Ramaphosa erken ontvangs van DA-versoek vir Kommissie van Ondersoek na plaasmoorde

Vind asseblief aangehegte klankgreep deur Werner Horn LP.

President Cyril Ramaphosa se kantoor het teruggeskryf aan die Demokratiese Alliansie (DA) en ontvangs erken van die DA se brief waarin ons hom versoek om ‘n kommissie van ondersoek in te stel na die toenemende voorkoms van plaasmoorde en -aanvalle regoor die land.

Die afgelope week het gruwelike plaasmoorde in beide Limpopo en die Wes-Kaap plaasgevind. Die Kommissie van Ondersoek sal voorsiening maak vir ‘n deeglike ondersoek na die onderliggende oorsake van hierdie misdade en aanbevelings maak vir omvattende maatreëls om ons boerderygemeenskappe te beskerm.

Ten spyte van die frekwensie van plaasaanvalle en -moorde, bly die DA, en inderdaad die hele Suid-Afrika, verstom dat daar nie veel gedoen word om ons boere te beskerm teen kriminele elemente wat ons landelike gemeenskappe terroriseer nie.

Wetteloosheid het wortel geskiet op ons plase en in landelike gemeenskappe, maar niks word gedoen om die plaag beslissend te hanteer nie.

As ons voortgaan om landelike misdaadvoorkoming as ‘n aparte aktiwiteit van die voedselproduksie-waardeketting te beskou, sal ons voortgaan om ons boere en plattelandse inwoners aan kriminele netwerke bloot te stel. Dit help nie die regering maak beloftes oor landelike veiligheid, maar versuim om dit met tasbare optrede op te volg nie.

Tydens Bheki Cele, minister van polisie, se onlangse begrotingsdebat, het hy versuim om enige vordering wat gemaak is met landelike veiligheid of landelike misdaad in sy toespraak te noem. Ten spyte van die onlangse ontwikkeling van ‘n Landelike Veiligheidstrategie, is daar reeds twyfel oor die SAPD se verbintenis tot die strategie en of dit enige vrugte gaan afwerp.

Die lewens van ons boere en landelike gemeenskappe is onder groot gevaar en President Ramaphosa kan óf kies om in te stem tot die DA se versoek vir ‘n Kommissie van Ondersoek óf hom blind hou terwyl misdadigers ons boerderygemeenskappe terroriseer. Bheki Cele en sy SAPD faal duidelik mense in landelike gebiede ten spyte van ‘n bestaande landelike veiligheidsplan.

Tourism: Much needs to be done to reverse the terrible legacy of Lindiwe Sisulu

Please find attached a soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP.

In the Tourism Portfolio Committee this week, it was revealed that the representative of the Tourism Department that sat on the South African Tourism (SAT) board, never reported back to the Department on SAT board matters.

In addition, the legally required departmental representative attended SAT board meetings without any mandates from the department. Current Tourism Minister, Patricia de Lille assured the Portfolio Committee that this would change and that a departmental representative would not only attend SAT board meetings, but that the representative would brief the department and would attend board meetings with mandates from the department on the various issues.

This fact explains how it was that the R1 billion Tottenham Hotspur deal got as advanced as it did “without detection” and was almost signed had it not reached the public spotlight.

Had there been a properly constituted departmental representative at the SAT board that reported back and briefed the department, the Tottenham Hotspur matter may well have been squashed at an early stage.

The Portfolio Committee of Tourism meeting this week clearly displayed the appalling legacy of the previous Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu. In all other portfolios that she held, there too, she created and left an appalling mess.

In the 19 months that former Minister Sisulu led this portfolio, it was clear that she enjoyed the perks of being a minister but was minimally interested in making a positive difference in the portfolio.

Minister Patricia de Lille has much to do to fix the mess she inherited. The DA remains committed to advancing the interests of all South Africans and ensuring responsible governance that puts the prosperity of our nation first, and in this case tourism. We will be submitting official questions to the Minister to ensure that the irregular lack of reporting does not continue and that the representative on the SAT board has a departmental mandate.

We will continue to hold the ANC government accountable to ensure that tourism benefits.

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Ramaphosa acknowledges receipt of DA request for Commission of Inquiry into farm murders

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa, MP

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office has written back to the Democratic Alliance (DA) acknowledging receipt of the letter that we submitted asking him to consider setting up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the increasing prevalence of farm murders and attacks across the country. Over the past week, heinous farm murders occurred in both Limpopo and the Western Cape, resulting in the loss of innocent lives.

The Commission of Inquiry will allow for a thorough investigation into the underlying causes of these crimes and provide recommendations for comprehensive measures to safeguard our farming communities.

Despite the frequency of farm attacks and murders, the DA, and indeed the whole of South Africa, remains perplexed that not much is being done to protect our farmers from criminal elements that are terrorizing our rural communities. Lawlessness has taken root on our farms and rural communities but nothing is being done to deal with the scourge decisively.

If we continue to pursue rural crime prevention as a separate activity from food production value chain, we will continue to expose our farmers and rural residents to criminal networks. It doesn’t help that government is only good at making promises on rural safety but has repeatedly failed to follow this up with tangible action.

During Police Minister Bheki Cele’s recent budget vote, he failed to mention any progress made on rural safety or rural crime in his speech. Despite having recently developed a Rural Safety Strategy, there are already doubts on SAPS’ commitment to fight rural crime because of broken promises in the past.

The lives of our farmers and rural communities are under severe risk and President Ramaphosa can either choose to accede to the DA’s request for a Commission of Inquiry or turn a blind eye as criminals terrorize our farming communities. Bheki Cele and his SAPS are clearly failing people in rural areas despite an existing rural safety plan.

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Open letter: Do the right thing, Mr President. Don’t sign the NHI Bill

Dear President Ramaphosa,

This open letter serves as an 11th hour plea for rationality and common sense to be used over cheap political tactics.

As you know, the ANC members in the portfolio committee on health recently voted in favour of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, despite overwhelming objections, concerns and questions that were raised – none of which have ever been adequately addressed – from the DA as well as other opposition parties, health stakeholders, general public and even in the form of an adverse legal opinion provided by the independent Parliamentary Legal Services.

Mr President, you would also know that even your own Minister of Finance made it abundantly clear that the country cannot afford the NHI. I can only assume that despite the façade put forward to the rest of South Africa, you and all your ANC comrades know very well that this is the truth. Why else would Health Minister Phaahla and his Department be so staunch in their refusal to respond to even the most basic and reasonable requests, such as requesting that a feasibility study be conducted?

Why else would they all refuse to clarify how the most consequential line item on the country’s financial statements be funded?

The former Health Ombud did not mince his words when his term recently came to an end. Professor Makgoba stated that the ANC government is incapable of solving the public health crisis, likening the Gauteng Department of Health to Eskom, and referring to the respective Departments of the Eastern Cape and Free State as embarrassing and disorderly.

Should the NHI come to pass, health services would collapse. To this day, the Department has never made it clear which health services would be available under the NHI, and which would be out of pocket expenses for patients.

The ANC seems to be labouring under the illusion that South Africans would happily shell out extra money for an already crumbling public health system to be further overburdened when nearly 9 million individuals with medical aids would have to compete for services under universal health care. How can you honestly expect those 9 million South Africans to forfeit their medical aid and then proceed to fund the private health sector without any apparent benefit to them. One day they are receiving immediate medical attention in a private hospital, the next day they are required to travel further away to a public hospital which does not have any beds, sufficient staff and a waiting list of seven years for certain surgeries — it is simply not reasonable.

We can’t even be certain how the taxpayers of South Africa will be funding the NHI because your ANC comrades refuse to provide an explicit answer.

In fact, just by taking away a person’s medical aid will mean that their medical tax savings credit (from having a medical aid) will be removed. The result? Every one of those almost 9 million people with medical aids would now be paying an additional R4 368 of tax every year at a minimum – and this is before any further taxes are levied for the NHI itself.

They also conveniently forget that South Africa already has universal health care. Currently, any individual in need of medical care can go to any public health facility for treatment, either for free or at a nominal fee (this would of course change under the NHI – the Bill excludes asylum seekers despite the constitutional expressly providing otherwise). Private health care came into being due to the failure of the ANC government to provide quality health care. Had the ANC done its job, medical aids and private hospitals would not be a staple in South African society.

Mr President, I understand that the 2024 elections is looming ever closer and that the ANC has nothing tangible to offer the electorate. There is no hiding behind fancy words or phrases, Mr President. We all know that the NHI is a last-ditch effort to fool the public into thinking the ANC actually cares and that despite years of horrendous abuse, this time it will be different.

That this time the ANC will have seen the error of its ways.

That this time you will employ competent CEOs and managers.

That this time you will fill the posts for doctors and nurses.

That this time you will maintain and develop hospitals and equipment.

That this time you will ensure that critical funds are safe from sticky fingers of corrupt ANC cadres.

But we’ve heard it all before.

Mr President, the NHI will bankrupt this country beyond measure, thousands will die and any skilled medical practitioner worth their salt will leave this country for better conditions.

Mr President, my request is simple: do not allow cheap political gain to cloud your judgment. You took an oath to protect this country.

When the NHI Bill inevitably comes across your desk, please, for all South Africans, do not sign it. For once put your country above your comrades – your actions will either save lives or destroy thousands.

Best regards,
Michele Clarke
DA Shadow Minister for Health

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ANC-Russia love affair could kill SA tourism

Please find attached a soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP.

The DA strongly condemns the ANC government’s reckless and detrimental love affair with Russia, which is causing severe economic consequences for our country. The recent loss of South Africa’s bid to host a Formula 1 race at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit is a glaring example of the negative impact created by the ANC’s partisan ties with Russia.

The cancellation of the planned South African Grand Prix is a direct result of the ANC government’s irresponsible and illogical international geopolitical decisions. This event would have been a tremendous opportunity to showcase our nation’s capabilities and attract global attention. However, due to our government’s alignment with Russia, this opportunity has been squandered.

Hosting Formula 1 events has proven to be a significant tourism magnet, with host countries experiencing an average increase in tourism demand of 6%. For instance, Malaysia’s F1 race in 2016 resulted in nearly 500,000 tourist arrivals and generated over R7 billion in additional revenue for the country. Similarly, the Circuit of the Americas in the United States has brought in over $7 billion in economic benefits and created more than 64,000 jobs annually.

The cancellation of the South African Grand Prix not only robs our country of potential economic gains but also denies us the chance to showcase our rich cultural heritage and world-class infrastructure. Other countries, such as Singapore and Mexico, have reaped tremendous benefits from hosting F1 races, with significant increases in hotel occupancy and tourist spending.

It is disheartening to note that South Africa was once a regular host of the Grand Prix until the apartheid regime faced international opposition. Since 1993, there have been numerous attempts to bring F1 back to South Africa, but the government’s lack of interest in funding this lucrative event has prevented its return.

The DA will be tabling a statement in the National Assembly to shed light on the consequences and missed opportunities resulting from the ANC government’s irresponsible decisions. We must hold the government accountable for the negative impact it has created, not only in the realm of international relations but also on our economy.

South Africa cannot afford to be isolated and shunned by the international community due to misguided political alliances. The ANC must prioritize the best interests of our country and its citizens above all else. We call on the government to reconsider its harmful ties with Russia and work towards fostering positive relationships that promote economic growth, tourism, and international cooperation.

The DA remains committed to advancing the interests of all South Africans and ensuring responsible governance that puts the prosperity of our nation first. We will continue to hold the ANC accountable for their detrimental decisions and fight for a brighter future for South Africa.

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DA mourns the tragic loss of Mayor Marlene Van Staden

It is with immense sadness that the Democratic Alliance learned of the tragic passing of Modimolle-Mookgophong Mayor, Marlene van Staden, earlier today after a long battle with illness.

Aside from being the DA’s only mayor in the province of Limpopo, Marlene was a trailblazing politician and pioneering public servant who overcame tremendous obstacles in the Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality to bring better government to all who live there.

Marlene was deeply loved by her party, her province, and her caucus where she was an incredibly dynamic and forthright Mayor who lived and breathed the DA’s values and principles.

Marlene Van Staden is known for being instrumental in forging relationships with civil society organisations to better capacitate and improve governance.

In many ways, she created the blueprint for the DA’s whole-of-society approach to governance which has the potential to change the face of South African government in its entirety.

As one of the DA’s flagship mayors, Marlene was dedicated, resilient, and a powerhouse of local government – her strength of conviction and sheer determination softened by a wonderful sense of humour and gentle kindness.

As a person, Marlene was infectiously buoyant and optimistic, with a can-do attitude and admirable lust for life. There was no task that she did not undertake with immense passion and a sense of genuine and heartfelt goodwill.

Her friends, family, and colleagues will remember her as a true go-getter and an individual who could light up a room even in the darkest of times.

Marlene is survived by her husband and two young sons, and our deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends during this very difficult time.

Marlene touched the lives of many, and will live on as a true example of a dedicated public servant, a loving wife and mother, and true friend. She will be sorely, sorely missed.

The DA welcomes Treasury’s decision to withdraw Eskom’s exemption from being held accountable

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the withdrawal of Eskom’s exemption from specific sections of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). This reversal is not a random act of conscientiousness, but a clear response to the steadfast pressure applied by the DA, bolstered by our threat to resort to legal measures should the exemption have been carried through.

Yet, the National Treasury’s reasoning for its initial stance – that State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are wrestling with technical impediments in compliance reporting – remains highly questionable. They argue for a distinction between corrupt and suspicious transactions versus expenditures undertaken in good faith but failing to adhere to a multitude of financial and non-financial laws. This reasoning is akin to a magician’s sly wink as he palms the coin – an attempt to add an illusory sheen of credibility to their actions.

Such a stance obscures the real issues plaguing Eskom and other SOEs – corruption on an industrial scale, bad faith transactions, an overly centralised public sector, and systemic criminality. Applying such a veneer only serves to deepen the mistrust of the public and erodes the integrity of these organisations and the government at large.

The mere proposal that Eskom should be exempted from disclosing irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure in its annual financial statements has undermined the South Africans’ faith in the National Treasury and the Minister of Finance and their role as custodians of public funds.

It is well known that the SOEs have been grossly mismanaged. However, the Minister of Finance must devise more transparent and efficient mechanisms to rectify historical missteps. Such mechanisms should not offer clandestine pathways to escape scrutiny but should instead foster a culture of accountability and good governance.

The withdrawal of the PFMA exemption is but the first step. Government must also demonstrate authentic commitment to curbing corruption and maladministration, rather than disguising insufficient attempts as genuine action. This will require competent political will, strong governance, and decisive decision-making.

The DA will not relent in our mission to hold the National Treasury and Eskom accountable for their usage of taxpayers’ funds. We urge South Africans to join us in this endeavour by continuing to voice their concerns in demanding transparency and accountability from our public institutions.

We remain resolute: South Africans deserve an unfaltering commitment to combating corruption and promoting responsible governance. Only a DA government can deliver on this commitment.

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Al Jama-ah remarks about LGBTQI+ community promote intolerance

Please find attached a soundbite by Solly Malatsi MP.

The DA strongly condemns the homophobic utterances made by Al Jama-ah national spokesperson, Adv Shameemah Salie, regarding the inclusion of LGBTIQ+ groups in the parliamentary process on new family policies.

We categorically denounce any attempt to scapegoat and divide South Africans based on race, sexual identity, or faith.

We firmly believe that South Africa’s strength lies in unity, respect, and embracing our diverse society.

South Africans now face a critical choice between those who perpetuate hate and division and those who advocate for a country where we work together, respecting and tolerating one another.

This choice is between a future under the ANC and it’s allies like Al-Jama-ah that have shown a tendency to exploit divisions, and a future under the DA that upholds the values of inclusivity, equality, and hope.

In light of Adv Salie’s statements, we call on the leader of Al Jama-ah, Ganief Hendricks, as well as the Al Jama-ah Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Kabelo Gwamanda, to clarify whether they endorse and agree with Adv Salie’s standpoints.

It is essential for political leaders to take a clear stance on issues of tolerance, inclusivity and nation building.

The DA remains committed to building a South Africa where every individual is valued and respected, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, or faith.

We believe in an inclusive society that promotes dialogue, understanding, and equal rights for all. We will continue to champion a future that embraces hope over hate, unity over division, and progress over stagnation.

Together, let us work towards a South Africa that celebrates its diversity and thrives on the strength of its people, irrespective of their backgrounds or identities.

Hate has no place in our society, and we must strive for a future where hope prevails.

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ANC government efforts to move BRICS summit are a cowardly cop out

 “This last-minute scramble by the ANC is nothing more than a desperate attempt to dodge accountability.” –  Emma Powell

Information that points to Cabinet today taking a decision to move the upcoming BRICS Summit to a secondary country is the clearest indication yet that the ANC government is simply unwilling to uphold their legal obligations and arrest the alleged war criminal, Vladimir Putin.

The anticipated announcement is nothing but a cop-out that will give the ANC cover to continue kowtowing to their cadres in the Kremlin, putting their party interests ahead of South Africa’s.

Any decision to move the BRICS Summit instead of exercising its legal obligations to conduct an arrest will have the effect of directly aiding and abetting Putin’s continued reign of terror in Ukraine.

South Africa has already forked out millions in preparations for the summit, which may now be entirely wasted. Moving the summit to a secondary nation is nothing other than a false flag, designed to send the impression that South Africa is non-aligned.

The reality is that the ANC are simply unwilling to uphold the law because their electoral fortunes in 2024 are directly tied to continued favour with Russia.

The ANC’s on-going dalliance with Moscow has already had dire consequences for South Africa. Formula 1 (F1) is now reported to have pulled the plug on hosting this prestigious event in South Africa as a result of its failure to denounce Russian aggression in Ukraine. Hundreds of millions of rands worth of foreign direct investment and advertising revenue for South African firms have already been lost as a result.

This disinvestment will continue until such time as South Africa is willing to join the global community of democracies in standing firm on our constitutional values and denouncing unprovoked Russian aggression in a sovereign state.

Municipalities spent R1.6 billion on consultants in 2020/2021

The Auditor-General presented the 2020/2021 Local Government Audit outcomes in Parliament yesterday and the findings confirm the DA’s views that most municipalities lack financial planning, have inadequate financial controls, lack of internal skills capacity and an overall lack of accountability.

The result of poor planning negatively impacts finances and municipal service delivery; in the year under review112 (44%) of municipalities passed unfunded budgets.

Consultant fees amounted to R1.6 billion or 13% of the total financial reporting cost of R12.3 billion. The lion’s share was spent by 3 provinces:

  • KwaZulu-Natal (48 municipalities) – R309,26 million,
  • North West Province (20 municipalities) -R282,33 million
  • Limpopo (26 municipalities) – R263.18 million

Poor payment practices resulted in 84% of municipalities being unable to pay their creditors within the 30-day period as prescribed by Treasury Regulations.

The average creditor payment period is 258 days. The highest outstanding creditors are:

  • Eskom- R36.36 billion
  • Water Boards- R14.34 billion
  • Water losses -R11,91 billion

Estimated revenue not collected amounted to R112.88 billion including a debt write-off of R39.63 billion.

The DA calls on COGTA Minister, Thembi Nkadimeng, to reduce the overreliance on consultants through the termination of cadre deployment, a recommitment to Operation Clean Audit that would have seen all municipalities achieve clean audits by 2014 and the appointment of internal audit committees by the national fiscus to prevent cadre appointments.