John Moodey | Setting out the facts

The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, John Steenhuisen MP, during a media briefing.

It is unfortunate that, in leaving the party he (until recently) wished to lead, John Moodey has spread blatant falsehoods which appear to be an attempt to justify his reasons for leaving.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) sets a standard in all that we do and we aim to rise above gutter politics. It is regrettable that matters still undergoing internal process are now being played out in public.

In leaving, Moodey has sought to deflect attention from himself by defaming his erstwhile colleagues, playing the race card, and seeking to inflict as much damage on the party as he could on the way out by spreading mistruth and false rumour.

The DA wish to ensure the facts are understood and they are:

Mr Moodey, in resigning, is running away from facing very serious charges relating to an attempt to frame a political opponent in a sex-for-jobs scandal, which also allegedly involved attempting to bribe two young and vulnerable first-time councillors into giving false evidence.

Moodey was also to face a charge that he was involved in offering these councillors promotions on the candidates’ list for the 2021 election, if they co-operated into making false statements to smear the senior politicians.

It is to be noted that the charges Moodey were to face are not based on hearsay evidence and mere allegations from party members. The evidence in this case includes tape recordings of relevant conversations as well as documentary evidence.

The case was one of the most serious that has ever been before the DA’s Federal Legal Commission (FLC). Their proceedings were due to be heard in the near future. In such proceedings, Mr Moodey is given full right to review all evidence and bring forward his own legal defence.

It is clear that John Moodey preferred to leave, choosing to avoid the formal disciplinary hearing as he is no longer a member of the DA. He also issued a blatant threat saying he would “expose the DA” if the party reacted to his allegations.

The party has nothing to hide. John Moodey does, and his threats will not prevent us from setting the record straight.

For reference, here is proof of John Moodey’s most recent FLC referral from the Federal Leader’s office.

Masithethe ngazwi linye ukuze silwe, soyise ukubulawa kwamafama, abasebenzi-zifama, kunye nabahlali basezilalini

The following speech was delivered during the Democratic Alliance (DA) Debate of National Importance on the Recent Scourge of Farm Attacks and Murders. Please find attached a soundbite in IsiXhosa by Thandeka Mbabama MP

Enkosi Mhlali ngaphambili

Bantu bakuthi, ndiyabulisa  kulemini yokuqala kwinyanga yoMsintsi, inyanga eza nentwasahlobo nokuzalwa kutsha (rebirth) kwe mithi, iintyatyambo neziqhamo emasimini. Ndithi namhlanje masizifune, sizibuze uba sekutheni intliziyo zethu ziliflathele kangaka ilizwi likaYehova ku Exodus 20:13 elithi  “uze ungabulali” Uthe uThixo xa edala umntu wamdala ngoko mfanekiso Wakhe. Xa ke siyekela ukubulawa kwabantu, nokuba ngabeliphi ibala, siyekela ukuba kuxajelwe umfanekiso kaThixo.  Ndinqwenela uba nathi sibe nentwasahlobo yokuzalwa kutsha, intliziyo zethu zithambe, sibenovelwano kubantu abangamaxhoba  ezi zihhelegu.  Oluhlaselo nobulawo ngokungena lusini lwamafama, abasebenzi-zifama, nabahlali basezilalini mihla le, alunyamezeleki, yaye ayiyonto esinovuma ibesisenzo semihla ngemihla. Siyi Democratic Alliance (DA) siyithatha ngokungqongqo  lenkohlakalo yaye sizimisele ukuyilwa ngako konke esinako

Mhlali ngaphambili, amazwi avela kwi nkonzo zepolotiki ezithile ezikhuthaza abantu uba maba thathe imihlaba ngokungekho semthethweni ; norhulumente ophetheyo ongayihhoyanga into yokuhlukunyezwa kwabantu basezifama nasezilalini ngokunjalo, inika izikrelemnqa isibindi sokwenza nantonina….besazi uba akukhonto ezakubehlela ngokomthetho. Kumafama, abasebenzi zifama nabahlali basezilalini sithi sikhona siyiDemocratic Alliance. Sesiqalile uku

  • Sebenzisana nenkonzo zawonke amafama ukubancedisa ekubeni balungiselele ukuzikhusela ngokupatrola indawo zabo
  • Ngenjongo zokuphuhlisa amafama athuthukayo sizakuqhubeka ukubanceda bafumane umhlaba ngokusemthethweni ngoku qhakamshelana ne dept. yeALRRD
  • Sizakuqhubeka nokulwa utshintso luka Section 25 womgaqosiseko ngoba asivumelani norhwaphilizo lomhlaba ngaphandle kwembuyekezo. Urhulumente makagqibezele ilandclaims ezishiyekileyo, anikezele  ngomhlaba ophantsi kaRhulumente .
  • Ndithetha nje sixakeke ngepublic hearings zeULTRA Amendment Bill enenjongo zoku nceda amanina abenamalungelo afana nawoTata ekufumaneni umhlaba

Ezinye inkozo sezichaziwe ngoogxabam kwinthetho zabo ngaphambili. Lilonke siyi Democratic Alliance sithi let us put our differences aside as political parties and condemn with one voice the killing of our farmers and farm workers who not only put food on our tables but have the right to life as prescribed in our Constitution.


Click here to contribute to the DA’s legal action challenging irrational and dangerous elements of the hard lockdown in court

The DA’s project has to succeed. There is no plan B.

The following remarks were delivered today by the DA Leader, John Steenhuisen MP, at the DA Eastern Cape virtual Provincial Congress.

My fellow Democrats

It gives me great pleasure to address you in this way – as my fellow democrats – because that is who and what we are.

We are democrats not only in name, but in our actions too.

Whether it is the way in which we conduct ourselves in government, or the way in which we contest elections, we wear our democratic colours with pride.

The DA does not get caught up in destructive factional battles.

The DA is not in it for patronage and wealth.

The DA is free from the stench of corruption that has settled on every ANC-run province, municipality and government department.

The DA has not, and will not, lose sight of why we do what we do. Which is to offer hope, dignity and opportunity to South Africans through governments of the people, by the people and for the people.

We are democrats in every sense of the word, and we should be proud of this.

I know, going into this provincial congress, that our democratic spirit will prevail. I know this congress will be conducted with respect and decorum.

Just as I know that the other DA provincial congresses, as well as our Federal Congress later this year, will play by the same rules.

And when these processes are concluded, we will abide by the democratic outcome and get straight back to work, doing what we do best: improving the lives of South Africans through freedom, fairness and opportunity.

On that note, I would like to congratulate Nqaba Bhanga and Andrew Whitfield on being elected unopposed as Provincial Leader and Chairperson respectively. This gives the DA much-needed stability here in the Eastern Cape, and allows us to not lose focus.

I know that each one of you understands the importance of the DA’s task. Our project has never been more urgent. South Africa is facing its biggest challenge in its 26 years of democracy.

And I’m not talking about the battle to contain the coronavirus because I know we will overcome this.

I’m talking about the battle to save our country from a slide into economic ruin. The battle to save millions of our citizens from desperate poverty and despair.

Because, unless there is an intervention to dramatically change our course, that bleak outcome will be our country’s future.

Fellow democrats, we are that intervention. You are.

I don’t mean to put unnecessary pressure on you, but whether our country sinks or swims depends entirely on whether the DA’s project fails or succeeds. There is no other plan.

We simply have to succeed in building a new majority in this country.

We have to set out our values and our plans for reform in such a way that this becomes a rallying point for both voters and potential coalition partners.

Now, we all know what it will take to turn our country around and avert disaster:

We know it will take a capable state, which can only be achieved by appointing people on merit rather than on their allegiance to political factions.

We know it will take an honest, hard-working government that truly has zero-tolerance for corruption and greed, and doesn’t just say this for effect.

It will take an unwavering commitment to the Rule of Law – one set of rules for everyone, and swift consequences for all who break these rules.

It will take the power of a market-economy, because only the entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness to take risks can create the scale of jobs we need.

It will take a government that knows when to get out of the way and let those in the business of growth and jobs do their thing.

It will take a commitment to a lean and efficient state. No more bloated civil service and top-heavy State-Owned Enterprises.

And it will take a truly 21st Century economy, and that means walking away once and for all from the failed ideologies and the doomed economic projects of the 20th Century.

We know all of this. We speak about it all the time, to the point where it seems so clear and obvious to us.

But knowing this is not enough. Believing in our vision for South Africa is not enough. Our job is to make others believe in this vision too. That is our project.

And the next big step in this project is only a year away, when South Africans go to the polls to elect local governments.

How we use the next twelve or so months to deliver our message to voters will have a profound impact on the future of our country.

But we’re not the only ones who are going to be busy. Already we’re seeing the same old pattern that emerges ahead of every election, as small parties crop up with fancy promises which they have no way of backing up with any proof or track record.

And such is the appeal of the shiny and new that these small parties inevitably end up taking away some votes from the strongest opposition party, the DA. Every time a voter does this, the net result is the strengthening of the ANC.

We’ve been through this scenario so many times. As soon as the elections are over, voters who tested the waters with one of these new start-ups realise they got zero bang for their buck from a one-man party with a regional footprint, and they return to the DA.

But by then the damage is done for the next five years. The momentum is halted and the ANC is bolstered.

There is only one way to unseat the ANC nationally, and that is by weakening them in every consecutive election. By pushing them below 50% wherever possible and relegating them to the opposition benches in municipal, metro and provincial governments.

We need voters to understand this. We need them to realise that if they want their municipality to be freed from the control of the corrupt ANC, they have to vote out the ANC by replacing it with the only party that can win against the ANC. And that is the DA.

We must make the case that our only hope to end corruption and bring change is for voters to unite behind the strongest opposition party, rather than splitting the vote.

And especially if that split vote goes to a breakaway from the DA, with individuals who are simply carrying DA ideologies and plans onto another platform.

These parties cannot effect change because they are too small. They cannot defeat the ANC because they are too small. All they end up doing is setting South Africa back in the fight against a corrupt government.

We have to make this point to people. We have to make them understand that falling for the grand promises of new parties with no experience, no structures and no track record always leads to buyer’s remorse.

Anyone can make promises. But only one party can hold up its track record and say: judge us by that.

And nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than right here in the Eastern Cape’s biggest Metro, Nelson Mandela Bay.

What played out in NMB over the past four years is the perfect case study for demonstrating the difference between South Africa’s only two parties of government.

After two decades of ANC looting and mismanagement, the people of NMB got to experience two years of DA-led government, before what was effectively a coup by the coalition of corruption gave them two more years under the ANC, EFF and UDM.

The difference between these governments could not be more stark.

Two years is not a lot when up against the enormous challenge of fixing 20 years of ANC government, but the list of achievements the DA-led coalition managed to rack up in that short time from 2016 to 2018 is remarkable.

And I would like to thank former Mayor Athol Trollip for the crucial role he played in turning NMB around.

His administration inherited a metro deep in the red, and within a year NMB had a R2 billion surplus and a AAA credit rating. That kind of turnaround doesn’t just happen. It takes an incredible effort.

But NMB didn’t just gain financial stability. It also saw a host of delivery milestones that were inconceivable under the ANC.

For the first time, the city had a Metro Police Service. It finally got an ITPS bus service. It got Shot Spotter technology to help curb and solve gun crime.

The DA-led administration immediately halted over R600 million worth of corrupt contracts. It got rid of 10,000 bucket toilets. It achieved the highest Urban Settlement Development Grants spending in the country.

The difference was like day and night. But there was a problem. The coalition held the most slender majority, and this made it a sitting duck. If the looters wanted back in, all they had to do was pay off one council member.

And we all know what happened at that shameful council meeting where the coup took place and the coalition of corruption installed themselves at the feeding trough once more.

Since then, it’s all been downhill for NMB, as the corrupt administration of Mayor Bobani opened all the taps that the DA had so effectively shut.

And where there’s corruption, the violence is never far behind. At least 18 people involved in SMMEs doing business with the metro have already been slain in politically linked killings.

The Shot Spotter technology, which had already started to reduce gang shootings, has now been ceased in NMB’s Northern Areas.

Similarly, the brand new IPTS bus system has collapsed, and there has been a dramatic deterioration of basic services across the city thanks to chronic under-spending of budgets.

Every improvement made under the DA-led coalition has been undone over the past two years, and NMB now finds itself worse off than before.

You could not ask for a clearer distinction between these two fundamentally different governments and their ability to deliver to the people.

But perhaps there is an even better example of how you get the government you vote for, and you’ll find that just down the road from NMB in Kouga.

The Kouga municipality flies largely under the radar, thanks to the constant turmoil in NMB. But under the DA it has been going from strength to strength and is an island of excellence in a sea of ANC misrule here in the Eastern Cape.

Kouga was a mess when the DA took over. As an example, consider that just 4% of the municipality’s fleet of vehicles were in good working order in 2016. Less than four years later 90% of these vehicles are in daily use.

Other milestones in Kouga include two brand new waste water treatment works, boreholes to augment drought-affected water supply and a world-first plastic-infused asphalt road to help combat plastic pollution.

The municipality operates on an entirely different level to the rest of the province, whether you’re looking at its financial management, service delivery or simply the cleanliness of the towns.

Kouga has just passed its first billion Rand budget, and because it has a DA government, you can be sure all that money will be spent where it should.

Things work in Kouga, and that is the DA difference. That is what we can hold up as proof, when others can simply offer wild promises based on little more than fantasy.

And importantly, Kouga has given us a foothold here in the Eastern Cape – a province that is crying out for change, probably more than any other in South Africa.

Already known as South Africa’s corruption capital, the Eastern Cape cemented that position during the Covid crisis by becoming an epicentre of Covid corruption too.

Global audiences had to watch in horror as the terrible state of the province’s hospitals was laid bare, complete with scurrying rats and blood-drenched corridor floors.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, we had to endure the embarrassment of the scooter ambulance fiasco. All this, while cadres were looting the province through corrupt PPE contracts.

And as always, the people – and particularly the poorest in the province – had to pay the heaviest price for all of this. They are the real victims of a failed, corrupt government.

Fellow democrats, we can change this. We can bring hope to the Eastern Cape.

And we’ll do this by extending our footprint in this province, ward by ward, town by town. By taking what we have in Kouga, and what we had in NMB, and replicating it.

When we win NMB back next year, it will be with a strong enough majority that bribes will be powerless.

But we won’t stop there. We will take our message far beyond NMB and Kouga. And even where we won’t necessarily win control of municipalities, we will make inroads. We will take wards off the ANC, and we will establish a DA presence across every community in this province.

That’s how we’ll spread the word and sell the DA difference to the people of the Eastern Cape, and throughout the rest of the country.

We have almost 60 million people counting on us to succeed, whether they’ll admit it or not. For South Africa to work, the DA has to work. There is no other plan.

That’s a lot of responsibility to bear, but I want you to shoulder this responsibility with pride. Be proud of what we have already achieved, and be proud of who we are.

We are democrats, and that’s just what our country needs right now.

Thank you.

Zandile Gumede’s full-pay “jolly holiday” suspension is not good enough

If the suspension on full pay of disgraced former eThekwini Mayor and newly sworn-in member of the KZN Provincial Legislature, Zandile Gumede, is the ANC’s idea of strong, principled action against corruption, then it deserves every derogatory Twitter hashtag directed towards it.

Gumede, who stands accused along with 17 others on charges relating to fraud to the value of more than R200 million, and is currently out on R50,000 bail, retains the full R1.1 million salary she has just been promoted to, while taxpayers will not see a single cent’s benefit for their money. Life, it seems, is indeed one long jolly holiday for the corrupt cadres of the ANC.

Just this week the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) released a report detailing the eye-watering amounts spent paying the salaries of suspended public servants in provincial governments and national government departments. In provincial governments alone the tally to date is R158 million. Between 1 October and 31 December last year, government spent R84 million on precautionary suspension cases, while it spent a further R74 million in the first three months of 2020.

This is clearly unacceptable, and makes a complete mockery of President Ramaphosa’s solemn vows that corruption will no longer be tolerated in his party – a tune he has been singing for years now with no effect at all. If the ANC continues to either redeploy its corrupt politicians – and even promote them, as we’ve seen in Gumede’s case – or simply pay them a full salary to stay at home, then these vows mean nothing.

Furthermore, this suspension of Gumede only followed intense outside pressure, and particularly from the DA in yesterday’s parliamentary Questions to the President session. It had nothing to do with a newly discovered moral compass in the ANC. In fact, the desperate attempts to now row away from the decision to promote Gumede by both the KZN Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) and Luthuli House are almost comical. We now have sources in the PEC saying the deployment instruction came from Luthuli House, and we have ANC Deputy Secretary General Jesse Duarte demanding answers from the PEC.

The truth is that both the PEC and Luthuli House were perfectly happy with Gumede’s appointment, until the pressure came from outside and they had to start putting out fires. At the time of her swearing-in the ANC, through Nhlakanipho Ntombela, assured us that her deployment had the full blessing of Luthuli House and even went as far as claiming it as some sort of victory for the empowerment of women.

It is laughable statements like these that demonstrate just how much disdain the ANC has for the citizens of this country. No one truly believes that promoting an obvious crook up the ranks of the party has anything to do with women’s empowerment, but the ANC think they can get away with even the most outrageous spin and platitudes. The President’s refusal to answer my question to him in Parliament yesterday on where he stands on the Gumede matter is another demonstration of this disdain. It also shows just how sensitive this issue of dealing with the corrupt is to the ANC, because the rot has spread right throughout the party.

I am sure we are now expected to welcome this decision to suspend Zandile Gumede, as if it is some sort of turning point in the fight against corruption. But the DA will never welcome the blatant dodging of real accountability and the continued exploitation of taxpayers for the benefit of cadres who are already multi millionaires. If her mansion and the luxury cars confiscated from the homes of her co-accused by the Hawks and the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the NPA are anything to go by, Gumede will be just fine without her salary.

Click here to contribute to the DA’s legal action challenging irrational and dangerous elements of the hard lockdown in court

President Ramaphosa, corrupt cadres must be jailed, not given a harsher slap on the wrist

Please find attached English soundbite from John Steenhuisen MP.

In a lengthy 7-page letter by President Cyril Ramaphosa to all ANC structures this morning, not once is there any mention of the independent, decisive, and urgent investigation and prosecution of party or cabinet members as part of his so called ‘turning point in our fight against corruption’.

This letter is word salad when President Ramaphosa has demonstrated, most recently, that corrupt cadres continue to be rewarded within his party, and not removed from their positions and punished in accordance with the law of the country.

Just this week, former Mayor of Ethekwini, Zandile Gumede, who was removed from her position last year in the face of a litany of tender corruption charges to the value of R400 million, was sworn in as a member of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature costing the taxpayer R1.1 million per year.

Similarly, ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule, faced no consequences following the awarding of Covid-19 supply procurement tenders to his two sons, Tshepiso and Thato, to the value of R2,7 million.

This further demonstrates that the ANC’s Integrity Commission is toothless.

Strengthening it, as President Ramaphosa mentions in his letter, will mean that corrupt cadres will merely receive a harsher slap on the wrist instead of being investigated, prosecuted, and jailed, which is a long overdue outcome for so many members of the ANC and its governments.

President Ramaphosa must lay charges of corruption against his own party members and suspend them immediately, not allow the Integrity Commission to dish out a warning and a reward package.

This is not a turning point in the ANC’s fight against corruption. This is a longer deflection mechanism from the fact that the ANC still cannot and will not deal decisively with its own corruption.

Ramaphosa is paralysed. He remains a spectator to his own party whose corruption has rotted the organisation so deeply, and so insidiously, that it cannot be effectively rooted out without the ANC’s complete self-implosion.

At this stage, the cost of truly dealing with the ANC’s corruption, is the purge of the entire party – something which Cyril Ramaphosa still will not risk at the expense of his country. It is once again, the ANC over South Africa. We have seen this movie before, President Ramaphosa, and we know how it will end. We are tired.

I will be compiling a list of each and every ANC member and public servant facing allegations of corruption in the coming week which I will submit to the President, and which the Democratic Alliance will track very closely to see just how serious President Ramaphosa alleges he has become in the fight against his party’s corruption.

I myself have instructed DA Councillors this week to lay charges of theft and fraud against Mayors and Municipal Managers of municipalities which have defaulted on their Eskom bills, yet continue to receive payment of rates from residents. South Africans cannot continue to pay for services they never receive because of money stolen by greedy ANC cadres.

President Ramaphosa may have drawn a line in the sand on this issue, but South Africa knows that this line has been moved time and time again with every empty promise made.

When the ANC says it ‘dips its head in shame’ over corrupt members, it is really burying its head in the sand and hoping that South Africa will forget what it has done.

We have not forgotten how your party and its members continue to ravage our country, President Ramaphosa, and we are tired of your dithering and hesitance. Suspend and prosecute your cadres as promised. Anything less is merely more talk and less action from a Spectator President.

DA welcomes Covid corruption debate, but the President can’t be shielded from tough questions

The DA welcomes the Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise’s accedence to our request for an urgent debate in Parliament on corruption related to Covid-19 procurement. The act of stealing emergency relief funding through procurement corruption is a new low for the ruling ANC and its family members, and there are still far more questions than answers. The debate has to get to the bottom of this.

However, the wording of the Speaker’s letter of reply is concerning. It would seem that she has already decided which lines of questioning she will allow in the debate and which she won’t. In the opening paragraph she states the following: “I find no basis for your request that Parliament should summon the President to account on how he will deal with members of his party and son.” But she then goes on to say that allegations of Covid corruption are indeed serious and should be considered by the National Assembly.

This seems to indicate that President Ramaphosa could be shielded from answering questions relating to the involvement of, and consequences for, his own party members, and that his son’s contract to modify Gauteng taxis could be off-limits too. This would not be acceptable. It would make a mockery of the President’s strongly worded commitment to tackle the scourge of Covid corruption that has been revealed in recent weeks.

It would also make a mockery of the Speaker’s own words, when she recently assured South Africans that Parliament would “sharpen MP’s capacity” to hold the Executive to account and to “ask those unpleasant, sharp questions.” She was also quoted as saying, “A Member of Parliament is never wrong. No question is ever unimportant or wrong. A Member of Parliament must put questions to us. It is our duty to back an MP.”

If that is indeed the case, I expect her to offer MPs the opportunity in this debate to ask precisely those sharp questions of the President, even if they concern the business dealings of his own family and the family members of his senior party members.

Public utterances of accountability and of zero tolerance for corruption cannot only be words. They have to translate into actions too. The president can’t talk tough on corruption on the TV, but then allow his party to reinstate and redeploy the corrupt within its own ranks, as we recently saw with the VBS-implicated officials in Limpopo, and now again with the swearing in of disgraced former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede to the KZN legislature.

Perhaps the memory of the last time the President had to answer a question relating to his son’s dubious business dealings with the corrupt Bosasa is still fresh in the Speaker’s mind, and she doesn’t want a repeat of that self-incriminating fiasco. But then she must be honest with South Africans about her intentions, and not sell them the idea of a tough, no-holds-barred Parliament.

Similarly the President and also the Finance Minister need to start doing what they say when it comes to tackling corruption. Two weeks ago Minister Mboweni told us that emergency Covid-19 procurement – which bypasses normal tender requirements and thereby enabled the incredible feeding frenzy among ANC cadres and their families over PPE contracts – had been ended.

But to date he still has not rescinded the emergency procurement instruction, and so it remains ongoing. This would simply require a single-line notice to be published in the bulletin, but the fact that he hasn’t done this calls into question his and the President’s solemn vows to clamp down on this brazen fleecing of the state.

The President and his Ministers – as well as the Presiding Officers of the National Assembly – must know that people remember their words and expect them to act according to what they say. They won’t be allowed to get away with bluster and platitudes on corruption, while allowing the looting to continue unabated, and letting the guilty off the hook. The DA, for one, will not let that happen.

Click here to contribute to the DA’s legal action challenging irrational and dangerous elements of the hard lockdown in court

DA Speeches: Black Lives Matter Debate

The following speeches were delivered in Parliament on Tuesday, 18 August 2020.

Zakhele Mbhele MPUntil freedom, fairness, opportunity, and empowerment is realised, we cannot meaningfully and truthfully say that black lives matter
DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development
083 600 2349

Ghaleb Cachalia MPWe must guard against those who use ostensibly noble causes for their own material gain
DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
083 675 2563

DA Speeches: National Women’s Day Debate

The following Women’s Day debate speeches were delivered in Parliament on Tuesday, 18 August.

Please also find attached a Women’s Month video by the DA. 

Angel Khanyile MPGovernment continues to shut the door on women in South Africa
DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
061 042 9926

Emma Powell MPANC must choose: are they part of the GBV problem or part of the solution?
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements
074 279 9940

Be our President for once, and end the lockdown

Please find attached soundbite from John Steenhuisen MP.

The State of Disaster – already extended – comes to an end in less than 24 hours, and there is no clarity at all on what happens next. This is unacceptable. The stranglehold this places on our country goes way beyond the immediate damaging effects of the regulations enforced under the State of Disaster, because it is the uncertainty that inflicts the most damage. Millions of livelihoods are in peril as thousands of businesses cannot plan for the immediate future, and every day more and more of them are taking the heart-breaking decision to close their doors.

Where is President Ramaphosa in all of this? How can it be that a country’s leader goes missing in the midst of its biggest crisis? We know he’s around, because he can find the time to make Women’s Day addresses or pen platitude-filled newsletters about a fantasy future, which we know will never happen under his government. But as far as making critical and urgent decisions right now to save our economy, which is fast collapsing thanks to a self-inflicted lockdown crisis, he is nowhere to be seen.

It is crystal clear what President Ramaphosa should do: Grow a spine and end the lockdown immediately and entirely. There can be no more talk of levels that don’t serve any purpose whatsoever other than to obliterate what’s left of the economy and jobs. There can be no more bowing to narrow interest groups or the agendas of ANC factions. The lockdown must be ended right away, and along with this the irrational bans on alcohol and cigarettes as well as the curfew and travel restrictions must be lifted. And there can certainly be no consideration to extend the State of Disaster.

This is not the view of the DA or business or any specific interest group. It is the widely held view of the vast majority of our society, including government’s own political allies and its own scientific advisors. Just this week, both Cosatu and Nedlac urged the President to end a lockdown that cannot be justified. The scientists on the Ministerial Advisory Committee have long said that the lockdown should be lifted. We welcome this support for a view the DA has held ever since the initial three weeks of lockdown came to an end, and we urge the President to listen to these voices.

The virus will still be around a year, or even two, from now. We cannot remain trapped by indecision and ego until then. We must be smart when it comes to reducing the risk of transmission through masks, hygiene, distancing and ongoing testing, but we have to get out there now and rebuild our shattered economy.

Every day that the president dithers, our country is one step closer to economic ruin. Already we have lost more revenue thanks to the inexplicable ban on alcohol and tobacco than we borrowed, amid great fanfare, from the IMF. What is the point of that then? Our economy is estimated to have lost over a trillion Rand already due to this extended lockdown, and any positive outcome that might have followed the president’s much vaunted investment plans has certainly fizzled away as his government committed economic hara-kiri.

The truth is, this extended lockdown could never be justified, and President Ramaphosa knows this. But he and the ANC have painted themselves into a corner, because ending it now – without any significant increases in the country’s healthcare capacity, without any significant advances in our testing strategy and without any sign that we have contained the virus – would be an admission that it was all for nothing. And so it seems he would rather crush the economy and ruin the lives of millions than say “we got it wrong” and bring it to an end.

South Africa needs him to do the right thing for once: Act like a president, find some courage, face down the factions in his own party and end the lockdown immediately.