As ANC municipalities crumble, the DA is turning local governments around

The following comments were delivered today by DA National Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi, at a press conference at Nkululeko House, Johannesburg. Malatsi was joined by DA Midvaal Mayor, Bongani Baloyi,  DA Kouga Municipality Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, and by the DA Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson, Andrew Whitfield.

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the 2016 Local Government Elections when South Africans gave the Democratic Alliance (DA) a mandate for change and entrusted us with governing more than 30 municipalities across the country.

Where we have governed, we have excelled in providing services, creating jobs, keeping communities safe and rooting out corruption.

Where we govern, residents not only have clean running water, more homes, more jobs and a better quality of life, but DA governments are beating the odds in growing local economies in spite of a gloomy national economic picture:

  • The most recent consolidated report by the Auditor-General (A-G) showed that, 13 or 72%, of municipalities with clean audits were DA-run – 12 in the Western Cape and 1 in Gauteng.
  • The Quarterly Labour Force Survey report released last week, once again showed that the Western Cape obtained the lowest expanded unemployment rate in the country at 23.8% compared to a national rate of 38.5%.
  • The City of Cape Town, in the past financial year, generated R2.7 billion worth of investments, creating more than 4 700 jobs and at least 2 100 people were empowered with skills training.
  • Last month, Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, announced that preliminary figures showed that the City’s Department of Economic Development had facilitated more than R16 billion in investments to revitalise the inner city and cater to business. The multi-party government led by the DA, has also ensured that the City spent 91% in Capital expenditure, has a debt redemption fund valued at R2.5 billion, spent 100% of its Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) funding, and has long term assets to sufficiently cover long term liabilities.
  • In Midvaal, despite being a relatively small municipality, Heineken and Ferrero Rocher have plants in the municipality because they can rely on it to keep the lights on and the taps flowing with water. Sedibeng Brewery has also made a R3.5 billion investment in the municipality which created 3 500 construction jobs.
  • Kouga is set to become the first municipality in the Eastern Cape to roll out free, unlimited WiFi to the public following an in-principle agreement between the Council and Cell C.

These are not mere statistics, they are measures of improving quality of life. They show that the DA in government turns circumstances around, and keeps on steadily improving.

The ANC on the other hand has a different story to tell. From potholes and water shortages to polluted rivers and debris strewn streets, corruption, theft, neglect, nepotism – the ANC has shown that it cannot deliver basic, quality services to its residents.

The state of ANC-run local governments is appalling. And where the DA is in opposition, we spend every day highlighting these issues and fighting for better services for residents.

Some examples of appalling ANC failures we have raised just in the past few weeks include:

  • The Mangaung Metro, under ANC governance, has had its credit rating slashed this week by Moody’s by a massive three notches, due to serious political mismanagement and risk of debt defaults. This is a shocking indictment on how the ANC governs metros and mismanages municipal finances.
  • For the past two weeks, the Mogalakwena Municipality in Limpopo has descended into chaos as two ANC factions are at war for control of the Council – schools and businesses have shutdown as the Mayor is “in hiding” and failing to address the instability. At the same time the Municipality is spending almost R650 000 to send municipal officials to Zambia for a sporting event.
  • In Taung, in the North West, ANC-card carrying members are alleged to be exclusively hired for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPW) jobs, whilst those who are not affiliated with the ANC are overlooked.
  • Tswaing Local Municipality, also in the North West, has been placed administration for the third time. Clearly the past two interventions, have not yielded any real results as it instead created further financial instability and a lack of service delivery.
  • The Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality, in Free State has all but collapsed as the ANC-run municipality owes R4.5 billion to its creditors and has failed to pay Eskom debts since August 2017.
  • In Limpopo, the DA has uncovered that a simply unacceptable 50% of promised houses have not been built by the ANC government in the past 5 years. Hundreds of thousands left without their homes, by the ANC.
  • In the Eastern Cape, in Bedford, at Raymond Mahlaba local government, ANC factions and labour unions have clashed, shut down the town, completely stopped service delivery and burnt down the municipal store.
  • In Ekurhuleni, the ANC government spends R3 300 a month per chemical toilet, in an outlandishly inflated contract, while a housing project for 29 houses in Tembisa remains unfinished and unusable with over 90% of the contract price R4.6 million, paid to the builder.

This stands in stark contrast to the DA’s record of getting things done.

Today we shine a spotlight on Kouga and Midvaal. These municipalities, under the capable leadership of Mayors Bongani Baloyi and Horatio Hendricks, have made significant contributions to the betterment of communities.

These two governments are being highlighted today because they are both DA-majority Councils. And both demonstrate what can be done when a DA majority is able to govern a local government.

Kouga – Delivered by Mayor Horatio Hendricks

Under the DA’s leadership the municipality is now more financially stronger than it has ever been. The collection rate increased from 72% in August 2016 to 94% in August 2019. The municipality’s cash-on-hand almost tripled from R70 million in June 2017 to R214 million in June 2019.

The DA-led council also adopted an anti-corruption strategy and established a Financial Misconduct Disciplinary Board.

Kouga municipality implemented a borehole project to augment its water supply and secured R151.2 million in drought funding for ground water development and Water Conservation and Demand Management projects.

Thirty boreholes were drilled at Jeffreys Bay, Oyster Bay, Hankey and Patensie, with 12 delivering good yields and quality. Seven boreholes were drilled at Humansdorp. The test results are being awaited.

The municipality has also invested millions to upgrade its water and wastewater treatment works, benefitting thousands of households.

Under the previous ANC regimes, the building of new government-subsidised housing came to a standstill. This changed under the leadership of the DA when in 2017 work started on the top structures of 391 houses at Kruisfontein. Another two housing projects are currently underway and another seven are in the advanced planning stage.

When the DA took over in 2016, Kouga had almost 4000 household which still relied on a bucket toilet system. The DA-led municipality is currently in the process of eradicating more than 2000 bucket toilets through current housing projects, and has also launched a multi-year programme in the 2018/19 financial year to eliminate the use of buckets in Kouga entirely.

The regional landfill site at Humansdorp and Hankey waste site were upgraded, an official recycler was appointed, and new drop-off zones were opened at Jeffreys Bay, St Francis Bay and Oyster Bay. In addition, the municipality has started distributing wheelie bins to households to replace black bags. A total of 7 713 wheelie bins were delivered to Hankey, Patensie, Loerie, Thornhill and Humansdorp during 2018/2019, with the roll-out set to continue in the new financial year.

In 2016, the DA-led municipality inherited a vehicle fleet which was almost entirely broken. Only 4% of the fleet was fully operational. A fleet replacement plan has subsequently been implemented, by the DA, and at least 90% of the fleet is in operation daily.

We also became the first municipality in the Sarah Baartman district to launch an app-supported call centre for residents to submit service requests. A total of 35 201 service requests and faults were resolved through the Kouga Call Centre and Link service delivery app during 2018/2019. This is more than double the number of 17 298 that were resolved the previous year.

From 2017 to 2018 the DA-led municipality distributed an historic 1 827 title deeds. A 98-year-old resident from Patensie recently became the official owner of a home for the first time.

Tuli Wilson Tanda had been living on the property for more than 15 years, and only under the DA was it registered in his name in July 2019 for the first time.

The DA-led Kouga will be pioneering the first road made from plastic waste in Africa, a stronger and more durable alternative to traditional asphalt mixes. A total of 7 785 potholes were repaired during the 2018/2019 financial year and 32 roads and parking areas, totalling 140 977m², were resealed.

Kouga is poised to become the first municipality in the Eastern Cape to roll out free unlimited WiFi to the public. An agreement has been reached between the Council and Cell C.

To ensure the safety of both residents and visitors in Kouga, the DA-led municipality installed security cameras along the main beachfront of Jeffreys Bay, for the first time,  and spotlights were recently erected at the informal settlement in Donkerhoek and at the entrance to upper Vaaldam.

Midvaal  – Delivered by Mayor Bongani Baloyi

The DA-led Midvaal municipality is consistently rates as one of the best run municipalities, not only in Gauteng, but nationwide.

Midvaal was one of only 18 municipalities in the country, and the only one in Gauteng, to receive a clean audit for the 2017/2018 financial year, its fifth consecutive one.

The 2019 Good Governance Africa Government Performance Index ranked the municipality as one of the top ten performing municipalities in the country and the 2017/2018 findings of the Gauteng City Region Observatory’s Quality of Life Survey found that while overall satisfaction with service delivery in Gauteng is decreasing, the overall approval of the quality of services provided by Midvaal is steadily increasing.

Infrastructure investments include upgrades to the bulk electricity supply, a new reservoir, resurfacing and rebuilding of roads, bulk water pipe replacement and upgrades to the sewer pipelines. In the current political term, the municipality will spend:

  • Over R95 million to improve water supply in Midvaal including Sicelo and other informal settlements;
  • R21 million on electrifying Sicelo and R19.5 million on electrifying the RDP sections of Savanna City
  • R43 million for tarring 23 km of roads in our municipality and R42 million to maintain our existing road network

This is why companies like Heineken, Ferrero Rocher, Paramount Trailers, New Hope, BSI Steel and Twin Boats have all chosen to establish and grow their businesses within the Midvaal municipality. Sedibeng Brewery alone has made a R3.5 billion investment, creating 3500 construction jobs, and is currently looking to expand its supply chain locally, through purchasing barley from 32 local farmers.

To date the municipality has:

  • Allocated R6.6 million to train and provide opportunities for the youth in Midvaal.
  • R1 million to equip young people with skills that would enable them to run their own businesses.
  • R5.5 million identified across all our municipal departments to benefit graduates, particularly those who have completed the Kgatelopele training programme.

In this past financial year, the municipality appointed six youth-owned cooperatives under the primary contractor from the Kgatelopele companies. In the coming weeks the DA-led Midvaal municipality will also be launching the “Midvaal’s Sebenza Imbokodo Fund”, which will provide start-up capital for female- owned small-scale businesses in the informal sector and assisting them to take their business to the next level.

Midvaal will also be engaging young people through the “Just Start Programme” which aims to address the need for people to access available land to start their own agricultural and farming projects. In the current political term, the municipality will lease 300 hectares of land for agriculture, including 100 hectares to the youth.

Conclusion

Key, to our brand and our promise, is that change is tangible under the DA. This is our offer to South Africa.

It is clear that the DA’s unrivaled record of excellence in governance extends beyond the Western Cape.

By focusing on service delivery, infrastructure development, investment promotion and programmes to assist jobless young people, the record in Midvaal and Kouga has shown that the DA is the only party focused on expanding service delivery and breaking the hold of the unemployment crisis.

The DA is ready to take this message of delivery and jobs to the people of South Africa in 2021. Our governments offer the people of this country more than just talk shops, plans and summits.

Where the DA governs, people see tangible change.

When the DA says ‘we are the only party that can turn things around’ it is not just some empty slogan. We mean it because everywhere we govern, we have proven that we can turn things around.

Eskom crisis: In the Western Cape we will fight to keep the lights on

Today the Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Dan Plato, and I conducted an oversight inspection at the Energy and Climate Change Head Quarters in Cape Town.

This comes amidst the biggest energy crisis that our country has ever faced.

City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato and DA Western Cape Premier Candidate Alan Winde addressing the media at the Energy and Climate Change Head Quarters in Cape Town today.

Especially after yesterday’s briefing by Eskom it has become clear that the power utility is broken and almost beyond repair and that after years of mismanagement, corruption and capture the ANC government will not be able to lift our country out of this crisis. They have completely lost control of the situation.

This morning the DA Federal Leader, Mmusi Maimane, announced a national Day of Action next week Friday, 29 March. From now until then, the DA will mobilise South Africans in their thousands, from all walks of like to participate in activities across the country to protest the damage and destruction that the ANC government has caused,.

The complete collapse of Eskom is a long time coming. That is why DA-run governments have taken concrete action at both provincial and city levels to start to manage the impact of ANC failure in the province.

Over the past decade, while the national economy struggled, the DA-run Western Cape delivered half a million new jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in the country. Unfortunately, the residents and businesses of the Western Cape are being sabotaged by the ANC’s collapse of Eskom.

When we had stage 4 load shedding for the first time in February, that day cost the Western Cape economy more than R3 billion. We are now on our fifth consecutive day of stage 4 – the cost is going to be enormous. Businesses fail when the lights go out. Investors shy away from the uncertainty over the power supply. This costs jobs and growth.

While today, we announce what we have already done to ensure that the Western Cape keeps on working and that the lights stay on, we will announce further steps and actions to ensure that where the DA governs, the people are protected from the failings of the ANC.

Make no mistake, this crisis was avoidable and can be fixed with the right leadership, as we have shown in the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape as a whole.

The Province’s response – Alan Winde, DA Premier Candidate for the Western Cape

In 2016, the Western Cape government embarked on an Energy Security Game Changer, to stabilise our electricity supply and invest in green energy production.

27 IPP contracts that were ready to go and bring about R56 billion in investment were delayed until 2018 while Jacob Zuma’s captured cronies attempted to force a catastrophic nuclear deal on our country. The new bid window that was supposed to open at the end of last year still hasn’t opened.

“The simple fact is that the ANC is intentionally keeping energy and jobs out of the hands of the people of our province. We cannot rely on the national government, and the DA will fight for energy independence from Eskom,” said Winde.

The Western Cape has legalised generating your own electricity with solar panels in 22 municipalities, and in 18 of those, you can sell excess electricity back to the grid. And six studies have been conducted exploring the potential of natural gas to supply power and create jobs in the province.

The DA will continue the fight to source electricity from IPPs. Already, IPP projects in the Western Cape have generated over 3 200 jobs per year, despite national government’s restrictions. Many more jobs could be created through IPPs and lower our unemployment rate even further if we work around the ANC’s resistance to this growth.

The City’s response – Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town

Mayor Plato outlined how the DA-run City of Cape Town has taken active steps to mitigate the energy disaster brought about by the ANC.

“The City recognises that the future lies in energy decentralisation technologies like gas and renewables. This is why we created a dedicated Energy and Climate Change Directorate at the end of 2018,” said Plato.

“As one part of our immediate action plan, we’ve asked the courts to compel the Minister of Energy to allow us to buy cleaner renewable energy from independent power producers.”

To deal with Eskom’s load shedding demands, the City has invested extensively in technologies to assist with the switching process as shedding proceeds. In addition, the Steenbras Dam generation capacity has been used to lower the load shedding stage in Cape Town. It is currently undergoing maintenance to ensure that it continues to function optimally – something Eskom fails to invest in.

The City aims to keep all consumers accurately updated on schedules and the current load shedding stage, especially in light of the unpredictable announcements from Eskom.

Our national pledge

At a national level, the DA has introduced a national bill – the Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) Bill – which proposes that Eskom be split into a power-generating entity and a separate power-distribution entity. The power-generating division would compete fairly with other power producers to provide cheaper electricity.

One would think, given how dire South Africa’s electricity shortage is, that the ANC would be doing everything possible to develop new energy suppliers.

It isn’t. Instead, ANC factions fight publicly over whether to allow independent production, while their allies take the government to court to prevent IPPs from providing electricity. The ANC and its allies have one goal: keeping their own pockets lined while blackouts cripple the country.

The ANC’s solution is to pour more bailouts into a corrupt Eskom that it cannot fix. The DA is the only party with a plan of action to keep the lights on permanently in the Western Cape and fight for energy security for our province.

We call on all South Africans to join us on Friday 29 March to send a clear message to Cyril Ramaphosa and his ANC government that South Africans have had enough of ANC corruption, mismanagement and capture.

DA keeps corruption out and puts the citizens first

The Democratic Alliance is fully committed to the rule of law, and good governance. Where we govern we take a zero-tolerance approach to any form of corruption, misconduct or maladministration, as we always put citizens first.

We have governed the City of Cape Town since 2006 and in this time, we have worked hard to make it a model of good governance in South Africa, where the highest standards of ethical leadership are upheld.

It is against this backdrop that we were forced to act in relation to the numerous forms of allegations of misconduct levelled against Patricia de Lille and others implicated. We know that over the last year that members of the public have, at times, been confused about the exact reasons we had to do so.

Today’s resignation of 5 councillors who were fierce defenders of Ms De Lille at all costs – is no coincidence, as the timing of their resignation was a clear attempt to distract from the damning independent report into the possible criminal conduct of Patricia De Lille and Brett Herron.

However, we, as the DA in the City of Cape Town will not be distracted from the real issues at hand.

Now that the City of Cape Town’s independent investigation is concluded, it is now finally clear for all to understand why we acted in the manner we have as it relates to Ms De Lille.

This independent investigation, appointed by the City of Cape Town Council has recommended that Patricia de Lille be criminally charged for inter alia interfering in city tenders, and the legal duties and obligations of the former City Manager, Achmat Ebrahim, in instituting legally required disciplinary action against officials guilty of violating the law. A level of interference that can be best summed up, by De Lille’s comments “that this matter is going nowhere”.

A 2000 page report by the independent investigators details in vivid and grim detail how Patricia de Lille’s conduct systematically broke down good governance in the City of Cape Town.

She did so by actively shielding and defending officials guilty of criminal acts in relation to the BYD bus tender (where processes were fraudulently manipulated to illegally favour one bus provider) and the Volvo chassis matter (where the mayor chose to ignore and shield consequential action for irregular payment of almost R50 million).

The independent report finds in relation to Ms De Lille’s conduct that:

“her failure to bring the matter to the attention of Council was a failure of her duties In respect of the Municipal Systems Disciplinary Regulations 5 (1) and (2), as well as Regulation 3(2) of the Financial Misconduct Regulations.”

Council will now likely seek to charge Ms De Lille under s119 of the Municipal Systems Act, which records as follows:

“119(1) A councilor who attempts to influence the municipal manager or any other staff member or an agent of a municipality not to enforce an obligation in terms of this Act, any other applicable legislation or any by-law or decision of the council of the municipality, is guilty of an offences and on conviction liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years”. 

It needs to be borne in mind that this finding comes on the back of a previous independent finding which found de Lille guilty of:

“behaviour and actions which constituted gross misconduct, gross dereliction of duty, and conduct that amounted to deceiving council”.

It is also important to note that Melissa Whitehead, the Commissioner for Transport, and the Mayoral Committee member for TDA as well as Brett Herron, will now also likely be criminally charged.

Ms De Lille has aggressively and constantly publicly defended them both for their actions and has simultaneously attacked the whistle-blowers who brought their and her misconduct and criminal actions to the fore.

Ms De Lille has sought directly, and through her many proxies to confuse and conflate matters in the public’s mind.

It must also be noted that the first report, in no way exonerates her as she claims. The first investigation was far more limited in scope, and only interviewed a handful of people – even so, it points to her undue influence over the former City Manager. The second, far more substantive report, which was focused on the full extent of administrative wrongdoing under her leadership, shows that she protected those guilty of wrongdoing in the City.

The extent of this governance breakdown in the City of Cape Town under De Lille, has seen the City unnecessarily exposed to enormous future legal and financial risk, to the extent of billions of rands, as a result of the cancellation of fatally flawed and compromised tenders, both of which the Mayor played a lead role in driving.

The Mayor-elect, Dan Plato is now primarily focused on the fight against crime and speeding up the provision of service delivery for the people of the city.

City to lower water restrictions and tariffs to Level 5 from 1 October 2018

Summary

  • Cape Town’s dam levels are nearing 70% of storage capacity due to good rainfall at the beginning of winter and the phenomenal conservation efforts of Capetonians
  • Water restrictions and the associated tariffs are thus to be conservatively lowered in the interim to Level 5 from 1 October 2018
  • This will bring tariff relief of between 26,6% and 70% per kilolitre of water depending on the usage and tariff category
  • The water usage target will be increased from 50 litres to 70 litres per person per day and the daily collective consumption target will increase by 50 million litres to 500 million litres to ensure that water conservation efforts remain in place

The Western Cape Water Supply System’s dams are now at 68% capacity, a very significant improvement on the situation at the end of the previous winter, when they were at 38% capacity. This was during a drought so uncommon that it only has an estimated return period of 311 years.

The very low supply storage resulted in the imposition of Level 6B water restrictions in February 2018. The enormously positive response from Capetonians when called upon to reduce water usage, as well as advanced pressure and water management programmes by the City, saved the day and Cape Town avoided the worst-case scenario.

Once dam capacity again exceeded 50% at the beginning of July 2018, the City called for a discussion with the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) around the relaxation of restrictions. Since then, two meetings have been held with the other large users in the system, both urban and agricultural, and the DWS. Agreement was reached among the users for a gradual reduction in the overall restrictions, including reducing the urban usage restriction from 45% to 40% of what it would normally be allocated.

Rainfall remains highly variable, and while May and June saw rainfall close to that of an average year, July had very poor rainfall. This improved somewhat in August and so far in September the positive trend continues.

 

Moderate proposals for interim relief

The relaxation of restrictions is a moderate proposal that is based on a hydrological risk assessment that indicates that it is safe to do so at the level of risk that is agreed upon. Of course, the amended Level 5 restriction guidelines for water usage will apply and we are confident that the significant behavioural change that we’ve seen pertaining to water conservation will prevail to a large extent.

The DWS undertook to respond by 31 August 2018, but have yet to do so. It appears that the DWS is reluctant to make any adjustments before the end of the hydrological year at the end of October 2018, when assessments are usually made.

The City believes, with the full support of the other catchment users such as other municipalities and the agricultural sector, that an interim adjustment is fully justified and appropriate at this stage.

The City will thus move from the current Level 6B restricts to Level 5 restrictions as from 1 October 2018. A further reassessment of future adjustments will be made once the DWS makes a ruling for the new hydrological year or advises on an interim relaxation.

 

The key elements of Level 5 restrictions are as follows:

  • An increase in the personal water use limit from 50 litres per person per day to 70 litres per person per day
  • A resetting of the overall City water usage target from 450 million litres per day to 500 million litres per day
  • A relaxation of restrictions for commercial and industrial water users from a 45% to a 40% usage reduction
  • A lowering of tariffs to Level 5 tariffs:

Residential tariffs (excluding VAT)

  • 0 – 6 kL: Down 26,6% from R28,90/kL to R21,19/k
  • 6 – 10,5 kL: Down 25% from R46/kL to R34,43/kL
  • 10 – 35 kL : Down 56% from R120,27/kL to R52,39/kL
  • Above 35 kL: Down 70% from R1 000/kL to R300/kL

Commercial and Industrial tariffs

  • Down 18% from R45,75/kL to R37,50/kL

There is a similar reduction in sanitation tariffs.

During the worst period of the crisis, the City made a compact with our businesses and residents. Together, we agreed to do absolutely everything in our power to get Cape Town through this extreme situation but we can only do so with assistance from all of our customers.

We beat the drought together. It is essential that an appropriate relaxation of restrictions takes place not only so that economic activity can be improved, but also so that water tariffs can be relaxed from the current high levels to give the necessary tariff relief to households and businesses in recognition of the great sacrifices that have been made.

Much work is planned over the next few years to augment the City’s water supply. Our water conservation awareness and demand management will continue as always.

We are situated in a water-scarce region. At the moment, we will still rely on our dams to provide the majority of our water.

Given the unpredictable nature of our rainfall, it is imperative that we diversify our supply for the future, and entrench the water-saving mind-set we have cultivated over the past year.

Note to editors:

Interlinkage between restriction levels and tariffs

  • The City does not budget to make a profit on the sale of water.
  • Restriction levels are linked to dam levels, and restriction tariffs are linked to the volume of water used by Cape Town
  • This means that if the restriction level is reduced, individual water usage is expected to increase as the tariff decreases which enables the City to repair and maintain the water infrastructure

Please see http://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/City%20research%20reports%20and%20review/Water%20Outlook%202018%20July%202018.pdf for additional information.

Please also visit the City’s website for full tariff details.

 

Mutual Agreement: Leadership of the DA government in the City of Cape Town

I am pleased to announce today that the DA and Patricia de Lille have reached a mutual agreement which resolves the question of the leadership of the DA government in Cape Town.

This has been a long and difficult journey. This matter has already gone on for too long, and has sapped the energies and attentions of both parties from our core work, for which we apologise.

We were both desirous of finding a mutually agreeable resolution, and we have now done so. I am confident that this outcome is in the best interests of the people of Cape Town.

Patricia de Lille has agreed to resign the office of Mayor, effective 31 October 2018.

This is an opportunity for the City of Cape Town DA caucus to take stock, to regroup and to unite. The process to elect a new Mayor will begin immediately, with more details available in due course.

The DA has taken a decision to withdraw all internal disciplinary charges against Patricia de Lille.

Any other investigations by the City are not covered by this agreement.

As a party that prides itself on clean government, we were obliged to consider all allegations levelled against Ms De Lille. It is never easy to take action against one of your own. But I am confident that, throughout this painful period, we have acted in the best interests of the citizens we serve.

This agreement is an opportunity to close a difficult chapter in our history and to open a new one. We will continue to put the people first in all we do.

The DA acknowledges that the Mayor has led the DA’s government in the City of Cape Town since 2011, and has for the most part done so with distinction. The team she has led has achieved four clean audits and has helped the City of Cape Town to its pre-eminent position as the leading metro in South Africa. She has been a colleague, friend and loyal member of the DA for nearly a decade.

We are pleased that this agreement opens the way for her to remain as a member of the DA.

Cape Town train crisis: More resources needed to keep passengers and infrastructure safe

Today the Democratic Alliance conducted an oversight inspection at the Cape Town Train Station to survey the damage to trains that was caused by the vandalism this past weekend. The burnt carriages were a reminder that the trains are not safe to use by commuters.

The DA-led Western Cape and City of Cape Town have gone above and beyond to provide additional safety measures for passengers, it is now up to national government to support our efforts by providing additional resources.

Earlier this week the City of Cape Town announced the approval of an additional 100 rail enforcement officers who will focus on the safety and security of Metrorail commuters and infrastructure.

Despite the effort of the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Provincial Government to provide more safety and security, the Railway Safety Regulator raised the issue of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) operating without valid safety permits. This is serious violation of our citizen’s right to use public transport safely. The fact that a public service like PRASA, which is supposed to help people with their daily commute, is unable to ensure that its service is safe to use is shocking.

Under a DA national government we would delegate the safety of train infrastructure, commuters and staff to the metro government as clearly the current government is unable to properly manage and operate the rail system.

The safety of our people is the number one priority and should be the focus of all efforts towards a functioning rail system. We call on national government to deploy additional resources to the Western Cape so that we can provide people with better and safer trains.

De Lille dishonest about not receiving ‘Steenhuisen’ report

Repeated claims by Ms Patricia de Lille that she was never provided with a copy of the ‘Steenhuisen’ report are simply untrue.

The report was sent to her on 11 December 2017 at 08:05 and she responded to the DA on 13 December 2017 at 08:01. It is, therefore, a blatant untruth that she has not been provided with a copy of it.

The report is also a matter of public record as it was submitted to the Western Cape High Court. Ms de Lille should know this as she is fully aware of the case number of her court application and therefore should have access to the report through the court if she is having difficulty locating it in her email inbox.

For ease of reference, the report can be accessed here.

Ms de Lille has also repeatedly stated that she wants the names of the whistleblowers who gave testimony at the enquiry. The DA is of the opinion that these individuals are we are protected under Protected Disclosures Amendment Act, which seeks to prevent any intimidation.

This is vital as Ms de Lille has already publicly attacked and sought to intimidate two whistleblowers in the City of Cape Town.

Ms de Lille has also claimed that the DA missed the deadline to submit our answering affidavit. What she has conveniently omitted is that the deadline she refers to is the one set by herself by when she wanted the DA to submit this affidavit.  The High Court Uniform Rules provide that an affidavit must be lodged within 20 days.  She demanded that we submit the affidavit within four court days.  We filed within eleven days, well within the limit.

We continuously reminded her of the Rules and that her Application must be postponed to the opposed roll like any other matter. Again, she chose to ignore the Court rules and process. Only this morning she agreed with us despite our team writing to her as many as 3 times before today

The internal enquiry was established last year to investigate obvious political tensions in the Cape Town Caucus as well as a growing list of substantive complaints about the nature and style of the Mayor’s internal leadership. It was chaired by John Steenhuisen, and other members included, DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, DA Free State Provincial Leader Patricia Kopane and Councillor Karen Smith.

The findings of the enquiry cannot be taken lightly and found that Ms De Lille has failed in her duties and responsibilities, has brought the Party into disrepute and her actions were detrimental to internal co-operation within the party. Specifically:

  • Evidence of deep divisions within the caucus of the City of Cape Town exist. These divisions were shown to have been a result of Ms De Lille’s leadership style which is overwhelmingly viewed as unnecessarily autocratic, divisive and misaligned to democratic principles of openness and tolerance;
  • The organisational restructuring led by Ms De Lille appears to have been used in certain instances to remove experienced officials in the City, with a view to replacing them with officials whose loyalty to her was prized over all else;
  • Decision making structures had been stripped of powers and functions, seemingly with a view to centralise overwhelming power in Ms De Lille, undercutting the authority and democratically enshrined role of the Mayoral committee, portfolio committees and sub-councils, as well as the DA’s commitment to bringing government as close to the people as possible;
  • It appears that the Ms De Lille interfered with and manipulated appointments at a senior management level within the City and some of its entities; and

It is most unfortunate that Ms de Lille continues to put her own interests of the people of Cape Town.

Despite this, the DA will continue to prioritise the people of Cape Town and to deliver services and clean governance.

DA remains committed to serving the people of Cape Town

Please find attached soundbites in Setswana, isiXhosa and isiZulu by DA National Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi MP, and in English and Afrikaans by DA Deputy Chairperson of Federal Legal Council, Natasha Mazzone MP.

The Western Cape High Court will today deliver judgement on Ms De Lille’s case against the Democratic Alliance.  Regardless the outcome of the court judgment, we will always seek to place the needs of the people of Cape Town first.

Under different circumstances, any leader with any sense of accountability to the people the City serves, would have done the honourable thing and resigned after numerous serious allegations against her and the loss of confidence of her own caucus.

Instead, Ms De Lille has hung on to power, refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing on her part and sought to use the courts to prevent being held to account. She has – in true Jacob Zuma style- sought to use public money to defend a matter which is between her and her political party.

The reality is there are a number of very important questions which Ms De Lille has failed to answer.

Most of these require simply a yes or no answer yet she sought to try and confuse the public by deflecting the answers.

These questions are:

  • Did she send the SMS to Councilor Xanthea Limberg asking that the then City Manager be scored higher because ‘she wants to keep him’? Yes or No?
  • Did she unduly influence the appointment of Limia Essop because she has a personal relationship with her? Yes or No?
  • Why did she refuse to cooperate with the on-going Bowman’s investigation which seeks to investigate these issues in the City, and which she loudly professed earlier this year she would easily refute?
  • Why did she publicly attack and seek to intimidate the two whistle-blowers in the City, including the Cities’ most senior managers, when the claims they made have been vindicated by numerous processes?
  • Why did she seek to protect and shield the now suspended senior official Melissa Whitehead?

The DA’s main priority remains delivering to and serving the people of the City of Cape Town.

DA-led Western Cape has created 487 000 jobs

The Lansdowne Bottling Company (LBC) that I visited today is not simply a bottling company. It is an institution in Cape Town that continues to be successfully owned and managed by the Patel family who founded the company 84 years ago.  The Patel family’s bottling operation can be traced from the origin of their Marshall Bros product in 1934 District Six to its Salt River expansion and eventual acquisition of the over 20 000 square metre plant bottling its signature “Double O” and “Co-ee” soft drinks in Lansdowne.

This company has played a leading role in the DA-led Western Cape government’s “Energy Security Game Changer” which aims to bring down the demand for energy by the industrial sector in the province by 10% by 2020. By going green they have joined many other businesses in benefitting from the DA-led City of Cape Town’s Renewable Energy Feed In Tariff (REFIT) programme.

The company’s decision to implement a 260KW solar system in 2015 has seen them become less reliant on Eskom and lowered their cost of energy. These savings have allowed LBC to focus on their core business, growing it exponentially and creating new jobs. In this time, they’ve expanded to a work force of 85 employees. They’ve now achieved green building status, and by encouraging others to embrace solar, there are now more renewable energy companies and many more new jobs in this growing green energy industry that is forecast to be worth R75 billion in the province by 2035.

And even after the worst drought in recorded history, the Western Cape continues to see the highest year-on-year employment increase over the past year with 123 000 nett new jobs created. Which is 75% of all jobs created in the entire country in the past year.

Since 2009 when the DA was elected in the Western Cape, 487 000 nett new jobs have been created by the DA-led Western Cape government. That is why unemployment in the Western Cape is the lowest in the country, and that is why only 1% of unemployed people in the province are “discouraged” work seekers who have given up looking for work. People who live in DA-governments know that there is more hope of finding work, and more opportunity for work for everyone.

This is the best demonstration of what the DA will do if elected to govern in other provinces. By governing well and attracting investment, the economy grows and hundreds of thousands of new jobs are created. In the 9 years we have governed the Western Cape, we have expanded opportunity to more than half a million people who were previously excluded from the economy.

The DA’s fight will always be for the 9.5 million people who do not have jobs or have given up looking for jobs in South Africa. The 487 000 people who now have jobs in the Western Cape are testament to this commitment to put the people of South Africa first.

Enforcement unit on the way to protect Metrorail commuters

The City of Cape Town in conjunction with Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), and the Western Cape Government are teaming up to ensure that Metrorail commuters are kept safe. These agencies have forged a partnership and formed an enforcement unit whose primary focus will be safety and security of Metrorail commuters and infrastructure.    

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron said, the ultimate goal is to address safety and security issues in order to stabilize the urban rail service in the short term.

The unit will be operational within the next two to three months.

‘It will consist of at least a hundred members and will focus on commuter safety as well as vandalism and the theft of crucial Metrorail infrastructure and assets.

–       Mayoral Committee Member, Cllr Brett Herron.

 

‘This initiative will support and assist in expediting our PRASA plans to professionalize and transform our own Protection Services Department to a more effective, better skilled and equipped transit-oriented unit to combat crime.

–       Cape Town Regional Manager, Richard Walker.

You can read the full story here