BOKAMOSO | The DA is changing for the future

This weekend, the DA’s Federal Council – its highest decision-making body between congresses – will meet to deliberate on the changes required to position the party for future growth. Just as South Africa needs to implement reforms if it is to grow its economy and prosper, so the DA needs to change if it is to grow.

The DA has set out on a course to become the national government in South Africa – this is no secret. This project is as urgent and necessary as ever and we will pursue it, however difficult that may be. We have absolutely no intention of retreating and becoming a regional party and it is in no-one’s interest that we do so. To this end, the party will be deliberating this weekend on the recommendations flowing from a broad review of its leadership, policy, structures and operations.

Change is not always easy, but it is always necessary if an organisation is to remain robust and forward-looking. The DA needs to fully embrace any changes that will position it for growth and as the party that champions inclusive economic growth.

The only way to empower the citizens of this country and extend opportunity to all is if we change the rules of the game to enable more economic productivity in South Africa. This requires us at the very least to: free up the labour market, especially for small, medium and micro enterprises; privatise or close most state-owned enterprises; open our energy market to competition from independent producers; and walk away from investment-killing policies such as expropriation without compensation, national minimum wage, national health insurance, prescribed assets and the mining charter.

South Africa will not achieve broad prosperity unless we reform our economy to get it focused on growth. These reforms are simply not being implemented by the ANC and anyone who still thinks they will be is sadly naïve. So, it falls to the DA to drive South Africa’s reform agenda. Thus, it is imperative that the DA grows to become a key player in national government.

Therefore, however challenging it may be, the DA needs to win the trust of the majority of South Africans. We cannot content ourselves with being the voice of minorities; we must broaden our appeal to attract more black South Africans too.

One of the ways to win trust is to govern with excellence and integrity. Where the DA governs, we have racked up considerable governing successes, not just in the Western Cape, but also in Johannesburg, where Overall Household Satisfaction Index increased from 61 in 2017 to 73 in 2019. We’ve cut the destructive patronage system that entrenched itself during 22 years of ANC government in the metro and doubled the amount of investment facilitated this year compared with last year.

But we must redouble our efforts to continuously show governance improvement. To this end, we are strengthening our governance unit and giving it the most authoritative leadership possible, in the form of James Selfe, who is vacating the Federal Council chair position after nineteen years of remarkable service.

As such, we will also be electing a new chairperson of Federal Council this weekend. In making this choice, the focus must be about building the DA of the future and reversing the losses from 2019. These we must use as a catalyst to bounce back higher than ever before.

The DA is trying to achieve something extraordinary. In a country with a centuries-old history of competing nationalisms, we are trying to bring very different people and very different groups together around shared principles that transcend group identity.

These principles are a commitment to the Constitution, to a market-driven economy, and to capable state that delivers to all citizens, especially the poor. We do not believe South Africa will prosper without these three key elements.

This is not an easy project. When you’re operating in the political centre, you have adversaries and potential supporters on all sides. The DA faces the unique challenge of needing to make an emotional connection with a wide range of voters of vastly differing worldview and backgrounds. Add to that the challenge of internal diversity and its ever-present need to “find each other”, and it becomes remarkable that the DA managed unchecked growth for as long as it did.

Growing pains were inevitable. And if our minor slide backwards leads us to make the necessary adjustments to get us back on course, then history will show it was a better outcome than a minor increase would have been.

The DA is changing for the future. We are trying to achieve the extraordinary. I don’t know if any other party has succeeded in achieving this anywhere in the world at any time. And it remains to be seen whether we can succeed here in South Africa. But I know we must never give up the fight.

BOKAMOSO | Alan Winde’s bold safety plan for the Western Cape

Our country’s crime levels have been so high for so long that we have become a nation almost resigned to living in fear. Even the most shocking and violent crimes hardly make the news. But last week, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde drew a line in the sand when he launched his safety plan for the Western Cape. For Winde, a safer province is non-negotiable and he’s willing to be held personally accountable if he doesn’t succeed. One of his commitments is to halve the province’s murder rate in 10 years. This task is at once both seemingly impossible and completely essential.

The province will be allocating a billion rand a year to the dual approach of fighting crime and preventing violence. On the crime-fighting front, this will fund an additional 3000 law enforcement officers and 150 investigators. The law enforcement officers will be deployed where and when crime happens while the investigators will be tasked with preparing dockets for prosecution, to ensure legitimate arrests lead to convictions. Both will focus strategically on areas of concentrated crime and use technology to achieve maximum “bang for buck”.

The murder rate in the Western Cape is now 60 for every 100 000 people. Yet murder and other violent crime is concentrated in a few specific neighborhoods. Murders in the suburb of Bonteheuwel, for example, dropped from 44 last year to just 1 this year as a result of such concentrated effort. But alone, such targeted initiatives cannot ensure sustained results, as criminals can move to other areas.

It has to be recognised that achieving a safe Western Cape will be a process, not an event. Violent crime is one of the most complex challenges of the Western Cape. Tackling it requires not just a law enforcement but also a violence prevention component to address the underlying causes of violence. This means giving children, families and communities alternatives to violence – such as opportunities to form loving relationships, play a sport, gain a skill, get a job, or start a business. This requires sustained interventions on multiple fronts, some of which can only be expected to yield significant results a decade or two from now.

Winde’s violence prevention programme is multi-faceted with every provincial cabinet minister having a safety priority with accountable, transparent metrics, aimed at the long-term eradication of crime. For example, Social Development will implement a programme to provide support to at-risk children and their caregivers in the first 1000 days of a child’s life, recognizing that the incidence of criminality is much reduced in individuals who’ve had their developmental needs met from conception to age two. A significant drop in crime levels in the United States in the 1990s was found to be substantially the result of abortion being legalized 20 years previously, meaning many unwanted children who would have embarked on a life of crime were never born in the first place. The point is that if we want a sustained drop in crime, we need to take a long-term approach and implement i nterventions now, even if we’ll only reap the rewards a decade or more hence.

Social Development will also roll out parenting programmes for high-risk families, aimed at curbing substance abuse and gender-based violence while the Education Department will implement innovative programmes for learners and educators to reduce violence at schools. Sports, Arts and Culture will increase access to after-school programmes that channel children’s energy into sport, art and other positive activities. It will also focus on increasing opportunities for youth aged 18-24 to access first work opportunities. The Finance Department will focus on increasing job opportunities and tourist safety, while the Agriculture Department will focus on rolling out the rural safety plan. Transport and Public Works will focus on road safety, using technology to reduce the high number of road deaths.

Winde’s plan involves a collaboration between province and the City of Cape Town, which has a law enforcement mandate. This enables Winde to get around the fact that control and budget for policing in SA is 100% located in national government.

In most countries, policing is largely devolved to local or provincial levels, as optimal crime-fighting requires local knowledge and coordination. South Africa is the exception. Here, the budget and control of policing is located in the national government for reasons that made sense back in 1994 when ANC-IFP tensions in KwaZulu Natal Province were a strong argument against giving legitimate control of force to either party there. Those conditions no longer hold, and the DA has long been calling for control of policing to be devolved – at least to those provinces and metros with the requisite capacity to implement effective policing.

Winde will continue to push for localized control of policing, but his safety programme shows that the province will not be held hostage to SAPS shortcomings or political considerations and will be forging ahead regardless. In DA-led Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba has taken a similar hard line against crime. His administration has trained and is about to deploy an additional 1500 metro police officers, which will double the metro police force. A safer SA requires action and accountability. This is the DA difference.

SPECIAL BOKAMOSO | Urgent reforms to combat gender-based violence

The following speech was delivered yesterday by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, during the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on gender based violence..

Honourable Members

As a nation, we have lost our way and our state is collapsing.

Violence against women, children and foreigners has become a daily occurrence.

We must condemn xenophobic attacks in the strongest terms, but we must also secure our borders to ensure that all those who enter our country are documented.

Similarly, the scourge of horrific attacks on women that occur daily is a dark stain on our nation.

Every day 114 women report that they have been raped. The tragedy is that no one gets arrested and prosecuted for this. The conviction rate for rape is a shameful 5%.

Many of these women are brutally murdered.

We need to say their names. Courtney Pieters. Janika Mallo. Leighandre Jegels. Valencia Farmer. Meghan Cremer. Karabo Mokoena. Uyinene Mrwetyana.

We must say the names of all the victims so that we may never forget them.

It is time to return the rule of law to our society. As a country, we have to say: Enough is enough. It ends here.

We all need to play our part. Not just the police or the courts. Not just the leaders in society. Every single one of us.

We must be better parents to our boys. We must raise them to respect girls and women as their equal. We must show our boys, through all our actions, what is right and what is wrong.

We must teach our children about consent at school. Kenya achieved dramatic results from the “No Means No” programme in their schools, and we need to introduce similar consent classes in our own Life Orientation curriculum.

And we must speak out against every single injustice. We can’t allow culture, tradition or religion to offer a hiding place for those who commit these acts.

This has to be a whole-of-society approach, Honourable Members. Because the rot has spread everywhere.

But there are also many specific things we can do right away in this House.

We need to establish an ad-hoc committee to investigate the systemic causes of gender-based violence and map out our long-term solutions.

It is also our job to shape legislation in order to protect women from abuse. And right now, that legislation is not up to the task. The Act that deals with domestic abuse is twenty years old and completely out of touch.

We need to replace both the Domestic Violence Act and the Protection from Harassment Act with a single piece of legislation that is better suited to this challenge.

The DA plans to introduce a Gender-Based Violence Bill that will do just this.

It will use language that includes all forms of abuse, and the substantive parts will be written in a simple, non-legal English so that ordinary South Africans can understand it.

The Bill will deal with applying for and enforcing protection orders from the court. It will also call for an online register of these domestic violence court orders so that this information can be accessed across different cities and towns.

This Bill will make it possible for us to increase our conviction rate for gender-based violence. It will be tabled before the end of the year.

We also have to recognise that there is no substitute for good police work. But in its current state, SAPS is often complicit.

We need to reform our police by professionalising them, by resourcing them and by training them. And we must place them under the control of provincial governments.

Right now only 16% of police stations meet the UN’s police-to-population ratio of 1 to 220. My own hometown of Dobsonville, Soweto, has to make do with a ratio of one police officer for every 1090 citizens.

Now compare this to our so-called VIPs in government, who have 81 police officers for every VIP.

Surely that can’t be right. We need to take that money and spend it on things like rape kits for the 76% of police station that have no such kits at all.

It also can’t be that we spend R350 per day to keep an inmate in prison, but only R70 per day to keep a woman safe in a shelter. We have to get our priorities straight.

Honourable Members, we need more dedicated detectives. Our police officers need to be trained to deal with traumatised victims, and they need victim-friendly rooms in which to do so.

Beyond training and equipping our police, we must also deal decisively with their corruption.

And finally, we need the Department of Justice to deliver on its promise back in 2013 to provide dedicated sexual offenses courts to all areas of the country. This programme needs to be accelerated.

There simply aren’t enough of these courts, particularly in the areas where they are needed most. And those that are there are not properly equipped.

Honourable Members, we know what we must do. Now it’s time to turn our good intentions into good outcomes. We need action.

The DA is already acting where we govern. Premier Winde will tell you about the steps his government is taking here in the Western Cape.

Let us put aside our differences and our politics. Let us recognise the severity of this crisis in our society. And let us make the dignity, respect and safety of the women and the girls in our society our number one priority.

Thank you.

 

SPECIAL BOKAMOSO | Our unemployment crisis requires action, not talk

The following speech was delivered by the DA leader in the National Assembly yesterday during the urgent debate on South Africa’s unemployment crisis.

Honourable Members

There is no doubt we are a nation in crisis. As we speak, large parts of Gauteng are a war zone as attacks on foreign nationals continue unabated.

Women and children are being raped and murdered every day.

Truck drivers have become sitting ducks in ongoing attacks and children disappear from their homes.

Enough is enough.

We are a country at war with itself. And in the background to this chaos, the massive shadow of unemployment hangs over our society. Almost four out of every ten South Africans can’t find work.

How did we reach this point?

It’s simple: We are in this situation because of a leadership crisis.

Our country is burning and our people feel they have nothing left to lose because we have a government that cannot lead.

It cannot agree on policy, it cannot implement whatever it has agreed on, and it cannot hold anyone accountable for this inaction.

Five years ago there were 8 million South Africans without work. This was considered a massive number, and clearly our biggest crisis.

Today, that number has breached the 10 million mark, and there is no sign of it slowing down. Soon it will be 11 and then 12 million.

By then, the powder keg that is now beginning to spark across Gauteng will have erupted nation-wide, and debates such as these will be too late. We need to fix this right now. We need to immediately set in motion the reforms that can shock our economy back into life.

Not set up commissions. Not open dialogues or embark on roadshows. We need action.

And so I table our economic recovery plan.

To start with, we have to all agree that only economic growth can pull us from the fire.

This means focusing all our efforts on the things that will make South Africa a more attractive option for investors, and an easier place to be an employer.

It also means identifying every area where we can plug the massive hole in our fiscus, and we should start with our SOE’s.

We must split Eskom into separate generation and distribution entities right away, and allow more Independent Power Producers to sell power into the grid.

When it comes to SAA, we must immediately place it under business rescue with a view to selling it off. We cannot continue to bail it out at the expense of poor South Africans.

Then we need to set up a government-wide review on spending in order to prioritise all future spending. This includes curbing the Public Sector wage bill.

It also includes walking away from disastrous policies like the NHI, EWC, National Minimum Wage, nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and now also talk of prescribed assets.

These policies will repel investment, they will lock out more people from the labour market and they will cripple our national budget.

We must also admit that BEE was never about broad-based inclusion, and we must scrap it entirely. We need a redress plan centred on inclusive growth to ensure real broad-based participation in the economy.

As part of this plan, we’d like to see the creation of a Jobs & Justice Fund to provide start-up capital for SMME’s.

Redress should also be about reversing one of Apartheid’s most damaging legacies – the destruction of wealth transfer. And one of the best ways to achieve this is to give more people title to the land they live on.

Honourable Members, many young people aren’t just unemployed, they are unemployable thanks to poor education and and a non-existent skills pipeline.

Is it not time to set up a national civilian service for young people so that they can learn skills through internships?

When it comes to declaring South Africa open for business, the first thing we must do is to relax our labour legislation to create an environment in which businesses can create jobs.

We must pass the DA’s Jobs Bill, which contains a wide range of incentives for foreign companies to invest in South Africa.

We also need to look at tax incentives for our big job-creating sectors like manufacturing, tourism, mining and financial services.

Of course government must also start paying all businesses on time and in full.

And let us place the police under the control of provincial governments to better protect citizens and businesses.

Honourable Members, many of these steps can be implemented right away, and would have an immediate positive effect on the economy.

But it seems we’re not the only ones who think so. The Treasury document released last week by the Finance Minister contains some of the reforms we have been calling for.

It is by no means a comprehensive strategy for growth, but it has practical steps we can take right now to kick-start the economy and start rolling back unemployment.

It is a document we support, and have already put into action in our own governments.

But, Honourable Members, a plan is not enough.

This ANC government has never been short on plans. Every few years there’s been a new one, from GEAR, to the NDP, to the New Growth Plan.

What government has been short on, however, is action – the courage to make tough choices. And we all know what those choices are.

You can’t speak of curbing spending while granting the public sector increases of 11% per year for a decade. You need the courage to say no.

You can’t speak of tightening the belt while continuing to keep SAA in the air through endless bailouts. This is of no benefit to poor South Africans.

You can’t speak of overhauling education without taking on SADTU and limiting their destructive power over our children’s future.

You can’t speak of cleaning up government if you’re not prepared to prosecute those inside your own party who were responsible for the looting.

You can’t begin to build a capable state if you won’t abandon cadre deployment and dismantle the patronage system it created.

Any plan is only as good as the intention to follow through on it. You need the courage to act and make tough choices.

Regardless what Treasury says, its document is most likely dead in the water because the ANC is a fundamentally divided party, and therefore it cannot act.

Remember, the party that wrote this document is the same party that also proposed the NHI, EWC and prescribed assets.

These things are polar opposites, and South Africans need to know this.

They need to know that the reason for our crisis is not because there is something wrong with us as a nation, but because we have a government paralysed by factions and fights.

We need to reform our politics.

We need to reform our economy.

And we need to reform our society.

The ball is now in your court, President Ramaphosa. You know what needs to be done. And you know you have an ally in the DA if you choose to act.

The question is: Will you have the courage to do so?

Enough is enough. It’s now time for action.

Thank you.

BOKAMOSO | DA fully supports Mboweni’s economic reform strategy

It seems the ANC has a DA finance minister! Tito Mboweni’s economic strategy paper released on Tuesday is a ray of light and hope on an otherwise dark horizon. His prescription is exactly what our failing economy needs. His proposed reforms are practical, realistic and achievable, policies that the DA has long been calling for. They will have the desired effect of boosting jobs and growth and reducing poverty, unemployment and inequality. They should be implemented immediately.

The DA in parliament will work with Mboweni to make this plan a reality. Where we govern, we stand ready to implement his recommendations. This is about changing the lives of millions of South Africans who are without work, without dignity and losing hope. It is about reversing South Africa’s slide, breaking the vicious cycle of low growth leading to debt leading to low growth, and setting up a virtuous cycle of growth generating opportunities for more and more people generating more growth. What Mboweni needs now to push his plans through is vocal, robust support from all quarters, be it civil society groupings, think tanks or opposition parties. Most of all, he needs President Ramaphosa’s full support.

South Africa’s economy is in such a bad way and the reform required so obvious that the complete lack of change under the new administration has been perplexing and dismaying. Of course, there are many in the ANC who seek to obstruct reform because it threatens their entrenched interests. But Minister Mboweni and others in the ANC who support reform surely know that they would have the full support of the DA and many other opposition parties too for any reforms they choose to pass.

This reform agenda is based on the principle, long held by the DA, that only a growing economy can deliver real, broad prosperity and generate more tax revenue for the state to spend on social services. It shows a welcome commitment to a market- rather than state-led economy and to the fiscal discipline we need to get us out of our current debt trap. It seeks to make it easier for businesses to start up, operate, and compete globally. It is music to our ears!

The DA strongly supports the proposal of “full or partial exemptions for SMMEs from certain kinds of regulations, including labour regulations, to mitigate the start-up costs for SMMEs, but also to reduce the considerable regulatory requirements”. Unlocking small business activity is the key to mass job creation and skilling.

We also welcome the proposal that municipalities should take over control of local transport including rail. This will enable us in the Western Cape to develop an integrated bus-rail commuter system, which would take some half million commuters off Cape Town’s roads and into safer, greener, cheaper buses and trains while alleviating road congestion.

And of course, we whole-heartedly embrace the focus on boosting labour-intensive activity such as tourism and agriculture by relaxing visa regulations and creating an enabling environment for investment in agriculture including by upholding private property rights. We have long called for more competition in the energy and communications industries to increase access and reduce costs. So, we welcome the proposals to unbundle Eskom, sell its coal stations and introduce an independent grid operator, as well as to open Telkom’s fixed-line broadband network and auction spectrum.

The only criticism we at the DA could level at Mboweni’s reform strategy is that it does not go far enough. Cities must be able to purchase power directly from independent producers (IPPs) and the police service must be provincialized. We’d like to see BBBEE scrapped or completely overhauled to enable real redress, and an unequivocal rejection of Reserve Bank nationalisation, expropriation without compensation, the national minimum wage and national health insurance (at least until we have a more solvent and capable state), all of which introduce risk and deter investment.

But I say this only for completeness, recognising that Mboweni faces constraints within his own party, and his need for pragmatism. We understand that he’s biting off just as much as can realistically be chewed right now.

If the pattern of support for this reform agenda could be mapped, it would show clearly that the ANC is ideologically schizophrenic with the majority in the party resisting change to protect vested interests. However, I believe an overall majority in South Africa’s political establishment would support these reforms. Hence a realignment of South Africa’s politics is required.

We need a coalition that places South Africa as the priority and supersedes party interests. Our constitution binds us as citizens and requires us to advance the interests of all citizens. It is the basis for the broad consensus that can ultimately ensure we agree on a workable plan. The fiscus must be managed in such a way that we build a capable state that can combat corruption and execute this plan. At the end of the day, only broad consensus on reform and a capable state can deliver real prosperity to our nation.

BOKAMOSO | We’re not targeting President Ramaphosa, we’re targeting a system of patronage

Some people mistake the DA’s insistence on an investigation into the R500 000 Bosasa payment to Cyril Ramaphosa’s Nasrec election campaign for a personal crusade against the man. Yet this not about going after one man. It is about fighting to dismantle a system of patronage that has poisoned our state and economy over the past two decades.

The system works like this: the ANC-in-government (e.g. Department of Correctional Services, Department of Mineral Resources) gives lucrative tenders to the ANC-in-business (e.g. Bosasa, Guptas, Chancellor House) which in return funds the ANC-as-political-party (one or both factions).

Like Zuma-Gupta, the Ramaphosa-Bosasa relationship follows this standard ANC modus operandi. It is no coincidence that the President’s son, Andile, started receiving large monthly payments for “consulting” work the same month his father became ANC president. That is how this system works.

This patronage system has enabled an ANC-connected elite to enrich themselves while also entrenching their political power to facilitate ongoing elite enrichment. It is profoundly anti-democratic, deeply corrupt, and unequivocally against the public interest.

The system is replicated in every sphere and level of government. As Kgalema Motlanthe remarked back in 2007: ‘The rot is across the board. It’s not confined to any level or any area of the country. Almost every project is conceived because it offers opportunities for certain people to make money.’ This is the lens through which we must analyse all projects and policies, including NHI.

State capture didn’t originate with the Gupta brothers, and it didn’t end with their departure. It wasn’t isolated to the term of President Zuma, and it didn’t benefit only his friends and family. The Guptas were simply the most brazen beneficiaries of state capture. Their unashamed looting pulled back the covers to reveal a much bigger, much more insidious web.

State Capture was built into the DNA of the ANC in 1997 when they formally adopted their policy of cadre deployment at their Mafikeng Conference. Their stated intention: to bring “all levers of power” under their control by deploying party loyalists to key positions across the state. The aim was to capture not only the institutions that control the biggest budgets, the SOEs, but also the institutions that are meant to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing, such as the Hawks, the NPA and SARS.

As much as we would all like the Zuma chapter to be closed for good, it would be extremely naïve to think that the ANC has changed its entire raison d’être simply because a different president sits at the helm. The recent revelations in the media of just how much it costs to buy a presidency – R400 million and counting – should burst that bubble. Despite the promises of a new dawn, it is clearly business as usual in the ANC.

Last week in Parliament, I asked the President to institute a full-scale, independent inquiry into all allegations of state capture that involve Bosasa. This inquiry should be headed by a retired judge, selected by the Chief Justice. It is crucial that we get straight answers and the full picture. We cannot afford to look the other way simply because we happen to like this President more than the other one, or because we fear what may be waiting in the wings. That is no way to uphold the values of our constitutional democracy.

And we must not stop with Bosasa. As was the case with the Guptas, Bosasa is just the most brazen, visible example of this toxic system that has permeated our state through the ANC. We must examine every donation made, and cross-check this with contracts awarded and appointments made.

We must root it out at every level and sphere of government. It is pervasive throughout – from the councillor who manipulates housing lists and work contracts to the mayor who hand-picks suppliers and service providers for multi-million Rand deals. It is so interwoven into the fabric of the ANC that they don’t even view this practice of patronage as unethical. It is simply seen as the spoils of war – the rightful reward for ending up on the victorious side of the party’s internal battle.

Our economy is in deep crisis and faces imminent collapse. We need to break this patronage system now. If we don’t, we risk another ANC faction paying even more for the presidency at the next elective conference, and our country will continue its descent. While government is seen as a “legitimate” ticket to wealth, nothing will change for South Africa. Investors will shun us, our economy will remain stalled, and poverty and unemployment will continue to rise. At some point, this pressure cooker could explode.

So, when the DA demands the whole truth and nothing but the truth from Cyril Ramaphosa, it’s nothing personal. Rather, it is of critical importance to the future of South Africa.

BOKAMOSO | NHI more about pillaging than pills

Having wrecked public healthcare, looted some R1.4 trillion from the public purse, rendered 10 million adults jobless, and put Eskom into a death spiral, the government is now turning its attention to nationalizing our healthcare system, tabling its National Health Insurance bill in Parliament last week.

Does anyone really believe the government can deliver a functioning NHI system? On the contrary, it will be catastrophic for our society and economy. If necessary, the DA will challenge the constitutionality of this bill.

Without doubt, everyone in South Africa should have access to quality healthcare. This is non-negotiable in our unequal society. The point of disagreement is how to achieve it. Two distinctly different plans are on the table: the DA’s Sizani Universal Healthcare plan; and the ANC’s NHI.

NHI centralizes the provision of healthcare, making the national department of health the sole provider in the country and forcing all doctors and other providers to contract to the state. This removes choice and competition and effectively creates a new state-owned enterprise, the NHI Fund, with all the usual vulnerabilities to institutionalised looting and state capture.

It envisages a central fund to buy healthcare services for South Africa’s entire population. It has not been costed but certainly requires a vastly greater budget, to be funded through higher taxes, and will take 10-15 years to implement.

Government spent R4.3 billion between 2012/13 and 2016/17 on ten failed NHI pilots. Yet it now seeks to roll out the failed system nationwide. Inevitably, our talent and tax base will erode as both medical professionals and taxpayers flee SA in droves to avoid having their lives at the mercy of our corrupt, incompetent government.

Far better is the DA’s Sizani, premised on the principle of leveraging what already works well (SA’s private health sector and private pharmacies) to bring improvements to what is currently dysfunctional (SA’s public health sector).

The plan allocates a universal subsidy to every South African resident to cover a comprehensive package of health services within the public health system – free at the point of access to everyone, while retaining and reforming the medical aid system.

It is affordable and can be implemented relatively quickly (5-8 years), funded using the existing health budget together with the tax benefit currently allocated to medical aid members.

Sizani is based on localising accountability to hospitals and district health authorities and decentralising decision-making and appointment process. Costs would be driven down as the public and private sectors become more competitive.

Aspects of Sizani have been implemented in the Western Cape, where the DA provincial government runs the best healthcare system in South Africa. Mortality rates are half of other provinces and life expectancy is highest. Hospitals and clinics are far better maintained and resourced.

The WCPG seeks to bring service at public hospitals in line with the best private hospitals. At some hospitals, such as Paarl, they have already succeeded. By contrast, any equality in health provision achieved by NHI will be through destroying what works, rather than by fixing what is broken.

As with expropriation without compensation, prescribed assets (forced investment of pensions in SOEs) and nationalising the Reserve Bank, NHI is a blatant attempt to open more opportunities for looting. We need to stop playing political games with people’s lives, reject NHI, and adopt Sizani.

BOKAMOSO | Ramaphosa cannot be “more equal than others”

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” proclaimed the governing pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, to avoid accountability for their law-breaking. In this unforgettable sentence, Orwell delivered his powerful message down the ages, that all must be equal before the law.

Given the dire state of our economy and the hopes that have been pinned on President Ramaphosa, it is perhaps understandable that South Africans are resistant to his being equal before the law.

It explains why my request for the Public Protector to investigate the nature of the relationship between corrupt Bosasa and the Ramaphosa family has generated resentment. However, I stand firmly behind my actions, confident that I am acting in the country’s best interest.

To recap: Ramaphosa by his own admission received a payment to his campaign bank account of R500,000 from Bosasa’s controversial CEO, Gavin Watson. Also by his own admission, Ramaphosa’s son Andile Ramaphosa has benefitted from a business relationship with Bosasa.

There is a clear conflict of interest in both instances, since Bosasa does billions of rands of business with the state. Yet the President and his son refused my PAIA application for access to Andile’s business contract with Bosasa. Furthermore, President Ramaphosa misled Parliament about these payments. Like it or not, this constitutes a serious breach of the Executive Ethics Code.

The correct (and only) action for the opposition to take was to lay a complaint with the Public Protector requesting her to investigate, which is what I did. Not doing so would have constituted a dereliction of my constitutional duty. In fact, it was the only response available to me: the Office of the Public Protector is the only institution mandated to investigate violations of executive ethics.

Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi’s subsequent testimony to the Zondo Commission into State Capture revealed the extent of the corrupt relationship between Bosasa and many in the ANC.

Equality before the law is a founding principle of SA’s democracy. Indeed, if it were Zuma and his son Duduzane rather than Ramaphosa and Andile, there would be loud calls for accountability.

However, my call for accountability has generated significant resentment for two reasons, both of which are fundamentally flawed.

First, Ramaphosa is seen to represent the “good ANC” which will save SA from the “bad ANC”. Thus, there is a feeling that he must be protected. However, this directly contradicts the principle of equality before the law. It also ignores the reality, which is that there is only one ANC, a party which is currently destroying SA.

Second, the Public Protector herself is incompetent and unfit to hold office. This is somehow used to argue for Ramaphosa’s innocence. Yet Mkhwebane’s unfitness to hold office has no bearing on whether or not the relationship between Bosasa and the President is corrupt.

I will continue to pursue accountability because the principle of equality before the law must be upheld, and the institutions of our democracy respected whether or not the incumbent is fit to hold office.

SA’s long-term success depends on the health of our democratic institutions, not on the health of the ANC. Therefore, President Ramaphosa cannot be “more equal than others”.

BOKAMOSO | The myth of two ANCs is hurting South Africa

To secure a prosperous future for South Africa, the South African public needs to understand that the ANC as a whole is disastrous for this country. The notion that the “good ANC” of Ramaphosa and his reform slate will save South Africa from the “bad ANC” of Magashule, Mabuza, Zuma and the various looters of our state is misguided.

Since taking over from President Zuma a year and a half ago, President Ramaphosa has benefitted from, and at times peddled, this myth. It has largely succeeded in absolving him from wrongdoing and placing him beyond reproach in the eyes of the South African public when what we should be doing is holding him to account.

Superficially, this myth of two ANCs seems plausible and is perhaps entrenched by certain policy disagreements, such as the issue of the Reserve Bank.

But there is in fact only one ANC in which Cyril Ramaphosa has been a central player since long before he became its president at Nasrec. He sat on the ANC’s Top 6 under Jacob Zuma – the same structure he continues to serve in today. He was part of every decision, good or bad, taken by this structure and it is inconceivable that he was either unaware, or sat passively, as key issues were discussed and implemented.

For example, in KZN back in 2011, the ANC succeeded in strengthening their position and weakening the IFP by rewarding Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi with a deputy cabinet post for splitting from the IFP to form the National Freedom Party. It seems the same tactic has been applied in the Western Cape, except this time the reward was a full cabinet post.

Another example is the list of compromised Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Chairs announced last month which, according to the myth, Ramaphosa either didn’t know about, or had foisted upon him by the “bad ANC” faction. This is simply not true. Ramaphosa cannot have been oblivious to these appointments, as though he had just jetted in yesterday from a distant planet with smart cities and bullet trains.

Ironically, Ramaphosa is the one now preaching ANC unity, while the media commentators persist with the “two ANCs” message on his behalf. It is a dangerous, ahistorical fiction that fails to recognise the political power of the collective in the ANC.

A related myth is that Ramaphosa needs protection from his enemies within the party. This myth is spread by those who called for a “stronger mandate” for Ramaphosa ahead of the elections.

But as they are now fast discovering, it is impossible to give such a mandate to him alone. The effect of this myth has been to destroy accountability and absolve the ANC of its wrongdoings.

Here is a president who received half a million rand from corrupt Bosasa, who got caught out and misled Parliament, and who then had to change his response, even though there is no legal process in Parliament for changing a response. These are facts, but they are easily ignored by those who believe he is simply a victim of a conspiracy by the bad guys – a victim who now needs our protection.

These myths play beautifully into the hands of the president. Because while this is the dominant narrative, he can do no wrong. And if he appears to do wrong, then it must have been the actions of the forces of evil from whom he needs our protection. The President of the Republic of South Africa has extraordinary and excessive constitutional powers. He doesn’t need protection. He needs to be held to a high standard, and he needs to be accountable for his actions. Canonising him in a myth of good vs evil is a dangerous game for our democracy.

The ANC as a whole, with its vision of a National Democratic Revolution in which the state controls the economy, is destroying South Africa. Buying into a myth which removes accountability and keeps the ANC in power is investing in SA’s demise.

BOKAMOSO: The DA will never sacrifice our core principles on the altar of power

Coalition politics is very likely to be the dominant model of government in South Africa for the foreseeable future.

At the moment, this applies at local government only. But it very nearly led to a change in government in Gauteng in May’s election, and as the ANC continues to disintegrate, I am convinced there will one day be a national coalition government, with the DA at its heart.

For that reason, we must work now to show South Africans the proof of concept, that coalitions can and do work all over the world. This doesn’t mean it will be easy. Most times it’s extraordinarily difficult. But without outright majorities, every opposition party is faced with a simple choice: either to allow the ANC to continue its criminal enterprise through the state, or to remove the ANC from power and form a new government with a plurality of political parties with whom you share at least some core values.

In August 2016, a multiparty governing coalition was formed between the DA and five other parties working with us in select municipalities. In its founding agreement, the coalition committed to the following:

  • Constitutionalism, which includes respect for the rule of law, separation of powers, and the independence of the Courts;
  • Non-racialism;
  • Free and fair elections;
  • Devolution of powers to provinces and municipalities, where capacity is established;
  • Building a capable state exemplified by a professional, efficient and non-partisan civil service
  • A free media;
  • Improving service delivery, particularly to poor and vulnerable South Africans;
  • Eradicating poverty and creating opportunity and security for all South Africans;
  • Creating an inclusive local government structure that respects the self-actualisation of the heritage, language and culture of all South Africans.

From as far back as 2006, when the ANC was removed from power in the City of Cape Town by a fragile seven-party governing coalition, we have remained consistent in our approach to coalitions. We will work with any political party that shares our core values of constitutionalism, non-racialism, the rule of law, a market-based economy, the eradication of corruption, and the speeding up of the delivery of basic services to all.

I want to be clear: the DA is not and will never be in power for power’s sake. We exist to deliver excellent, clean government that extends opportunities and improves lives. That is our strongest offer to voters, and any compromise on that would be self-defeating. Our consideration is whether there is any prospect of governing to the standards we set ourselves. That is why we went into government in SA’s biggest cities in 2016, expanding our governance footprint to over 15 million South Africans.

In addition to the formal governing coalition, we were happy to have the EFF support us on an issue-by-issue basis. This allowed our coalition governments to pass budgets, IDPs, and begin to turn those cities around after over 20 years of ANC misrule. While imperfect and tricky, these governance arrangements were working.

As with the 2006 coalition government in Cape Town, at no stage has the DA compromised on any of its core values and principles. Rather, we have rooted out billions of rands of corruption; stabilised economies and increased job opportunities; and sped up the delivery of clinics, houses, roads and other basic services to millions of South Africans.

However, there always comes a “red line”, and the demands made by the EFF last month crossed that line.

In a meeting in June, the leadership of the EFF made several demands to the DA, including becoming a formal coalition partner, and demanding the Mayoralty of Tshwane with immediate effect. The quid pro quo would be to reinstate a DA mayor in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The decision to not accede to the EFFs demands was unanimous among all of the coalition partners. It was inconceivable that the EFF could formally join a coalition agreement that doesn’t share any of its values or principles. Moreover, every party rejected the idea of the EFF taking the mayoralty of Tshwane for a number of reasons, including the EFFs action in installing a UDM/ANC coalition government in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Following this decision, the EFF took a decision to not support DA-led coalition governments in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Thabazimbi and Modimolle/Mookgophong.

While it remains unclear as to the extent of the EFFs intentions, we will not relent. Our principles and values will always come first. Should the EFF want to continue working with our coalition governments on an issue by issue, we would be happy to. This arrangement has worked well and been of benefit to all as at a local government level matters are less ideological, and rather service delivery orientated.

However, should the EFF move to force the DA into opposition in these metros and municipalities, we will continue to fight for our values from the opposition benches. We will not sacrifice our principles in order to hold onto power.

That is how a principled organization operates, and that is how I intend to lead the DA.