DA Leader Maimane requests urgent Parliamentary debate on VBS heist

The blatant theft of almost R2 billion from VBS bank accounts by rich politicians, politically connected businesspersons, and their associates is crime against the poor, vulnerable and elderly in South Africa. It is a national disgrace, and the DA will not let this become another corruption scandal to be swept under the carpet. The VBS scandal has wreaked havoc on the lives countless poor South Africans who may very well have lost their life savings due to corruption by ANC politicians and their connected cronies.

It is for this reason that I will today write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting an urgent debate of national importance in Parliament on this matter. Parliament is the democratic institution tasked with holding executive power to account and must be afforded an urgent opportunity to carry out its mandate.

The DA had planned on using the President’s oral question session in Parliament tomorrow in order to pose an urgent question to him about this issue. Now that the session has been postponed due to the President’s ill-health, it is crucial that Parliament exercises its mandate and allows an urgent debate on this. The matter meets the criteria for an urgent, national debate as the implications of this scandal are wide-reaching considering that billions of public money has been stolen.

The DA believes those fingered in Advocate Terry Motau’s report ‘The Great Bank Heist’, must be criminally charged for fraud, money laundering, and corruption, and if found guilty, spend a minimum of 15 years behind bars. The DA has already laid criminal charges against the “VBS 50” – as recommended by Advocate Motau’s South African Reserve Bank (SARB) report.

While the report implicates a laundry list of ANC public office bearers and elected officials, the role of President Cyril Ramaphosa in the scandal needs Parliament’s urgent consideration. If it is true that the President had prior knowledge of the corruption and looting at VBS – and failed to act – he may be criminally liable in terms of section 34(1) of Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PACCA).

I therefore implore Speaker Mbete to grant this request and allow Parliament to get to the bottom of what really happened at the VBS bank. Those South Africans dispossessed by this crime deserve nothing less.

The VBS heist is yet another example of institutionalised corruption, cronyism and nepotism under the ANC – all which steals opportunity from South Africans.  Instead of governing in the interests of all South Africans, the ANC has chosen to create an ecosystem within the party and within government that only serves to makes themselves rich.

Only the DA can fix this broken system that locks South Africans out by creating an open, fair and transparent model of government that sees all politically connected individuals found guilty of corruption spending a minimum of 15 years in jail.

A debacle like Shiva Uranium will not happen under Joe McGluwa

The following remarks were made today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Mmusi Maimane, at the launch of the party’s North West Premier Campaign outside the recently shut down Shiva Uranium Mine in Klerksdorp, North West Province. Maimane was joined by those affected by these job losses, along with DA North West Premier Candidate, Joe McGluwa, and DA North West Provincial Chairperson, Carin Visser.

Fellow South Africans

The Guptas may have left our shores, but their legacy will live on for a long, long time. This mine here, Shiva Uranium, stands as a monument to the corruption of the ANC and their project of selling our country to the Gupta family.

Today the mine has failed and the Guptas have fled, but for the hundreds of workers here the nightmare continues. Since July almost 200 Shiva employees have not received their salaries.

When the Guptas took over here, they spoke of 4500 jobs that would be created. In the end barely 800 jobs were added, and that number is even lower after retrenchments in December.

They have left the environment here unusable for farming, they have left farm workers’ houses in the area damaged by mining explosives and they have left the mine at serious risk of flooding and sink holes as no water is being pumped out.

In place of the Guptas have come the Zama-Zamas – armed men with night vision equipment who are not only mining illegally, but also looting the mine for metal, copper wire, vehicles and other equipment.

This mine is a legacy of not only the Guptas, but also of the ANC government – both national and provincial. Because much of the state capture looting happened in provinces where Zuma’s loyal lieutenants like Supra Mahumapelo and Ace Magashule allowed the thieves to run riot.

And despite all the talk of rooting out corruption, no one in the ANC has faced any consequences for the biggest heist in the history of our democracy. I assure you, under a DA government this will not happen. Under a DA government anyone found guilty of corruption will be sent to prison for 15 years. That’s the only way to deal with this scourge.

In the meantime, while the rest of the country tries to find answers and closure to State Capture in the Zondo commission, let us not forget that for the workers here at Shiva Uranium there will be no closure until they get paid what they are due so that they can take care of their families.

Many of these families have joined us here today. They are desperate for answers and they are desperate for the money they are owed. But they have also realised that these answers will not come from the ANC government.

Let us also not forget that this mine is not all the Guptas have left behind. They also left behind debt of more than R280m – money borrowed from the Industrial Development Corporation to purchase this mine.

Yes, the Guptas may have fled. Supra may have been replaced here in the North West. Zuma may have been replaced in the Presidency. But nothing has changed – not here at this mine, not in this province and not in national government.

This is the same ANC that oversaw the tragic events that took place at Marikana six years ago, for which no one has faced real consequences. This is the same corrupt ANC that still presides over the same failed economy with the same failed policies.

Even those cadres exposed as Gupta stooges in the ANC’s provincial and national governments were kept on under Cyril Ramaphosa. Some were even promoted to Deputy President and Secretary-General.

And instead of ensuring that what happened here at Shiva doesn’t happen elsewhere, the ANC government’s new version of the Mining Charter will do the exact opposite. It is custom designed to achieve more of these transactions.

Fellow South Africans,

We need change in our country. And not the superficial change of a “New Dawn” with endless talk shops, roadshows and task teams that never get round to doing anything. We need real, tangible change that can be seen and felt in communities across the country.

And nowhere is this more evident than here in the North West province. This place was run like a massive mafia syndicate by Supra Mahumapelo, with millions of Rands worth of tenders going to the Guptas and other connected individuals while the province was left broken and on its knees.

Last year not one single municipality in the province managed to get a clean audit, and eight municipalities and ten provincial departments have been placed under administration.

Schools here have failed, roads are pot-holed and raw sewage runs down the streets of many communities. This province is on the verge of collapse, but arguably the biggest failure of all is that the North West has a broad unemployment rate of over 43%.

Almost half the working age population of the North West cannot find jobs, and most of these people are under the age of 25. Young people have been let down by this government. Many of them feel they have to leave the province in search of opportunities. This is not the South Africa and the North West province we want to see.

There is only one party that can bring change to the North West, and that party is the DA. Only the DA has a plan to unlock the potential in our economy by making it attractive to investors and by supporting new small businesses.

Only the DA has a mining policy that will enable mines like Shiva Uranium, as well as all the other gold and platinum mines in the province, to flourish and provide jobs.

Only the DA can run the kind of clean, corruption-free government that sees all the people’s money spent on services for the people.

And the man who will lead the charge for the DA as our premier candidate in this province is the hard-working, principled Joe McGluwa.

Joe will offer this province everything that Supra Mahumapelo wasn’t. He has an exemplary career in politics that spans over 30 years, starting as a councilor in the Matlosana Municipality before going on to serve as a Member of Parliament.

During this time, Joe’s integrity has never been brought into question. He has served his province and his country with passion and honesty, and his colleagues know him as a humble leader who likes to roll his sleeves up and get stuck into the work.

After years of suffering under the ANC and their Gupta handlers, this province needs a man like Joe McGluwa at the helm.

He’s a man of actions, not words. He’s someone who believes in the strength of family and community. Someone for whom integrity and honesty mean everything.

And, importantly, he is someone who unites rather than divides – the type of leader committed to bringing change that builds one South Africa for all its people.

President Ramaphosa will need to tell the truth about prior VBS knowledge when he appears in Parliament on Thursday

Allegations that President Ramaphosa had prior knowledge of theft and looting at VBS bank is a matter of national importance and, if true, has serious legal ramifications for the President. Close to R2 billion was systematically stolen from VBS bank accounts of poor, vulnerable and elderly people and funnelled to rich politicians, politically connected businesspersons, and their associates. The people of South Africa deserve a full, candid explanation.

I have therefore today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting that an urgent oral question to the President be added to Thursday’s Order Paper, in terms of Rule 141 of the National Assembly Rules.

When President Ramaphosa appears in Parliament to answer questions on Thursday, I will look to ask him the following question:

On what date did he (a) first become aware of the involvement of executives in corruption and looting at the VBS Mutual Bank and (b) subsequently take action, if any, in this regard?

While the Presidency attempted to bury this matter yesterday via a press statement, the truth still remains elusive. We now sit with allegations and counter allegations, none of which provide full clarity on the President’s involvement.

As of yet, President Ramaphosa has failed to tell the nation the date on which he first became aware of the corruption and looting at VBS, and the date of when he first acted on this knowledge, if at all.

It is absolutely vital to ascertain this, as the President has a legislative duty to report corrupt transactions in terms of section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PACCA). If he failed to do so, he may well be criminally liable.

For the holder of the highest office in the Republic to have allegedly had prior knowledge of grand corruption and looting for almost two years is an incredibly serious allegation and cannot be left partially answered through a 170-word statement. It is of urgent public importance that the President is afforded an opportunity in Parliament to answer to this serious allegation.

The President needs to use his final oral questions session for the year to play an open hand with the people of South Africa and unequivocally state on which date he first became aware of the VBS heist, and on which date he first acted in this regard, if at all, to ensure those accused are held to account.

Sadly, the VBS heist is just one example of an almost daily occurrence of corruption, cronyism and nepotism under the ANC – all which steals opportunity from South Africans.

One thing the ANC has succeeded at is maintaining a sophisticated organisational model of corruption that serves to make themselves rich. While Mr Ramaphosa’s PR team has been hard at work portraying him as “Mr Squeaky Clean”, it appears the skeletons are falling out of the cupboard, one by one.

Only the DA can fix this broken system that locks South Africans out by creating an open, fair and transparent model of government that sees all politically connected individuals found guilty of corruption spending a minimum of 15 years in jail.

The Venezuelan story is a warning to SA, we must reject theft by the government disguised as righteousness

The following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a press conference at Nkululeko House, Johannesburg. Maimane was joined by Venezuelan opposition MPs Miguel Pizarro and José Manuel Olivares of Primero Justicia – the largest opposition party in Venezuela. Their full statement can be accessed here. 

It is a great honour to share a platform today with two fellow brothers in the fight for freedom and against the growing forces of authoritarian populism across the globe. Seated next to me today are Miguel Pizarro and Jose Manuel Olivares, both members of the Venezuelan Parliament, who represent Venezuela’s main opposition party, Primero Justicia, or Justice First.

Ahead of their visit to South Africa to raise awareness about the devastating social, political, and economic crisis unfolding in their native Venezuela, Miguel and Jose reached out to the Democratic Alliance (DA) as they recognise our party as a defender of liberal democracy, and a champion of the advancement of freedom and human rights.

Jose Manuel Olivares is working on securing humanitarian aid to counteract the terrible human consequences of the shortage of medicines in Venezuela. However, for the last three months he has been in exile in Colombia after his family received threats unless he quit politics.

Miguel Pizarro has defended families and loved ones of political detainees who have been arrested and incarcerated. His fight is fuelled by his own sister’s struggle. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012 and has not been able to receive adequate medication or treatment as imports of life saving drugs have stopped. Pizarro and his family had to make the difficult decision to send her to a different country, so she could get access to the medication.

We are proud to be able to stand with them in their struggles, as the Democratic Alliance and Primero Justicia have much in common. Much like the DA, Primero Justicia is a centrist, liberal party with a large diversity of supporters who are bound together by shared values, and a commitment to the basic tenets of liberal democracy: a market economy that values enterprise, the rule of law, individual rights guaranteed by a constitution which limits and checks power, private property and free speech. This is the best way to defeat poverty and maximise the true freedom of all citizens.

Primero Justicia was founded in 1992, first as a civil society association of university students seeking reform of Venezuela’s legal system. They officially registered as a political party in 2000 – the very same year the DA was formed.

Primero Justicia is the main opposition party in Venezuela. They currently hold 33 seats of the National Assembly’s 167. However, the National Assembly has effectively been denuded of its powers in a clearly illegal and unconstitutional power grab by the authoritarian regime. The governing party – United Socialist Party of Venezuela has 55 seats, but exercises near total power.

Earlier this morning, the DA’s delegation met with Miguel and Jose who gave us a first-hand account of the dire situation in Venezuela. It is important that South Africans hear the real story of the situation in Venezuela, as there are some in our country – including in the ANC – who venerate and celebrate what has happened in Venezuela as a model of “radical transformation”. These powerful lobbies in the ANC, and their fellow travellers in other parties, are proposing and adopting policies that threaten to take South Africa down a destructive path.

In their words, this comes down to three interrelated policies enforced by the governing party in Venezuela: Expropriation of land without compensation, the nationalisation of banks, mines and other industries, and institutionalised corruption through nepotism and cadre deployment.

Venezuela’s collapse began with the election of Hugo Chávez as President in 1998, a radical populist who preached state control and ownership of the country and its resources as the answer. A year later, in 1999, the Constitution was amended to declare that ‘the predominance of large idle estates (latifundios) was contrary to the interests of society’. In other words, similar to the direction the ANC government is headed, the Venezuelan constitution was changed to allow the government to expropriate land without compensation.

In practice, however, it was not only ‘idle’ land that was taken. The government implicitly encouraged land invasions, which often reduced productivity to the point where farms became ‘idle’ enough to qualify for expropriation. Land was also allocated according to political criteria, with those who supported the government first in line to receive land.

In 2003, the government escalated its assault on the economy by introducing price controls. Over the coming years, rapid economic decline followed. Agricultural production dropped sharply between 2007 and 2011: maize by 40%, rice by 39%, sorghum by 83%, sugar cane by 37%, coffee by 47%, potatoes by 64%, tomatoes by 34%, and onions by 25%.

Large quantities of fertile land fell out of production, while food imports continued to rise. This led to people having to queue for five to six hours a day in the hope of buying food and other much-needed items.

Rather than admit these policies were a failure, and start over, in 2014 the government tightened the price controls further. Both farmers and food producers were forced to sell at prices below production costs, which cut supply even further. The manipulation of the economy by the government resulted in investment flight, and between 2013 and 2017, Venezuela’s economy contracted by 39%.

The very people the populists claimed to care for are the ones suffering the most. Extreme poverty grew from 24% of the population in 2014 to 61% in 2017. The infant mortality rate increased a hundredfold during the period of 2012 to 2015, and is now higher than in war-torn Syria. The minimum wage has actually fallen by 75%. Inflation has reached 1 million percent.

Today, Venezuela is a humanitarian tragedy, and it is only getting worse. The country has all but been destroyed – 80% of the population lives in poverty, and three quarters of the population are under-nourished or hungry. The inability to import sufficient food and medicine means the crisis is fast spiralling.

While the majority of Venezuelans are poor, hungry, and hopeless, the politically connected elite are rich and untouchable.

Now that South Africa will hold a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the term 2019 – 2020, we challenge President Ramaphosa to use our position on the UNSC to try to resolve the crisis in Venezuela and return the country to open democracy. South Africa must use its position on UNSC to advance liberal democracy and stand up for justice, freedom and human rights across the globe. The ANC government needs to stop siding with dictators, and thug-governments.

The Venezuelan story is a warning of the dangers of radical populism in South Africa. We must not be arrogant enough to think that it cannot be related here, when many of the same social and political signs that existed in Venezuela in 1999 also exist in South Africa today. We must see the signs and call them out: the divisive language, pitting South Africans against each other, the dangerous violent language, the incitement, the talk of genocide, the use of race to provide cover for the abuse of power, and the destructive socialist policies which only guarantee more poverty and suffering. We must see these things clearly for what they are, and stop them now.

It is vital we do a 180 degree turn from the path we are on under the policies of the ANC and the EFF. Both the ANC and the EFF agree with and champion the same ideas that have brought Venezuela to its knees: An assault on property rights through expropriation of land without compensation; the nationalisation of banks and key industries, creeping state authoritarianism and the abuse of power, and corrupt government filled with deployed cadres.

While in Venezuela it began with land, we must not view land expropriation in isolation. It is the deadly concoction of land expropriation, nationalisation, centralisation of power, corruption and populism that leads to collapse. As was the case in Zimbabwe and Venezuela, this comes with entitlement, envy, division, hatred of others, and more often than not, violence. These things are the antithesis of our vision of building One South Africa For All. The DA is the only party in South Africa still actively working to build a united South Africa that achieves shared prosperity. While others may pay lip service to this ideal,  their words are honoured more in the breach than in the observance.

Today, both parties have officially signed a pledge to work together in advancing freedom and democracy, and towards the following goals:

  • Mobilizing the international community to pressure the Venezuelan government to abandon its programme of state repression;
  • Fight for the opening up a channel to allow humanitarian aid to the people of Venezuela, in order for much needed food and medicine to be supplied;
  • To ensure fair elections in Venezuela;
  • Return power to the de jure National Assembly;
  • The end of political repression of opposition parties in Venezuela; and
  • The release of all political prisoners in Venezuela.

The DA, like Primero Justicia, fundamentally believes in giving more power to individuals, and less to the government.

Together, we believe in the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution.

We believe in universal freedoms and human rights.

We believe in an open, market-based economy that is supported by an enabling environment for job creation and prosperity.

We believe in enhancing trade in a rapidly growing and technologically advancing global community.

We believe in the protection and promotion of private property rights.

We believe in the complete separation of party and state.

And we believe in the total eradication of corruption.

In the words of Russian historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn “Unlimited power in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty.” It is this cruelty that is the inevitable outcome of nationalisation, expropriation, and corruption.

Together, we will continue to partner with Primero Justicia, and fellow brothers and sisters from across the globe to defeat the forces of illiberalism, and ensure people are free from the coercion and manipulation of corrupt governments.

The Western Cape must lead the charge to bring change that builds one SA for all

The following remarks were delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the DA’s Team 1 SA launch in Cape Town today. The Leader was joined by Western Cape Premier Candidate, Alan Winde, Western Cape Provincial Leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, and City of Cape Town Mayor elect, Dan Plato

Good morning, people of Cape Town, people of the Western Cape, fellow South Africans,

It’s always great to be here in this beautiful province. Die mooiste Kaap. But it’s particularly good to be here today as we kick off our 2019 election campaign in the province

In this campaign we will travel to every corner of the country telling South Africans what they can expect from a DA government, and explaining why only the DA can bring change that builds one South Africa for all.

I will do all I can to make our campaign here in the Western Cape a success, because this is such a crucial province. South Africa can only flourish if the Western Cape flourishes.

The Western Cape has always been the greatest melting pot of our South African cultures, and it is where so much of our nation’s story began.

From the painful roots of our colonial past and the beginning of our rich Cape Malay culture to significant moments like the very first words by Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison, this province and this city have been the backdrop to so much of our history.

In his address here from the balcony of the City Hall on 11 February 1990, Madiba reiterated what he had said more than a quarter of a century earlier during the Rivonia Trial:

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”

This free society with equal opportunities was something he dreamt of before they sent him to jail, and it was still his dream when he was freed. And, for a while, we all pursued this dream. We all believed in this dream.

But then we lost our way as a nation. Greed and corruption in the ANC replaced hope and ambition, and our nation started drifting further and further away from the dream of freedom.

Today, many of our people are no nearer to being free than they were back then. It has become clear that it won’t be the ANC who will deliver this freedom, because they can’t.

It will have to be a new government, committed to working for all the people. A government committed to building a fair and non-racial South Africa.

A government that not only believes in our potential, but also believes that we will only reach this potential if we work together.

And that is why it is significant that we’re gathered here today, in Cape Town, to launch the DA’s 2019 election campaign in the Western Cape. Because it is here in this province that we have already started laying the foundations for this new government.

Having taken control of the City of Cape Town in 2006 and the Western Cape in 2009, we’ve had over a decade to demonstrate that the DA is far more than just an efficient opposition party.

We’ve used this precious opportunity to show that we are a committed and capable party of government, and a far better one than the ANC ever was.

Ably led by Premier Zille and Mayors Plato and de Lille, the DA has worked tirelessly over the past decade to improve the lives of people here, and poor people in particular.

The numbers speak for themselves. The Western Cape leads the other eight provinces in every measure of good, clean governance you can think of, from jobs to education, from land reform to basic service delivery.

In the past year, according to Stats SA, three-quarters of new jobs in South Africa were created here in the Western Cape. This province now has a broad unemployment rate that’s 14.2% below the national average.

We took a provincial education department that was struggling and turned it into the best performing department in the country. It now leads the other provinces on bachelor passes as well as maths and science passes, and it has the lowest learner drop-out rate in South Africa.

When it comes to land reform, the projects here in the Western Cape have a 62% success rate. Compare that to the 10% success rate for land reform projects for the rest of the country and it becomes clear who is serious about land reform and who is not.

Much of our success is down to clean and transparent governance, and working responsibly with public money. This past financial year the Western Cape achieved 80% clean audits. The next best province was Gauteng, with a distant 52%.

In healthcare, the DA succeeded in raising the life expectancy for men from 59 years in 2009 to 66 years today. For women this went from 64 years in 2009 to 72 years today.

Across every single measure, the DA-led Western Cape has outshone every single ANC-led province. There is no doubt that this DA government is the best government the Western Cape has ever had.

But that alone is no reason to sit back and feel satisfied. Because we cannot measure ourselves against a standard set by the ANC. Our benchmark must surely be much, much higher.

So I congratulate this province on what it has achieved this past decade. It has been a huge effort and has delivered remarkable results. But we dare not rest.

Our goal is not to be better than the ANC. Our goal – our very reason for coming to work every day – is to fight for a better life for our people.

And not only the people who voted for us. We fight for everyone, because we are the DA. We are the only party trying to build a united, non-racial South Africa.

Now it is time for a new group of leaders to take the fight forward in the Western Cape. I am very pleased to tell you that the people sharing the stage with me today – our Premier candidate, our Mayor-elect and our Provincial Leader – have their sleeves rolled up and are ready to do just that.

I could not have asked for a more qualified, more committed team to take our election message to the people during this campaign, and to then steer this province and this city towards a bright and safe future. We have truly assembled the A-team here.

In Alan Winde we have the perfect Premier to build on the enormous gains this Province has made under the government of Helen Zille this past decade.

In Dan Plato we have a Mayor who will take back Cape Town’s communities from the gangs and drug dealers who have taken over their streets.

And in Bonginkosi Madikizela we have a Provincial Leader who has, time and time again, demonstrated his commitment to the people of the province through better services and housing delivery.

I am proud to call them my colleagues, and I trust them to fight the good fight here in this province – first by delivering a win in next year’s election, and then by building on the good work we have already done here in government.

And let me assure you, no one sets a higher benchmark for himself than Alan Winde.

They don’t call him the Jobs Premier for nothing. He knows that the only way out of poverty and the only way out of dependency on the government is through employment. It has been his obsessive focus to bring investment to the Western Cape.

And it has worked, with the bulk of new jobs created in South Africa this past year coming from this province, despite three years of crippling drought. That doesn’t happen by accident. That takes hard work and it takes real commitment.

But even he will admit that there is still more to be done. Despite being far ahead of the other provinces, unemployment still affects many young people here, and we have a huge challenge to help create sustainable jobs.

I know there is not a more qualified person to lead this charge than Alan Winde.

But, fellow South Africans, growing the economy here and creating jobs won’t mean much if people aren’t able to make the most of these opportunities because they live in constant fear of crime.

We all know that crime, and particularly gang and drug crime, weighs heavily on the minds of many communities here. Places like Mitchells Plain, Bonteheuwel, Nyanga, Langa, Mannenberg, Lavender Hill and many more are under siege every day.

People don’t feel safe in their own homes, in their streets, in their schools, their parks, their shops and their churches. Gang violence is a scourge that has to be met head-on, and this calls for strong leadership.

If Alan Winde is our Jobs Premier, then Dan Plato is our Gang-busting Mayor.

His track record of commitment to this city over many years in public service speaks for itself, but it is specifically on crime and fighting gangs that he has vowed to turn this city around.

He will take the fight straight to the gangs and the drug dealers who have stolen our communities and turned our streets into war zones.

But he will also take the fight to national government, because this is where much of the problem lies.

It is the ANC national government that has the power and the responsibility to resource police precincts throughout the province.

It is the ANC national government that decides how many SAPS officers get stationed at which police stations.

It is the ANC national government that chose, years ago, to disband the specialised gang and drugs units.

It is the ANC government that releases crime stats every year that show just how badly neglected many of Cape Town’s communities are, and still they refuse to come to their rescue.

The national average of police per population is one officer for every 369 residents. In the Western Cape there is one officer for every 509 residents. In the City of Cape Town it’s only one officer for every 560 residents.

An area like Nyanga, with the highest murder rate in the country, should have more police officers than elsewhere, and yet it has way below the national average. This is not an oversight. This is the ANC playing politics with people’s lives.

I see Cosatu has joined the efforts to shut down the Western Cape in protest against crime and gangs. But we see you, Cosatu. We know what you’re doing here.

You are deliberately trying to sow confusion around crime in the province by pinning the shortcomings of SAPS and the ANC on the DA and hoping the people fall for it.

Stop playing politics with people’s lives, Cosatu. If you truly are concerned about the effects of crime here – and I hope you are – then raise it with your own alliance partner, the ANC. Because that’s where the problem lies, and you know it.

For once, do the right thing and put pressure on the ANC and SAPS to stop under-resourcing these Cape Town areas as punishment for not choosing an ANC government.

I also see Minister Bheki Cele has been making noises about bringing back the specialised units. These noises are nothing new. His predecessor, Fikile Mbalula, made the same noises. Jacob Zuma promised the same thing.

Enough empty talk, minister. Just do it.

Fellow South Africans,

Under Mayor Dan Plato, the DA will continue to fight for the safety of our communities here in Cape Town, and we will be the only party doing so.

Thanks to the DA’s efforts, there is now an instruction from the Public Service Commission to fill all SAPS vacancies within the next six months.

And we will not stop there either. We will continue fighting until all Cape Town’s police stations are adequately and fairly staffed.

We will continue fighting until police reservist numbers are far higher.

We will continue fighting until we have dedicated gang and drug units.

And we will continue fighting until the army is sent to these gang hotspots to assist SAPS in its operations.

That is our promise to the people of this city and this province. And we could not have picked a better Mayor to fulfil this promise than Dan Plato.

Fellow South Africans,

We may have won this province back in 2009, and increased our majority here in 2014, but let me assure you we will never take our position here for granted.

We will never stop fighting to make the streets here safe. We will never stop fighting to make the schools here better. We will never stop fighting to speed up the delivery of basic services to all areas. We will never stop fighting to bring jobs and end poverty.

Our fight won’t end until we have bridged the gap between the insiders and the outsiders in our country. Until we become one united country once more, pursuing one common goal.

I assure you, we won’t stop fighting until we have brought change that builds one South Africa for all.

Thank you.

DA gives President Ramaphosa one week to fire Dlamini and Gigaba

The following statement was delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, at a media briefing in Parliament. Maimane was joined by DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP.

The Department of Social Development is perhaps one of the most important in government, as it is tasked with the welfare of the most vulnerable people in our society – young children, the elderly, orphans, the disabled and foster children.

It should be a source of national shame that such an important department was ever run by a Minister like Bathabile Dlamini, and this shame is compounded by the fact that she now still remains in Cabinet in a position of important responsibility for championing women’s issues.

Yesterday’s scathing Constitutional Court judgement against Minister Bathabile Dlamini, in her capacity as then Minister of Social Development, confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa now harbours two Ministers in his Cabinet who have lied under oath.

These are not allegations. They are the unanimous findings of the Constitutional Court and the North Gauteng High Court respectively.

It is truly an exceptional circumstance to have two members of the Executive found to have lied under oath in court cases relating to their work in government. This is intolerable, and both of these Ministers should be dismissed from Cabinet.

I have written to President Ramaphosa asking him to fire Ministers Gigaba and Dlamini before 5 October. Should he fail to do so, we will approach the Courts to seek an order to compel him to act to uphold the honour of high executive honour and remove these two perjurers from his Cabinet.

President Ramaphosa has spoken often and vocally about his desire to act meaningfully to clean up his administration. This is a perfect opportunity for him to show real commitment to his words, and to act to uphold the integrity of the Executive.

Bathabile Dlamini

Bathabile Dlamini has failed in her job, having been directly responsible for the social grants crisis, which the DA believes she purposefully manufactured to ensure CPS would continue to distribute grants, no doubt for her own personal gain.

Dlamini was determined to deliberately derail the entire process of SASSA procuring an alternative service provider, all in a bid to ensure that the CPS contract could be extended over and over again.

Retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe offered a scathing assessment of Dlamini’s testimony during the Inquiry into her role in the 2017 social grants debacle.

Yesterday’s unanimous judgment by the Constitutional Court found that (par 12): “(…) at best for her, her conduct was reckless and grossly negligent,” and that (par 15) “the Minister misled the Court to protect herself from the consequences of her behaviour.”

In the view of the court (par 15), she “used her position as Minister of the Department to place herself between constitutionally enshrined rights and those entitled to them.”

Minister Dlamini has time and again proven that she is incapable of governing a department and continuously failed in delivering on her mandate of protecting the most vulnerable in our society.

It is obvious that Dlamini is not fit for office and her contempt for the highest court in our country is matched only by her contempt for the most vulnerable people in our country.

Bathabile Dlamini is an embarrassment to the government and the country, and besmirches the office of Minister. The President should dismiss her immediately.

Where or not he does, the DA will lay criminal charges against Dlamini for committing perjury by lying under oath to the Constitutional Court.

We will also lay a complaint against Minister Dlamini, in terms of section 4 of the Executive Ethics Act. Section 2 of the Executive Ethics Act forbids “Cabinet members, Deputy Ministers and MECs from…exposing themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and their private interests; (iv) using their position or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person; and (v) acting in a way that may compromise the credibility or integrity of their office or of the government.” As is stipulated by the Act, the complaint will be laid with the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Malusi Gigaba

Minister Malusi Gigaba is directly implicated in bypassing South African law to ensure that the Guptas were given citizenship when they were not entitled to it.

In February this year, in the matter of Fireblade Aviation (Pty) Ltd v Minister of Home Affairs, Judge Neil Tuchten of the North Gauteng High Court found that Gigaba, when he was still Home Affairs Minister, “deliberately told untruths under oath” and that “he committed a breach of the constitution so serious that I could characterise it as a violation”.

The DA has already laid a formal complaint with the Public Protector requesting that she investigate Minister Gigaba’s conduct in the matter in light of the serious findings of the High Court. We will continue our engagements with the Public Protector to ensure that her investigation into Minister Gigaba is now expedited so that he can be held to account.

However, it seems that there has been little progress in this matter and Adv. Mkhwebane is dragging her feet. The DA reminds her that she has a duty to investigate without fear or favour and to ensure that those in high office uphold their oaths of office.

We will also follow this up now with perjury charges against Minister Gigaba.

The fact is that the ANC have taken South Africa down the wrong path. Corruption is rife and there is a lack of respect for the law and the requirements of high office.

President Ramaphosa has pledged to turn this around. Now is the time for him to show whether he really means in deed what he has said.

So far, he has often acted in the best interests of the unity of the ANC, instead of the best interests of the country. He must not defend these Ministers and protect their jobs in the interests of the ANC. He must fire these two liars now.

In the interests of justice, the ANC must appear before the Zondo Commission into State Capture

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a picket outside the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Parktown, Johannesburg. Maimane was joined by Team One South Africa member for Corruption, Phumzile van Damme, Team One South Africa member for State Capture, Natasha Mazzone, and Team One South Africa Campaign Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi

Today we are gathered outside the Zondo Commission into State Capture to make one thing clear: the ANC must be called before the Commission, to play open cards and to answer each and every allegation levelled against the party and its members so that South Africans can be assured no stone has been left unturned in the pursuit of justice. Corruption and state capture is an enemy of the poor, vulnerable and jobless, and steals opportunity from South Africans by making ANC-connected cadres rich.

Nine days ago, the DA’s lawyers wrote to the Secretary of the Commission into State Capture, Dr Khotso De Wee, to request confirmation that Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, Lynne Brown, Tom Moyane, Arthur Fraser, David Mahlobo, and David Mabuza be called to testify before the Commission.

Our lawyers have not yet received a response to our letter to Dr De Wee from 18 September. We reiterate this call and implore the Commission to consider this request in light of the sheer depth of corruption and capture, and its damaging effects on the livelihoods of ordinary South Africans. Nothing in the Commission’s Terms of Reference bar it from calling the above-mentioned individuals to appear and to account.

We applaud the great work already carried out by the Commission and look forward to observing today’s proceedings. The Commission has rightly focussed on inquiring into the truth behind state capture and have not permitted a trial of the losing ANC faction from last year’s ANC National Conference at Nasrec to take root. This is not about settling scores, it’s about ensuring those who stole the people’s money are held to account and are put behind bars.

While the ANC must account for their leading role in State Capture and their senior leadership must testify, the Commission cannot become a tool to settle ANC internal factionalism and navigate ANC cadre deployment. These 12 ANC members can mitigate this risk by telling the truth before the Commission.

State capture did not begin with the election of former President Jacob Zuma in 2009. Rather, state capture and corruption is central to the ANC’s very nature and being. Cadre deployment has been an ANC policy for the better part of 20 years, allowing corruption, nepotism, cronyism and ultimately state capture to ensue.

It defies reason for President Cyril Ramaphosa to have not known about ANC involvement in state capture as he was second in command of both the ANC and the country as Deputy President. He must appear before the Commission to explain whether he knew about state capture, and what he did about it once he found out.

The Minister for Woman in the Presidency, Bathabile Dlamini, has famously quipped that most within the ANC have their own ‘smallanyana skeletons.’ South Africa deserves a Commission that will call these ANC members to unearth the truth behind the ANC’s leading role in the capturing of the state.

State capture is a criminal system that continues to operate parallel to national government. Change that builds One South Africa for All hinges on South Africans knowing the truth behind this shadow state.

The DA’s plan to fighting corruption like this includes establishing an independent unit dedicated to identifying, fighting and prosecuting corruption. Our agenda for change also intends to bring in direct elections for all political office holders so that the South African people can hold their Mayors, Premiers and President directly accountable.

The DA will fight corruption to ensure that all money is spent on the people and if voted into government, will ensure that anyone found guilty of corruption will be sentenced to 15 years in jail. The ANC is the same old part full of empty promises and rewarding their failure to fight corruption won’t change anything.

Our Constitutional democracy will not survive another quarter century of state capture. Jacob Zuma’s continued denial of its mere existence drastically increases the risk of a circulation of ANC capture through different actors.

The ANC, as arch architects of corruption and state capture, must appear before this Commission and tell South Africans the truth.

DA lawyers request State Capture Commission confirm 12 ANC witnesses

Our lawyers have written to Secretary of the Commission into State Capture, Dr Khotso De Wee, requesting confirmation that Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, Lynne Brown, Tom Moyane, Arthur Fraser, David Mahlobo, and David Mabuza will be called to give testimony before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

The DA’s complaints against all 12 of these ANC members are a matter of public record and need to be thoroughly investigated. Considering information in the public domain and testimony already heard before the Commission, their testimony is material in allowing the Commission to fulfil its mandate.

Testimonies before the Commission have made it clear that the ANC knew full well that state capture was underway and did absolutely nothing to stop it from happening.

As recently as Tuesday, Mantashe and Duarte were implicated by the testimony given on behalf of Standard Bank at the hearing. While fellow ANC top 6 member and Deputy President, David Mabuza, is three years overdue coming clean about his 2015 trip to Moscow on a Gupta owned aircraft when Premier of Mpumalanga.

Former President Jacob Zuma has been directly implicated in allegations by testimony before the Commission, but while the Commission has requested he submit an affidavit to the Commission, it is not clear whether he will be called to testify in person.

The Gupta’s siphoning of hundreds of millions intended for farmers in the Estina Dairy Farm project has not yet led to any real accountability. Former Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, needs to attest to his involvement in this large-scale looting when Free State Agriculture MEC. It is also critical that former SSA Director General, Arthur Fraser, reveal whether he used the SSA as a bulwark against threats to state capture.

For eight years, the ANC’s Parliamentary majority have shielded the guilty from any real accountability, while state capture continued at Luthuli House, the Union Buildings, Mineral Resources, Home Affairs, Finance, SOEs, SARS, and the SSA. Because ANC capture is the protagonist of state capture.

The ANC must face the music for their leading role in state capture and its senior leadership must testify before the Commission.

An agenda for change to build One South Africa For All rests on South Africans knowing the truth. These 12 ANC members know the truth behind the state capture project and South Africa deserves a Commission that will call them as witnesses to shine light on the proceedings.

 

Jacques Smalle is the DA’s Premier Candidate for Limpopo

 The following remarks were delivered today by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, at the announcement of the DA’s Premier Candidate for Limpopo in Masodi Village, Mokopane. Maimane was joined by DA Limpopo Provincial Chairperson, Geoffrey Tshibvumo.

I am delighted to be in Masodi Village today to announce Jacques Smalle as the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Premier Candidate for the 2019 Election.

Eight years ago, the Ratunku Primary School was meant to be built for the children of Masodi, some of whom are with us today. You can see why it is now referred to as the ‘invisible school’ because all that has come of this promise is the abandoned space we find ourselves in. There is still no school today, as the young children of this village are left behind by the ANC government

The effect of this ANC government’s empty promise is that the only existing primary school in the village is crammed with over 1 500 learners where 64 pupils squeeze into a classroom, and 4 children use the same desk. Young children have no choice but to walk 7km to schools in other villages, crossing a river and road en route.

At least 7 children have lost their lives on this long and dangerous walk to school. Thabang Matjiu is one of the lucky few who survived with injuries after being hit by a car walking home from school.

Thabang is here today with his mother, father and grandmother. Thabang, I would like to commend you and your family for being here and assure you that we will seek accountability and answers from government as to this complete failure by the ANC government.

The Limpopo Department of Basic Education (DBE) continues to fail in delivering quality school infrastructure. The national DBE conceded in June that it did not achieve any of its Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) goals. As few as 22 of 115 selected schools through South Africa were built. And although there is a more than R5 billion school infrastructure backlog in Limpopo, this year’s infrastructure development programme was allocated R300 million less than four years ago.

But much like this ‘invisible school’, even when the Limpopo DBE did set aside as much as R200 million of this programme to build new schools and administration blocks, these projects were abandoned and have still not been finished. Limpopo Education MEC, Ishmael Kgetjepe, continues to protect the political architects of these invisible schools over learners like Thabang who suffer with the consequences.

These learners are growing up in a world where just over a quarter of the entire province do not have jobs. Worse yet, when accounting for those who have also given up searching for jobs, this harrowing number spikes to a staggering 37.4%. The people of Limpopo need real change, and the DA is ready to bring that change. Change that creates work, cuts corruption, fights crime, speeds up service delivery to all, and ultimately betters the lives of all.

Of grave concern here in Limpopo is also the Makhado Project negotiated between South African coal exploration, development and mining company, MC Mining, and a Chinese construction enterprise, China Railway International Group. This almost R150 billion deal to develop a 4 600-megawatt coal-fired plant in the Makhado-Musina Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Limpopo has been signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

As with the R33 billion loan that the President signed from the Chinese Development Bank (CDB) to Eskom, the terms of reference of this deal have been cloaked in secrecy. The electricity and jobs created will only benefit the new Chinese-controlled industrial park, akin to a country within our country.

While I continue to fight the Eskom-China loan in Parliament, Jacques is probing the Chinese SEZ deal to get answers from government as to the impact it will have on the people of Limpopo. Jacques has a passion for this province and its people. He was born and raised in Limpopo’s Vhembe district and is a proud Tshivenda speaker.

His career in politics spans more than two decades from two terms as a Councillor, a Member of the Provincial Legislature and a Member of Parliament in various capacities.

When the province was placed under administration, it was his dogged fight that more than tripled norms and standards for quintile 1 to 3 schools from a meagre R320 to R1 060 per learner which made it possible for schools to become more independent. So when he offers to focus on funding incomplete infrastructure projects in the province such as Ratunku Primary School before starting on new infrastructure projects to ensure that we use resources effectively, you know that he will fight tooth and nail to realise this.

Jacques has been an entrepreneur from a young age, successfully running multiple businesses from a bakery, butchery and supermarket to an avocado and nut farm. His commitment to a civilian service programme that would provide young school leavers an opportunity to receive industry of their choosing and a programme partnering school leavers is reflection of the fundamental importance he places in investing in the future of young South Africans.

His cross-sector experience leaves him well placed to deliver on his offer to ensure that locals are the first to benefit in all SEZ developments by ensuring transparency on all Terms of Reference (TOR) and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU).

Few are as well qualified as Jacques to champion the DA’s call for Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity throughout Limpopo. As of now, he will champion the DA’s charge for change and mission to unseat the incapable ANC government in the province.

Jacques will lead a team dedicating to eradicating corruption and will call for a commission of inquiry into the VBS Mutual Bank investment scandal before Limpopo municipalities lose another R1.1 billion to service delivery projects in the province.

His team will target its spending on completing incomplete infrastructure projects and clearing the infrastructure backlog for rural township schools. With 37.4% of Limpopo without a job or having given up hope of every finding a job, Jacques will make it a priority to support emerging businesses and equip SMME owners with the relevant business knowledge and skills to grow and create more opportunity.

In a province where so many have been left behind, Limpopo needs a leader willing and able to fight for one Limpopo with one future for all. I pledge the support of the DA’s national leadership to Jacques in his campaign to bring this change to Limpopo.

Because it is only the DA that can bring change for Thabang, his family and the rest of Limpopo to ensure we never again find ourselves gathered around an ‘invisible school’ remembering children who have lost their lives because of ANC government neglect. We believe in a better future for all in Limpopo and Jacques is the DA’s custodian of this belief in the province.

Andrew Louw, son of the Northern Cape soil, is the man to lead this province in 2019

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the announcement of the DA’s Premier Candidate for the Northern Cape. Maimane was joined by DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey.

Our announcement today of the DA’s candidate for Premier of the Northern Cape in the 2019 election marks the start of a campaign that will usher in a new era of accountability and commitment to the people of this province.

If you look at the voting trends in the Northern Cape, you will know that the political sands here are fast shifting. Over the past decade there has been a big swing away from the ANC, and a big swing towards the DA, in both national and provincial, as well as the local government elections. This trend has been echoed in recent by-election results across the province.

The Northern Cape is very much “in play” for 2019, and the DA is making all the necessary preparations to lead a government here after the election, as we are also doing in Gauteng under the guidance of Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, who has accompanied me here today.

We fully intend to become the biggest party in the Northern Cape next year, and we plan to hit the ground running in government so that we can help unlock the potential of this largely forgotten province. To do so, we will apply the same principles as we did in the Western Cape, which saw that province become the biggest provider of new jobs in the country in recent years. Last year, three quarters of all new jobs were added in the Western Cape. This was only possible thanks to the DA’s obsessive focus on enabling growth and enterprise in the private sector, rather than making job creation a function of the state.

We need to do the same here in the Northern Cape. We need to create a corruption-free, hassle-free environment in which businesses can flourish, and we need to identify and enhance the industries that are key to development and growth here. One such an industry is energy, and particularly renewable energy. Through smart infrastructure investment and good clean governance, we can make the Northern Cape an energy hub and create thousands of new jobs here. The DA will put the Northern Cape back on the map when it comes to development, growth and jobs.

And so I am pleased to announce that our capable DA Northern Cape team will do so under the proven leadership of our Premier candidate, Andrew Louw. Andrew has served as DA Provincial Leader here since 2010, during which time the party has gone from strength to strength, both in terms of electoral results and in its fight for better services, better living conditions and accountable governance for the people of the Northern Cape.

Andrew was born in Kimberley in 1969. He grew up right here in Galeshewe, in Boikanyo Street, and attended Venus Primary School and Homevale Secondary School. His childhood was marked by poverty, but thanks to the sacrifices of his parents and a close-knit community, his poor childhood served as a motivation to one day be of service, rather than to define his path in life.

He would go on to obtain various qualifications from a host of tertiary institutions such as the then Rand Afrikaans University, Pretoria University, Wits University and UNISA. These qualifications include diplomas in marketing management, operations management, diversity management, business management and labour relations. He is currently enrolled in a Masters programme at Wits in the field of governance and leadership, which he has temporarily put on hold until after the 2019 elections.

Growing up in Galeshewe, Andrew knew very well the damaging effects of an uncaring government. All around him he saw people whose futures had become severely limited by the circumstances of their birth and their surroundings. This moved him to want to make a difference in these communities, and to become a voice for those who couldn’t speak for themselves.

He joined the DA 12 years ago, first as an activist and later as candidate for ward councillor here in Ward 14 – an election battle he lost by a mere 23 votes. Undeterred by this narrow setback, he went on to serve as a PR Councillor for the DA until he became a Member of Parliament in 2009, serving as the Shadow Minister for Labour. Since becoming Provincial Leader in 2010 he has defended his position at two congresses, both with landslide victories. This is testament to the trust his colleagues and the party have in Andrew’s abilities to lead the party in this province.

During this time, Andrew guided the DA to increased electoral returns in every national, provincial and local election, as well as a host of by-elections. In the 2014 elections, he helped grow DA support from 15% (2009) to 23,5%, and from 2009 to 2016 the number of DA councillors in the province grew from 69 to 107.

The DA’s momentum in the Northern Cape is undeniable, and much of this success is down to the hands-on work of Andrew Louw. He personifies the “get your hands dirty” type of leader, and will make for an excellent Premier of our country’s largest province.

He will have to blaze his own trail as Premier though, because the ANC Premiers who have preceded him here will have left him with very uninspiring shoes to fill. In fact, the ANC leadership in this province, collectively, has a lot to answer for. When the Premier is best known for her taxpayer-funded fast-food excesses, and when the ruling party’s former Provincial Chair is the convicted criminal, John Block, then you know that good governance is very low down on the priority list.

The good news is that the people of the Northern Cape have had enough of this corruption and neglect. Particularly here in Kimberley and Galeshewe, the people have indicated that the ANC’s time in power is over. The fact that the DA lost the court bid to have the compromised Sol Plaatje Mayor, Mangaliso Matika, removed due to a legal technicality does not change the mood and the will of the people.

The people of the Northern Cape know that only one party has been fighting in their corner, and that party is the DA. Only the DA has sought justice against the corrupt John Block. Only the DA fought to have Mayor Matika removed. Only the DA, through its vital court action, brought an end to the violent protests and looting in Kimberley. The people will have noticed this, and it will reflect in next year’s election.

But then the real work will begin. Because this is a province that has truly been forgotten and left behind by this ANC government. The issues affecting communities throughout the Northern Cape do not belong in a modern democracy.

Here you will find some of the most crippling poverty in our whole country. Here you will find, at 42.4%, one of the highest expanded unemployment rates in the country. Here you will find collapsed municipal service with crumbling roads and sewerage spills in many towns. Here you will find one of the highest incidences of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in the whole world. And here you will find the highest school drop-out rate in the country – almost 55% of learners in this province drop out between enrolling for grade 10 and writing their matric exams.

This is unacceptable. The conditions that many people in this province face every day should offend all South Africans. It most certainly offends Andrew Louw, which is why he is so committed to bringing real change to the Northern Cape. I have full confidence in his ability to do so, and I wholeheartedly endorse him as the DA’s candidate for Premier of the Northern Cape.