ingonyama Trust’s violation of communal land rights 

The DA welcomes the historic ruling by the Pietermaritzburg High Court declaring the Ingonyama Trust’s policy of making communal land occupants sign leases and pay rent as unlawful. Even more significant, as ruled by the court, the Trust’s communal land occupants will now get back their lease rentals which they have paid to the Trust to date.

For communal land occupants across the country whose security of tenure has always been tenuous due to paternalistic land administration systems, today’s ruling offers hope that they will eventually become owners of their ancestral land.

Ingonyama Trust communal land occupants had been reduced to tenants on their ancestral land and were often forced into restrictive land leases. The arrangement was particularly discriminatory against women who were told that they could not enter into leases with the Trust without the presence of a man.

The Department of Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD)which the court found to have failed in its constitutional duties to protect community rights, must now ensure that the court’s ruling is implemented fully and to the letter.

In any case, the failure by the DALRRD to protect communal land ownership rights on Ingonyama Trust land is hardly surprising. The ANC, in cahoots with the EFF, are trying to push for state custodianship to be included in the ill-thought process to amend Section 25 of the Constitution.

State custodianship is nothing more than a veiled attempt to “nationalise” all land and place it under the control of the State – – a disastrous move that will lead to economic devastation and escalating poverty, as it has already done in countries as diverse as Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Following today’s ruling, it is clear why the ANC/EFF want to exclude the courts from adjudicating land expropriation cases. The DA will vehemently disagree with any attempt to reduce the role of the courts because it will take away the protection that citizens have against arbitrary actions of the state.

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

SA’s construction, architecture and engineering industries rocked by major resignation

South Africa’s construction, architecture and engineering industries have been tipped over the abyss following the resignations of the CEO, COO and Legal Compliance Officer at the at the Council for the Built Environment (CBE). All three posts will become vacant at the end of June 2021 and Public Works and Infrastructure Minister, Patricia De Lille seems unbothered by these major vacancies. 

The CBE is the overaching body that coordinates six Councils for Built Environment Professions – Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Engineering, Property Valuers, Project and Construction Management, and Quantity Surveying. These are at the very heart of the construction industries, which are primary socio-economic drivers and job creators. The CBE, therefore, cannot find itself with such a dramatic leadership deficit. 

The DA calls on Minister De Lille to play open cards on the true state of affairs at the CBE as up to now there has been a thundering silence from the her.

What’s worse, Parliaments Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure was not even informed about these major resignation. The Committee had to learn about these imminent departures from the media! 

Adverts appeared – both on the CBE website and in various weekend newspapers – for an Interim CEO post for three months; a full-time CEO position; Chief Operations Officer and a Legal Compliance Specialist positions. These vacancies follows hot on the heels of the resignation of a number of CBE Councillors in December 2020 – facts again not made known to the Portfolio Committee, but which have been communicated to the DA in the strictest confidence.

Minister de Lille has not taken charge of her responsibility to ensure that the Boards of these Councils function professionally, meet regularly, are quorate, and operate in line with the necessary statutory determinants. These Councils are crucial to the health and professionalism of members of the Built Environment Professions (BEP) to which they must be registered. Failure for BEP members to register with their respective Councils could render them unemployable – in a country with an unemployment rate of 43%.

The deficit and instability of leadership in Minister De Lille’s own department and  entities clearly has far-reaching consequences for the DPWI and the Built Environment Professionals Councils.

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

DA to table Bill to allow for Premiers to call for referendums

The DA is finalising a Private Members Bill (PMB) to amend the Referendums Act to give effect to the Constitutional powers of  Premiers to call a provincial referendum.

This is part of the DA’s commitment to achieve significantly greater devolution of powers to Provinces, in line with the Constitution. 

Section 84 of the Constitution provides for the President to call a national referendum. Section 127 provides for Premiers to call a provincial referendum, in terms of national legislation.

However, in its current form, the Referendums Act only allows for the President to call a referendum and does not provide for a Premier to call for a referendum in a province. The draft Bill, therefore, seeks to address this omission by an amendment enabling a Premier to exercise their Constitutional powers to call a provincial referendum, to ensure that provincial residents can make their voices heard on important issues.

Through this draft Bill, the DA seeks to advance the Party’s principle of federalism by strengthening the devolution of power to provinces. 

The DA’s Bill seeks to bring power closer to the people by giving elected Premiers the mechanism to use their constitutional powers to call referendums on crucial service delivery issues, where the dysfunctional national government has failed, such as railways, the police, and electricity generation. 

The DA will be publishing an explanatory memorandum of our proposed Bill in the Government Gazette and encourage South Africans and other interested parties to submit written representations to the Speaker of the National Assembly (speaker@parliament.gov.za) within 30 days of its publication.

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

 

DA welcomes planned amendments to Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act 

Please find attached a soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP

The DA welcomes the announcement by President Cyril Ramphosa that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has undertaken to amend Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act “to increase NERSA’s licensing threshold for embedded generation projects from 1MW to 100MW.

The DA has long called for Minister Gwede Mantashe and his department to change energy regulations to allow for independent power producers to ease the pressure on the national grid. We are pleased that sense has finally prevailed as the President has desided to go big on energy.

While this is a welcome development, it will mean nothing if Mantashe tries to throw a spanner in the works. Any delays on this announcement will lead South Africa deeper into Eskom-sponsored darkness 

The President has indicated that the final amendments on Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act will be published within the next 60 days. The DA will hold the President and Minister to this deadline, although we believe it is way too long. South Africa needs electricity urgently, and the President and Mantashe should prioritise this amendment and publish it sooner rather than later. 

It must be stressed, however, that this simply cannot be one of the President’s trademark empty promises in order to save face in light of Eskom’s announcement of stage 3 and 4 rolling blackouts this week. These amendments must be actioned and implemented without delay as it has the potential to free up and encourage investment in the electricity generation sector and ease demand on the grid. 

The details of the amendment remain to be seen. If it includes easing the conditions on municipalities seeking to buy electricity from independent power producers, then the announcement also spells good news for the DA-run Western Cape government’s Municipal Energy Resilience Project. This project seeks to help municipalities in the province generate or buy their own electricity in the medium- and long-term and free its residents from Eskom’s monopoly. 

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

DA initiates a process to build national consensus against the Expropriation without Compensation Bill

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Dr Ivan Meyer, DA Federal Chairperson and Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, as well as a soundbite by Noko Masipa MP.

  • Also find attached pictures here and here.

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA), initiated a process to build consensus and achieve convergence with civil society organisations concerned about the ongoing push by the ANC/EFF coalition to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation of property without compensation.

In a joint press conference held in Cape Town and chaired by the DA’s Dr Ivan Meyer, represented organisations comprising the Free Market Foundation (FMF) and Sakeliga laid bare the disastrous implications that the Bill will have on the rule of law, right to own property and the economy should it be passed into law.

The full briefing document can be accessed here

The emergent theme from the presentations that were given was that the Bill poses an existential threat to South Africa’s constitutional democracy and should never have been brought to Parliament in the first place.

In the past few weeks, the country has watched in dismay as the ANC/EFF coalition has made it clear that not only do they want to deny South Africans the right to own property, their ultimate goal is to nationalise all land in the country and exclude the courts from adjudicating on land expropriation cases.

It is an unprecedented assault on our Bill of Rights which guarantees every citizen’s right to property ownership and administrative justice.

The DA warned that the ANC/EFF bid to place land under the custodianship of the State will effectively “nationalise” the land under the control of the State – a disastrous move that will lead to economic devastation and escalating poverty, as it has already done in countries as diverse as Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Sakeliga pointed out that the government’s intentions, expressed through the Bill, are the ‘confiscation’ or seizing of property without being required to provide compensation. Sakeliga went on to add that ‘confiscation’ was incompatible with constitutionalism. Their view was that ‘the protection of private property rights is a necessary precondition for a citizenry that is not dependent upon government favour. It is also necessary to provide the material basis upon which an independent civil society exists.’  

The FMF also cautioned against the amendment stating that it will not achieve rule-of-law based restitution and land reform. FMF explained that such an amendment will discourage security of tenure, cast doubt on property rights and dissuade both local and foreign investment.

Dr Meyer then made the point that the success of land reform projects in the DA-run Western Cape has shown that no constitutional amendment is necessary for substantive land reform. Providing ongoing support to farmers, eliminating corruption and leveraging support from the private sector were key drivers in achieving successful land reform. In comparison, the national land administration system is in shambles to a point where the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is constantly engaged in endless litigation with frustrated communities who feel hard done by the Department’s incompetence.

If the ANC pushes through with this amendment, the DA warned, the party will not hesitate to take the fight to court, including presenting our case to the international community. Land reform failure in South Africa has not been triggered by a Constitutional failure, but it most certainly has been a glaring governance failure.

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

Is the national grid about to collapse? 

Please find attached soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

The DA calls on Eskom CEO, Andre De Ruyter, to take the nation into his confidence over the true state of South Africa’s electricity grid.

In light of Eskom’s announcement of stage 4 loadshedding yesterday and stage 3 loadshedding today, it would appear that the grid is on the verge of imminent collapse.

Apart from daily updates on various power stations and announcing rolling blackouts without any warning, Eskom has largely been economical with the truth on the current state of the national grid.

If we are already on stages 3 and 4 in June, could South Africans be in perpetual darkness by August?

Both De Ruyter and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan appear to be hiding behind a veil of secrecy as Eskom plunges our economy and healthcare system further into the abyss.

Should De Ruyter and Gordhan fail to play open cards, the DA will request that the pair along with Minister Gwede Mantashe, who holds the keys to the doors that are blocking Independent Power Producers from coming on board with the required MWs to meet the crisis, be summoned to Parliament to account before the Portfolio Committee of Public Enterprises.

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

Stage 4 Rolling Blackouts: South Africans must register to vote to keep the lights on

Please find attached soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

On 2 September 2015, then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told the National Council of Provinces that “[in] another 18 months to two years, you will forget the challenges that we had with relation to power and energy and Eskom ever happened.”

This was a blatant lie.

Today, almost six years down the line, it is clearer than ever that the ANC couldn’t overcome the crisis then and it certainly can’t overcome it now.

The announcement of stage 4 rolling blackouts by Eskom once again shows how desperately South Africa needs change. And the only way to achieve this is to vote the ANC out.

Only the DA can keep the lights on, and we call on all South Africans to vote for the DA in the local government elections on 27 October.

To do this, South Africans who will be 18 or older by 27 October, must ensure that their names are on the voters’ roll. And they can do this on the registration weekend of the 17th and 18th of July, when all polling stations will be open for voter registration.

The DA was the first out of the blocks this week when it launched its voter registration campaign in the run-up to the local government elections in Nelson Mandela Bay yesterday. And today we have started flighting our registration posters in all nine provinces of the country.

While the ANC dithers on how to fix Eskom and whether the elections should even go ahead, the DA is marching full steam ahead to the ballot box, ready to provide the country with a credible offer on how to fix Eskom and turns things around.

It will only be through the ballot box and by voting in a capable party such as the DA that South Africa’s rolling blackout woes will come to an end.

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

SAPS must speed up investigation into DA’s VBS charges against Malema and Shivambu following Brian’s secret deal 

The DA calls on South African Police Services (SAPS) to provide updates on the charges that we laid against Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu and his brother Brian, in November 2018, concerning allegations that they corruptly received money from VBS Mutual Bank.  

This follows a report by Daily Maverick which reveals that Brian Shivambu signed a secret contract admitting to having received R4.55 million in VBS loot and that he had promised to pay back the money.  

The cloak of secrecy surrounding the admission is revealing and effectively nullifies claims by the EFF that it was not involved in the looting of pensioners’ money. Now that Malema and Shivambu’s cover appears to have been blown – the DA expects SAPS, to expedite its investigation so that the EFF leadership is brought to book for their alleged looting of VBS at the expense of the poor and elderly. 

It has been more than two years since the DA laid charges against EFF and to this day, we have not received any communication from the SAPS. SAPS must stop dragging its feet, and stop protecting Melema and his acolytes.  

The DA will not stop when it comes to rooting out corruption, we will continue to pressurize the police until they put corrupt politicians and officials behind bars. 

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

Lotteries Commissioner doesn’t want to tell Parliament who scored a Covid-19 tender

In response to parliamentary questions posed by the DA, the Commissioner at the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), Thabang Mampane, has chosen to hide behind Regulation 8 of the Lotteries Act in order to avoid telling Parliament who scored a Covid-19 tender (See attached).

The tender issued by the NLC was for a service provider to conduct research on the social, economic and operational impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on funded organisations.

According to the NLC, the tender’s value was set at R460 287.50, not an insubstantial amount of taxpayer money to spend on an exercise in vanity (See attached).

In essence, the services required were to inform the NLC as to how they go about spending the R150 Million they had allocated to their Covid-19 Relief meant for distressed organisations.

The NLC last appeared before the portfolio committee on trade, industry and competition in September 2020 and informed us that only R32 million of the R150 million had been disbursed to beneficiaries.

It is clear that whoever the service provider was, they did not assist the NLC in allocating much-needed funding to organisations who were already in severe distress.

It is clear that the NLC and by extension its commissioner, have not learnt from their attempts to conceal grant beneficiaries in 2020, when Parliament’s legal advisor found their use of regulation 8 to defend their actions was in fact unconstitutional.

Therefore, the DA will be submitting a PAIA application to the NLC to obtain this information as we firmly believe that is in the public interest.

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

Midvaal’s clear blue water

Nothing could better underscore the importance of voting – and voting DA – in the upcoming local government elections than yesterday’s news that dairy group Clover has decided to close South Africa’s biggest cheese factory, in the North West town of Lichtenburg.

This decision comes on the back of large financial losses due to poor or non-existent service delivery by Ditsobotla Local Municipality. The frequent water and electricity supply disruptions and crumbling municipal infrastructure including the practically impassable road leading to the factory means it is no longer feasible for Clover to operate there.

Clover is consolidating its production activities in its Durban factory, a move which will cost Clover R1.5 billion. This is a massive vote of no confidence in Ditsobotla municipality and a massive blow to the community. Some 330 breadwinners will lose their jobs. Other smaller businesses in the municipality will suffer a drop in demand for goods and services.

On the other side of the spectrum lies Midvaal Municipality, the only local government in Gauteng that the DA runs with a full mandate.  A decade of solid delivery under the capable leadership of DA mayor Bongani Baloyi has attracted investment to the area and boosted local economic activity, giving rise to its reputation as the fastest-growing municipality in Gauteng.

Unsurprisingly, Sedibeng Breweries, South African distributors for Heineken chose to establish its national office there, bringing with it new opportunities for job creation and small business. Other major organisations operating there are Ferrero Roche, New Hope, BSI Steel, South 32, Paramount Trailers and the Oprah Winfrey School. You will not find any of them closing or moving because of poor municipal service delivery.

Midvaal is rated one of the top five best-run municipalities out of 278 municipalities in the country, by independent ratings agency Ratings Africa. It is also the best-performing municipality in Gauteng, and the only one that can boast seven consecutive years of clean audits, meaning public money is reliably spent on the public.

This tale of two municipalities shows the clear blue water between DA- and ANC-run governments. It also makes clear the relationship between local government performance and the area’s ability to attract and retain investment.

More investment means more jobs, more economic activity, and more revenue that can be spent on things that improve people’s lives, such as electrifying informal settlements and building community sports facilities. DA-run Midvaal Municipality does these things and much more.

Local government is the coalface of service delivery and is therefore especially important to vulnerable communities. It is also the essential foundation on which our country’s economy is built. Businesses like Clover vote with their feet. No business will risk investing in a municipality that can’t guarantee delivery of the most basic services required to run a business profitably – water, electricity, roads, sanitation, refuse collection.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the broad unemployment level in DA-run Western Cape province, where most DA-run municipalities are located, is 17.5 percentage points lower than the average for the other eight provinces. This is according to Statistics SA’s recently released figures for the first quarter of 2021, which show unemployment at 27.9% in the Western Cape and at 45.4% in the rest of South Africa.

The DA is the only party with a proven track record of delivery. If we want to revive the dying economies of our towns and cities, we have to install DA governments in municipalities and metros across the country. The upcoming local government elections on 27 October 2021 is a crucial opportunity for voters to do this.

Yesterday, the DA was first out of the blocks with its voter registration campaign, fixing DA registration posters to street poles in Nelson Mandela Bay. DA registration posters will be going up across the country from this week, calling on all South Africans who will be 18 years or older by 27 October to use the registration weekend of 17 and 18 July to make sure they registered to vote DA.

If we want South Africa to work, we need to fix it. There is no more powerful action step you can take to fix your town or city than to vote DA on 27 October 2021, because the DA gets things done.