Today, the DA laid criminal charges against Knysna Mayor, Councillor Ndoda Aubrey Tsengwa and Speaker, Councillor Mncedisi David Skosana for fraud and perjury.
This follows charges laid against Councillor Alberto Riccardo Marbi, Deputy Mayor, acting Municipal Manager, Roland Butler and Acting Director of Corporate Services, Adv Luvuyo Loliwe.
In granting the DA an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court to interdict the payment of illegally employed cadres, Judge Henny’s judgment was scathing against Councillor Marbi in particular for attempting to “commit fraud on the court” by submitting a false affidavit. In his affidavit, Councillor Marbi swore under oath that the former Acting Municipal Manager had signed employment contracts for the cadres, and therefore were employees at the Municipality, knowing this was untrue.
Councillor Tsengwa and Skosana swore under oath that they were aware of the affidavit submitted by Councillor Marbi and that it was true. Both knew that it was not.
The first action of the ANC/Patriotic Alliance/PBI/EFF Coalition of Corruption, after ousting the DA-led government, was to illegally change the council organogram to add eight new positions that it then filled with cadres deployed by the ANC, Patriotic Alliance and PBI, without following any due process. This included the wife and brother of Patriotic Alliance and PBI senior officials.
The illegal changes to the organogram and employment process form part of Part B of the DA’s application to court and will be heard early next year.
Disciplinary action will be taken against Butler and Loliwe as municipal employees and code of ethics violation charges will follow for the 11 councillors who voted to pay the salaries, even though they had a legal opinion advising them against payment.
This money was meant to fund temporary employment for unemployed Knysna youth during the high season. The DA will not stand by while the Coalition of Corruption attempts to capture the town and steal the money of the hardworking ratepayers of Knysna.
This judgment is a victory for democracy against cadre deployment and corruption that the DA will fight, tooth and nail for.
Die Demokratiese Alliansie (DA) het nog ‘n slag geslaan vir Afrikaans, hierdie keer op Stellenbosch. Kort nadat ons die Afrikaanse Taalmonument in die Paarl beskerm het teen die ANC, en Blade Nzimande se pogings om Afrikaans as “uitheems” te verklaar verslaan het, het die DA nou ook korte mette gemaak met die gewraakte Khampepe-verslag se aanbeveling dat Afrikaans geheel en al afgeskaf moet word aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch (US).
Kort na die uitreiking van hierdie verslag deur oudregter Sisi Khampepe – wat Afrikaans gelykstel met rassisme en aanbeveel dat die universiteit se taalbeleid hersien word om ontslae te raak van die taal – het die DA op 11 November ‘n prokureursbrief geskryf aan US-rektor Wim de Villiers. Die brief het dit duidelik gemaak dat die DA regstappe sal doen indien die verslag se aanbeveling oor die afskaffing van Afrikaans in werking gestel word. Ons het dit ook beklemtoon dat die DA die gelykstelling van Afrikaans aan diskriminasie en uitsluiting verwerp en dat dit onaanvaarbaar is vir ‘n hele gemeenskap om toegang tot moedertaalonderrig te verloor op grond van onderhoude met slegs 22 persone uit ‘n universiteitsgemeenskap van meer as 33 000.
Die DA het ook geskryf aan die trustees van die Het Jan Marais Fonds met die versoek dat alle befondsing aan die universiteit onttrek word indien die Khampepe-aanbeveling oor Afrikaans deurgevoer word. Jan Marais het in 1915 die skenking gemaak waarmee die US gestig is, op die uitdruklike voorwaarde dat befondsing onttrek moet word as Afrikaanse onderrig ooit afgeskaf word.
Volgens berigte is die Khampepe-verslag se aanbevelings Maandag op die spits gedryf tydens ‘n vergadering van die US-Raad in Stellenbosch, waarvan die DA se Dr Leon Schreiber ‘n verkose lid is. Te midde van volgehoue DA-druk het De Villiers volgens berigte tydens die vergadering toegegee dat die US se taalbeleid, in lyn met die DA se eise, nie verander sal word nie. ‘n US-woordvoerder het blykbaar na die vergadering bevestig dat Khampepe se aanbeveling oor Afrikaans verwerp.
Die DA verwelkom hierdie dramatiese ommeswaai as ‘n uiters belangrike deurbraak in ons veldtog ter beskerming van die reg op moedertaalonderrig. Oudregter Khampepe se bevindings oor Afrikaans was beledigend en ondeurdag, en die inwerkingstelling van haar aanbeveling sou die doodsklok lui vir die taal op Stellenbosch.
Danksy die DA se vasberade aktivisme, is Afrikaans gered van totale ondergang aan die einste universiteit waar dit tot akademiese taal ontwikkel het. Ons sal nou seker maak dat die US sy woord gestand doen deur nie Khampepe se aanbevelings oor Afrikaans te implementeer nie.
Hierdie uitsonderlike oorwinning vir Afrikaans bewys dat die ondergang van ons inheemse tale nie onafwendbaar is nie, en dat die DA ‘n betroubare bondgenoot is vir almal wat hul taalregte wil beskerm teen aanvalle soos dié van Khampepe. Die DA sal voortgaan om die harde werk te doen om te verseker dat die US nie, soos talle ander universiteite, die pad van algehele verengelsing loop nie.
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.
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.
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.
For a rollercoaster experience that is simultaneously infuriating, depressing, exhilarating and inspiring, take an in-depth look at some of South Africa’s small towns.
The infuriating and depressing part is the chaos, decay, bankruptcy and destruction wrought by the ANC-cadres who control these administrations.
The exhilarating and inspiring part is the extent to which motivated citizens are stepping into the breach, voluntarily fulfilling functions the municipal administration is failing to deliver.
During the past week I spent time in Modimolle-Mookgophong, the new name for the amalgamated towns once known as Nylstroom and Naboomspruit in Limpopo.
When they were amalgamated in 2016, presumably to save costs, the ANC administrations refused to retrench a single person from the bloated staff establishments.
Instead of being grateful for having kept their jobs, however, many employees were angry that their grossly inflated salaries were adjusted to the average of the two towns for the relevant position. The attitude of those affected has, since then, been one of malicious compliance.
A major challenge the DA faces when we take over an ANC administration, are the many unproductive and often unqualified cadres who fail to do their jobs. A significant number, often in senior positions, consider their access to procurement systems as a licence to extract as much as they can for themselves from the state — often to the point of obscene corruption.
A visit to Modimolle-Mookgophong is a sobering experience for those of us who are accustomed to functional administrations in the towns where we live. The extent to which many residents are taking responsibility for fixing their town themselves is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The town council comprises 14 ANC members, 7 DA, 4 Eff and 3 FF-plus. The executive committee consists of 2 ANC members, 1 DA, 1 EFF and 1 FF-plus. That means there is a 14:14 divide between the ANC, on the one hand, and all opposition parties.
Despite being heavily outnumbered, the DA’s Marlene van Staden was elected mayor — by a coin toss following the 2021 election after an even split in the council’s vote. The Speaker is ANC, with a casting vote in most council decisions. This means that to get any proposal through, Marlene has to seek consensus — an enormous challenging task.
Inevitably, any attempt to introduce effective performance management in the administration is blocked. When any senior official tries to apply performance management, they are targeted and their lives are, literally, in danger.
I was told about one acting Municipal Manager who was hit over the head in her office with a flower pot. She has since retreated into her shell, saying and doing as little as possible, for fear of the consequences of actually holding staff accountable.
Marlene’s power to fix things are also systemically limited. She is not an Executive Mayor. She chairs an Executive Committee (on which is a minority of one). It is this committee, not the Mayor, that takes executive decisions. Given the sharp ideological divisions, it is even difficult to reach agreement on a policy programme to fix the rot and take the municipality forward.
Despite this, the indefatigable Mayor, with her boundless energy and enthusiasm, has achieved a great deal to fix the disaster she inherited, after two decades of ANC rule. It is a Herculean task.
The greatest challenge is, undoubtedly the administration, largely dominated by ANC cadres — where internal conflicts have led to court actions that have prevented the appointment of a permanent municipal manager since 2018.
As in all administrations, there are some good, hard-working people, but they are usually bludgeoned into silence, as accountability systems collapse entirely.
Those who work hard, soon stop doing so under pressure from others. Hard workers are regarded as traitors or accused of “acting white”. The much-vaunted notion of Ubuntu has degenerated into an enforced solidarity to protect the laziest, most corrupt and least productive from facing consequences.
Modimolle’s total revenue is R28-million and its salary Bill is almost R20-million, which means there is hardly any budget to maintain infrastructure, let alone expand it. The town’s accumulated debt to Eskom, over many years, is now almost R900-million.
Despite this crisis, most of the staff do whatever they can to avoid having to work during normal office hours, preferring to extend their tasks into “over-time” to earn the generous additional rates. They are only too happy to accept the salary increases negotiated for them by the SA Local Government Association (SALGA), which will cost the bankrupt municipality another R800,000 per month.
I was told of scams to sabotage equipment and infrastructure so that the municipality would be forced to hire trucks, water tankers, and sewage “honey-suckers” from politically-linked companies that allegedly offer generous kick-backs.
I heard of functional equipment being sold for scrap — so that new equipment could be hired, in another cadre enrichment scam. A culture of maintenance is all but non-existent.
DA councillors regularly drive around with bakkies and trailers to collect refuse in their wards, when the administrative staff fail to do so.
Then there are the extraordinary townsfolk. People like Erna Human who initiated “Aksie Opknap” (“Operation Fixit”), Sarie van den Berg, who started “Adopt-a-pothole” and Wiets Botes, who is greeted and welcomed everywhere because of his reputation for getting things done. He is also the candidate for the upcoming by-election in Ward 12, on 3 August.
DA councillor, Antoinette Wagener, started a non-profit organisation called “Friends of Modimolle-Mookgophong” to help the Council get some of its basic administrative functions sorted out.
Antoinette told me her initiative started when she tried, in vain, to get her erf plan out of the municipality’s Planning Department, when she wanted to do some renovations. She was told bluntly (but honestly) that her plans would never be traced because the filing system was in chaos.
Undeterred, she mobilised a group of her friends (including Alta van Aswegen, an expert in filing systems) and formed a “non-profit” organisation called “Friends of Modimolle-Mookgophong”.
She applied to the Acting Municipal Manager for permission to come in and help fix things. Fortunately, permission was granted.
Antoinette showed me pictures that again moved me from the point of despair to one of profound respect and admiration for the work of these volunteers.
Take a look, below, at what the “filing system” looked like when these women arrived at the office. Apart from the total filth in parts of the office, including the kitchen, to describe the situation as chaotic would be an understatement. The pictures below show what the Planning Department’s “filing system” looked like when the ladies arrived:
And below is a glimpse of the kitchen
The team got to work, undertaking the mammoth task of sorting every piece of paper into the correct file in a functional system, in which site plans could be traced for every erf in the town.
These are pictures of the women at work. They did the whole task entirely voluntarily, because they love their town and want it to function properly, while those who get paid to do it, do as little as they can get away with. Which is often nothing, in the absence of proper performance management systems.
But this was not the only extraordinary things I witnessed.
In several places, volunteers were hard at work doing the maintenance the municipal workers are either unwilling or unable to do.
Marlene and her team donate from their own salaries, and also raise funds privately to pay the workers who assist the volunteers who undertake the town’s maintenance themselves.
Below is a photo of a Fibre Optic Company, MEGS, donating their time and labour to fill potholes. The company carries the cost of this work, which can add up to R25,000 per day including equipment, labour and tar. Herotel, an Internet Service Provider, often does the same.
And below are Van Waveren Plimbers, a private company, fixing a leaking pipe deep underground that the municipality has not repaired for a decade. The spare parts alone cost over R3,000.
Residents have also adopted sections of the town and are cleaning up outside public buildings, trying to restore them to their former functional state.
This is small town South Africa. Residents who love their towns are doing whatever the can to save them from the ravages of ANC rule, and over-paid cadres who refuse to be held accountable for the jobs they are supposed to do.
One would hope they feel a deep sense of shame. But I doubt it. The thousands of free-loaders and rent-seekers are more likely relieved that someone else is doing the work, despite the fact that they are being over-paid to do so.
Despite the magnificent work done by volunteers in small towns across the country, this is an unsustainable method of maintaining these towns in the long run.
The term “Cry the Beloved Country” comes to mind. This famous aphorism remains valid in every South African generation — for different reasons.
In this generation it is the total failure of the so-called liberation party to serve any interest except its own.
It is time for voters everywhere to recognise they have the power to change this and vote for competent, committed, hard-working people, to replace the indolent looters.
There is no time to lose. Because, as volunteers in some towns are learning to their horror, there comes a point of no return where the decay is so deep that it is impossible to reverse.
Fortunately Modimolle-Mookgophong can still be saved. Because of a dynamic mayor, a handful of DA councillors and a committed community compensating for dysfunctional administration.
The changes to the State of Disaster rules announced by the President tonight do not go far enough, and continue to hold the country back from a full recovery. Despite some welcome changes, the persisting rules will harm jobs and increase poverty while providing no benefit at all.
The DA welcomes the scrapping of the outdoor mask-wearing requirement and the announcement that vaccinated travellers will not need a negative PCR test to enter the country. This will go some way to helping our tourism industry and other cross-border businesses recover.
Unfortunately, the changes have come too late for the summer tourism season.
The retention of existing limits of 1000 and 2000 people at indoor and outdoor events will continue to strangle the events industry. These number limits are completely arbitrary and are probably exceeded daily at many of our malls or markets.
The concession for venues with vaccinated or PCR negative people to go to half capacity is not enough; full capacity without any PCR or vaccine requirement should be allowed.
The rules make no sense as the country struggles with record-breaking joblessness, poverty, and rising food prices, but no Covid-19 pressure on our hospitals.
Children will continue to have to endure the discomfort and impediment to language and emotional development of wearing masks at school.
Social distancing and other workplace rules will continue to harm the productivity of government and other services.
There are other less well-known rules which Ministers have been empowered to make, such as those limiting family visit to prisons to two non-contact visits a month. This is an ongoing cruelty.
On Wednesday 23 March 2022 South African will begin a third year of living under harmful and nonsensical rules undemocratically decreed by the National Coronavirus Command Council.
The only measure the DA will support is the continuation of the Social Relief of Distress grant. This is necessary because of the extraordinary economic harm caused by lockdown rules.
The DA will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that every last restriction in terms of the State of Disaster is overturned – and to fight any attempt to make these permanent via regulations in the National Health Act or elsewhere.
A collective of eminent scientists has laid out very clearly what needs to happen with the knowledge gained over the last two years, including that SARS-CoV-2 be removed from the list of notifiable medical conditions. They recommend that public health interventions such as optimising ventilation of indoor spaces and masking should be recommended only for during a Covid-19 and/or any other respiratory virus (including influenza should the winter influenza seasons return) waves and for high-risk individuals. They recommend that all border restrictions entering and leaving the country regarding SARS-CoV-2 should be removed with immediate effect.
These scientists recommend that the focus of South Africa’s efforts in this third year of the Covid-19 pandemic should be on repairing:
The damage done to children’s education.
The damage done to non-Covid-19 health priorities, including childhood vaccination, HIV, TB, antimicrobial resistance and chronic care programmes.
Vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with comorbidities and who lack social protections.
The collapse of hospital services such as those in the Eastern Cape
These public health professionals point out that health services in prior waves in many provinces were characterised by late managerial reaction, and they recommend focussed attention on the accountability of health service senior managerial services across the country.
Their view on the proposed, permanent regulations is that they reflect “incompetence and South Africa deserves better”.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the Head of the Executive, to instruct the Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, to retract and issue a public apology for undermining the Judiciary and casting aspersions on its integrity in a recent opinion piece. Even if no formal finding of wrongdoing has been made on Sisulu’s remarks, President Ramaphosa has an obligation to protect public trust in the constitutional integrity of other arms of government.
We will also call on the minister to appear before Parliament’s Ethics Committee where she will be asked to explain how, as a Member of Parliament, she reconciles her attack on the Judiciary with the Parliamentary Code of Conduct. This Code stipulates, among others, that members “act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them”. It also demands from members that they “discharge their obligations in terms of the Constitution, to Parliament and the public at large, by placing the public interest above their own interests” and that they “maintain public confidence and trust in the integrity of Parliament and thereby engender the respect and confidence that society needs to have in Parliament as a representative institution.”
In an op-ed titled “Lindiwe Sisulu: Hi Mzansi, have we seen justice?”, that was carried by Independent Online on 7 January 2022, Sisulu launched a direct attack on the Judiciary and appeared to insinuate that black judges were “house negroes” whose interpretation of the law had no African or Pan African ideological grounding. She claimed that: “Today, in the high echelons of our judicial system are these mentally colonised Africans… (whose) lack of confidence permeates their rulings against their own…”
As an incumbent member of the national Executive, Minister Sisulu (i) violated the Executive Code of Ethics by engaging in behaviour inconsistent with her role as a Cabinet Minister, and (ii) violated the principle of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary by insinuating that members of the Judiciary were misinterpreting the law to pursue vested agendas.
Section 2.1(d) of the Executive Code of Ethics enjoins members of the Executive to “act in all respects in a manner that is consistent with the integrity of their office or the government”. Sisulu’s unprovoked attack on the Judiciary struck at the heart of our constitutional democracy and created a perception that members of the bench cannot be trusted.
When she was appointed to her Cabinet post, Sisulu took an oath to “…be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and…obey, respect and uphold the Constitution and all other laws of the Republic; and…undertake to hold…office as Minister with honour and dignity…”. Her divisive and race-baiting op-ed on the Judiciary means that she has violated her oath and undermined the constitutional principle of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary.
Simply put, Minister Sisulu is not fit for Cabinet, and anywhere else her job would be on the line. In a functional democracy a member of the Executive who launches a calculated and damaging attack on the integrity of the Judiciary would be summarily fired by the Head of the Executive. But we also know that President Ramaphosa demands very little in terms of accountability and ethics from his ministers and is unlikely to take such action.
A retraction and apology, however, are the very least he should demand. Failure to do so will leave the generality of South Africans, who were appalled by Minister Sisulu’s op-ed, with no option but to conclude that the President of South Africa condones her actions.
The overwhelming majority of South Africa’s judicial officers have consistently conducted themselves with integrity and probity in the discharge of their duties. It would be highly irresponsible to let politicians, especially a sitting Cabinet Minister, undermine their work through unsubstantiated claims of bias.
Please find attached a soundbite by the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition, Natasha Mazzone MP.
The DA applauds the speed and efficiency with which the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town reacted to the devastating fire that ravaged large parts of Parliament today.
We thank President Ramaphosa for acknowledging that the City of Cape Town has an incredible fire response team, and agree completely with his assessment. Had it not been for these firefighting heroes, who responded within six minutes of getting the call, we could have seen nothing but a pile of ash where the buildings of hope and freedom once stood.
It cannot be denied that the upkeep of Parliament, security and general maintenance has been headed on a downward trajectory for the last ten years. The buildings have become neglected, dirty, dangerous and certainly not befitting of the home of South Africa’s democracy. Today’s disastrous fire has been a catastrophe just waiting to happen.
It has come to our attention through the Chief Whips’ Forum that SAPS is awaiting permission from the Fire and Emergency Services to take control to conduct an investigation. It is our belief that an independent investigation should also be launched immediately, led by fire, arson and forensic experts to ensure nothing is missed or overlooked.
We urgently request that this investigation assesses how this fire started and spread with the speed and ferocity that it did to all the houses.
We demand an urgent meeting of the Chief Whips’ Forum to get a full report of matters as they stand.
We also demand that the Minister of Public Works, Patricia de Lille, makes public the documents in her posession regarding the previous fire.
It has been reported that a 51-year-old male is being held for questioning. The truth must out, and the President, Minister Bheki Cele and Minister Patricia de Lille must be completely open and transparent in sharing all information with the South African public. It is after all the People’s Parliament and they have the right to know the truth.
In the emergency meeting of the Chief Whips, it is vital that a decision is made as to where parliament will sit while repairs take place, how SONA 2022 will be conducted and from where staff will work. It is essential that the People’s Parliament must continue to sit and hold the government and the executive to account.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State is pleased to announce that Councillor Dennis Khasudi and Councillor Sidney Pittaway has been elected as Executive Mayor and Speaker respectively of the Council of the Fezile Dabi District Municipality.
Both positions won election to office today at the inaugural meeting of Council after being supported by the councillors of other opposition parties.
As no coalition agreement or co-governing arrangement or agreement were in place before the election, we are deeply aware that the election to office sends a clear message that opposition parties in the Fezile Dabi District Municipality agreed that in order to improve the services rendered by the municipality, a change in political leadership was desperately necessary.
Our office bearers will strive to establish an administration earmarked by sound financial management, honest and clean government and the delivery of good services to all communities.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo wishes to congratulate Councillor Marlene van Staden who has been elected as Mayor of Modimolle-Mookgophong Local Municipality during the council sitting held today.
Mayor Van Staden was elected through a coin toss after there had been two tied rounds of voting (14 votes each), with the EFF and FF Plus councillors voting for our candidate. The council had held four previous council meetings with no resolution on the position of mayor, while a speaker was only elected at the fourth meeting.
Councillor Sinah Langa of the ANC was elected as Speaker at the previous council sitting and Councillor Maria Kekana of the ANC has also been elected as Chief Whip today. The Council also resolved to replace the Acting Municipal Manager, Dr Melusi Mhlanga, with the current Town Planning Director, Ms Dakalo Sinthumule.
The DA is excited and looks forward to continue on its sustained efforts to ensure good governance, revitalise the local economy and provide good basic services for all residents within the municipality.
We are committed to putting the residents of Modimolle-Mookgophong first and ensuring that the municipality gets back to its main purpose of ensuring services for all residents.
We wish Mayor Van Staden and her team all the best.