Mthethwa’s Giant Flag must fall

The ANC government has already spent R1.7 million on Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s R22 million Giant Flag before any construction has even begun. Let us stop them before they spend more!

The DA vehemently opposes this vanity project while citizens, and especially children, are literally staving of hunger.

It is unacceptable that South African citizens who are outspoken against this project are being gaslighted and their patriotism being questioned.

Patriotism isn’t about erecting overpriced flagpoles. True patriotism is ensuring that people receive the basic services and dignity that they deserve.

The DA will submit parliamentary questions to Minister Mthethwa to determine how far the project has progressed, and to obtain information on the following:

  • Has any individual or any company been appointed to conduct any work related to the Monumental Flag Project so far, and if so, how much has it cost?
  • Has a service provider been appointed to construct the Monumental flag, and if so, at what cost?
  • When will the procurement procedure commence if no service provider has been appointed yet?

The DA contends that the money would be better spent helping struggling athletes and artists who have received little to no help from the department after the Covid-19 lockdown destroyed their lives and livelihood.

We will not allow the ANC government to use a “patriotic rhetoric” to distract millions of South Africans from the daily problems they are facing, such as massive unemployment, a failing economy, malnourished children, and an increasing number of South Africans falling below the poverty line.

De Lille admits Public Works is a mess as SAPS facilities crumble

Note to Editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Okkie Terblanche MP.

The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), Patricia de Lille, has admitted in a parliamentary portfolio committee meeting on police that her Department is in utter chaos and that this is affecting other Departments, like the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The DA supports the suggestion that Minister De Lille returns to the committee to account and present a plan of action after she has done her due diligence in her Department. Minister De Lille seemed completely flabbergasted that DPWI had devolved 289 facilities to SAPS for their own management. Despite the fact that both DPWI and SAPS referred to this devolution in their presentations, Minister de Lille said she wasn’t aware of it.

Minister De Lille’s incompetence is endangering vital service delivery – including the safety and security of the South African public. DPWI’s failure to manage their creditors and maintain facilities has led to declining service delivery from SAPS, including the landlord closing doors of the Criminal Record Centre (CRC) in Pretoria earlier this year and the Nelson Mandela Bay-municipality threatening to cut off electricity to the forensic lab in Gqeberha due to non-payment of a R21 million bill.

SAPS has also complained that DPWI’s contract mismanagement leads to delays in the construction of police stations, as well as delays on critical repairs to infrastructure at stations.

SAPS is already struggling with severe budget cuts, systemic mismanagement and undue political influence – DPWI must not be another stone in the road. Is it any wonder that crime rates in South Africa keep rising when police officials are being hobbled by their own government at every turn?

DA votes against Motion of Desirability on NHI

Please find an attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

Today, in the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Health the DA unequivocally voted to reject the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

The ANC, however, dug in their heels and voted to pass a Motion of Desirability on the Bill.

This means that Parliament will proceed to deliberate on the Bill, disregarding the thousands of public comments and submissions received arguing against it. It is clear that the ANC is determined to push forward with their agenda regardless of the human, economic and financial cost involved.

The DA has on many occasions, raised concerns with the Bill. The NHI will essentially disadvantage the poorest of the poor, break the back of the tax-paying middle-class and potentially bankrupt our economy.

The Bill does not provide any solutions to the chronic problems that plague the healthcare sector. Additionally, the State lacks the institutional capacity to procure ethically and without financial irregularities.

We have seen this clearly with the delayed procurement of vaccines and the billions lost as a result of Covid-corruption. Even the former Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, was implicated in the Digital Vibes corruption scandal.

The DA will continue to fight the NHI Bill with everything in our power. We encourage all South Africans to oppose the NHI Bill and to sign our petition. The Bill in its current form – and under ANC management – will never be the answer universal health care in South Africa. The ANC government has done nothing but destroy and mismanagement current public health care infrastructure and systems, and the destruction of medical aids and raising personal taxes by up to R5000 more a month will only further cripple taxpayers and the economy.

DA verwerp Mthethwa se haatlike plan om Afrikaans selfs uit Afrikaanse Taalmonument te verwyder

Vind asseblief aangeheg ‘n klankgreep van Dr Leon Schreiber LP.

Teen die agtergrond van die Demokratiese Alliansie (DA) se onlangse suksesvolle werk om Blade Nzimande en die ANC regering te dwing om Afrikaans as ‘n inheemse taal te erken, blyk dit dat die ANC reeds hul volgende aanslag geloods het teen die taal- en kultuurregte van Suid-Afrika se uiteenlopende Afrikaanssprekende gemeenskap.

Volgens berigte en verdere inligting tot die DA se beskikking, is die ANC Minister van Sport, Kuns en Kultuur, Nathi Mthethwa, reeds besig met ‘n proses om die “Afrikaans” te probeer verwyder uit die Afrikaanse Taalmonument en -museum in die Paarl.

Mthethwa het onlangs op ‘n openbare vergadering onomwonde gesê dat dit kamstig “ononderhandelbaar” is dat die monument se naam verander moet word omdat dit “uitsluitend” sou wees. As die ANC enige iets geweet het oor Afrikaans en die Taalmonument, sou hulle verstaan het dat dit juis ‘n simboliese viering is van die uiteenlopende invloede vanuit Afrika en dwarsoor die wêreld wat gelei het tot die vorming van hierdie unieke taal.

Na Nzimande se poging om Afrikaans as “uitheems” te brandmerk, is hierdie jongste stap deur die ANC regering is ‘n verdere verskerping van die aanslag teen taaldiversiteit in die algemeen, en spesifiek teen die plek van Afrikaanssprekendes in Suid-Afrika. Die implikasie is dat, onder die ANC, daar géén ruimte mag bestaan vir ons uiteenlopende taal- en kultuurgemeenskappe om hul erfenis te vier nie. Die ANC sal duidelik nie rus totdat diversiteit op alle gebiede van die samelewing vervang is met ANC-beheerde sentralisering nie.

Nes ons vir Blade Nzimande bloedneus gegee het, is die DA ook reeds besig om te mobiliseer teen hierdie jongste haatlike aanval op Afrikaans deur Mthethwa. Ons het reeds ‘n parlementêre vraag aan Mthethwa ingedien om vas te stel waar hy dink hy die wetlike magte kry om eensydig die naam van die Taalmonument te verander.

Die DA moedig alle Suid-Afrikaners aan wat ons land se ryke en diverse taalerfenis koester om protes aan te teken teen die ANC se pogings om Afrikaans selfs uit die Afrikaanse Taalmonument te verwyder. Ons sal binnekort verdere stappe in hierdie verband aankondig.

NAMPO 2022 is where South Africa’s important conversations about the looming food security crisis will take place

Please find an attached soundbite from the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen MP. Pictures can be found here, here and here

Today I will attend the 54th NAMPO agricultural show outside the town of Bothaville in the Northern Free State. This annual exhibition and discussion forum hosted by the National Maize Producers Organisation (NAMPO) – and which hasn’t taken place for two years due to lockdown restrictions – has become one of the most important events in our agricultural calendar. The exchange of ideas there will be critical to safeguarding our country’s food security as we head into a very bleak and uncertain winter.

This is a forum hosted by farmers, for farmers, where they have an opportunity to be exposed to new technology and equipment, exchange farming ideas and discuss the major issues facing their sector. It has grown into the biggest agricultural show in the southern hemisphere, and this year it will feature a number of international exhibitors and will attract attendees from as far afield as Namibia, Botswana and DRC. This is an indication of the critical role agriculture plays on our continent, and of the commitment by the farming community to protecting our food security.

Over the course of the day I will be meeting with farmers as well as with the management of Grain SA to listen to their concerns about the looming global and local food security crisis, and to discuss ways in which we can help mitigate the effects of the war in Ukraine and the impact this war will have on the global supply of grains, oils and other produce.

Farmers in particular will feel the effects of this war as fertiliser prices are expected to spike dramatically, along with massive increases in petrol and diesel prices. These increasing operational and transport costs will translate into rapid food price inflation that will hit poor South Africans extremely hard this winter. It is therefore critical that we put every possible solution on the table that could help rein in this inflation and shield vulnerable citizens from poverty and hunger.

These solutions should include a further relief in the fuel levy, a VAT exemption on more food products – chicken and meat in particular, and dropping of the sugar tax. It should also include plans to bolster our own local production of crops such as wheat and canola oil, which is already underway in the Western Cape.

I will also be speaking to farmers about the many other issues that pose a threat to their sector, to their businesses and to their safety. This includes the erosion of property rights under the threat of Expropriation Without Compensation, the difficulty of operating a farming business amid crumbling roads and infrastructure where farmers themselves have taken to fixing roads, the impact of load-shedding, and the ongoing threat of farm attacks. I will also be visiting the Wall of Remembrance, where the victims of farm murders are honoured.

Given the severe food and fuel crisis that is about to hit South Africa, NAMPO is one of the most important events of the year. With no evident concern for this crisis coming from the ANC government, it will be up to South Africans to weather this storm despite their government, as they always have to do. Thankfully we are blessed with a farming community that is up to the task.

Ramaphosa needs to get the SIU to investigate rampant illegal mining in Emalahleni

Please find attached soundbite by James Lorimer MP

An area on the outskirts of Emalahleni has joined the growing list of areas seemingly beyond the effective control of government.

An area near Duvha Park is riddled with pits dug by illegal coal miners, scattered with abandoned or deserted mining machines, and blanketed by the smoke and fumes of burning coal fires that are running out of control. Despite this having been a problem for months, SAPS have failed to take effective action, the local municipality has ignored it, the owner of the mining right has blocked action and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has taken no discernable action.

Meanwhile, mining continues within the exclusion zone around powerlines and a major road. Smoke and carbon monoxide from perpetual fires continues to cause headaches and other health problems for residents in nearby areas.

When I visited the site on Sunday, there was nothing preventing any member of the public from accessing the site. Despite the presence of ongoing mining, including the setting up of new drill holes for blasting and a number of deserted, multi-million Rand machines, there was no official presence on the part of the municipality, the mine, the SAPS or the DMRE.

The only possible explanations are either paralytic incapacity or wide scale payoffs to get all the authorities to look the other way. The DA believes it is the latter.

Given what appears to be pervasive corruption at all levels of administration, we believe this needs to be subject to an all-encompassing investigation of the kind handled by the Special Investigations Unit.

We therefore call on President Cyril Ramaphosa to proclaim an investigation by the SIU into illegal coal mining in the Emalahleni Municipality. This investigation should include probes of the SAPS, the DMRE and the municipality. The role of mining license holder Thungela Coal should also be questioned as it has apparently blocked action by local residents to put out the raging fires.

The DA thus calls on President Ramaphosa to speedily issue a proclamation for an investigation by the SIU of the entire illegal mining eco-system in Emalahleni Municipality.

The non-performance of the local DMRE office, which is located 9 km from the site, is disturbing in the extreme. It is something I will raise in the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy.

DA Budget Vote Speeches: Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)

The following speeches will be delivered in Parliament on Tuesday, 17 May.

Cilliers Brink MP – Centralisation of power is not the solution to failing local and provincial government
DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
067 407 9701

Eleanore Spies MP – Community Works Programme is falling apart while COGTA fiddles
DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
076 519 4485

DA Budget Vote Speeches: Justice

The following speeches was delivered in Parliament on Tuesday, 17 May.

Glynnis Breytenbach – A justice department in major disarray will be unable to fulfil its lofty financial year goals

DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Correctional Services

076 306 7850

Werner Horn MP The proper functioning of any country’s justice system is a precondition for investor confidence and economic growth

DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services

083 262 2846

DA to submit comments on controversial BELA Bill and encourages public to do the same

Please find attached English soundbite by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP, and Afrikaans soundbite by Desiree van der Walt MP.

The DA will in the coming days submit our comments on the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill that was opened by Parliament on Sunday.

Not only does the DA have a number of concerns regarding the Bill, but we strongly feel that the call for public participation would disadvantage vernacular speakers as all the vernacular advertisements were only published in regional papers, while the English call for submission were published in a national paper (The Sunday Times).

Furthermore, the advertisements in vernacular papers would not allow the public 30 days to submit comments before the closing date on 15 June 2022. While the call for submissions was already advertised on 15 May 2022 in English and isiZulu papers, it will only be advertised in isiXhosa on 19 May, in Setswana, Xitsonga, Sesotho, isiNdebele, Tshivenda, Sepedi, and siSwati on 20 May, and Afrikaans on 21 May.

The DA believes the BELA Bill will give the Department head unprecedented powers to determine language and admissions policies within in schools while suppressing school governing boards and school communities’ abilities to truly oppose the changes.

The DA has communicated extensively on the following problematic clauses of the BELA Bill which fails to take into account the practical implications of making grade R compulsory; takes the decision of final admission away from school governing boards without allowing for a more nuanced appeals mechanism; removes power over a school’s language policy and places it in the hands of Head of the Department of Basic Education; the clauses regarding home schooling fails to take into account the various concerns of the stakeholders; and the Bill is missing an opportunity to effectively regulate online and blended learning to alleviate the pressure on physical schooling.

The DA has already received more than 11 500 signatures combined on our English and Afrikaans #StopSchoolCapture petitions, and we encourage the public to continue signing the petitions and also submit their concerns in writing to Llewellyn Brown, the secretary of the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education via email: belabill02@parliament.gov.za or online at https://forms.gle/MoC6AdbdQyYPk3Y49 or via WhatsApp: +27 60 550 9848 by no later than 15 June 2022 at 16:00.

DA encourages swift action over Stellenbosch University urination video

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the formal investigation launched by Stellenbosch University management into the incident at a student residence over the weekend, when a first-year student urinated on the property of a fellow first-year student.

The incident, captured on video, is humiliating, hurtful and infringed upon the constitutionally-enshrined right to dignity of the victim, Babalo Ndwayana, who has since come forward publicly.

We urge that the matter be handled with the requisite speed, diligence and seriousness demanded by the situation. We also encourage the university authorities to provide all necessary support to Mr Ndwayana to minimise the impact of this on his studies. He did not ask for this to happen, and he should not suffer adverse consequences.

As a member of Stellenbosch University council, I have already written to the registrar to request that this matter be urgently placed on the agenda for the upcoming council meeting, so that management can account for all remedial steps taken.