New Dawn, Same Darkness

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.

Parliament

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.

2019 Elections

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.

DA stands opposed to trampling of property rights

The following speech was delivered today in the National Assembly by DA Member of the Constitutional Review Committee, Glynnis Breytenbach MP.

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members,

On 27 February 2018 this House mandated the Constitutional Review Committee to review section 25 of the Constitution, and other clauses where necessary, to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.

The original EFF motion put by the Honourable Malema talked of wholesale expropriation so that land is nationalised and brought into state ownership – and we all know where that will take us.  We have witnessed first hand the concern the EFF have for South Africans in general.

The ANC recommendations fall in line with the Nasrec conference where they resolved to support land expropriation without compensation. This is just, again, the ANC giving effect to their policy-making body in red.

Let me be clear – the Democratic Alliance (DA) supports urgent land restitution and land redistribution absolutely. And that includes expropriation where it is necessary and is in accordance with the Constitution.

We acknowledge the terrible legacy of forced land dispossession, the effects of which are still clear for all to see.  We support individual land ownership, and encourage the creation of intergenerational wealth that land ownership brings.  No one will deny the traumatic effect of land dispossession, nor the pain and humiliation that it brought.  It was very painfully obvious during the public hearings around the country.

But Madam Speaker, the ANC has had 25 years to address the pressing issue of land reform and has failed miserably.

There has been no political will to deal with this issue, and what they have achieved could arguably fill the bottom of a thimble. The Land Claims Court has been severely neglected and under-resourced for more than 17 years, in which time it has had at best only 4 judges and no permanent Judge President.

The DA is opposed to an arbitrary amendment of the Constitution because it is totally unnecessary. The Constitution already allows for land reform, in fact it encourages it. The Constitution may already allow for expropriation without compensation where the circumstances warrant it.

This election roadshow for the EFF, paid for by Parliament and supported by the ANC, is nothing more than a cruel hoax. It has allowed thousands upon thousands of South Africans to believe that they will each receive a plot of land.  Of course, the ANC has nothing of the sort in mind. In 25 years they have done little to improve the lot of ordinary South Africans.

The DA has a successful track record when it comes to land reform, with a success rate 6 times higher than national government statistics – according to the Department of National Land Reform. We have demonstrated, by putting our money where our mouth is, that we support land reform.

We have recognised individual property rights, and handed thousands of title deeds to property owners. This protects everyone’s rights, and gives effect to the Constitutional compact of one nation, one future. This should not be easily tampered with. Even the ANC agrees that the Constitution is not an impediment to effective land reform.

The ANC, the EFF, and their cohorts have abandoned this Constitutional construct in favour of a vote-seeking hoax.  The approach suggested today by the speakers of the ANC and the EFF has been tried elsewhere in the world, and has failed.

This approach has yielded only poverty and misery for the landless and the poor wherever it has been implemented anywhere in the world. It is a blueprint for chaos and economic disaster. It deliberately seeks to stoke racial tension, and by definition relies on force, an approach that has no place in a modern, constitutional democracy.

It is a chaotic, simplistic solution of the corrupt, power-seeking demagogue and should be rejected by all South Africans of every background and persuasion. What is being proposed here is a model that would strip all South Africans of everything. White and Black South Africans alike would lose their homes, their businesses, their intellectual property and more.

No government should be trusted with this much power. Once they have it, it will be very difficult to take away. The Constitution is designed to protect the rights of all South Africans against all governments, including now unthinkable future governments.

The DA stands opposed to any abrogation of existing property rights.  These are the bedrock of development and economic growth.  Wholesale expropriation without compensation is nothing other than state-sanctioned theft.

The Democratic Alliance will not support it.

Handves van regte moet beskerm word, nie misbruik word nie

The following speech was delivered today in the National Assembly by DA Member of the Constitutional Review Committee, Annelie Lotriet MP

Agbare Speaker,

Grondhervorming en grondherstel moet plaasvind. In teendeel dit moes al oor die afgelope 24 jaar reeds gebeur het.

Die werklikheid waarmee ons egter vandag gekonfronteer word, is dat die ANC regering dit nie gedoen het nie, waar hulle wel ‘n poging aangewend het, was dit deurspek met onbeholpenheid, korrupsie en begrotings wat totaal ontoereikend is.

Die gevolg is dat daar ter wille van politieke gewin en opportunisme, ‘n proses deur die Grondwetlike Hersieningskomitee gestoomroller is, wat die land duur te staan kan kom.

In plaas daarvan dat die regering introspeksie gedoen het oor sy eie mislukkings en tekortkominge, is daar besluit dat die eintlike rede vir die trae proses van grondhervorming die Grondwet is. Die Grondwet is nou die sondebok en moet nou ten alle koste gewysig word

Maar, agbare Speaker, dit gaan nie hier net om die wysiging van die Grondwet nie. Dit is al dikwels genoem, ter verdediging van die wysigingsproses, dat die Grondwet al 17 keer gewysig is. Dit is inderdaad so, maar daardie wysigings was tegnies van aard en het nie die wese van die Grondwet gewysig nie.

In hierdie geval is dit ook nie net ‘n wysiging aan die Grondwet nie, maar in besonder, ‘n wysiging van Hoofstuk 2, die Handves van Regte. Die Handves van Regte is die hoeksteen van ‘n demokrasie. ‘n Handves van Regte gee of skep nie regte nie, maar beskerm bestaande regte wat aan alle mense beskore is.

Dit is baie belangrik om te besef dat indien daar gepraat word van ‘n wysiging van die  Handves van Regte, daar gepraat word van ‘n wysiging van reeds bestaande regte waaroor almal beskik.

Hierdie Handves staan as buffer tussen alle burgers van hierdie land en enige arbitrêre handeling van die staat.

Artikel 25 in hierdie Handves spreek juis een van die kernelemente van enige demokrasie en ekonomie aan, naamlik die reg op eiendom. Geen ekonomie kan groei en suksesvol wees as daar geen beskerming van eiendomsreg is nie en waar daar nie remedies is teen enige arbitrêre onteiening deur die staat nie.

Die motivering wat voorgehou word vir die wysiging van Art 25 is dat dit wat implisiet is, eksplisiet gemaak moet word. Daar moet groter duidelikheid gegee word oor wat bedoel word met Art 25. Die werklikheid is, dat hierdie bloot ‘n rookskerm is om geldigheid te verskaf aan proses wat selfs nie eers almal in die ANC volledig ondersteun nie.

Die Grondwet is nie ‘n stel regulasies nie. Dit bied riglyne en norme waaraan handelinge moet voldoen. Die wyse hoe dit in praktyk gedoen moet word, word hanteer deur die algemeen geldende regsvoorskrifte soos na verwys word in Art 25. Dit is waar die implisiete, eksplisiet gemaak word. Nie deur die Grondwet te wysig nie. Wetgewing is die meganisme waardeur grondhervorming en grondrestitusie moet plaasvind onder leiding van ‘n regering met die nodige politieke wil en kapasiteit om dit te doen.

Daar moet altyd onthou word, dat die Grondwet daar is ongeag watter party aan bewind is. Die Grondwet is daar om die burgers van ‘n land teen die vergrype van die staat te beskerm.

Hierdie aanbeveling dat die  Artikel 25 van die Handves van Regte in die Grondwet, alhoewel dalk gesien kan word as minimaal, gewysig moet word, maak die deur oop vir enige verdere wysigings aan die Handves van Regte. As dit nou met so ‘n gebrekkige proses, aanvaar en deurgevoer word, skep dit die presedent  vir enige verdere wegkalwing van die menseregte van die burgers van Suid-Afrika.

Die DA sal nie enige wysiging van artikel 25, die eindomsregklousule ondersteun nie. Die DA se beleid stel ‘n behoorlike effektiewe, versnelde proses van grondhervorming voor, waar mense eiendomsreg verkry. So kan ons die ekonomie bou en sekuriteit aan die burgers van die land gee.

Ons kan en sal nie die regte van Suid-Afrikaners op die altaar van politieke opportunisme opoffer nie

The Constitution is not the impediment to land reform, the ANC is

The following speech was delivered today in the National Assembly by DA Team One SA Spokesperson on Land, Thandeka Mbabama MP

Madame Speaker,

The Democratic Alliance (DA) acknowledges that effective land reform must be prioritised and pursued with greater urgency to redress past land dispossessions. South Africa suffers from a history of black people being denied land ownership, but to address this we do not need to change the Constitution, we need to change the government. The DA wants all South Africans to own their land and property. We want landowners, not tenants.

Let us be clear: effective land reform is possible without threatening food security, without undermining commercial farming, without destroying social cohesion and without changing our Bill of Rights.

It is obvious that, from the onset, the integrity of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) was compromised by collusion between the wily EFF and the beleaguered ANC. It was apparent that the tail was wagging the dog as the red berets ran roughshod over the two cowering ANC chairpersons and all but took over the process of the CRC. One of the chairpersons ultimately resigned from the committee amid the Bosasa scandal.

When their duplicity was pointed out, the EFF reacted with the usual impertinence that is so characteristic of these rude, rabble-rousing red berets who surely have had no parental guidance in their formative years. Andizukuthetha nokuthetha ke ngezinye ingqeqe ezikhonkotha ecaleni kwe EFF ne ANC … they are just cheerleaders masquerading as independent political parties.

The DA would like to state upfront that the recommendation of the CRC to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation was a foregone conclusion. That is why ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa cynically made a late night announcement on TV in July that the ruling party had decided to go ahead with changing the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation. This was before the committee had even started its work in the Western Cape, thus reducing the whole process to a farce. Even now the NCOP is set to debate this report tomorrow, despite the fact that this house has not adopted it yet.

Isn’t it obvious to South Africans what is actually happening here? It was certainly obvious to the ANC in 2017 when debating and voting against expropriation without compensation in this very House, ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said: “Section 25 of our constitution is more of an abler for land reform than a barrier. We failed to take advantage of its provisions, full stop.”

He added: “Blaming the Constitution for the embarrassingly slow pace of land reform is both disingenuous and scapegoating. We failed, finish en klaar.”

Hundreds of thousands of South Africans agreed with this sentiment in their written and oral submissions.

People like Ntate Rakgatse from Limpopo who has been working on his farm and paying the government rent for more than forty years and still does not own it. Do you think he truly believes that the ruling party will give him a title deed after amending the Constitution?

Bantu base Gwatyu in the Eastern Cape, nabanye abanjengani, will changing the Constitution make the government give you the title deed to your land? The one that you have been fighting for all these years?

Will amending the Constitution revive all the failed restitution and redistribution farms lying fallow and miraculously turn them into well-run profitable entities?

Will amending the Constitution get rid of the corruption we saw in Mala Mala, Mpumalanga, and the Estina Dairy farm near Vrede in the Free State?

Kubantu bethu abahlala ematyotyombeni … nicinguba lorulumente uzakuninika izindlu ne titile zazo emva kokuba etshintshe le Constitution?

HAYI ANDIQONDI!

Changing the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation is just a political ploy to get votes out of desperate, vulnerable people.

The DA knows there is a better way to implement successful land reform. The DA is obsessed with making people landowners, by providing over 100 000 title deeds where we govern.

Under a DA government, you will own your land, not rent it; your property rights will be protected; you will own your RDP house; your land claim will be settled, and you will receive the support to farm successfully.

The DA will bring change that builds one South Africa for all its people. We reject the report of the Constitutional Review Committee.

To be free, Africa must be liberated from its liberators

The following speech was delivered yesterday by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the 62nd Liberal International Congress in Dakar, Senegal. Maimane received the 2018 African Freedom Award on behalf of the DA.

The Honourable Prime Minister of Senegal, Mr Mahammed Dionne

The President of Liberal International, Mr Juli Minoves

The Chairman of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and Vice President of Liberal International, Professor Karl-Heinz Paqué

The Regional Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Mr Jules Maaten

Delegates

Distinguished guests

Fellow liberals

Good evening,

I am honoured to stand before you today to address Liberal International’s 62nd Congress. And I am deeply honoured to receive this year’s African Freedom Prize, on behalf of my party, the Democratic Alliance.

I would like to thank the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, not only for this award, but also for the work they do in promoting liberal values, particularly here in Africa. They are an important ally in the fight for a free and open society.

The DA and its predecessor parties have been fighting for a free and open society with opportunities for all for the past 60 years. Today we are the only party in South Africa trying to build such a society.

Recognition for this Freedom Award is only possible because the party I lead today stands on the shoulders of giants who came before me.

Leaders like Helen Suzman, who stood bravely for 13 long years as a lone voice of opposition to Apartheid legislation in a hostile parliament.

Leaders like Tony Leon who, at the dawn of our democracy, chose opposition instead of position – knowing that his contribution to his country would be greater outside the Government of Unity than inside it.

Leaders like Helen Zille, whose running of the flagship Western Cape Province continues to set a benchmark in clean, accountable governance unmatched by anyone.

On behalf of the DA, I extend my heartfelt appreciation for this prestigious recognition.

There is a profound symbolism to receiving this award here in Senegal. Not far from here is the island of Goree where Africans were sold as slaves. It is a place where so many people lost their freedom.

When they were sold into this system, they were no longer seen as human – they became mere commodities. Stripped of their own freedom, they built another economy while they suffered in hunger and poverty.

They were prisoners in the land of liberty and they lost the dignity of being human – of being fathers, wives, daughters and sons.

Our story in Africa has been a recycling of oppressive regimes, one after the other, in search of resources that can be exported to enhance the freedoms of others. Back then it was human capital and today it is our mineral resources.

These are still difficult times on this continent. We are rich in resources, but hungry for food and development. We still attract aid ahead of trade. We have leaders who are rulers of the law rather than ruled by the law.

Some still speak of the dark continent. But it is up to us to disprove this. We must rewrite Africa’s story.

In many ways the pursuit of African freedom is the restoration of the dignity of being an African.

Almost a year ago, in Johannesburg, I handed this same Freedom Award to my brother, Hakainde Hichilema from Zambia’s United Party for National Development.

He is a man who has been arrested, detained and tortured for daring to stand up to an authoritarian government.

A man who now faces the real prospects of being re-arrested as his government tries to stifle multi-party democracy and shut down dissenting voices.

What Mr Hichilema is going through in Zambia is a constant reminder to us that freedom on this continent is still far from won for many of its people.

To receive the same award as someone who has had to endure so much fighting for his country’s democratic and economic freedom is indeed an honour.

Ladies and gentlemen, what is freedom?

One definition, given in the Oxford dictionary, describes freedom as the power of self-determination; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.”

In other words, freedom is being able to live a life of your own choosing. A life not restricted or determined by the circumstances of your birth.

It has many other definitions too, but that is the one I want to focus on.

My country, South Africa, can tell you a thing or two about freedom. Ours was one of the longest and most well-documented struggles for freedom in recent history.

The culmination of our struggle, which brought to an end the Apartheid era and three centuries of colonial rule, was meant to have delivered our freedom.

Until then, our people had been imprisoned in their own country. They were confined to homelands, made to carry passbooks, made to work for exploitative wages.

They were told they were second-class citizens, told they couldn’t vote, couldn’t own property, weren’t entitled to a decent education.

They were told where they could live, walk and sit. There were rules about whom they could love and marry.

They were denied all the liberties we take for granted today. And because of this, the concept of freedom permeated the language and symbolism of the struggle.

On 26 June 1955, an alliance of struggle organisations adopted the Freedom Charter in Kliptown, Johannesburg. This historic document would become the platform for a non-racial South Africa with equal opportunities for all.

In the years that followed, the slogan “Freedom in our Lifetime” would become a rallying cry of the struggle against an unjust and oppressive regime.

And when millions of South Africans lined up to vote on 27 April 1994 in our first ever democratic election, we turned this day into a national holiday and called it Freedom Day.

People wrote songs and poems about our hard-fought freedom, and the world celebrated along with us. But in truth, these celebrations were premature.

While April 1994 was a powerful moment that symbolised our transition from a brutal minority regime to a fully-fledged democracy, it didn’t bring about real freedom.

Our people might have won the right to vote, but they were still shackled by extreme poverty and inequality.

Going back to that definition of freedom, they were not yetindependent of fate or necessity”. They were not free to pursue their dreams and live a life they value.

Real freedom – economic freedom – did not follow our symbolic freedom.

Nelson Mandela recognised this right at the start of our democracy when he said: “The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed.”

Yes, there was progress for a while. More houses and schools were built after 1994. More areas were connected to the electricity and water grids. More hospitals and clinics were opened.

But the important numbers that would indicate true freedom – the rate of poverty and the rate of unemployment – continued to move in the wrong direction.

Today, almost quarter of a century into our democracy, our statistics on poverty and unemployment make for shameful reading.

More than half our people live below the poverty line.

2.3 million children in South Africa live in households that reported child hunger last year.

Almost 10 million South Africans cannot find work.

We are the country with the highest youth unemployment in the world.

That’s not freedom. That’s the opposite of freedom.

Our situation in South Africa is not unique. We have been following in the footsteps of so many post-colonial nations in Africa.

It’s the same pattern: First comes the era of colonial rule – unjust and exploitative. Then comes independence along with a new, democratically elected government. And then follows years, even decades, of oppression by the very same people who were meant to deliver freedom.

This is the story of our continent: liberation movements that fail in their role as governing parties.

We have seen, time and time again, the liberators come to power amid fanfares of revolution, only to bow to the temptations of patronage and corruption.

We have seen a litany of Big Man Presidents amassing wealth on a scale unimaginable to ordinary citizens.

We have seen decades of one-party rule, across the length and breadth of our continent, obliterate any sense of accountability to the people.

What we’ve also seen, and continue to see, is the emergence of so-called opposition parties from within the ranks of the ruling party – people who break away to form new parties when they no longer enjoy access to resources.

We must not fool ourselves into thinking this is real opposition. There is no contestation of ideas here. It is simply a race to resources.

Whether it’s a breakaway party, or one faction replacing another within a ruling party, voters are tricked into believing that this represents a new dawn for the country.

But this is simply not true. It is still the same party with the same ideology and the same policies. All that has happened is that a new faction now gets to decide who benefits from the state machinery, and who gets prosecuted.

Real democracy is when you swap parties, not factions. And for this to happen, we in this room have to become a lot better at crafting and explaining liberal solutions.

Because the alternative is what we’re seeing in South Africa right now. Twenty-four years of various factions of ANC government has been terrible for South Africa’s democracy, its economy and its people.

In this time, we became a nation of economic insiders and outsiders. On the inside: all those with the right contacts, the right party membership and the right family connections. And on the outside: everyone else.

With every passing year, the gap between the insiders and the outsiders grew wider. Soon freedom in our lifetime” seemed like a distant dream for millions of our people.

This was not meant to be our story. We were the miracle democracy – the so-called Rainbow Nation. Ours was meant to be a story of overcoming the odds and building a prosperous and shared post-Apartheid society.

But, as is the case with so many liberation movement-turned-governing-parties, our government was simply not up to the task.

The lived reality of most of our people did not change. For millions of South Africans who find themselves locked out of the economy and locked out of opportunities, Apartheid never ended. Its legacy still dominates their lives every day.

The question many people ask me is: Why?

Why was a government returned to power, again and again, despite clearly failing in its duty to its people?

The answer lies in the emotive power of the struggle narrative. For years the ANC could overcome their failure as a government by reminding people of the other ANC – the one that spearheaded the struggle all those years ago.

By constantly re-living the past and glorifying past heroes, they effectively masked their systemic corruption and their failed policies.

But even that couldn’t last forever, as people’s mounting anger grew stronger than their historical allegiances. And so the ANC today has turned to the only avenue left to cling to power: Populism.

Frightened by the prospect of losing support, they have chosen to follow a radical fringe party down a populist dead-end ahead of our elections next year.

Land expropriation, free tertiary education and the nationalisation of key sectors like Healthcare, the Reserve Bank and ICT – these are policies that will kill our economy, bankrupt our state and drive even more people to poverty and unemployment.

They are the same failed populist policies that ruined countries like Zimbabwe and Venezuela, but even this recent evidence has not stopped the ANC from setting off down the same road.

That cannot be the future of my country. I cannot stand by and watch as the dream of freedom is crushed for millions of people simply in order to save the ANC.

If we’re going to speak about the pursuit of freedom here in Africa, we need to reflect on the words of Coretta Scott King: “Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”

The struggle for real freedom for our people is far from over. That is why my party, the Democratic Alliance, exists.

That is why we get up and go to work every day. That’s what we fight for. Real economic freedom in our lifetime.

This year marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela – a man whose life came to symbolise the transition from colonialism to liberation. He recognised that Apartheid, just like slavery, was a system that could be broken.

Nelson Mandela is a hero to me, and many others, not only because he liberated Africans, but also because he helped to liberate the oppressors. He was that rare leader who could free both the jailed and the jailer and unite them in a new mission.

This is, in a sense, what the DA is trying to achieve. To build a party of all races who recognise the injustice of our past, but who know that our only hope of breaking down the system of economic exclusion is if we unite and pool our efforts.

And here, again, we can look to the Senegalese for inspiration. For a country that is over 90% Muslim, to have elected a Christian President as their first democratic leader shows what is possible when values are placed ahead of religion, race or language.

In South Africa, it is only the Democratic Alliance that is pushing for such a society. No other party is even trying, and they aren’t trying because it is hard.

Our project, in the DA, is unprecedented. We’re trying to build a strong centre – a political home for all South Africans, regardless of race or language.

We’re offering voters the option of an alternative government that is based on shared values rather than shared race or ethnicity. And, in our historical context, this is very difficult.

We’re asking South Africans to look beyond their differences and their historical allegiances, and to work together to rebuild our country.

We are trying to strengthen our democratic institutions like our judiciary, our free press and our bodies of investigation and prosecution, while others have done all they can to subvert them.

We are trying to protect our Constitution and the rights contained therein, while others are doing their best to chip away at it.

We are trying to break down the walls between the economic insiders and outsiders – walls that were built through years and years of patronage politics.

We are trying to build a free and open society with opportunities for all – opportunities that arise from enterprise, trade, increased investment and entrepreneurship.

A society that can only be realised in a liberal democracy with a market economy, a capable state, a zero tolerance for corruption and a Constitution that guarantees its people their rights, including the right to own property.

A society that rejects nationalism, racism, cronyism and populism.

This is the road we have chosen. And it is a far harder road to travel than the one chosen by the populists. But it is our only hope.

Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot do this alone. And neither can any of you.

Our success in South Africa, and your success in your countries, will require many allies. Together, we can rewrite Africa’s story.

If our continent is to overcome centuries of exploitation and misrule and claim its rightful place in the global economy, it will be because our liberal ideas and our liberal values prevailed.

We can’t wait for people to come over to our way of thinking. We must go out and make the case for a prosperous Africa we want to see. And we must simply ensure that we paint a more compelling picture than our opponents are doing.

Populists win because they offer dangerous answers to legitimate questions. They don’t make up these questions. They latch onto real issues that aren’t being answered well enough by anyone else.

They recognise the importance of economic inequality to further advance their message.

And they get away with preying on people’s fear, anger and exclusion because there seems to be no compelling alternative.

We cannot allow that to happen. We must join those conversations – no matter how difficult they may be – and ours must simply be better answers.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We’re not fighting separate battles across Africa. Ours is a common goal that becomes more and more achievable with every ally that joins us.

Just as my party is the last line of defence against the creep of populism and the tyranny of corruption in South Africa, you, as the defenders of liberal values in your own countries are our continent’s hope.

While the old guard is still turned to the past, we are the ones facing in the right direction.

Africa does not need backward looking leaders or parties that were once glorious. We need people and parties who can imagine Africa’s future and potential.

We don’t need politicians who are only in it for themselves – big, self-important men who see government as a way of becoming rich. We need selfless leaders who understand what it means to serve.

We don’t need populists who prey on people’s anger, fear and frustration. We need enlightened and pragmatic leaders – protectors of our constitutions and defenders of human rights.

We don’t need nationalists and racists who try to use our differences to pit us against each other. We need men and women from all walks of life whose only goal is to unite us as a people and fight for everyone’s future.

We need an Africa where trade and venture capital replace aid and charity.

We need an Africa that invests in the infrastructure that will allow us to trade better among ourselves, so that goods don’t take an eternity to reach our neighbours. Yes, we still need European and Asian markets, but we must use the huge potential at our own doorstep.

We need an Africa where basic human rights are sacrosanct. An Africa with strong institutions that will relegate dictators like Omar al-Bashir to history.

I know there is a new generation of leaders in Africa. I see many of them here in this room. This is our time to stand up and make a difference.

The struggle for independence has come and gone. Ours is the next struggle. We are the generation that must liberate Africa from its liberators.

If the 20th Century was the century of African independence, then the 21st Century must surely be the century in which Africa gains its freedom.

Thank you.

SAA – Flying into a crash landing

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today. 

Madam Speaker,

South African Airways has, as a result of political interference, poor management and rampant corruption, consumed R 31,4 billion in “bailouts” that could have been used to stimulate the economy and to create jobs for South Africans.

There have been bailouts of:

  • R 0,7 billion in 2007;
  • R 1,6 billion in 2010; and
  • a staggering R 10,0 billion in 2017

Now SAA want yet another R 5,0 billion.

None of this huge amount of R 5,0 billion will be used to buy new aircraft or even to pay for a month or two’s jet fuel or salaries.

All of the R 5,0 billion will go straight to the banks and financial houses who have already lent the R 5,0 billion to SAA who have already spent all R 5,0 billion! There will be nothing left for SAA to use to fund the further losses they project for the rest of the financial year.

In reality SAA are extorting R 5,0 billion from service delivery to poor South Africans. Banks and other finance institutions, comprising of ABSA, Ashburton, Firstrand, Investec, MMI, Nedbank, Sanlam and Standard, have been complicit in this extortion. They lent R 5,0 billion to SAA knowing full well that SAA are running at massive losses and have no way of repaying the banks by the 30th of November 2018.

In the six months to the end of September 2018 SAA had already racked up losses of R 2,2 billion and they forecast a loss of R 5,3 billion for the full 2018/19 financial year.

What parliament should now do is to force the banks and other financial institutions who have lent R 5,0 billion irresponsibly to SAA to call in the government guarantees that underwrite their loans to SAA. Let the banks and finance houses face public exposure for their irresponsible lending to SAA.

Now we are told that SAA will be forced into liquidation if they do not receive another R 3,5 billion before the end of March 2019.

We were told that borrowing this additional R 3,5 billion from the banks was not possible as the banks required additional commitments. These additional commitments are presumably more unilateral letters of commitment from Finance Minister like the one that Minister Nene issued on the 26th of March 2018. This “letter of commitment” was clearly the basis on which banks and finance houses made the irresponsible loans of R 5,0 billion to SAA.

If the banks are not an option to provide the R 3,5 billion in cash required to keep SAA flying in the thunderstorm then what are the options for the government to provide the R 3,5 billion to SAA to prevent a crash landing.

Unless the Finance gets his way to shut down SAA, which seems unlikely given the smackdown that he received from President Ramaphosa, there are two clear options that the ANC government are likely to consider.

The one option would be to embark upon yet another dodgy section 16 of the Public Finance Management Act payment of the R 3,5 billion directly to SAA from the National Revenue Fund. This would follow the precedents set by the then Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba who made a pretense that the SAA funding requirement was an emergency matter in order to activate section 16 to pay SAA R 5,3 billion in 2017.

The second option would be to secretly approach the PIC to get the PIC to provide a loan to SAA in the same way that the PIC pulled ESKOM back from the brink of liquidation in early 2018.

Given the controversy surrounding the PIC and the appointment of an acting CEO such a move to raid the funds of pensioners to try to prevent an SAA crash landing would simply be immoral.

Of course, we should not forget the 2017 secret cabinet memo option of selling Telkom shares!

Right now, SAA is insolvent and is trading recklessly.

Under the present circumstances it will not be possible for the Board and management to stand any chance of nursing SAA back to profitability. They are spending all their time jumping from one funding crisis to the next with the false hope that poor South Africans will be happy to provide, like some rich uncle, the R 21,7 billion that SAA say they have to have in order to possibly, with no guarantees given, return SAA to profitability.

Apparently, the Auditor General has refused to accept that SAA is a Going Concern. Consequently, the SAA annual report that should have been tabled in parliament by the end of September 2018 has still not been tabled.

But even if parliament approves the R 5,0 billion bailout it will still not make SAA a Going Concern. In order for SAA to be a Going Concern, it needs to be able to trade for 12 months. This is not the case as SAA needs another R 3,5 billion just to enable it to trade until the end of the current financial year on the 31st of March 2019.

SAA cannot continue to be a drain of desperately needed money for poor South Africans. A line must now be drawn in the sand! The liability to the taxpayer must now be limited to the foolish government guarantees of R 16,8 billion issued by the ANC and not a cent more must be taken.

If SAA and the associated nearly 10 000 jobs are to be saved, SAA must be put into business rescue without delay. It will take robust action to cancel corrupt contracts and to right size operations and employee costs in order to prepare the airline for privatisation and recovery.

Bosasagate: More questions only an independent inquiry can answer

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes yesterday’s press release by law firm Edelstein, Farber and Grobler (EFG), who have now confirmed that they did in fact act as a conduit through which money was channelled to Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign to become ANC President. This includes – but is not limited to – the dubious R500 000 “donation” from Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson.

In particular, EFG states that “the trust account was created for the purposes of collecting funds in respect of the CR17 campaign and the funds received in the trust have been properly accounted for and audited.”

But if this were true, and all of the funds were properly accounted for, then why didn’t they know that Bosasa had made a donation, and why did the President initially say this payment was for his son? There are still far more questions than answers. This is why we have called for the President to initiate an independent inquiry into Bosasa, so that we can get to the bottom of all of these questions.

If the President, EFG, and Mr Afriat are satisfied that all (other) transactions were above board, there should be no hesitation to accede to this request for an independent inquiry.

Moreover, I will be formally approaching the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, requesting they probe the precise role Jeffery Afriat played during his tenure as a director at Trillian Capital, and to establish whether he had any relationship with the Gupta family and their business associates, including the Zuma family.

The reality is that Mr Afriat was a director of Trillian Capital. Afriat is also cited twice by name in Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report. Afriat resigned as Trillian director shortly before the Budlender Inquiry into Trillian was launched. These are not wild allegations, they are just facts, and they are worthy of further exploration by an independent inquiry.

I have called on President Ramaphosa to immediately appoint a full-scale independent inquiry – headed by a retired judge to be selected by the Chief Justice – to fully investigate the Bosasa scandal, which now involves the President and his family. The President should do so without delay.

Bosasagate: Ramaphosa’s election slush-fund linked to former Trillian Capital director

The slush-fund used to raise money for Cyril Ramaphosa’s election campaign to become ANC President – which included the R500 000 “donation” from Bosasa – was administered by a law firm whose director appears to have links to the Guptas and their State Capture project.

A trust account named “efg2” – administered by law firm Edelstein, Farber and Grobler (EFG) – was the account into which the R500 000 Bosasa “donation” was funnelled through (and possibly many others), as admitted by the President in his letter to the Speaker of Parliament. This follows his about-turn to my question in Parliament about this R500 000 payment – which Ramaphosa initially stated was a payment to his son, Andile, for consultancy work done for Bosasa.

We can today confirm that Mr Jeffrey Afriat, a director at EFG – the law firm which administered this trust account – served as one of three directors of Trillian Capital, a primary vehicle used by the Guptas to capture the state and loot billions of rands of public money.

Afriat served as director during 2016 alongside Mr Eric Wood – at the apex of State Capture and theft of public money by the Guptas and the ANC. Afriat is also cited twice by name in Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report. Afriat resigned as Trillian director shortly before the Budlender Inquiry into Trillian was launched.

President Ramaphosa is now left with little choice but to heed my call and immediately appoint a full-scale independent inquiry – headed by a retired judge to be selected by the Chief Justice – to fully investigate the Bosasa scandal, which now involves the President and his family. I will today formally write to President Ramaphosa, calling for this inquiry to be established without delay.

We cannot have double standards when it comes to bribery and corruption – particularly not when it involves the highest office of the country. The President’s links to Bosasa – including all payments made to him, to the ANC and to his son, whether directly or through shell companies, third parties or trust accounts – must be investigated in detail.

Today’s reports that Bosasa’s deal with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) was found to be irregular by the Auditor-General is yet another example of how this dodgy company operates. This is a company embroiled in allegations of fraud and corruption, having paid for security upgrades for ANC politicians; birthday bashes for Jacob Zuma; and scoring over R10 billion in government tenders and contracts.

The people of South Africa must know that this system of corruption has become part of the very fabric of the ANC – regardless of who leads the organisation. It is the entire ANC that is corrupt, not just Jacob Zuma, the Guptas and his associates. It operates as a system of corruption that locks out the poor and the unemployed – to the benefit of the politically connected few.

The reality is that the ANC cannot be reformed, it must be removed from government come 2019.

No, President Ramaphosa, a bribe is a bribe

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a protest outside the headquarters of controversial facilities management company, Bosasa – now trading under the name, African Global, in Krugersdorp. Maimane was joined by Team One SA Spokesperson on Corruption, Phumzile van Damme, Team One SA Spokesperson on State Capture, Natasha Mazzone, and DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey

Fellow South Africans,

President Ramaphosa lied to Parliament, and the nation, about the R500,000 paid to him by the corruption-plagued company Bosasa last year. He told us it was legitimate money earned by his son for consulting work, and that he had even seen the contract. But when the truth emerged – that the money was in fact for him and his personal election campaign – he tried to beat the media to the story by issuing a retraction and correction.

 

This is an extremely serious breach of conduct in terms of the Executive Ethics Act and not, as he and Jackson Mthembu have been at pains to explain, just an innocent mistake. It has very serious implications for his Presidency and cannot be made to go away by a sheepish apology.

 

For this reason I have referred the matter to the Office of the Public Protector for investigation. If it is then found that the President knowingly and wilfully misled Parliament, he will have to face the consequences. Because this is the level of accountability our democracy deserves.

Let’s talk for a minute what the President lied about. But first I need to tell you about the way corruption works between government officials and companies that do business – or want to do business – with the state.

It’s really simple: The company makes a “donation” to the politician, and in return the company is rewarded with government contracts. These contracts are usually awarded outside of the normal tender process, and often at inflated prices. But that’s why they paid the bribe. That’s how you purchase yourself a President.

It happens every day, at every level and sphere of government. It has become the accepted way of doing business with the ANC, and it can range from R100 to secure a short-term EPWP job to hundreds of millions of Rands to secure multi-billion Rand contracts.

They never use their own bank accounts – there is always a middleman. This could be a family member, a shell company or a trust account – anything to put a little distance between them and the person paying the bribe.

It is a system of corruption that has become part of the very fabric of the ANC government. A system that we can only eradicate through a party reshuffle, and not a cabinet reshuffle.

So why am I telling you this today? The reason I’m telling you is because our President, Cyril Ramaphosa, wants you to think of the money he received from this company here – African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa – as something other than a bribe.

He desperately needs you to believe it wasn’t a bribe, because if you don’t – if you add up two and two and get four – your only conclusion will be that our new President is not so different from the old one. That there is no good ANC and bad ANC – there’s only one ANC, and they have only one way of conducting their business.

A bribe is a bribe, whether it is paid to a local councillor, to Jacob Zuma or to Cyril Ramaphosa. If we were outraged when others did it, we should be equally outraged when the new President does it.

Last year, as he was campaigning to become President of the ANC, and later of our country, he was bankrolled by all sorts of people. This is normal. It costs money to run a campaign. What isn’t normal, however, is when those making the donations go on to benefit from government contracts. That’s the bit the ANC don’t want to talk about. That’s the difference between a donation and a bribe.

So let’s have a look at the company Cyril Ramaphosa and his spin doctors want you to believe is just another anonymous donor. Very few companies do bigger business with the state than Bosasa. Even fewer of them have a background of corruption that matches that of Bosasa.

This is a company with government contracts worth more than R10 billion with Correctional Services, Home Affairs, Social Development and the Airports Company SA.

It is also a company that has been under investigation for large-scale fraud and corruption for more than a decade. Some reports say that over 400 criminal cases involving Bosasa have been referred to the NPA by the Special Investigation Unit.

These include the alleged payment of bribes to prison bosses in return for huge tenders – payments arranged by the very same Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson who gave the go-ahead for Ramaphosa’s payment.

Only the NPA will be able to answer why, since 2007, no prosecutions have followed the detailed and ongoing investigation of the SIU. But if we’ve learnt one thing in this country, it’s that a persistent refusal to prosecute by the NPA is an almost certain indication of guilt.

And if you need any further proof of Bosasa’s dirty business with the ANC, just look at the list of cadres who were gifted expensive security services at their private homes by the company. Since 2013 Bosasa has installed high-end alarm systems, CCTV cameras and electric fencing, completely free of charge, for the likes of Gwede Mantashe, Nomvula Mokonyane, Thabang Makwetla, Dudu Myeni (SAA), Linda Mti, Mbulelo Gingcana (PRASA) and Vincent Smith.

And finally, let us not forget the tried and tested modus operandi of ANC Presidents and Ministers: Get the family, and specifically the children, in on the deal. We saw it with the children and nephew of Jacob Zuma. And now we are seeing it with Ramaphosa’s son, Andile.

As the President admitted in Parliament – before half retracting this admission later when the truth came out – his son does business with Bosasa. The President said that he confronted his son about these dealings and was assured that all was above board. And that, according to him, is where this matter ends.

Well, I have some bad news for the President. This matter ends when the truth comes out, and not a minute sooner.

We know that Andile is involved with 34 different companies, but we don’t know which of these deal with African Global/Bosasa and what the nature of this business is. What we certainly won’t do is accept, without questioning, the President’s assurance that all is above board. Because it looks more and more like we have simply replaced uBaba kaDuduzane with uBaba kaAndile.

We can’t have double standards when it comes to bribery and corruption – particularly not when it involves the highest office of the country. The President’s links to Bosasa – including all payments made to him, to the ANC and to his son, whether directly or through shell companies, third parties or trust accounts – must be investigated in detail.

It is now six days since I called for this investigation, and we are yet to hear from the President when and how this will take place. All we’ve had from him and his party are clumsy excuses for supposedly misspeaking in Parliament.

That’s not good enough. And neither is a promise to pay back the dirty money. Because if it were, then every criminal ever caught out could simply say “I’ll pay it back” and walk away scot-free. When it comes to accountability, we have far higher standards than that.

A DA government will not tolerate corruption. Because only a government that is truly tough on corruption can build a free and fair society – one united, prosperous South Africa that works for all its people. That is why we will send those found guilty of corruption to jail for 15 years. That is why we will make use of Blockchain technology to make the payment of all public money transparent and incorruptible.

And that is why, when it comes to your Bosasa money Mr President, we demand the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Whatever the consequences for you and your party.

Cash and sex for jobs is standard practice where the ANC governs

The following speech was delivered today in the National Assembly by DA Team One SA Spokesperson on Access to Jobs, Geordin Hill-Lewis MP

Endless column inches and hours of debate in this House have been devoted to the question of how to get the economy growing so that it can create enough jobs to bring down unemployment.

Despite all of this attention, the problem has only got worse.

It has got worse because we have a government and a President that has no plan for how to fix the economy, beyond talk-shop conferences and photo-op summits.

And it has got worse because we have a government and a President incapable of implementing real economic reforms, because his party has outsourced policy making to the EFF.

According to Stats SA there are now 9.7 million unemployed South Africans. That’s one-and-a-half million more than the 8.2 million South Africans who voted for the ANC in the last election.

If every unemployed person votes for the party that is best able to grow the economy and create jobs, this government will fall next year, as it should.

But let’s not labour under the misapprehension that the ANC even wants to fix this problem. It does not.

A population of unemployed people must rely on the government, and to the ANC, that means they must rely on them. They are kept in a dependency trap.

If you think that is too cynical even for the ANC, just wait until you see for yourself the hideous underbelly of how the ANC actively manipulates desperate people who need to feed their families.

We have focused a lot on how grand corruption – state capture, Nkandla, VBS and now Bosasa – undermine growth and destroy jobs.

But the truth of the lived reality of poor people at the hands of this venal party is even more shocking than who is paying the President’s son.

The truth is this: Even those jobs that are available, are only available to those who are prepared to pay the ANC.

And what is the currency of ANC jobs manipulation?

Cash, votes and sexual favours.

Imagine a young matriculant excited to apply for an internship at the local Emfuleni Municipality in Gauteng, offered a starting salary of R7000. But soon told that to get the job, she needs to sleep with local ANC officials, who are funding this sex-for-jobs ring – disguised as an internship programme – by siphoning money from the council’s disaster management fund.

Imagine studying to be a nurse, optimistic and idealistic. But then being told that you will have to pay R2000 of your salary every month to the human resources director of the Bheki Mlangeni District Hospital, also in Gauteng, to get a job.

And only months into your job, being told that money is not enough. He wants more.

And then, the provincial government in Gauteng saying it could not do anything about it because “no official complaint had been received”.

No such callous government deserves to stay in office in that province.

Or the ANC Councillor in Itsoseng in the North West, Morutse Molefe, charging people R100 for an EPWP job.

Or the Councillor in Roodepan who made anyone wanting an EPWP job first show him their ANC membership card.

Or the Eastern Cape government’s refusal to release a report into a massive cash-for-jobs scandal in the province, because it implicated too many senior ANC politicians and officials.

There are literally hundreds of these examples. Viewed as isolated incidents they are sad and shocking.

But viewed together, they paint a horrific picture of an endemic practice in the ANC and its governments, that is tacitly accepted and endorsed by protecting the guilty.

Venal, corrupt, lecherous and predatory.

This is the ugly truth about the ANC, and we’re going to make sure everyone knows who is responsible.

We are calling on every person who has been denied fair access to a job by an ANC councillor or official to write to the DA, contact our offices or your local DA representative.

We will bring every example here and make the ANC account for it.

And let’s see what they do.

Will they change the EPWP job allocation system to a randomised, fair system that shuts the door on corruption, like we have done in our governments?

Will they act strongly against the perpetrators?

Will they start by apologising to the country for what has happened so far?

Voters in Gauteng will be waiting to hear the answer.