President Ramaphosa must confirm government will not pay for Jacob Zuma’s latest legal tricks

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes former President Jacob Zuma’s intention to file an application for leave to appeal the KwaZulu Natal High Court’s judgement dismissing his application for a permanent stay of prosecution as it relates to the corruption charges he faces. This is yet another conniving move by Zuma to avoid jail for the over 783 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering as it relates to his role in the infamous Arms Deal.

For over 10 years, the people of South Africa have been forced to pay for Zuma’s legal fees as he has used every trick in the book to delay the inevitable. Last year, following a case brought by the DA, the North Gauteng High Court ruled that the state will not fund Jacob Zuma’s legal fees in his defence of his role in the corruption that has afflicted our country. Moreover, the court ordered Jacob Zuma to pay back the money already incurred by the state for his pending cases.

I will today write to President Ramaphosa, requesting (1) that he confirms in writing that the state will not pay a cent towards Jacob Zuma’s latest stalling tactic in the form of his appeal, and (2) an update as to the process made by the state in recouping public money used over the last decade to fund Zuma’s decade-long plan to escape accountability. It has been almost a year since the North Gauteng High Court ordered Zuma to pay back the monies spent on his legal fees and the people of South Africa deserve to know whether this has happened yet.

We maintain that President Ramaphosa should have done the right thing and made Zuma pay for his own defence, without the courts forcing him to do so. Moreover, that he should have cancelled the agreement between Zuma and the Presidency in which the latter will cover the former’s legal costs relating to corruption charges.

The DA is committed to seeing justice done, and we will continue to fight for accountability at all levels of government. We will not relent until Jacob Zuma is held to account for his corrupt actions.

The DA’s Sizani Healthcare Plan will achieve what the NHI can’t

For a country that spends what we do on healthcare, it is shameful that so many of our citizens do not have access to decent healthcare services. South Africa spends over R220 billion across all departments and entities annually. This should be enough to pay for quality healthcare for each and every South African resident, but thanks to corruption, mismanagement and poor appointments, much of this budget is wasted. And as a result, millions of poor South Africans suffer.

The communities I visited this morning in Alexandria have been let down by their government. The nearest hospitals are far away in Port Elizabeth and Port Alfred, and the clinic they have to make do with is completely insufficient. It is small, understaffed and under-resourced. Patients have to wait outside in the wind and rain.

If we want to ensure that the people of Alexandria and Wentzel Park, along with so many other communities like them across South Africa, have access to high quality healthcare near their homes, we have to fix it from the bottom up. We have to ensure that we do the basics right and that all the money spent in the healthcare budget works as hard as possible.

But our government is not interested in doing the basics right. Instead they want to skip this and go straight to a fantasy plan for healthcare that simply cannot work. The same ANC government that collapsed Eskom, SAA, SABC and every other State-Owned Entity through massive corruption and cadre deployment, now wants you to believe that it can deliver a plan that places all healthcare services and budgets in the hands of the state.

They want South Africans to believe that this massive new State Owned Entity will somehow be different from all the others, and yet they can’t tell us exactly what healthcare in SA will look like under it. They can’t tell us what will still be covered by private medical aid schemes, or whether these schemes will be supplementary or complimentary to the state. And they can’t say where the money will come from. Will citizens be expected to pay more tax? If so, how much more? And where will the rest of the budget come from?

They talk about achieving equality in healthcare in SA. But instead of raising the level of public healthcare, the only equality they will achieve is by destroying private healthcare. And this isn’t just negative speculation. We have proof that they can’t make it work. Since 2012, government has spent R4.3 billion on NHI pilot projects to test their readiness, and every single one of them has failed. But they now want you to believe that they can implement this nation-wide. It simply won’t happen.

This doesn’t mean that South Africans can’t have access to quality universal healthcare. On the contrary, it can and must happen. But in order to do so, we need to take advantage of what is already there and working, and not tear this down. We need to ensure that we keep our doctors and nursing staff in South Africa and not chase them away. We need to lift public healthcare to the level of private healthcare, not the other way round.

The DA has put together a comprehensive universal healthcare plan, called Sizani, which does just that. It is a plan that will roll out universal healthcare to all citizens in half the time envisaged by the NHI, and within the current healthcare budget.

It is based on a universal subsidy to every South African resident which will cover a comprehensive package of public healthcare services, while also retaining the medical aid system. Where the NHI will have prices set by a ministerial committee and bought by government from only accredited providers, Sizani will see prices kept down through transparency and competition in both the public and private sector.

Sizani will also see improved levels of governance thanks to localising the systems of accountability and decentralising the decision-making and appointment processes. The NHI, on the other hand, places all this control in the hands of the Minister.

But most importantly, Sizani will offer South Africans the freedom of choice. Whereas the NHI will prescribe to you where you must go for healthcare services, Sizani will allow you to use your subsidy wherever you choose, whether in the public of private healthcare system.

There is a reason why the DA-run Western Cape manages the best provincial health department in the country. It is because the DA believes in accountability, it believes in appointing the best people for the job, and it doesn’t tolerate corruption.

Many of the aspects of our Sizani Plan are already being implemented in the Western Cape, with great success. This is why the province has the lowest mortality rates and the highest life expectancy in the country. The Western Cape also attracts more South African doctors and has the highest number of specialists per resident. It is a system that works, and gets the most out of its budget.

This is what we need to apply for the rest of South Africa, and not some unaffordable, under-resourced and poorly thought through NHI that will see millions of South Africans worse off than they already are.

If communities such as this one here in Alexandria are to get the level of healthcare guaranteed in our Constitution, it will require walking away from the NHI immediately, and looking to a plan that we can both afford and implement. A plan like the DA’s Sizani.

Urgent reforms to combat gender-based violence

Honourable Members

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

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

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

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

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

Many of these women are brutally murdered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

In Kouga, and around the country, the DA is a government for the future

If we want to build a modern, resilient country that is able to adapt to the challenges of our fast-changing world, then we have to make sure we remain future-focused. We cannot live in the past and cling to failed ideas from the past, the way our government loves to do. We must look ahead and plan ahead.

Our biggest challenges in this country are our sky-rocketing unemployment and high levels of poverty, and this will remain so for many years to come. But if we are not cognisant of how the global challenges of the 21st century – climate change, the proliferation of disease and technology – will impact on poverty and unemployment, then we will fall even further behind.

This starts with building a capable state staffed by qualified, fit-for-purpose individuals. We need a government that is agile and responsive. And we need our cities and towns to be at the forefront of driving growth through not only clean governance, but also through innovative ideas.

The expanded unemployment rate here in the Eastern Cape is 46%. That means almost half of all working-age citizens in this province cannot find a job. That is a shameful statistic, and one which requires all of our attention. If we are to have any chance of turning this around, then we will need to transform our towns and cities into modern economies, attractive to both businesses and citizens alike.

This is why it is crucial that we embrace new ideas and new technology that can open doors to investors as well as deliver services to citizens. And not only at national government level. New thinking and innovative ideas should be the key focus of all levels and spheres of government if we are to prepare ourselves for the future.

This road here in Jeffreys Bay is a good example of this kind of thinking. Almost 2km of it is being resurfaced using a recycled plastic material as a binder in the asphalt, and it should be completed by the end of October. It is the first time that this technology is being trialled in South Africa to build an eco-friendly road.

The recycled plastic replaces a large portion of the bitumen in asphalt, which is made from crude oil. There are multiple benefits to using this material. For starters, it takes tonnes of plastic from our landfills and prevents this from breaking down and leeching into the groundwater. It is strong and resistant to wear, with significantly fewer potholes, cracks or breaks. And then there is the employment aspect, with the potential for hundreds of jobs not only in the construction of the roads, but also upstream in the collection and sorting of the waste.

This particular product has been extensively tested, and does not leech plastic particles into the environment – unlike some so-called eco-roads that end up doing more harm than good. If this pilot project is successful, then this could have a major impact not only on the quality of our road surfaces, but also on our environment.

But this isn’t the only exciting pilot project being undertaken by the DA-led Kouga municipality. Elsewhere they have also started testing a special kind of concrete normally used in the underground roads of mines to fill potholes. This special concrete dries rock hard within an hour and could be the answer to the municipality’s daunting pothole problem.

When it comes to innovative solutions and the use of technology, DA governments across the country are setting the standard.

It is no surprise then that the Cape Town-Stellenbosch tech sector employs more than 40,000 people and is rightly known as Africa’s tech hub. Or that 70% of all teachers in the Western Cape are trained in eTraining and over 80% of schools are connected to free Internet.

More than 80% of municipalities In the Western Cape already have laws in place to allow for independent solar energy generation, and most of them are ready to sell clean energy back into the grid.

The Western Cape is also the only province to have digitised patient records in public healthcare, spanning 54 hospitals, 300 primary healthcare facilities, and 13 million patient records.

This is the kind of future-focused thinking that will move our country forward. Whether it’s eco-roads here in Kouga, or the use of high-tech ShotSpotter technology in Cape Town to locate shooters and combat gang crime, the DA is a party obsessed with solutions for the future.

The world will not wait for South Africa to catch up. It is up to us to leave the 20th century and all its out-dated ideas behind and meet the challenges of the 21st century head-on. Because only then will we succeed in building sustainable and integrated towns and cities, and building one South Africa for all.

Government’s proposal to introduce a regime of prescribed assets will threaten pension savings of millions of South Africans

 The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s Debate on Prescribed Assets today.

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) pose a “very serious risk” to the fiscus, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said.

Allow me to quote from a section of the budget speech delivered earlier this year: “Funding requests for SAA, SABC, Denel, Eskom and other financially challenged state-owned enterprises have increased, with several requesting state support just to continue operating”.

Isn’t it about time the country asks the question: “Do we still need these enterprises?'” Mboweni asked the National Assembly.

Government guarantees to state companies are at more than R450 billion ($36 billion), according to data from the National Treasury. The state’s exposure to this, increased to 64.5 % in the past fiscal year, from 54.4 % as companies drew on the guarantees.

According to a statement made by the South African Reserve Bank: “Financial stability centers around the ability of state-owned enterprises to roll over debt and achieve financial consolidation, Should state-owned enterprises fail to roll over debt, the government would be liable and might not be able to honour such debt.”

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan’s announcement in Parliament in June this year that a ‘lender’ would pay the remaining 15% of salaries, following revelations that Denel was only able to pay  85% of salaries to its staff for the month of June, was merely a temporary bandage for an entity that is on the brink of collapse.

This unidentified lender, is not a ‘get-out-of-jail-free-card’ but a temporary reprieve.

Today, Eskom Chairperson, Mr Jabu Mabuza told the Standing Committee on Appropriations that we must, and I quote “pray for luck to keep the lights on”. This from an entity that has been hollowed out by State Capture and has a debt of over R440 billion and counting.

South Africa has hundreds of SOEs, many of them are either completely dysfunctional, bankrupt, or frankly serve no purpose other than lining the pockets of the connected few. Many of the hundreds of SOEs also duplicate functions and should simply not exist in the first place. They are sucking money from the fiscus and pose a great threat to the South African economy. From bailouts to guarantees. Here is a frightening look at what SOE’s financial situation is:

  • South African Airways debt: R21.7 Billion
  • Denel’s debt: R3 Billion with two bonds due in September totalling R2.7 Billion
  • Eskom debt: R440.610 Billion

State Owned Entities are archaic in their design and they should not be being used for economic development, it does not work. The economy should be growing through supporting a free market system which gives South Africans choice, which gives South Africans opportunity and creates a conducive environment for national and international investment.

When the money is finished, it is finished. It is very easy for Billionaires to make statements that the Government Employees pension fund is taxpayers’ money anyway.  3.5 million South Africans have worked their whole lives as civil servants and now face the risk of destitution in their old age.

It is very easy to be a socialist with other people’s money.  It is very easy to have communist leanings when you have millions of other people’s Rands to play with.  The fact of the matter is this, it is our job to be the custodians of the South African coffers.  Simple economics dictate that you cannot spend more than you have without dire consequences.

You cannot grow an economy when you are held ransom by unions who cripple SOE’s when they feel their demands are not met. You cannot grow the economy when your energy supply is not completely secure, and you cannot grow the economy by pouring billions and billions of Rands into failing entities.

South Africans are literally starving for change. 10 million South Africans are unemployed. South Africans do not have homes, water, electricity, basic services, our schooling system is rated as one of the worst in the world, our crime rate is out of control, we have proved, beyond reasonable doubt, that State Capture happened and in many instances is still happening…but we expect South Africans to fork out billions and billions of Rands to bailout these failing entities. It is an absolute disgrace and is simply not condonable, no matter what your political ideology is, nor what your political background is – government has risked billions on unproductive and inefficient parastatals.

Now is not the time to throw money at the problem, now is the time to trim the fat. We cannot afford to continue with the status quo, where a government spends billions on bailing out SOE’s instead of spending money on job creation initiatives and service delivery.

It is time to be pragmatic, and to stop playing politics. SOEs represent some of the biggest monopolies in the South African economy, and by conducting a comprehensive review, government would be providing citizens with a clear indication that they are willing to start the process of structural change to protect our economy from further financial losses.

We cannot be sentimental about SOEs when they add little to no value to the people of South Africa and the economy. The country is in crisis, it therefore requires urgent reforms, and the absolute protection from having pension funds looted in a new structure of State Capture.

Prescribed assets are code for stealing pension funds

The following speech was delivered in Parliament’s Debate on Prescribed Assets today.  

Madam Speaker,

I am always amazed at the way the ANC is able to couch its most extreme policies in code words. After all, this very ANC told us that a swimming pool constructed for the private use of the ex-President was a “fire pool”. In fact, this attempted cover-up has no damage to the political careers of those involved. Minister Firepool is now the Minister of Labour. The ANC’s capacity for political irony knows few limits.

But the code word of the moment is prescribed assets. You will not call it what it is, you want it to have an innocuous name.  What you really mean is the theft of pension funds – the very money that people retire on in the hopes they can sustain themselves and cover their costs in their golden years. And you are engaging in the ransacking of pension funds in order to undo the damage your party in government has done to the country’s finances and the damage you have wrought onto state-owned enterprises.

Today, Eskom produces less electricity than it did a decade ago, but this ANC wants to raid pension funds to bail out its corrupt procurement practices, its bloated staff structure and its perpetual payment of management bonuses. The next time an ANC MP canvasses a schoolteacher about to retire, please admit that you’re taking their pension fund because you paid excessive bonuses to the executives who looted our SOES.

Today, SAA runs fewer routes and flights than ever before, including busy and profitable routes like Johannesburg to London and Johannesburg to Cape Town, but is in need of a bailout. The next time an ANC MP canvasses a police officer about to retire, please admit that you are taking his or her pension because you appointed Dudu Myeni to destroy SAA.

Today, the SABC generates less revenue than ever before because the ANC allowed Hlaudi with a chance of meatballs to destroy it. The next time an ANC MP speaks to a nurse about to retire, please admit to him or her that you are raiding their pension fund because of your mismanagement of the SABC.

Legalizing the theft of pension funds should not even be on the table. Some fund managers are supporting the idea on Twitter knowing full well that it won’t affect their own wealth, but it could mean retirees will have to go with one less loaf of bread. It is an indictment on these managers that they cower before the ANC rather than pursue alternatives. And to my fellow South Africans – if your retirement funding is with a manager who says that prescribed assets are okay, vote with your feet and move your funds to managers who care about your ability to live a dignified life in your old age.

There is an alternative solution to shoring up the financial position of the country –  its called growth. ANC MPs might be familiar with the idea of growth – the party did put up posters, billboards and run advertisements saying ‘let’s grow South Africa together.’ That was the ANC’s overarching promise. Growth will lead to more tax revenue that will quench the ANC’s insatiable thirst for spending other people’s money. Growth will allow enough revenue to sort our SOE and government debt. Growth, most importantly, will pull millions of people out of poverty and reduce the burden on government services.

Legalising the theft of pension funds is not the only way out of the mess the ANC has created. National Treasury has proposed a growth-orientated economic strategy document. With a handful of tweaks, it proposes a blueprint to do what the ANC promised – grow South Africa. It’s such a pity the ANC benches and Luthuli House is filled with enemies of growth. After a lost decade, the pursuit of growth sits at the core of solving a myriad of South Africa’s problems. Growth can restore people’s dignity through jobs. Growth can restore the health of the fiscus.

So to the ANC, I say, don’t steal pension funds, just do what you promised – Grow South Africa.

The time is now to address the uncomfortable truth about GBV

The following speech will be delivered in Parliament’s Debate on Violence and Criminality today. Please note that the speech is under embargo until delivery.

Speaker,

Between 28 and 37 % of adult men reported having raped a woman. Most men who rape do so for the first time as teenagers.

55 rape complaints against police officers were investigated in the six months between April to September 2018.

Out of every 1 000 suspected rape perpetrators referred for prosecution:

  • 370 have at least one prior felony conviction;
  • 520 will be released- either because they posted bail or for other reasons while awaiting trial; and
  • 70 of the released perpetrators will be arrested for committing another or similar sexual assault crime.

I am starting off with these stats to highlight that gender-based violence is more prevalent in societies where there is a culture of violence and where male superiority is treated as the norm.

These men have no identifying marks.  They are somebody’s son, brother, husband, father and leader.

These are men like Mark Zinde, Oscar Pistorious, Sandile Mantsoe, Nicholas Ninow and Motimer Saunders. They show that gender-based violence is not limited to one race, religion or cultural group. These acts of violence are conducted by men and it should be condemned by men.

Societies free of gender-based violence do not exist, and South Africa is no exception. The recent violence against women in our country are the most de-humanizing gender oppression.

Women are paying the ultimate price in our country.

In 2018/19, 2 930 women were murdered in South Africa, meaning every 3 hours a woman is murdered.

110 rapes are reported daily.

South Africa’s femicide rate is 5 times higher than the global average – one in every 5 women have experienced violence at the hands of a partner.

When a child rapist is released due to lack of evidence, a daughter dies in a post office, a boxing star dies with a restraining order in hand, a mother is murdered in front of her child and a grandmother is murdered gruesomely on her farm, questions need to be asked, by what extent is law enforcement able to ignore the steps they need to take to prevent and prosecute these crimes.

Mr. President it is concerning to note that the National Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Strategic Plan has not been finalised and that there is no budget allocation to address gender-based violence in the Ministry of Women, Youth and People Living with Disabilities.

We should put our money where our mouths are and have the political will to address the scourge of gender-based violence. It is time that we as leaders in this House exercise our power by addressing the gaps in legislation dealing with sexual offenses against our most vulnerable. It is us in this House that should not falter in our oversight mandate to ensure that never again will police stations be without rape kids and it is us that should ensure our education, health and justice systems are capacitated to deal with gender-based violence.

Mr. President your interventions mentioned are noble in dealing with GBV, however, we have heard this story before – a plan without action remains just that a plan.

Enough is enough …. time for action is now!

Backlashes against movements such as Am I next? And Men are Trash will not deter women.

We are tired of being undervalued and disregarded.

Women will not apologise and we will not be silenced. We are paving the way for the next generation of women and girls to never experience this level of horrific violence we do.

Uyinene, Leighandre, Angelique, Jess, Reeva, Karabo and Kwezi – the echoing of your voices will not be silenced! We will fight for an equal, free and just South Africa!

Wathinta abafazi, wathinta imbokodo!

To beat xenophobia we need more SAPS members and better crime intelligence

The scenes playing out across Gauteng, where foreigners are being attacked and their goods looted, do not belong in our democracy. That is not who we are, and that is not how we treat our brothers and sisters.

Ours is a country that still bears scars from a divided and brutal past, but we emerged from this past to become a country of hope and unity. We cannot go backwards. The violence and anarchy we are now seeing in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni cannot be tolerated and it cannot go without consequences.

There can never be any justification for this kind of behaviour. Those attempting to do so by pointing to their own circumstances – poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunities – are fooling themselves. They are seeking to create scapegoats for problems that have different solutions. This must end.

The only way we will restore peace and calm to these areas is through far more efficient policing. We need to be able to arrest those who are destroying property and looting shops, and we need to be able to identify and apprehend those who are orchestrating the violence.

This is why we are here today to hand over a memorandum to the SAPS station commander, for the attention of National Police Minister, Bheki Cele. The time for monitoring the situation is over. We need swift and decisive action from national government if we are to deal with this scourge of xenophobic violence. Because it we don’t – if we simply respond with the minimum police presence and no proper crime intelligence – then this kind of violence will continue to flare up every few years.

We call on the Minister of Police and national government to do the following:

  1. Deploy an emergency budget to deal with the outbreak of xenophobic violence in Gauteng.
  2. Immediately increase the number of SAPS Public Order Police.
  3. Increase the number of police reservists.
  4. Cooperate with the Provincial SAPS and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) through the sharing of crime intelligence.

At the heart of what we need is better cooperation between the three spheres of government. This is not a time for power games and obstructiveness. Already, the cooperation between the JMPD and the provincial SAPS has yielded good results, but because they are so under-resourced, their impact will always be limited.

We need this same cooperation to extend to national government, through SAPS. If there is crime intelligence which they are not sharing, we urge them to do so right away. If they have no such crime intelligence to share, then this is a major concern, as it means they are not doing their job. Either way, they need to take the provincial and local law enforcement into their confidence so that we can root out this violence together.

But sharing of intelligence alone is not enough. We also need far more boots on the ground until this matter has been resolved. The SAPS and JMPD members who are already deployed to these flashpoints are stretched to breaking point, and they cannot deal with the sheer scale of the job. Minister Cele must urgently deploy SAPS officers from elsewhere in South Africa to Gauteng so that every scene of xenophobic violence can be met with an adequate Public Order Police response.

This increased police deployment must also include police reservists. The Police Commissioner confirmed, in an answer to a Parliamentary question, that the number of reservists has declined since 2010 from over 63,000 to less than 9,000. These reservists play a crucial role in aiding SAPS in their task, and it is vital that we bolster their numbers to add to the visible policing on our streets.

The Minister must also explain to South Africans how these xenophobic actions were allowed to escalate to the level of violence and anarchy which they did. From videos and eye witnesses, it is clear that many police officers were completely unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the situation, and in many cases allowed the violence and looting to continue in front of them.

The effect of this inaction will be to encourage more such attacks – and not only in Gauteng, but ultimately across the country. The only way to deal with crime is to ensure that there are swift repercussions for these actions. Because without such repercussions, our society will descend into lawlessness and chaos.

This is not a time for power games and politicising the police. If government is at all serious about ending this outbreak of xenophobic violence, then Minister Cele must immediately open his door to cooperation and teamwork.

Unemployment crisis erodes the human dignity of millions

Chairperson, the unemployment crisis in our country is undoubtedly our biggest challenge and it requires all social actors to do their part to contribute to its reduction. It is a socio-economic epidemic, it is deeply entrenched and it has multiple corrosive effects on many fronts and at many levels. This unemployment crisis erodes the human dignity of millions, it widens inequality and it keeps opportunities and substantive freedom out of reach for the most vulnerable.

Our unemployment crisis means that the flame of hope and ambition for many young people is quickly snuffed out as they join the ranks of the jobless, either as they leave school or, if they are fortunate to pursue higher education, when they finish further education or training. I remember during my last year of tertiary study being painfully aware of the problem of graduate unemployment and gripped with constant anxiety about whether or not I would be able to find a job or internship the following year to start a career path.

This is a worry that weighs heavily on the hearts and minds of each cohort of school leavers and graduates as they join the labour market. Sadly, given the concentration of unemployment in the youth bracket, this worry becomes hopelessness, frustration and despair for many of these school leavers and graduates as they remain stuck in joblessness, with seemingly no way forward or a way out.

That is why as the DA we are clear that the Number One item on the agenda must be job-creating economic growth. This means we must create an enabling environment for investment and entrepreneurship. Small businesses must be the key drivers in this endeavour because they often provide the best opportunities for entry-level internships and job opportunities, along with skills development and on-the-job training.

As the DA, we are clear and resolute in our commitment to be champions for small business and entrepreneurs and to be a voice for the jobless and the hopeless. We will fight for solutions in the small business environment to improve access to capital, access to markets and supply chains, and the ease of doing business in order to expand freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.

ANC has no real desire to grow mineral sector and create more employment

Speaker,

There can be no doubt that South Africa has a jobs crisis. Roughly 10 million South Africans are unemployed. At the same time, we have an economy that is barely marking time. And our government is not helping!

In 1970, mining contributed 21.3% to our country’s Gross Domestic Product. It now stands at less than 8%. Jobs in the sector have dropped from 528 000 employees in 2008 to just 459 000 today, according to the Quarterly Employment Statistics published by StatsSA. That’s a drop of some 13% over a period of just over 10 years!

The question we need to ask ourselves is why? As one of the world’s richest nations when it comes to mineral resources, why is our mining sector in general decline? Why is our mining sector producing less than other nations? Why is mining, which should be a driving force in our economy, unable to deliver economic growth and employment?

The answer is that the Department of Mineral Resources is stuck in the past, and that the ANC has no real desire to grow the sector and create more employment. The department does nothing – nothing! – to encourage investment in prospecting, exploration and  actual mining. In fact, its actions have actively chased investors away. It has a defunct mineral rights administration, mired by corruption. It has created a policy mess by tinkering with the mining charter, which leaves investors questioning whether they should invest. It has essentially allowed unions to call the shots when it comes to mining because it is toothless and visionless.

The only reason mining companies remain here, despite the challenges, is our vast mineral wealth. But even so, many feel that other African countries – Botswana, Ghana and Mali, to name but a few – are much more attractive. And so we are seeing a disinvestment in South Africa. Just this week, Neil Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, the world’s largest platinum miner, said that there is little incentive to put more money in the country and that they were seeking to reduce their exposure to our economy.

Mining remains a sector that can rapidly grow its workforce. But the government needs to take bold and decisive steps. We must:

  • Scrap the mining charter;
  • Streamline mining rights administration;
  • Make it easier for mines to produce their own electricity, or purchase directly from Independent Power Producers.
  • We must clean up the corruption in the department; and
  • We need to reign in the unions.

Speaker, if we really want jobs, if we really want our economy to grow, we need to encourage investment in the mining sector. Instead of cutting the cake into smaller and smaller slices, we need to make a bigger cake. We must make South Africa attractive to foreign investment and easier to do business. We must incentivise prospecting and exploration.

We can either create more jobs, or we can jealously protect the ones we have. But if we want South Africa to succeed, we need to get our people working. And that means growing the mining sector.