I got my Covid shot today. Let’s all get ours

Please find attached pictures of DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen MP, receiving his Covid shot here, here, here, here, here and here.

Today I received the first of my Covid-19 vaccination shots at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in the city’s Foreshore.

Aside from the reassurance of knowing that I have significantly boosted my own body’s resilience to the virus and also helped keep those I come into contact with safer, I was blown away by the world-class operation at the CTICC.

The entire process, from arrival to jab, took around 20 minutes, and throughout I was directed and informed in a highly efficient and professional manner. It is inspiring to see such a well-run operation in service of such a crucial cause, and it confirmed once again what people have been saying for years: DA governments know how to get things done.

 I want to encourage all South Africans who have not yet had the vaccination to go out and get it as soon as possible. Bolstering the immunity of our society and keeping people out of hospital is the only way we will be able to return to normality soon, and this can only be achieved through vaccination. The full approval by the FDA this week of the Pfizer shot should also put to bed many of the doubts and fears brought about through misinformation.

If you’re over 18, please get yourself registered on the EVDS system and find out where your nearest vaccination site is. You will be amazed at how quick and painless it is, and you cannot put a price on the peace-of-mind that this protection offers you and your loved ones. I had to delay my own first shot due to a recent appendix surgery, but I am extremely grateful and relieved that I now can say I am one of the vaccinated.

I also want to implore employers to assist their staff where they can. Many people are hesitant because they don’t know whether they can take time off, or how they will get to the vaccination site. It is in everyone’s interest that our society and our economy get back to normal as soon as possible – and particularly for business owners who need their employees healthy and present – so please help by reassuring staff that they will be given time to get the shot, and perhaps also by assisting with transport.

This vaccination drive is not something a government can do on its own. It requires buy-in and cooperation from individuals and businesses alike. Let us prove that we are capable of mounting a whole-of-society response to this pandemic.

NPA must expediate State capture prosecutions

The DA calls on the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv Shamila Batohi, and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to demonstrate to South Africans that the evidence on State capture presented before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture will be taken seriously and prosecuted as a matter of urgency. To date, we have seen very little in the way of real action.

The prosecution of the former Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, for perjury after she gave false evidence during a 2018 inquiry into her role in the social grant crisis of 2016, has shown that there is an appetite to pursue these high-level cases and the NPA must not allow this opportunity to pass. It is imperative that high-level prosecutions are undertaken soon, to show that everyone is equal before the law.

The NPA must use all the tools at their disposal – the NPA Investigating Directorate established in 2019 by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the protocol regarding the sharing of information and evidence between the Directorate and the Commission that safeguards the permissibility of this evidence before a court that was established and signed in August 2020 – to prosecute all individuals implicated in corruption at the Zondo Commission.

Earlier this year the DA submitted parliamentary questions to the NPA with regards to their Investigating Directorate as there has been no updates nor any prosecutions of note to show that the State is serious about prosecuting and pursuing the allegations before the Zondo Commission.

Serious allegations have been made against powerful individuals and has shaped South Africa’s economic reality into a country whose unemployment rate is five times that of the world average. Transnet, Eskom, Denel, and the State Security Agency (SSA) were some of the piggybanks that were regularly abused.

Without any thought or compassion for the country’s increasingly poor and vulnerable masses, South Africa was allowed to be looted and destroyed to enrich greedy cadres deployed by the ANC to siphon billions of Rands from taxpayers and into the pockets of the politically connected, like the Gupta family – whose extradition proceedings do not appear to be making any real progress.

Not only has this resulted in zero service delivery and failing infrastructure in towns and cities across the country, as a result, unemployment has soared while investment has plummeted. And then President Ramaphosa has the audacity to defend the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment and the cadre deployment committee that he headed for 5 years.

State capture has infected all manner of institutions and flourished for the better part of a decade – the only thing that has flourished under the ANC government.

The NPA needs to demonstrate that it is both willing and able to prosecute these perpetrators, whose identity is by now common knowledge, and play their not inconsiderable part in rooting out corruption.

Pernicious Employment Equity Amendment Bill will worsen economic crisis

Please find attached a soundbite by Michael Cardo MP. 

Today the Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour approved the Employment Equity (EE) Amendment Bill, a damaging and destructive exercise in social engineering that will worsen South Africa’s economic woes.

The DA will oppose the passage of this legislation through Parliament and petition the President not to sign it into law.

Critically, the Bill empowers the Minster of Employment and Labour to set numerical EE targets for any national economic sector after consultation with the relevant sectors. In future, state contracts may only be issued to employers who have been certified – by the Minister – as being compliant with their obligations under the Act. These obligations include compliance with ministerially-determined sectoral targets. A designated employer’s compliance with the law may also now be measured, not only against the demographic profile of either the national or the regional economically active population, but also against the sectoral numerical targets set by the Minister.

This is a recipe for malicious ministerial meddling.

The new powers conferred upon the Minister are completely incompatible with the principles of a market-based economy.

The Bill will deter investors, undermine economic growth and jeopardise jobs at a time when many businesses are on their knees, with almost 12 million South Africans unemployed and a record-high unemployment rate (on the expanded definition) of 44.4%. 

In its ideologically-blinkered and unconstitutional pursuit of “demographic representivity”, the ANC has now unleashed a legislative wrecking ball on the private sector. Instead of freeing up businesses for economy recovery, the ANC intends to clamp down on them under the jackboot of racial interventionism.

 The DA will fight the enactment of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill all the way.

 

DA welcomes Modimolle/Afriforum service delivery partnership 

Please find attached soundbites in Afrikaans and English by Cilliers Brink MP.

The DA welcomes the historic agreement between the Modimolle-Mookgophong Local Municipality in Limpopo and the community organisation Afriforum.

In terms of the agreement Afriforum will assist the municipality to access technical skills and expertise on a voluntary basis. The goal is to improve service delivery.

This is exactly the kind of ‘whole of society’ approach that will help rebuild municipalities by drawing from expertise and goodwill that already exist in communities across the country.

Modimolle-Mookgophong is the product of a merger between two different municipalities that were both mismanaged for many years.

The DA’s Marlene van Staden become the mayor in 2016, and has been working day and night to replenish infrastructure and improve services.

Despite commitments from national government, the new municipality never received the extraordinary support required to make a success of the new municipality.

The partnership with Afriforum gives the municipality the chance to leverage resources not controlled by national government.

The DA will monitor the progress of the partnership and see if it can be replicated in other municipalities and involving other communities organisations.

DA calls on Cele to scrap draconian Gun Bill, submits over 100 000 signatures to Parliament

Please find an attached soundbite by Andrew Whitfield MP

The DA can confirm that it has received more than 113 000 signatures rejecting the draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill which, among other contentious aspects, seeks to remove self-defense as a valid reason to own a firearm.

The DA will today submit these signatures to Parliament to ensure that the voice of every South African who signed this petition is heard. We thank everyone who signed the petition and submitted objections against this draconian piece of legislation.

The wave of violent protests and looting that swept parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last month exposed the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) inability to deal with criminal acts. These events confirm that the draconian Gun Bill would achieve nothing more than removing the last line of defense for law-abiding citizens whose lives are constantly under threat by violent criminals.

Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, must do the right thing and scrap the Bill completely since it is now clear that the SAPS is incapable of keeping South Africans safe.

Because of the high crime rate in South Africa, millions of South Africans rely on self-defense as their last line of defense. The Bill is simply trying to disarm law-abiding citizens without addressing the core reason of the country’s high prevalence of violent crime. Without the protection of weapons, South Africans will be at risk of having their hands tied behind their backs when approached by criminals because the police is simply too overwhelmed to protect communities. This is something the DA simply will not allow.

The 113 000 South Africans who objected to the Firearms Control Amendment Bill have sent a clear message to Minister Cele: they refuse to be disarmed by the ANC government.

DA submits candidates for every Ward in SA, for first time ever

The DA is proud to confirm that we have timeously submitted our full candidate lists to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) by last night’s 21:00 deadline.

We are especially pleased to announce that for the first time in the DA’s history, we have selected and placed a candidate in every single ward in South Africa. In this year’s Local Government Election the DA is challenging for every Ward, and presenting a Ward candidate to every voter across the country.

Placing a candidate in every ward speaks to our complete national footprint, both as the official opposition of South Africa, and the only party that can truly beat the ANC.

Other smaller parties, who are not challenging in every Ward, do not have the footprint, the size and the might to beat the ANC, stop the rot, restore hope in the future, and get things done.

This is proof of the DA’s ongoing growth and steady momentum, towards success in the upcoming elections.

The DA’s election campaign was progressing at full steam yesterday with DA Leader, John Steenhuisen, announcing the Party’s mayoral candidates for Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay and Cape Town in the upcoming Local Government Elections. We are thrilled with the positive and hopeful reception our Mayoral Candidates have received so far.

In this election the DA is proud to present a team of candidates who have been selected through a rigorous selection process, over the past almost two years.

QLFS trainwreck: A job is the best guarantee of social security

please find attached soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP.

The fact that the expanded unemployment rate now stands at an all-time high of 44.4%, according to today’s release of the second quarter Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), suggests a runaway train destined for disaster.

Government urgently needs to make labour-absorbing job-creation South Africa’s number one policy priority. A job is the best guarantee of social security.

All of government’s efforts should be focused on enabling the private sector to create jobs. This is something the ANC should bear in mind as it entertains fanciful proposals about a R200 billion Basic Income Grant and the mad, unworkable, proposals contained in the Green Paper on Social Security and Retirement Reforms released by the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, last week.

The key takeaways from the QLFS are as follows: between the first and second quarters of 2021, on the strict definition of unemployment, the number of unemployed people increased by 584 000 to 7.8 million. The number of discouraged work-seekers increased by 186 000 (5.9%). This means that, overall, almost 12 million South Africans do not have a job. The figure is mind-blowing.

Government seems to have given up on job-creation, overwhelmed by the enormous, deep-seated structural causes of unemployment. It prefers instead to engage in wishful thinking about expanding the country’s massive social welfare net, even though there is a tiny pool of rapidly diminishing taxpayers who are already squeezed to the hilt.

But we can start to tackle job-creation by reforming our onerous labour laws and freeing up the labour market to make it more flexible and absorptive.

That is why the DA is pushing, among other things, for an end to the pernicious practice whereby the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, extends collective bargaining agreements to parties who did not sign them in the first place. This imposes huge costs on new- and small firms. It is a job-killer.

Furthermore, as the country begins to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and job-crushing lockdowns, we need to start supporting value-adding, export-led growth sectors, especially tourism, horticulture, agro-processing and logistics. These sectors can produce both the number and type of jobs required in South Africa.

The QLFS should be a massive wake-up call to government. It is time to focus single-mindedly on solving the problem of job-creation.

Treasury must provide clarity on how IMF billions will be used 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has extended a credit line of R65 billion to South Africa through its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) facility. This is on top of the R70 billion emergency financial assistance extended to South Africa by the IMF last year under its Rapid Financing Instrument.

It is imperative that National Treasury provide clarity on exactly how this credit will be utilised going forward, including how it will impact South Africa’s interest payment obligations to the IMF based on the negative difference between South Africa’s SDR holdings, on which we receive interest, and allocations, on which we pay interest.

Current IMF data indicates that South Africa’s total overdue obligations and projected payments for 2021 amount to 16.2 million SDRs, or R348.28 million, and is projected to increase to 1 547.7 million SDRs, or R33.26 billion, by 2024.

Whilst the current liquidity injection into the economy is welcomed, it is crucial that it is used to fund actual investments instead of current expenditure such as public wages or non-operating expenses such as interest payments.

Time for ANC to play open cards on fishing rights allocation process 

Please find attached soundbite by Dave Bryant MP.

The DA remains concerned regarding the outstanding conclusion of the long-awaited Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) which was due to take place last year. The DA has been made aware of a revised timeline which indicates that all rights are now due to be rushed through by the end of December 2021 followed by an appeals process which should take until the middle of 2022.

While it is heartening to see that steps are at least being taken towards concluding this process serious questions still remain around the details of this process and the implementation thereof.

It is understood that phase one of the socio-economic impact assessment (SEIAS) for FRAP is not yet fully concluded. This process is meant to assist in informing the decision making in terms of the awarding of rights and is central to its success.

Furthermore, there is due to be a second phase to the SEAIS and is it uncertain as to when this process will begin or how the outcomes of this will be factored into the relatively short timeframe remaining before the awarding of rights before the end of this year.

We have also noted concern that not enough has been done to consult with a wide range of stakeholders, including academia and other professionals to ensure that the process is thorough and that no one is unfairly prejudiced or left out. If so, the whole process could be up for legal challenge which would be a complete disaster. The DA has submitted questions to the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, in this regard and are hoping to get more feedback soon.

The ANC’s handling of fishing in South Africa and in particular the FRAP has been calamitous to say the least. In the Western Cape the small-scale fishing allocations were completely bungled, to the point where a new contractor had to be sourced and the process restarted. This is simply not good enough in a country with 2 800 kilometers of coastline with many communities and industries that rely on fishing for survival.

It is high time that the Department play open cards with the fishing industry and the general public as to the way forward with the FRAP and all other matters relating to fishing in South Africa.

Time to remove the rot in Ekurhuleni

Please find attached a soundbite by Refiloe Nt’sekhe.

Fellow South Africans,

My name is Refiloe Nt’sekhe. I am currently the Democratic Alliance Shadow MEC for Social Development in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. I also serve as the party’s Deputy Federal Chairperson.

The Democratic Alliance have selected me to lead the party’s charge in the City of Ekurhuleni as their Mayoral Candidate.

As a resident of Ekurhuleni, and having served as a Councillor in the city, I am aware of the complete and systemic collapse of the municipality.

Ekurhuleni is the epitome of political ineptitude coupled with sheer disdain by those who were elected to run the city five years ago.

Power outages for days, weeks on end, interrupted and unplanned water outages, roads in disrepair, and urban decay is rife while poverty and squalor are the hallmarks of the incompetence of the ANC and their coalition partners.

I know this, because like you, I am a resident of Ekurhuleni. The city is my home, and just like you, these are my lived experiences.

Yet, despite all of this rot, there is hope. There is a solution.

These are not insurmountable challenges. These problems require a leader who is competent and truly dedicated to serve the people of the city first. Ekurhuleni residents need leaders who are humble, committed, and compassionate.

As I stand here today, my promise to you, the residents of Ekurhuleni, is that under my leadership, with the skills and Democratic Alliance’s record of good governance, Ekurhuleni can and will be a city where every single resident is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Real service delivery, real development and growth can and will take place under a DA-led administration.

Like a surgeon removing a deadly tumour, I intend to remove the rot and restore my patient back to full strength.

My commitment is you, the residents of Ekurhuleni. I am here for you. I am in your corner. I am your champion. Dedicated to finding solutions to the service delivery challenges you have been facing.

Together we can overcome and set our municipality on the road to prosperity and improve the lives of all residents.

With those few words, I Refiloe Nt’sekhe, accept the Nomination of DA’s Mayoral Candidate for Ekurhuleni.

I thank you.