Traffic Agency should explain exorbitant salary hikes

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Chris Hunsinger MP.

The DA will request that the parliamentary portfolio committee for transport invite the Road Traffic Infringement Agency’s (RTIA) executive team to account for their exorbitant salary hikes.

An investigation by The Sunday Times revealed that the RTIA executive team received salary increases of double or triple in 2020, and that over 5 years the team’s annual salaries swelled from an average R1.3 million to R7.5 million.

These increases are completely unacceptable, without merit, and did not appear to have followed normal benchmarks. The increases as well as performance bonuses were granted despite damning findings against the board by the Auditor-General of South Africa (AG), and the fact that both the CEO, Japh Chuwe, and the CFO, Palesa Moalusi, were suspended for months on end with pay.

These exorbitant salary increases and fat bonuses are wholly unjustified in light of the RTIA’s complete failure to deliver in its mandate to:

  • administer a procedure to discourage the contravention of road traffic laws and to support the adjudication of infringements;
  • enforce penalties imposed against persons contravening road traffic laws;
  • provide specialised prosecution support services; and
  • undertake community education and community awareness programmes in order to ensure that individuals understand their rights and options.

An analysis by the Automobile Association (AA) on annual statistics released by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) revealed that despite the lower fatality rate over the festive season, if the reduction of traffic is taken into account, “it’s clear our road safety situation has not improved at all over the past year. Current road safety initiatives are simply not working, our country won’t reduce fatalities within the current framework”. The AA went so far as to call the fatalities on South African roads an annual national disaster. The DA concurs with this assessment.

Not only does the RTIA wholly fail to enact its mandate; it is also a duplication of the mandates of the RTMC and parts of the Road Accident Fund. The fact is that the RTIA is an absolute failure and seems to have been created for the sole purpose of rewarding loyal cadres – just another avenue to suck the State coffers dry.

The RTIA seems to have no plan or strategy in place to ensure that South Africa’s roads become safer and more law-abiding. The DA will therefore continue to advocate for the merger of the RTIA and the RTMC. We also expect answers from the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, on whether he knew about the outrageous salaries and if he approved it.

The Department also needs to account on whether there are systems in place to stop this daylight robbery and why these systems failed. The Minister and his Department must take responsibility for their failure of oversight.

Is Phathiswa Magopeni’s dismissal a political ploy?

Today’s decision to fire SABC Head of News Phathiswa Magopeni does not come as a complete surprise in light of recent worrying signs of efforts to politically recapture the SABC.

Comments last year by Jessie Duarte and Fikile Mbalula that blamed the SABC’s manner of election coverage for the ANC’s poor showing in the 2021 elections were certainly a sign of things to come.

We have been monitoring the unfolding of the disciplinary hearing against Magopeni since December, which observers and commentators have unanimously seen as the spearhead of the ANC’s increasingly apparent “SABC Recapture Project”, and today’s outcome tells us that the stench of state capture and political interference still lingers in the fabric of our public broadcaster, echoing the Hlaudi Motsoeneng era.

The SABC Board has previously been steadfast in upholding its independence, as when it rebuffed attempted ministerial meddling by the former Communications and Digital Technologies Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, in the Section 189 retrenchment process, and when it resisted partisan pressures to abort its sale of non-core property assets, as part of the SABC’s turnaround strategy. 

Today’s decision, however, strongly indicates that this stance has been abandoned.

This development also surfaces evidence of previously rumoured factionalism within the SABC Board.

It comes a day after an announcement of the establishment of a special committee to probe allegations against Board Chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini and SABC Group CEO Madoda Mxakwe.

We will be writing to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies, Boyce Maneli, requesting that a meeting be convened as soon as possible to have the SABC Board and senior management account to Parliament for Magopeni’s firing, the severity of which is a patently disproportionate sanction in relation to the findings of her disciplinary process, and points in the wrong direction about the protection of editorial independence at the SABC going forward.

DA welcomes SCOPA action on Ramaphosa audio clip

The DA welcomes the letter sent by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting his response in writing to various questions emanating from an audio clip in which he appears to provide information about the misuse of public funds.

It is of great concern that the President seems to have vital information regarding the misuse of taxpayers’ money for ANC political campaigning, and has yet to come forward on his own accord. Once again, he is putting his party above the people of South Africa.

Serious questions need to be answered regarding the information the President may have relating to the alleged misuse of public funds; information on the misuse of these public funds for political purposes; and whether the relevant ministers or accounting officers were aware of this unauthorised spending.

It is vital that this matter be investigated vigorously and that SCOPA be allowed to perform its oversight function. In the likely event that President Ramaphosa does not respond satisfactorily to the questions from SCOPA, the committee must do everything within its power to compel such answers.

The DA will also submit parliamentary questions to the Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, who is responsible for the State Security Agency (SSA), regarding the alleged misuse of public funds and their involvement with party political funding. There seems to be a rampant misuse and theft of public monies; corruption by the various officials concerned; a breach of the Political Party Funding legislation; and potential ineptitude or negligence by the office of the Auditor-General of South Africa in not picking up on this.

Given our current political climate as well as the evidence given to the Zondo commission, these utterances by the President may indicate irregularities of the most serious nature from the highest office in the land.

Minister Nxesi’s inertia on NLMP fuels political opportunism

Please find an attached soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP

The Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, has dragged his feet over the draft National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP) for two years. Meanwhile, his inertia has spurred on political opportunists to scapegoat foreign nationals for South Africa’s unemployment crisis.

The DA will hold the Minister to account for his latest promise, namely that the policy will be finalised by the end of February.

In October 2019, the Department of Employment and Labour released a statement headlined ‘South Africa on track to finalise draft NLMP by March 2020’. Almost two years later the draft policy has still not seen the light of day. This is in keeping with the Minister’s generally lackadaisical approach.

The NLMP aims to strengthen the country’s approach to labour migration, thus contributing to South Africa’s broader socio-economic objectives. Among other things the policy is meant to ‘streamline work visa processes’ and improve the management framework for our shambolic ‘critical skills’ list that currently encumbers and discourages skilled immigrants seeking work in South Africa.

Controversially, the NLMP threatens to introduce quotas for foreign nationals in sectors that employ low-skilled workers, like agriculture, transport, hospitality and tourism, and construction. This would be a draconian and unconstitutional intervention.

In the absence of policy certainty, the issue of foreign nationals in the workplace has now become a hot-button issue exploited by parties across the political spectrum to whip up xenophobic sentiment. Essentially, foreign nationals are being scapegoated by neofascist parties like the EFF – and even supposedly centrist parties that should know better – for SA’s unemployment crisis.

The policy vacuum exacerbated by Minister Nxesi’s inaction and lethargy has allowed this situation to spiral out of control. Employers in the restaurant industry, for instance, are being terrorised by leaders of the EFF acting like jumped-up labour inspectors, illegitimately and illegally checking on the employment ‘ratio’ of foreign nationals to locals.

Earlier this week Minister Nxesi promised that the draft NLMP would be released at the end of February. The DA will hold the Minister’s feet to the fire on this pledge.

DA welcomes City of Cape Town’s pro-opportunity adjustment budget

Please find an attached soundbite by Cilliers Brink MP

The DA welcomes the tabling of the City of Cape Town’s adjustment budget by Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis during a council sitting yesterday.

The budget highlighted the DA-run City of Cape Town‘s commitment towards restoring hope, giving dignity, promoting economic growth, and to getting more people into the workforce.

Mayor Hill-Lewis announced that the City allocated R600 million towards free basic services and R100 million towards keeping informal areas clean. This demonstrates the City of Cape Town’s commitment to restoring the dignity of its poorest residents.

Mayor Hill-Lewis also announced additional funds that have been set aside:

  • R24 million towards new vehicles for a sewer spill intervention plan
  • R10 million towards new safe spaces for the homeless
  • R2 million towards title deeds

This budget has, in a significant way, demonstrated the DA’s commitment to creating inclusive governments that prioritises job creation, economic growth, service delivery for all and keeping our communities safe.

The DA congratulates Mayor Hill-Lewis for sticking to his election promises of improving the living conditions of the City’s poorest inhabitants, rolling back poverty, spreading opportunity, growing the economy, providing great basic services, inspiring optimism, and setting an example for the country.

The fruits of the Mayor’s efforts are already showing with a recent Moneyweb report finding that Cape Town has the lowest residential rates out of all the largest metros in the country. The report says that “[homeowners] in eThekwini (Durban) the most among the five metros, with monthly property rates charges as much as 117% more than in Johannesburg, and 174% more than in Cape Town (at a property value of R1 million).”

The City of Cape Town continues to work, and highlight how the DA is the only party capable of getting things done.

DA heads to court to get kids back into school full time

Yesterday, the DA submitted papers to the Gauteng High Court to get an immediate order to allow all schoolchildren to attend school full time.

Over 80% of SA schools – those serving poor communities – are still operating on a rotational basis, whereby each child only attends school half the time, on alternate days or weeks. This is to satisfy government’s 1m (primary schools) and 1.5m (high schools) social distancing regulations in what would otherwise be crowded classrooms.

The argument in favour of opening schools fully is clear and compelling. The enormous harm done to poor children by denying them 50% of their school days – to their ability to learn, access food, earn a living one day, and generally thrive – far overshadows any potential benefit. In fact, it is not clear there is any benefit at all. (Not to mention the harm done to poor parents in increased childcare costs and stress.)

This argument was already made last year by the government’s own Ministerial Advisory Committee and by the South African Paediatric Association.

Denying poor children access to education and food is a gross violation of their constitutional rights to basic education, to basic nutrition, for their best interest to be paramount in all matters concerning them, and to equality.

Therefore, the DA fully expected all schoolchildren to be able to attend school full time from the start of this school year. When this turned out not to be the case, we started a campaign to make it happen.

A letter to the president went unanswered, as did various press statements.  Hence our court action, which elicited a prompt response from the Department of Basic Education that they are waiting for cabinet to announce on this.

One wonders what is keeping cabinet from pushing the green button to reinstate poor children’s fundamental rights. We are already over two weeks into the school term for inland provinces. Over 10 million children are affected, meaning over 5 million actual school days of learning are being irrecoverably lost every weekday.

Any rate, either government revokes the social distancing regulations very soon to allow poor kids back to school full time, or they see the DA in court.

This sad matter brings to mind a quote I read recently by Thomas Sowell: “Politicians can solve almost any problem – usually by creating a bigger problem. But, so long as the voters are aware of the problem that the politicians have solved, and unaware of the bigger problems they have created, political “solutions” are a political success”.

South African voters need to get better at identifying the bigger problems being created by government’s “solutions”. These bigger problems are why SA is slipping backwards on almost every measure of human wellbeing, be it employment, education, or the environment.

(Don’t be fooled by the “improved” matric results. They ignore the 341 403 who should have written matric but who dropped out of school altogether sometime in the past two years.)

Meantime, the DA will keep trying to highlight these bigger problems. In this particular matter, of schoolchildren returning to school, we will probably enjoy the support of most voters.

But this is not the case for many of the issues we drive, because the problem being “solved” by government is usually more visible, emotive, measurable and/or immediate than the bigger problem being created (or harm being perpetrated) in the process.

In his brilliant little book, Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt summed it up perfectly: “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

Many of our government’s Covid regulations have been downright irrational. Others have focused too sharply on the immediate risks to some groups and failed to weigh up the consequences/harms for all groups.

Huge and growing unemployment is the very worst consequence for all groups. Less measurable is the harm to children of having to wear masks all day long in the classroom, in public areas, and even in the schoolyard while playing. This is just wrong, and if this regulation is not dropped very soon, we will take it on.

But first, let’s get them back into school full time.

Ndabeni-Abrahams’s witch-hunt will hurt SMME sector

Please find attached soundbite by Jan de Villiers MP.

The DA was shocked earlier this week when the Department of Small Business Development proudly tweeted the following quote from Minister Stella Ndabeni Abrahams’s speech at their roadshow in Mpumalanga “[as] government, we have a responsibility to enforce regulatory compliance in the SMME sector and close businesses that are trading illegally.”

With the South African economy still reeling from the unscientific ANC lockdown regulations, and the unemployment rate at a record 46.6%, the last thing SMMEs need to hear is that the Minister of Small Business Development will be leading the witch hunt against business owners who don’t comply with government red tape. This strategy is in stark contrast to remarks by the President, who when speaking at an engagement with SMMEs last year said that it is critical for the government to support SMMEs with new business processes that help them recover.

The ANC government and the Minister of Small Business Development should rather focus on:

  • Immediately lifting the current National State of Disaster. There is no more scientific justification for it, and it only serves to create more business uncertainty. SMMEs want to get back to work without worrying about the next Covid Command Council regulation.
  • Focusing on supporting regulatory compliance by identifying red tape reduction opportunities and removing unnecessary regulatory hurdles for business success.
  • Encouraging small business development via targeted programmes that focus on embracing informal and uncompliant business owners as opportunities, not as threats to our economy.
  • Stopping job destroying, rigid labour legislation, such as the proposed new amendments to the Employment Equity Bill.

The DA urges the Minister and her department to refrain from their planned witch-hunt as it is their responsibility to assist uncompliant SMMEs and help them grow.

Basic Education admits it does not have any plans in place to track learner dropouts 

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

The DA will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to request a debate in Parliament on the high learner dropout rates across South African schools.

During a meeting of the portfolio committee for basic education, the Department of Basic Education (DBE)  revealed that there is no mechanisms in place to track, trace or keep learners in school in order to encourage them to return to school. Given the high number of dropouts, the DBE needs to start implementing strategies and solutions to improve learner retention in South Africa’s public schools as a matter of urgency.

Since 2010, 5 904 999 learners have fallen out the system. This number is calculated by subtracting the number of matrics who wrote their final exams from the same cohort who enrolled in Grade 10, every year since 2010.

South Africa needs innovative solutions to address this major dropout crisis. The DA has a number of suggestions to manage the crisis:

  • Develop and implement an innovative home-schooling policy: This would take a lot of pressure off an overburdened Department and solve a variety of challenges such as teacher shortages, learner transport shortages, and yearly placement difficulties.
  • Implement learner-tracking mechanisms: Work with the Department of Social Development to track learners who have dropped out of school as well as find and place learners who have never attended school.
  • Implement learner retention strategies that motivate learners to go to and stay in school.
    • In the Western Cape, the province has implemented their ‘Perform to Transform’ strategy, which includes a Growth Mindset programme for learners to improve their belief in their own abilities. The strategy also features a Change Mindset programme for teachers to drive a willingness to experiment, innovate and be more resilient in their pressure circumstances, which reflects in better outcomes for learners.
  • Adapting the curriculum: To meet the needs of the economy through annually revising key subject areas and encouraging learners to enroll for such subjects.
  • To connect students with financial support pathways: Many learners do not have the adequate financial support to stay in school. It is important to identify these learners and connect them with avenues whereby they can gain the financial support they need. This could be through a local NPO, the private sector, social welfare networks or reaching out to the local community to support learners who need it.

The causes of learner dropouts are multi-faceted and requires the political will to implement a holistic solution. We cannot allow for these learners to drop out of school as a result of factors out of their control. It is the responsibility of the DBE to provide them with the adequate foundations to succeed in the system.

Minister Creecy should explain Chinese toxic dumping in South African waters

Please find attached soundbite by Dave Bryant MP, as well as English and Afrikaans soundbites by Chris Hunsinger MP.

The DA has noted with concern reports of a large Chinese bulk carrier, the NS Qingdao, that has apparently been given the go-ahead by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to dump at least 1 500 tons of toxic chemicals into the ocean off the fragile St Helena Bay coastline.

We call on the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, to urgently intervene. We will also request that both Minister Creecy and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) account to the parliamentary portfolio committees on the environment and transport regarding how permission was granted and whether the potentially devastating consequences of the dumping have been properly investigated.

The intention appears to have been to dump some of the waste elsewhere originally but the owners of the Chinese vessel now appear to have decided to rather dump the waste into the pristine waters of St Helena Bay.

There are serious concerns as to how the dumped waste will interact with the powerful Benguela current which could carry it into areas where it may pose a risk to other marine life and humans. The Department needs to come clean as to how this vessel was granted carte blanche to dump such a large volume of chemicals in South African waters, especially after recent disasters such as the UPL chemical spill which destroyed all life in the Umhlanga Lagoon ecosystem.

The South African coastline is not a garbage dump for other countries. International bulk carriers should be mandated to transport their waste back to their home countries to dispose of it properly.

The ANC government should be taking steps to prevent this type of dumping, instead of actively helping to enable it.

DA files court papers to get children back into school full time

Please find attached voicenote from the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen MP.

The DA has today filed papers in the Gauteng High Court to enable and compel schools to open fully, immediately.

Over 80% of South African schools are still operating on a rotational basis, whereby each child only attends school half the time, on alternate days or weeks.

It defies belief and strains sanity that some 80% of South African schoolchildren are still being denied half their schooling, on the (undeniably false) assumption that this is somehow beneficial to them or to society as a whole, on a balance of risks.


Rotational schooling is being implemented in order to satisfy the government’s social distancing rule in classrooms, which is one metre for primary school children and one and a half metres for high school children. The rule is plainly unconstitutional.

The rotational system massively violates children’s constitutional rights to basic education, to basic nutrition, for children’s best interests to be paramount in all matters concerning them, and to equality.

There would need to be a very strong justification for denying children these rights.

Government has failed to provide a justification at all. On the contrary…
Government is ignoring their own scientific advice.

In July 2021, the government’s own Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) recommended that all schools should be open fully: “Ideally, all children should be at least one metre apart within classrooms, but where this is not possible, full capacity schooling should still be commenced whilst maintaining the maximum feasible physical distance.”

On 23 January 2022, six experts in infectious diseases and vaccinology stated:
“With the very high levels of asymptomatic transmission and community immunity present, there is no reason to continue restricting class sizes or children playing.”

Long-lasting, possibly irreparable, damage

It is overwhelmingly in a child’s interest to go to school.

Under the rotational model, schoolchildren’s access to basic education is being severely stunted, which will negatively impact the rest of their lives.

South African schoolchildren in no-fee schools have lost over half of their normal school days since the start of the pandemic and have learnt less than half of what they would normally learn. (More than 70% of South African schools are no-fee.)

The long-term effects on children will be lower educational attainment, lower earnings, higher unemployment, and being more likely to be in lower skilled occupations in adulthood.

The South African Paediatric Association has warned that denying children access to school results in poorer mental health, increased behavioural and developmental concerns, lack of access to play and social opportunities, increased isolation, academic impacts, child abuse, and neglect.

It further warns of the effects on parents, being poorer parent mental health, competing demands and increased stress, job losses and reduced family income.

Denies children access to food

The MAC report highlights how rotational schooling also threatens children access to food:
“Less than half of children (43%) received free school meals in February and March 2021, showing receipt is still well below pre-pandemic levels (65%), and possibly even November/December 2020 levels (49%). The leading explanation for low school meal receipt is rotational timetables where only half of children attend on any one day in most no-fee schools.”


The MAC report also explains how rotational schooling prejudices poor children and their families the most, thus exacerbating existing inequalities. Poor children benefit more from schooling than wealthier children and suffer more when normal schooling is denied.

Far more harm than good

The indirect negative consequences for schoolchildren of this social distancing rule are far, far, far greater than any potential benefit that it could bring to them or to society as a whole.
School children present a low risk of contracting or transmitting Covid-19. The risk is far too low to justify these enormous harms.

In any case, the social distancing rule does little if anything to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in a school setting.

The recent statement by six experts in infectious diseases and vaccinology confirms this:
“Children experience only a very small chance of harm from infection with SARS-CoV-2, except for those under one year of age or in the presence of underlying medical conditions. Children suffer illnesses from influenza and a range of other viruses and infections too, and we sent them to school prior to this pandemic, understanding the massive benefits to child health and development.”

Grossly unfair to children

The constitution states that a child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.

Children face far greater risks from rotational schooling than from Covid. So their own safety cannot be used as a justification of the social distancing rule.

Nor can the safety of adults be used to justify it, since restrictions on even high-risk adults have been all but removed. Taxis can operate at full capacity; businesses can operate fully; there are no limits on travel.

Furthermore, teachers and other adults have had plenty of time to get themselves vaccinated. So children cannot be made to pay the cost of keeping adults protected.

This rule, therefore, amounts to a huge intergenerational injustice. Government is choosing to sacrifice those least able to defend their own interest.


Depriving children of their constitutional right to education will surely go down as the worst and most harmful of all the irrational rules Ramaphosa’s administration has imposed on South Africa during this pandemic. The DA hopes that the judiciary will uphold children’s rights to attend school full time.