Madikizela matter referred to the DA’s Federal Legal Commission

The DA notes, with concern, the allegation that the CV of Bonginkosi Madikizela, the party’s Western Cape leader, claims a qualification that he does not hold.

The DA regards this in a serious light and will follow due process in establishing the facts and taking consequent follow-up action.

The matter has been referred to the DA’s Federal Legal Commission for investigation.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status

NAC sit-in: It is time for President Ramaphosa to look artists in the eye

Please find attached a soundbite by Tsepo Mhlongo MP, and pictures here, here and here

The DA calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the crisis unfolding at the National Arts Council and personally meet with affected artists.

It’s been 42 days since artists began a sit-in at the offices of the NAC, attempting to force answers from the NAC about R300 million in relief funding that was promised through the Presidential Economic Stimulus Programme (PESP) but never received by the artists.

The government’s irrational lockdown regulations have caused many of those employed in the arts and culture sector to lose their income. Some of those engaged in sit-in at the NAC do not have homes to return to or food to eat.

Both the NAC Council and the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa have demonstrated an inability to adequately address challenges faced by the sector. As the DA we have continuously argued that, unless the arts and culture sector receive the necessary support, the regulations and economic restrictions would decimate the industry.

Instead of honesty, the NAC gave them lawsuits. For the past few weeks, it has been attempting to force the protesting artists from its premises. The NAC should rather have prioritised finding ways that would solve the crisis it created and speed up payments to artists.

In light of the Minister’s ineptitude, we hope that President Ramaphosa will accede to our call and personally meet with the artists. Their plight is the direct result of his government’s mismanagement of the Covid crisis. The only decent the President can do is to look them in the eyes and engage with their questions.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA welcomes ruling for Zuma to pay back taxpayers’ money

The DA welcomes a ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal today confirming that former President Jacob Zuma must pay back the money that the State spent on his personal legal costs.

The DA previously obtained an order to this effect from the High Court, which Mr. Zuma then took to the SCA on appeal. Today’s judgment dismissed Mr. Zuma’s appeal and confirms that the State Attorney is only obliged to act if it is in the Government’s or the public’s interest to do so. This was Mr. Zuma’s personal legal battle and he had no right to fund it with tax-payer money.

The DA takes strong exception to any abuse of public funds by current or former public officials, including former Presidents.

Mr. Zuma’s tenure in office was disastrous for South Africa, its economy, and our hard-won democracy. We are still reeling from the effects of State Capture and the hollowing out of public institutions that accompanied it. This a victory not for the DA alone, but for all South Africans, our Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

SAPS owes R24 million for unpaid water and electricity bills  

The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, has revealed in an answer to a written parliamentary question by the DA, that the South African Police Service (SAPS) owes more than R24 million in outstanding water and electricity bills. The Department usually pays these municipal bills on behalf of clients like SAPS and then invoices them for the outstanding amounts.

This non-payment has already affected service delivery, as last month the Germiston SAPS station was without power for days on end. With crime rates soaring, stations country-wide cannot address serious concerns in their communities with their lights off and equipment not working. We need clarity whether the Department has not paid the account, or whether they have stopped payments due to SAPS not settling their bills.

It seems SAPS is completely collapsing. With the massive DNA backlog and the infighting between the Minister, Bheki Cele, and National Commissioner, Khehla Sithole, it is clear SAPS can’t even pay for the most basic services.

The Department must urgently verify all outstanding SAPS accounts and ensure that they are settled promptly. Furthermore, SAPS and the Department must appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure to account for the current mess.

Additionally, the DA will submit follow-up questions to Minister De Lille regarding all government’s water and electricity bills and the measures in place to ensure timeous payment.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA dien duisende kommentare téén die US-konseptaalbeleid in

Stellenbosch

Die DA het Sondag meer as 6 500 kommentare téén die nuwe konseptaalbeleid van die Universiteit van Stellenbosch (US) ingedien. Altesame 6 586 kommentare is ingedien as deel van die petisie wat die DA drie weke gelede geloods het in reaksie op berigte dat studente verbied is om selfs in private ruimtes op kampus Afrikaans te praat, en nadat die Senaat van die universiteit besluit het om geen nuwe leermateriaal in Afrikaans beskikbaar te stel nie.

Die US se nuwe konsepbeleid sal Afrikaanse studente selfs verder uitsluit as die vorige 2016 beleid, in terme waarvan die onlangse vergrype gepleeg is en wat reeds veroorsaak het dat, volgens rektor Wim de Villiers, net 17.8% van klasse steeds in parallelmedium aangebied word. Die oorblywende 82.2% van klasse is dus óf eksklusief Engelsmedium, óf meestal in Engels en gebruik Afrikaans as ’n byna nuttelose “opsommende” versiering.

Die kommentare wat ons ingedien het ondersteun almal die DA se voorgestelde wysigings aan die nuwe konsepbeleid, wat, onder andere, daarop aandring dat Afrikaans as ’n inheemse taal erken word, dat Afrikaans en Engels as gelyke onderrigtale bevestig word, dat geen student in enige situasie ontneem word van hul grondwetlike reg om in die taal van hul eie keuse te kommunikeer nie, dat die universiteit tegnologiese oplossings vir tolking en vertaling omarm, dat alle voorgraadse lesings in volwaardige parallelmedium aangebied word (d.w.s afsonderlike klasse in Afrikaans en Engels), en dat enige afwykings van die parallelmedium-beleid deur die volle Senaat goedgekeur moet word.

Deur die DA se voorgestelde wysigings te implementeer, kan die US-bestuur uiteindelik ophou om verskillende groepe studente teen mekaar af te speel in hul soeke daarna om uitvoering te gee aan die ANC se anti-Afrikaanse ideologie. Die DA se wysigings sal verseker dat nie ’n enkele Afrikaanssprekende óf Engelssprekende student op enige wyse uitgesluit word nie.

Die DA was ook die afgelope week op die grond in Stellenbosch om te luister na die historiese betogings deur lede van agtergestelde Afrikaanse gemeenskappe. Die betogings dien as ’n klinkklare bewys dat Afrikaanssprekendes van diverse agtergronde daarop aandring dat die US hul hulpkrete hoor. Afrikaans is by verre die grootste taal in die Wes- en Noord-Kaap, en om studente uit te sluit op grond van taal is ’n direkte ondermyning van ’n fundamentele mensereg waaroor die DA nie sal stilbly nie.

Ons het reeds klagtes by die Menseregtekommissie aanhangig gemaak oor die verbod op Afrikaans aan die US en sien uit na die bevindinge van die ondersoek. En indien die US weereens die noodkrete vanuit die Afrikaanse gemeenskap minag deur die duisende kommentare téén die taalbeleid blindelings te ignoreer, sal die DA alle moontlike oplossings – insluitend massa-aksie, regsaksie en ander vorme van mobilisering – gebruik om seker te maak dat die uitsluiting van Afrikaanse studente tot ‘n einde kom.

Die DA se volledige kommentaar is hier beskikbaar.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA demands immediate retraction of racist statement by the Department of Public Enterprises

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is demanding the immediate retraction of the racist statement issued by the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) on its twitter handle @DPE_ZA. We also call for the immediate suspension of the DPE Director General, Mr Kgathatso Tlhakudi, in whose name the statement was issued.

The statement appears to target white pilots belonging to the South African Airways Pilots Association (SAAPA) by accusing them of wanting to enrich themselves from a “racially biased” labour agreement.

SAAPA is a collective labour association whose membership is composed of the airline’s racially diverse pilot cohort. After having failed to properly manage SAA, Pravin Gordhan’s Department has now resorted to applying racial divide and conquer tactics to mask its failures.

DPE must now retract this divisive statement, which has no place in democratic South Africa, and issue an apology to all SAA employees who may have felt racially targeted.

Mr Tlhakudi has no business being the head of a government Department if he stokes racial tensions in entities falling under his Department. Pravin Gordhan will be complicit in this violation of the constitutional principle of non-racism if he fails to act on his DG.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

Hlophe: JSC must act urgently so that Parliament can get rid of him

The DA calls on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) to urgently deal with the findings of the Judicial Conduct Tribunal’s report on Judge President John Hlophe, so that the matter can be referred to Parliament to consider his removal from office.

The seriousness of the allegations and finding against Hlophe cannot be stressed enough and the process cannot be delayed.

The JSC now has to consider the Tribunal’s recommendation that Hlophe should be impeached, and if it is adopted the matter must be referred to Parliament. Under the circumstances, Parliament will be empowered to remove Hlophe from his position.

The DA believes that the Tribunal has put in place the necessary basis for Hlophe’s impeachment. The DA further believes that his removal will go a long way towards bolstering trust in our judiciary. The serious allegations levelled against Hlophe – including the attempted improper influencing that was the subject of the Tribunal investigation – contributed significantly to the erosion of this trust.

This matter has dragged on for far too long and casts a long shadow on the process, and public confidence in the regulatory processes of the JSC.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA calls on Deputy President to addresses Minister’s efforts to duck accountability

The DA calls on the Leader of Governance, Deputy President David Mabuza, to urgently address the issue of ministers’ failure to answer written parliamentary questions. National Assembly and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) rules permit ministers 10 days to publish their responses from the date of receiving questions unless written permission is received for a 5-day extension.

According to Parliament’s latest summary of outstanding questions, since her appointment in January 2021, the Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumudzo Ntshaveni, has only answered one out of the 20 written questions posed to her since 11 February 2021.

Written parliamentary questions are vital to Parliament’s oversight role over the Executive. It is an important means of holding government to account.

The DA has submitted numerous written questions regarding government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic that remains unanswered to this day:

  • Full details of all Covid-19 state-funded initiatives since March 2020 and the methodologies used;
  • Information to clarify often the confusing and contradictory Covid-19 regulations; and
  • Requesting the release of the minutes held by the Secretariat of the National Corona Command Council (NCCC).

Her refusal to respond to these questions shows Minister Ntshaveni’s utter contempt for Parliament and all South Africans. It is time the Deputy President earned his exorbitant salary and ensured that Minister Ntshaveni answers parliamentary questions.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

35% of senior government officials not qualified for their jobs

The DA will write to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) to request an investigation regarding the fact that nearly 35% of senior managers employed by national and provincial departments do not have the required qualifications and credentials for the positions they currently occupy.

The Minister of Public Service and Administration, Senzo Mchunu, revealed in a written response to a parliamentary question posed by the DA, that of the 9 477 senior managers listed on the Personal and Salary System (PERSAL), 3 301 do not have the required qualifications. Of these, 1 987 officials are employed in national departments.

Middle management positions in national government typically pays between R779 802 and R922 750, with senior management earning between R1 078 267 and R1 974 067, depending on their level of employment.

The main culprits are the Departments of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) with 227, Police with 228, Justice and Constitutional Development with 189, Trade, Industry and Competition with 128, and Environment, Forestry and Fisheries with 107 senior managers that do not have the necessary qualifications.

How much longer must South Africa suffer under this incompetence? Some of these are key to the country’s economic and food security, yet cadre deployment is more important to the ANC government than good governance and the well-being of its people.

The DA’s End Cadre Deployment Bill (formally called the Public Administration Laws General Amendment Bill) seeks to enforce the appointment of civil servants to be wholly based on merit and not political loyalty. Our Bill was recently published in the government gazette for public comment. We invite South Africans to read and comment on the Bill by going to the following link.

All comments on the Bill must be emailed to speaker@parliament.gov.za and copied to leon.schreiberei@gmail.com before the end of April.

South Africa won’t survive if this trend of cadre deployment continues much longer. Ordinary South Africans have suffered under this corruption en masse for years and unless urgent action is taken the country will devolve into the banana republic some already view us as.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

Ivan Cloete still has not received his lease agreement 

25 days after the decision to withdraw the unlawful eviction order against Mr Ivan Cloete from his Colenso farm in Darling and the undertaking to provide him with a 30 year lease agreement, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) is yet to provide him with the lease documents to formalise the agreement.

Since the report on the Department’s decision to offer a lease agreement to Cloete was submitted to the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the DA will ask the Committee Chairperson, Mandla Mandela, to hold Minister Thoko Didiza to account. Minister Didiza needs to provide specific reasons why the Department has failed to provide Cloete with lease documents timeously and provide a specific date by which these documents will be made available.

Cloete’s fight with the Department over his lease agreement is reminiscent of the struggle that Mr David Rakgase, a Limpopo farmer, went through as he tried to get the DALRRD to honor a High Court ruling to sell him the Nooitgedacht farm. The Department did all it could to drag its feet in issuing the purchase agreement in the vain hope that they could work around the transference of full ownership rights to Rakgase.

Then again, this two-faced approach in dealing with land reform issues and the plight of farmers is hardly surprising. Minister Didiza, and by extension Departmental officials, say one thing and do the exact opposite on the ground. In her report to the parliamentary committee, Didiza acknowledged that “It is clear that ever since 2012, Mr Cloete was not treated fairly”. Her Department’s delay in issuing a lease agreement to Cloete means that they have continued to perpetuate this unfairness without due regard to Cloete’s right to fair processes.

It is for this reason that the DA will remain sceptical of the announcement made by Didiza that all farm evictions will be halted in the Gert Sibande district, pending an investigation to be undertaken in the next two weeks. What farmers need is concrete action to protect them from corrupt officials, including the timeous issuance of lease agreements.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.