Public Protector Mkhwebane shows disdain for Parliament and her role once again

Tomorrow is the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s deadline for her to file papers in her challenge of the personal cost order made against her by the North Gauteng High Court.

In July, the Constitutional Court granted her direct access to challenge the constitutionality of the personal cost order, but not the damning findings of the court that set aside her recommendations in the ABSA/CIEX matter.

Indeed, these findings are central to the DA’s call for Parliament to hold an inquiry into the fitness of the Public Protector to hold office.

The DA has reliably been informed that Mkhwebane has written to Parliament and, once again, shown disdain for the Legislature and its constitutional powers and responsibilities.

In June, the DA submitted a formal request to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to expedite these proceedings.

We now call for any and all correspondence between the Public Protector and Parliament to be immediately tabled in the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, once received.

The DA would like to remind Mkhwebane that Parliament has the duty and the right to hold her to account. Indeed, section 194 (1) of the Constitution details the conditions on which the Public Protector may be removed, which include:

(a) the ground of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence;

(b) a finding to that effect by a committee of the National Assembly; and

(c) the adoption by the Assembly of a resolution calling for that person’s removal from office.

Mkhwebane is set to appear before the Constitutional Court on 27 November 2018, but she will have to appear before Parliament long before that. No more delays can be tolerated.

Vrede Dairy Farm: ANC corruption being protected by the Public Protector

The Public Protector’s Answering Affidavit to the DA’s legal challenge to her report on the Vrede Dairy Farm is attached here. The DA’s Founding Affidavit and Notice of Motion can be found here and here.

The Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s Answering Affidavit to the DA’s legal challenge to her Vrede Dairy Farm report is an embarrassing cop-out as it attempts to explain the failure to hold to account the political principals who designed and orchestrated this R220 milion Gupta-linked scandal. It appears from this 79-page affidavit that she is hellbent on protecting ANC corruption, showing she is unfit to hold the Office of the Public Protector.

In the Answering Affidavit, Mkhwebane blames her predecessor, Adv Thuli Madonsela; her office’s current lack of budget; and the limits of her official mandate and jurisdiction as excuses for her report ignoring the roles played by Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane. The DA’s initial complaint contained a submission that the project originated in the Office of then Premier of the Free State, Ace Magashule, and then MEC for Agriculture, Mosebenzi Zwane – and therefore these political actors ought to be investigated.

It is highly suspicious that after an almost four-year investigation into the Vrede Dairy Project, Adv. Mkhwebane found only that the Free State Department of Agriculture contravened the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). There is no effort shown to probe the true corruption at the heart of the Vrede scam, and to hold those responsible to account.

Furthermore, the affidavit claims that the media reports implicating Magashule and Zwane with the Guptas preceded her appointment, or came to light after the investigation was already completed. This argument is flawed, as the position of Public Protector is cited as respondent and not the individual personally, on her own version. Accordingly, such considerations are immaterial, as the position of Public Protector was filled at all times and remains responsible, regardless of the person who was in that position.

As the reports stands, Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane get off unscathed in what was a scheme that they conceived, planned and executed – along with the Guptas – to defraud the public of hundreds of millions of rands. The remedial action recommended in the report proposes to discipline the implicated officials but she makes no recommendations whatsoever on the action to be taken against the political principals – one of which is now the Secretary-General of the ANC.

When I accompanied the intended beneficiaries of this project to a meeting with the Public Protector at her offices in December last year, she promised to act in good faith and to conduct a comprehensive investigation. It appears that this promise has been reneged on.

The intended beneficiaries of the Vrede Dairy Farm project deserve nothing less than full political accountability and swift criminal prosecutions of the corrupt thieves behind this project. The Public Protector’s report does not come close to offering this.

That is why the DA has taken the report on legal review, and the matter is set to be heard on 23 and 24 October 2018. We have full confidence in the courts to come to a finding that brings justice to the people of Vrede.

National Assembly must proceed to remove Public Protector

Allegations that Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, appears to have altered crucial remedial action in the provisional report prepared by her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, on the Vrede dairy farm, if true, constitute a serious breach of her oath of office and gross misconduct which would be grounds for dismissal.

The revelation vindicates the DA’s decision to take the report on judicial review.

The DA has already ensured that Adv Mkewebane’s removal be considered by Parliament, with the matter being referred to the Justice Committee on 18 March 2018. The ANC members blocked it then but the process should no longer be delayed.

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Justice Committee, Mathole Motshekga, and to the House Chairperson, Cedrick Frolick, to request that the Committee revisit the matter urgently.

The allegations relating to the Vrede Dairy Report remain to be fully investigated, but they are simply the latest in a long line of controversies that have plagued Adv. Mkhwebane’s tenure as Public Protector.

Notwithstanding this latest incident, it has been shown time and again that she is neither fit to hold the office of the Public Protector nor capable of acting in an impartial manner as required by the Public Protector Act.

Recently, the decision by the High Court to set aside her Bankorp-CIEX report, in which she recommended that ABSA pay back R1,1 billion, was a damning indictment on her fitness to hold office. She has shown herself as being prone to making dubious decisions such as proposing that the Reserve Bank’s mandate be amended

Parliament cannot afford to keep turning a blind eye to what is clearly an abuse of office by Adv. Mkhwebane. It has only served to erode public trust in the office of the Public Protector.

South Africa deserves an impartial Public Protector who is able to act in the interests of all citizens without fear or favour.

Parliament must remove Mkhwebane as Public Protector

The DA will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to again follow up on the request that Parliament institute proceedings in terms of section 194 of the Constitution to remove the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Yesterday, 28 March 2018, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria rejected an application by the Public Protector to appeal against a judgment of the court in the matter of ABSA Bank Limited & Others v the Public Protector Case No 48123/2017 in which she was ordered to personally pay 15% of the costs due to her gross incompetence.

It is this very case in which the court made damning findings against the public protector including that she “…is reasonably suspected of bias”, that she did not bring “…an impartial mind to bear on the issues before her” and that she …”did not conduct herself in a manner which should be expected from a person occupying the office of the Public Protector”.

The court’s rejection of her latest attempts to escape liability for her incompetence is yet another warning that Parliament can no longer afford to delay – the proceedings in accordance with section 194 of the Constitution and section 2(1)(c) of the Public Protector Act must commence as a matter of urgency.

The Office of the Public Protector is one of the cornerstone institutions established by Chapter 9 of our Constitution to protect our democracy. We simply cannot allow Advocate Mkhwebane to remain in office and continue to deride its reputation given her conduct and the court rulings against her.

DA requests Public Protector to urgently investigate Ace Magashule

The DA will write to Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to request an urgent investigation into allegations that ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, meddled in a housing project in the Free Sate to ensure that a company allegedly linked to his daughter secure a lucrative contract worth R150 million.

According to reports today, Magashule allegedly appointment a Chinese company, Unital Holdings, to construct more than a thousand RDP houses in Bethlehem. However, it seems as though tender procurement processes were flouted to ensure that Unital was paid nearly R70 million by the Provincial Human Settlements Department to oversee the project.

An investigation conducted by DA Councillors as well as media reports have uncovered that the houses that are in a poor condition as residents do not have access to electricity, water or proper toilets. This has forced them to make use of pit toilets and open holes exposing faecal matter. In the coming weeks, the DA will conduct a further inspection of the site in order to fully expose the inhumane conditions of residents and corruption allegedly linked to the ANC secretar-general.

The fact that Magashule would jeopardise the quality of homes and the health of our people for his own corrupt ends is not just a damning indictment on him, but the entire ANC.

This is yet another indication that the ANC government does not truly care about the plight of the millions of black South Africans who have never known the dignity of owning a home. The ‘New Dawn’ mantra by President Cyril Ramaphosa is fast proving to be a ruse as he continues in the path of his predecessor President Zuma, by surrounding himself with the likes of Magashule. With each passing day it is becoming clearer to South Africans that the ANC is incapable of self-correction as the rot is a firmly entrenched culture of the party. The only way to change this is to vote the ANC out of power.

The DA trusts that the Public Protector will investigate these allegations thoroughly and independently and ensure that those who are found guilty of misconduct are brought to book and ensure that these monies are recovered and redirected to improving the quality of homes.

Public Protector must expedite probe into Mokonyane

The DA will write to Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to request that she give an update on the investigation into former Water and Sanitation Minister, Nomvula Makonyane, as requested by the DA in 2016 into alleged tender irregularities while she was at department’s helm.
This is in light of media reports revealing how Minister Mokonyane possibly paved way for a construction company to earn billions of rands despite being implicated in the controversial R2.7 billion Giyani Water Project in Limpopo.
According to reports, “Documents show that former Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, might have had a hand in the appointment of LTE Consulting Engineers to work on the Giyani Water Project.. LTE was appointed without a public tender process by Lepelle Northern Water.”
The DA reiterates our request that Public Protector finalises the probe into Mokonyane. Should there be found that Mokonyane acted irregularly, she be held personally responsible for her role.
Mokonyane must not be let off the hook for the fact under her watch the department was grossly mismanaged; procurement processes were flouted; and tenders created for pals which caused the department to face near bankruptcy.
There are wide-ranging allegations in which Mokonyane has wilfully undermined her department’s mandate in order to create tenders for pals. The gross mismanagement and lack of decisive leadership, coupled with the ailing infrastructure, have placed water security at a serious risk in the country.
It is now clear that Mokonyane is not fit to serve South Africans in any leadership capacity and her conduct is reflective of someone who disregards South Africans’ lives.
This is a direct indictment on Minister Mokonyane and entire ANC government which has continually detached itself from the plight of our people who don’t have access to clean water.
Mokonyane definitely has a case to answer for failing millions of people struggling without water, due to poor infrastructure, possible corruption and the mismanagement of our water resources.
The DA will keenly await an update from the Public Protector as to what steps have been taken to date in order to determine Mokonyane’s role over alleged irregularities in her department which the DA brought to her attention in 2016.

Fired or not, Van Rooyen must still be held accountable for lying in Parliament

In a response to the DA’s complaint in October 2016, the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane, found that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister, Des van Rooyen, wilfully and intentionally lied to Parliament about visiting the Gupta’s Saxonwold compound.
On Thursday, 1 March 2018, this deadline for President Cyril Ramaphosa to take appropriate action against Minister Van Rooyen, will be up. If he truly is serious about rooting out corruption, then President Ramaphosa should not hesitate to act against Van Rooyen.
The Public Protector recommended that “The President must within a reasonable time, but not later than 14 days after receiving this report, submit a copy thereof and any comments thereon together with a report on any action taken or to be taken in regard thereto, to the National Assembly.”
Amid swelling rumours of a Cabinet reshuffle, should Minister Van Rooyen be fired, he must still be held accountable for violating paragraph 2.3 (a) of the Executive Ethics Code and sections 96(1) and 96(2)(b) of the Constitution.
The DA will also exhaust all possible avenues to ensure that Minister Van Rooyen is investigated and face possible prosecution for all allegations of State Capture in CoGTA.
Recently, The DA wrote to House Chairperson, Cedric Frolick, to request that he compel the Portfolio Committee for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to institute a formal enquiry into the extent of State Capture in the Department as repeated requests to the Committee’s Chairperson, Hon. Richard Mdakane, have been routinely ignored.
Minister Van Rooyen has lost all credibility as a public official. While the DA will welcome his removal should it go ahead, it is vital that a culture of accountability is cultivated in the executive. Those who have violated the Ethics Code and the Constitution cannot be allowed to get off scot-free.

Parliament must remove the Public Protector for incompetence and misconduct

The DA has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete MP, requesting that she expedite the process to remove the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane in terms of Section 194 of the Constitution which states that the Public Protector may be removed from office on:
(a)   the ground of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence;
(b)   a finding to that effect by a committee of the National Assembly; and
(c)   The adoption by the Assembly of a resolution calling for that person’s removal from office
The Speaker must now see to it that the proceedings to have the Public Protector removed commence swiftly as Mkhwebane has repeatedly demonstrated that she is not to fit to serve as Public Protector. The decision by the High Court to set aside her Bankorp-CIEX report, in which she recommended that ABSA pay back R1.1 billion, was a damning indictment on her fitness to hold office.
She clearly does not understand her role as Public Protector and misconstrued the powers of her office when, in the same report, she proposed that the Reserve Bank’s mandate be amended.
The DA has repeatedly called for Mkhwebane to be fired as Public Protector as having her at the helm has harmed the integrity of the office she holds. Just last week, Mkhwebane said the DA was “unpatriotic” for criticising her work. Such remarks show that she is biased and that cannot be accepted from the head of a Chapter 9 institution.
We have previously instituted the process of Adv. Mkhwebane’s removal through the Justice Committee but it was shut down by the ANC members that form part of this committee towing the party line.  Parliament can no longer sit idly by while this important office is rendered useless by the incumbent.
South Africa deserves an objective Public Protector who is committed to upholding the rights of all citizens and defending them without fear or favour and Mkhwebane has proved she is not the right fit.
The Speaker must now act with haste in order to ensure that parliament can do its work immediately by firing Mkhwebane which would begin to restore public confidence in this important institution.

Mkhwebane must go

The North Gauteng High court has today set aside the Public Protector’s, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s, Bankorp-CIEX report, in which she found that ABSA should repay R1.1 billion.
In a devastating judgement for Ms Mkhwebane, she has been ordered to personally pay 15% of the costs, the other 85% to be paid by her office, yet another unnecessary waste of the taxpayer’s money.
This is not the first time she has wasted precious resources on frivolous court applications. Since her appointment, she’s wastefully incurred legal costs including:

  • In July 2017, when she withdrew her opposition to an urgent application to set aside her remedial action amending the Constitution; and
  • In February 2017, when she opposed President Jacob Zuma’s review application “merely to comply with the court rules” while still seeking a legal opinion – she only decided to commit to opposing the application in June.

By all accounts, Mkhwebane is utterly ineffectual and dangerously out of touch with her mandate as Public Protector.
The DA has always maintained that she is not suitable to head up the Office of the Public Protector, as a crucial institution in the fight against injustice and corruption.
This latest scathing judgment against her is more proof that she should be immediately removed. It also constitutes a scathing indictment of the ANC members of the Justice Portfolio Committee, who on the same grounds found by the court today, refused to consider our request to remove her.
The ANC instead chose to protect her in line with a thinly disguised party line.

We will take Public Protector’s Vrede report on judicial review

The following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a media briefing on the outcomes of the Party’s first Federal Council of 2018, which was held in Cape Town. Maimane was joined by the Chairperson of the DA’s Federal Council, James Selfe.
Over the past three days, the Federal Council of the Democratic Alliance (DA) – the party’s highest decision making body between Federal Congress – convened in Cape Town for its first sitting of 2018. The agenda comprised of a number of pressing matters concerning the country and the Party. This press briefing serves to communicate the outcomes of the weekend’s sitting.
Zuma Exit
Since Federal Council last sat in October 2017, much has changed in South Africa’s political landscape. The election of Cyril Ramaphosa as President of the ANC has turned the mood of the nation, and has provided the basis for a true battle of ideas about the future of the country in the 2019 National Elections.
However, the manner in which Jacob Zuma is holding both the country and the ANC to ransom by refusing to leave shows how powerful he still is, and shows how deep rooted the network of corruption that he built runs.
As South Africans, we expect our leaders to put the interests of our country ahead of any party political or personal interests. And we expect this without fail. Cyril Ramaphosa’s remarks in Cape Town yesterday have shown South Africans what is most important to the new ANC President – unity within the ANC. For Ramaphosa, just like Zuma, it’s the ANC first and South Africa second.
A dignified and smooth leadership transition – as Ramaphosa calls it – is not in the best interests of South Africa. The immediate removal and criminal prosecution of Jacob Zuma and all his corrupt cronies within the ANC is what is in the best interests of the country. Swift and decisive action is what we need, not a Ramaphosa-Zuma talkshop.
Likewise, an amnesty deal for Jacob Zuma, shielding him from accountability for his crimes, is not in the best interests of South Africa. This should not even be discussed. Ramaphosa would be in breach of the Constitution – particularly the requirements for the NPA to act without fear or favour. We reject any form of an amnesty deal for Zuma as an insult to all South Africans.
There can be no special deals for Zuma. No legal fees paid by the state, no extra security, no protection from prosecution as a state witness. Nothing. He must face the full consequences of his actions. If he wants extra protection, there is no place as secure as maximum security prison. We will push on with the 783 counts of corruption that were erroneously dropped by the NPA almost a decade ago.
The DA will only accept one outcome from today’s special sitting of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) – if in fact there is a decision. That is, the removal of Jacob Zuma and his cronies, and their immediate prosecution.
Jacob Zuma’s removal and prosecution will mark only the first step in getting our country back on track. The reality is that while Cyril Ramaphosa and Jacob Zuma, and their respective factions in the ANC, are fighting each other, the lives of ordinary South Africans remain unchanged.
The levels of poverty and unemployment are perilously high, and constantly on the rise. Our education system remains dysfunctional, and our economy remains stagnant. Federal Council discussed and debated the state of the nation and we are more resolute than ever to move into a political space where we can debate ideas and policies, rather than personalities. The battle is now about who can create work and grow the economy, who can fix our education system, and who can create a safe and corruption-free country.
Our mission does not change based on the internal manoeuvring within the ANC. Our mission is to bring total change and a real new beginning to our beautiful land.
The DA remains the only party with the values and policies that can turn SA into a modern, prosperous nation. This is the fight we will continue, and this is the fight we will win.
Vrede
The report on the Vrede Dairy Farm project by Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, is absolutely disgraceful. There are manifold omissions in the report, and failures to investigate even that which is in the public domain.
There is no effort shown to probe the true corruption at the heart of the Vrede scam, and to hold those responsible accountable. Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane get off unscathed in what was a scheme that they conceived, planned and executed – along with the Guptas – to defraud the public of hundreds of millions of rand. After four years, Adv. Mkhwebane simply cannot blame lack of capacity for this embarrassment of a report.
We do not believe that we can let this stand. We were the original complainants in the Vrede matter. We have met with the Public Protector, and have visited the beneficiaries often to keep them posted on progress. We had expected some form of real justice for them, but this report has bitterly disappointed us and them. We must correct this.
Therefore, after consultation with our legal team, the DA has decided to take the Public Protector’s report on judicial review. Our lawyers are currently drafting papers, and we hope to launch this application later this week. Further details of such will be communicated in due course.
Policy
Five new policy documents integral to our vision for South Africa were tabled for discussion at this weekend’s Federal Council – on Higher Education, Safety and Security, Immigration, Human Settlements, and Social Assistance. These follow the policy documents tabled at Federal Council last year, on our plan to put an end to endemic corruption in government, and our plan to ensure that we create opportunity and jobs for the millions of South Africans locked out of the economy.
The DA’s Higher Education policy paper continues from our proposed three-tier model of funding all students, and focuses on fixing the country’s struggling universities and colleges. We foresee many different types of universities, some specialised in research and some working with companies to get students into workplaces to learn and work. The DA believes in adequately funding universities and fixing TVET Colleges whilst improving management and rooting out corruption from both. Ultimately, we will create world class universities in all of our provinces that will offer all current and many new relevant courses so that young people can get jobs.
Our Safety and Security policy paper pledges to radically overhaul the South African Police Service (SAPS) into a professional, modern, police service, which is passionate about serving and protecting communities, and combatting all crime – especially violent crimes. The DA is committed to seeing violent crime rooted out of our communities and will stand with woman, children, people in townships, rural communities and every South African who has been targeted by crime. We will work to train and develop police officers, increase the number of specialist offers and detectives, and improve service at police stations, and for all community policing forums.
Xenophobia needs to be tackled head on, illegal immigration must be prevented and the skills shortage must be addressed in South Africa. The DA’s Immigration policy paper therefore pledges to enforce the law, end the unchecked flow of illegal immigrants into our country, and attract highly skilled immigrants into our country. Our Immigration policy will be based upon having a ‘High Wall and a Large Gate’ to grow our economy, the region and Africa as a whole. We believe that we are a society embedded in an international community and will manage our relationships in that community to the benefit of South Africans and in pursuit of a fair and just world.
The DA’s Human Settlements policy paper pledges to quickly give people who qualify for government housing the ability to get a decent home. In order to create sustainable housing opportunities through inclusive urbanisation, we will give people ownership of the land they live on by giving them title deeds, create a single national housing list to cut down on corruption and launch a national housing audit to verify that only the real owners live in Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing. The DA understands the need to provide more options in terms of access to affordable housing and that people need to be given greater control and choice in terms of housing. We therefore pledge to greatly enhance the choices people have.
Finally, our Social Assistance policy paper pledges to enable every parent to feed their family. The DA will thus increase the Child Support Grant (CSG) to cover the nutritional needs of all children, resolve the current foster care grant crisis, increase capacity and funding for Magistrate’s Courts that have many cases related to social grants and maintenance, increase the number and quality of social workers and prioritise early childhood development. The creative use of the social assistance system will not only provide help from the government, but will also grow and transform the economy, bringing real change and creating a prosperous South Africa. We can defeat extreme poverty and give our children a better chance in life.
Federal Council also deliberated and discussed our Economic policy document. This policy will focus on fast-tracking internships for young people, and economic growth that is focused on small businesses, the mining sector, the agriculture sector, and financial services sector. The policy looks at how best to review the current approach to redress in our economy, and the establishment of a fund for the purpose of (a) funding SMMEs and (b) investing in basic education. This is key to ensuring jobs and opportunity are created for those still locked outside of the economy.
While these documents are not final DA policy, they form part of the formulation, adoption, and eventual implementation of bold policy options that will bring total change and a real new beginning for our nation. These policy proposals will go for further discussion with all party structures, as feedback and input from South Africans is critical to our policy process.
We have fresh ideas, a bold offer, and the ability to implement such policies in government come 2019.
Mayor of Cape Town
Federal Council discussed the matter of the imminent vote of no confidence in the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille. While the situation is unprecedented and painful to all in the DA, the time has come for a fresh leadership team in the City to take that caucus forward and restore the faith of the public in what has been the crown jewel of DA governments until recently. The new leadership of the City will have to unite that caucus and focus on delivering excellent services and answering the many concerns of the public, so that we can deliver an even better result in the Metro and in the Province in 2019.
The public has our commitment that we will do what is right and what is in the best interests of the voters, no matter how tough it is. Unlike our opponents, we will not sweep under the carpet difficult or embarrassing issues, and we will act to uphold integrity and the faith of the public. This is the standard we hold the ANC to, and we hold ourselves to, and it is amply demonstrated in this matter.
Water
Federal Council noted and welcomed the efforts of all residents of Cape Town in pushing Day Zero back almost a month, to 11 May 2018. We thank all those doing their part in the collective effort to Defeat Day Zero.
Our task is not yet done, but if we continue to lower consumption, we will Defeat Day Zero in its entirety. As I outlined last week, the augmentation projects earmarked by the City of Cape Town to provide additional water are all on track with the first projects coming online later this month.
It is no secret that Cape Town is facing one of the greatest and most unprecedented droughts in over a century. However, it is not just Cape Town that is feeling the heat. There are large parts of the Southern and Eastern Cape experiencing much lower than expected rainfall – with consumption flat lining or rising.
I wish to clarify the role of national government in dealing with what is now a serious threat to millions of South Africans.
The responsibility for bulk supply and storage of water is 100% the responsibility of National Government, as per Section 3 of the National Water Act. This is the law, whether the Minister of Water and Sanitation likes it or not.
The National Department of Water and Sanitation – under the leadership of Minister Nomvula Mokonyane – is crippled by cadre deployment, financial mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption.
Worse yet, the Department has the worst levels of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the country and clearly has a conflict of interest in the Western Cape, where they are in opposition. With an annual budget of R12.2 billion for infrastructure development, it is unconscionable that the Department has spent a total of only R5 million in the Western Cape in the past 3 years.
Despite Minister Mokonyane playing politics with the lives of our people, we are making considerable progress in our efforts to Defeat Day Zero in Cape Town. It is high time Minister Mokonyane takes a leaf from all other South Africans and Capetonians’ book and do absolutely everything possible to help us avoid droughts in any other cities. After all, it is both her legal and political duty to do so.
Federal Congress
The highest decision making body of the DA, Federal Congress, will meet on the weekend of 7 and 8 April 2018 in the Capital City, Tshwane.
The Federal Congress occurs at least once every 3 years, as per the DA’s Constitution. It is the supreme policy-making and governing body of the party. This year we will welcome thousands of delegates to the congress, as we map out the “Road to 2019”.
This year, all positions within the top tier of the party will be open for contestation. The nominations will open this month and close in March 2018, a month before the Federal Congress is held. The positions that are open for contestation are:

  • Federal Leader;
  • National Chairperson;
  • Three Deputy National Chairpersons;
  • Chairperson of the Federal Council;
  • Deputy Chairperson of Federal Council; and
  • The Federal Chairperson of Finance.

The open, competitive, and transparent nature of the elective process is something that we pride ourselves on, and this year promises to be as completive and robust as always.
We wish all those contesting for any positions at the Federal Congress the very best of luck.
Conclusion
The DA has an incredible challenge in the lead up to next year’s National Elections, and our structures are alive to the hard task ahead of us. Our dream for South Africa is attainable, honourable, and worth every battle we have to fight along the way. We are not doing what we do for the sake of governing; we are working to build a better country for all its people.