DA commends the SIU for holding the NLC to account

The DA commends the Special Investigative Unit’s (SIU) work in holding the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) to account for the rampant looting that has taken place at the organisation over the last several years.

This comes after today’s sitting of the Special Tribunal ordered that four luxury vehicles and residential property in Zwartkop are placed under curatorship pending a review application for the final forfeiture.

These assets are linked a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) Inqaba Yokulinda, which received funding from the NLC to the tune of R19.2 million between February 2018 and September 2019 for the construction of athletic tracks in North West and Mpumalanga.

According to the SIU there is prima facie evidence of “collusion between employees of the NLC & Members of Inqaba Yokulinda, including unconnected third parties who partook in the scheme to obtain R19.2 million in funding from the NLC for their own personal use”.

Furthermore, they discovered that only R4.2 million of the R19.2 million was used for its intended purpose.

There is no doubt that this particular order is merely the tip of the iceberg and that in the coming weeks we will see the complete unravelling of the criminal syndicate that has plundered the NLC over several years.

It is now up to the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that these matters are prosecuted and that those who are guilty of stealing money meant for the most vulnerable in society are put behind bars.

ANC backpedals on accountability to block President’s appearance before SCOPA 

Please find an attached soundbite by Alf Lees MP

 

The DA will continue to push for President Cyril Ramaphosa to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) to explain his stated knowledge of the misuse of State funds.

On Wednesday evening, the ANC called in extra members to close ranks by voting against President Ramaphosa appearing before SCOPA.

SCOPA yesterday dealt with the response received from President Ramaphosa as well as a legal opinion obtained from the parliamentary legal office regarding the leaked recording of the President addressing an ANC meeting and saying:

“Each one of us knows that quite a bit of money that is used in campaigns in bussing people around, in doing all manner of things is often from State Resources and Public Resources and we cannot kid ourselves when it comes to that.”

The decision by the ANC to block the President’s appearance is a complete obfuscation and a vain attempt to divert SCOPA’s attention away from the clear message that Ramaphosa “knows” of the misuse and fraudulent abuse of State funds.

The ANC appears to have followed party orders by backpedalling furiously from the prior unanimous SCOPA decision to invite President Ramaphosa to appear before the committee to answer questions should his written response not be a full and clear one. The ANC members made every effort with long monologues to justify yet further delays in calling President Ramaphosa to account.

In the end, the ANC used their majority to protect President Ramaphosa and their party of being once again exposed for the criminal syndicate they are.

Minister Gungubele and Statistician-General must account for haphazard start to Census

Please find an attached soundbite by Solly Malatsi MP

The DA will write to the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Public Service and Administration Tyotyo James, to request that he invites the Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, and the Statistician-General, Risenga Maluleke, to account for the continued difficulties that have plagued this year’s Census.

There has been numerous reports that the 2022 Census has been plagued by a variety of logistical obstacles; including recruitment issues, vehicle delivery concerns, and challenges with tablets. All of these issues have hampered Census fieldwork and caused the online registration time to be extended.

It appears that StatsSA’s processes are in complete disarray. This is a serious indictment on the entity and an indication of their inability to successfully organise and execute a once-in-a-decade exercise. While we understand the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the reality is that the Census is counted every ten years. StatsSA had over a decade to deliver a Census free of some of the basic logistical struggles it is currently experiencing.

For planning at all levels of government and society, accurate census data is essential. We cannot allow a situation where the only source of community-level data collection, is marred by mishaps that could’ve been prevented through proper planning.

The DA is concerned that these problems and delays have a potential to cast doubt on the integrity of the entire process. Therefore, to regain the trust of the South African people, Minister Gungubele and Statistician-General Maluleke must inform Parliament of the measures that have been put in place to avoid any further disruptions or delays.

SANDF’s fleets are sitting ducks

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Kobus Marais MP.

The DA calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa, as commander-in-chief of South Africa’s armed forces, to urgently intervene in the growing decline of our military. We are extremely concerned that South Africa’s military capabilities have deteriorated to the point where we would be unable to launch a meaningful defense should the situation arise.

In a report to the parliamentary portfolio committee on defense, Armscor revealed that the air and water fleets are falling apart to such an extent that only one of the four frigates, and none of the three submarines are serviceable. Only 46 of 217 the South African Air Force’s (SAAF) aircraft, and only 27 of the 87 helicopters are serviceable. Not to mention the multitude of unserviceable aircraft of the VIP fleet, the transport fleet and the Gripens, Rooivalk and the trainer Pilatus fleets.

In fact, almost all of the equipment procured under the arms deal are impacted and most are not serviceable.

South Africa’s navy and air force are nothing but sitting ducks at the moment, and there seems to be little political will to remedy this.

With the country’s porous borders and the political turmoil in our neighbouring countries – the terrorism in Mozambique being particularly concerning – we cannot sit idly by and hope for things to change. Decisive action must be taken as a matter of urgency. It is time the President, the Ministers of Defence, Finance, Public Enterprises, and the Chiefs of all our armed forces intervene to stop the near total destruction of our military prime mission equipment.

Teen Suicide Prevention Week: More should be done to address mental health issues affecting youth

Please find an attached soundbite by Haseena Ismail MP

During the month of February, the world observes Teen Suicide Prevention Week. For seven days the focus will be on adolescent and youth physical and mental health challenges, as well as the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic increased mental health concerns among this demographic.

According to reports, since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the mental health of young people has deteriorated considerably with a rise adolescent depression, anxiety, and self-harm.

The intervening question we must ask ourselves now, more than ever, is how we can effectively support young people with mental health challenges, particularly during Covid-19, when mental health services created for young people, particularly in schools, universities, and workplaces, were disrupted for several months.

The struggle with mental health is one of the many contributing factors to school drop-out rates among young people. Those who dropout are more susceptible to depression and low self-esteem, as well as other mental health challenges. More should be done to address these growing mental health issues, particularly at the school level.

The DA calls on the Departments of Health and Basic Education to increase efforts in ensuring that our children are prepared with the skills to adapt and manage as the pandemic continues to cast a shadow over their lives and mental health. For instance, the suicide prevention Gatekeeper training, in which a group of people are taught to recognise individuals who are exhibiting signs of being suicide risk, is one of the measures that can help prevent suicide among adolescents. Other measures include:

  • The inclusion of mental health in the curriculum;
  • Mental health awareness campaigns;
  • Provision of school counsellors;
  • Support from teachers; and among others,
  • Supporting students to remain in school.

We must retain access to mental health services to address the emerging mental health catastrophe among young people. To do this, all stakeholders must collaborate, including government agencies, schools, and corporations.

Government Gazette inaccessible for months on end

Please find attached soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP.

The DA will write to the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to demand that he immediately restores the website of the Government Gazette and ensure that the Green Gazette is updated as a matter of urgency.

The Government Printing Works (GPW) website has not functioned for some time – either not availing the Gazettes online, or not allowing access to the website at all. And the Green Gazette has not been updated since 28 January 2022.

It is simply shocking that government would allow this to happen. The Gazette needs to be easily accessible to ensure that all citizens know the laws of the country and make informed decisions regarding their conduct. This failure by government to ensure that South Africans are kept informed damages the very heart of the relationship between State and citizen.

It begs the question of whether government was even aware that the website was down, and if so, why they did not inform the public?

It is disgraceful that the ANC government cannot even maintain a simple website. How are we to trust them to implement all their vast SONA promises and end corruption?

DA welcomes Mayor Hill-Lewis’ 300MW IPP plan

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

The DA welcomes the announcement by City of Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, that the first round for a tender procurement process for independent power producers (IPP) to provide up to 300MW of renewable energy has been opened.

The City of Cape Town and its residents are now well on their way to becoming energy independent.

We are pleased to see the progress Mayor Hill-Lewis has made in achieving his election promises of freeing Cape Town residents and businesses from Eskom’s rolling blackouts.

It has been estimated that rolling blackouts cost the South African economy R500 million per stage, per day. No growing, sustainable economy can thrive with an unsustainable electricity supply.

We commend Mayor Hill-Lewis and his team for continuing to set an example of what a progressive, delivery-centric government looks like.

DA launches #StopSchoolCapture petition to oppose ANC’s new Basic Education Bill

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbite by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP.

The DA has launched the #StopSchoolCapture petition urging all South Africans to oppose a proposed Bill by the ANC which seeks to stage a coup against South Africa’s parents and children.

If passed, the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill will usurp the powers of school governing bodies (SGBs) to decide on admissions and language policies in their communities.

The Bill also seeks to give the national Department of Basic Education, led by Minister Angie Motshekga, as well as ANC cadres like Panyaza Lesufi, unfettered power to rename schools as they see fit, effectively handing them a loaded weapon to finish the long-running war against governing bodies and mother-tongue education.

To join our call and say #StopSchoolCapture, the DA encourages all concerned parents and communities to stand up against this outrageous ANC Bill by signing our online petition using the following: petitions.da.org.za/p/stop-school-capture

The DA will not stand by while ANC cadres take away the fundamental rights of our communities and school governing bodies, which are guaranteed by the Constitution.

Senior Officials of the SSA have not made financial disclosures for 7 solid years

Please find an attached soundbite by Dr Mimmy Gondwe MP

As at 31 May 2021, 124 senior officials of the State Security Agency (SSA) did not make financial disclosures for the 2020/21 financial year. It also emerged that senior officials of the SSA have not made financial disclosures for the past 7 years .i.e. since the 2014/15 financial year up until the 2020/21 financial year.

These revelations were made in a report of the Public Service Commission (PSC) tabled in Parliament last week, in respect of its activities and the performance of its functions, including any finding it may have made and advice or directions it may have provided.

Regulation 18 of the Public Service Regulations of 2016, requires all (not some) senior officials within the public service, namely Senior Management Service members (SMS members), to disclose particulars or details of their financial interests on an annual basis. 

The DA has consistently maintained that the Regulations are intended to apply to all public servants (not some) and Regulation 18 is no exception.

The DA has also maintained that senior officials within the SSA should not be exempt from making financial disclosures as such disclosures are purely personal in their nature and have absolutely no bearing on the functioning and workings of the SSA.

The financial disclosures that senior officials, within the public service, are required to make on an annual basis, pertain to amongst other things, disclosures on ownership of immoveable property; disclosures on ownership of motor vehicles; and disclosures on directorships in companies and other corporate entities governed by law. As such, these disclosures cannot, in any way or manner, compromise the work done by the SSA let alone the security of the country for the simple reason that have no bearing on or relationship with the work of senior officials within the SSA. 

The DA, has today, submitted a number of Parliamentary written questions to the Minister in the Presidency, Hon M Gugubele, in an attempt to establish the rationale behind this continued non-compliance by senior officials of the SSA with Regulation 18 of the Regulations. 

The DA has also taken the added liberty of writing to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration and expressed our concerns, in this regard, and further requested that the Committee summon the Minister in the Presidency and the Acting Director General of the SSA, Mr G Msimang, to appear before the Committee and explain this baseless flouting and disregard of the Regulations by senior officials of the SSA. 

The DA strongly rejects the notion or argument that financial disclosures by senior officials of the SSA will, in one way or another, compromise the security of our country and calls on the Minister in the Presidency to prevent a further 7 years of senior officials of the SSA evading transparency under the guise of “national security”.

DA set to expose minutes of provincial and regional ANC cadre deployment committees

Please find an attached soundbite by Dr Leon Schreiber MP

In the wake of our successful efforts to expose the minutes of the ANC’s national cadre deployment committee, the DA has today filed applications in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to also obtain full minutes and all other records of meetings by the ANC’s nine provincial deployment committees, as well as of the dozens of regional ANC deployment committees. These latest PAIA applications were submitted to all ANC provincial leaders and forms part of our ongoing efforts to inform the South African people of how cadre deployment is the fundamental cause of state capture and collapse at national, provincial as well as municipal level. In terms of PAIA, the ANC has 30 days within which to hand over the records to the DA.

The minutes of the national deployment committee, exposed by the DA last month, have confirmed the existence of dozens more local deployment committees at provincial and regional level. Like a deadly metastasized cancer, ANC cadre deployment is not confined to the national level, but has infected every sphere of the state.

Following a recent ruling by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the ANC has no choice but to make public its provincial and regional cadre deployment minutes. In a letter to the ANC’s lawyers on 21 January 2022, which was sent in response to efforts by the ANC to keep the minutes of its national deployment committee hidden, Judge Zondo ruled that:

“It is in the public interest that it be known how the deployment committee of the ruling party influences decisions that are made by state institutions or government functionaries in regard to certain appointments.”

This ruling by the most senior jurist in the land has created a powerful legal precedent that compels the ANC to hand over all of its cadre deployment records – including at provincial and regional levels. It is plainly in the public interest for the people of South Africa to know how their local governments were captured by the ANC, who use cadre deployment to appoint incompetent and corrupt officials into national, provincial and municipal administrations on the basis of their loyalty to the ANC, rather than on the basis of merit.

This ruling by Judge Zondo also makes it clear that the ANC’s opposition to our court application to expose the minutes of the national deployment committee dating back to 2013 – when President Cyril Ramaphosa became its chairperson – is doomed to fail. For a political party that is already too bankrupt to pay its own employees, the ANC would be well advised to not make the same mistake twice by forcing the DA to also take it to court to obtain minutes of provincial and regional deployment committees. The legal precedent that the ANC must make all cadre deployment records public has already been firmly established, which means that the DA will win any such court cases – and we will ask for expensive costs orders against the ANC in each and every case.

It is time for Ramaphosa’s party to realise that the cadre deployment jig is up.

The ANC’s efforts to hide the truth about cadre deployment from the DA and the State Capture Commission has failed. It is now time to come clean about how every provincial and municipal government under the control of the ANC has been destroyed by unconstitutional interference in appointments by provincial and regional cadre deployment committees.