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 A humiliating climb-down ensued and the regulations had to be withdrawn.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.

DA asks court to declare SU language discrimination unconstitutional

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Dr Leon Schreiber MP.

The DA today filed legal papers in the Western Cape High Court to have the Stellenbosch University’s (SU) refusal to make learning material available in Afrikaans declared unconstitutional, illegal and invalid. The DA brings this application in collaboration with, and in support of, Afrikaans-speaking students at SU and in the advancement of the broader Afrikaans-speaking community’s constitutional right to mother tongue education.

In the court documents, the DA and students explain that SU has been violating its own language policy for the past four semesters – two years – by not making new Afrikaans learning material available to Afrikaans-speaking students. This gross discrimination not only harms the approximately 8 000 Afrikaans students at SU, but also violates section 29 (2) of the Constitution, which confirms that every South African has the right to receive an education in the language of their choice.

Over the past few months, the DA and the organisation StudentePlein have gathered damning evidence against SU management, which we submitted to the court today. The management and senate of the university, both under the leadership of Rector Wim de Villiers, violated and broke the university’s own language policy by using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to do away with Afrikaans learning material.

De Villiers and a small group of administrators unilaterally decided to abolish Afrikaans in defiance of the language policy’s stipulation that deviations can only take place on the recommendation of faculties. This mechanism exists precisely to ensure that ideologically-driven administrators cannot decide on language arrangements on behalf of students, lecturers and faculties.

After SU management illegally got rid of Afrikaans learning material, they also misled the public about in an attempt to wipe clean their tracks. SU management falsely claimed in a media statement that the deviation from the language policy had been requested by faculties. And although they initially stated that the deviation would only last for one semester, our evidence to the court indicates that Afrikaans learning material has not been made available for the past four semesters – with no end in sight.

The DA also submitted affidavits by several students pointing out that the same contempt for Afrikaans also applies when it comes to lectures, with no Afrikaans used in lectures that are supposed to be presented in parallel-medium or dual-medium.

The DA requests the court to declare this language discrimination unconstitutional, illegal and invalid, and that the court issue an order that all learning materials must in future be made available in Afrikaans. Although this matter will still not place Afrikaans on an equal footing with English at SU, it is of great importance to ensure that accountability prevails.

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

Welcome to Cape Town, Mr President, the best-run city in South Africa

Today the leader of the party that runs every single broken, collapsing, corrupt, chaotic town and city in South Africa came to Cape Town to lecture the residents of a city that works – simply because it is governed by the DA. This is the city he chooses to live in himself, because he wants for himself that which his own party cannot deliver to others.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign swing in Cape Town today shows the ANC’s determination to win back power in Cape Town. The ANC is pouring whatever resources they have into getting back into power in Cape Town.

That would be a disaster for the residents of the Mother City. Regardless of Ramaphosa’s desperate attacks on the DA today, everyone knows that Cape Town is the best-run city in South Africa, confirmed by every independent metric – including those from Ramaphosa’s own national government.

In these final days before the election, we will do whatever it takes to protect the residents of Cape Town from the disaster of an ANC return to power here.

The people of Cape Town remember what life was like under the previous ANC government. Cape Town was on the same road to ruin as every other ANC-run city and town. Corruption flourished, services collapsed, and crime surged when the ANC held power in Cape Town. Capetonians also know that our city only started making progress once they voted the ANC out and united behind the DA.

This election is a two-horse race in Cape Town between the ANC and the DA, because only the DA is big and strong enough to keep the ANC out. That is why the ANC is banking on the help of various small parties to act like Trojan Horses by opening the door to an ANC-EFF coalition.

Cape Town has come too far for us to play with fire in this election. If we allow the small party Trojan Horses to smuggle the ANC back into power, Cape Town will go the same way as every ANC-governed city. The only way to keep this collapse from reaching Cape Town, is for voters to unite behind the DA on 1 November.

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

Geordin Hill-Lewis pledges to clean up Cape Town’s public spaces, streets and waterways

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites. Pictures can be downloaded here, here and here

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is proud to today announce our seventh pledge to the people of Cape Town, which is to clean up our Mother City’s public spaces, streets and waterways.

Over the past two years, Cape Town has been through what feels like a long and dark winter. The Covid pandemic, combined with the accelerating collapse of the national government, cost the lives of thousands of Capetonians, and the livelihoods of even more of our city’s residents. The unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic took a severe toll on Cape Town. Our world-class tourism sector ground to a near-complete halt. People lost family members, jobs and homes. And we have all seen how, over the past few months, the litter and pollution in our public spaces, streets and waterways has increased as we understandably diverted our focus almost exclusively to dealing with the pandemic.

For a while, it felt like this long Covid winter might never end. But, as we have done so many times before, Cape Town will overcome. This long Covid winter is coming to an end, and Spring is on its way back for Cape Town.

But before we can welcome millions of tourists and the jobs they create back to Cape Town for a joyful spring and summer, and before we can hopefully enjoy a normal festive season with friends and family, we have work to do to get our city back in good shape.

Dit is tyd om Kaapstad se vere weer ‘n slag ordentlik reg te skud.

And there is no better way to do that, than with a good old-fashioned Spring Clean.

With the long Covid winter hopefully behind us for good, it is time to clean up Cape Town. Residents as well as the city government all have key roles to play in making sure that we clean out the literal and metaphorical debris left behind by the Covid pandemic. For our city to get back on the front foot as quickly as possible, we must urgently clean up the environment within which we all live, and on which we all depend.

Like the people of Lavender Hill have done with this beautiful food garden, it is time to turn dilapidated public spaces into clean, safe and hopeful areas we can all share.

From the city’s side, I pledge that, if the DA is re-elected by the people of Cape Town on 1 November, we will significantly increase investment in the basic services that keep our streets free of litter, our parks safe and well-maintained, and our waterways free of pollution and sewerage. There is much work for the city to do on this front, and I will tackle it head on.

But I am also calling on the people of Cape Town to help by doing their part. We have all suffered during this long Covid winter. I know that many of us feel despondent about the future.

But that is no reason for us to poison our environment and public spaces with litter and illegal dumping. These are problems that no government can solve on its own. These are problems that can only be solved through a partnership between the City and the people of Cape Town, where each and every one of us takes pride in playing our part to stop littering and dumping.

That is why I also pledge today to strengthen the relationship between the City and the many organisations that work to keep Cape Town clean. I intend to work proactively with civic organisations that mobilise communities to make Cape Town cleaner and healthier. As part of this, the DA will investigate a whole new approach to public hygiene by providing improved infrastructure and incentivising residents to keep their neighbourhoods clean, while holding those who do not respect our public spaces meaningfully accountable for acts like illegal dumping and littering.

Finally, my commitment to end load shedding in Cape Town by embracing renewable energy is the single most important thing we can do to reduce our city’s carbon footprint. Largely thanks to Eskom’s reliance on dirty coal, South Africa is currently the 12th biggest source of greenhouse gases in the world, with Cape Town producing over 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. But a full 64% of this is due entirely to our reliance on Eskom. Replacing our reliance on Eskom coal with renewable sources like solar and wind energy will enable us to significantly reduce Cape Town’s carbon footprint over the next five years.

We all know that Cape Town is the most naturally-beautiful city in the entire world. But living in a city so blessed by nature also confers certain responsibilities upon the government and people of Cape Town. We all have a duty to act as responsible custodians over our beautiful Mother City, so that our children and their children can also enjoy Cape Town’s beauty one day.

Together, the DA and the people of Cape Town can make sure that the cleanliness and health of our public spaces, streets and waterways reflect our pride in living in the most beautiful city in the world.

To recap, the DA will:

  • Increase investment in cleaning up litter, pollution and improving the maintenance of public spaces
  • Build stronger relationships with civic organisations that help keep Cape Town clean and healthy
  • Provide stronger incentives and better infrastructure for residents to keep neighbourhoods clean, while holding offenders accountable
  • Reduce Cape Town’s carbon footprint by embracing renewable energy to end load shedding

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

DA vra hof om US taaldiskriminasie ongrondwetlik te verklaar

Stellenbosch

Vind asseblief aangeheg ’n klankgreep van Dr Leon Schreiber LP.

Die Demokratiese Alliansie (DA) het vandag hofstukke ingedien by die Kaapse Hooggeregshof om die Universiteit van Stellenbosch (US) se weiering om leermateriaal in Afrikaans beskikbaar te stel as ongrondwetlik, onwettig en ongeldig te laat verklaar. Die DA bring hierdie aansoek in samewerking met, en ter ondersteuning van, Afrikaanssprekende studente aan die US en ter bevordering van die breër Afrikaanssprekende gemeenskap se grondwetlike reg op moedertaalonderrig.

In die hofstukke sit die DA en studente uiteen dat die US reeds vir die afgelope vier semesters – twee jaar lank – hul eie taalbeleid verbreek deur nie nuwe leermateriaal aan Afrikaanssprekende studente beskikbaar te maak nie. Hierdie growwe diskriminasie benadeel nie net die ongeveer 8 000 Afrikaanse studente aan die US nie, maar verbreek ook artikel 29 (2) van die Grondwet, wat bevestig dat elke Suid-Afrikaner die reg het om onderrig te ontvang in die taal van eie keuse.

Oor die afgelope maande het die DA en die organisasie StudentePlein verdoemende bewyse ingesamel teen die US, wat ons vandag by die hof ingedien het. Die bestuur en senaat van die universiteit, beide onder leiding van rektor Wim de Villiers, het die instelling se eie taalbeleid geminag en verbreek deur die Covid-pandemie te gebruik as ’n verskoning om weg te doen met Afrikaanse leermateriaal.

De Villiers en ’n klein groepie administrateurs het eensydig besluit om Afrikaans af te skaf in weerwil van die taalbeleid se stipulasie dat afwykings slegs kan plaasvind op aanbeveling van fakulteite. Hierdie meganisme bestaan juis om te verseker dat oorywerige en ideologies-gedrewe administrateurs nie namens studente, dosente en fakulteite kan besluit oor taalreëlings nie.

Nadat die US-bestuur op onregmatige wyse weggedoen het met Afrikaanse leermateriaal, het hul ook die publiek daaroor mislei in ’n poging om hul spore dood te vee. Die US het in ’n mediaverklaring valslik beweer dat die afwyking van die taalbeleid deur fakulteite versoek is. En alhoewel hul aanvanklik aangevoer het dat die afwyking net vir een semester sou voortduur, dui ons bewyse aan die hof daarop dat Afrikaanse leermateriaal reeds vir vier semesters lank nie meer beskikbaar gemaak word nie – met geen einde in sig nie.

Die DA het verder ook eedsverklarings deur verskeie studente ingedien wat daarop wys dat dieselfde minagting van Afrikaans ook geld wanneer dit kom by lesings, met géén Afrikaans wat gebruik word in lesings wat veronderstel is om in parallelmedium of dubbelmedium aangebied te word nie.

Die DA versoek die hof om hierdie taaldiskriminasie ongrondwetlik, onwettig en ongeldig te verklaar, en dat die hof ‘n bevel uitreik dat leermateriaal voortaan in Afrikaans beskikbaar gemaak moet word. Alhoewel hierdie saak steeds nie Afrikaans op gelyke voet met Engels sal plaas aan die US nie, is dit van groot belang dat verantwoordbaarheid seëvier.

Revealed: Six more dodgy projects by Lesseyton contractor

You can download soundbites in English and Afrikaans from Vicky Knoetze, MPL.

The R15 million Lesseyton sports field in the Enoch Mgijima municipality appears to be just the tip of the iceberg, as more and more questionable contracts by Thalami Civils are surfacing.

The Democratic Alliance can today reveal at least six other multi-million-rand contracts given to Thalami Civils which are of serious concern.

As part of our Tender Watch Eastern Cape initiative, the DA will be lodging a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application in connection to all tenders secured by Thalami Civils.

Key projects that we will be reviewing are:

  • The Centane Taxi Rank, with a price tag of R6,8 million (Mnquma Municipality), completed in 2017.
  • The Theko Kona Outdoor Sports Facility, with a price tag of R4,4 million, completed in 2018 (Mnquma Municipality).
  • The Mpukane Community Hall, with a price tag of R3,6 million, completed in 2015 (Mnquma Municipality).
  • The Tsomo Taxi Rank, with a price tag of R4 million, completed in 2019 (Intsika Yethu Municipality).
  • Phase two of the Sakhisizwe sports field, with a price tag of R5,4 million, completed in 2020 (Sakhisizwe Local Municipality.)
  • The water supply scheme in Cafutweni, Dutywa, with a quoted price tag of R41 million, awarded this year (Amathole District Municipality).

Discrepancies in the amounts allocated to the projects above have also been picked up, with the Mnquma municipality’s 2016/17 Annual Report listing the Centani Taxi rank at R6,8 million, the Theko Kona facilities at R4,4 million, and the Mpukane Community Hall at R3,6 million. This is in sharp contrast to Thalami Civils’s company profile, which puts the values at R64 million, R56 million and R35 million respectively. Thalami lists the Sakhisizwe sports field project at R7.5 million on their profile, whereas the municipality reported it as R5.4 million.

The Cafutweni Water Scheme project has been flagged, as another contractor who bid on the project has threatened legal action, after coming in at R22 million, against the bid of R41 million bid of Thalami Civils.

Earlier this week I, together with DA Shadow MEC for Economic Affairs, Jane Cowley MPL, conducted oversight at some of these projects.

From what we saw, there is no value for money being offered, and it would appear that these projects have been nothing more than a means to empty local municipal coffers of funds.

The Centane Taxi Rank sits in the middle of town and consists of slanted steel roof structures on pillars. There are three 60m2 structures and six 15m2 vendor stalls. On arrival, four of the stalls were closed, there was no electricity at the facility, and the fencing around the area had collapsed.

Toilet facilities at the taxi rank do not have water, so residents use water collected from a nearby open manhole to flush.

See photos here and here

The Tsomo Taxi Rank in the Intsika Yethu Municipality has been flagged by local taxi owners as too small to use. The facility only has space for two taxis, while the rest of the space is loading zones that have no space for taxis to turn around in.

Two years after completion it is still not being utilised.

It was the Theko Kona Outdoor Sports Facility, however, that was the most heart-breaking illustration of how residents are being robbed of their futures.

The project is so far out from towns and villages, that it could only be found using GPS coordinates. There are no roads to the facility itself, with one having to drive over grass fields just to reach it.

There are two fields, of which only one could be deemed usable, a dilapidated netball court the surface of which is already crumbling, a 120m2 dressing room with no water or electricity, and a water tank that is not connected to anything.

See photos here, here, here and here

While travelling to these sites, it was clear that the basic needs of residents in these areas are not being met. No running water, raw sewage flowing down potholed streets, no electricity and no jobs, yet these ANC-run municipalities deemed these multi-million-rand vanity projects more important!

Residents have not received value for money in these initiatives!

The DA will be lodging PAIA applications for all documentation relating to every tender awarded to Thalami Civils in the Eastern Cape at both local, district and provincial government level.

Once this documentation has been received, we will review it and will, wherever possible, follow up with criminal charges which may include theft, fraud, corruption and collusion.

Our public officials responsible for these tenders need to be held to account. At the very least this is wasteful expenditure. It is tantamount to blatant theft of public funds meant to improve the lives of our people!

In a capable state with a commitment to value for money projects, this would never occur. The DA is fighting to fix broken municipalities in a broken province.

Residents must be reminded that they can stop the rot! The power is in their hands to choose a government that puts the people first and gets things done, or to choose another five years of sub-par sports fields built in the middle of nowhere so that corrupt officials can steal their money!

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

The DA is your best protection against the failing ANC

News24’s recently released Out of Order Index finds that the top 5 best-run municipalities in South Africa are all run by the DA. Twelve of the top 20 best-run municipalities are DA-run, including DA-run Midvaal as the best-performing municipality in Gauteng and DA-run Kouga as the best-performing municipality in the Eastern Cape, while 14 of the top 20 best-run municipalities are in DA-run Western Cape.

DA outperformance is even more striking when one considers that the DA runs fewer than 10% of all municipalities in South Africa.

The Out of Order index finds that local service delivery is collapsing under ANC mismanagement, with 107 municipalities classified as dysfunctional. This number comprises the 64 municipalities classified by CoGTA in August as being delinquent or under administration and a further 43 rated by the index as facing imminent collapse.

Importantly, the study suggests that this crisis on the frontline of delivery is likely to deepen.

This reveals a stark choice facing voters. After 1 November, they can either enjoy service delivery under the DA or suffer collapsing delivery under the ANC. A reliable or patchy water and electricity supply. Well-maintained or potholed roads. A thriving or dying local economy.

The DA is the only party that can protect citizens from the worst consequences of an ANC collapsing under the weight of cadre deployment, political instability and financial mismanagement.

DA-run local governments protect citizens not just by getting the basics right and spending public money on the public, but in many cases by taking over responsibility or augmenting delivery where the national ANC government is failing in its responsibility.

DA governments already go above and beyond their mandate in many types of delivery. And citizens in DA-run areas will benefit from a lot more of this in the next five years.

DA going above and beyond on electricity

The City of Cape Town already protects its citizens from one level of load-shedding through its Steenbras Dam energy storage station.

Now its focus is on buying energy and energy storage capability from independent producers, to end loadshedding altogether. For every 100 megawatts of energy the City can buy from independent suppliers, its citizens are protected from another level of load-shedding. The City has taken national government to court for this right of local governments to buy electricity directly from independent power producers (IPPs).

There is no reason for load-shedding other than politics. Local and foreign investors are lined up and ready to supply the South African market with cheaper and cleaner energy. The solutions to load-shedding are readily available, but national government does not want citizens to access these and is fiercely protecting its Eskom monopoly.

But DA Cape Town mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis has made it clear he is not going to stand back and wait for national government to allow the City to solve its energy problem.

Likewise, through its Energy Resilience Project, the DA is putting in place measures to enable six DA-run municipalities to purchase electricity directly from IPPs. These municipalities are Stellenbosch, Drakenstein, Mossel Bay, Overstrand, Saldanha Bay and Swartland. Once the model has been perfected with these six “pilots”, we will roll it out to all DA-run governments.

DA going above and beyond on water

The DA protected Western Cape citizens from Day Zero, despite national government failure to fulfil its mandate of increased bulk water supply, by sourcing additional supply from aquifers and desalination and by driving an effective water saving campaign.

Cape Town’s New Water Programme (NWP) aims to deliver an additional 300 million litres per day by 2030. The City is also targeting a 55 billion litre annual reduction of water losses by ramping up the clearing of invasive alien vegetation in water catchment areas. Clearing efforts are set to increase from the current 1250 to 9000 hectares per year in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.

DA going above and beyond on local safety

The City of Cape Town provides the most extensive safety and security programme of any local authority in South Africa, to compensate for SAPS failure.  This includes specialised units such as a metals theft unit, an anti-gang unit, a water unit, a K9 unit, an anti-land invasion unit, and a law enforcement unit which has tripled the arrest rate since 2016.

DA will go above and beyond on passenger rail

Metrorail has all but collapsed in Cape Town. This has hit the poorest communities hardest. Today, only 36% of residents still have access to a working train station in the neighbourhood where they live. Nearly two thirds of Capetonians have lost access to passenger trains.

There is no way national government will ever restore Cape Town’s train service to full capacity, never mind upgrade it. DA mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis will fight to take control over Cape Town’s trains, so that we can fix the trains and build a truly modern, affordable, integrated public transport system.

Conclusion

This fight for devolution of power is in line with the DA’s commitment to the principle of federalism, which holds that power should reside at that level of government closest to the people, which is able to deliver.

Being bold about fighting for more powers to fix problems that national is unwilling or unable to fix is the only way to secure your city’s future. The DA is the only party that does this, and it can only do this with a DA majority. Voters cannot expect this level of protection with a hung municipality or a weak coalition government.

On 1 November, vote DA to protect your community from a failing ANC, because only the DA gets things done.

DA-led Cape Town will oppose the ANC’s forced sale of private security companies

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

Last week, South Africans found out that President Cyril Ramaphosa had signed into law the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act, which amounts to an assault on the right of South Africans to defend their families and communities from crime in the wake of the collapse of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The Democratic Alliance (DA) rejects this draconian piece of legislation with the contempt it deserves. And, should the people of Cape Town return the DA to power on 1 November, we commit to protecting private security services, neighbourhood watches and all organisations that make Cape Town safer by working with these stakeholders to challenge this law all the way to the Constitutional Court if needs be.

Under section 26 of the Act signed by Ramaphosa, the government now has the power to “suspend the registration of a security business” if that business is not at least 51% South African-owned. In addition, article 20(2)(e) gives none other than Police Minister Bheki Cele the power to unilaterally “prescribe by regulation a different percentage of ownership and control.”

In one fell swoop, the legislation signed last week by Ramaphosa empowers the ANC national government to effectively expropriate the property of foreign investors by denying their companies the right to do business in South Africa unless they sell their majority stake. Worse still, clause 20(2)(e) gives Cele the power to unilaterally change the share of ownership required for a security company to operate in South Africa.

When this law was first considered by Parliament back in 2014, foreign embassies made it clear that this forced expropriation of the property of investors would violate the World Trade Organisation’s rules and could result in the expulsion of South Africa from preferential market access agreements.

But, ultimately, it is the people of South Africa – who have already been abandoned by Cele and SAPS in the face of rampant crime – who will bear the true brunt of this law. Some of the biggest security companies that help keep South Africans safe feature significant foreign-ownership. Over 550 000 South Africans work in the private security industry. This is nearly four-times more than the 145 000 police officers currently employed by SAPS.

If this new law is allowed to stand, Cele would gain the power to overnight cause hundreds of thousands of security officers to lose their jobs, and millions of South Africans to lose access to the private security companies that protect them when Cele cannot.

Of course, the only South Africans who will not be affected by this expropriation law is Ramaphosa, Cele and the rest of the ANC elite. None of them will ever need the services of a private security company, because they simply force taxpayers to pay for their personal security. As the DA recently revealed, taxpayers are now forced to spend R8 million per year on protection for each so-called “VIP,” at a total cost of R1.7 billion per year.

This latest effort to make citizens even more vulnerable to crime comes after Cele earlier this year announced his intention to scrap self-defence as a reason for owning a firearm. The pattern here is clear: while the ANC spends R1.7 billion in taxpayer money each year to keep themselves safe, they are systematically making it harder for other citizens, including Capetonians, to defend themselves, their families, and their properties from crime in the face of the collapse of SAPS.

The consequences of the failures of SAPS were on full display during the recent violent looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. But just imagine how much worse it would have been if Cele got his way and prevented some of the biggest private security companies in South Africa from operating.

The DA will not allow the ANC to play power games with the lives of Capetonians. We have already committed to increasing support to neighbourhood watches and to expanding Cape Town’s law enforcement powers and deploying hundreds of additional local law enforcers to fix what SAPS and Cele have broken. And, with the support of the people of Cape Town on 1 November, the DA will also use every avenue at our disposal to challenge this draconian new law that will expropriate the ability of Capetonians to keep their families safe.

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

2nd Transnet force majeure: Time Minister Gordhan came out of hiding

Please find attached soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

The DA calls on the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to come out of hiding and do his job. We understand that Transnet is not one of his vanity projects like SAA, but the ongoing failures at the Richards Bay Bulk Terminal have reached crisis point.

Not only has Transnet declared a force majeure at its port in Richards Bay following a fire on 13 October 2021, but this is the second time it’s happened in two months. The first cause for major concern was the cyberattack that disrupted operations and caused extensive damage to equipment and information.

Transnet’s decline has been on the cards for many years given the ANC government’s refusal to invest in infrastructure and competent management, populating the State-owned enterprise (SOE) instead with captured cadres who treated it like their personal piggy-bank.

The decline of Transnet’s ports – now ranked among the worst in the world – has played a significant role in the country’s economic deterioration. This newest setback will only deepen the economic fall-out putting even more livelihoods at risk.

The fact that Minister Gordhan has yet to utter a single word regarding this crisis – nevermind actually coming up with a plan to turn the ship around – shows the ANC government’s complete disregard for the millions of jobs dependent on well-functioning ports. If shipping companies decide to permanently move operations to neighbouring ports to the detriment of South Africa, the ANC government and Minister Gordhan would be to blame. Their lax attitude and aversion to finding and implementing solutions is what caused the crisis and allows it to continue to be mismanaged. The neglect of the economic spine of the country cannot continue unabated.

Extended Home Affairs hours will mean nothing if long queues and offline systems aren’t addressed

While the DA has taken note of the long-overdue extension of Home Affairs office hours from 8:00 to 17:30, we do call on Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to tighten the reins on poor queue management and downtime for these extra hours to produce results.

A case in point is the absurd scenario at Soshanguve NAFCOC Home Affairs, raised by DA Councillor Sandy Mbuvha, which is the only Home Affairs office issuing smart IDs across Soshanguve, Hammanskraal and Mabopane and attracts applicants as far as Moretele in the North-West Province. A catchment area of well over one million people. The queues form outside, extend inside on the ground floor, downstairs to the basement and both sides of the passageway to the entrance of the office. These overflows need to be assessed and Mobile Units deployed to areas experiencing the most congestion.

The DA has been working on a three-point plan to bring hope to citizens who suffer poor service delivery daily in Home Affairs queues.

Firstly to update Home Affairs’ outdated network equipment, where the DA managed to get a commitment from the Ministers of Communications and Home Affairs to put forward a plan by the end of the year. This is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament on 30 November 2021.

The second is to place cameras at Home Affairs offices, where the DA got a resolution through Parliament for Home Affairs to set up cameras outside and inside Home Affairs offices to record incidents of collusion of officials to sell spaces in queues and investigate footage where citizens are mistreated.

And finally, a booking system, which the DA has been calling for and was finally announced by the Minister of Home Affairs in August.

The DA gets things done, and will continue to track queues outside Home Affairs offices as demand surges for citizens who need their ID certificates to vote in the Local Government Elections.

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