Post Office once again showing that it is not worth another Bailout

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dianne Kohler-Barnard MP.

The latest corruption scandal to hit the South African Post Office sounds like a bad joke. It involves a policeman, a teacher and two Post Office workers… These are three professions South Africans should be able to trust implicitly. Instead, the suspects have been arrested for grand-scale fraud at the Post Office.

Reports reveal that two post office workers and their partners allegedly stole R10.2 million from SASSA grants, which are supposed to be paid out to our poorest citizens. In 2020 and 2021 they apparently systematically paid SASSA grants out to ghost accounts they had created.

The Hawks have arrested all four of the suspects in the Eastern Cape, having caught them red-handed siphoning off the money.

It is hardly surprising then, that the Post Office was dumped as a distribution agent for the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants from May this year. Another Failure by Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.

The SASSA grants are distributed via cards and one would imagine that the system was safe. However, the cards today have extremely weak security protection, as the biometrics were scrapped by a government terrified by the threat of a Post Office worker strike. This is despite the fact that the biometrics had by then saved the country R2-billion, by rooting out 1 million fraudulent beneficiaries.

Today they are an easy target for mass thievery.

The DA stands firm in its belief that the Post Office, one of the many bottomless-pit state-owned entities battling operational issues, is beyond repair, and should be liquidated. The funds raised must be used to pay the Post office employees’ medical aid, UIF and pension contributions which the management has carefully and criminally failed to pay over for a number of years.

Land invasions threaten the very fabric of our Cities

Note to editors: Please find pictures here and here.

Friday, 30 September 2022, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Shadow Minister of Human Settlements, Emma Powell, together with the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Members (MMC’s) for Safety and Security, Jean-Pierre Smith, and Human Settlements, Malusi Booi conducted an oversight visit to District Six to observed the scale of the most recent land invasion at this historic site.

The issue of orchestrated and illegal land grabs has become a crisis across South Africa, placing immense financial burdens on all major Metropolitan Municipalities and thousands of private land and property owners.

While land invasions have been a problem for many years, the start of the Covid-19 lockdown vastly accelerated the crisis, with an estimated R2.5 billion worth of property subsequently lost to invasions in Cape Town alone.

In the last two years, the City of Cape Town has responded to more than 14 500 land invasions, and cleared almost 180 000 pegs and structures. In the violent protests that have followed these operations, 80 officers have been injured, and more than 94 vehicles destroyed.

To illustrate the scale of the crisis, the Western Cape Department of Infrastructure spent in excess of R162.2 million last year on security preventing land invasions. In Cape Town, R142.8 million was spent on security costs.

For the 2020/21 financial year, the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements spent more than R 355,8 million to prevent illegal land invasions and the illegal occupation of completed units.

One month into the current financial year (2022/23), the department has already spent R12 306 350.00

Whilst the City of Cape Town’s Human Settlements Department spent more than 97% of its budget during the 2021/22 financial year, the rapid delivery of housing has become severely hampered by the scale of illegal invasions.

The City now has more than 800 Informal Settlements, many still requiring basic services that must be provisioned from grants administered by the national Department of Human Settlements.

Despite more than 350 000 residents waiting on the City of Cape Town’s database, more than 20 000 beneficiaries have been deprived of their rightful housing opportunity as a result of land invasions.

In the absence of any action being taken by the ANC to address the crisis of illegal land grabs, the DA has now submitted to Parliament a Private Members Amendment Bill to the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998.

Unless the legislation that currently protects illegal land occupiers is challenged, the situation will continue to worsen.

The intention of the Amendment Bill is as follows:

– Create punitive measures for those who incite or promote orchestrated and unlawful invasions;

– Provide explicit criteria that must be satisfied during court proceedings prior to a municipality being ordered to provide alternative accommodation to illegal occupiers;

-Allow the courts to determine and limit the length of time alternative accommodation would need to be provided for an unlawful occupier;

– Compel the courts to explore the reasons for the invasion, as well as the maintenance obligations of the occupier’s family when considering judgement;

– Provide an explicit definition of what determines a ‘home’.

The DA has always been at the forefront of protecting property owner’s rights, whilst ensuring that the poorest and most vulnerable in our society are cared for by the State within its available resources.

We ask that members of the public express their support for the bill by telephoning their local radio stations, phoning their local MP’s, sharing information about the bill on social media, and submitting your comments to us at legislation@da.org.za.

Copies of the draft bill can be found on our website.

Load shedding exemption must be expanded to include all hospitals

While the DA welcomes the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla’s announcement that several hospitals will be exempt from load shedding, we call on him to continue engaging with Eskom to ensure that each and every hospital in South Africa will be exempt.

The Department of Health must also ensure that all public health facilities are capacitated with working generators and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) equipment to ensure that all communities have uninterrupted access to health care.

We further call on the Minister to engage with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to amend section 8.6.15 of NRS 048-9:2019 (Part 9: Code of Practice – Load Reduction Practices, System Restoration Practices and Critical Load and Essential Load Requirements under Power System Emergencies) so that hospitals and medical centres are excluded from all future instances of load shedding.

Due to the ANC government’s massive systemic failure to maintain and upgrade the country’s power generating facilities to an acceptable degree, South Africa is facing years of rolling blackouts. Just this week, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter’s musing on the possibility of stage 15 load shedding sent the country into a tailspin.

Continued power supply for hospitals should not be at the behest of a power utility – it must be protected in legislation and regulations.

DASO elects leadership

The DA Students Organisation (DASO) today hosted its first Federal Congress as branches from campuses across the country met virtually.

Liam Jacobs was elected as the DASO Federal Leader.

The following people were elected uncontested:

DASO Deputy Federal Chairperson: Media and Publicity

Boitshoko Gilbert Monnanyana

DASO Deputy Federal Chairperson Administration

Mthokozisi Mandla Sibanyoni

DASO Federal Chairperson

Lenard Malesa

We would like to congratulate all the candidates and students that took part in the first ever DASO Federal Congress. We wish the newly-elected leaders the very best.

Speeches delivered at the DASO Congress

Please find attached the speeches that were delivered at the first Federal Congress of the Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) that was held today.

John Steenhuisen MP- A strong, stable DASO will be critical to the DA’s chances in 2024

Leader of the Democratic Alliance

Ryan Smith

Chief of Staff: DA Leader’s Office
072 385 1918

Yusuf Cassim, MPL- DASO has come a long way

DASO Federal Leader

083 788 5088

Geordin Hill-LewisDASO’s mission is more crucial now than it ever has been”

Mayor of Cape Town

021 400-1300