NHI will aggravate exodus of medical professionals

Given the ANC government’s horrendous mismanagement of the fiscus and their general disregard for truly addressing the needs of South Africans, the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) is a recipe for disaster. It will accelerate the health care professional exodus and exacerbate the decline of the public health care system.

The DA has continually highlighted the plight of medical professionals in South Africa and the overwhelming odds they face daily. Doctors and nurses lack support from the Department of Health (DoH) and the exodus of medical personnel from the country comes as no surprise.

Various parliamentary questions from the DA revealed staggering shortages in the public health care system – a problem that compounds every year without necessary intervention from the DoH to address staffing shortages, training, registration, infrastructure maintenance and medicine and equipment shortages.

The ANC government has promised quality health care for 28 years, yet the patients, doctors and nurses continues to suffer due to crumbling infrastructure and incompetence. The NHI is just another opportunity for mismanagement at best and looting at worst. The DA will continue to fight this Bill tooth and claw.

DA scores victory for accountability: President Ramaphosa to answer Phala Phala questions in Parliament

Please find attached a soundbite by Siviwe Gwarube MP.

Following the appalling chairing by the National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa- Nqakula, during the President’s question session in Parliament on Tuesday, the DA and other opposition parties have scored a victory for accountability in Parliament.

The Speaker improperly adjourned a meeting of the National Assembly in the middle of a session that was set aside for President Cyril Ramaphosa to answer questions from various political parties.

In doing so, the Speaker acted outside of the rules of Parliament in a move that can only be seen as an attempt to shield the executive from accountability. It is no surprise considering that the question that was not responded to by the President was in relation to the alleged abuse of state entities on his Phala Phala farm.

This morning, during the Programming Committee, the DA argued that the Speaker operated outside the rules of Parliament when she arbitrarily ended the meeting and therefore the specific question should be brought back to the House for the President to deal with it. Despite the best attempts by the ANC, the opposition parties managed to get this matter brought back from scheduling again.

Parliament will now reschedule a separate session for the President to be effectively held accountable and for this specific question to be posed once again.

The rules of Parliament are the guide for us all in performing our responsibilities as public representatives. They cannot be abused and suspended at will. The DA has, in the past, used the rules and in some instances the courts, to ensure that we defend the integrity of the institution. We will continue to do so.

No, Eskom can’t just cut the supply of electricity to Tshwane

Please find attached an Englsih and an Afrikaans soundbite by Cilliers Brink MP.

Eskom is not permitted to cut the supply of electricity to any municipality without exhausting intergovernmental processes.

This is a lesson Eskom has already leant in court.

And so, the power utility’s continuous threats against the City of Tshwane are not only irresponsible, they are unconstitutional.

The truth is that before Eskom officials in Gauteng even touch the off switch, they have to consider Tshwane’s position.

This includes the extent to which Tshwane’s cash flow situation has been worsened by other organs of state.

Some of Tshwane’s worst paying consumers are national and provincial government departments.

Tshwane’s cashflow problems can also be traced back to the disastrous period of unlawful provincial government intervention in 2020.

The city has repeatedly committed to catching up on its arrear payments to Eskom.

It has also submitted a payment plan to Eskom which was initially well reserved by Eskom’s CEO, André de Ruyter.

Tshwane’s conduct is far more reasonable and helpful than most of Eskom’s debtors.

And yet the power utility has reserved its worst public attacks and threats for Tshwane.

It would seem that Eskom is playing a political game with Tshwane, a city whose residents have repeatedly rejected the ANC.

The DA will be asking detailed questions from the Minister of Public Enterprises about how Eskom’s treatment of Tshwane squares with its approach to other municipalities.

Creecy’s lion breeding task team must be inclusive if it is to succeed

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy has recently put out a call for interested and affected parties to join a task team to develop exit strategies for those involved in lion breeding in South Africa.

The connections between some lion breeding facilities and the international trade in lion bone has been exposed by investigative journalists in a number of critically acclaimed documentaries and reports.

It is now common cause that some of these lion farms are being used primarily as breeding facilities to support the trade in lion bone, used primarily as an alternative to tiger bone medicine in China and elsewhere.

Many of the lions being bred at these farms develop genetic and developmental challenges and are either permanently disabled or are unable to reintegrate into the wild.

The DA wholeheartedly supports efforts to end the trade in lion bone, which not only has a negative impact on the animals concerned, but also on our moral standing on the international stage.

The high level panel report on the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion leopard and rhinoceros, published last year has emphasized the need to eradicate the trade in lion bone, but up until now there has been no direct guidance as to how to achieve this.

It is therefore essential that the ministerial task team comprise of a wide range of stakeholders, including veterinarians, advocacy groups and those currently involved in the lion breeding industry.

Stakeholders within the lion breeding sector are currently hamstrung by an absence of guidance from government and the task team will only achieve tangible and sensible results if is includes a wide range of expertise and experience. The recommendations of this task team will have indelible impacts on the future of lions in South Africa and it is vital that it succeeds.

By-election win confirms that voters back the DA

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Cilliers Brink MP

Yesterday the DA retained Ward 21 in the Northern Cape Sol Plaatje municipality with an increased majority in an important by election. It was very clear that voters chose to unite behind the DA once again.

The DA clinched the ward, having increased our percentage of the vote from 51,14% in the 2021 Local Government Elections to 58,87% in yesterdays’ poll. The DA will ramp up our efforts as the opposition, to tackle poor service delivery by the ANC in Ward 21.

Simoné Greeff, takes up the position of Ward 21 councillor.

This result shows that voter confidence in the ability of the DA to get things done continues to increase in towns and cities across the country. It is the DA’ track record of honest, transparent and people centred governance that s is that South Africans want where-ever they reside.

The DA is the only party with the support of a broad cross-section of South Africans, and a track record of getting things done in government.

This crucial victory not only consolidates the DA’s position in the Sol Plaatje municipality but gives a boost to our momentum in the 2024 general election.

Mantashe’s Eskom 2.0 fantasy will leave South Africa with an expensive fiscal hangover

Please find attached an English and an Afrikaans soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP.

Reports that the Minister of Energy, Gwede Mantashe, is forging ahead with plans to set up another power generation company to rival Eskom, through repurposing old Eskom coal plants into gas power stations and building new nuclear plants, is ill-advised and will likely worsen the country’s debt burden.

South Africa does not have access to cheap gas resources to be able to power gas stations at a commercially viable scale. Using the current import prices of gas from Mozambique, retail prices per kilowatt hour of electricity generated from these gas power stations will like be unaffordable for most South Africans.

Worse still, in a move that betrays Mantashe’s lack of appreciation of the need to find short term solutions to address the current loadshedding crisis, Mantashe is now punting the possibility of building a modular nuclear plant at Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape. Nuclear power plants take years to build and South Africa does not have the money or the luxury of waiting that long for new generation capacity.

The DA has always made it clear that renewable energy from Independent Power Producers is the only viable option viable to increase potential for new generation capacity in the shortest possible time. The viability of renewable energy has been confirmed in successive bid windows, where the unit generation costs have continued to fall substantially.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, as the head of the executive, is duty bound to stop this madness by Mantashe before it locks South Africa into expensive financial commitments that have no benefit to our energy security.

Mantashe has arrogantly veered off the Energy Response Plan announced by Ramaphosa to address loadshedding and is now set on sabotaging it before it has even begun. The idea of an Eskom 2.0 is an exercise in futility and should be scrapped before it bankrupts the country.