Ukraine: Someone needs to speak for SA

I am in Ukraine to see for myself and to speak for my country. Someone must. It is strongly in South Africa’s interest to stand with the free world and come out hard against Russian aggression.

If President Ramaphosa will not do this, and he has made it clear he will not, then it falls to me as the leader of the opposition, and a party which governs for some 20 million South Africans.

Russia’s violent invasion of sovereign Ukraine is the biggest military mobilisation since World War Two. It has caused the biggest displacement of civilians – over 12 million people so far – since World War Two. Possibly, it represents the greatest threat of nuclear warfare since World War Two.

It would be naïve to view this war as a regional threat. Make no mistake, the effects of this war are already reverberating across the globe and as usual, the poor will suffer most.

According to the World Bank, global energy prices are expected to rise by over 40% in 2022, non-energy prices by 20%, wheat prices by over 40%. The longer this war lasts, the more severe and long-lasting will be the impact on global fuel and food prices.

Such is the interconnectedness of the world today that Ukraine’s problems are our problems too. As I write, the price of chips in South African school tuckshops is going up due to the soaring price of cooking oil. The R350 social relief of distress grant is looking more and more like a token gesture and less and less like anything which could actually relieve distress.

In my recent visits to KZN and the Eastern Cape I’ve seen and heard for myself how the flood disaster and rising food prices have taken a profound toll on vulnerable households.

South Africa is heading into a winter of discontent that will see the poor plunged deeper into poverty and millions more pushed below the poverty line. To a very large extent, we have brought this on ourselves, through self-harm decisions, the greatest of which has been to keep the ANC in national government.

Morally, geopolitically, financially, it is inconceivable that South Africa would remain “neutral” on the Ukraine invasion. Yet it is worse than that. Our so-called neutrality is in fact veiled support for Russia. We must ask ourselves why the ANC government would support Russia when it hurts South Africa to do so.

The answer is the same as when we ask why the ANC government would commit R50 million in aid for Cuba and employ hundreds of Cubans at inflated prices and buy unlicensed Cuban Covid drugs when South Africans are jobless, hungry and desperate.

It is the same as when we ask why the ANC government was prepared to bankrupt South Africa in pursuit of a Russian nuclear deal. And why the ANC government was prepared to sell South Africa to the highest bidder. Let’s not for a moment think state capture is a thing of the past.

No, Ramaphosa’s support for Russia is not about an ideological commitment to socialism, nor even about loyalty to historic allies. This is purely and simply about elite enrichment at the expense of the rest. The precise mechanisms have not yet been revealed, but more than likely South Africa’s relationship with Russia and Cuba yields kickbacks to ANC cronies.

Russia’s expansion into Africa has been through “elite capture”, where pliable leaders are ensnared in long-term patronage schemes. Fifteen African nations are currently involved in Russian-financed nuclear power deals, and many more are locked into Russian security contracts.

Also consider that a businessman close to Putin tried to run a disinformation campaign for the ANC in the 2019 election, and that the ANC’s biggest donor last year was a Putin-aligned oligarch.

Ramaphosa does not speak for SA on Ukraine. He speaks for the ANC. By refusing to condemn Russian aggression, President Ramaphosa has once again chosen to put ANC interests ahead of the interests of ordinary South Africans. The golden thread running through his presidency is that of putting party before country.

The DA cannot vote in the United Nations General Assembly. But we do have a voice and a constitutional duty to act in South Africa’s best interest.

Why am I in Ukraine? Because the people of South Africa overwhelmingly stand with the people of Ukraine and are appalled by the violent invasion of Putin’s Russian army. Someone has to speak for South Africa on this, and by being here and seeing for myself, I earn the authority and stage to do so.

DA Freedom Day Debate Speeches

The following speeches will be delivered in Parliament on Tuesday, 03 April.

Siviwe Gwarube MP The true barometer of freedom is how this government tackles the unemployment and poverty crisis

DA Deputy Chief Whip

068 113 0835

Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MPWithout quality education, joblessness and poverty will persist while freedom remains elusive for South Africans

DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology

067 092 8893

Jacques Julius MP – ANC does not care for the freedom of people

DA Member of Parliament

083 420 1309

Dr Leon Schreiber MP – Freedom day is Constitution Day 

DA Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration

078 395 6374

DA welcomes Zondo-recommendation that Alexkor be investigated

Please find attached English soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP and Afrikaans soundbite by Veronica van Dyk MP.

The DA welcomes the recommendation in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture’s report that the Alexkor directors and diamond dealers be investigated. Hopefully an investigation will lead to the arrest and prosecution of those who have enriched themselves unlawfully at the cost of the Richtersveld community.

In March 2018, the DA submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to gain insight on Scarlet Sky Investment 60 Pty Ltd, the marketing agent of Alexkor Richtersveld Mining Company Pooling and Sharing Joint Venture (PSJV) that was appointed by the Alexkor Board. Company secretary, Reagan Phillips’ response to the PAIA made it clear that Alexkor was reluctant to share information.

It was, however, revealed that Alexkor received nine expressions of interest in the tender on 7 November 2014, of which Scarlet Sky was one. Although Scarlet Sky was only formalized almost two weeks later on 20 November 2014 by the two directors, Kuben Moodley and Daniel Nathan, the company was shortlisted for the tender despite scoring lower than other companies. SA Diamond Realisations (PTY) LTD t/a Fusion Alternatives, for instance, scored 75 to Scarlet Sky’s 71.5. After presenting to the tender committee on 11 December 2014, Scarlet Sky was awarded the tender despite not having a licence to deal in rough diamonds, as confirmed by the Diamond and Precious Metal Regulator. So, how they landed the contract is indeed questionable.

Both the Gobodo Report and by the Zondo Commission’s work on Alexkor, seem to indicate that the previous and current Alexkor accounting authorities were, and regrettably remain, in breach of several provisions under the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

It seems that Alexkor has attempted to circumvent the PFMA, in order to avoid being held accountable for the devastation as a consequence of behaviour that is punishable under section 86 of the Act.

There remain serious concerns at Alexkor regarding transparency on key issues such as the diamond sales process, the security problem within the plant, and the environmental destruction caused by the cofferdam mining operations.

The DA applauds the Zondo Commission for the work done on Alexkor, and will continue in our efforts to hold the mining company to account and get justice and restitution for the Richtersveld community.

Payment of R21 million to SAFA NEC members amounts to vote buying?

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling for the immediate reversal of the decision taken by the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) to award R20,8 million to 40 members its National Executive Committee as honorarium.

SAFA is in no financial position to make such an outlandish financial ‘gift’ to a bloated committee that, frankly, did not accomplish much in the past two years due to Covid-19 restrictions.

It is highly suspicious that, on the eve of SAFA elections in June, NEC members are given a financial ‘bonus’ amounting to R520 000 for each member. This can easily be construed as a deliberate interference with the election process designed to keep NEC members ‘onside’.

Instead of working to rationalise the bloated NEC Executive, as recommended by FIFA, SAFA has chosen to retain the status quo and maintain it through questionable ‘honorarium payments’. South African football is beset by systemic challenges which SAFA has failed to address and this makes the financial ‘gifts’ to NEC members highly irregular.

The DA is fully aware that SAFA is protected from government interference by FIFA statutes but this does not mean that they can play fast and loose with taxpayers’ money. Just like all other sporting codes in South Africa, SAFA receives grant funding through the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, as such, it is imperative they exercise probity in the use of public funds.

Not too long ago, it was reported that funding to national teams by SAFA had been reduced by almost 50%. South Africans cannot be blamed if they find it hard to compute how their perennially underperforming national teams are receiving less and less funding while administrators are going home with tens of thousands of rand for no discernible reason.

The prevailing culture of impunity at SAFA cannot be allowed to continue while the performance of our national football teams remain dismal. Accountability should begin with the cancellation of plans to pay R21 million to SAFA’s NEC members.

John Steenhuisen arrives in Ukraine on six-day fact-finding visit

A soundbite from the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen MP is attached here

I have today arrived in the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine from where I will embark on a six-day tour of various parts of Ukraine – mostly around the capital, Kiev – to ascertain for myself the situation in a country that has been under siege from the Russian army for over two months.

Over the course of the next week I will be visiting refugee camps as well as meeting with various mayors, governors, business leaders, students and ordinary Ukrainian citizens to see, first-hand, the effects of the Russian invasion and the ongoing occupation of parts of Ukraine. In the era of fake news and propaganda, this is the only way to truly know what is happening.

My predecessor and stalwart of South African liberalism, Helen Suzman, used to live and work by this motto. She often offered this advice to others: “Go see for yourself. Don’t take what the press tells you, don’t take what other people tell you; go and see for yourself.” That is the purpose of my visit. We owe it to the people of Ukraine to tell the unfiltered truth about what is taking place there so that the world can stand united in bringing this injustice to an end.

It is also important to remember that we live in a super-connected world where disruptions in one part cause major ripples everywhere else.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not a European problem, it is a global problem. The knock-on effect of this war on our own fuel, maize, cooking oil and fertiliser prices will reach deep into the pockets of poor South Africans who can already not make ends meet.

We dare not pretend that this is a war that has nothing to do with us. And we dare not pretend that remaining “neutral” in this situation is admirable. When we have clear and undeniable evidence of injustice, we owe it to the victims to pick a side and speak out.

Over the next six days I will provide updates of my visit to the media as my itinerary and connectivity allow for it.

DA leads the way on the road to economic recovery and job creation

As South Africa celebrates Workers Day today to honor workers across our country, there will be no celebrations for the tens of millions of South Africans that do not have a job. Entire communities move closer to or below the poverty line as jobs are shed and local economies shrink.

But it does not have to be this way.

In DA led Metros and municipalities cross the honest and transparent government coupled with less talk and more action, the green shoots of recovery can be seen.

City of Tshwane

Reduced the city’s deficit from R4.3 billion (created by ANC administrators) to R613 million within 6 months of taking back office. The City is now on its way to having a surplus of R25 million by end of June 2022.

11 725 work opportunities created by the City by February 2022.

A new bus line has been launched connecting residents from Menlyn to the Inner City, opening up easier access to work opportunities.

City of Johannesburg

1800 more JMPD officers deployed to the inner-city to restore law and order in the economic centre.

Over 7000 potholes fixed in just seven weeks.

Two new clinics up and running, with 10 more in the pipeline.

City of Ekurhuleni

City’s credit rating changed from negative to stable since the election of a DA Mayor.

47 Independent Power Producers have been contracted by the City of Ekurhuleni to provide power to the city and help offset loadshedding.

City of Cape Town

Due to years of DA good governance by maintaining the Steenbras dam hydro-electric power station, residents of Cape Town are protected from one level of loadshedding.

Added to this, the DA-led Cape Town have now embarked on a three-year project to completely free residents from loadshedding by signing up with independent power producers.

The fight for Cape Town to take over the city’s rail network has been bolstered after National Treasury has given the go ahead for a feasibility study to take place.

Mossel Bay

As part of an economic development initiative by the municipality, Beehive business premises are rented out to SMMEs at a subsidised rate. There are five types of business Beehives designed to grow small start-ups into sustainable businesses.


The Sebenza Mbokodo Women’s Fund Project was established in 2019 and its focus is to provide access to funding to qualifying Black women owned businesses that operate in the informal trading sector within the Midvaal Local Municipality.

Saldanha Bay

The municipality launched a R3.2 million investment centre in May 2019. The investment centre provides services as town planning, informal trade services, and small, medium, and micro-sized enterprise development.


Stellenbosch municipality successfully launched a Job Seeker’s Database that is open to any skilled or unskilled person of the Greater Stellenbosch Municipal area.

Twenty-three young people who completed their skills development training courses graduated in February. These are all local young people who were previously unemployed.


In February the DA-run uMngeni municipality launched uMngeni Tourism, the official destination marketing and tourism development partner of the uMngeni municipality. This shows that the DA-run municipality is serious about job creation and economic growth and the tourism sector is an important part of its plans and vision.


Grant funding received for development of an enterprise development node in Pacaltsdorp.

Grant funding received for automation of various processes to ensure ease of business. Once these are fully implemented, they will be replicated to other municipalities.

Good, clean governance is vital to attracting businesses and creating jobs. DA-run municipalities consistently top the clean audit rankings. As a result, these same municipalities consistently deliver the best basic services and invest the most in infrastructure maintenance and upgrades.

The DA will continue to drive economic growth and foster economic development wherever we can. As South Africans, we must all work together to ensure that we have more people in work and more reason to celebrate in Workers Day’s still to come.