Slash fuel prices to prevent hunger and riots

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Kevin Mileham MP, as well as an isiXhosa soundbite by Siviwe Gwarube MP.

The DA is leading the charge to slash fuel prices. The price of petrol is set to go up by almost R4 per litre next week, to around R25 per litre.

This will drive food prices up still further and deal a devastating blow to millions of poor households already struggling to put food on the table.

If we do not stop this fuel price increase, millions more people will fall into poverty, children will be stunted, people will starve, businesses will go bankrupt, jobs will be lost and mass riots could be sparked, such as in Sri Lanka last month in response to fuel price hikes there.

The timing of this massive petrol price hike could not be worse, with South Africans battling under the weight of 46% unemployment, rolling blackouts, irrational Covid regulations, flooding, drought and collapsing service delivery.

Add to that the impending impact of global inflation, supply chain disruptions, and export blocks brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and it is clear we are racing headlong into a perfect storm.

It is inconceivable that the government would hit South Africans with a massive fuel price hike at a time like this. Kicking a nation on its knees.

South Africans simply cannot afford to pay R25 per litre for fuel. And they shouldn’t have to.

The fuel price is one of the last remaining regulated and centrally controlled consumer prices. Fuel is grossly over-taxed, with 33% of the cost per litre going to government coffers. It is literally being used as a cash cow for treasury. This must end.

Petrol in Swaziland, Mozambique, Botswana, Tanzania, Namibia and Kenya is on average about R5 cheaper per litre, because their governments don’t tax it as much. The South African government can do something to lower the fuel price in South Africa, it just chooses not to.

It’s time for the nation to unite and say: enough is enough. We need to stand together and make it clear that we will not accept exorbitant petrol prices that are artificially inflated by our uncaring government.

The DA is pursuing every available avenue to prevent the upcoming rise in fuel prices and to slash fuel prices going forward. We will fight this fight on behalf of every South African battling to make ends meet, because we care about their plight.

I am pleased to announce that the Speaker of the National Assembly has acceded to the DA’s request for an urgent debate on Fuel Price Hikes. We urgently need to have a national discussion about petrol prices and the measures we can take to reduce them.

The DA proposes the following interventions:

1. Scrap the General Fuel Levy

The General Fuel Levy of R3.93 per litre is little more than a corruption tax. Road users are effectively reimbursing the National Treasury for taxpayer funds lost to corruption and wasteful expenditure. By cutting wasteful expenditure on luxuries like catering and entertainment, VIP protection and vehicles, and by uprooting state capture corruption that has cost South Africa at least R1.5 trillion so far, the General Fuel Levy of R3.93 per litre can be scrapped entirely.

2. Give exemptions to the RAF Levy:

Through a SARS tax rebate, government should exempt those who already pay for comprehensive third party insurance from the RAF levy. This includes bus, taxi and transport companies, and private commuters. This would free up the RAF from claims for those drivers and save those drivers another R2.18 per litre, who would get this back as a tax rebate from SARS.

3. De-regulate the Fuel Price:

The cost of fuel can be further reduced by deregulating the fuel sector to spur competition between sellers, as per the DA’s pending Private Member’s Bill.

The forces of market competition among fuel sellers, in a market for 11 Billion litres of fuel a year, would naturally drive down prices as they compete for business. Like any other consumer good, it is only reasonable that the same market competition determines the final price at the pump.

To this end, the DA has a Private Members Bill going before Parliament soon to de-regulate the Fuel Price. We call on all Parties to support this.

Call to action

We call on the ANC government to implement these proposals in order to achieve the reduction in fuel prices necessary to avert mass hunger and suffering.

We call on South Africans to unite behind our call for lower fuel prices.

Please co-sign the national letter to the government (ministers of finance and energy) to prevent the fuel price increase in June. Join our campaign to slash fuel prices now.

Ekurhuleni passes R51.2 billion 2022/2023 financial budget

The DA is excited to announce that the City of Ekurhuleni has passed its R51.2 billion 2022/2023 financial budget.

The MMC for Finance, Cllr Fana Nkosi, presented the Back To Basics budget speech during an ordinary Council meeting and laid out the city’s plans to get the basics of service delivery right and ensure growth for the city.

The budget was drafted after months of broad consultation with our coalition partners, meetings with different stakeholders and public consultations.

The R51.2 billion Budget will prioritise getting the basics right in terms of delivering quality service delivery. Here are some of the budget priorities:

  • R4.5 billion has been allocated to social relief efforts for registered and indigent households. Social relief packages include; free refuse removal, 50kwh of free monthly electricity, free indigent burials and free emergency services.
  • R922 million has been allocated for the provision of electrical repairs including substations, transformers and meter boxes and street lights.
  • R782 million has been allocated to the Water and Sanitation Department to reduce water outages, mitigate the development of sinkholes, installation of smart water meters in indigent households and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure.
  • Around R600 million has been allocated for refuse removal and R90 million towards grass cutting to keep the city clean.
  • R370 million has been allocated for repairs and maintenance of roads; including the patching of potholes. An additional R283m has been allocated for asset renewal.
  • Transport Planning and Provision will receive a capital budget of R303 million, and repairs and fleet maintenance will receive R170 million.
  • To improve our emergency service and protect residents from losing their properties and lives through fire: R20 million has been allocated for the completion of Katlehong Fire Station, R5 million has been allocated for the completion of the Isando/Elandsfontein fire station and R5 million has been allocated for upgrades to the Etwatwa Fire station.
  • Human Settlements Department will receive R582 million, of which: R25 million has been allocated to the Leeupoort mega project, R9.7 million is budgeted for the completion of 259 serviced stands and R15.3 million is budgeted for the completion of 144 social housing units.
  • The Department of Health has received R190 million grant funding from the Gauteng Provincial Government that will be used to improve primary health care services and embolden the city’s AIDS unit.
  • R21 million in grants will be spent on the city’s libraries to benefit the youth.

This budget is the first step towards correcting years of mismanagement, and we know that success will not be achieved overnight, but the DA and its coalition partners are determined to deliver quality services for the people of Ekurhuleni.

The DA congratulates Ekurhuleni under the leadership of Alderman Tania Campbell, MMC Nkosi and the entire Mayoral committee for this remarkable achievement.

DA Africa Day Speeches

The following speeches were delivered in Parliament on Wednesday, 25 May.

Bridget Masango MP – Africa needs resilience to stand against food insecurity and corruption
DA Shadow Minister of Social Development
082 761 2480

Noko Masipa MP – DA calls for AU to debate the escalating farm input costs caused by the war in Ukraine
DA Member on the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
082 339 1626

Annerie Weber MP – Climate change intervention vital to addressing food security
DA Member of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee for Environment, Fisheries and Forestry
079 893 6823

Dennis Ryder MP – Only the DA can help South Africa take back its rightful place as the economic powerhouse of Africa
DA Member of the NCOP
072 642 8344

Mlindi Nhanha MP – Africa needs leaders who are on the right side of history
DA Member of the NCOP
067 971 9128

DA requests health committee to invite Dr De Maayer to share his concerns with Parliament

Please find an attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

The DA has written to the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on health, Dr Kenneth Leonard Jacobs, to request that Dr Tim De Maayer be invited to share his experiences regarding the serious problems plaguing the health care sector.

On Monday, Dr De Maayer wrote an open letter to the Health Department decrying the continuous decline of the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in Johannesburg. He wrote of the horrendous conditions under which health care workers strive provide proper care for their patients, and the many ways in which the system continuous to fail young patients.

Dr De Maayer’s letter highlights how money is wasted on negligence lawsuit compensations, while it should be used to address the problems and prevent lawsuits in the first place.

According to Dr De Maayer, there have been repeated attempts to raise the concerns with management, “including two reports on the critical state of the neonatal wards and obstetric services in 2016 and 2021, and a more recent letter on 11 April 2022 detailing the disastrous state of the hospital.”

Without avail. That is why the DA is also requesting that the Gauteng Department of Health appear before the committee regarding the serious decline in their health care facilities and on their proposed solutions to ensure there are no further problems in the future.

The DA applauds Dr De Maayer’s bravery in coming forward. In a country where whistle blowers often get the short end of the stick, he has spoken truth to power.

The Gauteng Health Department, and indeed the national Department of Health, need to implement urgent and extensive interventions to all public health care facilities. South Africans all across the country are suffering greatly because money is wasted, looted, wrongfully expended and wrongly prioritized.

In fact, the current public health care system is proof that the ANC government is unable to implement and successfully run universal health care. Should the NHI Bill be implemented, the few functioning health care facilities in the country will no doubt follow in the footsteps of the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.

Stand against fuel hikes: DA urges public to co-sign objection letter

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

The DA is working on every available avenue to stop fuel price hikes, and slash the taxes on fuel. As our latest action, the DA encourages the people of South Africa to join us in this effort, and co-sign a letter to the ANC Government, against their upcoming fuel price hikes.

The letter is directed to both the Ministers of Finance and Energy.

With the fuel price set to increase with between R3.50 and R4 per litre in June, the price will soar to the highest it’s ever been, breaking the backs of all South Africans. The DA implores Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to scrap the 33% tax levy on fuel in order to keep the price within reason.

The exorbitant 33% tax on fuel rests squarely in the hands of the ANC government.

South Africans simply cannot afford the fuel price increase. Our economy is still in tatters and there seems little hope and indication that government is trying to right the ship.

The unemployment lines keep growing, while households become poorer with each passing day.

Rising fuel prices mean that all other costs of living will dramatically increase as well – food, transport and other necessities.

The DA is working all out to lighten the load on consumers and ensure that South Africans can make ends meet as the petrol price hike looms:

  • Introduce urgent legislation to immediately deregulate and reduce the fuel price, which will bring immediate relief for all commuters as retailers compete to offer lower prices.
  • Work to reform or replace the bankrupt and mismanaged Road Accident Fund’s levy with a workable system that does not add to the fuel price.
  • Call for an urgent debate of national importance in Parliament to end as much of the ANC government’s fuel taxes as possible, and to implement the DA’s caring proposals.
  • Introduce a comprehensive rescue plan for South Africa to reduce the cost of living on all fronts.

The DA urges every South African who has felt the pinch of recent increases and cannot afford to pay anymore to please co-sign our letter.

DA disappointed at IEC’s court appeal in precedent setting case

The DA notes that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has filed an application for leave to appeal against the Electoral Court’s order against the IEC over its conduct in the ward 13, by-election in Umdoni Local Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal. (see here)

The DA was forced to approach the Electoral Court after our belief that the IEC had failed to suitably verify 235 suspicious voters that we believed had fraudulently registered to vote in the marginal by-election, where the DA has a 37-vote majority.

The court found in the DA’s favour and compelled the IEC to go door-to-door, if needed, to ascertain if these voters did in fact reside in the ward. To date, the IEC has failed to comply with the order of the court and has now decided to waste more money in the hope that the Supreme Court of Appeal will find in their favour. (see here)

That the IEC has continued to persist with this application should be deeply worrying for South Africans, as it is an indication that the IEC does not believe it has to verify the authenticity of voters, and if they are correctly registered.

What deeply worries the IEC is that this case may lead to confirmation by the Constitutional Court and an amendment to the Electoral Act, which will require that all voters are correctly registered to vote by means of some form of proof that they live in the ward.

The DA will oppose their application for leave to appeal in order to protect South Africans’ constitutional rights to free and elections.

In the end, it is the residents of ward 13 in Umdoni municipality that have been without a councillor for 5 months due to the IEC’s opposition to doing their job.

DA Budget Vote Speeches: Public Works and Infrastructure

The following speeches were delivered in Parliament on Tuesday, 24 May.

Samantha Graham-Maré MP – Forward-thinking needed in the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to unlock the potential of the construction industry
DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
083 409 9196

Madeleine Hicklin MP – Failure of the Council for the Built Environment is symptomatic of leadership failure at the DPWI
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
082 744 5155