As South Africa hits rock bottom, the DA pushes for an independent Anti-Corruption Commission

With South Africa scoring the worst it has ever ranked in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2023, it is now more pertinent than ever that an independent anti-corruption body be established to fight corruption and cadre deployment.

The DA has asked the Parliament Legal Services to prioritise the finalisation of the DA’s private members bill which will create the Anti-Corruption Commission which will investigate and prosecute high-level corruption. This corruption-fighting body will be a constitutionally protected institution with its own budget and procedures, free from the influence of corrupt officials and Ministers.

In the Corruption Perception Index that was released yesterday, South Africa scored 41 out of a possible 100, with 0 being the most corrupt, and 100 being least corrupt. Out of the 180 countries in the index, Denmark ranks at the top scoring 90, with Somalia at the bottom scoring 11.

In terms of corruption levels, South Africa falls within the groups of Kosovo, Vietnam, Colombia and Cuba.

This level of increased corruption within South Africa can be attributed directly to the ANC’s systemic infiltration of the public sector and cadre deployment. In fact, it was Cyril Ramaphosa himself who chaired the cadre deployment committee for years in the lead-up to his presidency. It is directly his and the cadre deployment committee’s actions that have allowed corruption and State Capture to flourish.

Not a single politically connected person has yet been imprisoned as a result of State Capture. It is clear that the ANC, like every other criminal scandal that has hit them, will intentionally sweep it under the rug and continue to allow the pillaging of state resources until South Africa is decimated.

It is clear the ANC does not care about the people of this country, only their own wallets and that of their connected cadres. The DA has already identified a list of individuals implicated in State Capture within the ANC from the Zondo Reports. As the ANC does everything in its power to shield their political friends from the law, the DA will ensure that once the Bill passes, these connected cadres will be first on the list to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za

Register this weekend to rescue South Africa

This coming weekend, February 3rd and 4th, is your last opportunity to register to vote in this year’s election. If you are not registered to vote, or if you have moved and do not re-register at your new address, you will not be able to cast your vote in Election 2024. Unlike in previous elections, you will also only be able to vote at the polling station where you are registered.

Never has it been more important to be correctly registered. For the first time in more than 30 years, we have a realistic chance of defeating the ANC in this election. The ANC has already polled less than 50% of all votes for the first time during the 2021 local elections. In the 2024 election, we must make sure that we push the ANC even further below 50%, because then we can elect a new government to rescue our country from total ruin.

Decades of ANC corruption have alienated the party from its former voters, opening the door for a new government to rebuild our country. It is the duty of each of us to take advantage of this historic opportunity by registering to vote.

But we can only rescue South Africa with the help of every citizen who yearns for a better future. This election is about the survival of our beautiful country. And you can only help to rescue South Africa if you register this weekend.

The DA is committed to becoming the strong anchor party for a new government to rescue South Africa. In places where we already govern, such as the Western Cape, Cape Town, uMngeni in KwaZulu-Natal and Midvaal in Gauteng, the DA has a proud record of good government and better service delivery. Our size, experience and expertise make the DA the ideal party to become the stable, strong anchor for a new government.

On Saturday and Sunday, every voting station across South Africa will open for voter registration. We call upon all DA supporters and those committed to rescuing South Africa to seize this opportunity, go out this weekend, and register to vote.

Your vote can be the “one point” that makes South Africa a winning country.

For help registering, visit check.da.org.za 

Freedom Park museum must account for R65 000 KFC bonanza

Please find attached a soundbite by Veronica van Dyk MP.

In light of recent media reports revealing a financial loss of R500 000 to scammers and unauthorised expenditures of R65 000 on KFC by Freedom Park Museum officials, the DA urgently calls for transparency and accountability in addressing these concerning issues.

According to media reports, Freedom Park Museum fell victim to scammers due to a lack of robust systems to safeguard against fraud. Additionally, it has been uncovered that officials spent a significant amount on KFC without adhering to prescribed procurement processes. The DA calls on the relevant authorities to request the forensic report conducted by SNG Grant Thornton to thoroughly investigate the matter.

It is disconcerting to learn that this investigation, conducted in September 2020, was kept confidential until it was leaked to City Press. Furthermore, the failure to report these incidents to the portfolio committee of Sports, Arts, and Culture raises serious questions about transparency and accountability within Freedom Park Museum.

The DA urges the portfolio committee to seek answers to the following:

1. Provide the fraud case number opened by the museum to follow up on the investigation initiated in 2019;
2. Clarify whether any actions have been taken against the Chief Financial Officer (Malapane) and Finance Manager (Mashaba), accused of negligence in the forensic report;
3. Confirm if the auditors’ recommendation, advising Freedom Park to discipline the employee responsible for the improper procurement of fried chicken, has been implemented; and
4. Address concerns raised by the Freedom Park NEHAWU Branch in their December 2023 letter to the portfolio committee, specifically regarding alleged controversial transactions involving some Council members and Freedom Park management.

The DA emphasises the need for the portfolio committee to prioritise oversight of Freedom Park Museum, given the apparent serious governance problems within the institution. South Africans deserve clarity, accountability, and assurances that public funds are managed with the utmost responsibility.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za

IMF Confirms South Africa’s standstill under the ANC

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Dion George MP

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF), downward revision of South Africa’s economic growth forecast, as outlined in its January 2024 Global Outlook Report. In the report the IMF adjusted its 2024 growth expectation for South Africa from 1.8% to 1%. At 3.1%, global growth is projected at more than 3 times estimated South African growth.

The revised projection falls below South Africa’s estimated population growth rate at 1.5%, and underscores the troubling consensus that under the current ANC led government, economic stagnation is set to persist, and the living standards of South Africans will continue to worsen.

The report highlights logistical constraints, especially within the transport sector, as a critical impediment to economic growth. Inefficiencies in the sector alone cost the country more than R1 billion daily. This is notwithstanding the hundreds of billions of Rands that is lost due to persistent load shedding, rampant crime, race-based procurement, and pervasive corruption. Once more the profound impact of the ANC government’s failure to address long-standing problems has been presented on an international platform.

The crisis of economic growth becomes more pronounced when placed within the regional geoeconomic landscape. Despite being heralded as the most industrialized nation in Africa, South Africa’s projected growth of 1% falls well short of the regional average of 3.8%. In fact, South Africa is identified as the primary weight on regional growth.

Throughout its decades long tenure, across multiple administrations, the ANC-led Government has on local and international platforms demonstrated its glaring incompetence and inability to effectively facilitate the South African economy. Its ongoing pursuit of forcing an incapable government to play a central role in our economy has obstructed the growth-promoting forces that foster a thriving economy.

The appropriate course of action for Government to address our underperforming economy would have been to enable a more flexible and responsive environment. Regrettably, as South Africa’s outlook continues to decline, the governing party has increasingly misplaced its role in the economy. In doing so it has effectively quashed any prospects for recovery.

In February the DA will introduce our Alternative Budget for 2024. For South Africa to achieve lasting prosperity it is imperative to implement comprehensive economic reforms that capitalise on the growth potential of a resource rich and diverse economy. Without any alterations in growth estimations, our Alternative proposal will present an adjusted expenditure framework that reconfigures Government spending in such a manner that our fiscal trajectory is redirected from a dead-end towards a more sustainable and prosperous future. It will present the immediate and medium-term fiscal interventions that are needed for our economy to grow and generate the jobs South Africans so desperately need.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za

DA calls for urgent parliamentary inquiry into eThekwini water crisis

The Democratic Alliance will call for a full parliamentary enquiry by the Portfolio Committee for Water and Sanitation into the ongoing water crisis in eThekwini.

This follows a closed-door meeting that the DA had with Umngeni-Uthukela Water officials to get a better understanding of the escalating crisis in the municipality.

During the engagement, several worsening issues around eThekwini and the supply of water were laid bare such as water losses to the tune of R144 million, which it cannot account for. This translates to about 40% of direct water loss,  exceeding the national norm. Other issues include a shortage of engineers, maintenance, and service backlog in the municipality.

The meeting also revealed that the water board supplies eThekwini with more than enough water, but residents still have no water. This vindicates the DA’s belief that eThekwini has failed frustrated residents and continues to be the problem despite their multiple blame games and promises by the Mayor, City Manager and Head of Water.

Worryingly, the entity revealed that eThekwini is a growing risk to the water board because it is the single largest customer they have. If eThekwini collapsed, so would Umngnei-Uthukela, threatening water security to the entire province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Earlier in the day, the DA delegation held engagements with residents and business owners from Phoenix who expressed their frustration and hopelessness at the water crisis they endure daily. Many of them said they feel let down and forgotten by the eThekwini municipality.

It is now crucial that Parliament steps in and urgently convene public hearings into the continued water crisis as well as forcing the eThekwini Municipality to account for this disaster under their watch.

The DA believes a multi-party government and the immediate placement of eThekwini under administration are the only solutions in fixing the catastrophic water crisis which has resulted in the gross violation of human rights.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za

CPI report confirms that SA is more corrupt under Ramaphosa than under Zuma

by John Steenhuisen MP – Leader of the Democratic Alliance

The latest annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) confirms what South Africans have come to know under President Cyril Ramaphosa’s term of office: that his administration is more corrupt than that of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

According to the latest global ranking of corruption perceptions, South Africa has fallen to its lowest level ever recorded, scoring an abysmal 41 out of 100 on this globally respected index.

According to the rankings, the endemic corruption of the Ramaphosa administration has reduced our country to a “flawed democracy.”

Ramaphosa is directly and personally responsible for South Africa’s plunge on the rankings.

The State Capture Commission confirmed that ANC cadre deployment forms the foundation for capture and corruption. Ramaphosa is the former chairman of the corrupt deployment committee. He is also currently defending this corruption against the DA’s court action to declare cadre deployment unconstitutional.

This crisis of corruption, which is having a severely negative impact on investment and job creation, is epitomised by the latest scandal involving Paul Mashatile, the deputy president of the country who serves solely at the discretion of Ramaphosa.

Instead of taking firm action against Mashatile based on reports of a pattern of corruption and capture that even exceed those involving former President Zuma, Rampahosa has cowered away from it.

This then begs the question: if Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC can now suspend Jacob Zuma, why can they not suspend Paul Mashatile and every other cabinet member implicated in state capture?

Just like Ramaphosa is now protecting Mashatile, the party also shielded Zuma for decades from consequences for his corruption, as recently admitted by Fikile Mbalula. It was only when Zuma started posing an electoral threat, that the ANC suddenly decided to act against him. It appears that leaders in the ANC, like Zuma and Mashatile, are free to loot as much as they want, as long as they don’t break ranks from the party.

Last week, it was revealed that during Mashatile’s tenure as MEC for Human Settlements in Gauteng, his department paid R134 million to a company owned by ANC donor Edwin Sodi for a housing project in Diepsloot that did not deliver a single house. This was one part out of a total of R828 million that was paid to Sodi by the department for various supposed projects. It was also previously revealed that Mashatile used Sodi’s luxury mansion on the Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town on several occasions.

This is in addition to millions of Rands in loans granted by the Gauteng provincial government to a company owned by Nceba Nonkwelo, Mashatile’s son-in-law. In turn, proceeds were funneled to another company that owns a R37 million mansion in Waterfall Estate where Mashatile had been living. A forensic audit launched following the revelations confirmed that the awarding of loans to Nonkwelo violated the Public Finance Management Act.

South Africa’s fall in the CPI ranking confirms that Ramaphosa has betrayed the anti-corruption promises he made before the State Capture Commission. He has consistently shielded fellow ANC cadres implicated before the commission. He has consistently failed to act against members of his own Cabinet who are implicated in brazen acts of corruption, including Minister Blade Nzimande and Deputy President Mashatile.

The DA reiterates our call for Cyril Ramaphosa to come out of hiding and take action against Mashatile.

If he fails to do so, the DA will again step in to lead while Ramaphosa cowers.

While Ramaphosa may have resigned himself to turning South Africa into a global corruption basket-case, the DA is committed to rescuing our country from the scourge of corruption and state capture.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za

DA questions the HRC Report on the July Unrest

Please find attached a soundbite by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP.

The DA acknowledges the South African Human Rights Commission’s report on the riots primarily in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng that occurred two and a half years ago.

This catastrophic event resulted in the burning of 40 000 businesses and 50 000 informal traders’ outlets, leaving 150 000 people unemployed and causing an estimated financial damage of R50 billion. The report, released after an extensive period, meticulously outlines the chaos and underlying causes that led to this devastating incident.

While the report acknowledges President Zuma’s imprisonment and the subsequent riots between July 8 and 19, 2021, as acts of protest, violence, and looting that spread across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the DA finds the conclusion drawn by the SAHRC to be perplexing. Specifically, the assertion that there is no evidence linking the timing of the events to Zuma’s incarceration appears unfounded and contradicts the experiences of those who witnessed the events firsthand.

As someone who participated in manning barricades for 24 hours a day during the riots to protect homes due to the absence of the SAPS and who surveyed the aftermath of looted and burned malls adorned with Free Zuma slogans, the DA disagrees with the notion that there is no connection between Zuma’s imprisonment and the riots.

The orchestrated dismantling of ATMs, the knowledge of ATM codes, and the calm looting captured on film all indicate a level of planning and execution that cannot be dismissed as mere coincidence.

The report rightly criticises the state’s response to the unrest, highlighting poor communication, coordination, planning, and high-level management within the security cluster.

The lack of consequence management, with no substantial arrests or accountability for the systemic failures, remains a significant concern. The report underscores the failure to address the root causes and prosecute individuals within the security and law enforcement sectors implicated in criminal activities during the unrest.

The DA agrees with the report’s emphasis on the urgent need for the security sector, including the State Security Agency, South African National Defence Force, and relevant stakeholders, to develop a national security strategy.

That this has to be called for, considering the billions in taxpayers’ money sunk annually into this sector, is extraordinary.

The private security industry’s role during the crisis is acknowledged, but concerns about unlicensed personnel and the crumbling state of PSIRA raise important questions about the effectiveness of the security cluster.

The reports call for the Department of Justice and the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to engage directly with affected communities and provide transparent accounts of prosecutions and inquests is noted.

However, the lack of clarity on the Zuma factor and the apparent avoidance of addressing the connections between Zuma’s situation, pro-Zuma campaigns, and the riots is a notable omission.

In conclusion, the report, spanning 231 pages over 2 ½ years, states an inability to draw clear conclusions. The DA questions the efficacy of such commissions if they are unable or unwilling to reach obvious conclusions. The response from the SSA, PSIRA, and SAPS (CI) is awaited within 60 days.

This protracted process prompts a reconsideration of whether such investigations are better entrusted to investigators capable of reaching definitive conclusions.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za

SIU investigation into R300 million Transnet scandal: DA welcomes Pepi Silinga’s decision to take a leave of absence

The DA welcomes the decision by President Ramaphosa to issue and sign a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to launch an investigation into the allegations of corruption leveled at Pepi Silinga, the CEO of Transnet National Ports Authority.

Last week Wednesday, the DA wrote to President Ramaphosa and requested that he authorise the SIU to investigate the allegations given their serious nature as well as the scale of money involved.

The DA further welcomes the decision by Silinga to take a leave of absence while the probe by Transnet is ongoing. The DA was not convinced that an internal investigation into the allegations leveled against Silinga could have been conducted in a fair, partial and thorough manner whilst Silinga remained in office.

Although the DA takes cognisance of the fact that the investigations by both Transnet and the SIU are still in their infancy, it will continue to request regular updates on both investigations to ensure the investigations are conducted with the speed and efficiency that they deserve.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za

Straight Talk: Multi-Party Charter’s approach to job creation

On Wednesday, the eleven parties to the Multi-Party Charter gathered at the Durban Harbour to set out for the nation how a Charter government will grow South Africa’s economy and create jobs at scale. We chose to do this at Durban Harbour because, as with government itself, this port should be a powerful enabler of economic activity but is instead a severe bottleneck throttling it.

Our key message was that the Multi-Party Charter will seek to make South Africa’s economy as attractive as possible for investors and as easy as possible for businesses big and small to start, grow and thrive. We will treat entrepreneurs, investors and businesses from informal traders to conglomerates as valued partners, because we recognise that the only thing that creates sustainable jobs is private investment in productive enterprises, both big and small.

We set out some of the meaningful steps we will take to create the conditions necessary for economic activity to flourish (see below). Our approach is underpinned by a commitment to an open economy where far more economic decision-making power and agency rests with the people of South Africa rather than with government. This is the only way to unleash the immense untapped potential of the people and resources of South Africa, and therefore the only way to lift millions of people out of grinding poverty and into the dignity of a job.

The formation of the Multi-Party Charter has produced a realistic pathway to power for an alternative government whose approach marks a distinct departure from the patronage-driven, closed economy, centralized state control of the ANC. In the 2024 general election, voters now have a clear choice between The Charter’s job-creating approach and the ANC’s job-killing approach to the economy.

2024 is likely your only opportunity to save South Africa’s economy at the ballot box and you only have this power if you are registered to vote. If you haven’t yet done so, you can kickstart your registration process online at www.check.da.org.za. Or you can register at your nearest voting station this weekend 3-4 February by taking your ID book or card any time between 8am and 5pm. Please double your impact by persuading and assisting one unregistered voter to register to vote DA. Don’t miss this one chance to rescue South Africa’s economy and bend its trajectory towards prosperity for all.

Key steps the MPC will take to grow the economy and create jobs:

  • Defend property rights because nothing deters investment like the threat of expropriation.
  • Reduce fuel prices significantly by targeting the general fuel levy, reforming fuel taxes, and deregulating the sector. This is to reduce input costs for businesses and increase South Africa’s global competitiveness.
  • Ensure government expenditure on economic infrastructure returns value for money by allocating building and maintenance contracts on merit.
  • Ensure the independence of the South African Reserve Bank, to ensure a stable macroeconomic environment.
  • Ensure fiscal discipline by capping the debt-to-GDP ratio on an annual basis.
  • Make it easier for informal traders to operate, by eliminating regulations that are hostile to them and shifting the regulatory focus to the protection of consumer rights.
  • Introduce a broad range of regulatory exemptions for small, medium and micro enterprises for the first three years of operation, to improve their survival rate.
  • Raise the VAT threshold to R5 million turnover.
  • Exempt the small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMME) sector from all labour legislation other than the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).
  • Grow the skills base of the workforce by recognizing and enabling apprenticeships, because apprenticeships are a powerful way for people with skills to transfer those skills to younger people without skills. They are also a powerful way to get young people out the gangs and off the streets, and into the dignity of work.
  • Grow the skills base by reforming the visa system to allow scarce skills to enter South Africa to replace skills lost locally to emigration.
  • Reintroduce technical training colleges and gazette Trade Test Training.
  • Improve the quality of basic education by appointing principals, teachers and administrators on merit and linking their remuneration to performance, by reintroducing teacher training colleges, and by establishing a Schools Inspectorate.

Infiltration of SAPS by gangs shows centralised policing has failed

Please find attached a soundbite by Okkie Terblanche MP.

There is now an urgent need for Police Minister Bheki Cele to answer before Parliament in light of the reported infiltration of criminal gangs within the South African Police Service (SAPS), particularly the notorious “28 Gang” in the Western Cape.

This infiltration has reached such alarming depths that it compromised the integrity of specialised units like the Anti-Gang Unit and Crime Intelligence, essential for investigating gang-related crimes. Astonishingly, the Minister, in response to mounting evidence, has chosen to deny the existence of this issue, dismissing it as a misrepresentation.

The DA stands resolute in holding Minister Cele accountable for his inaction. The DA calls upon Minister Cele to appear before the Portfolio Committee on Police in Parliament. He must answer as to why no investigations have been forthcoming, whether the Minister will ask the President to create a Commission of Inquiry into the infiltration of SAPS and what consequence management has taken place, if any.

This dismissive approach from a National Minister has allowed criminal elements to flourish within SAPS. It underscores the urgent need to reconsider the distribution of policing powers. The DA advocates for the devolution of policing powers from the National ANC Government to provinces capable of effective management. The DA envisions a scenario where the Western Cape Government takes control of SAPS in the province, managing staffing, visible policing, station management, and resource allocation effectively.

A locally controlled SAPS would empower provinces to determine their budgets, ensuring resources are strategically deployed, particularly in high-crime and gang-infested areas. With skyrocketing crime rates, incidents of lost firearms from police stations, and a shortage of detectives, Minister Cele must acknowledge that centralised policing has failed.

The only way to ensure every person’s safety in South Africa is to devolve police powers to capable provinces and get the national government out of the way. South Africans have one last chance to register to vote on the 3rd/4th February 2024, or go online and visit www.check.da.org.za .