Let us vote for our hopes, not our fears

These words written by Sankomota three decades ago could have been written for us today.

Heyi wena Afrika

Kgale o dutse hae

Tsamaya lo ipatlela tsa bophelo

Tsoha o iketsetse.

Vuka baba, vuka

Life has been passing you by

Follow your star, it’s now or never

Hayi, you’ve got to make it better

Africa rise. South Africa rise.

We have a date with destiny. We have, before us, a moment described so well by Winston Churchill. We’ve been tapped on the shoulder and asked to do something great – something fitted to our talents.

This is our moment in history. It’s now or never.

Fellow South Africans,

Let me begin by sending my deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the devastating floods that swept through KZN and parts of the Eastern Cape.

This was a stark reminder of how close we are to the edge. We dare not ignore these red flags on climate change any longer.

Fellow Democrats,

What a wonderful sight this is here in Dobsonville today! If you want to know how far we have come as a party, just look around you.

The incredible energy here tells me one thing: We have the momentum. We are ready to bring change!

The DA is bigger and stronger than ever before. We are more diverse than ever before. We govern in more places than ever before.

We are united in our mission of building one South Africa for all.

The DA is the only party for all South Africans, and you will find us everywhere, from Durban to Dobsonville, from Chatsworth to Carletonville, and from Motherwell to Mitchells Plain.

We are young and old, black and white. We are Christian, Muslim, Jewish and non-believers.

We are men and women, gay and straight. We’re in cities, we’re in villages and we’re on farms.

Street by street, ward by ward, town by town, we are turning this country blue. And it is thanks to people like you: our blue wave of activists, volunteers and advocates for change.

Thank you to our staff members. Thank you to our public reps. Thank you to those who serve in our many governments.

Thank you to the thousands of men and women who put on the blue T-shirt every week and go out there to tell the DA story.

Thank you for your bravery. I know that challenging the status quo is never easy, but you are proving our critics and the pollsters wrong.

Thanks to you, millions of South Africans already wake up every day under a DA government.

You are the reason we’re going to bring change to the Northern Cape.

You are the reason we are going to bring change to Gauteng.

You are the reason we can retain the Western Cape and challenge the ANC nationally.

You are the reason we will ultimately choose a better future for South Africa.

I thank you, and our country thanks you.

I personally want to thank my family, and my Lord and Saviour who has protected me throughout this time.

Fellow South Africans,

On Wednesday we have an appointment with history. An appointment we must honour, because there is so much at stake.

It is a moment that comes round once every five years, when citizens are called upon to do something great.

I know South Africans are scared about the future. All of us – black and white, young and old – are worried about what tomorrow will bring.

We worry about the country we’re leaving for our children. We worry about what opportunities there might be for them one day. We worry if they will be safe.

As a nation we worry more than most, and we have good reason to.

We also have good reason to feel disappointed. To feel let down by the people who were meant to deliver and protect our freedom.

One can’t help but wonder how the generation that sacrificed so much for our freedom throughout the struggle would feel about how things turned out today.

How would they feel about the R1.2 trillion that was stolen during state capture?

How would they feel about all the waste and excess – the wealth and the cars and the VIP bodyguards – that were claimed like some kind of reward?

Just think how different South Africa could have looked today if it weren’t for this greed.

Think about our children who go to school hungry, only to sit in crowded classrooms where teachers either can’t teach, or simply don’t turn up for work.

Think about the girls who drop out of school because they cant afford sanitary towels.

These children will have nothing to show for twelve years of schooling. Half of them won’t even write matric. Their future was stolen before it even began.

Think about the 57 people who are murdered here every single day. Farmers and farm workers, brutally killed.

Or the 110 women who report that they have been raped, not to mention the hundreds that don’t report it.

Our homes have become prisons, whilst the criminals sit at home.

Think about children and mothers sleeping on hospital floors.

Think about 144 mental health patients who died at the hands of their government at Esidimeni.

Think about 34 striking miners who were shot down and killed by the hand of their government at Marikana.

Think about all the men and women in our cities, towns and villages who have no hope of finding a job. That number is almost 10 million, and it grows every day.

Think about the millions of homes without a single income. Homes where there is often nothing to eat because the month is just too long for a tiny social grant.

Four out of every ten homes must live like this.

I have seen this in many provinces. Over the past few months I travelled to every corner of South Africa, and I witnessed the best and the worst of our country.

I met incredible people committed to building our country into something truly great, but I also saw the despair that poverty brings. And I saw this in far too many places.

I met a woman in Douglas in the Northern Cape who told me she has been hungry for as far as she can remember. She had nothing to eat in her house.

It was heart-breaking, but she represents half of our country. Over 50% of our people live below the poverty line, and this number is getting bigger.

We are on borrowed time in this country, using borrowed money. But all things borrowed eventually run out.

We will run out of diesel at the end of the elections, and the lights will go out.

And we will certainly run out of money at a growth rate of just 0.8%.

Life is getting hard for citizens. Vat is up, fuel is up and the cost of living is going up.

We are in deep trouble. We‘re beyond the point where we can say, your side of the boat is leaking”. All of us are now drowning.

Fellow South Africans,

I am angry. I am angry that the very people who were elected to lead us, ended up stealing from us. And what’s most offensive is that they stole from the poor.

They took the money that was meant to make life liveable for our most vulnerable citizens, and stuck it in their pockets.

The ANC were once the leaders in the struggle for freedom, but today they stand directly in the way of freedom for millions of South Africans.

They were once a movement, but today they are a monument – a mere relic of the past.

They were once our liberators, but today we need to be liberated from them.

That is why I’m angry.

And now they’ve elected a leader who wants you to believe he has just arrived in time to save us. But he was there all along.

Cyril Ramaphosa was there, as Deputy President, when the state was looted.

He was there when Zuma and the Guptas were protected in vote after vote after vote. His name is recorded in these votes as one of those who betrayed us.

This is a man who has taken no action against those in his party responsible for the Esidimeni deaths.

This is a man who called on the police to take action against mineworkers striking for a living wage. The next day 34 of them were killed.

This is a man who watched the looting of Eskom and Prasa, while he was tasked with fixing these institutions.

This is a man who took bribe money from Bosasa, and allowed his son to take their money too.

He wants a country where all things are nationalised – healthcare, the Reserve Bank, pension funds. I see the coalition towards this is strong. They are already offering each other cabinet posts.

Cyril Ramaphosa is no saviour. He is part of the ANC that caused so much despair and suffering these past 25 years. And now they want another five years to loot.

Is this what we want for our country? Or do we want a different outcome?

Because that is the simple choice that lies before us: We can either choose five more years of corruption and empty promises, or we can change.

We can either choose a future no different to our present, or we can choose a future with at least one job in every home, food on every table and opportunities for our children.

I know my answer to this: We need change, and we need it now.

But, fellow South Africans, here’s the thing about change: It is never easy. It’s uncomfortable. It can be scary.

Change requires us to leave behind everything we’ve become used to and step into a place we’ve never been before. It asks us to take the road less travelled.

We are told, by those who want to hold on to power, that we must fear change. They tell us change will paralyze our country.

They tell us coalitions don’t work. They tell us to mistrust each other. They tell us that our problem in this country is our different races.

They want us to fear change so that we keep things as they are. But we dare not listen to them.

We need to find, within ourselves, something stronger than fear. And that is hope and bravery. Hope to see a better tomorrow, and the bravery to march towards it.

If South Africans had been driven by fear in the past, then Apartheid would still be in place. But people were driven by hope instead. And so they showed courage and they opted for change.

Our moment of courage is now.

Maya Angelou once said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

If we want to undergo our own transformation as a country into something better – something more beautiful and more fair – then we have to be prepared to go through this change ourselves.

It is a normal and necessary part of any democracy.

And while I know it’s scary, this change has already begun.

We are no longer the South Africa of 1994. Our country has changed. And parties have also changed – some for the better, and some for the worst.

I am extremely proud of the DA’s growth over the past 25 years.

We went from a small party to an opposition party, and then a party of government.

Growing from just 1.7% in 1994 to a party that governed four metros after the 2016 election has allowed us to touch the lives of millions of South Africans with our brand of clean, honest government.

In this time we also changed to reflect the incredible diversity of our country.

Today you will find the DA in every community, fighting for the rights of all South Africans.

You will also find us at the heart of coalition governments, as we build a strong centre in South African politics, free from the divisions of the past.

The DA represents the future of our changing nation. We may not be perfect, but we’re honest, we work hard and we have a plan to completely reform our country.

It has been shown that 15 of the 20 best-run municipalities in South Africa are governed by the DA.

Fellow South Africans, this is the change I hope for:

I want to reform our politics so that people of all races can work together towards one goal, instead of retreating back into separate corners.

It’s not a choice between different flags; it’s only one. One South Africa for all.

Ours must be a country where the rights of minorities are defended by the majority. Because our project is no longer freedom fighting, but freedom protecting and enhancing.

I want to reform our economy so that we can break down the walls between the insiders and the outsiders.

I want every home to have at least one job. That way all South Africans will have the dignity of an income, and there will be food on every table, every day.

We can’t have our children become pensioners who leave school only to sit around the house living off someone’s pension.

I want to reform our government to make it efficient and honest. Because the one we have now with its massive cabinet and its bloated SOEs will bankrupt us.

I want provinces to run police and passenger rail services. And I want cities to stand at the forefront of economic growth.

Smaller, more local and more transparent – that’s the government I want.

And I want to reform our society so that we value life and family and community once more.

I want people to live close to work opportunities, so that migrant labour doesn’t tear families apart.

I want girls to finish school. I want our mothers and our sisters to be safe from abuse at home. I want all who live with HIV to have access to medicine. And I want child grants to increase so that they can sustain our children.

That is what this country will look like under a DA government, and I am proud to say we are ready to deliver this. We have grown into this role.

The DA has changed, and for the better.

But now you need to change too.

You need to be brave and perhaps do something you haven’t done before when you go to vote on Wednesday.

Because I’ll tell you this about bravery: It always pays off. Sometimes not immediately. Sometimes only for a next generation. But it is always rewarded.

Our hero, Caster Semenya, has had to be very brave throughout her athletics career. She’s had to put up with the kind of humiliation and suffering that we can hardly imagine. But she has remained strong.

And one day, 20 years from now, we won’t be discussing the IAAF and its rulings. We will be discussing the fact that little girls can compete freely – that they can be who they are and run where they want to. Thanks to her bravery.

Our history is full of brave people who paved the way for others to live better lives.

Helen Suzman’s bravery in Parliament, where she was a lone voice for many years, made life better for South Africans.

Rosa Parks’s bravery on that bus in Alabama 64 years ago changed American society forever.

It takes guts to be one of the first to stand up for change.

I know there are many of you here today who know exactly what I’m talking about.

But we can’t let this weaken our resolve. We must stand tall and let the world know that we care about our country, and that’s why we choose change.

We will not be guided by the fear that makes us stick with what we know. We will be guided by our hope for a better tomorrow.

My fellow South Africans, our hope in this country – our only hope – lies with the DA.

But in choosing the DA, I don’t expect anyone’s loyalty for life. I’m not even asking you to like the DA.

I’m only asking you to give change a chance.

I’m asking you to lend us your vote for the next five years. That’s it. Five years at a time.

When we reach the end of this period, judge us. See if we did the things we said we’d do.

If so, then lend us your vote again for another five years. But if we didn’t – if it turns out we broke our promises to you – then fire us again.

Your vote is your power, but only if you use it right.

Your vote cannot simply be an expression of who you are: your race, your language, your culture or your religion.

It has to be an expression of what you want for your country, for your future and for your children.

Your vote has to say: I will not be abused by anyone, even if it is a party I love. I will not allow them to take away the future of my children. I will be brave and I will choose change.”

So I want to propose a deal today – a contract with you. In return for your vote, I pledge that a DA-led government will do these things:

We will put an end to the corruption that has ruined our country and betrayed our people. Any politician or official found guilty will go to jail for 15 years.

We will lift our failed economy back into real growth. Not the ANC’s best-case scenario of 1% or 1.5%, but proper, sustained growth that will create millions of jobs.

We will cut the size of the state, reduce the cabinet by half, and trim away all the luxuries that this ANC government has become used to, so that we can increase child grants to living grants.

The days of living like kings at the expense of the people will be over.

We will transform the South African Police Service into a well-trained, well-equipped and highly motivated crime fighting unit. People will be safe in their streets once more.

We will defend our Constitution against anyone who seeks to destroy it.

We will defend every right contained in it, for every single South African. Including the right to own property, as we have already done in Johannesburg, Tshwane and the Western Cape, where more people are now land owners under the DA.

We will uphold the Rule of Law. This means one set of laws for all.

No matter if you’re the president, the president’s son, a cabinet minister or a wealthy businessman or woman, if you commit a crime you will face the consequences.

Unlike this government who sends their guilty to parliament instead of jail. I say let’s use our votes to put them in prison, not parliament.

We will cherish the young people in our country and make it our top priority to give them a future worth living for.

This means fixing education, fighting drugs and gangs, and opening every possible door of opportunity for them.

And we will never, ever divide the people of this country and mobilise them against each other.

We will never return to the days of “us and them”. Our South Africa will be inclusive, unified and strong.

That’s my pledge to you. That’s my side of the contract. In return, I will need your vote.

This is not a popularity contest. It’s not a pageant. This about competence. I’m not asking you to marry me, I’m merely asking you to employ a government with a proven track record.

If I dishonour this contract, then you have every right to walk away from it. Then you have every right to fire the DA. But let us first prove to you that we can do this job.

Because I know we can. I have no doubt that the DA can turn South Africa around.

We have already done so wherever we’ve had the opportunity to put together a government and implement our policies.

Without fail, DA governments in towns, in metros and in provinces have proven that we are the only party that gets things done.

We are the only party that brings real, tangible change to people’s lives.

We are the only party committed to building capable and honest governments.

And we are the only party that can put a job in every home.

That is all that matters when you go to make your mark on Wednesday.

We have to choose change, or we will lose everything we once thought possible for our country.

I know this is hard for those who have only ever known one party. I was in that position too once. But looking back now, embracing change was the best thing I ever did.

We stand on the shoulders of those who turned against liberation movements and chose change.

I read a quote the other day that said: Great things never come from comfort zones.”

We need to step out of our comfort zone if we want great things for our country.

We must look to the future when we make our choice on Wednesday.

We must think of our children when we make our choice on Wednesday.

But above all, we must be brave when we make our choice on Wednesday.

I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.

Let us remove this ANC government in Gauteng.

Let us remove them in the Northern Cape.

We can even do so nationally if everyone who supports the DA turns out to vote.

Let’s go and write the first chapter of our new story.

Let’s use our democracy the way it was meant to be used.

Let’s vote for our hopes, not our fears.

Let us be brave and give change a chance. We must all turn out. All voters.

O dutse o phuthile matsoho.

Afrika, hayi hale!

O re o shebile dintho tsa mahala.

You gonna wait forever!

O phutile matsoho,

O shebile banna ha ba sebetsa,

We ma!

We cant now gare phute matsoho.

This is your moment.

Let us live and strive for freedom in South Africa our land!

Amandla!

Honour the ANC as a monument, but vote DA as a government

TMy fellow South Africans,

On the eve of this historic election, each of us stands before a choice that will either take our country forward towards a bright future, or drag us even further back towards poverty, unemployment and despair.

We must choose between a forward-looking DA government with a bold plan to turn our country around, or another five years under this ANC government with its crippling corruption and its policies from a time the rest of the world has already forgotten.

That is our choice on 8 May.

For many of you this will mean voting for a different party next week. It will mean turning your back on the party of the struggle – the party of your parents – and choosing a government that you might not have thought possible a few years ago.

I know this is not easy. For many of you, the ANC is like family – it’s almost part of your identity. But that party doesn’t exist any longer. The ANC that was formed right here in this little church more than a century ago, and that spearheaded our struggle for liberation, has long since been replaced by a greedy and corrupt gang that is slowly bleeding our country dry.

On Wednesday the fuel price will go up by another 54c per litre. Well over a third of that is made up of taxes. Consider that back in 1993 the ANC waged a campaign against what they called the “ill-considered and uncaring decision” to increase the petrol price. They said the government of the day did not “have the interests of the majority of South Africans, who are poor and struggling desperately to make ends meet, at heart.”

Yet they have consistently increased the fuel price, and particularly the tax component over the past decade. The ANC of today does not care about poor South Africans. They only care about funding their own corruption and mismanagement.

Take a look at those faces that you can just about make out on these cooling towers behind us. Those were the leaders of a very different ANC. And there is a bitter significance to the sorry state of this artwork. Just as those murals have been allowed by the ANC to fade and peel, leaving behind just traces of these icons, the party itself has been reduced to something barely recognisable from its former self.

I’m sure it must have been with great pride that this artwork was placed up there. These leaders were a source of inspiration not only to the party, but to many South Africans who weren’t necessarily committed to the ANC.

But ask yourself, which of the ANC leaders of today would be worthy of a ten-storey mural like this? If the ANC had to honour its recent generation on these towers, would we see the face of David Mabuza up there? Would we see Ace Magashule? Jacob Zuma? Gwede Mantashe? Jessie Duarte?

I think we all know the answer to these questions. Even the ANC itself would be too embarrassed to put their faces up there.

But what about Cyril Ramaphosa, I hear you say. I know some of you might feel that at least he is worthy of a memorial. But let’s talk for a moment about President Cyril Ramaphosa. Because there are some things about him that people seem to be uncomfortable discussing.

As much as he’d like you to believe he just arrived on the scene a year ago and had nothing to do with the plunder of our state or its ongoing cover-up, there are facts that tell a very different story.

It is a fact that Cyrirl Ramaphosa was Deputy President throughout the entire last term of the Zuma administration. During this time he voted, time and time again, to shield Zuma from accountability and keep him installed as President. Only when it was clear that Zuma was heading for a fall, did he speak out against him for the first time ever.

It is a fact that, despite all evidence of the Arms Deal corruption, the Nkandla corruption, the Bosasa corruption and the Gupta corruption being out there in the open and known to all, Cyril Ramaphosa did nothing about this. His claim that he was unaware of it all is laughable.

It is a fact that Cyril Ramaphosa, in his role as Lonmin board member, urged police to take “concomitant action” against the striking mine workers at Marikana, calling their actions “dastardly criminal”. The next day, police shot and killed 34 of these workers.

It is a fact that Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed Chair of the Interministerial Committee on State-Owned Enterprises at the start of his term as Deputy President in 2014. It was literally his job to oversee the turnaround of our struggling SOEs like Eskom and Prasa. How did he then miss the brazen looting that took place there over the years that followed? And how can he take no responsibility at all for their complete financial and operational collapse during this time?

And it is a fact that Cyril Ramaphosa, along with dozens of his senior party members, received money and gifts from the corrupt Bosasa, and that his son continued to receive money from them throughout his term as president.

Those are facts.

The ANC would like you to believe the perception about Ramaphosa being an honest and accountable president, because that perception is all this once-great party has left. But we can’t deal with perceptions. We must only deal with facts. And the facts show that Cyril Ramaphosa is no different to the rest of the corrupt party he presides over.

Yesterday’s Sunday Times front page told us that 83 people, many of whom are ANC politicians and officials, are being probed by SARS for their Bosasa bribes and the tax they are liable for. It mentioned Nomvula Mokonyane, Hlaudi Mostsoeneng, Nomgcobo Jiba, Dudu Myeni and the Jacob Zuma Foundation, among others. But two names were conspicuous in their absence from this news report: President Cyril Ramaphosa and his son, Andile Ramaphosa.

We all know they received money from Bosasa. If the rest of the R75 million that Bosasa paid to ANC politicians each year were bribes, as was revealed in the Zondo Commission testimony, then it would be crazy to think that the money paid to these two was something else.

I will be writing to SARS to establish whether both Ramaphosa senior and junior are part of this 83-person investigation. If necessary, I will submit a PAIA application for this information. And if their names are not yet on the list, I will request that the SARS investigation be extended to include them as well.

One law for all South Africans. That’s what we signed up for in our Constitution. Not one law for the President and his cronies, and another law for the faction of his political enemies.

If we are to forge a new future for our country, then it is crucial that we do it right. This means honouring our Constitution. It means respecting the Rule of Law. And it means holding the President to the same standards, if not higher, than everyone else.

Fellow South Africans, 8 May is our one chance to get it right. Let us go out there and vote for the future by electing a government of the future.

Let us remember the ANC and the role they played in our country’s history. Let us preserve sites like this one here at the Wesleyan Church, and let us restore and preserve murals such as these ones on the towers here. Because they are our history, and this is important.

But that’s all this ANC is now – history. Over the course of their 25 years in office, they have gone from Movement to Monument.

Next week we must put them in the museum, and we must put the DA in government. That would be the very best thing we all could do for our country.

That would allow us to finally start building the country we all want to live in – One South Africa for all.

If you want to bring change, make sure you’re on the voter’s roll

The following remarks were made today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the launch of  the DA’s 2019 Registration Poster in Soweto, Gauteng. Maimane was joined by DA Gauteng Premier Candidate Solly Msimanga, DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, Team One SA Gauteng Members, and Group Political Champion, Makashule Gana.

Fellow South Africans,

As we celebrate the start of a brand new year, we must think ahead and decide for ourselves what we want from 2019.

It’s going to be a massively important year for South Africa as we head to the polls for the sixth time as a democracy. Each of us must use the next five months to think very carefully about the South Africa we want for ourselves and our children, and how we can get there.

Fellow South Africans, we have our destiny in our hands. We can put South Africa on a new road.

Your vote can change the course of your province too, and it is particularly here in Gauteng where we have the potential to bring about big change.

This is going to be the most closely contested province in the country, and victory for a DA-led provincial Gauteng government is certainly within our reach. Just think what that will mean for education, for healthcare and for the economic development of this great province.

We can win Gauteng, but to do so, every single DA supporter must register to vote.

And then, when we go to vote, the ballot paper will show a whole lot of new parties, many of which will be trying to ride the destructive wave of populism created by the ANC and the EFF. We cannot allow the populists to succeed. We must ensure that our DA message of “change that builds one South Africa for all” is the one that prevails.

But while we will see all these new parties on the ballot paper, our choice in May will really be far simpler. We will have to decide whether we want five more years on the road we’re on – with rising poverty, rising unemployment, rising crime and corruption that has become a way of life – or whether we want to set off on a different road.

On the one side of this choice you will find the ANC and the EFF, who are essentially the same thing since the ruling party outsourced its policy to the EFF. They represent greater control by the state over everything, less freedom in our economy and the same corruption that has brought our country to its knees.

They represent the threat to our Constitution, the threat to property rights and the threat to our struggling economy.

On the other side of the choice is the DA. Here you will find policies that will free up our economy, which means more investment, more trade and more jobs. You will also find a zero tolerance for corruption, which means clean, accountable government.

That is the simplicity of our choice as a nation. I know the ANC/EFF coalition of corruption will try to focus you on the past, but our country needs a government that looks ahead, towards the future. Election 2019 has to be about South Africa’s future.

And while we may still have five months before we cast our votes, the battle has already begun. One of the most important steps towards change is making sure voters are actually registered. That is where half the battle for real change is won.

Consider that in the last national election in 2014, 7.3 million voting-age South Africans were not registered to vote. That’s almost a quarter of all voters who had no say in how our country is run. Just imagine if all those people had cast their vote, how differently things could have turned out.

Don’t let the opportunity to register pass you by. The final registration weekend is set to take place on the 26th and 27th of January. If you are a first-time voter, or not yet registered, make sure you visit the voting station in your voting district between 8am and 5pm on both the Saturday and Sunday with either your green ID book, your smartcard ID or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate.

And spread the word among all your friends and family. This is your only chance to influence the future of your country. Make sure you use it.

We can win in Gauteng, and we can change this province for the good. Ten years ago we were in the same position in the Western Cape. We knew we could pull off a victory, but we also knew it would be close. The people of the Western Cape came out in their numbers and put their faith in a DA government back in 2009.

Today the Western Cape is, by far, the biggest creator of jobs in South Africa. It has the best healthcare, the best basic education, the cleanest government and the best track record on land reform. That’s what you get in a DA government, and that’s what we can bring to Gauteng too.

Each of you can play a part in delivering a caring, accountable government to Gauteng and to South Africa. But first, your name has to be on the voter’s roll.

So let’s go and register to win before we go out in May and vote to win.

Constitutional Review Committee recommendations a complete farce

This statement follows a joint-opposition press conference at Parliament by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Congress of the People (COPE), Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). 

Today, in a convenient coalition, the ANC, NFP and EFF voted to take land rights away from South Africans and decided to use their majority to recommend that Parliament should amend Section 25 to allow for land expropriation without compensation. The Democratic Alliance (DA), the Congress of the People (COPE), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) oppose this amendment and voted against the adoption of the Constitutional Review Committee’s flawed report.

The vote on expropriation without compensation allows government the perfect cover to avoid having to explain their rank failure over the past two decades to take land reform seriously.

That is why the ANC has adopted it with such enthusiasm when they voted against it last year.

From the outset, the ANC has sought to undermine the work and processes of the Committee in an attempt to expedite their electioneering tactics.

We are of the view that the Parliamentary process was merely a formality and that the adoption of this report was in fact a forgone conclusion.

The Opposition does not oppose land reform, we oppose the amendment of the Constitution.

We want to make it unequivocally clear that we are committed to redressing the violent history of land dispossession in this country.

The land issue is a delicate and sensitive one. It is indeed a social justice imperative which all South African must rally around.

Sadly, the land issue has been used by some political parties as a political gimmick to score cheap political points and to further deepen the divisions in our society.

South Africa requires a land policy which empowers and supports black beneficiaries of land reform through the adequate funding of programmes and genuine commitment from government. Changing the Constitution will not do this.

South Africa does not have a Constitutional problem, we have an ANC problem.

The Constitution is not the barrier to land reform, but corruption, constrained budgets and a lack of political will on the part of the ruling ANC have contributed to the delays in land redistribution process.

The ANC and the EFF have essentially pushed this report through the Committee, despite errors in procedure that have been willfully committed by the Committee and some of its members.

The Opposition is of the view that the final report is flawed as integral parts of the report are yet to be finalised.

All submissions should be treated equally, and the Committee failed in its duty to include all valid submissions as this was not done for written submission in the process. Hundreds of thousands of written submissions were arbitrarily disregarded and access to all submissions was limited. The committee has thus not engaged, meaningfully or at all, with the contents of the written submissions.

While the CRC’s public hearings were still underway, President Ramaphosa pre-empted the outcome of the process with his late-night announcement that expropriation without compensation would proceed regardless. This had the effect of silencing those not yet heard by the committee. Additionally, the public hearings were characterised by high levels of intimidation and bullying with incidents of racial attacks on, and threats against speakers casting further doubt over the integrity of the process.

Expropriation without compensation holds a real and tangible threat not only to existing land rights of all South Africans but also threatens investment, the banking industry and food security due to the fact that “property” is not limited to land.

Expropriation without compensation does not address the real constraints in land reform. Other constraints including increasing evidence of corruption by officials, the diversion of the land reform budget to elites, lack of political will, inefficiency  and lack of training and capacity have proved to be the real stumbling blocks to land reform.

The current Constitutional provisions adequately allows for progressive land reform, restitution and the protection of tenure security and land rights. Successful land reform doesn’t require amending the Constitution.

Other mechanisms and legislative measures have not been exhausted.  Parliament through the failed leadership of the ANC has not enacted appropriate legislation to lend effect to constitutional provisions that currently exist.

South Africa suffers from a history of systematic exclusion of black people from land ownership, facilitated by discriminatory laws. The effect of this dispossession was to destroy the intergenerational wealth creation potential of black families, and to leave many South Africans without legally protected ownership of land. It is a betrayal of these communities that the real issues in land reform is not going to be addressed by the failing ANC and their enablers.

Victims of Crime Survey reveals South Africans are rapidly losing trust in SAPS

The most recent Victims of Crime Survey, released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) today, reveal that South Africans are now losing trust in the South African Police Service (SAPS) at an alarming rate, and are increasingly being prevented from living their lives to the fullest by a fear of crime.

According to the report over half of South Africans fail to report incidents of housebreakings to the police because they do not believe that the police can do anything about it.

One in three South Africans are prevented from enjoying open spaces due to a fear of falling victim to a crime. This fear also prevents 17% of respondents from allowing their children to play outside, 14% of respondents from walking to town or the shops, and 11% of respondents from dressing how they want.

South Africans clearly also seem to have a complete and utter lack of faith in the SAPS’ ability to be there for them in an emergency: only a quarter of respondents now believe that the police will respond to an emergency in less than 30 minutes, while more than 1 in 10 report they don’t believe the police will arrive at all.

South Africans deserve to live in neighbourhoods that are safe, and to trust in a responsive, well-trained, honest police service. The right to freedom and security of the person, as well as to human dignity, is enshrined in our Constitution. The ANC national government has been unable to secure these fundamental rights and has proven that they are incapable of fighting crime.

The SAPS need proper equipment, training and adequate staff to protect the people, and they are not receiving these necessary resources. Our communities have become war-zones as a result of their neglect.

The DA is committed to building One South Africa for All, where the government prioritise the safety of all by ensuring the SAPS is honest and professional.

The ANC deals a double blow to the almost 10 million unemployed South Africans

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes tonight’s reckless and irresponsible announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the ANC has resolved to expropriate land without compensation and will amend the Constitution to give effect to such.

It is quite remarkable that on a day that has seen unemployment rise again to levels of a humanitarian crisis – the highest in 15 years – the ANC has decided to ramp up its efforts to undermine economic growth and job creation and play Russian roulette with the economic future of SA. This move will only serve to fuel the jobs crisis it has single-handedly created.

Successful land reform doesn’t require amending the Constitution. It requires government action. It requires eradicating corruption. And it requires economic certainty. The ANC – and President Ramaphosa – have failed in this and have failed the people of South Africa.

In countries where such reckless and populist policies have been implemented, their economies have suffered, and unemployment and poverty has skyrocketed. It appears the ANC is desperate to follow suit, and see our economy face another credit rating downgrade.

We will oppose this move in Parliament with all our might. We support land reform that makes South Africans owners and participants in a growing, thriving economy. We will never support a land policy that takes economic power away from South Africans and hands it to a corrupt government.

Our demand is for change that accelerates land reform, by ensuring more South Africans are owners of property as individuals. This is how the nation will prosper and how jobs will be created.

This ANC government is not capable of managing the real problems South Africa faces. Nor is its able to build a modern, successful and competitive economy that creates jobs. Instead it has resorted to failed policies that belong in dictatorships of failed states.

A true “stimulus package” ought to include actual reform that sees cuts to the bloated cabinet, and governance and structure reforms to State Owned Entities (SOEs).

Tonight’s announcement by the President confirms that no matter who leads it, the ANC is the same old party. The party has run out of ideas and continues to put itself first and the South African people last.

 

A Constitutional amendment will do nothing for the Gwatyu 1 500

Note to Editors: the statement the attendance of the DA Shadow Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Thandeka Mbabama MP, of the public land hearing at the Orient Theatre in East London today. Ms Mbabama was also joined by the Buffalo City Coastal Constituency Leader, Kevin Mileham MP, Enoch Mgijima Constituency Leader, Terri Stander MP, and the Chairperson of the Gwatyu Communal Property Association (CPA), Thembakazi Matsheke.

Please find pictures here, and here. Also find attached an English soundbite by Thembakazi Matsheke.

Molweni

It is great to be here in East London today to attend the third of four of the Constitutional Review Committee land hearings in the Eastern Cape. This is one of the most beautiful corners of South Africa and not far from my home.

The DA are attending this hearing to listen to and observe the will of the people. We will always champion individual land ownership, property rights for all and strongly reject any amendment to section 25 of the Constitution intended to expropriate land without compensation. It is encouraging to experience many other citizens championing the same cause here today.

None more so than the representatives of the more than 1 500 people of Gwatyu who continue to fight to own and work the land that they have lived on for over half a century. It has been more than four months since the DA became an ally in their fight for ownership of land in their own right and the winds of change are already starting to blow across their beautiful community.

While the Chairperson of the Gwatyu CPA, Thembakazi Matsheke, was speaking ahead of the hearing today, a Land Rights inquiry should be underway in Gwatyu. The Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, has ensured us of this.

But while this development is welcomed, there is no way of knowing whether the service provider is on track to deliver this report to the Department because the Minister has not yet clarified who the service provider is for the provision of the Land Rights Audit or spoken to the registration of the Gwatyu CPA. This is critical because one of the key terms of the 2016 Action Plan towards the Registration of the Gwatyu CPA that was agreed to by her predecessor was that the Gwatyu CPA would be registered within 90 days of the 2016 Budget Speech which was more than two years ago.

This is an agreement that the DA remains willing to take legal action to enforce if necessary. We will not hesitate to take legal action to compel the ANC government to secure ownership right for the people of Gwatyu.

In the two years that the Department has reneged on this commitment, the people of Gwatyu have grown restless and tired of waiting. They have always been locked out of the economy by the ANC government and so appropriately assemble under the creed of ‘nothing for us, about us, without us.’

Members of the Gwatyu CPA gave life to this creed through their submissions at the land rights hearing in Queenstown yesterday. And the Chairperson of their Executive Committee, Thembakazi Matsheke, intends to deliver a submission on behalf of the CPA at today’s hearing.

The DA are always reminded of Thembakazi’s 87-year-old father, Sdodo Matsheke, who to this day has not been given ownership of the Maties farm. He lives on this farm with Thembakazi and her six siblings, whom we had the great privilege of meeting in Gwatyu earlier this year and remain inspired by their unshakeable refusal to give up.

Our fight is for ownership because it empowers people economically and liberates them from dependence on the ANC government which has failed them since 1994, and uTat’uMatsheke since 1931. And as long as the ANC continues to spend more each year on VIP protection for politicians than on land reform, justice and land reform will remain empty promises to the Matsheke family and Gwatyu CPA.

The Constitution is a sacred document and a blue print for building our shared future. It has not failed us, the ANC government has failed us, and amending the constitution will only enable ANC government corruption to continue giving land to the connected few at the expense of the many which will never achieve justice.

Ask the beneficiaries of the 62% of all land reform projects that succeeded under DA run governments or the recipients of more than 91 000 title deeds where we govern. They will be the first to tell you that land reform is justice and the DA continues to deliver both without touching the Constitution.

Since April, we have visited Gwatyu, written to the Minister over the registration of the Gwatyu CPA and a Promotion of Access to Information Request (PAIA) for the previous Land Right inquiry. The President has been invited to join us on another visit to Gwatyu during replies to his Budget Speech and we have marched with the Gwatyu CPA to Parliament during the Minister’s Budget Speech.

If the Minister does right by her commitment, the Gwatyu beneficiaries can expect to receive the report on the Land Rights inquiry by 28 October. And while the ANC government may currently be holding the 88 farms spanning 42 000 hectares in Gwatyu, the people of Gwatyu cannot be held.

The Land Rights inquiry has the very real potential to totally change this status quo. It remains our mission for this total change to be effected for the Gwatyu 1 500.

Re-imagining South Africa must be a collective effort

The following keynote speech was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) Annual Convention in Durban, KwaZulu Natal.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

It is an honour for me to stand here this morning on a stage that so many great speakers and thinkers have held before me.

This annual convention of the South African Property Owners Association has become an important date in our country’s calendar. It gathers an incredible number of influential people who are deeply committed to the South African project. It focuses thought and it seeks to find answers, primarily relating to the property sector, but also for a much wider application in our country.

So thank you for inviting me here today to speak to you about our incredible country – about some of the challenges we face as a nation, but also about solutions. Because that’s ultimately why we do what we do. That’s why the DA exists, and that’s why I serve my country through my party.

I have a vision for South Africa. But it is a vision that will require meaningful political and economic reform.

If we want to succeed in this multi-ethnic democracy, then we are going to have to move away from the politics of identity. We will need a political system in which people express their hopes and ideals rather than their race. And to do this we will have to start focusing on the things that unite us rather than that which divides us.

I believe the DA has workable solutions to the challenges our country faces, and our mission is to invite South Africans to join us in applying these solutions, sometimes improving upon them or even replacing them with better ideas. We believe the answers to the many problems we face will come from a broad partnership that includes multiple political parties, the business community, civil society, the education sector, religious bodies and activist citizens.

Importantly, we believe that the only way to solve our problems is for us to unite as a country. Right now there are many who want to take us back to a place we must never return to. They want to divide us by race once more. They want us to mistrust each other, blame each other, target each other. They do this not because they genuinely believe we should hate one another, but because it is their strategy to retain power.

But that’s not the future of our country. We’re not destined to grow apart again. We are meant to be one nation with one common future. I am convinced the overwhelming majority of South Africans believe this too, and will ultimately see through the populist rhetoric and racial nationalism that seems to dominate our conversations these days.

But I also know we will not build this country through platitudes and rhetoric. Any talk of resurrecting our rainbow nation has to be backed up by a solid, workable plan to meet our biggest challenge head-on. And that challenge is the economic exclusion of millions and millions of our people.

There are many aspects to this challenge. There are many factors that contribute to people being shut out of the economy. But the simple reality is that if we don’t find a way to open new opportunities for a third of our working-age population, we can forget about reconciliation, we can forget about building a nation with a shared identity and we can forget about re-establishing South Africa to its rightful place on the continent and in the world.

Twenty-four years into our democracy, the people no longer care for feel-good stories and promises of a better tomorrow. They are fast running out of hope. They need to see a change in their prospects, and they need to see it soon. But we will not see real change in our society without sweeping economic reform.

I’m sure you know all the numbers by now. You see the same Stats SA reports as I do. You read the same Labour Force surveys as I do.

The generous definition of unemployment says that 27% of our people can’t find work. But horrific as that is, the reality is actually a good deal worse. Because once you include what the statisticians call “discouraged jobseekers” – those who haven’t actively sought employment for several months – then that number shoots up to 37% of our working age population.

And most of these are young people. If you are under the age of 24, you have a two in three chance of being unemployed. There’s no other country in the world with this kind of youth unemployment rate. I don’t need to explain to you just how serious a threat this poses for the future of our country.

Already 55% our population live below the poverty line. At the rate at which young, poorly skilled people are leaving school, looking to enter a stagnant economy that is struggling to add new jobs, this percentage will not come down any time soon.

Along with this economic hardship comes social upheaval and the constant threat of violence. Protests have become a daily occurrence, crime is never far away in any community and political violence, like the killings in KZN, is threatening the stability of our country.

So where do we begin?

At the very highest level, government must understand its role in stimulating growth. And more often than not, this role is to step aside and let those in the business of growth do the hard lifting. Make it possible for the private sector to do what it does best, which is to run successful businesses of all shapes and sizes that can absorb workers at a far greater rate than anything we’ve seen in recent years. And at a far greater rate than anything government can provide.

Yes, the State still has a part to play as a provider of jobs, but often this should be as an employer of last resort. The notion that the State must grow our economy, control every sector and create every job is a relic of the past. We cannot cling to this outdated ideology any longer, because it will drag our country further and further down. We need to turn around and face the future.

The best contribution a government can make to growth and job creation – and this is something DA governments have learnt and implemented in both the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town over the past decade – is often simply to clear away obstacles.

Streamlining bureaucracy, reducing red tape, paying suppliers on time, supporting small businesses and new entrepreneurs, providing the infrastructure businesses need, ensuring as far as possible an uninterrupted supply of electricity – these are the things that inspire confidence and attract investment. The State also has a role to play in assisting new black entrepreneurs through access to start-up capital – what I call a Jobs & Justice Fund. These are the areas where government can make a difference.

Along with this shift from a State-led to a State-enabled economy, we must also look carefully and critically at every policy and piece of legislation – current and proposed – that might play a role in attracting or deterring investment. If we want to let the world know that we are open for business, then we have to walk the talk. Our current BEE model is an investment repellent. Our current labour legislation is an investment repellent. The mining charter is an investment repellent. And any talk of expropriating privately owned property without compensation is a massive investment repellent.

Investors make rational, unemotional decisions. When it comes to competing for their business, we’re playing in the same pool as every other country. If we still harbour any notions of a South African exceptionalism, then we must quickly learn to get over it. The world doesn’t care much for our back story and our special circumstances. If we can’t compete, then we will sink. It’s that simple.

There are many other things national government can and must do if we are to turn our economy around. This includes living within its means. We must urgently reduce not only the size of our massively bloated administration, but also our ballooning public sector wage bill. We must dramatically reduce irregular and wasteful expenditure, and we must come down hard on corruption in both the public and private sectors. Zero tolerance for waste and zero tolerance for theft is the only way forward.

We must clean up, and in some cases, clear out, our struggling State Owned Enterprises. Long after the Guptas and their lackeys have left the buildings, our SEOs – and particularly Eskom – will continue to haemorrhage money and cost taxpayers billions if we don’t make fundamental changes to the way they operate.

But if we are to do any of these things – if we want a clean, corruption-free administration, if we want to run efficient, business-friendly government departments, if we are to operate lean, successful SOE’s, then we have to appoint only the best, fit-for-purpose individuals to head up these bodies. As a country, we must walk away from the disastrous policy of cadre deployment – of rewarding unsuitable, unqualified or compromised people simply for their loyalty to a political faction.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We also need to recognise where our country’s potential for growth and development lies, and then direct the bulk of our resources there. If the past two decades have taught us anything, it’s that national government is particularly inefficient at unlocking this potential and spending our budget wisely.

Our cities, on the other hand, have the ability to kick-start our economy – and this is something we’re seeing across the globe. Not only are local governments far closer to the people they serve, and therefore more accountable and responsive, they also are in a better position to identify where and when to invest in crucial infrastructure projects.

One only need look at the recent successes of the City of Cape Town, both in terms of jobs created and new investments attracted, to see the benefit of an obsessive focus on improving the ease of doing business in the metro. Now, I know the city is not perfect either. I’m not going to try to convince people who are often frustrated by red tape and slow bureaucracy that the City of Cape Town is beyond reproach. I know there is still much that can be improved upon. But I also know they have been moving in the right direction for over a decade now, and it shows.

We need to empower our cities with both the mandate and the budget to spearhead our turnaround. But even such a shift to city-led growth will be futile if we continue to sabotage our economic recovery with populist rhetoric around land expropriation.

I know, for most of you, the debate around expropriation without compensation is the biggest issue facing the sector you operate in. I’m sure you are sitting here in this session today to hear my views, and the position of my party, on land. So I will say the same thing to you here as I have said in countless interviews, press conferences and opinion pieces since this debate began. Because unlike the ANC, who have flip-flopped on land from week to week, or the EFF who write one thing in their policy but say another to their supporters, the DA has been consistent, clear and unambiguous on this issue from the start:

The DA believes that land reform must be dramatically sped-up and expanded, and we also believe that this can and must be done within the framework of our Constitution and the protection it offers to property rights.

Those who claim this can’t be done are not being honest with you. If the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform had been properly funded, if corruption within the Department had been addressed, and if there existed the political will to make poor black South Africans land owners with title deed, then this could have been done. And if we had done this for the past two and a half decades, then land ownership in South Africa would have looked far different to the picture we see today.

Instead our government spends as much on its own VIP protection and security as it allocates to land reform. That says all you need to know about where the problem lies. To now scapegoat our Constitution for the failure to return land to the people is nothing but a last-ditch populist ploy to cover for 24 years of failed land reform. The Constitution makes sufficient provision for acquiring land for redistribution. All we now need is a government willing to test these provisions.

But what we can’t do is threaten the rights of those who own property, both current and in the future. Dispossession was a cornerstone of the Apartheid plan to subjugate the majority of our people. And once you start down this road, there is no telling where it will end or who it will target. It is inconceivable that we are prepared to meddle with this once more.

But equally important, property rights are the very foundation of our economy and enjoy protection in our Constitution for that reason. Without securing these rights, we will lose whatever slim competitive edge we might still enjoy as an investment destination. We could not pick a worse way to shoot our economy in the foot. And it is not the wealthy and the middle class who will suffer. It is poor, black South Africans desperate for work who will feel it the worst when investors pull the plug here.

If we want to empower poor South Africans, then we must extend property ownership to as many people as we can, and then protect their right to own this property through our Constitution. Title deed to a piece of land, no matter where and no matter how small, can be the key to financial independence. It can unlock capital for an entrepreneur. It can build a nest-egg for retirement. It can be passed on as an inheritance and provide the foot-up in life that so many young black families still don’t enjoy.

We need to speed this up in rural areas as well as in urban areas. We have to look at ways to empower farm workers as well as emerging black farmers, and we need to be creative and bold in our thinking. In the Western Cape the equity share schemes employed on many farms have given workers a real stake in the land they live and work on.

But it is in our towns and cities that we can really accelerate ownership through the transfer of title deeds. The DA has already made nearly 100,000 South Africans home owners in the City of Cape Town and the three other metros that now also have DA-led governments. And we are working hard at clearing backlogs and transferring even more title deeds.

I know it is not a simple undertaking, and that it’s often fraught with unforeseen complexities. As Helen Zille pointed out in a recent opinion piece on the Joe Slovo settlement upgrade in Cape Town, the loopholes that desperate people exploit in order to jump the housing queue can paralyse the process of building houses and transferring them to their rightful owners. But she also points out that the solution lies in not necessarily trying to implement a flawed national housing policy better, but rather in finding better solutions to providing low and middle income housing.

Many of these potential solutions lie in a partnership between government and the private sector – in providing subsidised housing that is affordable rather than free, or providing serviced sites and assistance for people to build their own homes.

There is not one single solution to our housing challenge. There will be many different solutions to address the needs of the indigent, the low-income families and, importantly, the many households that earn too much for a free home but too little to afford their own. I don’t know what all these solutions are, but I do know that many of you here in this room have thought about this long and hard, and have excellent ideas. And that’s why we must build strong partnerships.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have come a long way as a country these past two and a half decades. But I don’t have to tell you that we still have much further to go. Every city and every town in this country still bears the scars of our past. Apartheid spatial planning still defines our society, like a permanent tattoo on our landscape. We still live, to a large extent, as a divided nation, and poor black South Africans still suffer because of this.

That’s our big challenge – to transform our towns and our cities into inclusive spaces, to bring poor people closer to work opportunities and to provide a wide range of housing solutions in well-located areas.

It’s a challenge that every country in the world has to grapple with. But, given our history and given the two worlds we have inherited, ours is just that much more difficult. And that’s why we need everyone on board. We can’t afford to turn against each other now, whether that’s race against race, or business against government. Our only hope of rebuilding South Africa is if we do so as a united team.

One nation with one future.

Thank you.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s disastrous tenure must be brought to an end

Tomorrow, 13 June 2018, the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services will finally meet to consider a request by myself, on behalf of the Democratic Alliance, to remove the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, after months of delay. This follows several formal requests to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to expedite these proceedings.

The DA maintains that it has long been apparent that Adv Mkhwebane is grossly unfit to hold office and has made requests dating as far back as September 2017 calling on the Speaker to institute proceedings to remove her.

The shockingly poor quality of the work Adv Mkhwebane has produced during her tenure as Public Protector speaks for itself.

She has consistently demonstrated that she falls far short of the required expertise necessary to hold the office of such a pivotal institution of our democracy, and at every turn has displayed a fundamental misunderstanding of role her powers and the fundamentals of the Constitution. Indeed, the DA stood alone in objecting to her appointment in the first instance.

This is borne out by the fact that Advocate Mkhwebane’s work has been found to fall so short of the Constitutionally required standard that several court judgments have already made deeply pejorative findings against her. These include, that she has been “…reasonably suspected of bias”, that she has not brought “…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”.

It is on the basis of her fundamental misunderstanding of the basic principles of the Constitution and her own powers that her findings against the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille are now part of this growing list of abject findings by her. Her findings have no basis in law and if unchallenged have profoundly negative constitutional implications.

The content of Premier Zille’s tweets were the subject of a settlement between her and the party, and resulted in a public apology from Ms Zille. The Party has made it clear that we did not in any way support the merits of the tweets at the time. This stance remains unchanged. We have never condoned the content of Ms Zille’s tweets. However, this ruling has profound constitutional implications which speak to Adv Mkhwebane’s fundamental misunderstanding of the powers of the Public Protector.

In addition to this, there are a raft of other cases which Adv Mkhwebane has displayed ignorance for the law including:

  • The ABSA Bank matter (Report 8 of 2017/18), where Adv Mkhwebane demonstrated spectacular bias and did not adhere to the constitutional principle of procedural fairness; and
  • The Vrede Dairy Project matter (Report 31 of 2017/8 ) in which she completely ignored pertinent questions and failed to deal with evidence implicating senior government and ruling party office bearers.

Added to this, there are cases which have been lodged with the Public Protector concerning Members of the Executive who have stolen public money meant to benefit the poor. These investigations are yet to be completed despite the public importance. These include:

  • The “pension pay-out” of R 30 million granted to Brian Molefe;
  • The VIP Protection assigned to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma while she occupied no government office; and
  • Several Ministers lying to Parliament, including former Minister Faith Muthambi during the SABC ad hoc committee and former Minister Lynne Brown for failing to disclose Trillian contracts

Tomorrow, the DA will finally have a formal opportunity to present its case for having Adv Mkhwebane removed from office. Through her conduct she has demonstrated that she is unable to act lawfully, she consistently acts without regard to procedural fairness and that her findings are patently unreasonable. The DA will fight to protect this vital constitutionally established institution and ensure that its integrity is restored by removing Adv Mkhwebane and ensuring that a suitably qualified person is appointed to the office.

Department of Land Reform and its entities have 20 million hectares of land

Do you support land expropriation without compensation? Make your voice heard: LandOwnership.co.za

Replies to Parliamentary questions posed to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) have revealed that the Department and its entities have nearly 20.7 million hectares of land.

In its reply to my question, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane reveals that her department owns approximately 13 588 879 hectares of land and has exclusive rights to another 2 222 920 hectares. It furthermore states that the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) owns approximately 2 000 000 hectares and has exclusive rights to approximately 2 882 000 hectares more.

The report of the High-Level Panel (HLP), chaired by former President Kgalema Motlanthe, found that the “land area of South Africa” was approximately 122.3 million hectares.

This astonishing admission by the DRDLR follows similar replies from other departments, notably the Department of Public Works (DPW) which revealed that it has some 1.9 million hectares of unutilised land, and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries which revealed that it administers some 73 000 hectares of farmland on behalf of the DPW. The Department of Public Enterprises, which has vast amounts of land, is yet to respond to the question.

This information begs the question: why is the ANC pushing for Section 25 of the Constitution to be amended to allow for expropriation without compensation when government is sitting on vast tracks of urban and rural land, much of it suitable for development and/or agriculture?

Adding to the confusion is a recent statement by the ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, that “[w]e are rolling out implementation of policy of land expropriation without compensation, we are not waiting”, and the resolution by the ANC, following the party’s two-day land summit in May, that Parliament must urgently pass the Expropriation Bill, ostensibly to test the limits of Section 25.

Meanwhile, the DRDLR responded to another DA question by confirming that (1) government has not determined the land that will be earmarked to be expropriated without compensation, and (2) will be guided by the outcome of the Constitutional Review Committee which has been tasked with considering possible amendments to Section 25 and is only set to report back to the National Assembly on 11 September.

Confusion reigns.

The DA believes that the ANC is continuing to use expropriation without compensation as a convenient ruse to deflect attention away from their massive, two-decade long failure to address land reform in South Africa. Indeed, the HLP Report found that “increasing evidence of corruption by officials, the diversion of the land reform budget to elites, lack of political will, and lack of training and capacity have proved more serious stumbling blocks to land reform.”

The DA wants South Africans to be real owners of land with the right to choose, unlike the ANC and the EFF who want the State to be landlord and the people to be permanent tenants on the land.