Lifting of curfew will rescue suffering tourism sector

The announcement by government that it will lift the curfew on the eve of new year’s eve means that the decimated tourism, hospitality, restaurant and entertainment sectors have an opportunity to rebuild itself. Taking into account the various supply chains involved, this translates into hundreds of thousands of jobs that will be saved. This in turn can have only positive spin-offs for our economy.

This announcement couldn’t have come sooner. New year’s eve is one of the most important periods for any of the tourism, restaurant, hospitality and entertainment sectors. In many cases these businesses rely on these high income generating periods to counter other quieter periods in the year.

In reality it was government that did more damage to the economy and the destruction of jobs than any virus could possibly do. We need to open up our economy as much as possible so that employment and our economy can start to grow.

End curfew outright before New Year’s Eve, President Ramaphosa

The DA calls on President Ramaphosa to end the curfew before New Year’s Eve.

Hospitalisation rates are low across the country. Omicron has proved to be far more mild than past variants. Meantime, vaccines have proven to be extremely effective at protecting against severe disease and death, so those in the high-risk group have had ample opportunity to opt for personal protection.

The real crisis now is the state of the economy and widespread suffering from loss of livelihoods.

The DA has never supported the curfew, as we have never found it to be a rational or justifiable denial of freedom. But now more than ever, we believe it should be lifted once and for all, and before New Year’s Eve.

Ending the curfew is an easy and logical way to boost the economy, particularly the restaurant and events industry, which are major employers and have taken huge strain and made immense sacrifices during the pandemic.

And not just the economy. National morale needs a boost too. People should be able to legally come together with friends and family to celebrate the start of 2022 and the end of an incredibly tough 2021.

Most people aren’t observing curfew anyway. This underscores the irrationality of the curfew, which is doing more harm than good by undermining the rule of law. Are the police going to arrest people celebrating New Year’s Eve? Law enforcement should be focused on preventing drunk driving and real criminality, not curfew, so that law-abiding people can safely usher in the New Year.

This year, much of the suffering endured by the people of this country has been due to pointless, irrational, ill-considered policy, starting with beach bans. Let’s end 2021 and begin 2022 on a smarter, more positive note.

We mourn a true South African hero who showed us the best we could be

A true South African giant has left us today, but his spirit will live on in the everyday kindness we South Africans show each other, and in our continued effort to build a united, successful, nonracial South Africa for all.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu left an indelible mark on the fabric of South African society, having played a key role in ending Apartheid and in the peaceful transition to constitutional democracy through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. For almost three decades since, he has been a voice of reason and compassion against poverty, racism, xenophobia and corruption, and for human development. When we lost our way, he was the moral compass that brought us back.

In relation to the HIV epidemic, he took a stand for compassion and HIV prevention and treatment. His Desmond Tutu Health Foundation has worked tirelessly to fulfill his mission to protect individuals, families and communities in South Africa from the HIV epidemic.

He worked towards ending stigma of all kinds, speaking out against the infringement of LGBTIQ rights across Africa.

He was a most wonderful individual, possessing both great kindness and great courage. A true father of our nation, and a role model for all, who never shied from speaking truth to power. The Democratic Alliance will continue to work towards building the South Africa he envisaged.

We extend our deepest condolences to his wife and family and other loved ones. As a nation, we are in mourning, for we have all lost a most remarkable, special individual who showed us the best we could be.


Minister Modise must take responsibility for her department’s failures

The DA takes note of the announcement by the Department of Defence of the death of a South African soldier, who was killed by insurgents in an ambush in Mozambique whilst waiting for air support.

It is always sad when a soldier is lost in a deployment. The DA wishes to express its sincere condolences to the loved ones of the deceased, and must extend our gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice by a soldier to make our region and country a safer place.

However, we believe that there are serious concerns to be raised about the events that lead to the death of this soldier. SADC and the South African government must take full responsibility for the death of, and injuries to, our soldiers. The DA has warned against a half-baked military commitment where funding by SADC has not been confirmed. This is a war against ISIL in Cabo Delgado, and SADC must either accept this and properly prepare and support the troops thus deployed – or get our soldiers out of the war-zones.

The DA will write to the Minister of Defence, Mrs Thandi Modise, and ask her to provide us with a full report on how long it’s expected our soldiers will be deployed in support of the SADC Mission in Moazambique (SAMIM), and how the apparently extended deployment will be funded – given that no clarity exists of the funding sources for Operation Vikela. With the current level and complexity of threats in Cabo Delgado, it may take years to bring about peace.

This incident could further have been avoided if proper air-strike support was provided, which it appears might not have been the case. This is where the lethal Rooivalk attack helicopters and 4th generation Gripens fighter aircraft should’ve been on standby, to provide air support and to destroy the enemy. Minister Modise must therefore also provide information on how adequate land-, air- and maritime prime mission equipment will be secured.

Finally, hard questions must be asked about the failure of military intelligence, which could have avoided the ambush altogether.

If not, the lives of our soldiers will be consistently comprised, something we just can’t allow.

Other cities need to emulate Cape Town’s tourism successes to create jobs

For the second consecutive year, the City of Cape Town was named the World’s Leading Festival and Events Destination at the 28th World Travel Awards. This was awarded despite the fact that the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) sector were one of the first in the tourism industry to be impacted through cancellations because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The City of Cape Town continues to be the host destination of choice for well-known local and international events such as the Kirstenbosch concerts, the Cape Town Jazz Festival, Rocking the Daisies, and the Cape Town marathon.

It is thanks to the City of Cape Town administration’s relentless and dedicated work that the City is attractive for events and venues.

An example of such Cape Town venues is two that were listed this week in the World’s Best 100 Bars list: Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen and the Art of Duplicity. These venues have been ranked 75 and 86 respectively. The Art of Duplicity moved up two spots from 88 in the previous year.

These awards are important as they translate into more jobs and a contribution to our economic growth. It is thus important that other cities make the concerted effort, in the same way that Cape Town does, to make their cities attractive to local and international tourists.

DA welcomes judgement ordering Zuma back to jail

The DA welcomes this morning’s judgment in the Gauteng High Court in favour of our challenge of the irrational decision by the former National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser, to place former President Jacob Zuma on medical parole. We welcome the order that Mr Zuma’s medical parole be revoked immediately, that he be returned to the custody of Correctional Services to serve out the remainder of his sentence, that no time spent on medical parole is to be counted as time served and that he and Mr Fraser pay all legal costs.

The DA pursued this case not out of spite or vindictiveness towards Mr Zuma, but because we recognise that respect for the Rule of Law and equality before the law are two of the most important principles in our democracy. If we allow these to slide, we will severely weaken the foundation of our constitutional democracy. We are greatly encouraged by the firm and unambiguous position taken by Justice KE Matojane in this regard.

In his judgment, Justice Matojane dismissed every reason given by Fraser for why he overruled the Medical Advisory Board’s recommendation as “irrational”, “irrelevant” and “an error of law”, and stated that Fraser had “unlawfully mitigated the punishment imposed by the Constitutional Court, thereby rendering the Constitutional order ineffective, which undermines the respect for the courts, for the rule of law and for the Constitution itself.”

The judgment also closed the door on any possible future overruling of this decision by the National Commissioner by stating: “No administrative expertise is required from the Commissioner, and there is no basis upon which the Commissioner could again overrule the recommendation of the Board. This Court is in as good a position and thus as well qualified as the Commissioner to make a decision.”

What this case has also done is expose why the ANC deploys its cadres to key positions in the state, and why this practice should be outlawed. Mr Fraser was appointed National Commissioner of Correctional Services precisely to do the bidding of the ruling party. His job was to bend the law in favour of the ANC. Hopefully, cases like these will help put the final nail in the coffin of ANC cadre deployment.

It is never pleasant for anyone to go to jail, but Mr Zuma knew very well what the consequences would be for his blatant disregard for the law and the authority of the Constitutional Court. What this judgment has confirmed is that he is just an ordinary citizen with no special privileges and that the law applies equally to him as it does to any of us. We appeal to Mr Zuma and his supporters to respect the Rule of Law and to accept this judgment without resorting to further violence and protest.

NCOP rejects flawed National Gambling Amendment Bill 

Today during the sitting of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), only 3 Provinces voted in support of the flawed National Gambling Amendment Bill drafted by the Department of Trade and Industry.

This is the second time that the Bill served before the NCOP; the first time it was referred back without the majority support, whilst this time around the Bill was rejected and will be sent to a mediation committee. If the mediation committee is unable to agree within 30 days of the Bill’s referral to it, the Bill lapses unless the National Assembly again passes the Bill, but with a supporting vote of at least two thirds of its members according to Section 76 (1) (d and e) of the Constitution.

From the beginning the Democratic Alliance warned the Department that Provinces will reject the Bill, should members vote in the best interest of their voters and not be forced to toe a party line.

Today in the NCOP, the DA congratulated and thanked Provinces who stood up and showed how the NCOP should function after the majority of Provinces exercised their votes and rejected the Bill.

We hope that this is the start of a new era in how the NCOP functions, where representatives unapologetically represent their Provinces and ensure that legislation that comes to the NCOP looks after their residents and not just follow a party line

 South Africa finds itself at a time where it is fighting crippling unemployment rates and a full blown economic crisis.  It is important that the NCOP fully take up its role as prescribed in the Constitution, by doing its utmost to ensure that legislation that comes through the House takes the country forward, instead of contributing to the challenges the nation faces.

DA takes loss of citizenship plight to Supreme Court of Appeal

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will take the fight for the rights of South Africans unknowingly deprived of their citizenship to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Section 6(1)(a) of the South African Citizenship Act 88 of 1995 (“the Act”) deprives South African citizens of their citizenship if they take up a second nationality without receiving a ‘letter of retention’ of citizenship from the Department of Home Affairs.

The DA has been granted special leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal against the judgment handed down by the North Gauteng High Court in terms of which we request that the judgment be set aside and that the Act be found unconstitutional due to the irrationality of Section 6 of the Act.

It is common cause that Home Affairs finds no issue with a South African becoming a dual citizen and this calls into question the legitimate purpose of this provision when neither Home Affairs nor the citizen is aware of such loss at the time it occurs.

Section 7 of the Act provides a mechanism that allows citizens to renounce their citizenship should they explicitly choose to do so.

The assumption that citizens necessarily intend to give up their citizenship when taking a second citizenship has been made despite overwhelming evidence submitted to the court confirms citizens did not intend to lose their citizenship. 

This evidence further outlines the challenge arising from citizens receiving bad advice from embassies around the world on the impact of section 6(1)(a). In the appeal the DA points to judicial precedent which supports the position that a constitutional deficiency cannot be defended by referring to untenable assumptions about perfect human behaviour.

The Democratic Alliance will continue to defend the constitutional right of South Africans to citizenship in the land of their ancestors and the land of their birth.

DA welcomes Tshwane Mayor’s Mayoral committee announcement

Today, Executive Mayor Randall Williams announced a dynamic group of councillors who form part of the Mayoral Committee (MayCo) that will continue to bring good governance, quality service delivery and financial stability to the City of Tshwane.

This multiparty MayCo comes after weeks of coalition negotiations with other political parties to ensure a stable government that will put the residents of Tshwane first.

Mayor Williams announced the following councillors to his committee:

MMC for Finance and Leader of Executive Business– Alderman Peter Sutton (DA)
MMC for Human Settlements – Cllr Abel Tau (Action SA)
MMC for Community Safety – Alderman Grandi Theunissen (VF Plus)
MMC for Roads and Transport – Cllr Dikeledi Selowa (DA)
MMC for Economic Development and Spatial Planning – Cllr Andre le Roux (Action SA)
MMC for Health – Cllr Rina Marx (VF Plus)
MMC for Social Development and Community Services – Cllr Peggy de Bruin (Action SA)
MMC for Corporate and Shared Services – Cllr Kingsley Wakelin (DA)
MMC for Utility Services – Cllr Phillip Nel (DA)

The MMC for Environment and Agriculture will be announced in due course, in the meantime, MMC Dikeledi Selowa will act in this capacity.

The DA wishes Mayor Williams and his team well, we are confident that they will serve in the interest of the people of Tshwane.