80% of government departments fail to pay small businesses for services rendered within 30 days

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Henro Kruger MP.

A presentation to the parliamentary portfolio committee on small business development revealed that 80% of all government departments failed to pay small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) for services rendered within 30 days. This amounted to a staggering R30 billion in the 2020/21 financial year.

The failure rate of South African small businesses is one the worst globally, with an estimated 75% of our SMMEs failing after operating for only three years.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that government doesn’t create jobs. In fact, the ANC government’s failure to pay is killing jobs in South Africa, affecting people’s dignity and causing community instability.

Since the creation of the Department of Small Business Development in 2014, there have been three ministers – none of which were worth their salt. Hence the DA motion of no confidence in the cabinet.

The ANC government have proven time and again that they do not truly care about small businesses, like the time they killed the Ombudsman Private Members Bill tabled by the DA in the 5th parliament, which would have assisted SMMEs regarding the 30-day payment rule.

The DA will submit written parliamentary questions to all ministers regarding their departments’ age analysis. We will do everything in our power to make sure that every legitimate invoice from SMMEs gets paid within 30 days.

We have also launched an online platform where SMMEs can report non-compliance to pay within 30 days.

The DA will not allow the ANC government to kill SMMEs. We will continue to implement strategies to ease the environment in which they must operate. SMMEs is an important vehicle to economic recovery and must be nurtured.

Parliament must approve the SAA/Takatso deal

The DA will write to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to request that he tables the proposed contract that will transfer 51% of SAA’s shares to the Takatso consortium before Parliament for full oversight, transparency and inputs before the agreement is finalised.

After some eight months since Minister Gordhan made the announcement that 51% of SAA shares would be handed over to Takatso debt free, and that the consortium would provide R3 billion in working capital over a three-year period, an agreement between the government and Takatso has apparently finally been finalised. This was announced in a statement by the Presidency on Thursday.

During the eight months Minister Gordhan put Mango, the SAA-owned low-cost airline, into business rescue and by withholding the R700 million bailout meant for Mango ensured Mango’s complete collapse. Takatso consortium partner, Global Airways, operates LIFT, low-cost airline, which was in direct competition with SAA’s Mango airline.  The continued existence of Mango as a SAA subsidiary in direct competition with LIFT would undoubtedly not have been an attractive proposition to Takatso consortium member, Global Airways.

The continued existence of Mango may also have been a stumbling block for the SAA/Takatso deal with the Competition Board. It seems highly probable that the seemingly deliberate moves by Minister Gordhan to collapse Mango were a clear effort to make the SAA deal acceptable to Takatso and in particular, Global Airways.

After the South African taxpayer has been forced by the ANC through Parliament to waste over R30 billion in keeping the SAA vanity project flying, it is inconceivable that Minister Gordhan and the ANC can give away 51% of the shares in a liability-free SAA to Takatso for absolutely free! There must surely be accountability to Parliament?

SA Post Office too broke to pay suppliers

Please find an attached soundbite by Solly Malatsi MP.

The South African Post Office is too broke to pay its suppliers making it one of the worst violators of the government commitment to settle invoices within 30 days.

While President Cyril Ramaphosa consistently waxes lyrical about his administration’s commitment to ensure the payment of invoices within 30 days, the Post Office, like many other State entities, continues to shamelessly defy this without any consequences.

In a recent reply to a parliamentary question by the DA, it has emerged that the Post Office currently owes its suppliers a total of R485 million emanating from 196 unpaid invoices.

This figure includes 116 invoices worth R119 million which haven’t been paid within the required 30 days period and a further 63 invoices amounting to R270 million over 120 days.

What is more concerning is that there is foreseeable hope that the Post Office will be in a position to pay the supplies it owes soon as Ministry of Telecommunications has confessed in the same parliamentary reply that “…the Post Office does not have the required funds to settle its liabilities.”

The devastation the Post Office causes to businesses, many of which are small medium and micro enterprises, with its failure to pay suppliers is destroying the livelihoods of many South Africans. To this end, the DA will continue to utilise all the Parliament accountability mechanisms to push for the payment of government suppliers on time. We encourage all businesses with unpaid invoices to visit the DA’s portal to get assistance from our Shadow Minister on Small Businesses, Henro Kruger.

It defies logic why the ANC government persists with financially unsustainable state owned enterprises such as the Post Office which are chronically dependent on state bailouts instead of making space for private sector investment.

NERSA Tariff Increase: 9.61% will still be a huge blow for struggling South Africans

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Kevin Mileham MP.

The DA is very pleased that the call by South Africans and the Party for NERSA to reject the proposed exorbitant electricity tariff increase has been heard. The announced tariff increase of 9.61%, while still high, is a long way off the 20.5% requested by Eskom.

This increase, which may very well be challenged in court by Eskom, will still be a blow to South Africans who are already crippled under the skyrocketing cost of living. Fuel price increases, food and transport cost increases, consumer price increases, and all government tariffs are bombarding South Africans relentlessly.

The DA has spearheaded a national campaign to break the monopoly that Eskom enjoys and the back-breaking year-on-year tariff increases that residents have to endure. The DA will continue to fight for all South Africans, to ensure an affordable and reliable electricity supply, not only for the man on the street but also emerging businesses that need a stable and cost-effective supply.

The ANC government and its dysfunctional SOE, Eskom, are the single biggest risks to the South African economy, due to their inability to maintain and grow generation capacity. With this unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, the government should put Eskom’s money to better use by opening up the sector to Independent Power Producers.

Much of Eskom’s losses can be traced back to mismanagement and rampant corruption under past leadership, and the burden is being passed on to consumers, who are bearing the brunt of Eskom’s failure, while the inept ANC government watch from the sidelines.

The ANC government must stop ignoring the voices of South Africans, and stop using them as an ATM to prop up Eskom’s dire financial situation.

The DA will not relent in its campaign to ease the burden inflicted on South Africans and we will continue to lead the country in the fight to allow Independent Power Producers to play a much bigger role at national, provincial and local levels.

We have shown how this can be done in the City of Cape Town and other DA municipalities are following suit. We want all South Africans to be freed from the dual threat of price hikes and loadshedding.

DA gaan SA mediese skole se toelatingsvereistes PAIA

Vind asseblief aangeheg ’n klankgreep van Chantel King LP.

Die DA wil met behulp van die Wet op die Bevordering van Toegang tot Inligting (PAIA) 13 Suid-Afrikaanse mediese skole nader om vas te stel wat hul toelatingsvereistes rakende ras is.

Dít nadat dr Angelique Coetzee as voorsitter van die Suid-Afrikaanse Mediese Vereniging (SAMA) bedank het ná haar kommentaar in die media dat “toelatings tot mediese skole hoogs verpolitiseer is, dat ras ’n beduidende rol speel het in die bepaling van aanvaarding tot mediese fakulteite, in baie gevalle ’n groter rol as die aansoeker se matriekuitslae, en dat daar verskillende kriteria vir verskillende rasgroepe ten opsigte van toelatingsvereistes bestaan”.

Die Universiteit van Kaapstad (UK) se 2022-prospektus het ook onlangs onder die soeklig gekom oor die uitgebreide rasgebaseerde kriteria wat in sy toelatingsproses ingebou is.

Die DA se PAIA-aansoeke sal vasstel:

  • die huidige toelatingsvereistes vir nuwe studente tot ’n MBChB-graad;
  • bevestiging van of aansoekers se rasse-identiteit as maatstaf vir toelating gebruik word, en indien wel, ’n presiese beskrywing van die wyse waarop dit toegepas word;
  • bevestiging of verskillende toelatingskriteria of -drempels geld vir aansoekers van verskillende “rassegroepe”;
  • kriteria en fisiese eienskappe waarop staatgemaak word om individuele aansoekers op rassebasis te klassifiseer;
  • kriteria en fisiese eienskappe waarop gesteun word om te bepaal of ’n aansoeker se “rasse-selfklassifikasie” “akkuraat” is; en
  • die aantal aansoekers wie se aansoeke vir die 2021-inname afgekeur is op grond daarvan dat hulle nie geklassifiseer is om aan voorkeur-“aangewese groepe” te behoort nie en wat andersins toegelaat sou word as hulle geklassifiseer is as behorende tot ’n voorkeur-“aangewese groep”.

Ons het die PAIA-aansoeke by die volgende universiteite ingedien:

  • Universiteit van Kaapstad
  • Universiteit van Witwatersrand
  • Universiteit Stellenbosch
  • Universiteit van KwaZulu-Natal
  • Universiteit van Pretoria
  • Sefako Makgatho Gesondheidswetenskappe Universiteit
  • Universiteit van die Vrystaat
  • Universiteit van Limpopo
  • Walter Sisulu Universiteit
  • Universiteit van Johannesburg
  • Universiteit van Wes-Kaapland
  • Noordwes-Universiteit – Suid-Afrika
  • Nelson Mandela Universiteit

Daar is ’n desperate tekort aan mediese beroepslui in Suid-Afrika, en die DA glo dat alle verdienstelike studente toegelaat moet word om medies te studeer, en dat geen student op die kleur van hul vel takseer moet word nie.

Die land se gesondheidstelsels is onder enorme druk, en om waardige kandidate te verhinder om die mediese beroep te betree is nie net ’n onreg aan daardie individue nie, maar benadeel ook die publiek, insluitend die armes en kwesbares.

ANC government must condemn Ukrainian invasion through BRICS

Please find an attached soundbite by Darren Bergman MP

The DA calls on the ANC government to use its membership of BRICS to condemn Russia’s invasion of Eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and to call for Russia’s immediate withdrawal.

South Africa is a signatory to the United Nations Charter which binds all countries “[to] maintain international peace and security….[though] the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace”. Russia has violated this provision and South Africa’s inaction will amount to a tacit condonation of Russia’s actions.

In addition the Minister of International Relations, Naledi Pandor, should summon the Russian Ambassador to South Africa , Mr Ilya Igorevich Rogachev, and demand that Russia immediately stops its military campaign in Ukraine and withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has received widespread condemnation across the world and the South African government’s silence is deeply concerning. The Russian President’s dream of an ‘Empire’ not only poses a threat to Ukraine but to the whole of Eastern Europe. Failure to stop Putin now will be detrimental to world peace.

South Africa needs to play its part to ensure that Putin is brought to the negotiating table. His violation of Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty is a direct infringement of international law and should not be allowed to stand.

By allowing Putin to get away with murder, Minister Pandor is making a mockery of her own government’s foreign policy doctrine of pursuing Ubuntu diplomacy and protection of human rights. Lives are needlessly being lost to appease Putin’s hunger for war and ‘Empire’.

The South African government should choose the right side of history by standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We cannot afford to keep silent when Russia has made it clear that they can do whatever they want to upend the existing international order which is built on peace and mutual respect.

DA to PAIA SA medical school admission requirements

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Chantel King MP.

The DA has submitted Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) applications to South Africa’s 13 medical schools to ascertain their admissions requirements specifically regarding race.

This follows the resignation of Dr Angelique Coetzee as chairperson of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) after her comments in the media that “admissions to medical schools were highly politicised, that race played a significant role in determining acceptance to medical faculties, in many instances more than the applicant’s matric performance, and that different criteria exist for different race groups with regard to admission requirements”.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) 2022 prospectus also recently came under the spotlight regarding the extensive race-based criteria built into its admissions process.

The DA’s PAIA applications will ascertain:

  • current admissions requirements for newcomer students to be admitted to the MBChB degree;
  • confirmation of whether, and a precise description of, the way in which the racial identity of applicants is used as a criterion for admissions at any point during the admissions process;
  • confirmation of whether different admissions criteria or thresholds apply to applicants from different “racial groups”;
  • criteria and physical characteristics relied upon to racially classify individual applicants;
  • criteria and physical characteristics relied upon to determine whether an applicant’s “racial self-classification” is “accurate”; and
  • the number of applicants whose applications for the 2021 intake were rejected on the basis that they were not classified as belonging to preferred “designated groups” and who would otherwise have been admitted if they were classified as belonging to a preferred “designated group.”

We have submitted the PAIA applications to the following universities:

  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Witwatersrand
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • University of Pretoria
  • Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
  • University of the Free State
  • University of Limpopo
  • Walter Sisulu University
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of Western Cape
  • Northwest University – South Africa
  • Nelson Mandela University

With the desperate shortage of medical professionals in South Africa, we believe that all deserving students should be admitted to study medicine, and that no student should be left behind based on the colour of their skin.

The country’s healthcare systems are under severe pressure, and barring worthy candidates from entering the medical profession is not only a disservice to those individuals, but also disadvantages the public, including the poor and vulnerable.

Lack of tour guide support could be a ticking time bomb waiting to blow

Please find an attached soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP

Officials from the Department of Tourism this week confirmed it has little regard for the plight of tour guides during a meeting of the parliamentary portfolio committee on tourism.

It was revealed that most provinces have no proper record of registered tour guides with 6 provinces having nothing but a spreadsheet recording this information.

In all provinces, except the Western Cape, it takes months for a tour guide to obtain registration.

The registration of tour guides is vitally important should an incident occur with unregistered or unqualified tour guides where the potential for insurance and other claims may not be honoured. This could be another reason for tourists to be deterred from visiting South Africa.

No standardisation of databases exist, confirming that there are potentially a high number of unregistered and probably illegal tour guides across the country. It was confirmed to the Portfolio Committee that records are in shambles with duplications, information mismatches, incomplete and incorrect information having been identified.

At the meeting officials confirmed that:

  • Training programmes are provided without research as to what programmes are actually needed by tour guides and no measuring and monitoring mechanisms exist to ensure the success of these programmes.
  • There are no controls in place to manage the distribution of tour guide badges and access cards providing the opportunity for fraud and abuse. Presently there is no way to ascertain how deep this corruption is.

Tour guides serve as our unofficial ambassadors who are in many instances the first people that foreign tourists see when visiting our shores.

It is clear that the department does not treat tour guides with the prerequisite respect because the overwhelming majority of tour guides are self-employed and have no major unions behind them.

The DA will be submitting parliamentary questions go the Department of Tourism on the details about the formalisation of databases so that tour guides at least obtain the most basic support that any government should provide.

DA seeks answers on DPSA’s reluctance to act against public servants who stole R350 grants

Please find attached soundbite by Dr Mimmy Gondwe MP.

The DA has submitted parliamentary questions to the Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo, requesting that she, amongst other things, provide a breakdown of the individual departments that are currently conducting disciplinary cases into the theft of the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant by public servants and the progress made by the individual departments in concluding these disciplinary cases.

It cannot be business as usual when it has become clear as day that these disciplinary cases have not been concluded within 90 day period prescribed by the Public Service Regulations of 2016.

According to media reports, when asked during a recent post-SONA briefing if the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) would be taking action against public servants who unlawfully applied for and/or received the SRD grant, Minister Dlodlo stated that it was not the DPSA that would be taking action against the implicated public servants, but rather the individual departments who knew who the culprits are in this regard.

The DA is not persuaded by Minister Dlodlo’s response as it seems to suggest that individual departments have a far greater role to play than the DPSA in ensuring that corrupt and unethical public servants are brought to book.

Granted, the responsibility of managing disciplinary cases against public servants lies primarily with individual departments. However, the DA takes the firm and considered view that in instances where the corruption or misconduct has become public knowledge and widespread, the responsibility of managing disciplinary cases must also lie squarely with the DPSA given that it is charged with, amongst other things, developing the policy and procedure around the management of disciplinary cases within the public service and also managing the Personal and Salary System (PERSAL) system which stores information on public servants, including their records of misconduct.

It has been almost a year since the DA first brought to light the fact that public servants had unlawfully applied for and/or received the SRD grant. But, to date, not a single public servant has been brought to book.

Yesterday’s Budget Speech confirmed that the SRD grant will be extended by the Minister of Finance for at least another year. It is, therefore, imperative for Minister Dlodlo to ensure the SRD grant related disciplinary cases are handled expeditiously and measures put in place to prevent the further theft of the SRD grant by corrupt and unethical public servants.

The DA further calls on Minister Dlodlo to put in place urgent interventions and reforms that will ensure the SRD grant related disciplinary cases as well as other outstanding disciplinary cases within the public service are expeditiously handled.

An overly cautious budget that is hampered by ANC radicals who oppose growth

The Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana’s budget speech offered a welcome but cautious narrative on the state of South Africa’s fiscal trajectory. The DA is, however, concerned that he did not go far enough to address the elephant in the room, the public sector wage bill, escalating costs of our national debt and precise detail on the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

Public sector wage bill 

The Minister anticipates more salary increases for public sector workers arising from the new round of collective bargaining, which is expected to start in March 2022. This is in contrast to the DA position that there must be a salary freeze for non-Occupation Specific Dispensation staff. As long as the government keeps kicking the wage bill can down the road, the threat of a budget blowout will remain high. It is clear that ballooning state expenditure has been driven by wage demands in the public sector, and unions, as well as the Radical Economic Transfer-faction in the ANC, clearly will not allow the government space to contain this spiralling cost.

Debt spiral 

Despite painting a rosy picture of the government’s debt consolidation measures, it is alarming that debt continues to track upwards and will reach R4.35 trillion in 2021/22. This is enough to set alarm bells ringing but government continues to exhibit a lack of urgency, instead choosing to kick the debt can down the road. The Minister has not been bold in addressing non-priority spending within the state, a key requirement if we are to begin addressing the national debt crisis.

Unemployment and job creation 

Although we welcome the reduction in the corporate income tax, which the market had already factored in, GDP growth is still very low to support job creation and reduce unemployment. Projected average GDP growth of 1,8% over the next three years will not be enough to address South Africa’s high unemployment rate which reached 34,9% in the third quarter of 2021. While the DA supports temporary public employment initiatives to provide relief to the unemployed, they are not a sustainable approach to create permanent jobs in the economy.

  • Small business incentives – The Minister made a commitment, over the medium term, to devote attention towards cutting red tape for small businesses. However, he failed to provide specific details of how this will be achieved. The DA’s alternative budget made it clear that onerous BBBEE requirements were hampering competitiveness and limiting the SMME’s sector to create jobs. The Minister missed an opportunity to accelerate job creation in this sector by not including specific tax relief on startups in particular.
  • The DA welcomes the extension of the Social Relief Distress Grant for another 12 months. Vulnerable South Africans should not be made to shoulder the burden of government policy failure. We believe that effective growth enabling incentives can increase growth and revenue and the introduction of a conditional basic income grant.

State-Owned Enterprises still pose a fiscal risk

The failure by the government to provide a clear path for private sector involvement in the SOE sector continues to pose a financial risk to the fiscus. In this budget, it was made clear that the fiscal balance sheet continues to be exposed to significant financial guarantees and direct cash support to SOEs such as Denel, SAA and the Land Bank. As indicated in our Alternative Budget, the government should instead be readying SOEs for private sector investment to increase their competitiveness and profitability. We hope that the new Minister will impose strong conditions on existing bailouts to SOEs and depart from the soft conditions imposed by his predecessors


The DA expected the Minister to provide a firm pathway towards fiscal discipline and economic growth. Instead, he opted for a cautious approach that does not go far enough to restore fiscal discipline and create jobs.