Agriculture Department must urgently address shortage of foot and mouth disease vaccines

Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa MP.

Given the serious concerns of the agriculture sector and promises from government, the DA calls on the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) to urgently address the shortage of locally produced foot and mouth disease (FMD) vaccines and other much needed livestock vaccines for diseases like Rift Valley fever, bluetongue disease, and others.

Urgent attention must also be paid to the poor management of the Onderstepoort Biological Product (OBP) and Agricultural Research Council (ARC), which were meant to support livestock farmers, and to finish building the promised FMD vaccines facility so that these vaccines can be produced locally.

The DA has raised these concerns in the past, with little intervention from DALRRD.

Agriculture is one of the very few sectors that has grown economically and it’s providing most of the new employment opportunities in South Africa. The sector is expected to continue on a positive trajectory for the next couple of years, with the livestock industry doing particularly well. It provides the best opportunity to accelerate transformation in agriculture, but unless government takes the prevention of diseases like FMD seriously, it may end up creating an overstocking of non-tradeable livestock commodity because of the poor management of animal health.

Even farmers with access to the best veterinary services are bound to fail without locally produced vaccines to ensure the good health of their animals.

The DA has called on the government to work on improving biosecurity, especially in the FMD zone.

DALRRD, through the ARC, proposed the building of a FMD facility. This was supported by the portfolio committee and R500 million was received from Treasury. 8 years later, the facility has yet to be completed and South Africa was importing FMD vaccines from Botswana.

OBP is still without a CEO, despite the institution showing a solid financial performance as a result of the introduction of new vaccines which were needed by the industry. Although the suspension of a successful CEO should come as no surprise given the revelations that the ANC called the shot on who was appointed to the helm of South Africa’s high court. Cadre deployment is also rotting the country’s agriculture sector.

The DA is appealing to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, to investigate the situation at OBP and ARC as the two institutions are threatening the livestock industry.

The following are key points of investigations and suggestions:

  • The progress regarding the building of the FMD vaccine production facility;
  • The shortage of vaccines at OBP;
  • The reasons behind the new board purging CEO and high resignation of senior executives;
  • Provide livestock industry with vaccines solutions as a matter of urgency; and
  • Consider the proposal made to promote veterinary vaccine production by private companies.

Motshekga must scrap rotational system and fully reopen schools

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

The DA will write to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and request them to investigate the unjustifiable school regulations at the start of this year.

Regulations like the 1m social distancing rule and the implementation rotational time-tables at some schools will have far-reaching consequences on all aspects of learner development, including learner nutrition, well-being, mental health and most importantly, education.

Researchers and scientists of various disciplines have warned of the dangers of rotational schooling on primary school learners and in July 2021, the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) recommended that primary schools should go back to full-time schooling, regardless of social distancing regulations.

The DA therefore urges Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to fully open schools.

With reference to the school stakeholder meeting scheduled tomorrow, the DA has urged the Minister to put the interests of school children ahead of any political considerations. This year’s matrics have had two years of disrupted schooling and lost more than 50% of their grade 11 year as a result of the school regulations under the pandemic. This was highlighted in Umalusi’s standardisation meeting.

Learner drop-outs are also increasing as many do not return to school due to continued disruptions. Last year the learner drop-out was sitting at 557 170 if you compare those registered in grade 10 to those who wrote their exams in matric.

Unless the Department of Basic Education steps in, this year will only see an increase in learner drop-outs based on increasingly difficult learning environments. The Minister must put our learners first.

DA will PAIA report on SACAP investigation

Please find attached soundbite by Madeleine Hickin MP.

The DA will submit a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to obtain the report of an investigation into serious allegations at the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP).

The DA requested an investigation after allegations of governance challenges, lack of leadership, bullying, sexual harassment, and maladministration came to light. The findings of this investigation have never been made public, nor has the report served before parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure. In fact, the answer as to who undertook the investigation has also never been answered – either by the Minister of Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, or her Deputy, Noxolo Kiviet.

The DA is in possession of correspondence the South African Union of Architects (SAUArch) sent to Minister de Lille in October 2021 asking for, among other things, ministerial intervention and a moratorium on the payment of SACAP’s Annual Registration Fees, while also expressing concerns that the current state of affairs dilute the quality of the architectural professions.

The email to Minister de Lille went unanswered. This forced SAUArch to send a further email to the Minister and the entire Portfolio Committee on 10 January 2022.

Board Members from SAUArch and the South African Institute of Architects have now threatened to make a clarion call to withhold paying over their professional fees to SACAP because of dire state of the body. Surely part of the blame rests on Minister de Lille’s shoulders. She has a haphazard attitude to leadership, and hides behind the ‘independence’ of various Councils as a means to escape leadership responsibility.

The Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) dictates that the Minister has the responsibility to provide leadership over how the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and its infrastructure entities use their allocated budgets and human resources. The Minister is the policy leader and must guide the built environment professions. This is clearly not the case. And this, in spite of the oversight reports of the Portfolio Committee on the DPWI pointing out that inconsistent, unstable leadership of the Department and the entities is a serious problem.

In the face of these disasters, Minister de Lille keeps glossing over the cracks in the bow of her ship and all requests for clarity are either met with thundering silence or astounding acts of blame shifting.

Ramaphosa should instruct Sisulu to retract and issue a public apology for attacking the Judiciary

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the Head of the Executive, to instruct the Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, to retract and issue a public apology for undermining the Judiciary and casting aspersions on its integrity in a recent opinion piece. Even if no formal finding of wrongdoing has been made on Sisulu’s remarks, President Ramaphosa has an obligation to protect public trust in the constitutional integrity of other arms of government.

We will also call on the minister to appear before Parliament’s Ethics Committee where she will be asked to explain how, as a Member of Parliament, she reconciles her attack on the Judiciary with the Parliamentary Code of Conduct. This Code stipulates, among others, that members “act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them”. It also demands from members that they “discharge their obligations in terms of the Constitution, to Parliament and the public at large, by placing the public interest above their own interests” and that they “maintain public confidence and trust in the integrity of Parliament and thereby engender the respect and confidence that society needs to have in Parliament as a representative institution.”

In an op-ed titled “Lindiwe Sisulu: Hi Mzansi, have we seen justice?”, that was carried by Independent Online on 7 January 2022, Sisulu launched a direct attack on the Judiciary and appeared to insinuate that black judges were “house negroes” whose interpretation of the law had no African or Pan African ideological grounding. She claimed that: “Today, in the high echelons of our judicial system are these mentally colonised Africans… (whose) lack of confidence permeates their rulings against their own…”

As an incumbent member of the national Executive, Minister Sisulu (i) violated the Executive Code of Ethics by engaging in behaviour inconsistent with her role as a Cabinet Minister, and (ii) violated the principle of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary by insinuating that members of the Judiciary were misinterpreting the law to pursue vested agendas.

Section 2.1(d) of the Executive Code of Ethics enjoins members of the Executive to “act in all respects in a manner that is consistent with the integrity of their office or the government”. Sisulu’s unprovoked attack on the Judiciary struck at the heart of our constitutional democracy and created a perception that members of the bench cannot be trusted.

When she was appointed to her Cabinet post, Sisulu took an oath to “…be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and…obey, respect and uphold the Constitution and all other laws of the Republic; and…undertake to hold…office as Minister with honour and dignity…”. Her divisive and race-baiting op-ed on the Judiciary means that she has violated her oath and undermined the constitutional principle of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary.

Simply put, Minister Sisulu is not fit for Cabinet, and anywhere else her job would be on the line. In a functional democracy a member of the Executive who launches a calculated and damaging attack on the integrity of the Judiciary would be summarily fired by the Head of the Executive. But we also know that President Ramaphosa demands very little in terms of accountability and ethics from his ministers and is unlikely to take such action.

A retraction and apology, however, are the very least he should demand. Failure to do so will leave the generality of South Africans, who were appalled by Minister Sisulu’s op-ed, with no option but to conclude that the President of South Africa condones her actions.

The overwhelming majority of South Africa’s judicial officers have consistently conducted themselves with integrity and probity in the discharge of their duties. It would be highly irresponsible to let politicians, especially a sitting Cabinet Minister, undermine their work through unsubstantiated claims of bias.

2022: A year for building

I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022 and hope you are feeling cautiously optimistic about it, as I am. To be sure, South Africa starts the year with a collapsed economy, widespread suffering from loss of livelihoods, and a largely unaccountable government. Huge challenges.

Yet the pandemic is drawing to an end, EWC has been defeated, coalition governments run our major cities and many councils across the country, cadre deployment has been exposed, the full Zondo Report is now imminent, and the ANC is on its last legs. These hold the possibility to build our lives, our economy, our democracy, our future.


As I argue in this press statement, it is time to go back to normal living, with all the certainty that brings to families, investors, entrepreneurs, tourists, students and schoolchildren. This is a first and necessary step to building our economy.

Expropriation without compensation

The historic defeat in December of the ANC’s Expropriation Without Compensation Bill brings certainty around secure property rights, another important step to building our economy.

Coalition governments

The DA is now tasked with delivering services to over twenty million South Africans. Our coalition governments have survived the first 50 days and I look forward to reporting achievements in their first 100 days in office. These governments are an opportunity to enable job creation, relieve poverty, and inspire hope.

Cadre deployment minutes

Last week, the DA finally obtained the ANC’s cadre deployment minutes, hard evidence of how cadre deployment hollows out the state and enables corruption and state capture. The first step to recovery is accurate diagnosis.

Zondo report

The release of the full Zondo report at the end of February is a massive opportunity to hold the corrupt accountable, strengthen our public service, and firewall our democratic institutions against state capture.

ANC on last legs

ANC support dropped below 50% in the November 2021 local government election. This is a massive turning point for the country, showing that most voters now realise SA is better off without the ANC. The ANC knows it too. They won’t go down without a fight (and the burning of Parliament may well be one of these – the DA will push for the full truth), but they will go down.


South Africa is down but not defeated. The DA will work hard this year to find solutions, fight corruption, run successful coalition governments, and build an alternative offer that people can trust ahead of the national election in 2024. Hope is on the horizon.

End the State of Disaster, Mr President. Time to get back to normal

Please find attached soundbite from the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen

The DA calls on President Ramaphosa’s government to allow the State of Disaster to lapse on Saturday 15 January, the day it needs to be renewed if it is to remain in place.

More harm than good

The State of Disaster is no longer necessary for managing the virus.

On the contrary, it is doing South Africa more harm than good, by undermining our social, economic and democratic recovery.

South Africa needs certainty.

Investors need it, tourists need it, teachers need it, schoolchildren need it. Schoolchildren need to go to school full time. Not a couple of days a week.

People need to know they can invest in businesses large or small without the rules of the game suddenly changing. Without investment, there will be no job creation and no sustainable poverty alleviation.

The National Coronavirus Command Council is profoundly undemocratic. There is great risk to our democracy in a small group of individuals taking decisions on all our behalf without parliamentary oversight and other democratic checks on power.

The State of Disaster has become no more than a cover for increasing centralized control and evading accountability. It must go.

No justification

The purpose of the State of Disaster and associated restrictions is to relieve pressure on the health system.

Covid hospitalisation rates are now low across the country, immunity rates (from vaccines or prior infection) are high across the population, the Omicron variant has been shown to be less severe, excess deaths have been mostly normal since September, and the health system has had ample time to prepare in the unlikely event of a new variant that evades immunity.

Furthermore, those in the high-risk group have had ample opportunity to opt for personal protection, with vaccines having shown to be extremely effective at protecting against severe disease and death.

So, the State of Disaster can no longer be justified on these grounds.
Nor can it be justified with the argument that it should be kept in case of possible future variants or waves.
This is like saying we should keep the State of Disaster in case of possible future earthquakes. It completely undermines the whole purpose of a State of Disaster, which is by definition short-term, just as individuals cannot live constantly in the adrenalin rush of fight-or-flight mode.

South Africa has now been under a State of Disaster for 667 days.
For far too long now, the government has relied on the State of Disaster, instead of doing its job, which is to improve the healthcare system and get vaccines and boosters to as many individuals as possible in the high-risk group.


The DA is appealing the dismissal by the High Court to have the Disaster Management Act declared unconstitutional.

Even laws governing a State of Emergency, which is intended for more extreme situations than a State of Disaster, provide for democratic oversight.

It therefore cannot possibly be constitutional for a government to use the Disaster Management Act to bypass democratic institutions indefinitely, as the Ramaphosa administration is currently doing.

Normal lives

The pandemic has become endemic in South Africa. We need to get back to living normal lives, and accept that the virus will continue to circulate, as other viruses do.

Children need to get back to having normal childhoods. We all need to get back to breathing normally.

Rules such as outdoor mask-wearing, hand sanitizing, temperature screening, and contact tracing, testing and isolation of asymptomatic contacts have little benefit and come at enormous social cost.
These rules have become self-evidently irrational, which is why even law-abiding people are disregarding them en masse.

This is undermining the rule of law, and distracting law enforcement from preventing real crimes that have a real impact on public safety.

These rules must be scrapped, and only rational protocols kept, which can be justified on a cost-benefit analysis, such as masking in high-risk settings.


With such a high level of natural immunity from prior infection, South Africa has the opportunity to lead the world in getting back to normal life and in so doing, we can start to rebuild our economy and our democracy.
Let’s seize it.

The DA calls for a full-re-opening of schools

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

The DA calls for a full re-opening of schools on Wednesday after the December break. Last year some grades lost over 40% of learning and teaching time which have undoubtedly affected learner drop-out rates and performance.

Since various news reports have highlighted Prof Shabir Madhi’s comments that the time has come for government to do away with some Covid-19 restrictions, the DA trusts that that all sports, arts and culture activities would be continued at schools with all Covid-safety protocols observed.

Schools should take all necessary precautions to create a safe learning and teaching environment so that learners can come back to school full time. The DA also encourage all teachers able to do so to get fully vaccinated to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of the learners and other staff.

The DA will conduct oversight visits to schools in Mpumalanga on Wednesday with the DA Shadow Minister for Basic Education, Baxolile Nodada; DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Desiree van der Walt; and DA Mpumalanga Provincial Leader, Jane Sithole, and her team. They will be visiting Mehlwana Secondary School and Lehlaka Combined School.

The aim of the oversight is to assess the following:

  • State of school readiness;
  • Admissions of learners;
  • Covid protocols and teacher vaccination rate;
  • Teacher quality;
  • State of curriculum coverage;
  • Plans being implemented to address curriculum coverage challenges;
  • State of infrastructure: access to water, safe toilets, fencing and general infrastructure;
  • Drop-out and retention plan;
  • Scholar transport; and
  • School nutrition

Despite the unpredictable challenges brought on by the Covid-pandemic, teachers, stakeholders and learners have done exceptionally well to adapt. The DA wishes them all the best in the coming year and we hope to see an increase in normality in the coming months.

Parly fire report confirms gross negligence: De Lille must come clean

The release of post-incident report prepared by the City of Cape Town’s Fire Department is just another nail in the coffin of those who were tasked with protecting our Parliamentary precinct, and didn’t.

Despite assurances given to the Members in the briefing on Tuesday, 4 January 2022, it is clear there has been an absolute dereliction of duty with respect to the fire safety in Parliament. The briefing by Minister De Lille and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces was nothing more than obfuscation and misdirection.

According to the report presented by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, the fire protection system was regularly inspected and maintained. The report stated categorically that the fire sprinklers are maintained annually.

However, the post-incident report indicates that the last time the fire sprinklers were serviced was in 2017 and that there was no indication that the scheduled maintenance in February 2020 had been done.

One of the glaring issues in the post-incident report is that the sprinkler system valve should have been in an open position with a chain around it to prevent it from being inadvertently closed. This was not the case and if the inspections had been done, it would have been discovered and rectified.

The presentation by the DPWI also stated that “[T]he pre-SONA 2021 inspection showed no irregularities with any of the equipment and the fire Department requirements were addressed adequately”.

However, a copy of the Inspection Report conducted by the Fire Department prior to the 2021 SONA highlights a number of issues and non-compliance with several of the City’s fire by-laws. These include poorly operating fire panels and fire phones and missing fire detection detectors. In addition, the Fire Department was unable to fully inspect sections of the precinct due to the construction taking place.

The DPWI report was explicit that the fire panels were rewired and reset after the power incident in December 2021, as was the gas suppression system. However, all indications are that the fire detection and alarm system was either faulty or not working at all as no alarm was triggered within the two affected buildings – the Old Assembly and the National Assembly. The only alarm triggered was in the adjacent Tuynhuis Building after the Fire Department was already on the scene.

The DPWI report also claims that the HVAC system and the fire alarms were reset after the power failure in December 2021. However, the post-incident report, once again contradicts this, as neither the fire alarms were triggered, nor did the HVAC system shut down, forcing the City to cut power to the entire block.

The glaring inconsistencies between the information that was provided to the Members of Parliament on Tuesday and the information gleaned from the post-incident report smacks of an attempt to shield officials and the Executive from culpability. It is becoming more and more evident that people did not do their jobs and this failure resulted in a fire of devastating proportions that is going to cost the taxpayers of this country billions of rands.
We cannot allow the Minister and her Department to evade accountability.

Minister De Lille must come clean about the failings of her Department to protect our heritage, the warnings that were issued in reports such as the BDO report and the ongoing misinformation and lack of information being provided to Members of Parliament. Because ultimately, the truth will out.

Cadre deployment minutes reveal vast ANC job reservation scheme

Please find attached the new cadre deployment committee minutes that the DA has obtained.

The DA can today reveal damning new evidence that the ANC cadre deployment committee reserves certain positions on the boards of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) for party cronies whose CVs appear to be kept in a database separate from other applicants. This evidence, contained in meeting minutes of the ANC cadre deployment committee dating from between May and November 2018, provides the clearest proof yet that the capture of the state to serve the interests of the ANC rather than the people of South Africa continues unabated under the presidency of Cyril Ramaphosa.

During meetings of the ANC cadre deployment committee on 11 May, 3 August and 26 November 2018, the committee reserved positions for “ANC cadres” and “firm supporters of the ANC” on the boards of SANParks, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), Transnet, Denel, SAA, the South African Forestry Company (SAFCOL), Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), SANRAL and the National Advisory Council of Innovation.

In addition to the 11-member ANC cadre deployment committee, the evidence implicates current Ministers Pravin Gordhan, Blade Nzimande, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, Lindiwe Zulu and former Minister Edna Molewa in explicitly reserving SOE board seats for the deployment committee, although it is likely that board seats are similarly reserved for party cadres on boards across national government.

Pravin Gordhan

During a meeting of the deployment committee on 11 May 2018, Minister Pravin Gordhan agreed that the cadre deployment committee “will forward six (6) nominations to him” for the Transnet board, while the committee also nominated “Comrade Siphiwe Nyanda” and two other seats on the Denel board. For the SAA board, “the deployment committee will provide four (4) names to Comrade Pravin.” The deployment committee further directed that “the appointment of a full time CEO is in abeyance until the issue of the merger [of SAA] is concluded.” For the 10-members of the SAFCOL board, it was agreed that “Comrade Pravin will provide six (6) names and the deployment committee will provide four (4) names.”

Blade Nzimande

During a meeting of the cadre deployment committee on 3 August 2018, then-Transport Minister Blade Nzimande was apparently represented by his chief of staff, referred to as “Cde L Masuku” in the meeting minutes. The names proposed by Nzimande, through Masuku, to fill the ACSA board were “accepted” by the deployment committee, with an additional “three names left for the committee.” In the case of SANRAL, the “DSG” (an apparent reference to ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte) was “mandated to add from the database 1 name.”

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane

During the same meeting on 3 August 2018, the cadre deployment committee advised Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane to retain three of the incumbent board members of the National Advisory Council of Innovation, “further noting that Cde Derek Swartz is firm supporter of the ANC (sic).” While the committee was apparently frustrated that, in the case of the board of the National Research Foundation, “no one can be appointed who holds a political office,” the cadre committee was heartened that “there seems to be a good team with a number of people associated with the ANC movement.”

Edna Molewa

In the case of the SANParks board, the committee instructed then-Minister Edna Molewa on 11 May 2018 to “add the names” of an unspecified number of “ANC cadres as per her discussion with the DP (Deputy President).”

Lindiwe Zulu

Also on 11 May 2018, “the deployment committee requested two (2) spaces on the board” of SEDA from Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

Dedicated CV database

In order to fill the board seats reserved for ANC cadres, the deployment committee apparently draws on its own dedicated CV database. Minutes from the meeting on 11 May 2018 note that “the deployment committee agreed to forward names of people requesting for deployment to comrade Pravin Gordhan for consideration in state-owned enterprise boards by 19 May 2018.” Similarly, during the meeting of 3 August 2018, “it was agreed that the members [presumably of the deployment committee] must submit their proposals, and the abridged CVs must be submitted to the Minister [of Transport].

This suggests that the ANC deployment committee possesses a list of CVs submitted to the committee by party cadres who receive special consideration for employment on the boards of SOEs by the likes of Gordhan and Nzimande. In fact, during the meeting of 11 May 2018, Lindiwe Zulu appeared to suggest that this job reservation database be formalised to include the details of “all ANC members who are deployed in every position in government, business, boards and also research names of those previously deployed.”


Over a period of only six months between May and November 2018, the ANC’s national cadre deployment committee reserved jobs for party cronies on the boards of some of our country’s biggest SOEs, including SAA, Transnet and Denel, despite the fact that these entities had already been looted into financial oblivion by ANC cadres. This ongoing job reservation scheme appears to grant preferential access to jobs to ANC cronies, whose CVs are kept in a separate database, thereby discriminating against skilled applicants who are not “firms supporters of the ANC.”

In addition to confirming the reality that ANC cadre deployment is the very foundation of state capture in South Africa, the evidence contained in these meeting minutes also provide damning evidence that the political capture of our SOEs continues unabated under the presidency of Cyril Ramaphosa.