The following remarks we delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a presentation of the Party’s 2018 Government Review in Parliament today. Maimane was joined by DA Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen MP.
It must be made clear up front that Andile Mngxitama’s recent remarks are a violation of human rights and tantamount to hate speech. On Human Rights Day, and every other day.
Section 16(2)(c) of the Constitution makes it clear that “advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm” is fundamentally a human rights violation.
Hate speech must always be spoken out against. Mngxitama’s comments cheapen people rights to human dignity which is a fundamental tenant of what liberal democracy depends on.
This guarantee exists because we are human beings. It does not exist because we belong to a group or because we are any one individual.
This is what the DA is fighting for and why South Africa needs reform. While President Ramaphosa may have tinkered, he has not reformed – it is easy to appoint new boards; electoral reform, less so.
In a year that was billed to be one of fundamental reform, the ANC has continued to fail South Africa. In government, all of the crises that existed at the end of the Zuma presidency have worsened in the first year of the Ramaphosa presidency. In parliament, the ANC has reverted to their default position of complete deference to the new President, rather than holding him and his government accountable.
In contrast, the DA has not allowed our work in Parliament and in government to be clouded by ‘Ramaphoria’. We have continued to hold the government robustly to account, and to deliver better services and cleaner government where we govern.
President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Ramaphosa is coming to the end of his first year in office. He came to office promising tough action on corruption, and to get the economy growing to create jobs. On both fronts, progress has been elusive.
Former President Jacob Zuma may no longer be in power, but he remains out of prison. The public continues to pay for Zuma’s defence costs, despite this likely-illegal arrangement being within Ramaphosa’s direct power to end immediately.
There have also been no further arrests or charges against anyone implicated in state capture, despite there being a surfeit of evidence of serious crimes having been committed. Indeed, the NPA announced its decision not to prosecute Ace Magashule for the Estina Dairy theft, just a week before the appointment of a new NDPP. We hope she will reconsider this decision soon.
State capture continues to be presented as an aberration of the Zuma Presidency, rather than a system of corruption that is the modus operandi of the ANC as a whole. The policy of cadre deployment, picking civil servants for political loyalty over merit, combined with the elevation of the party and its interests over the state, has opened the way for massive endemic corruption. State capture is not a Zuma phenomenon, it is the way the ANC works.
As if to prove this point for us, Ramaphosa confirmed in Parliament that he received a R500 000 donation for his ANC campaign from Bosasa, a company already implicated in widespread ANC corruption, and that his son has a ‘commercial relationship’ with that company. Neither Ramaphosa, his son, or Bosasa, have been willing to reveal further details of this relationship, but the DA will not let up until we get to the truth.
Ramaphosa’s Cabinet remains bloated and filled with delinquent Ministers, and his government has presided over the worst economic recession that South Africa has experienced since the global financial crisis.
Over the past year, it has become clear that the government has no plan on how to fix the economy, beyond talk-shops, conferences and photo-op summits. “Investments” announced were simply the re-announcement of old investments, unemployment has gone up and access to jobs is still manipulated to the benefit of connected ANC insiders, often including demanding sex or cash for jobs.
Compare this to the performance of the DA. Nothing shows the difference between the DA and the ANC better than our performance on job creation and combating corruption. Investment inflows, economic growth and ultimately new job creation has been higher in DA governments than in the rest of the country. In 2018, a full 50% of new jobs created in South Africa were created in the Western Cape. DA governed Midvaal has the lowest unemployment rate in Gauteng.
In Johannesburg, Mayor Herman Mashaba has continued his crusade against corruption. Nationally, the DA has continued to be the only organisation committed to seeing Jacob Zuma help accountable for his crimes. We have laid 10 different charges against SOE executives, board members, corporates and government officials implicated in state capture. We were one of the main driving forces behind the Eskom Inquiry into state capture, requested the Financial Services Conduct Authority investigate financial flows from state capture and wrote to the Reserve Bank of India and the Parliamentary Ethics Committee to probe the capture of the state.
We’ve also taken strong action against malfeasance in our own ranks when we’ve become aware of it, no matter how difficult. And we have resisted the ANC-EFF coalition of corruption in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and in Tshwane.
Of the 15 debates that shaped the national agenda in Parliament this year, all confirmed an inconvenient truth: there is no “good” ANC or “bad” ANC, only the ANC. The outcomes of the debates on the recession recovery, fuel price increase and VBS Bank Heist continue to serve as the eulogy of the organization.
A final resting call where Parliament’s lights switched off while the Eskom inquiry report was being debated and the Constitutional Review Committee’s (CRC’s) report’s final words that the bedrock of people’s property rights are up for grabs. While the DA exposed how deep State Capture runs in the national power utility and voted against this dangerous Constitutional amendment, much of South Africa remains in darkness while the people’s Bill of Rights is being walked all over.
As unfair a burden placed by the government on ordinary South Africans has been the VAT increase, ballooning bailouts and spiraling cost of fuel. One might have hoped the recession recovery debate might have offered more responsible alternatives but is was not long until the House found itself processing how R2 billion was looted from VBS bank by the ANC and EFF.
Nothing has changed – the ANC acts only for connected insiders and poor and vulnerable outsiders come stone last. The DA’s laying of criminal charges against Minister Mkhize and former North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, for their involvement in the VBS scandal is only the beginning of our fight for the victims of this national sin.
Speaking up for the voiceless against an unchangeable ANC requires more than actionless debates – it demands the use of law as a tool to drive change. But rather than guiding South Africa’s true north, Parliament’s law-making function has regressed to the back of the national agenda where of almost 50 Bills introduced, the fiscal framework required as few as 10.
If any of these Bills should currently find themselves as South African priority number one, it is the DA’s “cheaper energy bill” which seeks to separate Eskom into separate electricity generation and transmission units, allowing Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to fairly compete with Eskom for power provision. This competition will reduce the leviathan monopoly Eskom has on electricity prices, make electricity cheaper and more secure and ultimately steer our country clear of the heart of darkness.
The DA’s Small Enterprises Ombud Services Bill should have found itself topping the national priority alongside our “cheaper energy bill”, offering an efficient mechanism to solve the late payments crisis with small businesses. Instead the ANC abused its majority to recklessly rush through the National Minimum Wage Bill which will lead to an expected loss of 750 000 jobs.
Where the ANC’s debate and legislatives processes failed the people of South Africa, Parliament had a lifeline to keep the Executive in check through oral and written questions. President Ramaphosa answered a total of 24 questions during four oral questions sessions in the NA and 6 questions during one appearance in the NCOP while Deputy President Mabuza answered 36 questions through six sessions in the NA and 18 questions on three occasions in the NCOP this year.
However, the Deputy President is meant be in the House one session per term and for all intents and purposes, Deputy President Mabuza has been an “absentee Deputy President” in the Fourth Parliamentary term. It is unlikely that he will resurface until late February or early March next year – an unaccountability that President Ramaphosa has allowed to happen.
The DA remains the last standing custodian for democracy and accountability in Parliament where we asked more than half of the 3 655 written questions asked in the NA at an average of 73 questions per opportunity or 23 questions per DA MP and 83.5% of the total 266 questions in the NCOP at an average of over 6 questions per opportunity or 17 questions per DA MP. The ANC submitted a paltry 1% in the NA and less than 3% in the NCOP, content with indifference as long as it limps along on the county’s inside lane.
The Communications (34%), Finance (34%), Water and Sanitation (32%), Social Development (28%) and Health Departments (28%) answered the least questions in the NCOP. It remains an offense to the democratic process that the worst performing ANC government departments have also been the least accountable.
Another season of debates that make a noise but no difference, out-of-touch legislation and unanswered questions in the sphere of government designed to hold the executive to account has come and gone. South Africa is nowhere closer to bringing change that builds One South Africa for all.
It defies reason to award the ANC with a stronger mandate because nothing will change. Next year’s national election is about South Africa’s future, not the ANC’s.
The DA is currently rolling out an extensive registration campaign, because the only way to truly change the country for the better is if South Africans register and show their dissatisfaction with the direction of the country by voting against the ANC.
South Africans must unite to prevent an ANC-EFF two thirds majority in next year’s election. That result would be dangerous for our country. The ANC and the EFF have shown in 2018 that they will work together to protect corruption, for example in Nelson Mandela Metro, and to divide the country and undermine private property rights by trying to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.
The DA will continue to create fair access to real and long-term jobs, fight corruption to ensure that all public money is spent on the people, overhaul the South African Police Service to become and honest and professional organisation that actually serves and protects South Africans, secure our borders and stop illegal immigration and speed up the delivery of basic services. If this offer resonates, the last weekend of next month is the final opportunity to register to vote for this change in the 2019 national election.
If 2018 began with the great hope of a new dawn, it ends with the growing realisation by more and more South Africans that it is the government itself that needs changing, not just the President.
Change that will builds one South Africa for all starts with registering to vote for it.