Tshwane: how the ANC behaves when they lose elections

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes today’s press conference held by Premier David Makhura. The ANC has taken illegal actions which will be challenged.

The simple truth is that when the ANC fails to win an election, it resorts to undemocratic and non-procedural means to get back power; what has happened in Tshwane demonstrates this.

There has been a decline in ANC support over several elections and this trend has continued.

Therefore, after the 2021 Local Government Elections, there will be scores of municipalities around the country that will find themselves in a minority situation as has been the case in Tshwane.

We cannot allow the ANC to use untruths, half-truths and outright subversion to undo democratic decisions. Because if we fail now, the consequences for municipalities around the country after the 2021 Local Government Elections will be dire.

In his media conference today, the Premier misled the public.

We will hold a press conference to unpack every untruth and half-truth.

MEC Maile has ignored the reply by Council to his letter in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution; here are four short examples:

  • There was no engagement between the Provincial Government and the City of Tshwane, except for the notification where the Provincial Government expressed the intent to place the City under administration.
  • Service delivery concerns:

– Water in regions 5 and 7 was capped by Rand Water because the Vaal Dam was running blow acceptable capacity levels;

– A contract has been signed with ERWAT to address the water issues in Hammanskraal;

– The water treatment plan in Region 7 is back to its normal operations since Saturday, 14th December 2019;

– The letter further indicated that Senior Managers in the Service Delivery Cluster for both Roads and Transport and Human Settlements were suspended and this had an impact on service delivery. The truth is that these managers have been reinstated and are back at work; and

– The deterioration of the Wonderboom airport has been resolved.

  • The letter stated that the pollution of the Hartbeespoort Dam catchment area is attributed to sewer spillages from the urban and industrial zones of the Gauteng Province and does not indicate what Executive obligation the City of Tshwane is unable or unwilling to fulfil. To date, no further explanation has been issued by the Provincial Government as to what intervention is expected.
  • The City has embarked on standard and annual processes as determined by National Treasury and Section 19 of the 2019 Division of Revenue Act and Section 38 of the MFMA to comply with the regulations with regards to underspending by the City of Tshwane and the extension of grants. This is a standard procedure across all municipalities.

It is clear that the City of Tshwane had the full intention to work with the Provincial Government but was declined the opportunity for political gain. We will continue to air these truths as we get legal advice on our course of action.

The incapable talking-head of an incapable stat

Honourable Speaker,
Over the past few weeks, I have been encouraged to see the President promoting the DA’s
long-held view on building a capable state. 
As someone who deliberately chose to build his multimillion Rand mansion in the DA-run City of Cape Town, he was obviously mightily impressed by the quality of service delivery in
this city.
So, inspired by our success, the President started talking about the DA’s capable state. 
However, he quickly realised that he could never actually build a capable state like we have, because that would mean choosing the country over the corruption of his own party.
Per slot van rekening beteken die bou van ‘n bekwame staat juis dat korrupsie en kader ontplooiing uitgeroei moet word, en dat individuele landsburgers bemagtig moet word in plaas van ‘n allesoorheersende staat. 
Om te verwag dat die ANC dít sal doen, is soos om ‘n jakkals aan te stel om ‘n ogie te hou oor die hoenderhok.
Dit is die rede waarom ons sit met ‘n President wat blykbaar glo dat deur bloot die woorde “bekwame staat” te sê, sy woorde outomaties waar word.
This year’s State of the Nation Address was a grotesque example of just how out-of-touch this President truly is. 
On the day of SONA, Eskom desperately scrambled to keep the lights on at all costs to enable the annual presidential delusion about a capable state, smart cities and bullet trains.  
But as soon as the president was comfortably back at his generator-powered mansion, the rest of the country was immediately plunged right back into darkness. 
If the honourable President stepped outside his bubble for a moment, he would see an urgent message from the real-world: the incapable ANC state is collapsing all around us.
So, beyond hollow rhetoric, what is the President actually doing about our collapsing state?

Honourable Speaker, let’s see what kind of example he is setting.
• Mr President, why haven’t you fired your health minister, who appointed his niece
as chief of staff despite a cloud of corruption hanging over her? 
En tog verwag U dat Suid-Afrikaners hierdie minister moet vertrou met hul lewens,
sowel as met honderde miljarde Rande, as deel van U waansinnige plan om
gesondheidsorg te nasionaliseer.
• Mr President, what have you done about your water and sanitation minister, who
appointed the disgraced Menzi Simelane and Mo Schaik as special advisers? 
Their only experience with sanitation came when they flushed hundreds of millions of taxpayer Rands down the toilet.
• Mr President, when are you firing your communications minister for abusing
taxpayer funds to pay for her wedding anniversary celebrations in New York and
• Mr President, what is a Hazenile addict still doing in the ministry of energy when he refuses to free citizens from the tyranny Eskom?
When the citizens of this country look around them, they see every single day that the honourable President is nothing more than the incapable talking-head of an incapable state.
As die President werklik ‘n duit omgegee het oor die bou van ‘n bekwame staat soos in sy nuwe DA-beheerde tuisdorp, sou hy onmiddellik tot aksie oorgaan om ons staatsdiens te red van finale ineenstorting. 
Instead of insulting South Africans by calling them “negative,” he would do his job and give them reasons to be positive.
To prevent fiscal implosion, his government would grow a backbone and cut the wage bill.
To save basic services like education, health and social protection, the state would hang “for sale” signs on state-owned looting enterprises.
And if there was any real interest in building a truly capable state, the government would support the DA’s Professional Public Service Bill to root out cadre deployment and ensure that public servants are appointed on the basis of skill and merit. 
But the President and his incapable state does none of this, because it would require them to choose country over party. 
There’s at least one bit of good news though, honourable President. The DA remains
absolutely committed to bring the same capable state that convinced you to move to Cape Town, to the whole of South Africa. 
Until that day comes and with apologies to Shakespeare: 
“The capable state struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by a hollow man, full of sound and fury, 
Signifying nothing.”

President Ramaphosa, come back to SA and fix the electricity crisis

Support our plan to save Eskom before it takes the entire country down with it: https://keepthelightson.co.za

The following remarks were made today by DA Leader, John Steenhuisen MP, outside Eskom’s Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Steenhuisen was joined by DA Gauteng Caucus Leader, Solly Msimanga MPL, DA Gauteng Chairperson, Mike Moriarty MPL, and Public Enterprises Spokesperson, Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

Fellow South Africans,

Yesterday evening Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC government once again made history, albeit for the wrong reasons, as Eskom announced it would implement Stage 6 rolling blackouts for the first time. This unprecedented move signalled that we are now firmly in a race against time to transform the energy landscape in South Africa and ensure future generations are energy secure.

While President Ramaphosa is currently in Egypt surrounded by ancient ruins from a bygone era, today we too stand in front of a ruin from a bygone era – South Africa’s power producer that faces imminent collapse. The viability of Eskom in its current form is non-existent. This is not a crisis of new making; it has been fast approaching for a decade and more. Yet we face the ever-repeating cycle of drastic energy challenges with little political will to make the decisions required to ensure cheaper and more secure energy is available to the people of South Africa.

It is telling that at the height of what is not just an electricity crisis, but an economic risk and safety threat, the President decided to jet out of the country on an international sojourn to Egypt. Ramaphosa is greatly mistaken if he thinks he can run a country and manage this crisis via a cell phone. This requires bold and decisive leadership, not platitudes. The devastating effect of these blackouts on industry, retail, growth and jobs constitutes a clear and present danger to our economic wellbeing.

Therefore, we reiterate our call for the President to cancel his engagements in Egypt and return home to provide leadership on this self-created crisis. Ramaphosa should address Parliament, taking the nation into his confidence as to what is really transpiring at Eskom. It is unprecedented in a month like a December with such low demand we have rolling blackouts at all – raising suspicion as to what the President is not telling the nation. It’s time to come clean on exactly what the structural problems at Eskom are and how his government plans to address them. The President could signal his seriousness by sacking Gwede Mantashe, who is absent and woefully out of his depth in dealing with this national crisis.

I have today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, requesting that Parliament is reconvened immediately in order for the President to address the legislature, and to consider its options going forward. It is not right that while the lights are off in the country, the people’s representatives are not convening to light the way forward.

In a press statement last night responding to this unfolding crisis, President Ramaphosa said “[T]he energy challenges in this country will not be resolved overnight”. The tragedy is that much can be done immediately to turn the situation around. The most efficient immediate step is using Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act (4 of 2006) which allows the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy to issue a determination that allows qualifying municipalities to bypass Eskom and procure electricity directly from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Contrary to the President’s views, this can be done overnight and would go a long way to resolving energy shortages and pressure on the grid. Introducing IPPs into the mix is now a necessity. in fact, right now Minister Mantashe is sitting with at least seventeen section 34 applications for private generation and purchase of electricity on his desk waiting to be signed – from municipalities, mines and corporations. The President must intervene and ensure these are acceded to within the next 48 hours.

In terms of the role of DA-led governments, I will be instructing every DA mayor in the country to, where appropriate and possible, write to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, requesting such a determination to be granted with immediate effect. The DA-led City of Cape Town has had to take Minister Mantashe to court to compel him to grant such a determination and we are exploring options to move this case to the urgent roll, given the gravity of the latest developments.

In addition, I will be issuing a directive to all DA-led municipalities to develop and implement disaster management plans as rolling blackouts should little sign of ceasing. Essential services such as bulk water supply, sanitation services and clinics must be adequately managed, and all risks mitigated against. In the absence of any concrete plan from national government, we call on all provinces to also develop and implement disaster management plans in this regard.

In the medium term, we must split Eskom into two separate entities – one for generation and the other supply. This would ensure a greater supply of energy to the grid from IPPs and bring down the cost of electricity for ordinary South Africans by introducing competition into the energy market. The DA’s “Cheaper Electricity Bill” seeks to do just that and is currently before Parliament, it sets out a clear, workable alternative to the current dithering by national government and should be fast-tracked.

Where the DA is in government in the Western Cape, we have introduced the Energy Security Game Changer which continues to diversify and conserve energy supply, and we have legalised the household production of solar energy for over 22 municipalities. Despite the work DA governments are doing in the highly regulated energy environment, the change in our energy sector has to come from national government.

In a time of crisis, leadership must stand up and charter the way forward. This is a golden opportunity for President Ramaphosa to redeem himself following years of failure in turning around our failed State-Owned Enterprises. As Chair of the Interministerial Committee on SOEs from 2014, it was his task to avoid the crisis we find ourselves in today. He failed then; he owes it to South Africa to not fail now.

Millionaire Managers have collapsed performance management in the public service

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can today reveal that 77% of the most highly paid millionaire managers in the public service failed to submit their 2018/19 midterm performance reviews on time by the deadline of 31 September 2019. Moreover, nearly half of all millionaire Directors-General (DGs) and Heads of Department (HODs) have, to date, completely ignored the rules by failing altogether to submit performance reviews.

Each of these DGs who brazenly ignored the law and rules of performance management are paid about R2 million per year. We are tired of the way in which they continually insult South Africans by flagrantly ignoring the rules. Today, the DA publishes the names of all the millionaire managers at DG and HOD level who couldn’t be bothered to comply. See the full list here.

By not submitting their midterm performance reviews, these millionaire cadres have made it impossible for the government to even try and monitor their performance. As usual, the only exception to this collapse is the DA-run Western Cape Government, where every single HOD completed their review on time. This is because, unlike the ANC, the DA runs an accountable government and appoints public servants on merit.

In contrast, not one ANC-led government complied. In the national government, 15 millionaire managers simply ignored the rules, followed closely by the collapsed ANC-led provincial governments of Gauteng (11), North West (11), the Eastern Cape (7), Mpumalanga (7), Northern Cape (5), Limpopo (2), KwaZulu-Natal (1), and the Free State (1).

In a demonstration of how just fundamentally performance management is ignored by the ANC, in Gauteng (David Makhura), the Free State (Sisi Ntombela), and North West (Job Mokgoro), even the offices of the Premier failed to conduct performance reviews.

It is not an accident that the majority of millionaire cadres deployed by the ANC routinely fail to comply with performance management requirements. The truth is that they do everything in their power to avoid any form of accountability for the fact that they earn multimillion Rand salaries while delivering nothing but rapidly accelerating state collapse.

It is high time that the government held millionaire managers accountable by cutting the bloated wage bill that is threatening the fiscal survival of South Africa. It can do so by implementing the DA’s proposal to freeze the wages of all managers and administrators for three years and reducing the number of millionaire managers in the public service by a third. This will save taxpayers R168 billion, which will prevent fiscal collapse and stave off junk status. At the same time, ANC-led governments need to ditch cadre deployment and follow the DA example of building a fit-for-purpose public service.

Joburg Mayor: EFF’s choice is between the DA-led multiparty coalition of change or a corrupt cabal

At a meeting of the Johannesburg City Council on Thursday, 28 November 2019, outgoing Executive Mayor, Cllr Herman Mashaba, will resign, making the election of a new Mayor the first order of business of the Council.

As the Democratic Alliance (DA) we will be fielding a capable and experienced candidate, Cllr Funzela ‘Funzi’ Ngobeni. Ngobeni currently serves as the MMC for Finance and the Leader of Executive Business. The EFF have stated that they will put forward a candidate, and we assume that the ANC will present a candidate.

This scenario where there are three candidates, and the political dynamics of the Joburg Council, will most likely result in a run-off election. In terms of Schedule 3 of the Municipal Structures Act, which regulates the election of Mayors, if there are more than two candidates for the position, the Council will have successive rounds of voting. After each round, the candidate with the least number of votes will drop out, and voting will then take place for the remaining candidates.

Having consulted with our Coalition Parties, namely the IFP, ACDP, COPE, and FF+, we are confident that when the various caucuses toe their party lines, the EFF candidate will fall out, leaving the DA and ANC candidates.

This, therefore, leaves the EFF with an important decision, whether they support the DA multiparty coalition’s candidate or support the ANC, whose only intention is to reverse the progress made since 2016 and loot the people of Johannesburg’s money. Further, even if the EFF abstains the ANC will regain control of the City. No doubt there will be a return to the wholesale looting of the past.

The coming week’s vote is critical for the future of Johannesburg. In Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB), communities are experiencing first-hand the damage that can be done when the EFF make the choice to sit on their hands and give the keys to the city back to the ANC. 

The excellent recovery work done by Mayor Athol Trollip was swiftly undone by the coalition of corruption, consisting of the ANC, UDM, and UF (sometimes assisted by the PF). The contrast between the DA-led government and that of the coalition of corruption has been stark. In frank terms, Nelson Mandela Bay is being plundered, it has run out of water in some areas, and some of the key office-bearers in the municipality are being investigated by the Hawks. All the while, it is the people of the City who suffer, and particularly the poor.

Like the previous DA-led NMB administration, the DA’s Mayor Mashaba has brought significant change to Johannesburg, reversing two-decades of ANC non-responsiveness and theft of the people’s money.

Some of the change brought by the DA-led multiparty coalition include:

  • The cutting of frivolous expenditure through concerted austerity measures increased the percentage of the capital budget spent on engineering infrastructure and housing from 58% in 2016 to 71% in 2019;
  • Over 900km of roads have been resurfaced, out of the 4000km of roads that lay in poor and very poor conditions;
  • A major turnaround has been made in resolving the long-standing billing crisis. The number of queries every month has come down, the backlogs have been reduced and the average time to resolve queries has been halved;
  • Investment in the City has grown by 400% from R4,5 billion in 2015/16 to R17,3 billion in 2018/19;
  • Healthcare and access to it has improved with 26 clinics across the City having their operating hours extended;
  • The forensic and anti-corruption unit established by the current administration has reawakened the fight against corruption, with over 6000 cases under investigation, totaling more than R35 billion in expenditure. This unit has managed hundreds of arrests and dismissals of corrupt City officials;
  • In a commitment to build a safe city, 1,500 new JMPD are set to be deployed following their training. This represents a 50% in the size of the JMPD force;
  • Over 7,400 households in informal settlements were electrified during 2016/17 and 2017/18 with a target of 6,500 for the 2018/19 financial year.
  • The Inner City revitalization project stands poised to transform the skyline of Johannesburg, with 139 properties awarded for development and construction has already begun.

This is but snapshot of the change we have brought to Johannesburg, and it would be sad day for the people of the City if the ANC were to be elected back to the Mayor’s Office.

We will continue engaging our coalition partners and the EFF to ensure that the people of Johannesburg come first.

Our work is not done, and there is still more to be done to build a safe, corruption-free, and investment-rich City for the people.

ANC moves to capture the Public Service Commission

Hot on the heels of the ANC’s immoral deployment of the incompetent convicted liar, Bathabile Dlamini, to the Social Housing Authority, Cyril Ramaphosa’s party yesterday moved to capture the Public Service Commission (PSC). Despite vociferous opposition from the Democratic Alliance (DA), the ANC used its majority in the parliamentary subcommittee to force through the proposed appointment of ANC cadre Zanele Hlatshwayo as a PSC commissioner.

In her time as ANC mayor of Msundizi in KwaZulu-Natal, Hlatshwayo systematically destroyed the municipality. By 2010, even the ANC had had enough. They removed Hlatshwayo from her mayoralty and placed the collapsed municipality under administration. But because the party lives in an accountability-free universe, the ANC immediately and immorally deployed this incompetent cadre to the KwaZulu-Natal health department, where the government continued to pay her millions in taxpayer monies for the past eight years.

Now, the ANC is determined to use cadre Hlatshwayo to capture the PSC, where she will be paid more than R1.5 million per year. The Constitution stipulates that the PSC “is independent and must be impartial, and must exercise its powers and perform its functions without fear, favour or prejudice.” The Constitution further instructs that each PSC commissioner must be “a fit and proper person with knowledge of, or experience in, administration, management or the provision of public services.”

Hlatshwayo fails dismally on both counts. In addition to being a proven failure as a former ANC mayor, the CV she submitted to the parliamentary committee indicates that Hlatshwayo is currently a senior member of the ANC-aligned SANCO. This is in direct contravention of the PSC Act, which directs that “A commissioner shall not hold office in any political party or political organisation.” Even more shockingly, during her interview, Hlatshwayo insisted that she “will never stop being political.”

As a proven incompetent and partisan political deployee, Hlatshwayo belongs nowhere near South Africa’s most important independent public service watchdog. The ANC’s insistence on her appointment indicates the party’s determination to capture and undermine an organization tasked with fighting corruption and mismanagement by its cadres.

Instead of cadre Hlatshwayo, the DA recommends the appointment of Kevin Malunga, the current Deputy Public Protector of the Republic. Unlike cadre Hlatshwayo, Malunga has a proven track record as a highly qualified, dedicated and professional public servant. Malunga is an eminently fit and proper person for the position of PSC commissioner.

This scandal is yet more evidence that hidden under the ruse of Ramaphosa’s empty talk, the ANC is as determined as ever to capture the state and enable cadres to loot. But the DA will not sit back and allow them to capture and corrupt another key lever in our fight against state collapse. Well aware of the ANC’s intention to capture the PSC, the DA recorded the proceedings of the subcommittee.

If the ANC does not withdraw the recommendation to appoint Hlatshwayo, the DA will not hesitate to approach the courts to set aside this patently irrational appointment, and to request personal cost orders against the ANC members of the committee who knowingly recommended an unfit and improper cadre.

Unions are betraying their members

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

Honourable Speaker,

The government’s proposition is quite simple.

They have run all of the state-owned entities into the ground.

Those companies now need enormous bailouts just to stay afloat.

But there is no more money for bailouts, because debt is unsustainably high, taxes are maxed out, and we’re running record deficits.

Borrowing is expensive, with 10-year bonds costing around 10%, which only makes the problem worse as interest payments climb.

So, what to do?

The government could do the hard work of fixing the state-owned entities.

But that requires real leadership and real, tough decisions.

It requires a confrontation with unions, and an honest admission that the central dogma of state control has failed.

Those things are just too difficult for the ANC to do.

So instead, the government has reached back in time and plucked a policy straight from the National Party apartheid government of the 1980s.

When that apartheid government was in the final phases of burying itself in the junkheap of history, PW Botha also told the country that pension funds needed to be patriotic.

And so, we come back to the present, with the ANC’s 2019 election manifesto promising to investigate a regime of so-called “prescribed assets”.

This was confirmed by the President during Question Time in this House just two weeks ago.

After a mealy-mouthed obfuscation at first, and after being pressed, he confirmed that prescribed assets are definitely coming.

I could quote you the Hansard, but the President is so verbose, and so slow in coming to the point, a bit like his Presidency really, that you’ll have to go read it for yourselves.

The ANC is reduced to copying the desperate policies of a failing apartheid government. How low they have fallen?

Some may call that moral and political bankruptcy. Others call it the “New Dawn”.

They may euphemistically refer to “prescribed assets”, but let’s be absolutely clear what we are talking about:

They are proposing to force every pension fund, public and private, to lend money to the government and to the state-owned companies.

Normally the interest rate should compensate the lender for the risk of extending the loan.

But if the lender is forced by law to make the loan, then it is the borrower (in this case the government) who dictates the interest rate.

This simply means lower investment returns for hard working South Africans for the rest of their working lives, and smaller pensions for hard working South Africans when they retire.

I did a rough calculation. Assuming the government starts off taking 3% of pension funds, a number that has been bandied about. A 35-year-old South African who is saving R2000 a month in their pension, and who does so diligently until retirement, will lose R1.4 million in savings.

So, let’s cut the nonsense and call it what it is: Pension theft!

This government is proposing to steal from the pensions of hard-working South Africans to pay for their mismanagement.

And don’t be persuaded by the argument that 3%, if that is where it starts, is where it will end.

Once the principle is established that it’s okay to steal, the quantum will be ratcheted up year after year.

The DA warned, in the debate over the amendment to S25, that you cannot compromise on the principle of private property ownership. And that when you do undermine property rights, this doesn’t only affect land, it affects all kinds of property – even your future pension.

I didn’t imagine at the time that this warning would come to pass so soon.

Stealing from people’s future pensions is still theft, plain and simple, and should be fought by every South African who has diligently saved for their retirement.

I do not think the message has even begun to get out there about how dangerous this is.

Let the word go out that the ANC, the self-proclaimed vanguard of the working classes, is coming for the workers’ pensions.

The government doesn’t need to change any law to do this.

This can be done with a simple regulatory change.

We believe such a change would illegally and unconstitutionally deprive people of their own savings without their express permission.

So if the ANC does go ahead with this mad idea, we will table private members legislation to allow South Africans to withdraw their pensions without having to resign first.

And our legislation will allow them to opt out of compulsory pension contributions.

If we don’t do this, you will see thousands of workers resigning from their jobs to save their pensions.

And government employees must not think they are safe.

In fact, the ANC’s proposal is most absurd when applied to civil servants.

The state pays their salaries, and guarantees their pensions, then uses those pensions to buy government guaranteed debt in bankrupt SOEs.

All of these guarantees only last as long as the economy is growing and there is money available to pay for it all. And there isn’t any.

When the money runs out, the “defined benefit” pensions will be the first guarantee to go.

So nurses, teachers, police officers, social workers, doctors, every public employee must also support the DA in fighting this theft of their pensions!

And this brings me to the ANC-aligned trade unions.

Where is Cosatu and its affiliates?

Where are their representatives in this House?

These unions haven’t said a thing, and Cosatu has offered cautious “in principle” support.

Why aren’t they speaking for their members?

Every member of these unions should ask what they pay their membership fees for.

Does Cosatu represent their members to the ANC, or do they represent the ANC to their members?

Cosatu’s slogan is “an injury to one is an injury to all”. But this proposal is an injury to all, and they have not mustered the voice to speak for even one of their members.

Possibly worse than the silence of many unions, is the sickening sycophancy of some in the asset management industry.

Asset prescription is inimical to efficient capital allocation, and is clearly not in the interests of their clients.

Yet these asset managers have shown they are prepared to accept almost any outrage, so long as it is presented in a New Dawn wrapper.

And so now we have the grotesque spectacle of asset prescription proudly endorsed by Colin Coleman of Goldman Sachs, Magda Wierzycka of Sygnia Asset Management and Wayne McCurrie from FNB wealth.

Honourable Members,

Here again we have the alliance of big state, big unions, and big business working together, with no regard for the best interests of ordinary South Africans.

Only the DA is fighting for the working man and woman.

Only the DA is protecting the family, and creating work for the jobseeker.

You don’t get to pilfer people’s pensions without a fight.

And we will lead the fight to stop this theft.


Prescription of assets is unacceptable, should be rejected by all

The head of the ANC’s Economic Transformation Committee, Enoch Godongwana, is reported today as confirming that the ANC would impose prescribed assets on private pension savings, before it would consider approaching the International Monetary Fund (IMF). His comments also confirm that prescribed assets will not be limited to the R2-trillion funds held in the PIC, but will apply to all retirement funds, banks, insurance companies and so on.

If the ANC was serious about growing the economy, and attracting investment, this would be the very worst thing to do. Godongwana’s comments signal the ANC is even prepared to return to the last-ditch, desperate measures taken by the National Party apartheid government, which also imposed prescribed assets when that government ran out of money to fund its many failed programmes.

Asset prescription is an irresponsible and unacceptable policy proposal. It should be rejected by every South African who has their life savings in their pension funds, and whose future financial security depends on the responsible management of those funds. The Democratic Alliance will oppose any effort by the ANC to impose prescribed assets. We will act to protect the pension savings of hard-working South Africans.

The term “prescribed assets” is a euphemism for forcing pension funds, banks and insurance companies to lend money to bankrupt state entities like Eskom and SAA.

These financial institutions hold the private savings of millions of ordinary South Africans, and for many (if not most) of these people, their pension savings are their only life savings. That is why there is a duty to ensure their money is managed with the utmost care and responsibility, and that nothing is done that actively harms their long term financial interests.

Far from even considering a proposal as devastating as prescribed assets, the ANC and Godongwana should be earnestly considering what tough reforms are necessary to avoid a situation where either asset prescription or an IMF bailout programme are ever needed. That the ANC is not doing this is an admission of defeat and failure.

DA to table “economic recovery plan” in Parliament’s upcoming debate on SA’s unemployment crisis

The DA welcomes the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Thandi Modise, to grant my request for an urgent debate of public importance on South Africa’s jobs crisis. The DA will use Parliament’s debate of national importance on the jobs crisis to table our “Economic Recovery Plan” – a comprehensive package of reform interventions that are unashamedly pro-growth, pro-investment, and pro-job creation.

This “Economic Recovery Plan” will include the following proposals, among others:

  • Splitting Eskom into two separate entities while allowing IPPs to come on board by passing the ISMO Bill;
  • Rejecting the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill that threatens to collapse our health sector;
  • Immediately placing SAA under business rescue;
  • Beginning the rollout of a Voluntary Civil Service Year for young people;
  • Cutting the Public Sector Wage Bill; and
  • Creating an enabling environment for job creation by freeing up micro enterprise and relaxing labour legislation.

Our country’s economy is in a dire state and on the verge of passing the point of no return – which we may never fully recover from. Urgency is now more vital than ever, and I implore Parliament’s programming committee to set a date for this debate at the soonest available opportunity.

The ANC government has made history again – albeit for the wrong reasons – as the number of South Africans without a job has now crossed the dreaded 10 million threshold, with an expanded unemployment rate of 38.5%. Despite longwinded promises of reform from Mr Ramaphosa, we have seen no noticeable improvement in the economy, the unemployment rate, and the living conditions of ordinary South Africans.

Instead, since Mr Ramaphosa assumed the Presidency, 746 000 more South Africans have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Ramaphosa appears to either have no plan to fix this crisis, or no power to do so within his own party. We cannot continue along this path any longer, we need urgent and wholescale reform.

In the two weeks since the StatsSA confirmed that 10.2 million South Africans are now without a job, neither the President nor the ANC government has taken action and put forward a concrete plan. Two weeks ago I therefore also wrote to the President to establish an economic crisis recovery plan with relevant government stakeholders and political parties to reform the economy, Eskom and stem the jobs losses. I am yet to hear back from the President.

Parliament must now rise to the occasion and play its part during this leadership vacuum. The debate will need to address unsustainable levels of government spending; how to stop runaway bailouts to mismanaged SOEs such as Eskom; the size and growth of the Public Sector wage bill; and how to stimulate both local and foreign investment. Investors have lost all confidence in this government and are selling South African assets at an unprecedented rate. If we fail to stop this trend we will soon be staring down the barrel of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.

South Africa is fast running out of time. In order to avoid economic collapse, we need a clear, concrete plan for urgent reform. The DA will table such a plan during this debate, and will work hard to gain support for this plan across party lines.

Only the DA can manage the real problems South Africa faces. The DA’s governance track record speaks for itself. Where we govern, we govern well, get stuff done and have a solid agenda with workable solutions. Our approach to the economy is no different.

Zuma’s first day at Zondo Commission a smoke and mirrors show

Former President Jacob Zuma’s testimony before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry today was nothing more than an attempt to play the victim and evade accountability.

Instead of coming clean, former President Zuma spoke of a biased media, conspiracy theories and assassination plots, none of which could be backed with evidence.

He also suggested that he had been targeted by two foreign intelligence agencies in conjunction with a local intelligence agency which conspired against him, further to this, he claimed that at one point there was a rumour that he would be offered R20 million to resign as then Deputy President.

If these allegations are true, he must reveal which intelligence agencies plotted against him, who was behind the alleged R20 million offer and where the money would have come from.

At no point did he take any personal responsibility for the state capture which took place under his presidency. The unrepentant looting and corruption which is estimated to have wiped out a third of South Africa’s R4.9 trillion GDP, took place under his watch.

No amount of obfuscating and confusion will prevent the former President from accounting. He must come clean on his role in state capture and his knowledge of others’ involvement.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) maintains that the Zondo Commission is a not the trial of Jacob Zuma, as he is but the figure head of a sophisticated and damaging scheme led by the ANC and its associates.

The Zondo Commission, has a mammoth task in investigating state capture and has proven to be effective in revealing the large scale corruption of the ANC government , and we trust that Jacob Zuma’s smoke and mirrors show today will not deter the Commission from conducting its work and unearthing the truth.