DA sends best wishes to matrics ahead of exams

Please find attached soundbite by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP.

The DA wishes all matric learners the best during their examinations set to start tomorrow.

We know that the past two years have asked extraordinary discipline and sacrifice from learners who had to adapt to schooling during a global pandemic that often saw the curriculum interrupted for long periods of time. We trust that they have used their time wisely and prepared themselves for the upcoming examinations as well as they could.

We also commend the teachers who have gone above and beyond in embracing the restrictive nature of the Covid-19 pandemic and found creative solutions to ensure that their learners covered as much of the curriculum as possible.

The DA calls on the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to ensure that all the necessary measures are in place so that none of the examination papers can be compromised or leaked. Learners do not deserve to have aspersions cast on their hard work.

The country is facing a youth unemployment crisis with 64% of our youth being unemployed. What is alarming is the high drop-out rate in the class of 2021. This year’s matric cohort has seen a shocking drop-out of 309 747 learners since 2019. This poses major challenges to young South Africans in securing prosperous futures. The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and DBE must put a plan in place to ensure high retention through creating a conducive environment for learning to keep learners in school. This plan must focus on the curriculum, infrastructure maintenance and development, and quality teaching. The DA will be tabling solutions to the above issues in Parliament next month.

Despite the difficulties faced by the matrics, they should be proud to have made it to this point. The DA wishes the class of 2021 all the best with their final exams.

Help us to bring change to more towns and municipalities by making a donation towards our 2021 Local Government Election campaign, click here.

DA-governed Johannesburg will switch off power to e-Toll gantries

The following remarks were made today at a media briefing by DA Mayoral Candidate for Johannesburg, Cllr Mpho Phalatse.

Any Mayor of a municipality has a responsibility to protect their residents, especially when it comes to their interests of basic service delivery. It is evident that a Mayor like Mpho Moerane, who was caught out lying this past weekend about Johannesburg residents being protected from loadshedding, is not in the business of being a responsible Mayor.

Should I be elected to serve as Mayor of Johannesburg after these elections, I intend on being a responsible Mayor for the residents by ensuring effective service delivery.

The DA has been informed that the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), the custodian of the e-Tolls system and their gantries across the province, are currently in arrears with City Power.

Where gantries exist in City Power supply areas, City Power is currently supplying them with electricity. In a normal circumstance, SANRAL should be paying the bills for this service.

But with SANRAL in arrears, it means the City of Johannesburg is not receiving revenue for this service, and the cost to keep these gantries on is being footed to the residents of Johannesburg.

Should the DA be elected to govern Johannesburg, we will switch off the electricity supply to e-Toll gantries in City Power supply areas such as on William Nicol Drive and in Rivonia, effectively collapsing the e-Toll system in strategic nodes, based on non-payment by SANRAL. We cannot allow the residents of Johannesburg to suffer any further from a shortage of services, because national government is failing to take responsibility and pay their bills.

It is unfair for local governments to bail out national government at the expense of service delivery. The non-payment by SANRAL shortchanges City Power with much needed revenue to fix ageing and broken down infrastructure. With less revenue, it is the residents of Johannesburg who suffer outages that last up to weeks because City Power does not have enough funding to clear their own infrastructure backlog. This lost revenue could have also been directed towards procurement of electricity from independent power producers to start freeing residents from loadshedding.

Currently, Joburg residents are not getting value for money for services. Despite some residents dutifully paying their rates and levies, there are constant power outages across the City. As Mayor, I will have the responsibility to ensure that basic services are delivered, and all municipal funds are used responsibly.

Municipalities get their revenue from various sources including, rates and levies, division of revenue, and grants from other tiers of government. However, when a municipality does not get revenue from these sources, it has a terribly negative effect on service delivery – especially because municipalities plan budgets based on what sources of revenue they anticipate to receive.

In many instances such as in the case of SANRAL, national and provincial government utilise services provided by the City of Johannesburg like electricity and water. Whether these are government departments or entities, they are expected to pay their rates and levies for any services used.

Therefore, we will not stop at SANRAL. A DA-led Johannesburg will clamp down on the culture of non-payment across all services, for any provincial or national departments, entities, and companies that are in debt to the City. Revenue is the lifeblood of basic service delivery, and we will not allow the residents to suffer anymore.

The revenue that belongs to the City of Johannesburg must be paid to the City of Johannesburg. Service delivery must be restored. It is only a DA government that will get things done in the City of Gold.

Help us to bring change to more towns and municipalities by making a donation towards our 2021 Local Government Election campaign, click here.

Unite behind the DA so we can end load shedding in Cape Town

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Geordin Hill-Lewis

With loadshedding back again, just 8 days before an election, only the DA has presented a positive plan to end loadshedding over time in Cape Town.

Ten days ago, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said that the utility was suspending load shedding for “election season.” Tonight, South Africa is plunged back into devastating blackouts that cost our economy R500 million per stage, per day. It is now clear beyond all doubt that the ANC has broken Eskom so fundamentally that it can no longer even manipulate it for political gain.  

DA-led Cape Town already uses its Steenbras hydro-electric plant to shield Capetonians from one stage of load shedding. And the DA is the only party that has put a clear and workable plan on the table to completely end loadshedding in Cape Town. We will use recent amendments to the Electricity Regulation Act to procure electricity directly from independent power producers, invest in additional generation capacity to augment Steenbras, and empower Capetonians to generate and sell electricity via the city’s grid.

Load shedding destroys job, makes our streets unsafe, and forces added hardship onto our most vulnerable communities. Ending load shedding is the single most powerful thing we can do to secure Cape Town’s future against the collapse of the ANC national government.

But we can never turn this vision into reality if we allow divisive small parties to smuggle the ANC back into power. If that happens, Eskom and the ANC will drag Cape Town down with it, as load shedding destroys any hope of fixing our city’s economy and creating the thousands of jobs our city so desperately needs.

On 1 November, let us is reject the ANC and divisive small parties by uniting behind the DA so we can end load shedding in Cape Town.

DA hosts successful ‘Get Things Done’ Rally

The DA today hosted its ‘Get Things Done’ Rally at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg.

Thousands of DA activists, supporters and leaders from across the country came together as DA Leader John Steenhuisen addressed the nation.

The message to the South African people was clear: on 1 November we call on voters to vote for the only party that gets things done. Vote DA!

Pictures of the DA ‘Get Things Done’ Rally can be accessed here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Help us to bring change to more towns and municipalities by making a donation towards our 2021 Local Government Election campaign, click here.

Vote for the only party that gets things done. Vote DA!

The following speech was delivered today at the DA ‘Get Things Done’ Closing Rally at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg. 

My fellow Democrats, fellow citizens,

Welcome, and thank you for coming out here today to Mary Fitzgerald Square in beautiful Johannesburg for the DA’s “Get Things Done” rally – our final national rally before we go to the polls to vote next Monday.

We still have just over a week left to reach even more people and persuade them to put their trust in the only party that has shown it has what it takes to save our towns and cities.

The only party that can say, with complete honesty: We Get Things Done!

The full speech can be accessed here.

Other speeches from today’s rally can be downloaded below: 

Dr Ivan Meyer – DA Federal Chairperson (Vote for the DA to end suffering in your municipality)

Siviwe Gwarube – DA National Spokesperson (The DA changes lives for the better where we govern

Cilliers Brink – DA Spokesperson (We can get things fixed! But you have you vote DA)

Help us to bring change to more towns and municipalities by making a donation towards our 2021 Local Government Election campaign, click here.

SAMWU can’t stand that Tshwane works under the DA

Please find attached a soundbite by Cilliers Brink

Today members of the South Africa Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) embarked on an illegal strike to actively sabotage and disrupt operations in Tshwane.

SAMWU has indicated that they were protesting over the fact that the City isn’t implementing wage increases from the bargaining council collective agreement for workers.

In doing so they intimidated non-striking Tshwane staff and prevented them from entering their offices. They dumped waste on the streets, damaged water meters, blocked roads, opened fire hydrants and significantly disrupted traffic in the Inner City.

What is interesting is that SAMWU have not organised protests in metropolitans such as Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Ethekwini who have also not yet approved any wage increases.

In fact, there are a number of municipalities that have not approved salary increases and have already applied for exemptions.

The difference of course is that the Democratic Alliance governs Tshwane and SAMWU is affiliated to the ANC.

Notably, the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) the majority trade union in Tshwane has not felt it necessary to trash the city.

SAMWU is clearly driving a political agenda, likely at the behest of the ANC who are desperate to return to govern Tshwane.

The ANC’s campaign in Tshwane has been so dismally weak and fractured that they now have to rely on their trade union to campaign for them.

SAMWU’s tactics should be called out for what they are, with little over a week before the election, they are clearly trying to sabotage the work of the city to drive a political agenda on behalf of the ANC.

Help us to bring change to more towns and municipalities by making a donation towards our 2021 Local Government Election campaign, click here.

DA can win Umngeni outright and get things done here!

Please find below a speech delivered today by the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen at the “We Can Win Rally” in Howick KwaZulu Natal.

Pictures are attached here, here, here, here and video.

Good afternoon, fellow Democrats, fellow South Africans,

It is great to be with you here in beautiful Howick, one of my favourite places on Earth. I have so many great memories of time spent here. I hope to make many more in the years to come.

And this is the thing. Now is the time to think hard about the years to come.

What do you want Howick and the other towns and areas of Umngeni to look like in the years to come?

In 10 days’ time, every voter in Umngeni will have to make a decision that could make or break this municipality.

It’s one second to make that cross, and five years to live with the consequences.

Luckily for Umngeni voters, their choice is what is commonly known as a “no-brainer”. Meaning it’s an easy choice to make.

It’s a two horse race here, between the DA and the ANC.

In 2016, the DA won 10 seats in your 23-seat council and the ANC won the other 13. No other party came close to getting a single seat.

It doesn’t get more two-horse race than that.

A two-horse race between a strong young work-horse and a lame old rocking horse.

A two-horse race between DA delivery and ANC decline.

A municipality that cares, and a municipality that couldn’t care less. Taps that run, and taps that run dry. Street lights that work, and street lights that don’t. Potholes that get filled, and potholes that get bigger. Businesses that thrive, and businesses that leave.

It really is that simple.

The DA gets things done. The ANC lets things slide.

The DA spends your money on you. The ANC spends your money on the ANC.

The DA delivers. The ANC desserts.

The good news is that the DA can win this race. We only need to take two seats off the ANC to have a full majority here in Umngeni.

We need to shift just 2500 votes to win those two extra seats.

And there are two big reasons why the DA should and can and will win those two extra seats off the ANC.

One, because the ANC has given up on Umngeni.

Two, because the DA is ready and eager to get things done in Umngeni.

The ANC has already given people countless reasons not to vote them back into government here.

They’ve made it clear they don’t care about the people living here.

For years, they’ve promised houses to the people of Shiyabazali Informal Settlement. Yet they have not built one single house there or anywhere in this municipality in the last five years. Not one house.

For years, the farmworkers in Karkloof have asked for the basics – water, toilets, electricity, roads. They are always the last to get anything at all. Soccer fields at Yarrow and Loskop, for example, are small things that could make a big difference.

For years, the residents of Hilton have asked to get off the broken Msunduzi power grid.

But the ANC here can’t be bothered.

They charge some of the highest rates in the country. But they can’t be bothered to answer your calls or your pleas.

They can’t be bothered to get Hilton off the Msunduzi grid, even though people there go for days without power.

They can’t be bothered to fix the broken sewerage and sanitation system.

They can’t be bothered to replace aging water pipes.

They can’t be bothered to fill potholes, collect rubbish regularly, and keep Umngeni clean.

Which is why more and more tourists can’t be bothered to come here.

The breathtaking Howick Falls, once a magnet for attracting tourists, is now a place for drinking and public urinating.

Umngeni should be a star performer. It should be a thriving agricultural and tourist hub. It’s got the Howick Falls, the KarKloof canopy, the Mandela Capture Site, the Midmar Dam. Great people. Great weather. Great views.

All of which should be driving huge tourism into this place. Attracting investment. Creating jobs. Growing rates revenue, to do more and more things for more and more people.

But instead, this council is in a downward spiral.

Delivery failures are destroying not just the local economy but the municipal finances too. Because the less you deliver, the less income you get from residents.

Make no mistake, the ANC’s failure to get the basics right in Umngeni will ultimately lead to the total collapse of its service delivery, its finances, and its local economy.

And let’s face it, the ANC has given up on Umngeni.

And not just Umngeni, but the whole of KZN.

President Ramaphosa has given up on this province. He’s only been here twice since the unrest. He allowed his party to wage their warfare in the towns of KZN, leaving a wake of destruction behind them.

People will be picking up the pieces of their lives for years to come, with no help at all from the ANC.

And will the instigators be arrested? Of course not. Because it’s party before people every time.

The ANC has failed Umngeni and it has failed South Africa.

Even the most die-hard ANC supporters are starting to realise this. And that is why I’m confident the ANC will lose at least two seats in Umngeni’s council come 1 November.

And why should the DA win those seats instead?

Because the DA gets things done!

The DA gets things done for the people where we govern.

We have a simple but winning three-part formula for delivering real, tangible improvements to people lives.

We appoint public servants who can deliver to the public not to the party.

We spend public money on the public.

We partner with the public.

That’s how we’ve built our track record of success where we govern.

The DA is the only party with a proven track record of getting things done in government.

We get the basics right. Day after day. Year after year.

In this very real way, we bring real, tangible improvements to the lives of millions of people.

People find it easier to travel on roads where we govern.

They find it easier to go about their daily activities where we govern.

They find it easier to start businesses where we govern.

They find it easier to build houses where we govern.

They find it easier to get jobs where we govern.

Because the DA gets the basics done.

You don’t have to believe me on this one. You just have to look at our track record.

Track record is important in politics because it’s easy to make empty promises come election time.

And the most reliable information on track record comes from independent third party analysis, such as News24’s municipal ratings index which came out this week.

It found that the top 5 best-run municipalities in the country are all run by the DA, with outright majorities.

It found that 12 of the top 20 best-run municipalities in South Africa are DA-run. Which is all the more striking when you consider that the DA runs fewer than 10% of SA’s municipalities.

It found that the best-run municipality in Gauteng is Midvaal, which is also the only municipality in Gauteng where the DA governs with an outright majority.

It found that the best-run municipality in the Eastern Cape is Kouga, which is also the only municipality in the Eastern Cape where the DA governs with an outright majority.

And in 5 years’ time, it could very well find that DA-run Umngeni is the best-run municipality in KZN!

That’s why I say that now is the time to think about the years to come.

Because what happens in five years’ time depends entirely on what happens in 10 days’ time.

In 10 days’ time, on 1 November, you can end Umngeni’s downward spiral and put it on an upward spiral of more delivery, more investment, more jobs, more revenue, and yet more delivery.

In 10 days’ time, you can choose the party that gets things done for you.

I’m not asking you to commit to the DA forever.

I’m asking you to give us one chance – one five-year term – to prove ourselves to you.

One chance to show you that we care. One chance to deliver.

This is not a marriage, it’s a date. It’s not a purchase, it’s a rental.

Hire us, and if you’re not impressed, fire us in five years’ time. That’s what democracy is all about.

But I don’t think you’ll fire us.

I think you’ll hire us again and again, to serve you.

Umngeni won’t look back and nor will you. You’ll be looking forward, to a brighter future.

Now is the time to choose DA delivery.

Manje isikhathi. Manje. (Now is the time. Now.)

Viva DA! Viva!

Help us to bring change to more towns and municipalities by making a donation towards our 2021 Local Government Election campaign, click here.

Only the DA can rebuild JB Marks

The following speech was delivered this afternoon by the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen in Potchefstroom in the North West Province. 

Pictures are attached here, here, here, here and here.

Good afternoon, fellow Democrats, fellow South Africans,

It is great to be with you here in JB Marks Municipality. And thank you for coming to meet with me today.

This is a strategic municipality for the DA, because there is an outside, but real, chance that this municipality could be run by the DA from 2 November.

And what a marked difference that would make to the trajectory of this municipality.

The people gathered in this room are some of the main movers and shakers in this municipality. I believe if we work together, strategically, it is within our power to save JB Marks from its downward spiral under the ANC and start to rebuild it under the DA from 2 November.

In August 2016, the DA won 32% of votes in JB Marks. Just 10 percentage points short of being able to lead a governing coalition. The ANC won this municipality with the slimmest of majorities – just 50.9%.

Five years later, and they have nothing to show for the trust placed in them by voters, other than a general sense of decay, crumbling infrastructure, and an ex-Mayor facing criminal charges for theft and fraud.

As you may know, I toured the North West Province extensively about a month ago. So I’ve seen for myself the state of decline, and the level of deprivation suffered by people here, due to ANC corruption and failed governance.

And just this morning, I have visited some places in Potchefstroom.

I’ve seen for myself the extreme poverty suffered by people living in Ikageng, where sewerage spills and unreliable basic services are the norm.

I’ve seen the Disaster Management Centre in Potch Industria, standing unfinished despite millions spent on this project. (The real disaster, of course, is the ANC.)

I’ve seen the Railway Station which was once regarded as one of the best on the continent, for its architectural features and beautiful layout. And I’ve heard how people are keen to restore it, but ANC-run PRASA stands in the way.

I’ve been to the Walter Sisulu Pedestrian Mall, which used to be a prime business hub, but is now a hub of crime and grime. Lights are broken, CCTV cameras no longer function, illegal dumping is rife, and infrastructure is crumbling. Predictably, some businesses are moving out, taking precious jobs with them.

I’ve visited the President Pretorius museum, which collapsed last year due to a lack of maintenance.

I’ve visited the Agricultural College, which was one of the best in the world. Now Selborne Hall is unsafe to enter. The grounds are lying fallow with dilapidated buildings and no plan to repair or revitalize the College.

I’ve learned about raw sewage from the industrial area flowing directly into the Prozesky Bird Sanctuary and the Mooi River.

And I’ve seen the ANC’s billboard outside the SASSA offices, with President Ramaphosa proudly claiming that JB Marks is the best-run ANC local municipality.

Well, we know that’s not true. We know that JB Marks is in fact one of the 64 municipalities classified by the Department of Local Government (CoGTA) as dysfunctional.

Worse still, it is one of 26 of these that are under administration. Which is unsurprising, given that about R3.5 billion was lost to unauthorized, irregular or wasteful expenditure last year.

But on the subject of best-run municipalities, let me tell you what is true. It is true that the top 5 local municipalities are all DA-run.

And it’s also true that 12 of the top 20 are DA-run, while 14 of the top 20 are in DA-run Western Cape. This is according to both Ratings Afrika and News24’s Out of Order municipal ratings index, both of which are independent.

It’s true that DA-run Midvaal is the best-run municipality in Gauteng. And that DA-run Kouga is the best-run municipality in the Eastern Cape.

And if the DA wins JB Marks on 1 November, it will very soon be the best-run municipality in the North West.

Why am I so confident of this?

Because we have a winning formula that we apply wherever we govern. We appoint people on their ability to deliver to people rather than on political loyalty, we spend public money on the public, and we partner with the public. It really comes down to those three things.

That’s how the DA get things done.

That’s why it is also true that DA municipalities get clean audits year after year. And residents see and experience progress year after year.

Just compare the university towns of Stellenbosch and Potchefstroom.

DA-run Stellenbosch is making progress, delivering services and housing, protecting and maintaining heritage sites, and attracting job-creating investment. It is also in a race with Cape Town to become the first municipality to end load-shedding.

Meanwhile in ANC-run Potchefstroom, we see the same general decay evident all across this beleaguered province. Heritage sites are crumbling from neglect. For years there’s been no provision of social or subsidized housing. Even private provision of housing is hampered by municipal incompetence and corruption. The local economy is stagnating due to lack of basic service delivery, causing unemployment to soar.

It’s really no wonder that DA-run Western Cape has a broad unemployment rate which, at 29%, is 18 percentage points lower than the North West’s unemployment rate of 47%.

And don’t get me wrong.

I recognize that there are civic organisations and NGOs and active citizens here in JB Marks who want to make a difference. They want to contribute their energy and creativity to this municipality. They want to fix and rebuild and invest.

They don’t lack commitment. They lack a partner in local government.

Take the Potch Pothole Project, where community and business members are funding the repair of potholes across town.

If JB Marks had a functioning DA government, there wouldn’t be a need for residents and business owners who already pay rates and taxes, to have to contribute over and above to the basic maintenance of infrastructure.

DA local governments create the enabling environment of well-maintained infrastructure so that residents and businesses can do what they do best: innovate, invest, build, and create jobs.

But DA governments don’t just focus on getting the basics right. They also look to go above and beyond, and step in where the ANC national government is failing, to protect residents from our collapsing state.

For example, DA governments support citizen safety by working with neighbourhood watch groups and SAPS and by augmenting local law enforcement. Cape Town, for example, has specialized anti-gang and metal theft units. This area needs a specialized rural safety unit.

DA governments are seeking to protect residents from water-shedding and load-shedding by augmenting bulk water supplies and buying electricity direct from independent producers.

The fact is, voters in JB Marks have a simple choice. On 2 November, they can wake up to another five years of ANC mismanagement at the local government level. Or they can look forward to five years of repairing and rebuilding under the Democratic Alliance.

But let’s be clear. We can’t do this in a weak or unstable coalition. Only those towns where the DA has a full majority, or a strong coalition, experience the real DA difference.

So we need to win 10 percentage points off the ANC. This is not impossible. There is a real chance that the DA could run JB Marks from 2 Nov. But we’re going to need every single vote we can get.

So please vote DA and get your communities to vote DA on 1 November so that we can rebuild JB Marks together.

Compensation Fund must account to Parliament on new regulations

Please find an attached soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP

The DA has written to the chair of the Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour, Ms Mary-Ann Lindelwa Dunjwa, requesting that the Compensation Fund account to the committee as soon as Parliament reconvenes.

This follows the publication in the Government Gazette on 19 October of a notice enforcing new banking information requirements for compensation of occupational injuries and disease (COID) related claims.

The bottom line is that the Compensation Fund is trying to put third party pre-funding administrators out of business. These administrators perform an essential function in transacting with the Compensation Fund on behalf of medical service providers.

Historically, medical service providers have ceded their claims to third-party administrators for payment by the Fund. The Compensation Fund has been dysfunctional for over two decades; its new ‘CompEasy’ claims system is almost impossible to navigate; and medical service providers often have to wait up to two years – or longer – for payment. Third party pre-funding administrators ease the burden on medical service providers by dealing directly with the Compensation Fund. But the Fund wants to get rid of them because of a series of legal challenges brought by the administrators against the Compensation Fund, of which – embarrassingly – the Fund has repeatedly been on the losing side.

Recently the Compensation Fund tried to legislate the problem away with proposed amendments to the COID Act. When that failed, the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, cynically gazetted a series of irrational and draconian regulations the day after Parliament rose for the local government election campaign. The regulations removed the right of medical service providers to use the services of third-party pre-funding administrators to ensure they are paid for treating injured workers. A humiliating climb-down ensued and the regulations had to be withdrawn.

Now the Compensation Fund is trying another tack. The latest regulations state that the Compensation Fund will no longer accept banking details and nominated bank accounts of agents and other representatives other than that of the medical service provider or the healthcare organisation which provided the service to the injured or deceased beneficiary. The Fund will only accept banking details belonging to the medical service provider or relevant healthcare organisation.

This is yet another ploy by the Compensation Fund to disembarrass itself of third-party administrators.

The DA calls for the Compensation Fund to explain to the Portfolio Committee exactly what the purpose and rationale of these regulations are in the interests of clarity and accountability.

Help us to bring change to more towns and municipalities by making a donation towards our 2021 Local Government Election campaign, click here.