Motsoaledi confirms that Gauteng kept Esidimeni details from National Government: A mortal failure of cooperative governance

In response to a DA parliamentary question Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi admitted that the Gauteng Department of Health failed to inform the National Health Department of their intentions to move mental health patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to alternative facilities.
According to the response, Minister Motsloaledi only learned about the Gauteng Department of Health’s plans when “section 27, on behalf of South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SAGAD), wrote to the national Department of Health, threatening to take the Gauteng department of Health to court”.
Minister Motsoaledi’s admission should now move him to support the DA’s call for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
It has been almost three months since DA Leader Mmusi Maimane wrote to President Jacob Zuma to launch a Judicial Commission of Inquiry in terms of Section 84 (2) (f) of the Constitution, and yet President Zuma has done nothing to start implementing any accountability measures for Esidimeni.
The Life Esidimeni victims deserve justice and Motsoaledi should use his position in government to motivate for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry. Motsoaledi must press the President for a full-scale Judicial Commission of Inquiry, as further details of gross negligence, misconduct and misleading actions emerge.
There are still too many unanswered questions, and the DA believes that the Gauteng government must be held to account for their reckless decision that cost more than 100 mental health patients their lives.

Baleka Mbete should publically apologise for funeral comments

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, should issue a public apology for comments made on 6 May at the funeral of the school pupils who were so tragically killed in a minibus taxi accident in Mpumalanga.
Mbete’s shameless politicking at the funeral of children is simply indefensible. Furthermore, doing so in the name of Parliament is opportunistic and reprehensible. As the NA Speaker and representative of Parliament, Mbete speaks on behalf of a multi-party institution, not just the ANC. As the Chairperson of the ANC, Mbete may speak her mind, but when she represents Parliament she is held to a far higher standard.
Mbete should be condemned for encouraging children to not speak out about “challenges at home”. In a country that experiences high levels of abuse against women and children, specifically, it is irresponsible for leaders to tell children to “not go outside and [complain]” but instead to “get inside the house and [resolve matters as a family]”.
It is perhaps unsurprising that Mbete would encourage people to not speak out at a time when South Africans are finding their voices and saying ‘enough’ to this government. These organic protests are not just “noise” as Mbete calls them.
The DA disagrees with Mbete and refuses to denigrate those who choose to exercise their democratic rights. South Africans should be encouraged to speak out. Children should not be told to stay silent. The price of silence in South Africa will be more abuse of power, corruption, unbridled state capture and selling out our children’s futures.

DA calls for calm and unity in Coligny after bail decision

The DA has confirmed that violence has once again erupted in Coligny following the news that the court granted bail to the two men arrested for the alleged killing of Matlhomola Moshoeu (16) in Coligny. A residential house has been set alight, and there is mass protest action on the streets of Coligny.
The DA urges the community of Coligny to remain calm and to refrain from violence. We understand that the death of Moshoeu has deeply hurt the community, but violence will never be the solution to solve our problems. We feel the pain of losing a child.
We ask the community not to take the law into their own hands and to allow the courts to dispense justice.
If the two men are found guilty of the killing of Moshoeu, they must face the full might of the law. The alleged circumstances around the death of this young child are horrifying.
But we cannot allow our society to divide along racial lines, in expressing anger for this crime. We must come together to solve our problems. We reject the hateful comments of Premier Supra Mahumapelo yesterday who tried to divide the people of the North West on racial lines. Mahumapelo must refrain from this type of politicking.
The DA will continue to closely monitor the situation in Coligny. We expect that the SAPS will properly prevent violence in the area, and will use commensurate measures to avoid damage and destruction.
As South Africans, we must condemn all actions and attitudes that divide us as a nation.

DA to report ANC MP to Ethics Committee for failure to declare consultancy agreement

The DA will be reporting ANC MP Mnyamezeli Booi to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests for failing to declare remuneration he received in terms of a consultancy agreement entered into with Lurco Coal (Pty) Ltd in November 2015.
In terms of this agreement, Booi was appointed as a “consultant” by Lurco Coal, to “consult with and advise the company, on a non-exclusive basis”; however, this is not reflected in his 2016 Register of Members’ Interests.
By not declaring this agreement, Booi has completely disregarded the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interest for Assembly and Permanent Council Members.
Clause 4.1.1 of the Code of Ethical Conduct requires members to abide by the principles, rules and obligations of the Code, while clause 7.1. forbids members to undertake remunerated employment outside of Parliament without obtaining the requisite permission in terms of clauses 7.2 and 7.3. Furthermore, clause 9.3.4 of the Code, specifically outlines that “consultancies” are considered interests that must be disclosed.
The failure to declare the consulting contract and any subsequent payments he received from Lurco Coal is, therefore, in contravention of clauses 4.1, 7.1 and 9.3.4 of the Code of Ethical Conduct.
The DA is also concerned what the effects of this consulting may have been. The DA will be submitting further questions about any contracts or tenders that Lurco Coal may have had with government or state-owned enterprises. The public should know whether any exist and whether they were obtained through Booi’s intervention.
Members of Parliament are public representatives and should be held to account, it is, therefore, imperative that the Ethics Committee investigate this matter in order to ensure that Booi is held accountable for failing to disclose his interests.

DA submits PAIA application for Zuma energy adviser’s R149m Eskom contract

The DA will today submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to gain access to tender documents which resulted in President Jacob Zuma’s energy adviser, Silas Zimu, receiving a R149 million contract from Eskom.
The DA is deeply concerned at media reports today that seven months after Silas Zimu’s appointment as Zuma’s adviser on energy, Cape Gate Marepha, a company at which he is a nonexecutive director, was awarded a contract to supply Eskom with wiring.
It is shocking that either Zimu, as a political adviser to the President, failed to declare his interests, or that President Zuma thought it acceptable to keep an advisor who simultaneously profits from public spending in the energy sector.
The DA will therefore also put in parliamentary questions to President Zuma on his knowledge of Zimu’s business interests, specifically which interests were declared to the President and which were not.
The DA believes that Eskom must answer about Zimu’s direct conflict of interests and must do so by supplying the full documentary record of the tender decision. We will especially be interested to see to what extent Zimu’s association with the President was documented.
Ultimately this is a further damning issue that Eskom must come clean on.  Recent scandals include Eskom CEO Matshela Koko and the alleged awarding of tenders worth R1 billion to Impulse International, a company of which his step-daughter is a Director.
The reputation of Eskom is under the most enormous cloud, causing investment uncertainty. Instead of growing jobs, SOEs like Eskom are frightening investment away.
Eskom is fast building on its reputation from national load-shedder, to national job-shedder.

Nqaba Bhanga elected as DA Eastern Cape Leader

Nqaba Bhanga has been elected as Eastern Cape Leader of the Democratic Alliance, at today’s Provincial Congress in East London.
While the election was a close one, a clear winner emerged by a majority of votes.
The vote and the vote count proceeded without a single query, objection or contest, and that is testament to the DA commitment to free and fair elections.
The new DA Eastern Cape Leadership is charged with continuing to create positive change in the Eastern Cape and working to continue growing the DA to provide opportunities to more and more people in this province.
The DA is indebted to the outgoing DA Eastern Cape Leadership, and especially Athol Trollip, as he now focuses on bringing increasing change to Nelson Mandela Bay.
The full complement of newly-elected DA Eastern Cape leadership is:
Provincial Leader: Nqaba Bhanga
2 Deputy Provincial Leaders: Bobby Stevenson and Terence Fritz
Provincial Chairperson: Andrew Whitfield
3 Deputy Provincial Chairpersons: Yusuf Cassim, Kobus Botha and Marshall Von Buchenroder
The DA congratulates the successful candidates.

BOKAMOSO | DA’s Country Recovery Plan for 2019: Rapid poverty alleviation is possible, and we must achieve it

The next decade must be Africa’s decade, given the urgent challenge of a rapidly growing unemployed youth population, among others. The World Economic Forum on Africa, which concludes today in Durban, brought regional and global leaders from government, business and civil society together to agree priorities that will help Africa achieve inclusive and sustained growth. It is extraordinary that two of the speakers addressing delegates, Presidents Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe, are corrupt leaders who have wrought destruction on their country’s economies, with a populist agenda that ultimately serves a narrow elite at the expense of the broader citizenry.
The answer to South Africa’s current predicament is not a Government of National Unity, just as it did not prove to be the answer to Zimbabwe’s problem when one was thrust on its population in 2007. Rather, the answer is to hold the ANC accountable for its failures by firing it and opening up the space for a new government. I am confident that South Africans will deliver this outcome in the next national election in 2019.
When a DA-led coalition comes into national government in 2019, our top priority will be to lift millions of South Africans out of poverty. And the best way to fight poverty rapidly and sustainably is also a no-brainer. We have to give South Africa’s poor a real stake in a growing economy. We have to open up job and ownership opportunities to the millions of South Africans who are right now trapped in poverty and unable to find a way out.
Only entrepreneurs – in both small and big businesses – can create the millions of jobs we need. The state’s role must be to give these entrepreneurs the best possible chance to succeed. The recipe for entrepreneurial success has five key ingredients: capital, infrastructure, productive labour, a coherent policy environment and a supportive government. The DA’s Country Recovery Plan for 2019 is to provide these five ingredients as quickly and efficiently as possible. Additionally, it is to broaden ownership of the country’s economic assets in such a way that attracts rather than deters investment.
We have to do everything in our power to encourage investment in the SA economy. This includes negotiating free trade agreements with large markets, starting with Nigeria; turning our foreign embassies into trade and investment centres; facilitating skilled immigration; promoting innovation through increased spending on research via a Jobs & Justice Fund; helping small businesses to access credit; and transferring title deeds to township residents to give people a real stake in the economy.
Our cities are key to creating new jobs and there is much that can be done to make them more attractive to investors, entrepreneurs and workers. Our cities will lead in the development of infrastructure. We will give them control of ports and economic development zones in their areas; resource them to provide better public transport; and give them a far greater role in housing development.
We will resolutely focus on growing a skilled workforce. We’re aiming for a million internships or apprenticeships nationwide, incentivised through a reformed BBBEE system that rewards businesses for establishing these. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17, South Africa ranks stone last, 138th out of 138 countries, for the quality of our maths and science education. This has to change very quickly after 2019, with our focus on managing the performance of teachers and principals through training, support, monitoring and incentives.
As we are doing in the Western Cape and in the DA-led metros, we will specifically promote industries that create the most jobs, such as tourism, agro-processing, mining and manufacturing. Policy will be stable, rational and supportive. To boost tourism, for example, we will aim to make high-income countries visa-free or “visas on arrival”. In mining we will scrap investment-killing policies and promote inclusion and productivity through employee share ownership schemes. Our overarching question to business will be: how can we help you to create jobs and spread wealth?
Small businesses (SMMEs) provide 80% of total employment in China, while only around 60% in South Africa. We will look to boost this figure by making the labour market more flexible for small businesses, and by making it much easier to start a business and access capital and markets.
While the ANC’s “radical economic transformation” (or “radical economic whatwhat”, as President Zuma recently called it) is nothing more than empty, populist sloganeering, the DA’s Country Recovery Plan will rapidly transform the lives and futures of all South Africans. As you can read in their recent State of the City Addresses for Johannesburg and Tshwane respectively, Mayors Herman Mashaba and Solly Msimanga are already well on their way to changing lives in these cities. In 2019, that change will go national, and the DA will be leading it.

DA welcomes High Court ruling forcing Zuma to supply reasons for disastrous reshuffle

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is elated by the order of the North Gauteng High Court today that President Jacob Zuma must provide the reasons and record of decision to axe Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas, on 31 March 2017.
This is a victory not only for the DA but for all South Africans who deserve to know on what basis the President made this disastrous decision.
Last week, the DA filed an urgent application to force President Zuma to supply his record of decision after he claimed that the DA and South Africa were not entitled to the reasons behind his disastrous decision.
Now that the High Court has confirmed that President Zuma must supply his record of decision within five days of today’s ruling, our earlier application to review the rationality of his decision can proceed.
The record of decision should also contain the now infamous ‘intelligence report’ which South Africa and the court can fully interrogate.
It is high time that those in power and especially the President, are held accountable for their actions and decisions based on self-interest and personal gain rather than the best interests of our country.
The fact is that President Zuma ought to have rationally foreseen the consequences of this reshuffle on our country and the 9 million unemployed people, who are likely to increase given the recent downgrades to junk status his decision precipitated.
The DA will continue to pursue all possible avenues to ensure this because South Africa deserves leaders that put the people first.

Public Protector agrees to DA’s request to probe Dlamini for misleading Parliament

The DA welcomes the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane, granting the DA’s request that her office investigates Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, for wilfully misleading Parliament.
The DA believes that Dlamini breached the Executive Ethics Code when she delivered her 2016 budget vote speech in Parliament. In her speech, Dlamini stated that SASSA would be ready to institutionalise the distribution of social grants come 1st April 2017.
Yet, less than a year later, SASSA officials informed Parliament’s Social Development Committee that SASSA had failed to procure an alternative service provider.
Last month, Zane Dangor and Thokozani Magwaza filed damning affidavits with the Constitutional Court, in which both claim that Dlamini, not only deliberately tried to ensure that CPS continued with its invalid contract, but also knew since 2015 that SASSA would not be ready to distribute social grants.
The investigation by the PP will be an important step towards finally holding Dodging Dlamini to account for playing political games with the livelihoods of 17 million South Africans.

Water Committee to probe finances of Mokonyane’s Dept after DA request

Following a request submitted by the DA, the Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation, Mr. Lulu Johnson, has agreed to investigate the finances of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). This investigation will include National Treasury and the Auditor General.
The DWS has close to R5 billion in outstanding debts.

  • In February, the Department confirmed that the Water Trading Entity (WTE) has an outstanding overdraft with the Reserve Bank as on 22 February 2017 which amounts to almost R3 billion.
  • In a presentation to the Portfolio Committee in March, Minister Nomvula Mokonyane confirmed her department’s financial difficulties, admitting that unpaid outstanding invoices amounted to almost R1,5 billion.
  • In response to a DA parliamentary question, the Department also confirmed that it owed various Water Boards close to R 500 million.

The DWS’ backlog in paying contractors and outstanding invoices means that projects currently in progress will not be completed. This could lead to legal action against the department, which will result in even further financial troubles for the DWS.
Water Boards are also struggling and can’t deliver services or pay contractors because the department owes them millions in outstanding funds.
This situation at the DWS is placing South Africa’s water infrastructure and the delivery of water services at serious risk.
It is apparent that ‘Mama Action’, Nomvula Mokonyane, has taken zero action to get the finances right. She is proving herself to be ‘Mama Inaction.’
The Minister has been too busy protecting the President and has completely lost control of her department.
There are still countless South Africans who struggle to access basic water services across the country, and the DA will not allow the Minister to continue to hold back the delivery of water to South Africans.