ANC bans individuals in rural communities from owning their land

Please find attached English and isiXhosa soundbites by Thandeka Mbabama MP.

In response to the DA exposé that citizens living on 10.5 million hectares of land in rural areas still live on property owned by apartheid-era institutions, the spokesperson for the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform, Thoko Didiza, confirmed that, nearly 30 years into democracy, the ANC government emulates the apartheid government by barring citizens in rural areas from owning their land.

After the DA announced that we will be laying a historic charge with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against the ANC government for its failure to provide secure tenure and title to rural citizens, Didiza’s spokesperson confirmed that land still technically owned by the apartheid state “could not be legally distributed by issuing title deeds to rural communities because it was land destined to be owned by communities, not individuals.”

This statement is an admission that the ANC flagrantly violates the fundamental rights of rural communities to own their property, as stipulated in section 25 of the Constitution.

There is no provision anywhere in the Constitution that provides for any individual to be barred from owning property. In fact, section 25 – the property clause – makes it clear that “no one may be deprived of property” and that “a person or community whose tenure of land is legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws” is entitled to “tenure which is legally secure or to comparable redress.”

The ANC’s treatment of people in rural areas as second-class citizens by banning individuals from owning their land, violates these provisions of our Constitution, as well as the right to equality.

To make matters worse, Didiza’s office confirmed that land remained registered in the name of the apartheid state “because no legislation currently existed to transfer land held in trusts by the government to rural communities.” This too is nothing less than an admission of outright failure by the ANC to enact legislation to provide tenure security and ownership rights to rural citizens.

The comments from Minister Didiza confirms the urgency of the DA’s fight to provide dignity, justice and ownership rights to rural South Africans:

  • DA leader John Steenhuisen will next week lead a senior delegation to the SAHRC to submit a complaint over the way in which the human rights of citizens are violated when they are barred from owning the land they have worked for generations, as has now been confirmed by Didiza.
  • Since the ANC refuses to adopt new legislation that provides for rural citizens to own their land, as demanded by section 25(6) of the Constitution, the DA will shortly introduce the Land Justice Bill to Parliament that will provide private title and tenure security to all who want it.

The DA’s quest to provide secure tenure and private property rights to the estimated 16 million citizens living on trust land would be the single greatest breakthrough for land reform in our democratic history. It will right a historical wrong, increase food production at a time of spiralling food costs, and economically and socially empower some of the poorest people in our country – all without the need to plunge our country into chaos through expropriation without compensation.

South African taxpayer footing the more than R130 million salary bill for 305 suspended public servants

Please find attached a soundbite by Dr Mimmy Gondwe MP.

The South African taxpayer is footing a salary bill of more than R130 million for the 305 public servants that are currently on suspension with full pay across the public service.

This was disclosed in a written reply by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to a DA Parliamentary question on the number of public servants that are currently on suspension with full pay and the cost of these suspensions to the South African taxpayer.

According to the written reply by the DPSA, provincial departments account for the bulk of this salary bill having paid R90 million in salaries to 226 public servants that are currently on suspension with full pay and the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal is footing most (namely 36%) of this R90 million salary bill.

National departments, on the other hand, have paid R40 million in salaries to 79 public servants that are currently on suspension with full pay, with the Departments of Public Service and Administration and Public Works and Infrastructure accounting for the bulk of this R40 million salary bill.

It is important to highlight that because the written reply reflects a number of gaps in terms of the costs of some of these suspensions, the total cost of these suspensions, to the South African taxpayer, is definitely higher than the R130 million disclosed in the written reply.

The written reply by the DPSA, is also indicative of the discipline management crisis in the public service. In August this year, the DPSA conceded, during a meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, that there was no discipline management system being implemented in our country’s public service. This has, obviously, contributed towards government departments failing to manage disciplinary cases within the time frames stipulated by the Public Service Regulations.

The DA, once again, reiterates its calls for the DPSA, as the custodian of policy formulation and implementation in the public service, to urgently develop and implement a discipline management strategy, in the public service, that will ensure that this crisis does not continue to come at a great cost to the already burdened South African taxpayer.

Still no proper funding model for NHI

Please find attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

Despite multiple requests from the DA for clarification, the Department of Health has yet to provide a funding model for the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI).

During the clause-by-clause deliberations of the NHI Bill in yesterday’s parliamentary portfolio committee meeting on health, the ANC insisted that the NHI would be tax funded. As on previous occasions, the ANC members in the committee simply talked around the DA’s concerns about an outdated feasibility study that has not considered the economic reality of a post-Covid-19 South African economy, the dwindling tax-base or the rising unemployment numbers.

The DA has written to Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to request a presentation to committee on the financial feasibility, cost and implications of the NHI Bill. We have also repeatedly asked that National Treasury be invited to committee to make such presentations, but our reasonable requests continue to be ignored. As are our concerns regarding certain clauses and subsections within the Bill.

When the DA raised a point on the prevalence of corruption within the public health sector and the NHI Bill’s failure to address this, as well as the lack of protection for whistleblowers within the Bill, the ANC members chose to ignore these concerns. Instead, they chose to rubbish News24’s series of investigative articles surrounding the tragic death of Babita Deokaran and the dodgy dealings of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s nephew by marriage, Hangwani Morgan Maumela, with Tembisa Hospital, as “gossip” and lamented that the DA chose this to illustrate corruption and the danger to whistleblowers. The ANC members conveniently forgot that Maumela’s dealing first came to light as a result of questions submitted by DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom to Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko.

That the ANC chose their hubris over serious engagement regarding problematic clauses within the NHI Bill is nothing new. ANC members seem determined to bulldoze the NHI Bill through Parliament with no regard to the knock-on effects this will have on an already struggling public health sector, South African taxpayers, the economy and those who will ultimately suffer under subpar health care – the South African public.

The voters in eThekwini Ward 10 have spoken

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal is thrilled to announce that we have retained Ward 10 in eThekwini municipality by a massively increased margin, taking 94.8% of the vote, up from 80.01% in 2021, an incredible increase of 14.8%

Each of the nine voting stations showed a marked increase in support for the DA. This in line with a continuing trend of increasing support for the DA, and dwindling support for other parties.

Councillor Caelee Laing is the new DA Councillor that has been trusted by the party to continue the good work of late Councillor Tex Collins.

We are humbled by the trust that residents of this Ward continue to have in the DA. We will continue fighting for reliable service delivery in council and ensuring that residents complaints are attended to.

As we head into the 2024 Elections we are confident that more residents in this municipality will vote wisely, in a bid to save our city and province by voting for a party that has a proven track record of good governance .

Ekurhuleni: Oh what a circus, oh what a show!

The ANC and EFF in Ekurhuleni cannot even agree amongst themselves on the way forward, much less pick a new mayor.

The ANC infighting and the EFF’s flip-flopping in Ekurhuleni has left the Council in limbo and sets service delivery back once again. The coalition of corruption and confusion were quick to stand together to vote out DA Mayor Tania Campbell but like the proverbial dog chasing a bus, they had no idea what to do with it once they caught it.

The council meeting was postponed after the ANC could not get enough of its caucus to agree to vote for an EFF mayor. While this squabble was going on, ActionSA which has been working hard to bring the EFF on board in Ekurhuleni were again left in limbo after they turned their backs on the DA but didn’t get what they hoped for from their new ANC and EFF friends.

The cost to the residents of the Metro is terms of money spent on a council meeting where the ANC/EFF couldn’t agree on who to propose as mayor as well as the time wasted that could have been spent on dealing with critical issues that the residents want addressed, is yet another example of why neither the ANC or the EFF should be trusted with the reins of government.

The DA will continue to fight for the residents of Ekurhuleni who deserve better that the shambles on show in the council chambers today. Voters should take a long hard look at the chaos caused by the political games played by the ANC and EFF and the steep financial cost resulting from this.

The DA is the only party that can ensure a stable and working government.

SAPS’ inaction on Kinnear Report recommendations raises questions of a possible cover-up

Please find attached a soundbite by Andrew Whitfield MP.

The DA’s efforts to scrutinise the classification of the Kinnear report as “Top Secret” revealed startling revelations in the police portfolio committee today.

IPID confirmed that their investigation was finalised on 4th of May 2022 and that while it was classified top secret they neglected to follow all of the requirements in terms of the Minimum Information Security Standards (MISS). The Executive Director and her team further confirmed that the final report which contains recommendations to be implemented has been with the SAPS for months and that IPID has not received any correspondence from the SAPS in spite of the fact that the IPID Act requires that they respond within 30 days.

These revelations have raised questions regarding the validity of the classification and the seriousness with which SAPS treats recommendations from IPID as well as possible attempts by the SAPS to protect those implicated in the IPID report.

The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, must account for the inaction by the SAPS and explain to the portfolio committee why SAPS continues to disregard IPID’s recommendations.

SAPS’ blatant disregard for the IPID Act, especially on such a high profile matter involving the assassination of one of their own members, highlights the impunity with which the SAPS continues to operate and gives credence to claims that the SAPS in the Western Cape has been captured by gangs.

The assassination of Colonel Charl Kinnear and the involvement of gangs in his murder along with Judge Thulare’s revelation of the state of capture of the SAPS In the Western Cape by the gangs as well as ongoing corruption in the ranks of the SAPS across the country necessitates an urgent national commission of inquiry into capture and corruption within the SAPS.

Saving the SAPS from complete capture and collapse must be treated as an urgent national priority. It is for this reason that the DA has written to the President to request that he initiate a national commission of inquiry into corruption and capture of the SAPS.

South Africans deserve to live in safety, free from the threat of violence and the fear that they will become a victim of crime. In order to achieve this we need a professional, capable and effective police service we can trust which is committed to fighting criminals not joining them.

DA introduces Cut Cabinet Perks Bill to end President’s abuse of the Ministerial Handbook

Please find attached a soundbite by Dr Leon Schreiber MP.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) today announces that we are introducing a Private Member’s Bill designed to rein in the President’s dictatorial powers over the Ministerial Handbook.

Over the past decades, the DA has repeatedly exposed scandalous abuses of the Ministerial Handbook by practically every democratically-elected President our country has had. This is because the current legal framework provides dictatoral powers to the President to force taxpayers to pay for unbudgeted perks and benefits for Ministers and Deputy Ministers.

In fact, as the DA outlined in our complaint on this issue to the Public Protector, there appears to be no legal framework in place whatsoever to govern the Ministerial Handbook. This lack of a legal framework is why President Cyril Ramaphosa was not only able to massively expand the size of ministerial offices and exempt Ministers and Deputy Ministers from paying for water and electricity back in April this year, but it is also why he did so in secret with no requirement to even inform Parliament about these changes.

Were it not for the public uniting behind the DA and forcing President Cyril Ramaphosa to withdraw these changes, taxpayers would have been forced to pay over R87 million more every year for these additional perks without even knowing about it.

This untenable situation changes today, with the DA’s introduction of a new Private Member’s Bill to cut Cabinet perks.

As its title suggests, this Bill will bring to an end to the impunity with which the President is able to secretly force taxpayers to pay for additional perks and benefits. The Bill would introduce a new section – 4A – into the existing Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act 20 of 1998.

This new section would force the President to first obtain properly considered and costed recommendations from the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-bearers before introducing benefits or allowances for Ministers and Deputy Ministers outside of their annual remuneration packages.

The Bill would also subject these perks to considerations of affordability and require the President to take into account which benefits may be reasonable given the prevailing economic situation in the country. Furthermore, the DA’s Cut Cabinet Perks Bill would require the President to report any changes to the Handbook to the National Assembly within 30 days, along with his reasons for approving the perks and what they would cost.

Even as we exposed Ramaphosa’s secret abuse of the Handbook last month, the DA has consistently emphasised that we are not being unreasonable. We recognise that there may be situations in which reasonable allowances may need to be made for additional security measures or tools of trade.

However, as with all other presidential actions that cost taxpayers money, decisions about these additional benefits must be made in a rational and transparent manner. It is untenable in a constitutional democracy for the President to have dictatorial powers to make secret decisions that affect the pockets of taxpayers.

By subjecting decisions to proper costing and assessment, and by introducing parliamentary oversight over the President’s changes to the Ministerial Handbook, the DA’s Cut Cabinet Perks Bill will make it impossible for the President to make outrageous and secret decisions that end up costing taxpayers dearly.

Given the number of scandals that have emanated from the lack of proper controls over the Ministerial Handbooks from successive presidents, it is abundantly clear that no ANC President will ever act in a responsible and transparent manner absent a law forcing them to do so.

As we have done in our war against cadre deployment, the DA is supplementing our fight against individual abuses by tackling the systemic causes of this corruption. In the case of the Ministerial Handbook, that cause is the fact that the President has dictatorial powers to make secret changes to Cabinet perks. We therefore call on members of the public and all political parties that are tired of paying the price for ANC corruption, to help us cut Cabinet perks by supporting the DA’s Bill.

DA-run Western Cape opens six GBV shelters while Gauteng opens zero 

Please find attached soundbite by Alexandra Abrahams MP. See photos of oversight visit to some of the buildings in Gauteng here, here and here.

The Western Cape is  leading the way in the use of government buildings for GBV shelters.

The Western Cape Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) for Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez, has successfully opened all six GBV shelters. This after Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille handed over twelve buildings between December 2019 and March 2020 to the Provincial Department of Social Development in Gauteng and the Western Cape for use as Gender Base Violence (GBV) shelters.

The Western Cape Government wasted no time in signing Memorandum Of Understandings (MOUs) and partnering with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to ensure a safe space for vulnerable women with the first shelter having opened within just three months.

The Gauteng province on the other hand shamefully failed to complete the six buildings which are currently being “safeguarded” by private security companies, at a cost to taxpayers, while vulnerable women and children desperately seeking refuge from abuse, struggle to find suitable temporary accommodation.

In a written reply to the Democratic Alliance, Minister Patricia de Lille confirmed that: the Department of Social Development has not yet occupied the houses; the houses are still guarded by the DPWI; the Gauteng Provincial Department of Social Development has not yet signed the tripartite Memorandum of Agreement and further demands that the subject properties be permanently transferred to the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development.

Public Works has spent R1 960 411.84 to date, on building and garden renovations for the six Gauteng buildings, but the buildings remain closed. On a recent oversight visit to four out of the six closed GBV shelters in Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Democratic Alliance found gardens that are overgrown, holes in ceilings and vibracrete walls, cracks in walls and broken lights to name but a few. Which begs the question what was the taxpayers’ money spent on?

If the DPWI does not act immediately, the cost to repair these buildings will only increase – a further burden on the taxpayer and shrinking budgets.

The Democratic Alliance will submit further written questions to Minister De Lille to ascertain exactly how and when over R1.9 million was spent, as well as projected expenditure for safeguarding of these buildings not yet conducive for occupation.

We have written to the Minister of Social Development, Minister Lindiwe Zulu, to request her urgent intervention to demand the Gauteng Provincial Department of Social Development immediately sign the MOU and get these shelters up and running.

89% of public submissions rejects BELA Bill, supports DA’s position

Please find attached soundbite by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP.

The overwhelming majority of the submissions from the public on the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill thus far analysed, concurs with the DA’s position and indicate serious reservations regarding the Bill and many rejected the Bill entirely.

During a parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education, it was revealed that they received more than 18 000 comments on the draconian BELA Bill, of which two-thirds must still be analysed. But it is completely reasonable to expect that those submissions will follow the current trend of complete rejection. In fact, 3 138 submissions completely rejected the Bill, 190 had concerns with some of the clauses, while 141 submissions were unspecified. A mere 35 supported the Bill.

(See attached graph)

The concerns raised by the public largely reflects the DA’s issues with the Bill, including the practicality of implementing compulsory Grade R; the disempowering of school governing bodies (SGBs) to determine admissions and language policies which could be used to target Afrikaans and other mother tongue education schools; the centralisation of procurement; and the lack of engagement with the home schooling sector, while missing a valuable opportunity to address the regulation of blended and online learning given the post Covid-education environment.

It is clear that the Department has failed to consult widely with the public and education stakeholders. The BELA Bill in its current form disempowers schools and communities, while creating many opportunities for abuse by the Minister, MECs and provincial heads of the basic education departments to capture schools.

The DA will request that National Treasury present the financial implications regarding compulsory grade R to the committee and practically implantable solutions. We will also request that the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and her Department present their plans for the regulations of blended and online learning beyond the current draft framework which is denying many learners home education.

South Africans have made their views on the BELA Bill, and the ‘Lesufi-clauses’ in particular clear. They do not support it and to push through this Bill when the majority of submissions reject it would be a travesty.

Creating yet another piece of lacking legislation, without addressing the ANC government’s lack of political will to practically upgrade the teaching environments will not improve the quality of education or curb the high learner dropout rate. Schools need empowered SGBs that are passionate about their schools and communities to lift the quality of education in South Africa.

The DA will continue to be the voice against this draconian bill in Parliament.

Stand up for principle and block the Russian superyacht

The South African government’s scandalous decision to allow the superyacht of the Russian oligarch Alexey Mordashov to dock in South Africa is an international embarrassment.

The DA notes that the international media, such as the Wall Street Journal, is reporting on this matter and specifically points out that South Africa will allow the vessel in our waters despite American and European sanctions on its owner.

The DA wholeheartedly agrees with Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis’ call on Internal Relations Minister Naledi Pandor to block the docking of the yacht.

The free world has taken a conscious decision to push for an end to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and any efforts that do not support or encourage that call is immoral.

Also, by allowing the free flow of movement of Russian tycoons and their toys in South Africa we are attracting a market that can bring unneccessary and unwanted attention to our shores that could see more terror warnings, longer grey listing periods and perhaps even lead to a run in hyperinflation.

With the South African government on the wrong side of international law, the DA is compelled to pursue means for this ship to be arrested once it enters South African waters.

As much as the South African government is not legally bound by the USA and EU sanctions,we are also not legally bound to allow the yacht to dock.

As the party that holds the national government to account, the DA adds its voice to that of Cape Town Mayor Hill-Lewis and we implore President Ramaphosa and Minister Pandor to stand up for international law and refuse entry to this yacht.