DA calls for sex pest teachers to be added to sexual offenses registry

Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Desiree van der Walt MP 

The DA calls on all teachers found guilty of sexual misconduct to be placed on the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) as well as the Child Protection Register (CPR).

This follows the revelation by the South African Council of Educators (SACE) in Parliament that 11 educators had been sacked due to misconduct allegations, including sexual offences against learners. SACE CEO, Ella Mokgalane, gave a breakdown of cases of alleged teacher misconduct received by the Council for the 2020/21 financial year and revealed that the Council had received 443 cases.

While the DA welcomes the 11 teachers’ dismissals as a positive step towards accountability, more needs to be done to ensure that those teachers accused of sexual misconduct and abuse are prevented from harming children again. It is for this reason that the DA calls for teachers who have been found guilty of sexual offences to be placed on the NRSO and CPR to prevent them from working with children in the future.

The DA also reiterates our calls for sexual offenses committed in schools to be included as a reporting category in the annual and quarterly crime statistics. In August, I wrote to the Police to advocate for the inclusion of the following categories in his crime statistics reports:

  • A breakdown of sexual offences/abuse of learners on school property;
  • Reported cases of underage pregnancies;
  • Current open dockets of statutory rape, and statutory rape cases that have led to convictions; and
  • A breakdown per province of all above mention statistics.

As the country observes the start of the 16 Days of Activism of no violence against women and children campaign today, there will be a lot of discussion and promises from the national government about efforts to address the scourge of gender-based violence, as has been the case in previous years.

The time for talk shops and planning has passed; now is the time for swift and decisive action. This is why the DA proposes that those disgraceful teachers who commit sexual crimes against our children be added to the NRSO and CPR, and that sexual offenses committed in schools be included in annual crime statistics.

Home Affairs Minister must address down time at offices urgently

Please find attached soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP.

The DA calls on the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to ensure that the long queues and extensive times that Home Affairs offices are not operational are addressed as a matter of urgency.

He must instruct the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to fix the various on-site connectivity problems that causes hours-long down times. He must also extend the operating hours of Home Affairs offices and ensure that the hours lost while the network was off are recouped, as was done during the recent local government elections.

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers that were deployed to the Eastern Cape to serve as marshals and assist with long queues during the elections should also be deployed on a more permanent basis until all the problems leading to the massive queues have been resolved.

Yesterday during an oral question session held at Parliament, Minister Motsoaledi cited problems with power supply; cable theft; router connectivity; and ageing equipment, which may cause the system to be stuck for 3 hours a day, as the many issues plaguing Home Affairs offices every day.

The Department of Home Affairs must understand that people often spend money they can’t spare to travel to get essential documents only to be turned away time and again. These millions of people have bigger concerns than the mere frustration of having to return another day. Repeated visits to Home Affairs offices often mean that they can’t feed their families that day and cause severe budget constraints for the rest of the month. For people living under the breadline it’s more than an inconvenience, it’s a struggle for survival.

DA Women’s Network in the Western Cape calls for Kannaland Mayor to be removed

Please find attached soundbite by Wendy Kaizer-Philander.

The DA notes the decision by ICOSA to not remove the disgraced Kannaland Mayor and child rapist, Jeffrey Donson.

The DA Women’s Network in the Western Cape is shocked by the unwillingness of ICOSA to remove Donson and stand by millions of South Africans that are outraged by this appointment, facilitated by the ANC who voted Donson into the Mayor’s seat.

Donson was convicted in 2008 of statutory rape and indecent assault while serving as the Mayor of Kannaland.

The appointment comes on the eve of the campaign of 16 Days of Activism of no violence against women and children. It was ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa who declared gender-based violence as the second pandemic gripping South Africa, and just as recently as Monday in his newsletter to the nation, Ramaphosa says “if a nation’s character can be judged by how it treats women and children, then we are falling desperately short.”

The reality is that it is the ANC that is failing our women and children. His ANC and ICOSA have sent a clear message and middle finger to the vulnerable women and children. As public representatives, we are the custodians of hope and fairness to the most vulnerable in society.

The actions of Mr Donson clearly shows that he is not fit to be such a custodian.

Not only did the ANC aid in Kannaland being plagued for the next 5 years with Mr Donson, they also elected Werner Meshoa as Deputy Mayor, who was convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice during his tenure as Speaker.

This in an already dysfunctional municipality which is rated as the 2nd worst municipality in the Western Cape. It is also under administration since 2018. Under this newly elected leadership, Kannaland will further decline due to the failure in proper leadership and the erosion of accountability.

The residents of Kannaland have no chance of recovery and deserve much better.

The DA Women’s Network in the Western Cape welcomes the investigation that was launched by the Commission for Gender Equality into the appointment of Mr. Donson. We will also engage with the Commission to swiftly and decisively deal with the matter and will continue to apply pressure and mobilize with residents to restore Kannaland’s honor.

DA welcomes Police Committee decision to postpone Firearms Control Amendment Bill

Please find attached soundbite by Andrew Whitfield MP.

During a portfolio committee meeting on Police held earlier today the Chairperson of the committee proposed that the Firearms Control Amendment Bill not be prioritised but rather be held back for further consideration.

The committee received a presentation on its legislative pipeline and agreed that the FCA Bill be held back given the extensive public outcry over the Bill. It was presented to the committee today that over 118 000 comments were received on the Bill during the period for public comment. The Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP), which is responsible for the Bill, indicated that comments were being received at over 2 000 comments per day. It was further indicated to the committee that the Chief State Law Adviser has been approached for a legal opinion on the constitutionality of the deletion of sections 13, 14, 17 and 18 in the Principal Act. The CSP now awaits a formal response on the the constitutionality of the Bill.

The DA wishes to thank the thousands of concerned members of the public who have opposed this Bill and submitted their comprehensive comments which the CSP assured the committee were included in the redrafting of the Bill.

The committee today agreed to prioritise the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Bill (also known as the DNA Bill); the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Amendment Bill; and the South African Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Bill.

The DA has from the outset taken a very firm and clear position on this piece of legislation and have led the campaign against the Bill. While we welcome the postponement of this Bill we will continue to call for the Bill to be scrapped and for the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to rather focus his attention on fixing the broken Central Firearms Registry (CFR).

The DA has a proud record of opposing this Bill and we have taken the following steps over the past year in this regard:

  • We’ve called on the Minister to abandon this Bill which will only hamper people’s ability to protect themselves against dangerous criminals;
  • We called for the Civilian Secretariat to appear before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee of Police to give a detailed presentation on the Firearms Control Amendment Bill to allow Parliament to fully interrogate the contents and rationale of this unreasonable Bill;
  • We have launched and handed in a petition with more than 113 000 signatures opposing this Bill;
  • We’ve called for national firearms audit of all police stations across the country as more than 700 SAPS guns are lost or stolen every year and find their way to criminals. Instead of disarming law-abiding South Africans, SAPS must stop arming criminals;
  • We submitted our objections to the Firearms Control Amendment Bill to the Civilian Secretariat for Police and continuously urged all South Africans to do the same;
  • We successfully hosted a virtual South African Firearms Summit with many different sectors of society. We even invited Police Minister Bheki Cele to the debate, although he declined – likely because he would be unable to defend this Bill against the overwhelming evidence of the danger it would hold for ordinary people;
  • In light of the Minister’s failure to honour his invitation, we sent him a link to the full summit which can be accessed here: youtube.com/watch?v=tlXTGTJyBl0;
  • We’ve highlighted all our various concerns with the Bill on an episode of the Inside Track; and
  • We’ve released at least numerous statements on the issue, wrote letters and opinion pieces on it and have done numerous interviews on various media platforms to highlight how incredibly problematic this Bill is.

The DA will remain vigilant and work with members of the committee to achieve an outcome which is in the best interests of the people of South Africa.

Minister Creecy must act now to halt seismic blasting along Wild Coast 

Please find an attached soundbite by Dave Bryant MP 

The DA this week visited the Cape Town Harbour to see the scale of the seismic blasting ship, Amazon Warrior, which is due to begin operations along the Wild Coast from next month. 

Yesterday I wrote to the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy to again urge her to intervene.

Two weeks ago I called on the Minister to lend her support to calls to halt the blasting and allow for an updated round of environmental public participation as the last public participation took place in 2014. There has unfortunately been no indication yet that the government has any intention of intervening to protect the fragile Wild Coast marine environment.

The blasting which is due to be carried out by Shell was approved by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, in consultation with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. It will consist of five months of powerful deep water blasting all the way from Morgan’s Bay to Port St Johns. The blasting could have a devastating impact on local marine life, including the numerous whale species that frequent the area. It is likely that some of these whales will be calving during this period.

The DA remains gravely concerned about the proposed blasting and will be working with partners across the country, including civil society and residents, in the coming week to highlight the potential environmental devastation that could be wrought on our oceans if the blasting goes ahead.

WC only province to establish GBV shelters

Please find attached soundbite by Bridget Masango MP.

One day before the start of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign, a parliamentary question has revealed that the ANC government has fallen short in providing safe havens for victims of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).

A written reply by the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, to a DA parliamentary question revealed that the Western Cape is the only province that that has established shelters for victims of GBVF following the provision of numerous facilities by the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.

While the Department has released several properties for these crucial shelters in all the provinces, only the Western Cape government has taken the necessary steps to ensure that the six properties in the province has been prepared to provide safe spaces for victims of GBV.

The other provinces haven’t gotten further than conducting site verifications and preparing costing to open the prospective shelters in the 2022/23 financial year.

This is particularly shocking given the wide-spread and growing problem of GBVF in the country. In fact, the Gauteng Social Development MEC, Morakane Mosupyoe, revealed that last year “more than 120 000 cases of GBV were recorded by the government-run GBV command centre in the first three weeks of the national lockdown”.

South Africa has one of the highest rates of GBVF in the world, and the situation continues to deteriorate.

In 2016, the World Health Organization published internationally comparable numbers that showed South Africa’s murder rate at 12.5 per 100 000 women and girls. This places the country at the fourth-worst position out of 183 countries, and GBVF have grown significantly since then.

The 2nd quarter crime statistics revealed that 9 556 people were raped between July and September this year. That is almost 104 people per day, and only reflects those who actually reported their rapes. This statistic does not include the more than 2 400 other sexual offences reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS).

In the same period, nearly 73 000 assault cases were reported of which 13 876 were domestic violence-related. The rate of child murders has climbed by almost a third to 287 children killed, compared to the previous reporting period.

It is time the ANC government took the war against GBVF seriously. South Africa’s women, children and other vulnerable communities are drowning in violence and empty promises. How many more times will President Cyril Ramaphosa promise to rid the country of this scourge without forcing his government to actually take action?

This 16 days of activism cannot be another round of hot air and empty promises from the national government. South Africa’s second pandemic of GBVF requires action to address this cancer, and the ANC government must respond with the same vigour and robustness they initially promised with the Covid-19 pandemic.

DA’s Tokkie Swanepoel elected as the Mayor of the Thabazimbi Municipality

The Democratic Alliance in Limpopo is pleased to announce that Councillor Tokkie Swanepoel has been elected as Mayor of Thabazimbi Local Municipality during the inaugural council sitting today. (See photo here.)

Councillor Butana Tlhlabadira of the TFSD has been elected as Speaker and Councillor Catherine Sikwane of the TRA has been elected as Chief Whip.

The DA has 5 key priorities:

  • Building safer communities
  • Better waste management and protecting the environment
  • Creating a transparent and responsive government
  • Creating jobs and growing the economy
  • Infrastructure maintenance and investment

The DA together with the FF+, the EFF, the TRA and the TFSD is committed to put the residents of Thabazimbi first.

All matters before council will be dealt with item by item to ensure the best outcome for service delivery.

George Municipal Council elects DA Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Speaker

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in George wishes to congratulate Cllr Leon Van Wyk for being re-elected as the Mayor of George; Cllr Raybin Figland for being elected as the Deputy Mayor of George; and Cllr Sean Snyman for being elected as the Speaker of the George Municipal Council (Council).

Their election into Council signifies that the DA will, again, be in a position to serve and lead the people of George.

Our focus for the next 5 years includes, amongst other things, bettering the basics in terms of the provision of quality services, securing jobs and investment for the local economy as well as governing in the interests of all the people of George.

In September this year, the principles of good governance and sound financial management resulted in George being awarded infrastructure grant funding in the amount of R1,1 billion, spread over a period of 5 years.

As such, our election into Council will also ensure that this groundbreaking funding is used to not only restructure our capital expenditure budgets but to also attract economic development and investment.

The DA in George appreciates the privilege and opportunity that it has been afforded – to, once again, serve and lead the people of George. We unequivocally commit ourselves to serving all the people of George with the utmost distinction, integrity and pride.

A new beginning for Mogale City as DA is elected to govern

The DA wishes to congratulate Cllr Tyrone Gray who was today elected the Executive Mayor for Mogale City Local Municipality. The comes after a vote of support from other opposition parties and affirms their faith in the DA’s ability to govern.

Cllr Jacqueline Pannall has been elected the new Council Speaker and will preside over Council meetings and perform duties in line with the role.

Mogale City has been plagued by serious service delivery challenges, financial mismanagement and lack of economic growth and productivity.

The DA is excited to bring its brand of good governance and to turn things around for the embattled municipality.

On our to-do list will be to get the basics right by working to restore service delivery, revitalising the local economy and fixing the public transport system.

We are aware that success will not be achieved overnight, but our team of councillors are capable and up to the task.

The DA wishes Mayor Gray and his team well.

DA Cllr Ewald Loock elected as Mayor of the Dr Beyers Naude Municipality

The DA welcomes the election of DA councillor Ewald Loock as the new Executive Mayor of the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality.

Today, 23 November 2021, Cllr Loock was elected as Mayor at the municipality’s inaugural council meeting in Graaff-Reinet. (see pictures here and here)

This follows the DA entering into a coalition agreement with the Compatriots of South Africa (CSA) and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+). The coalition agreement was finalised shortly before the commencement of today’s council meeting.

Cllr Loock has served as a public representative for the best part of 26 years – 13 years of which he served as the Mayor of the erstwhile Baviaans Municipality.

CSA Cllr Laughton Hoffman was elected as Speaker of Council and DA Cllr Ricardo Smith was voted in as Chief Whip. The councillor from the FF+ was elected to serve as a representative in the Sarah Baartman District Council.

Dr Beyers Naude will be sending three councillors to be representatives in the Sarah Baartman District Council. This will be one councillor from the DA, one from the FF+ and one from the ANC.

This coalition opens up new opportunities for the DA and its partners to bring change to the Sarah Baartman District by possibly taking over government of this district municipality.

A DA-governed Sarah Baartman District will see improved roads, economic growth, development of the tourism sector and better support in terms of disaster management – something that is desperately needed in this drought-stricken area.

Now, more than ever before, we are committed to serving the people of Dr Beyers Naude by ensuring transparent, corruption free governance and excellent service delivery to the deserving residents of this municipality.