Let’s unite in a new Movement for Change

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the DA’s “March for Change” in Johannesburg this morning.
My fellow South Africans,
Our country is in crisis, and many feel a deep sense of despair.
But today, looking out at all of you I am filled with hope.
Today is a defining moment in the history of our country.
The moment when South Africans stood together against a corrupt President and his government.
All around the country hundreds of thousands of people are gathering to make their voice heard.
In Pretoria, in Cape Town, in eThekwini, in Mangaung, in Mpumalanga, in the North West
Thousands of businesses are showing their support by shutting their doors for the day.
Workers and employers joining hands.
Political opponents united in a common goal.
Religious leaders from across the spectrum.
Rich, poor, black and white.
We have all had enough of Jacob Zuma and the corrupt ANC government he leads.
We have had enough of the Guptas and their stranglehold on our country and our economy.
We have had enough of our currency being manipulated.
We have had enough of job losses and deepening poverty.
So we are here today to show the world that enough is enough.
That our spirit will not be crushed.
That hope is alive in our country.
And we can rise again.
We are not a “junk” country. Jacob Zuma may have led us to this point, but we are embarking on a movement for change which seeks to create opportunities for all and build a prosperous, diverse nation.
This is a new struggle, a moment we can charter a better tomorrow.
Fellow South Africans, just when Jacob Zuma wants us divided, we are united.
The people of South Africa will never accept the destruction of our country. We will stand up and stop it, together.
Fellow South Africans, 23 years ago, we experienced another defining moment in our history.
In 1994, South Africans from all walks of life – religious, ideological, political, cultural – came together to build a new South Africa.
A united, democratic and non-racial future.
Make no mistake, when we came together, we had our differences. But in the spirit of ubuntu, in the best interests of our country and its future, we united around our shared goals.
It took maturity and it took vision. It took political leaders, business leaders, religious groupings, and civil society organisations who were prepared to rise above their differences.
And in that moment, we achieved something historic.
This consensus led to the adoption of our Constitution that protects everyone’s rights and limits power abuse.
This sacred document that remains our guiding light and moral compass in dark times.
My fellow South Africans, it took all of us.
23 years later, we face another defining moment.
What we choose to do will determine the future of our country for all our children.
Wherever I travel, people affirm that our nation has enormous potential. From the beautiful sands of the Karoo, the majestic wildlife, the efficient sectors of finance, business and labour, and ultimately the talent and ingenuity of our people.
They affirm the belief that our nation can be great, and that we as a people working together can achieve much
It is my great hope that today will give life to a new movement for change.
A movement to end this political monopoly that holds our country back.
A movement that transcends the barriers that divide us.
A movement that rekindles the spirit of 1994.
Fellow South Africans, history will judge us harshly if we miss this opportunity.
The time to act is now.
We cannot wait for the ANC to self-correct.
We need to forge a new path, and decide our own destiny.
We the people shall overcome.
Our country is calling on all of us to achieve this dream.
We will do it by uniting opposition parties around a set of shared values.
We will do it by joining hands with those in the ANC who still have a conscience.
We will do it with the help of business, churches, trade unions and civil society.
South Africa is not the property of one individual, one family or one party.
South Africa belongs to all of us, black and white.
This is our beautiful country. It is time that we took it back.
Let’s unite, let’s begin our work, and let’s usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for our beautiful country.
Our time is now!

We will never stop defending Human Rights

Note to Editors: The following remarks were delivered by the DA Leader at a commemoration of Human Rights Day and the Sharpeville Massacre. The Leader was joined by DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, DA National Spokesperson, Refiloe Ntsekhe, Tshwane Mayor, Solly Msimanga, Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, and Midvaal Mayor, Bongani Baloyi, as well as survivors of the Sharpeville Massacre, as well as family members of the victims of the Esidimeni tragedy.
Today we think back to dark days when the people of this country were oppressed and impoverished by the dehumanizing system of colonialism, and then Apartheid.
Colonialism and Apartheid stripped South Africans of their dignity. Slavery, forced labour, displacement, violent subjugation, racial classification with its humiliating tests, making people think they were inferior because of the colour of their skin, industrialised exploitation — these things are all, and much else besides, the legacy of those systems of repression and exploitation. 
Now there are some people who believe that this was the price of development and infrastructure.
Well, if this was the price of development, then I say that this price was too high.
Development that is forced upon a country under threat of violence is not human progress. Development achieved by free exchange with the global community, harnessing the best of human ingenuity and fostering a unity of purpose – that is the development we desire.
Because, as a party that stands for individual freedom, we can never condone any aspect of oppression.
The DA will never stop defending human rights, at home or abroad. Oppression has no place in the world we live in.
We will continue to build bridges to unite South Africans, bringing them together when everyone else is seeking to divide them. Madiba dreamed of a country united around a common South African identity, where South Africa would truly belong to all who live in it, both black and white.
We are now the only party that still believes in and works for this vision. The ANC has long abandoned it, they too seek to divide us against each other. They may have abandoned it, but we never will. It is the only sure way to shared prosperity for our country.
We will continue to hold the ANC to account for shielding dictators like Al Bashir.
We will continue to condemn human rights abuses wherever they are committed, whether it is in Zimbabwe, Western Sahara, Sudan, Russia, Syria or anywhere else.
We will continue to fight for the human rights of South Africans here at home, when they are harassed and met with violence from their own government, as they were in Marikana; or when the vulnerable are neglected and left to die, as the “Esidimeni” patients were.
We will stand against the new wave of populists on the right and the left. From Marine Le Pen to Nicolas Maduro. From Donald Trump to Robert Mugabe. From Geert Wilders to Viktor Orban.
Here, at home, we will stand up against those who justify majority tyranny or express sympathy for those systems. Just as we stand up against those who are nostalgic for minority rule.
The painful legacy of colonialism and apartheid is still with us today, and still impacts the way that most South Africans live: cut off from economic opportunity, geographically dislocated and badly educated. These South Africans have been let down by a corrupt ANC government that is more concerned with helping itself and its cronies, than with fixing the inequities of apartheid.
We will continue building a social compact based on non-racialism and reconciliation.
We will continue to stand up for a strong Constitution that protects everybody’s rights.
We will continue to develop new policies that empower South Africans to rise above their circumstances of their birth and build a better future for their families.
We are focusing on expanding opportunities for every child to get the education they need to compete in the global knowledge economy of the 21st century.
We are focusing on skills development for young people, including internships, apprenticeships and vocational training.
And we are looking at ways to grow the economy so that more young people can begin meaningful careers in their chosen fields.
Above all, we are focused on the project of defeating the ANC so that every South African may one day be truly free.
The ANC has become the corrupt and ignoble parasite we were warned against. The ANC cannot be salvaged, it cannot self-correct, it must be defeated at the ballot box.
We will not be derailed by those who put their own interests before the project.
We will not be distracted by sideshows.
We will not be divided.
Together, we will build a non-racial society based on freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.
Ke a leboga. Thank you.

We must unite to safeguard our Constitution

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in Parliament today by the DA Member in the NCOP, George Michalakis MP, during the debate on Human Rights.
Honourable Chairperson,
George Bizos in his autobiography, An Odyssey to Freedom, quotes Nelson Mandela, saying in 2001:
“The Constitution speaks of both the past and the future. It permits us to build a nation based on the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom, through constitutionalism and the rule of law. It describes the mechanisms and institutions which we have created to ensure that we achieve this. There are no shortcuts on the road to freedom. The constitution describes the path which we must and shall follow.”
These are profound words. It implies that there is something sacred about the principles underlying the Constitution and that we, as the people – and more so the leaders of this nation – must and shall follow it.
The Constitution grants citizens inalienable rights, such as:
The right to equality: Yes, there is a vast legacy of apartheid that needs to be addressed and this government should have made an honest effort to address it over the past 23 years.
How many billions that were supposed to be used to address the apartheid legacy got lost through corruption?
Is this legacy not prolonged because the ANC failed to address it in the past 23 years?
The right to life: A right denied to the citizens at Marikana and elsewhere across the country, brutally killed at the hands of the State. Every time our State kills one of us, it is denying us our fundamental right to life. One can argue that every single time that our State fails to protect us, they are also sharing in the guilt.
The right of freedom of expression: Where an artist’s work is defaced because he has dared to draw a penis on a democratically elected dictator who is driving a spear through the core of our democratic life and value system.
The right to access to information: With bills brought before Parliament in the previous term that was found to be unconstitutional. Ministers who do not answer to Parliament or to the public, but think that they are above the law and the Constitution.
The right to assemble, demonstrate, picket and petition: Time and again undermined by President Zuma and his riot police. Against students protesting, against private citizens raising their concerns and even against members of Parliament.
Political rights: Undermined by the alleged involvement of the ANC in so–called “war-room” tactics, to sabotage the opposition by printing false posters and hijacking the media.
The right to property: Undermined by the President’s recent foolish announcements about expropriations, despite clear opposition from the wiser factions of his Party and others.
The right to access to adequate housing: Felt every single day by millions of South Africans who have to either live in a dwelling that is falling apart with apartheid-style planning by the ANC with a toilet OUTSIDE, or no house at all because the money simply disappeared or you do not qualify because you are not a card carrying member of the ruling party.
The right to health care: Esidimeni.
The right to access to water: With 27 towns in the Free State alone experiencing this problem constantly due to nothing other than bad administration by ANC municipalities.
The right to access to social security: Where the only grants Minister Dlamini is concerned about is the one that comes in liquid form.
The right to education: Where we get excited about a pass rate of 72.5%, but fail to mention how many students dropped out on their way to matric, or were asked to let subjects stand over for the sake of numbers. We are failing a generation of students who are in desperate need of quality education, skills and jobs. A lost generation that, if we do not look after them, will carry the legacy of the ANC in the same manner that they will have to carry the legacy of apartheid.
All of this speaks to the heart of our right to human dignity.
Then there is just administrative action: Nkandla, the decision to withdraw from the ICC, and the disrespect shown for our Chapter 9 institutions. And then, probably the root of all the problems in the first place: Schedule 2, the President’s failure to stay true to his Oath of Office: to obey, observe and uphold the Constitution, promote all that will advance the Republic, protect and promote the rights of all South Africans, discharge his duties to the best of his abilities, do justice for all and to devote himself to the wellbeing of the Republic and all its people.
Chairperson, this Constitution is the inheritance that my generation receives from your generation. It is supposed to be the guideline, the road map for us to move forward. And yet, the President has given us the middle finger and this government has violated almost every single one of our most important rights.
President Mandela said: “The Constitution is a living document. Our understanding of its requirements will and must adapt over time. But the fundamental principles are and must be unchanging. Full understanding of how and why those principles were adopted will help us to ensure that we remain true to the solemn undertakings which we have made to each other and to those who follow us.”
Chairperson, it is a road shown to us by giants. You will note that 2017 is not only the year of OR Tambo, but that on 7 November 1917 another giant was born on MY side of the House, that made such a profound contribution to establish our democracy that President Mandela invited her to stand next to him when he signed it into law 20 years ago.
On 7 November 1917, Helen Suzman was born. Chairperson, whether you are a child of Helen Suzman or a child of OR Tambo, we share a common heritage: a set of values, of what we as progressive South Africans want to achieve. To safeguard the rights and freedoms of our Citizens as enshrined in the Constitution, to address the legacy of apartheid and to build an open opportunity society for every single individual.
The late Honourable Dene Smuts said that accountability for an MP should lie in the four C’s: conscience, country, Constitution and constituency. She makes no mention of Party. Because principles are above politics and you will find that the voters out there are ahead of most members in here: for them, it is about principles, a better life and a better country. It is not about the party banner under which Tambo stood, but the principles for which he stood.
Perhaps then, it is time for the children of Suzman and of Tambo to stand up, to stand united and to say: enough is enough. This, Chairperson, is the only way in which we can safeguard their legacy, our Constitution.
I thank you.

The government has failed to guarantee the Bill of Rights

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Correctional Services, James Selfe MP, during the debate on 20 years of the Constitution.
It was great to be a Member of Parliament in 1994, and to be a member of the Constitutional Committee that was shaping our country’s constitution. It was a great privilege and honour to serve in the same committees as people like Kader Asmal, Brigitte Mabandla, Tony Leon, Musa Zondi, Richard Sizani, Colin Eglin, Mohammed Bhabha (even the excitable Salie Manie) and many others.
One felt, at that time, that we were making history; that the huge yoke of apartheid had been lifted from our shoulders; that the future was full of promise. One central idea animated our discussions: that we were never, ever going to allow the abuse of power, the systematic trampling of human rights, the torture and killings, the secrecy and lack of accountability that had characterised the apartheid state, to occur again in the democratic South Africa.
It is thus natural that the Bill of Rights should be the heart of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights encompasses not only traditional rights, such as the right to equality; dignity; life; freedom; privacy; freedom of religion, belief and opinion; but also second and third generation rights, such as to basic education; to a clean environment; and to access to adequate housing, health care, food, water and social security. Bearing in mind the abuse of the past, the Bill of Rights was careful to guarantee the right of arrested and detained persons and provided that conditions of detention be “consistent with human dignity, including… exercise and the provision… of adequate accommodation, nutrition, reading material and medical treatment”.
As we approach Human Rights Day, we must ask whether South Africans enjoy these rights. The answer must be an overwhelming no. Anyone who has been to a mud school with a pit latrine will know that some South Africans are denied the right to basic education and to dignity. Anyone who has stood in a queue at a clinic and gone home, still sick, and without having seen a doctor or sister, will know that access to health care services needs vast improvement. And anyone who has visited a prison will know that the conditions, particularly for remand detainees, do not remotely conform with what the Bill of Rights prescribes.
The brutal fact is that this government has failed to guarantee the Bill of Rights. Instead of getting decent and efficient services they deserve and which are guaranteed by the Constitution, our people get wastage, corruption and nepotism. It is particularly appropriate that this debate takes place today, when 17.1 million of the poorest and most vulnerable South Africans are having to access the Constitutional Court to guarantee their right to social security, because someone, somewhere has got a kick-back.
The reality is that this government is arrogant and uncaring. It does not care about the Rule of Law, as is so clearly illustrated by the contemptuous way the Minister of Social Development has treated the directions of the Constitutional Court. It treats criticism with scorn, and invariably resorts to the race card.
But the real fault lies with us, the Members of Parliament. MPs – and particularly honourable members from the ANC – spectacularly fail to hold the Executive to account, as was so graphically illustrated by yesterday’s debate on the SASSA crisis. In many respects, the Executive is as unaccountable, as arrogant and as secretive as the apartheid government.
On 7 May 1996, I said the following in a debate of the Constitutional Assembly:
“In this constitution, we have created oversight mechanisms and we have put in place checks and balances. However, these constitutional mechanisms are only as effective as the will to make them succeed and that depends on the collective commitment of parliamentarians to transparency and accountability, not only now when the abuses of the past are fresh in our memories, but also in the future.”
As MPs, we do not have that “collective commitment… to transparency and accountability”, which is why people have to turn to the Courts to seek their rights. The Courts don’t like the new job they have to do because we don’t do ours, but they do it very well – whether it was in respect of Nkandla, the SABC, the police in Parliament or Menzi Simelane. I trust that they will do the same about Minister Dlamini and SASSA.
On every single one of these issues, the President and Ministers have evaded accountability by refusing to answer questions or to attend committees. And the presiding officers have taken no steps to demand this accountability.
So unless and until we recommit ourselves to carrying out our responsibilities to make Human Rights real, we will be failing those who struggled and died for our Constitution.

Dodging Dlamini’s reign of impunity

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Social Development, Lindy Wilson MP, during the debate on the SASSA crisis.
From very large nyana skeletons to the artful dodger. Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, has become a master of dodging accountability.
Her absolute disdain and disregard for 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans, the Constitutional Court, Parliamentary procedures and regulations, and the PFMA, beggar belief. The lengths she has gone to, to ensure that CPS gets a new contract to issue grants again, cannot be made up.
In July 2016, when it was fast becoming apparent that SASSA were facing challenges with regards to the take-over of grants in April 2017, the DA began submitting written questions to the Minister. 15 in total. The Minister responded to two. This year we submitted 13 questions and not one of them has been answered.

  • The DA asked the Minister whether she submitted the proposed payment model for the takeover of the payments of grants by SASSA to the National Treasury for analysis and evaluation – NO REPLY.
  • In July 2016 and again in January 2017 the DA asked the Minister whether SASSA intends to extend its contract for the distribution of grants with Net1/CPS before the specified contract concludes on 31 March 2017 – NO REPLY.
  • The DA asked the Minister for the details of the various work stream categories set up by her department to action the transition of the distribution of social grants from Net1/CPS to SASSA – NO REPLY.
  • The DA questioned the tender processes used for the contracts for the leaders and work streams – NO REPLY.

This a clear indication of the Minister’s reign of impunity and her continual dodging of any opportunity to account for her department’s failure to ensure that 17 million South Africans receive their grants when the current invalid CPS contract ends on 31 March 2017.
Parliamentary questions are a vital component of accountability in Parliament and provide an opportunity to ensure that the Executive conduct themselves in a transparent manner.
When the DA requested the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee to please summons the Minister to give account to the Portfolio, we were advised that the Chair may not summons the Minister, she gets invited. If she decides to come, it is up to her.
When the Minister did grace the Portfolio with her presence, it was to continue her lack of transparency. She was deliberately vague in her responses, and, when the DA pushed for concrete answers, they were shut down by the Chair of the Committee.
So the DA requested SCOPA to ask the Minister to appear. Only then did her skeletons start to fall out of the closet… and it became apparent that her manipulation of this emergency situation in favour of CPS and the lack of any contracts with them had put the lives of 17 million South Africans at risk.
The DA is of the belief that Ms Dlamini is no longer fit to hold office and have called for President Zuma to fire her. His silence on this matter is deafening and serves to confirm that the ANC rewards failure.
We will continue to pursue all avenues to make sure the Minister will not be allowed to dodge accountability any longer.

Who is Dlamini fighting for?

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA Member of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Karen Jooste MP, during the debate on the SASSA crisis.
Honourable Chairperson, Honourable Members, Fellow South Africans
Die hele SASSA debakel wys duidelik dat die behoeftes van mense wat sosiale toelaes ontvang, die Opper Gesag van die Reg en verantwoordbaarheid geensins vir hierdie Minister belangrik is nie.
She avoids answering questions, she interferes in the administration of her department and has gone out of her way to make sure that grants will again be distributed by CPS.
We know that the Minister ignored all three legal options on the impending crisis which begs the question: who is the Minister fighting for?
Certainly not the 17 million South Africans who rely on social grants just to get by each day.
Verlede jaar op die 7de Junie het ek die Minister gevra of die finansiële waarde van sosiale toelaes genoeg is om die mans, vrouens en kinders wat daarvan afhanlik is te onderhou.
Sy het toe die vermetelheid gehad om te antwoord dat “R753 genoeg is om kos en ander noodsaaklikhede te koop”.
Hierdie antwoord was n klap in die gesig van mense wat sosiale toelaes ontvang. Dit wys duidelik hoe uit voeling die minister is met die harde werklikhede wat baie Suid-Afrikaners daagliks ervaar.
Op grond van hierdie antwoord alleen moes sy afgedank gewees het. In plaas daarvan is sy gelos om net nog skade aan terig.
Honourable Speaker, the crisis is not only about whether these grants will be paid, it is about the quality of these grants.
It costs approximately R640 to feed a small child a basic nutritious meal and R680 to feed a teenager… yet the child grant is only R380!
When unemployment is as high as it is now, these child grants are the only income. It is shared across a household and are used for buying basic foodstuffs.
Our country’s future needs an educated population and a skilled workforce. For the sake of these children, and our country’s economic future, the grants must not only be paid on the first of April but their value has to be increased so mothers can at least feed their children properly.
Die DA is die enigste party wat werklik die behoeftes van mense wat sosiale toelaes ontvang verstaan, wat aandring op verantwoordbaarheid en wat baklei vir beter toelaes.
As die President nie die Minister wil afdank nie, behoort sy die eerbare ding te doen en self te bedank.

Dodging Dlamini’s ominous agenda

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, during the debate on the SASSA crisis.
Last week, I submitted a PAIA application for the contract between the Department of Social Development and Net1/Cash Paymaster Services for the distribution of 17 million social grants to the poorest of the poor in our country.
The response was that there IS NO contract between CPS and the South African Social Security Agency.
With two and a half weeks to go until the current invalid contract with CPS expires – and no alternate plan on the to ensure grants will be paid – this is an unbelievable example of recklessness and the hopeless inability of Social Development Minister Dlamini who has put the livelihoods of millions of our people at risk.
It is now blatantly clear that she has done all in her power to avoid having to produce any contract for the Constitutional Court’s scrutiny and possible adverse comment, something that Net1/CPS has openly admitted they wish to avoid. It is also clear as day that this minister is desperate to ensure that CPS keeps this lucrative contract at all costs.
The DA warned of this impending crisis in June and October last year. Yet the Minister did nothing. That is why the DA have repeatedly called for her to be fired and do so again today.
The CEO of SASSA, Thokozani Magwaza, told the media that Minister Dlamini blocked all his efforts to report back to the Constitutional Court – which she was obliged to do – about the payment of social grants and that she personally interfered when he tried to find a solution to the crisis.
When the agency was about to petition the court for guidance early last month, she issued eleventh-hour instructions to block the process. She has desperately and determinedly ensured that there is no communication with the highest court in the land on an issue which affects millions and millions of our poorest of the poor.
The same CEO was booked into hospital due to stress and has been off sick for two weeks, AND, according to reports, his acting CEO, Thamo Mzobe, was also hospitalised with the same condition. And, last week, Social Development Director General, Zayn Dangor, resigned.
What we have here is a case of honest officials – and there are many of them – coming head to head with the truly ominous agenda of the minister, and indeed the president, to keep this corrupt contract at all costs.
To be playing games like this, with 17 million South Africans, at this critical stage is scandalous and should see her removed immediately.
The whole country is seized with this crisis. The DA will not rest until we get to the bottom of this sorry saga. We will not rest until we have answers and accountability.

The dream of a country free from fear

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP, during the debate on farm murders.
Section 205(3) of our constitution states that “the objects of the police service are to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, and to uphold and enforce the law”. On all of these points, the SAPS is struggling and failing when it comes to crime in rural communities and the safety of farm-dwellers.
This is not because we don’t know what to do to improve safety and security in these communities; rather it is because the police service lacks the right leadership, both political and managerial, to address the problem. The SAPS is the key state institution for ensuring that all people live in safety, free from crime and violence, but is failing in fulfilling that duty due to poor leadership and skewed priorities that undermine the fight against crime on the ground.
The 2016 White Paper on Policing outlines that the police service must be rooted in a community-centred approach, a key demonstration of which is to be responsive to the vulnerabilities and policing needs of local communities. To quote the White Paper: “At local level the SAPS must be equipped to respond to the risks, vulnerabilities and policing needs of the disparate communities it serves.”
This echoes the DA’s longstanding call for the localisation of policing through greater autonomy for police stations. Because crime threats vary drastically from community to community, the SAPS approach of a centralised crime-fighting strategy often undermines the ability of police stations to respond to the very specific needs of their communities.
In this regard, there are multiple instances of SAPS failure to be responsive, both structurally and operationally, to the local policing needs of rural communities. During a visit last month to the town of Belfast in Mpumalanga with my colleague, Honourable Steyn, following another farm attack, we heard from the local councillor about numerous examples of how the SAPS is hopelessly handicapped to do its job:
• In a context where one ward can sometimes be as large as encompassing three towns, one police station has to cover a geographically massive policing precinct, involving long travelling distances, and usually covering multiple settlements.
• Outside of roads between and within towns, most vehicular travel has to be on gravel roads and sometimes on no roads at all. This terrain requires tougher, more agile police vehicles that can take hard knocks and won’t be rendered useless after it rains because they get stuck in mud too easily.
• The under-staffing and inadequate number of police vehicles means that when a suspect in custody has to be transported to another town for a court appearance, normal sector policing operations are deprived of cars and officers for visible patrolling and rapid response.
The SAPS is also missing a huge opportunity in the fight against farm attacks and other rural crimes when it comes to police reservists. The White Paper on Policing is clear that “the effective use of reservists contributes to strengthening policing at station level and the implementation of crime prevention initiatives.”
Currently, the reservist corps has shrunk, is poorly managed and almost impossible to get into due to inexplicably stringent eligibility criteria in the revised regulations. A larger SAPS Reservist Corps would act as a force multiplier to get more boots on the ground for visible patrolling and rapid response, plugging the gaps and helping to spread the workload.
There is no need for the situation to be this bad. This is what the DA would do to improve the safety and security of rural communities and reduce farm attacks:
Give greater budgetary freedom: Often station commanders are prevented from adapting resource allocation according to their specific needs because of centralised bureaucratic processes. The DA would give more discretionary management authority for these decisions to be localised so that stations could deal with problems more effectively – for example, given that policing precincts usually cover a large area, a station commander would be free to ensure the operation of a larger number and spread of satellite police stations.
Allow for local sourcing of equipment: Under a DA government, police stations would be allowed to procure equipment and services directly from approved suppliers based on station needs. This means that they would be sure, for example, to get the right kind of vehicles for their context, instead of being subject to decisions from higher up in the hierarchy that are ill-suited for their needs.
It also means that vehicles would not languish at a centralised SAPS Garage for weeks or months on end for repairs and maintenance while vulnerable communities are poorly protected by an under-resourced and under-equipped police service. They could get them attended to at a local mechanic within a shorter turnaround time.
Boost operational personnel numbers with a strong reservist corps: The DA would ensure rigorous vetting and training, coupled with strong accountability, to ensure that volunteer reservists’ behaviour and conduct is in line with the ethos and expectations of permanent SAPS members.
The DA stands ready to lead a national government that will fix the police service and ensure safety and security for all, particularly rural and farming communities. In order for us, as a nation, to harness the full potential of our people, we need safe homes and safe streets. As the ANC is increasingly paralysed by corruption, cronyism and poor leadership, the DA is becoming the hope of more and more citizens to realise the dream of a country free from fear.

Why does the government turn a blind eye to farm murders?

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Anette Steyn MP, during the debate on farm murders.
We are today participating in a debate to discuss murder. Murder is the unlawful and intentional killing of another human being! South Africa has a shocking murder rate. During 2015/16, 18 673 murders were recorded, it is an average of 51.2 murders per day. We have become so accustomed to this that we don’t even blink an eye anymore when someone is murdered.
Voorsitter, plaasmoorde le my na aan die hart. Ek is ‘n gebore plaasmeisie en weet hoe dit voel om by die plaashek in te ry en te wonder of daar dalk onwelkome gaste op my wag. Ek weet hoe dit voel om in die nag wakker te word as ek vreemde geluide hoor en om dan stil in die donker op te staan en versigtig deur die huis te beweeg om seker te maak dat alles buite nog reg is. Ek vrees elke dag dat iemand na aan my en waarvoor ek lief is op ‘n plaas vermoor kan word.
Wat ek nie weet nie, is hoe dit voel om te hoor dat een van jou geliefdes of werkers in ‘n plaasmoord gesterf het. Terwyl moord in ons land buite beheer is, kan niemand hier vandag se dat hul nie bewus is van die gruwelmoorde wat op Suid Afrikaanse plase plaasvind nie.
Chairperson, we may disagree with the reasons for these murders, some may say it is because farmers mistreat their workers or because “they stole our land” but we have to agree that the torture of any person by another is inhumane and barbaric. This year alone we have seen more than 70 attacks resulting in at least 20 murders.
Let me tell you about three of these attacks:
• On 13 January this year, 69 year old Mrs Kidson was killed while recovering from a hip operation and sitting in a wheelchair. Mrs Kidson was repeatedly stabbed with a sharp object and then her throat was slit. Her husband was also found with his throat slit.
• Op 22 Februarie het Sue Howarth na twee dae in die intensiewesorg eenheid die stryd gewonne gegee. Sue het ‘n gruweldood gesterf, haar liggaam was vol meswonde, haar borste was gebrand en haar oe was toegeswel. Net om seker te maak dat sy wel doodgaan het die aanvallers ‘n swartsak in haar keel gedruk en haar toe ook nog in die kop geskiet.
• This past weekend the 62 year old Nicci Simpson was tied to a chair and tortured with an electrical drill, drilling holes in her feet, legs and knees. Her ribs were broken and she was stabbed multiple times. Luckily she survived this horrific attack.
How is it possible that even one person could get burned with hot water, an iron, dripping plastic, a blow torch, slaughtered like an animal and no-one says a word?
Why are we quiet when it comes to crimes affecting farming and rural communities, could I assume that we are quiet because these victims are farmers?
Hierdie aanvalle is nie slegs teen boere nie, plaaswerkers word ook hierdeur geraak. Inligting versamel deur Vrystaat Landbou wys dat daar reeds 12 aanvalle hierdie jaar in die Vrystaat plaasgevind het, in 7 gevalle was dit teen plaaswerkers gerig. Op Saterdag 11 Maart is twee werkers naby Kroonstad deur 10 rowers aangeval en aangerand.
Crime and violence is affecting and is dehumanising all people in farming and rural communities, irrespective of their race.
Why then does the government turn a blind eye to this? Why does the government refuse to take decisive action to protect its farming and rural communities?
Instead, what we have seen is political leaders using rhetoric that only serves to incite hate and more violence. The president sings “bring back my machine gun” while people are murdered by gangs using machine guns. Others tell their followers to invade land illegally, while singing “one settler, one bullet”.
We cannot allow this to spiral into racial hatred and for us to divide our people along racial lines. We have to stand up and condemn all murders. It cannot be allowed that a person is tortured over two days and no one says a word. It cannot be allowed for a person to shoot someone and then say, “I thought it was a monkey”.
We must take collective responsibility for our divided country by ensuring that all our citizens feel safe and secure.
Ek het die afgelope maand na Mpumalanga, KZN, Gauteng en die Vrystaat gereis om met boere oor landelike veiligheid te praat. Die Demokratiese Alliansie stel die volgende voor:
• Farm attacks must be classified as priority crime in order for more resources to be allocated to Rural Safety Units, currently SAPS is under-resourced and the rural safety Strategy is not properly implemented.
• It is important for attacks to be classified as a separate category of crime for statistical purposes going forward. This classification must include farmers, farmworkers and farm dwellers. It must be linked to specific research into safety and security in order to establish whether murder and attacks on farms are more violent in nature and what the reasons is for this.
• Crime intelligence must be involved in order to see if a link exists between farm attacks where criminals are looking for weapons and other syndicate related crimes in South Africa. Farm attacks are well planned and executed and cannot be purely seen as normal crime anymore.
• The reservist programme in rural areas must be properly implemented with a concerted effort to recruit and train farmers, farm workers and farm dwellers. The current requirements to become reservists is seen as a stumbling block.
• Trauma support must be offered to victims and their families in order to deal with this horrific reality.
Chairperson, this is a fundamental human rights issue and people living on farms must be treated equally in this regard. The ANC should not show less care to a particular group of people based on race.
Condemnation of attacks should come from government and stereotyping of farmers must stop.
The Democratic Alliance would like to offer its condolences to all people who have lost their lives in our violent South Africa.

ANC’s uncaring mismanagement created dry tinder for xenophobic flare-ups

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP, during the debate on Xenophobia.
The English philosopher John Locke, who laid much of the foundation of modern liberal thought wrote that the primary duty of any government was to ensure the security of the nation and the protection of the rights of its citizens. This is how it would care for the people.
In return for the fulfilment of this duty of the government, the people would reciprocate in this social contract by being law-abiding, which would promote a society of harmonious co-existence.
On many fronts of governance and state delivery, the ANC government has failed in fulfilling its duty, showing that it does not care about the people. Whether in the case of the deprivation of the right to life for the victims of the Esidimeni scandal and the Marikana massacre or putting the comfort of the political elite before caring for the needs of the people through indulgent state spending on cushy cars, luxury hotel accommodation and excessive VIP Protection, the ANC has broken the social contract that underpins the relationship between citizens and the government.
This brokenness is starkly evident, and has been for many years, in the area of border security and policing. It is part of a chronic and endemic pattern of ANC misgovernance: from a broken President and Parliament to a broken SABC and society – the ANC breaks almost everything it touches.
As a result of its misgovernance and mismanagement, the ANC has been creating and piling up the dry tinder that we have seen become kindled into bonfires of unrest and xenophobic violence over the years.
The seeds of these xenophobic flare-ups were sown in the inability of the ANC to create jobs for almost 9 million South Africans and also in the mismanagement and ultimate weakening of border security, creating porous and poorly controlled borders that make illegal in-migration virtually impossible to police and curtail.
The cause and manifestation of this border security mismanagement are well-known: under-resourcing, under-staffing, under-equipping, under-training, incompetent leadership and a failure to enforce accountability.
While the stream of illegal immigration over the years has, on one hand, created the context for violent xenophobic outbreaks, the chronic neglect of the police service has, on the other hand, undermined and hollowed out the state’s capacity to forecast and respond adequately to public unrest when it does break out.
In 2008, 2015 and now 2017, the Criminal Intelligence division of the SAPS seemingly never saw the xenophobic violence coming, even though there always seems to be an organised element to these episodes.
When the violence does erupt, the SAPS response is slow and ineffectual and policing capacity is initially too thin on the ground to contain the violence, enabling it to escalate and spread. The reasons for this shoddy state of readiness are the same familiar ones: under-resourcing, under-staffing, under-equipping, under-training and poor leadership.
The DA will fix our broken border security and police service when we come to lead national government because we care.
We will ensure adequate resourcing, staffing, training and equipping. We will boost the frequency and coverage of border patrolling.
We will fix our broken Crime Intelligence so that it can foresee disturbances before they erupt and we will restore Public Order Policing to adequate strength so that it contain unrest before it escalates and spreads.
We will build a caring government that reconnects with the people through a social contract that all citizens can trust and put their confidence in.
After 23 years of failing delivery and corrupt governance, the ANC has broken the trust that it once enjoyed with the people. The people will soon place that trust in another government that deserves it and truly cares for them.