DA Budget Vote Speeches: Home Affairs

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

Angel Khanyile MP – Some of Home Affairs’ challenges stem from understaffed offices, the department must urgently complete the filling of funded positions
DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
081 719 6102

Adrian Roos MP – Without Home Affairs documents proving their citizenship, South Africans are trapped in poverty
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
082 800 2880

DA to share governance best practice to assist with NMB’s looming Day Zero  

Please find attached soundbite from the Leader of the Democratic Alliance John Steenhuisen MP. 

Pictures from oversight visits in the Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga municipalities are attached here, here, here, here and here

With Day Zero set to hit in less than 22 days, the ANC-led coalition government in Nelson Mandela Bay is floundering and rudderless in its response to this looming crisis, and appears to have no disaster management plan in place. It is critical that the Metro receive as much high-level assistance as possible, and I have reached out to DA-governed municipalities to provide Nelson Mandela Bay with assistance.

DA-led Cape Town and the Western Cape government are now world leaders in drought disaster management, having already averted a Day Zero in 2018. A stable, honest, and transparent government in NMB would be able to implement the best practices of our DA governments who have built up a reputation for sound and efficient water management. Ultimately, managing a drought disaster requires a government with the capacity to implement a comprehensive disaster management plan.

Today I conducted oversight inspections in Nelson Mandela Bay and Humansdorp to assess the Day Zero readiness in these municipalities. It was clear to me that in NMB there is no comprehensive Day Zero strategy, the aggressive communication plan to manage public water demand is completely lacking, water augmentation plans are delayed, and there doesn’t seem to be a disaster management plan in place. This looming disaster needs to now manage two things: reducing demand, augmenting water supply, and putting together a comprehensive water provision plan should dams empty.

When the taps in the Western and Southern areas of the municipality, and more than 100 suburbs run dry, Nelson Mandela Bay will be the first Metro in the world to run out of water.

The only mitigating plan in place is to provide water tanks and tankers and communal taps. Residents will have to stand in queues for up to five hours to collect 50 litres of water from these facilities.

During my visit it was also made very clear that, in stark contrast to the ANC-led coalition in NMB, the DA-governed Kouga Municipality has spent millions of rands on projects to lessen the impact of this disaster and has upgraded the Humansdorp Water Treatment Works to provide additional treated borehole and fountain water to residents.

Kouga has taken several steps to mitigate the disaster of Day Zero. These include:

• More than R200 million spent on drought mitigation and water augmentation.

• 38 viable boreholes connected in total to date.

• R12,5 million recently secured from the Department of Co-Operative Governance (COGTA) to develop and equip four further boreholes in Humansdorp.

• Water tanks installed at Hankey, Pellsrus Hall, Aston Bay Hall, Jeffreys Bay Fire Station and St Francis Bay Fire Station.

• Water-flow restrictors installed at homes of 200 high-water users across the region.

• Total of 60 water tanks to be installed at Jeffreys Bay (20 tanks), Humansdorp (26), St Francis Bay (4) and Gamtoosvallei (10).

• Full disaster plan in place.

It is, however, still imperative that residents reduce water consumption.

The municipality must pull out all the stops to expedite the repair of water leaks and residents must do all they can to reduce water consumption. Only by working together can we avoid this humanitarian crisis.

The DA will do all it can to assist residents during this unprecedented drought, drawing from the best practice that our governments have already shown in drought disaster management. Now is the time to work together to ensure that no resident in Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga run out of water.

Minister Motsoaledi must release immigration permit report without delay

Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Adrian Roos MP

The DA calls on Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, to release the report on the review of immigration permits at Home Affairs without further delay.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs is scheduled to be briefed by the Minister on the report in less than a week on 31 May and members have not yet received the report, which was initially due to serve in Parliament in March.

This report is the product of a Ministerial Committee established to review all permits and visas issued since 2004, including Permanent Residence Permits (PRP), Corporate, Business, Retired, Study visas and Citizenship by naturalisation.

In the light of the dismissal of former Chief Director of Permitting, Ronney Marhule, for ‘gross dishonesty’ and ‘non-compliance’ with the Immigration Act the committee needs sufficient time to assess the findings.

The approval of immigration permits for unauthorised persons presents a significant risk to state security and any criminal offences in terms of the Immigration Act need to be dealt with decisively.

Government’s Digitech ‘app store’ looks like a Grade 8 IT project 

Please find an attached soundbite by Solly Malatsi MP 

The DA will be submitting Parliamentary questions to determine who the developer of the Department of Communications and Digital Technology’s newly-launched Digitech website was, how much it cost, how much the maintenance and upkeep of the website will cost and whether the Department is satisfied with the quality of this website.

DigiTech, described as a platform for digital products/applications developed by SMMEs in South Africa was launched at the Gallagher Convention Centre on 17 May. The Department stated that it will grant ‘unmatched and unparalleled’ opportunities to the country as a whole.

However, the website is of an extremely low quality, and does not fulfil the function of an ‘app store’ at all. In fact, embarrassingly it is merely a collection of embedded promotional Youtube videos, which show only the left half the video!

Furthermore, reports have stated that the registration page to list one’s app asks developers whether they understand the Foreign Trade Exchange act – a law which does not exist. Reports have also indicated that ID numbers provided on the website are insecure, and have been found to be leaked on different government websites. The website therefore appears to be highly unsecure for users.

What also really boggles the mind, is that the hit Netlflix Show “Stranger Things” appears as one of the Apps on the Marketplace page.

There are no links to download the app or any additional information provided about the apps. One must click through to the Youtube version of the app and hope to find a link the website of the developer there.

This falls woefully short of what the Department promised for this website, and indicates a serious lack of skill in its design and construction. The website does not fulfil the function of an app store at all, and instead serves only as a database of locally developed apps (and not a good one at that).

This website once more demonstrates the ANC’s complete incompetence and reckless wastage of taxpayer money.

This project is ominously reminiscent of the Free State website scandal in 2013 when it transpired that the Free State government had spent R40m on its website and where National Treasury eventually called for criminal charges to be laid against those involved in tenders awarded to development company that was awarded the tender for the site.

The DA will do everything in its power to prevent such a scandal from happening again and will therefore obtain all necessary information about the cost of this project.

DA demands that Parliament scrap unnecessary fuel taxes

Please find attached soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP.

I have written to the Speaker of the National Assembly to request a debate of urgent national public importance on the impact of steeply rising fuel prices on the South African cost of living and the steps that must urgently be taken to shield the poor from the worst effects of this.

The price of petrol is expected to rise by between R3.50 and R4 per litre in June, driving up already sky-high prices of food and other essential goods, most of which are solely reliant on road freight due to the complete collapse of our national railway system, and thereby delivering a massive, destabilising blow to a nation already on its knees.

We need to pull out all the stops to avert the worst possible consequences of the perfect storm we are heading into. June’s massive fuel price hike and its knock-on effects will hit the poorest the hardest at a time when they are already battling the deadly consequences of 46% unemployment, load-shedding, irrational Covid-regulations, soaring global inflation driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, flooding in some areas and drought in others, and a state increasingly unable to deliver on even its most basic mandate.

A 5.3% increase in social grants in April this year has already been wiped out by the 9.6% increase in electricity tariffs. South Africans cannot afford to pay for electricity they do not even reliably receive due to the current Stage 4 loadshedding.

Household budgets are being decimated. Any further petrol price hike risks pushing over 30 million South Africans into destitution and hunger. This is a looming humanitarian catastrophe that could spark widespread social instability and a repeat of the July unrest last year.

We need urgent intervention to shield poor consumers from the worst of these potentially deadly consequences. The government must agree immediately to restrict any rise in the cost of petrol and diesel in the short term to protect South African consumers from famine. More basic items need to be immediately zero-rated for VAT, and a broader strategy needs to be developed to stem the rising cost of living which threatens the stability of our nation.

There are so many ways to cover the shortfall in revenue from fuel price and VAT relief for the poor. The very best would be for government to implement long-overdue reforms on multiple fronts and to tackle corruption head on. Any and all of these would immediately build investor confidence in South Africa’s future and fortify our fiscal position.

The ANC government has for too long taxed the poor to cover for its inefficiency and corruption. The time for this abuse of power to end is now.

22 million reasons to fire Mthethwa

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Veronica van Dyk MP.

To paraphrase the Sunday Times, the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, fought harder for his R22 million flag project than he ever did for anyone employed in the arts and culture industries.

The DA will write to the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on sports, arts and culture, Beauty Dlualane, to request that Minister Mthethwa urgently accounts for this fallacy, as well as his contemptuous attempt to rename the Afrikaanse Taalmuseum en -monument. He needs to account for his Department’s focus which seems to prioritise vanity projects over the well-being of those who earn a living from the arts and culture sector.

Minister Mthethwa has caused chaos in every ministry he has helmed and the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) is no exception.

Under his watch, there are numerous instances of the deterioration of museums and heritage sights – including Freedom Park that was touted as the site of his now infamous R22 million flag. Surely, it is long past time that President Cyril Ramaphosa fired Minister Mthethwa.

The DA has repeatedly raised issues regarding the leadership of several culture, arts and heritage institutions, including serious concerns at the National Arts Council (NAC), the National Heritage Council (NHC), the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS), and the Bloemfontein Museum.

The Minister has failed to take action after repeated oversight visits and parliamentary questions revealed the decline of sites like the Robben Island Museum, the Liliesleaf historic site, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, and Freedom Park. Instead he has undertaken and approved costly renaming projects which only addressed surface transformation, but failed to truly transform relations on the ground or address economic emancipation.

Transformation as employed by Minister Mthethwa is nothing but a beautiful gravestone that fails to positively impact the arts and culture community, many of whose livelihoods are dependent on his Department.

The renaming of the Afrikaanse Taalmonument is another example of money being wasted on the Minister’s personal agenda. He has once again blundered into a situation without doing due diligence on the positive impact the Taalmonument already has on many minority language groups – not just Afrikaans speakers – and discounting all speakers of the language.

The DA will fight this name change tooth and nail, as we will continue to fight for the proper care of all heritage sites in South Africa. Join the DA’s protest on Saturday, 28 May 2022 at 08:00, at the Afrikaanse Taalmonument in Paarl and sign our petition objecting to its name change here: petitions.da.org.za/p/taalmonument.

DA commends Joburg Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse for seeking solutions to the energy crisis through the Energy Indaba

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng would like to commend the City of Johannesburg under the leadership of Dr Mpho Phalatse for seeking alternative solutions to the energy crisis and for the city to become less reliant on Eskom.

The city is holding a two day Energy Indaba engaging with businesses to partner up and find solutions to load shedding by reducing the City of Johannesburg’s reliance on Eskom and Kelvin Power stations.

For the past 15 years, Eskom has failed to provide a stable supply of electricity to South Africans. People have been subjected to endless rolling blackouts which have a negative impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

Mayor Phalatse is committed to delivering on her manifesto promises and priorities, which is to create a safe and business-friendly city.

Creating a safe city for residents means adopting less harmful energy sources.

Creating a business-friendly city requires that the city has and provides a reliable electricity supply so businesses do not suffer as a result of load shedding.

The city of Johannesburg intends to adopt green energy technologies to supply its electricity. Alternative methods of energy supply that the city wants to implement are the use of solar technologies, battery storage technologies, waste to energy and gas.

The Energy Indaba is the first step in the right direction,  we look forward to seeing further developments on this where the people of Johannesburg no longer have to be subjected to endless rolling blackouts.

The DA welcomes the investigation into the 5812 public servants who fraudulently benefitted from the SRD grant

The DA welcomes the investigation into the 5 812 public servants who fraudulently applied for and benefitted from the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant for the month of May 2020 at a cost of R5.8 million to the State.

According to a written reply to a DA Parliamentary question by the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, a multi-stakeholder forum comprised of her Department, the South African Police Service (SAPS), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Financial Intelligence Centre and the Discipline Management Unit of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) is working under the auspices of the Fusion Centre to investigate the 5 812 cases involving public servants who fraudulently applied for and benefitted from the SRD grant.

The DA first exposed the issue in March 2021 and immediately called for the implicated public servants to be investigated and if necessary, also subjected to disciplinary and criminal processes.

It is not clear if government would have picked up on the issue had the DA not first exposed it and kept putting pressure on the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the DPSA to ensure that the implicated public servants are investigated, subjected to disciplinary processes and also face the full might of the law.

In her written reply, Minister Zulu also states that on or before 31 September 2022, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) intends to ensure that two processes take place. The first is that SASSA will hand over the necessary files to the DPSA to ensure disciplinary hearing coordination and the second will see SASSA open criminal cases against the implicated public servants within the various provinces.

We owe it to the public to ensure that come the 31 September 2022, SASSA has in fact followed through on these two processes. It is on this basis that the DA will submit further follow-up questions to Minister Zulu.

The DA will not rest until the implicated public servants pay back the money that they stole from the State and are totally rooted out of the public service system.

DA calls for an extension of the fuel levy tax relief

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

The DA is calling for an extension of the fuel tax cut enacted by the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, beyond the end of the end of May deadline.

The admission by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, that the general fuel levy cut won’t be extended beyond the end of May, is an unacceptable dereliction of duty and a failure to enact a sustainable rationalisation of the composition of the fuel price.

Together with Godongwana, they had two months within which to consult on whether to extend the cut in the fuel levy or provide a more permanent solution through a review of the composition of the fuel price.

That they failed to do either of the two, demonstrates the government’s lack of urgency in cushioning South Africans from the growing challenges of an economy in free fall.

In the two months that Mantashe and Godongwana sat on their hands and did nothing, the DA initiated a process to introduce a Private Members Bill (PMB) that would codify, through legislation, the deregulation of the fuel price to encourage competition between wholesalers and retailers. The PMB will seek to protect the consumer from exorbitant price increases by decoupling the basic fuel price from government taxes and levies and additional margins used by wholesalers and retailers.

If projections by players in the fuel industry hold, motorists should expect an increase in fuel price by R3.50 in the first week of June. This would lead to an upward pressure on inflation, hitting consumers directly through rising transport and food costs. And these prices do not ebb and flow like the fuel price. South Africans are already struggling to make ends meet and unemployment is soaring.

As soon as the fuel tax levy cut is extended, Godongwana should immediately engage with Mantashe to find a permanent solution to South Africa’s fuel pricing system which exacts an unnecessary financial burden on consumers. Failure to do so will worsen the country’s already dire economic outlook, increase the rate of unemployment and entrench hunger among poor communities.