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.

DA stands united against the new coalition of corruption between the EFF, UDM & ANC

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, following a special sitting of the party’s Federal Executive (FedEx) to consider the status of DA-led coalition governments. Maimane will be joined by Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, DA Gauteng Leader, John Moodey, DA Tshwane Regional Chairperson, Abel Tau, DA Johannesburg Regional Chairperson, Heinrich Volmink, DA Gauteng West Regional Chairperson, Evert Du Plessis and DA Ekurhuleni Regional Chairperson, Selby Thekiso.

Today, the DA’s Federal Executive (FedEx) convened for a special sitting to consider and determine the party’s approach to the systematic and calculated attack on DA-led coalition governments by the newly formed coalition of corruption between the EFF and the ANC.

Following the events over the past few days, and amid such attacks on the will of the voters, as Leader of the DA I felt it important that the FedEx met to decide on a way forward. FedEx discussed and considered the past two years of governance by DA-led coalitions in major cities following the 2016 Local Government Election.

When DA-led coalitions took office in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB), we committed to achieving three goals: cutting corruption, growing the economy to create jobs, and speeding up the delivery of basic, quality services to all residents. Together with our partners ACDP, COPE, VF+, IFP and UDM, we took over from ANC administrations that had built networks of patronage and corruption to steal the people’s money for themselves.

Before we could begin on delivering on these commitments and moving in the right direction, the rot of corruption and self-enrichment that existed needed to be cleaned out. From day one, the sheer enormity of the financial mess inherited from previous ANC governments was as clear as daylight. This took months and months of hard work by these governments, and today we are yielding the fruits.

I want to commend these DA-led coalition governments on this outstanding work, which has resulted in freeing up more public money to spend on delivering services to all. Tshwane has moved from a R2 billion deficit to a R704 million surplus, and Nelson Mandela Bay has a R615 million surplus – its best financial position in over a decade.

These governments have also made huge inroads into cutting corruption. Johannesburg has uncovered R18 billion in corruption within the city, Nelson Mandela Bay cancelled corruption contracts to the tune of R650 million and opened tender adjudication processes to the public, and Tshwane has cleared out corrupt officials in the administration and fought against the corrupt R 2 billion PEU contract in court and won.

Tshwane has tripled the amount of direct 9nvestment into the city and has been named the fasting growing city in Africa. Johannesburg has created 103 000 new jobs in the first six months of this year, and Nelson Mandela Bay has tripled the number of EPWP jobs while creating a young graduate programme for young jobseekers.

In terms of service delivery, in Tshwane the luxurious mayoral mansion of the previous ANC government was sold for R5 million rand in order to build houses for poor residents without a home, and 1800 bursaries to the value of R34 million have been awarded to young people.

Johannesburg saw the electrification of 6000 homes for the very first time, while Nelson Mandela Bay eradicated almost 10 000 bucket toilets and ensured 12 000 residents received running water and flush toilets in their homes for the first time.

Real progress is being made, and in just two years DA-led coalition governments are doing what ANC governments could not do in two decades. Millions of South Africans are receiving clean, efficient and delivery-orientated service not ever experienced under the ANC before 2016. Indeed, the biggest electoral threat to the ANC and the EFF has been the successes of DA-led coalition governments.

In light of this, FedEx considered the current status of DA-led coalition governments and came to the following resolutions.

Firstly, we recommit to the formal coalition agreement signed by all coalition partners in August 2016 following the last Local Government Elections. We still believe this document provides the founding values and principles on which governments are build and maintained in the best interests of citizens. This agreement remains open to any political party that shares the values of constitutionalism, non-racialism, the rule of law, a market-based economy, the eradication of corruption, and the speeding up of the delivery of basic services to all. In this light, the DA-led coalition government in Johannesburg will continue the work of the people.

However, in light of the UDM’s joining of the coalition of corruption in NMB, FedEx has resolved to formally approach coalition partners to review the inclusion of the UDM in this formal agreement. It cannot be that the UDM consistently acts in cahoots with corrupt parties, and in contravention of the agreement. I will be meeting with the leaders of the coalition partners ACDP, COPE, VF+ and IFP soon, and the outcome of this will be communicated in due course.

It is important that the coalition partners strengthen our resolve against the coalition of corruption that has been formed by the ANC, EFF and the UDM, and I want to thank Rev. Kenneth Meshoe, Terror Lekota, Dr  Pieter Groenewald and Prince Mangosotho Buthulezi for their steadfast resolve against this new coalition of corruption.

Secondly, FedEx notes Monday’s sitting of the Nelson Mandela Bay council where the new coalition of corruption between the ANC, EFF and UDM attempted to remove Executive Mayor Athol Trollip, and replace him with a corrupt new Mayor and ANC-dominated Mayoral Committee. We echo the view that this decision was invalid and has no effect in law. Athol Trollip remains the mayor of NMB, and the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth will consider this matter tomorrow morning. The DA and our partners will come out in numbers to support Mayor Trollip because we believe a victory on this matter will be a victory for the people of NMB.

FedEx fully supports Athol Trollip in this fight and believe that he remains the de jure mayor of NMB. Mayor Trollip’s coalition government has brought change to the lives of NMB residents, and we won’t allow the coalition of corruption to steal back the city through the back door.

Thirdly, FedEx considered tomorrow’s scheduled Motion of No Confidence in Tshwane Mayor, Solly Msimanga. The DA has full faith in Solly Msimanga in his current role as Executive Mayor. He has led the city remarkably well over the past two years and has taken all necessary steps to act against any allegations of maladministration in the city. This support for Solly is unanimous and is echoed by all 5 DA regional chairpersons in Gauteng, who join me here today. Tomorrow the DA and our partners will be out in our numbers outside the Tshwane council in support of Solly Msimanga and the DA-led coalition government in the Capital City.

Therefore, the DA will not be fielding a new candidate for Tshwane Mayor in tomorrow’s council sitting as arrogantly demanded by the EFF. The DA upholds consistency and transparency. The voters elected Solly Msimanga as their mayor, and we will not cave to the demands of the minority. The mayor’s office does not have a revolving door policy determined by the whims of the minority.

If the EFF decides to formalise its coalition of corruption with the ANC tomorrow and supports their Motion of No Confidence in the DA-led coalition government in Tshwane, then they have showed their true colours as being nothing more than the military wing of the ANC – aiding and abetting corruption and looting.

The DA will stand on principle and if that means losing power in any governments, so be it. We refuse to compromise on our values to this new coalition of corruption. If the EFF hand back any DA-led coalition governments to the corrupt ANC, it will be for the people of SA to punish them at polls next year.

History has shown the EFF to make serious judgments of error in the past – from Jacob Zuma, to Public Protector Mkhwebane, to the VBS bank. Tomorrow the EFF is faced with an important decision. History, and the voters, will judge them for their choice.

If the EFF decides to support the removal of the DA-led coalition in Tshwane, they will have shown the people of South Africa that they are happy to remove clean governments and give these cities back to the ANC.

ANC, EFF resort to disruption and chaos

Today the EFF, ANC and UDM coalition has resorted to disrupting and attempting to collapse the Council meeting in Nelson Mandela Bay, because they know they will not win the Motion of No Confidence against Mayor Athol Trollip.

The Council meeting is still attempting to proceed, despite the constant disruptions of the EFF, UDM and ANC councillors.

Their conduct today has confirmed to the country that they can only respond with chaos and violence when things don’t go their way. Instead of accepting the loss and moving on, they decided to hold the Council meeting hostage by refusing to allow the meeting to continue. They should be ashamed of their conduct.

This coalition of chaos and corruption, between the EFF and the ANC (with the UDM as hangers-on), has never had the best interests of the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay at heart, and that is why they will always fail. Their motion was always just about racism. The people of the Bay and the people of South Africa reject the hate-fuelled politics of the EFF, and reject giving the Metro back to the corrupt ANC. We must continue to guard against their hatred and continue to build a united South Africa for all.

What the public want is clean, honest government that delivers better services, especially to the poor. They want parties to work together against corruption, and they want leaders that bring our country together, not tear it apart. This project of co-operation, clean government, and unity, is the project the DA is committed to. We will commit ourselves to this project, no matter the hate and divisiveness of our opponents.

Now the Mayor and the coalition government must get back to delivering better government to the people of the Bay.

We thank those parties (ACDP, COPE, PA, and AIC) that stand with us on the right side of history.




Parliament must remove Zuma and dissolve ahead of early elections

Today, leaders and senior representatives of opposition parties met in Cape Town to discuss the way forward in terms of the removal of Jacob Zuma as President of the Republic of South Africa.
The outcome of this meeting, attended by representatives from the ACDP, AIC, COPE, DA, EFF, FF+, PAC and UDM, was a unanimous call for the immediate removal of Jacob Zuma as President through a Motion of No Confidence vote in terms of Section 102 of the Constitution, followed by the dissolution of Parliament in terms of Section 50 of the Constitution. This would then trigger early elections. The DA have written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, and the Chairperson of the National Council of the Provinces, Thandi Modise, accordingly.
It was agreed by all in attendance that the opposition cannot be drawn into the factional battles within the ANC. It was also noted that, as per the same Constitutional court judgment which found that President Zuma had violated the Constitution, Parliament had also failed in its duty to the people of South Africa. It is therefore not sufficient to simply vote the President out and replace him with another tainted candidate. Parliament itself must be reconstituted.
The opposition parties agreed on the following points:

  • President Jacob Zuma needs to be removed with immediate effect. The Motion of No Confidence, provisionally scheduled for the 22nd of February, must be treated as a priority and brought forward to within this week. We are confident that this motion will succeed and that our country will finally be rid of President Jacob Zuma.
  • On the day of the Motion of No Confidence, South Africans from all walks of life – political parties, religious bodies, NGOs, business as well as ordinary citizens – must march to insist on the removal of Jacob Zuma as President. This is about the will of the people and not the will of a faction of the ANC. It is important that the people’s voice be heard.
  • Following the successful motion, we as the members of the National Assembly must then dissolve Parliament in terms of Section 50 of the Constitution. This crucial institution of our democracy failed in its duty to the people and took decisions that harmed our country. Anyone who wants to lead this country must have the mandate of the people, and this can only be established through an early election.

The delaying tactics employed by the ANC in negotiating a soft exit for Jacob Zuma serve only the interests of Zuma himself as well as the interests of the ANC. While the ANC negotiates with a criminal President in the interest of self-preservation, it falls to the opposition to speak up for the people of South Africa. The people want Zuma gone and they want a government that serves and represents them.
We, as the opposition, therefore cannot lend our support to Cyril Ramaphosa by default. He is simply a different faction of the same problematic ANC.
The ANC speaks of a transition. What we’re seeing playing out in the ANC now is not a transition but simply a swapping of factions. If we’re serious about a real transition, then this can only mean a transition from the 5th to the 6th Parliaments of South Africa.

DA requests urgent meeting with the EFF

The DA notes with great disappointment the decision by the EFF to abscond from the councils of the three metros governed by the opposition party coalitions.
The fact is that in August 2016, the people of South Africa made it clear that they no longer trusted the ANC to govern. The people of our metros voted for a new beginning and placed their trust in opposition parties.
The short-sighted decision by the EFF to stay away from councils has only served to put the power back in the hands of the ANC. Essentially, the EFF is defying the mandate provided to the opposition by millions of voters, a step which seeks to cripple service delivery and job creation where we govern.
The reasons stated for their discontent are unclear.
The DA, together with COPE and the ACDP, acted to remove the former deputy mayor, Mongameli Bobani, after months of consultation with the UDM about his very questionable conduct, which sought to undermine and destroy the coalition agreement.
Mr Bobani has on several occasions voted with the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMB) and against the will of the people. This, in addition to being implicated in corruption within a department in the City he was responsible for.
The DA remains committed to working with other opposition parties, including the UDM. We have continuously stated that, in the interest of the coalition and delivering services to the people of the metro, the UDM should nominate an alternative candidate who will ensure that we can focus on delivering services for the people of NMB.
The residents of these metros made it clear they were rejecting a corrupt ANC government which no longer served them. Therefore, condoning corruption or supporting the ANC, even in the interest of keeping the coalition together, is not an option.
The DA will accordingly request an urgent meeting with the EFF leadership to discuss this matter.
We cannot afford to let internal squabbles subvert the people’s business and undermine the great work that has been done by our coalition governments.
The DA is committed to serving the people who have put their trust in those who can deliver services and we will not waver on our commitment to fulfilling our promise to do so. We trust that the EFF is too.

#ZumaMustFall: Opposition United Behind Putting SA First

Note to Editors: The following joint statement was delivered at a press conference, following a meeting of Opposition Parties in Johannesburg. The meeting was attended by the DA (Mmusi Maimane), EFF (Godrich Gardee and Dali Mpofu), UDM (Bantu Holomisa), COPE (Mosiuoa Lekota), IFP (Mangaqa Mncwango) and ACDP (Kenneth Meshoe).
Today, Monday, 03 April 2017, the Leadership of the DA, EFF, IFP, COPE, UDM, and ACDP met in Johannesburg following the hostile takeover of the Treasury, and selling of the country by Jacob Zuma to a grouping whose only interests are amassing wealth and weakening the State through the theft of the people’s money and the undermining of the country’s Constitution.
These are indeed irregular and trying times for South Africa and the people, which demands a united vision and programme of action from leaders of society, like Opposition Parties represented in the National Assembly. Opposition Parties agreed that the Constitution must come first, and the country must be protected from those who seek to undermine it.  We therefore deliberated and agreed upon a number of issues in this regard.
Opposition Programme of Action
This Programme of Action stems from already existing partnerships and other ad hoc co-operation arrangements which exist in the country’s metros and other municipalities, where the Opposition governs for all residents, regardless of their political affiliation. The opposition-led metros serve as important platforms to show what the Opposition can do for the people of South Africa, which present a tangible example of the work that we can do, when we united against corruption, state capture and other ills in society.
Furthermore, we agreed that there is a need for a Summit that brings together Political Parties and Civil Society to discuss the state of South Africa. Going forward, we will at times act collectively and at times as separate political parties, depending on the nature of the issue facing the coutry. Our Programme of Action will be to put the people first, with the vision to build a better South Africa.
National Day of Action to the Union Buildings
It was agreed that as Opposition Parties, we will start the process of mobilising their structures from across the country for a National Day of Action to the Union Buildings. We are planning to have this mass action event as soon as possible.
We will also be engaging Civil Society formations and other Political Parties to mobilise in order to support the people’s National Day of Action to the Union Buildings, so that we are united and not fractured in our call to save our country in the short-term.
We therefore call upon all South Africans and the whole of Civil Society to support this mass action, where will speak with one voice calling for Jacob Zuma to remove himself from the Union Buildings, failing which he will be pushed, using democratic processes. Zuma cannot hold an entire country hostage.
 Motion of No Confidence
 Opposition Parties are fully behind the Motion of No Confidence in Jacob Zuma and the call for the Speaker of the National Assembly to reconvene the House for a special sitting so that this matter of National Importance can be debated and voted on. The DA and EFF have already asked the Speaker to reconvene Parliament. The UDM have submitted a similar request today.
We expect an urgent answer from the Speaker about progress made in scheduling the Motion, should we not be satisfied with her response, court action, supported by Opposition Parties will be taken.
Given the crisis engulfing our society, we are confident that Members of Parliament will stay true the Constitution and their Oath of Office.
The Motion of No Confidence is not about the removal the ANC. The ANC was voted into government by the majority, through the democratic project, which we respect. In the short-term, we are working to remove Jacob Zuma, and elect someone from the ranks of the National Assembly who is committed to South Africa, the people and the Constitution.
Court Cases
 The Opposition support the two court cases which are currently before the Judiciary.
The DA will be submitting papers for a Review Application which seeks to test the legal rationality of Jacob Zuma’s disastrous Cabinet Reshuffle.
The EFF, UDM and COPE are currently before the Constitutional Court to probe the process and duty of Parliament to facilitate the impeachment of the President.
Opposition Party Leaders are united in their call for Zuma to go and our belief in the supremacy of the Constitution. The choice South Africans must make is: Zuma or South Africa. The two cannot co-exist.