SAPS penetrated by gangsters: Devolve policing in the Western Cape now

Please find attached a soundbite by Andrew Whitfield MP.

Following the shocking judgment by Judge Daniel Thulare, revealing the links between gangsters and the police in the Western Cape, the DA reinforces its call for the devolution of police powers in the province.

The disturbing evidence of 28s gang members infiltrating SAPS management in the province points to the police service in the Western Cape being wholly incapable of managing its own functions under the control of national government.

Gang members being able to infiltrate the management level of the police kills off any chance of the police effectively fighting the war on gangsterims in this province that is ravaging communities.

The DA fully supports the request by the Western Cape Premier Alan Winde to the police ombudsman to invetigate these alleged links. The DA agrees that if there is enough evidence, a Commission of Inquiry needs to be established to probe the serious allegations.

I have written to the Executive Director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to request that she initiates an urgent investigation into this serious matter.

Communities across the Western Cape are under constant attack from gangsters and in many of these areas a state of lawlessnes has taken over the streets. Whereas before the DA has maintained that the biggest reason for ongoing gang violence is the under-resourcing and under-capacitating of SAPS, it now seems that SAPS may be playing an active role in destabilising communities through gang violence.

The DA will do everything in its power to assist and support the Western Cape government in its effort to eradicate this evil.

DA and IFP hold breakthrough bilateral meeting in KZN

Please find pictures here, here and here.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) held an important bilateral meeting in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday, 27 October 2022 to discuss issues of mutual interest between the two parties in the province.

The meeting was attended by DA Leader John Steenhuisen, IFP President, Velenkosini Hlabisa, DA Federal Council Chairperson Helen Zille, IFP National Chairperson Blessed Gwala, DA KZN Provincial Leader, Francois Rodgers, IFP Treasurer General Narend Singh, DA KZN Chairperson Dean Macpherson and IFP KZN Provincial Chairperson Thami Ntuli.

The IFP and DA agreed to work with each other and other like minded parties to consolidate and lay a strong foundation for coalition governments at local, provincial and national government levels from now on until 2024 and beyond.

DA to pose questions on amalgamation of Brand South Africa and South African Tourism

Please find attached a soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP.

The DA will be asking questions about the almalgamation of Brand South Africa into South African Tourism (SAT) in the Tourism portfolio committee and also submit official questions in this regard.

For the last few months, there has been a concerted effort to amalgamate Brand South Africa – the official custodian of South Africa’s national brand – into South African Tourism (SAT).

SAT is the entity that falls within the National Department of Tourism (NDT).

Sources within the department advise me that this was the reason why the Minister of Tourism, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, had set up a SAT interim board after the tenure of the previous board had lapsed. The interim board was set up to navigate this amalgamation.

However, I have learnt that the Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, is refusing this almalgamation to take place, and has even called for nominations for the new Board of Brand South Africa (see attachment).

This has led to a tug of war between Minister Gungubele and Tourism Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, with the allegation that Gungubele is acting as the President’s “shield” as Sisulu may be using this amalgamation to boost herself and her Department ahead of the ANC conference.

The DA believes that research should have been conducted to ascertain if indeed such an amalgamation would better suit the country and the promotion thereof. Instead, Minister Sisulu’s priority criteria seems to be the ANC and its internal battles while the rest of South Africa is stuck in the middle, potentially with government decisions that have been made that do not benefit the country.

The DA will ask the minister what research was undertaken to ascertain if such an amalgamation would be beneficial or not, and in what way. Other questions include what actual outcomes and benefits are being achieved as things stand presently, what the cost implications are at present, and what they would be should an amalgamation take place.

The ultimate objective must always be; how will South Africa benefit? We will not allow the State and State instruments to be abused for personal political gain.

Cabinet adopts DA policy to abolish cadre deployment

Today, 27 October, during a media briefing, DA Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration, Dr Leon Schreiber MP announced the following policy breakthrough. Also find attached Afrikaans and English soundbites by  Dr Leon Schreiber MP, with pictures here, here and here

The Democratic Alliance (DA) today announces that, for the first time in our democratic history, the South African Cabinet has adopted a policy of the DA as official government policy in an area that is fundamental to our country’s survival and future. The National Framework towards the Professionalisation of the Public Sector, which was approved by Cabinet on 19 October 2022, has wholesale adopted the DA’s policy to abolish cadre deployment and replace it with merit-based appointments throughout the public sector.

As the highest executive decision-making body in the country, Cabinet’s adoption of the Framework means that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government has accepted the DA’s merit-based appointment policy as the only way we can begin to fix our country’s crippled and corrupt public sector. Following its adoption by Cabinet, the Framework now becomes the highest policy directive governing public administration in the country, which means that all other legislative and policy decisions in the public sector will need to be amended to enforce its abolition of cadre deployment. The DA will fight tooth and nail to ensure that this happens in every sphere and in every institution of government.

In an unambiguous reference to the tireless work done by the DA to sensitise and expose to the public the way in which ANC cadre deployment laid the foundation for corruption and state capture, the Framework admits that “Recruitment and selection practices based on deployment have gained notoriety which has spawned cynicism.” The policy acknowledges that the DA’s work to expose this form of systemic ANC corruption created “a surging negative public perception about employment practices in the public service.”

In another clear reference to the DA’s ongoing court case to declare cadre deployment corruption unconstitutional and unlawful, the Framework makes the extraordinary admission that “Some even question [the constitutionality of cadre deployment] related to the principle of equality, and they may have a point if deployment practices are to be looked at from the perspective of Section 197 (3) of the Constitution, which states that ‘no employee of the Public Service may be favoured or prejudiced only because that person supports a particular political party or cause.’” This is the exact constitutional clause upon which the DA has built a part of our legal case. This spectacular admission by the ANC government, endorsed by the ANC Cabinet, confirms the DA’s case that ANC cadre deployment is unconstitutional.

As a direct consequence of the DA’s ceaseless efforts to generate public pressure against ANC cadre deployment corruption, the Framework stipulates that “deployment practices ought to be ditched in favour of a merit-based recruitment and selection system, which [is] key to building a capable, ethical and developmental state.”

In emphasising a point that the DA has made throughout our ground-breaking campaign against cadre deployment, the Framework notes that “Other countries have a position similar to that of a DG or HOD which is termed a permanent secretary, who is always politically non-partisan…In a merit-based system of recruitment and selection, well-qualified candidates with capability to perform a public function would still make it anyway without any political shore up.”

Now that the DA has won the battle at the level of superior ideas and policy, we are redoubling our efforts in the legal battle and opening a whole new front to force the implementation of what is now official government policy to abolish cadre deployment. We are not naïve about the challenge that still lies ahead as we ensure, from the opposition benches for now, that this DA policy is implemented across government. But with DA policy now being government policy, it is clear that the dam wall is leaking. To make sure that the wall breaks and collapses completely, the DA will:

  1. On the legal front, urgently write to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting him to rescind his earlier decision to oppose the DA’s court application to abolish cadre deployment. The reality is that his own Cabinet has now endorsed the DA’s legal position that cadre deployment must be “ditched.” It is therefore hypocritical and completely untenable for Ramaphosa and his Cabinet to continue opposing our court case. The fact is that “ditching” cadre deployment is now official government policy taken straight out of the DA manifesto. This means that our court case to uproot this practice becomes, in fact, an effort to implement the government’s newest policy. It is a legal absurdity for the President to oppose his own government’s policy. The President’s hypocrisy on the issue of cadre deployment has backed him into a corner. He now faces a stark choice. He either chooses to implement this DA policy in the interests of the country. If this is his choice, then he will drop his opposition to our court case. Alternatively, he continues to defend cadre deployment in court in violation of his own government’s new policy. If this is his choice, we will know that he has chosen the corruption of his party over the needs of our country. We will know that he is incapable of implementing the policy solutions South Africa needs.
  2. On the new implementation front that our policy victory has now opened up, the DA will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly requesting her to urgently refer the DA’s End Cadre Deployment Bill back to the portfolio committee on public service and administration. The ANC in this committee earlier rejected the DA’s bill. But that was before the “ditching” of cadre deployment became official government policy. It is in the interest of the public that the portfolio committee reconsiders this bill in the context of DA policy now being government policy. We will also be conducting a comprehensive review of all public sector laws in order to introduce legal amendments to outlaw cadre deployment across the state. The days of the ANC simply rejecting these proposals are over, because they will now be compelled by their own policy framework to implement DA proposals against cadre deployment.

The formal adoption of the DA’s policy against cadre deployment by Cabinet constitutes the single most significant public policy breakthrough for South Africa since 1994. It is without precedent in our democratic history for the ANC national government to ditch its long-held defense of cadre deployment in favour of the wholesale adoption of DA policy in an area of such fundamental significance.

This breakthrough signifies that, while other political parties are caught up in the politics of empty spectacle, the DA is seriously engaged with, and winning, the battle of ideas. This moment marks a potential turning point for our country, as it demonstrates that even the ANC now accepts that the DA’s superior policies and ideas are ready to govern.

The question, however, is whether the ANC can ever be trusted to implement this DA policy. I have my doubts. After all, if the ANC wants DA policy to be implemented, then they should surely make way for the DA to become the government?

Nevertheless, between now and 2024, the DA will apply the same vigour, energy and relentlessness that caused us to win the policy battle to finishing off ANC cadre deployment in court, and to force the government to implement its new policy to “ditch” cadre deployment. All of this we will do to lay the foundation ahead of the 2024 election, when the DA will carry the policy solutions we need to fix South Africa into a new national government.

Questions remain unanswered regarding Government response to Grabouw land invasions

On Tuesday the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure presented to the portfolio committee on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment regarding the ongoing land invasions at the Grabouw Forestry plantations.

As a result of DPWI’s failure to prevent the ongoing land invasions, the Minister of DFFE Barbara Creecy has been forced to completely cancel any potential forestry activities at the site, putting paid to the thousands of potential jobs and a much needed boost to the local economy.

This is a tragedy for the local people of Grabouw and surrounds who would have benefitted from these jobs.

During the meeting members of the DA raised questions to the Minister of DPWI, Patricia de Lille regarding the current security being provided at the site and alleged past failures to prevent the site from being invaded.

Last year, the Minister of DPWI responded to a Parliamentary question stating that adequate security had been provided on the site to prevent any further invasions. At that stage there were a few hundred people at the site. The official statistics provided by the DPWI at yesterday’s meeting put the current number at 2,380 people while other reports have put the number at over 4,000 people.

It is clear that the steps taken by the DPWI at the time were completely inadequate to prevent further land invasions.

In a further bizarre twist, it was revealed during the meeting that the DPWI actively intervened last year to prevent the Sherriff and the SAPS from carrying out the removal of unoccupied and incomplete structures during the early phases of the invasions.

The SAPS officials who were present at the meeting, including Western Cape Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Patakile were unable to advise as to who from DPWI interfered in this process and what the reasons given were. They were also unable to advise as to whether it was standard practice for officials from a department to interfere with the activities of the Sherriff.

The SAPS have committed to get this information and provide it to the committee as a matter of urgency.

The SAPS have further advised that following on from requests made by members of the DFFE committee, they have launched an investigation to establish who was involved in orchestrating the invasions.

The case number for this investigation, opened at the Grabouw Police Station is 1/09/2022. The SAPS have appealed to anyone with information of evidence regarding the instigators of the invasions to provide this to them as a matter of urgency. They have also provided a separate hotline for anyone wishing to provide information of evidence anonymously. This number is 0800 314 444.

The DFFE will play no further role in these sites going forward and the sites will be handed back to the DPWI in their entirety. The destruction of these jobs and the loss of further economic opportunities should not go unchallenged. It is now essential that those responsible for orchestrating these land invasions are identified, along with those who willfully looked the other way.

We encourage anyone with information to provide this to the SAPS as a matter of urgency.

DA calls on Minister to address the country on terrorist attack warning

Please find attached a soundbite by Natasha Mazzone MP.

A warning issued by the US Embassy yesterday relating to a possible terrorist attack in the Sandton region of Johannesburg must be taken very seriously.

Given the unprecedented nature of this sort of announcement, by a foreign embassy within our own borders, it brings into question the capability of South Africa’s own intelligence services under the ANC. To date, the reaction by the ANC Government has been worryingly indifferent and dismissive.

The DA calls on Mondli Gungubele, as the Minister who oversees State Security within the Presidency, to urgently make a public announcement informing our citizens that governments intends to treat this matter with the necessary seriousness and agency to allay fears and prevent panic.

Last year, after spectacular failures of State Security and intelligence in the attempted insurrection in KwaZulu-Natal, President Ramaphosa centralized and concentrated State Security power in his own office. Now is the first real public test of that decision.

It is an indictment on South Africa’s intelligence and state security establishment that a foreign government raised alarm on a possible terrorist threat in the country, and our own State Security apparatus, confirmed by the Presidential Spokesperson, seem to have been caught unaware and off guard.

This is a serious alert that was raised by the US Embassy and the South African government cannot brush it away through the dismissive statement that they issued yesterday.

People who live and do business in the Sandton area need to be given strong and visible assurance that the government is in control of the situation and their security is guaranteed.

It is our sincere hope, and our most profound wish that the threat proves to not come true. But national governments are required to stand up to national security threats, not dismiss them.

Blade should do South Africa a favour and resign after R2.5 billion NSF scandal

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Chantel King MP.

The DA calls on the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, to do the Post School Education and Training (PSET) sector a favour and resign. South Africa deserves a competent Minister.

This after the Nexus forensic report regarding the National Skills Fund’s (NSF) R2.5 billion unverified skills development expenditure was finally presented to the parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education.

Minister Nzimande knew from previous audit reports by the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) that the NSF had received disclaimers and yet he and his Department did absolutely nothing until the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) forced him to investigate this massive irregular expenditure.

The 10 NSF-funded projects Nexus investigated, appears to be just the tip of the iceberg.

The forensic report highlighted:

  • Bank accounts were opened by service providers as a front – once the NSF funds were received it was immediately transferred to another bank account;
  • The NSF were unable to account for or verify third party expenditure due to incomplete documents and unrelated invoices not aligning with intended projects;
  • NSF officials failing to implement and follow checks and balance procedures;
  • Lack of accountability and consequence management; and
  • Conflict of interest – cross-pollination of companies and directors being established to do business with each other.

It was the NSF’s ineptitude and lack of project and consequence management that a toxic system of fraud and corruption to flourish.

While the DA welcomes further investigations by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks), the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the State Attorney, Minister Nzimande had the option to request an SIU investigation from the very beginning, but chose to pay for a private investigation. This has now led to double expenditure on the same investigation.

The DA is also concerned about the slow progress to change legislation to allow for a NSF board to be considered, which places the current director-general (DG) Dr Nkosinathi Sishi in the predicament of being referee and player as he is the accounting officer of the NSF.

It is clear that a central avenue for funding students must be created to administer all State funding for knowledge generation, training and skills development to ensure that that all applicants receive a fair bite of the apple and some do not unduly benefit by double dipping.

Everyone responsible for the gross mismanagement of the NSF and the wasteful expenditure of this R2.5 billion must be held accountable. The DA will be keeping a close eye to ensure this happens.

Ekurhuleni: The fight for quality service delivery continues

Residents of Ekurhuleni,

I stand before you today no longer as the mayor of this great city, but as the Leader of the Official Opposition in Council.

While we are clearly disappointed that the coalition of corruption succeeded in bringing an end to the good work and resident driven committed of the multi-party coalition, we accept that we have an equally important role to play from the opposition benches. The residents of this great city deserve nothing less, and we will not give up the fight.

The multi-party coalition has spent 10 months working to undo the damage done by the ANC over the past two decades. We have managed to achieve a number of successes and have been able to bring changes for the better to the lives of many of our residents.

From the opening of a Skills Centre in Vosloorus to Early Childhood Development Centers in Palm Ridge and Katlehong, from electrifying 1 367 households which previously had no power to installing over 48 water points, from cleaning and rehabilitating 112 illegal dumping hotspots to more than 48 km of roads being rehabilitated.

From maintaining over 2 100 stormwater systems to more than  29 000 m2 of potholes patched across the city. This is just a sample of what the multi-party coalition has achieved in less than a year.

And, we have done so in a climate of hostility and a culture resistant to change.

We have done so against the backdrop of trying global and domestic economic uncertainty which has made our task that much harder to achieve.

This government has had a positive impact on the lives of those whom we were elected to serve, residents of Ekurhuleni.

Every one of the parties represented in the multi-party coalition has served diligently and carried out their responsibilities for the betterment of the resident of Ekurhuleni.

They conducted themselves with the humility befitting of elected office bearers.

I want to thank each of them for their hard work.

Residents,

I want to assure you that our job is far from done.

Those who seek power at all costs are one step closer to putting their hands back in the public purse to line their own pockets.

Now, more than ever, we remain steadfast in our resolve to ensure that residents come first.

It may be from the opposition benches, but our commitment remains unwavering.

A Budget from a Broken Government

No relief from the rising costs of living. No prospects of economic growth. More debt and more bailouts.

In today’s midterm policy statement, we expected the minister to announce policy interventions that would have resulted in economic growth and desperately needed jobs, and alleviate the plight of the most vulnerable So​uth Africans.

To do this he needed to signal a policy direction that would enable the private sector, in particular SMMEs, to do business more easily in our economy. Instead, he reinforced the proven failed developmental state model that places a dysfunctional state at the centre of our economy through more bailouts to SOEs and accelerated government expenditure.

Another R 30 billion in bailouts to Transnet, SANRAL, and Denel that crowds out spending in the economy that would have been better utilized to direct the path to desperately needed growth and consequently job creation.

Earlier this year Treasury has committed itself through setting fiscal targets to reduce debt levels over the MTEF given that the rising costs of interest has become the largest expenditure item, which crowded out the prospects of a post-pandemic economic recovery.

Instead of reducing this debt burden on hard working South Africans, the transfer of a large portion of Eskom’s very significant debt liabilities (between R 126 billion and R 260 billion) to the national balance sheet will result in a significant increase in the debt-to-gdp ratio and a continuous upward spiral in interest repayments that will crowd out more service delivery to the poorest South Africans.

The greatest failing of this policy statement is its silence on how government will address the plight of the vulnerable as they battle to survive the relentlessly upward spiralling cost of living. The minister is silent on how the most vulnerable South Africans will be supported other than the extension of the social relief of distress, which the DA does support.

Instead of extending bailouts the minister could easily have announced an expansion of the zero-rated food basket as proposed by the DA that would have brought immediate relief to the ever-growing hunger crisis that the majority of South African households are facing.

The minister was also silent on tackling transportation costs that drive up the price of food; this he could have done by announcing action on fuel levies and transportation taxes. The minister was further silent on the R50 million transfer to Cuba that could have been redirected immediately to the poorest households.

Although we welcome the minister’s commitment to increase the budget of the NPA in response to the DA’s call to do everything possible to avoid a greylisting in February 2023, this budget is a clear reflection that government has run out of money and out of ideas.

It is a budget from a failed government that doesn’t care about the plight of distressed South Africans.

DA asks Parliament to summon NECOM Ministers over worsening electricity crisis

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

The DA has today written to Parliament requesting that it calls on Ministers who serve in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) to come and account for the country’s worsening electricity crisis.

To this end, we have asked Chairpersons of the portfolio committees on Public Enterprises and, Mineral Resources and Energy to ask Ministers who serve in these portfolios to come and account on the steps that they have taken to address the crisis.

Loadshedding has escalated to such critical levels that, since the announcement of Ramaphosa’s Energy Response Plan, South Africa seems to have been placed on a semi-permanent loadshedding schedule where blackouts occur on a daily basis.

Established for the express purpose of addressing the crisis, NECOM has however chosen to operate in the shadows and has refused to be publicly accountable. In fact, on 27 September 2022, in a presentation that was made by Eskom before the joint Portfolio Committee of Public Enterprises and the Portfolio Committee of Mineral Resources and Energy, Eskom conceded that they were “…not at liberty to disclose information from them (NECOM)…[as they were] classified as secret…”.

At a time when South Africans are calling for transparency and accountability on the electricity crisis, and despite having presided over one of the worst loadshedding episodes since they were appointed, NECOM Ministers have instead opted to operate like a secret society.

Parliament should not abdicate on its responsibilities to hold the Executive to account and should be at the forefront of enforcing accountability over the work of NECOM. The wall of silence that NECOM has built around itself must be broken down and the Ministers must play open cards with South Africans on the true extent of the crisis that the country is facing and what is being done about it.

The electricity crisis has crippled the economy to such an extent that the country is losing tens of billions of rand in lost productivity and potential investment. Instead of being publicly accountable, NECOM Ministers have chosen to keep the country in the dark by keeping its deliberations top secret.

Once again the default Command and Control position of the ANC government is brought to bear in a time when the nation, reeling from crippling rolling blackouts, needs to be taken into confidence. Transparency in the face of this ANC-generated debacle is required. The DA will not remain silent on this and will demand that the deliberations and initiatives are made public so that they can be monitored for efficiency and in order that parliament is empowered to conduct proper oversight.