DA welcomes action against Twitter instigators, calls on SAPS to show Zuma siblings the same fate

Please find an attached soundbite by Andrew Whitfield MP

The DA calls on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to urgently expedite the arrests of Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, Edward Zuma and Duduzane Zuma. In July, the DA laid criminal charges against the three Zuma siblings following comments on social media and the press encouraging and inciting violence following their father’s incarceration.

We have taken note of the action taken by the Hawks against social media influencer, Zamaswazi Majozi, for allegedly using her Twitter account to incite and ignite major rioting and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July.

Majozi has been identified as the person behind the @/_africansoil Twitter account and stands accused of distributing content that led to the looting and burning of Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. She has since appeared before the Germiston Magistrate’s Court and was granted R3000 in bail.

While the DA welcomes the arrest of individuals who are alleged to have either planned, orchestrated, or incited the looting, it seems that there are glaring disparities in the treatment of ordinary South Africans involved in the looting compared to those who are close to the political elite.

Despite the fact that the DA laid charges against the Zuma siblings and the fact that their tweets and comments are in the public domain for all to see, no action has been taken against them.

The Zuma siblings’ comments and statement were no less inflammatory than those allegedly made by Majozi and others and they should face the same legal consequences.

This smacks of double standards, and could lead to the conclusion that South African law is not implemented equally. The DA demands that all citizens including the politically connected be punished to the same standard.

Law enforcement officials must pursue criminality without fear or favor to demonstrate that all South Africans are equal before the law and that all criminal offenses will be punished. To this end, we reiterate our appeal for the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to hold the Zumas to account to the fullest extent of the law.

DA welcomes Home Affairs’ new appointment system

Please find attached soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP.

The DA welcomes the Department of Home Affairs’ announcement at today’s parliamentary portfolio committee meeting that an appointment system would be introduced to their offices.

The DA has been calling on the Department to introduce such a system as we believe that it will address the long queues and protect people from losing a whole day of work to attend to this admin. It will also protect members of communities from potential corruption – the DA has received complaints that at some Home Affairs offices people are forced to pay R100 per time slot or to skip the queue.

The DA has been advised that the new appointment system will be available in all South African languages and can be accessed virtually. Walk-ins will still be accommodated.

This is certainly a step in the right direction of addressing the frustration people have with the Department of Home Affairs and the DA will monitor the implementation of the appointment system closely.

New Committee Chairpersons another ANC attempt to disarm Parliament  

Please find an attached soundbite by Natasha Mazzone MP.

The election today of new Chairpersons for the Portfolio Committees on the Environment, Home Affairs, International Relations and Cooperation, Human Settlements, Higher Education and Health has again highlighted the ANC’s attempts to disarm Parliament.

The DA is not surprised that the newly elected Chairpersons are a mixture between RET foot soldiers and disgraced former Premiers and Ministers:

  • Faith Muthambi: Environmental Affairs
  • Mosa Chabane: Home Affairs
  • Supra Mahumapelo: International Relations and Cooperation
  • Rosina Semenya: Human Settlements
  • Nompendulo Mkhatshwa: Higher Education
  • Dr Kenny Jacobs: Health

As with the election of Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as Speaker of the National Assembly, the ANC has chosen to prop up individuals such as Muthambi and Mahumapelo who are recycled and highly controversial figures who represent everything Parliament is supposed to oppose.

DA calls on Presidency to release outcomes of Khusela Diko’s disciplinary process following apparent reinstatement 

Please find attached soundbite by Solly Malatsi MP.

Following the reports of her reinstatement as the President’s spokesperson, the DA calls on the Presidency to release the outcomes of the disciplinary process it instituted against Khusela Diko earlier this year.

The Presidency confirmed in January that it had instituted disciplinary proceedings against Diko, following a recommendation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), after she had failed to disclose her financial interests in light of the Royal Bhaca Covid corruption scandal.

If it is true that Diko has been reinstated, it will be an indictment on President Cyril Ramaphosa and his government. It sends a clear message that the President is soft on those close to him who are implicated in serious allegations of impropriety.

This morning, News24 reports that Diko confirmed that she had been reinstated as the President’s spokesperson on a warning. In the same article, the Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, indicated that he had not yet been informed about the outcomes of the disciplinary proceedings against Diko.

The Minister’s comments raise questions around the veracity of Diko’s claims as well as transparency around the disciplinary process – if it even took place or whether it had been concluded.

It is, therefore, in the public interest, considering the serious allegations of corruption in relation to public funds that the outcomes of the disciplinary proceedings are made public.

DA welcomes continuation of school holiday – proposes innovative Curriculum recovery

The DA welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, that the October school holidays would not be scrapped. The DA still believes that allowing planned school holidays to continue as normal plays a crucial role in the mental health of learners and teachers.

The DA also urges the Minister to institute a curriculum recovery plan as soon as possible. It is very worrying that 50 to 75% of learning time was lost in 2020 and that the 2021 educational year is following the same track. Especially foundation education learners will suffer in their following school years if this is not addressed.

While we understand that it would be difficult to save the curriculum overnight, the DA recommends the following short to long-term measures to recover as much of the curriculum and learning time as possible and give our learners the best chance of future success:

  • DBE must ensure that the provinces and various district circuits engage with teaching staff to truly understand the various schools in every district’s specific needs and concerns in completing the curriculum and to find solutions in bridging those shortfalls.
  • The provincial departments must also ensure that the districts engage with their local municipalities in order to find safe public spaces where extra measures to increase learning time could be implemented.

These aspects cannot be centralized but requires meeting local needs in unique and innovative ways.

  • The Department of Basic Education (DBE) must develop a home-schooling policy to ensure that all children not in schools for whatever reasons, complete their curriculums and make use of all possible learning time available. Measures should also be put in place to monitor home-schooling and ensure quality of schooling is maintained as a method of keeping learners in school and ultimately catching up the curriculum.
  • Parallel to the development of safe and quality education at home, DBE must also ensure that all schools in South Africa become havens of safety and education. The DBE must foster community involvement and responsibility in ensuring that local children stay in school. The Department can grow engagement with the community by alleviating their fears for the safety of children in schools. Enough PPE must be provided at all times and teachers and staff should be encouraged to get fully vaccinated. Water and sanitation must also be a top priority. If parents know their children are safe at schools, they will not keep them at home and risk their education.
  • Innovation is the best tool moving forward is to ensure that all learners receive the best possible schooling. DBE should create virtual schools through partnerships with technology companies, private schools, department of communications, science and innovation, and universities like the University of Cape Town (UCT) who can provide valuable insight to its challenges and opportunities in creating the UCT virtual school.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the growing chasms in South Africa’s schooling system and nearly two years of broken learning time has exacerbated the challenges learners face in getting a quality education. The Minister and her Department needs to ensure that their time is well-spent in finding innovative solutions to the crisis. World-wide innovative solutions have been found, and there are many schools in South Africa that have also risen to the challenge. The Minister must take inspirations from these innovations and ensure that no child would be left behind.

NYDA needs to get its house in order to tackle imminent youth unemployment crisis

Please find an attached soundbite by Luyolo Mphithi MP

The DA has written to Waseem Carrim, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), to express our dissatisfaction with the agency’s failure to address youth unemployment in South Africa.

The latest StatsSA Quarterly Labour Force Survey paints a bleak image as it revealed yet another increase in unemployment levels in South Africa – with some reports indicating that our 44.4% unemployment rate is now the highest in the world.

This record high unemployment disproportionately affects the youth. Unfortunately, state-funded agencies such as the NYDA, which is responsible for providing support to young people, has turned into a roadblock for youth employment.

The DA recently concluded a national tour of NYDA offices and found many areas of concern with the agency:

  • Difficulty to access NYDA funding: Young people are unable to apply for NYDA funding online. This is a major setback for young people because the NYDA does not have offices in every corner of the country.
  • Tools of the trade: Critical tools such as computers and printers at NYDA offices are not functional.
  • NYDA OfficesIn some cases offices were closed during the day with no explanation.
  • NYDA website not user-friendly: Though it provides some information, the website does not give the necessary steps to be followed should someone want to sign up for training sessions, or submit an application for job placements or apply for funding.
  • Failure to adequately implement the YES programme: The NYDA failed to successfully implement the YES programme and create the job opportunities that were promised by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
  • Failure to meet Youth Entrepreneurship partnership outcomes: The agency has partnered up with various government departments to assist young entrepreneurs. However, the outcomes of the partnerships remain unclear.

The NYDA can be a major contributor to job opportunities and the upskilling of young South Africans. However, it must prioritize the following areas:

  • A focus on skills development of young people in key growth sectors such as agriculture, the green and waste economies.
  • Increased access to data and internet for young people.
  • Provide targeted support for young micro-entrepreneurs in the informal economy.
  • Employment Tax Incentive to stimulate demand for youth labour.

Some of the challenges that NYDA faces are self-inflicted and need to be addressed urgently to get our young people back in the jobs market.

Mantashe’s new 2500MW nuclear energy build programme is an exercise in futility 

Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Kevin Mileham MP.

The decision by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, to invite expressions of interest for the proposed 2500MW nuclear energy build programme at the end of the 2021/2022 financial year is a reflection of misplaced priorities and policy discord on South Africa’s energy crisis.

Eskom’s dire financial situation and the economy’s continued downward spiral renders any fantasy about a multi-billion rand nuclear build programme an exercise in futility. The Covid-19 pandemic and the constrained fiscal space have left no room for South Africa to embark on costly and lengthy capital projects such as nuclear power stations.

Considering the scale and financial commitment which comes with the construction of nuclear power plants, opportunities for corruption and malfeasance increase exponentially. South Africans witnessed first-hand the industrial-scale theft which took place at Medupi and Kusile power stations, resulting in a threefold increase in construction costs.

In a presentation to the Presidential Climate Commission in July this year, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter made a clear pivot away from nuclear when he indicated that it was the least desirable option for new electricity generation because of unsustainable cost margins. Procuring a nuclear new build by 2024, as Mantashe has indicated, is certainly not, at this point in our history, at a pace and scale that South Africa can afford.

The DA is not opposed to nuclear power. What we are objecting to is the blind pursuit of a nuclear build programme that is by all accounts beyond our reach. South Africa should rather be pursuing a rapid deployment of independent power generation, from multiple sources of supply, with a strong emphasis on renewable energy, and building a robust grid infrastructure, with associated storage. We should be encouraging and incentivising energy efficiency, and making it easier for municipalities, businesses, and citizens to become self-sufficient in terms of electricity generation.

After the long Covid winter, spring is coming for Cape Town

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by Geordin Hill-Lewis MP today during the launch of his Mayoral campaign in Bonteheuwel on the same spot where he started his political career 17 years ago.

Friends, colleagues, and my fellow Capetonians,

It was right here in Bonteheuwel, on a chilly winter’s morning in June 2004, that I came to my first DA meeting, at the home of Councillor Theresa Thompson.

I signed my membership form on a car bonnet outside, just moments before the meeting started.

It is wonderful to be back here today, and thank you Theresa for hosting us here.

I decided to enter politics on that winter’s day in 2004 for one essential reason: because I am committed to the fight to secure a prosperous future for the people of Cape Town.

And it is for that exact same reason that I am standing before you today.

Then as now, I have a fierce and unshakeable belief in the power of the people of Cape Town, and in the need for a government that frees and harnesses their potential so that our Mother City can take its rightful place among the great cities of the world.

In the years that followed that meeting at Theresa’s house, I worked in student politics to build our party at UCT, and later to build the DA in Cape Town.

I then went to work for our very first DA Mayor, Helen Zille, as she blazed a trail for our party and our city.

Then came a decade in Parliament where I fought to grow our country’s economy.

But looking back on that first DA meeting right here in Bonteheuwel, never in my wildest dreams did I think that, seventeen years later, I would find myself standing right here again as the DA’s Mayoral Candidate for the most beautiful city in the entire world.

I am so grateful to have travelled this road together with so many of you, and it is heart-warming to see so many friends and dear colleagues here today.

And to those of you who do not yet know me: I recognise the audacity of what I’m doing. A millennial with a funny name – that’s why most people just call me ‘GHL’ – running for Mayor of Cape Town.

But in the months and years ahead, we will get to know each other well, as we build our home, our city, together.

And Cape Town is my home – in every sense of the word.

I grew up and still live in Edgemead, just a bit further down the N7 from here.

I met my wife at Edgemead High School, our parents still live there, and now we take our daughter to the same parks that we played on as kids.

It was also as a young man that I first found a deep abiding belief in the vision and values of the only political home I have ever known, the Democratic Alliance.

The DA has shown in government that South Africa’s slow decline is not inevitable and it is not irreversible. That the future can be different, and better.

Despite all the many challenges that our country and our city has faced in the years since the DA first won power here, I am here today feeling even more optimistic about the future of the Mother City than I did back then.

After all the hard work that the DA has already done in Cape Town, we now have the opportunity to do so much more!

Let me be right up front about it: the legacy of our divisive and discriminatory past, as well as the failures of the present-day national government, continue to haunt Cape Town.

Just as winter is cold and dark here in the shadow of Table Mountain, so too do we still feel the chill of past segregation and the gloom of present stagnation.

And yet, the history of Cape Town shows that – when we are united – we can banish the clouds of winter for the sunshine of spring.

The strength of our community bonds, the care shown between neighbours, and the friendship of strangers, all warm the heart from the inside out.

Dit is hier, in Kaapstad, waar Autshumato en Krotoa die lig van begrip gebring het tussen mense vanuit alle uithoeke van die wêreld.

Dit is hier waar Maleise slawe selfs in die bittere koue van gedwonge arbeid die warmte van musiek, kultuur en godsdiens helder laat brand het.

En dit is net hier, in die gloei van Kaapstad se skitterende diversiteit, dat Afrikaans as die wêreld se jongste taal gebore is as die versinnebeelding van eenheid in diversiteit.

It is also here that merchants and entrepreneurs built world-class businesses that brought the light of economic prosperity.

And it is here that the likes of Philip Kgosana, Adam Small, Breyten Breytenbach and Colin Eglin banished the cold winter of oppression, and where our country’s first democratically-elected Parliament was sworn in.

Today, I receive the baton of being your Mayoral Candidate from another one of Cape Town’s champions.

During some of the stormiest political times in our recent history, Mayor Dan Plato had the courage to go where most feared to tread.

Dan, ek is trots om te volg daar waar jy die pad uitgelê het, en ek eer jou vir die enorme bydra wat jy tot Kaapstad se vooruitgang gemaak het.

It is precisely because of the hard work of people like Dan Plato that we all know that Cape Town is already the best-run local government in South Africa.

Because of the outright DA majority that governs this city, Cape Town is one of the only governments in South Africa that gets things done.

The DA in Cape Town doesn’t sit on the side-lines to try and divide people on the basis of race or religion. Instead, we get delivery done for everyone.

The DA in Cape Town doesn’t make empty promises about honest and clean government. We simply get it done.

But I am standing here today as your Mayoral Candidate because I believe that the time has come for us to get even more done.

And I will earn your trust the old-fashioned way.

Not by simply asking for it, but by demonstrating that I am ready to get more done than ever before for the people of Cape Town!

Doing more starts with doing the basics better.

As your mayor, I will work day and night to bring better service delivery to every resident of Cape Town.

No matter where you live, every Capetonian must see your potholes being fixed, your refuse being collected, and your streetlights being repaired.

In neighbourhoods like Delft, Lavender Hill, Manenberg, Langa, Gugulethu and other places where too many Capetonians still experience the biting cold of poverty, unemployment and indignity, we must get more done.

I want every resident to see and feel the ‘DA difference.’

The people of Cape Town must know that this is a government they can trust and be proud of.

They must feel part of this government.

Most importantly, while South Africa goes through this long winter of discontent, Capetonians should again feel a sense of optimism about their home – that they live in a city that is on the move, and where people can overcome the binds of poverty.

Let’s do more to unleash the power of the private sector to meet the enormous demand for housing in our city.

The DA is the only party that believes in empowering poor South Africans to own their own homes.

That is why I want to see cranes going up all over vacant pieces of state-owned land in Cape Town.

Our Mother City must become one big construction site where we build a future of shared prosperity.

It is time for the city to force the national government to release the massive plots of land it owns, so that the private sector can build homes for Capetonians.

This focus on opening the way for private enterprise to help solve our problems must carry over into everything we do.

It is time for us to get much more done to stimulate economic growth and the job opportunities that flow from a thriving private economy.

I intend to run the most jobs-focused and entrepreneur-friendly administration this city has ever seen.

We will relentlessly work to cut red tape wherever it ensnares private initiative.

We will make Cape Town the easiest place on the African continent to invest and do business.

Entrepreneurs who are chased away by the ideologues in national government will find a safe haven that welcomes them with open arms here in Cape Town, because we understand that nothing brings light into darkness like the dignity of secure employment.

It is also time for us to recognise that we need to get more done in areas where the national government has dismally failed the people of Cape Town.

The collapse of almost every national government service is the single biggest reason why winter lingers over too many parts of life in our city.

In fact, the failing national government has consistently undermined the efforts of DA-led Cape Town to bring dignity and hope to all the people of our city.

When DA-led Cape Town brought the light and warmth of electricity to thousands of poor households, the national ANC government plunged them right back into darkness through loadshedding.

When DA-led Cape Town worked together with the Western Cape to introduce LEAP safety officers and monitor the failures of SAPS, the ANC punished the people of the Cape Flats with the lowest police-to-citizen ratio in the country.

When DA-led Cape Town introduced the MyCiti bus service to give citizens more options for safe and reliable public transport, the national ANC government took away those options by collapsing Metrorail.

It is time for us to recognise that the national ANC government cannot and does not want to provide reliable electricity, public transport and policing services to the people of Cape Town.

They actively work against the people of this city at every opportunity they get.

Since they refuse to do it for us, we must do more of this for ourselves.

If we want a thriving future for Cape Town, where every citizen has the opportunity to live a dignified life they value, we have no other choice but to take the fight to the national government in Pretoria.

Now is the time for the DA in Cape Town to get more done than ever before.

We must end loadshedding in Cape Town.

We must train, equip and deploy hundreds of additional law enforcement officers to make Cape Town safer.

We must use every tool at our disposal to fight for control over passenger rail services to provide all Capetonians with affordable, reliable and safe public transport.

But when I say we must get even more done for the city we all love, I’m not only referring to the municipal government.

We means all of us.

To help get all of these ambitious things done, citizens will have to play their part.

It starts with seemingly minor things, like keeping neighbourhoods clean by preventing illegal dumping and cleaning up litter.

But it also includes the responsibility we all have to report and stop illegal land invasions.

And a city where everyone plays their part also needs the support of Cape Town’s business community, which will have a vital role to play in generating the investments we need to end loadshedding, build affordable housing, and fix the railways.

If we all work together, I have no doubt that we will get all of these things done – because Cape Town has always managed to turn winter into springtime when we all pulled in the same direction.

But the opposite also holds true: the history of this city shows that our darkest moments happened when we were divided.

The truth is that our country is now living through another long and dark winter caused by the Covid crisis and the slow death of the ANC and the national government it controls.

Subjected to rising unemployment, hunger and poverty, it is a time of fear and uncertainty for many people.

As in all times of crisis, this moment is ripe with opportunity for those who seek to cynically exploit our beautiful diversity to divide Capetonians into racial and religious enclaves.

Over the coming months, peddlers of hate will tell you that you are struggling to make ends meet because of the colour of your skin, because of the language you speak, or because of the God you worship.

This moment is ripe with opportunity for populist parties, and it means that this is going to be the closest election in recent history.

The only way to prevent our city from falling into the hands of populists who seek to divide us, is by ensuring that every single DA voter shows up and votes on Election Day.

But I have no doubt that Capetonians have it within them to repel the populists, because we have truth on our side.

The truth is that the anguish so many of us feel is not because we are coloured, white, black, Christian or Muslim.

Just look around, and you will see that the pain of losing a loved one to Covid is felt no differently by Muslims or Christians.

You will see that the anguish of a mother who has lost a child to gang violence is no different because she is black.

You will see that the indignity and fear of a neighbour who cannot provide for his family is no different if they are coloured, or white.

In contrast with what opposition parties will tell you, the root cause of this suffering is the failure of the national ANC government to get anything done.

Capetonians must not allow themselves to be fooled into blaming one another for the failures of the ANC.

Instead, now is exactly the moment for us to unite behind the DA even more strongly than ever before.

With an overwhelming win for the DA in the upcoming election, Cape Town will show the rest of South Africa what the future can look like.

Where others see only fear and decline, I see the opportunity of a lifetime to turn Cape Town into the great world city it deserves to be.

With a relentless focus on getting even more done, we will turn this into the best place to live – and the best place to visit – in the southern hemisphere.

En ons moet sommer dadelik begin. Dit is hoogtyd dat Kaapstad weer ‘n slag sy vere regskud. Ons stad kreun van verlange om weer te kuier saam met miljoene toeriste van oor die wêreld heen.

Ek is moeg vir die stil strate en die leë kafees. Ek wil weer ‘n slag die klanke van die ghoema hoor en die kleure van die klopse in ons strate sien!

But tourists and the jobs they create will only return once they know that Capetonians will protect them from the coronavirus.

That is why the municipal government must play a far bigger role in making sure that Covid vaccines actually reach the people who need them.

We must go street-by-street and door-to-door to make sure that every single person who wants to be protected against Covid has the opportunity to be vaccinated.

Ons almal weet ook dat jy eers jou huis ordentlik moet skoonmaak voordat jy besoekers kan verwelkom.

Cape Town is in desperate need of a spring-clean after this harsh winter, and I intend to shortly launch a campaign where every resident can help us clean up in preparation for the return of international visitors.

To the people of Cape Town, I want to say this: stand firm, and do not let the shadows of the past and the darkness of the present overwhelm you.

I know that the cold of Covid still send shivers down our spines.

I know that the storm of unemployment and indignity still rages.

And I know that the collapse of national government services crashes like thunder all around us.

But be still for a moment, and you will feel a change is in the air.

The first hint of spring has arrived.

Every Capetonian who longs for winter to end and for spring to come, must turn out and vote for the DA in the upcoming election.

For if there’s one thing I’ve come to know in the many years since I first joined the DA right here in Bonteheuwel, it is that when the people of Cape Town unite behind the DA, we can weather any storm.

The failing national government has tried to cut down all the flowers. They have tried to make this harsh winter last forever.

But with a resounding win for the DA on 27 October, we will banish this brutal winter, and spring will come again for Cape Town.

Thank you.

Opinion: ANC policies have created the world’s worst unemployment disaster

If this week’s headlines – that South Africa now has the highest unemployment rate in the world among 82 countries monitored by Bloomberg – does not act as a kick in the rear of this government and spur them into bold action on job-enabling reform, they have no business being in government. Then they should clear out and let a real government step in and fix their mess.

Officially, 34.4% of South Africans are without work. But when you include the “discouraged” job-seekers – the real long-term victims of this unemployment pandemic – that number shoots up to 44.4%. And when you look at the youth segment alone – defined here as below 24 years old – a staggering 74.8% cannot find jobs.

There is no spin that can begin to sugarcoat this disaster. No amount of blaming the pandemic, blaming the riots, blaming foreigners, blaming white monopoly capital, blaming the Zuma administration or blaming apartheid can explain why ours is not only one of the least pandemic-resilient economies in the world, but also one of the worst-performing economies even before anyone had heard of Covid-19.

There is also no reasonable explanation for why the so-called reformer president cannot get his supposed reform agenda out of the glacial gear it’s stuck in. Our continents will reunite in Gondwanaland and he will still be busy “consulting social partners” on what needs to be done.

Not that he needs any further consultation to know what to do. Every expert, every economist, every financial columnist has been shouting the answer at him since the day he stepped into office: Governments don’t create jobs, businesses create jobs. Become a partner to your job creators, stop treating them like the enemy, stop making it near impossible to get a new business off the ground and stop doing everything in your power to chase new investment away. Start weighing up every single policy and regulation by its likely impact on jobs and nothing else.

And this advice has not only been dispensed locally. Globally, more and more are joining the chorus, imploring the ANC to be less ANC-like, to step into the 21st century and to put what The Economist now calls “bad ANC economics” behind it. The very same Economist who you might remember came out to bat for the ANC in the build-up to the 2019 elections. But it seems they’ve had their Damascus moment and have, quite rightly, put the blame for our economic misery and jobs bloodbath squarely on disastrous ANC policy.

In a piece published in July titled “End of the line for ANC economics”, The Economist identifies, among others, the crony enrichment scheme disguised as Black Economic Empowerment, the central control of ports, rail and power generation, and inflexible labour laws that shut smaller players out as some of the policy failures that have had the greatest impact on our shrinking economy. They’re dead right, of course, but it really would have helped if they’d had this insight before endorsing the party in the last election.

Still, it’s better late than never, and it’s a message our government needs to hear over and over until it registers. We won’t make a dent in these unemployment numbers with mindless talk shops and consultations. We won’t make a dent by shuffling the same threadbare cabinet around in a dozen new configurations. And we certainly won’t make a dent by pursuing an economic worldview abandoned everywhere else three decades ago. What President Ramaphosa needs to do is step out of the Cold War era and into the shoes of the people directly impacted by his party’s deadbeat policies.

He needs to put himself in the shoes of the small business owner who cannot possibly comply with the wage agreements reached between government and big business and eventually has no choice but to first lay off staff and then close the business down. Or the small supplier trying to do business with the state but whose company eventually fails because government simply won’t pay invoices.

He needs to put himself in the shoes of the potential international investor who takes one look at the BEE scam, the mining charter, the threat to expropriate private property without compensation, the unreliable electricity supply and the inability of the state to protect businesses against lawlessness and looting, and says: no thanks, I’ll rather put my money elsewhere.

He needs to put himself in the shoes of any one of the roughly 12 million desperate, mostly young, job-seekers who have no future to look forward to because they are not only unemployed, but thanks to one of the world’s worst-performing education systems, also virtually unemployable.

If he’d walked just a few steps in their shoes, he’d see exactly where SADTU-controlled education has left a generation of children, and he would immediately make plans to limit the union’s toxic reach in schools. He would know that auctioning off spectrum to bring down data costs is an urgent requirement for keeping this generation connected, and he would know that most of them would happily be exempted from the minimum wage if it meant a job.

If he’d put himself in the shoes of any of the restaurant owners or liquor merchants wiped out by the past 18 months of on-off regulations, he would not have signed off on any of these damaging restrictions drafted and gazetted by people with no skin in the game and who’ve never had to go a day without a salary.

None of these things are a secret. None of these ideas are new or revolutionary. President Ramaphosa and his government have known for years that opening up the energy market and allowing independent power producers to sell directly to municipalities would boost electricity production and, along with it, our economy. They’ve known for years that our failed rail network and ports have dragged our economy down, and that these need to be at least part-privatised to work properly.

And they’ve known for decades that deploying useless but politically loyal cadres to key positions in the state is killing our country. But yet they persist with all these things, because that’s what it says in their little ideological playbook. That’s the party they are.

We need to start being honest about what the ANC is if we want a different outcome for our country. If the obvious solutions to this unemployment disaster – the things just about everyone has been calling for – are at odds with their sworn ideology, it is the ideology that needs to compromise, not the solutions. And if that can’t happen, then the government itself must make way for one that understands what it takes to grow the economy and create jobs.

DA welcomes extension of grace period to renew driving license cards to 31 March 2022

Note to Editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Chris Hunsinger MP.

The DA welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, that the grace period for motorists to renew their expired driving license cards has been extended to 31 March 2022.

The Minister said in a statement that all learner’s licenses, driving license cards, temporary driving licenses and professional driving permits that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 will be deemed valid until 31 March 2022.

The DA would like to take this opportunity to remind motorists that although the card that proofs you have a valid driving license expires every five years, the license itself does not. We are therefore in favour of extending the validity of the driver’s license cards beyond the current 5-year term as it has been proven that the current renewal frequency has no impact on road safety. The law enforcement staff tasked with renewing driving license cards should rather be redeployed to programmes that would save lives, including increased visibility of traffic officials on the roads and the testing of drivers and vehicles.

A number of changes to the renewal process will also need to be made, including allowance for aspects to be done online. While the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has exacerbated the problems associated with renewing driving licenses, it is by no means the cause of it.

Driving licenses and professional driving permits (PDPs) are often directly linked to the availability of employment opportunities in South Africa – the country with the current highest unemployment rate in the world. Streamlining the process and extending the period for which driving license cards are valid, could have a significant impact on livelihoods.

The centralized data capture and control system, eNaTIS, is also in desperate need of an overhaul as it has proven incapable efficiently of handling the volumes of applications received on a daily basis. The DA suggests the geographic ringfencing of applicants.

The DA is currently reviewing the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) and considering improvements to South Africa’s traffic laws.

The DA has continually raised concerns with the renewal of licenses in various provinces, and will continue to fight for the rights of motorists.