Welbedacht has nothing to show for 25 years of ANC government

My fellow South Africans,

You should always demand accountability from your government, but even more so when they come round here asking you to re-elect them. That is when you must hold up what they promised you against what they delivered.

If a party has been in government for 25 years, and they ask you to entrust them with another five years in office, then you have every right to demand to see 25 years worth of progress.

That is the deal you entered with them. In return for your vote, they must keep the promises they made to you. If they told you about housing opportunities or service delivery improvements or access to jobs, then this is what you should judge them on. This is what you should base your decision on when it comes to voting.

I can assure you that here in Welbedacht, Chatsworth, you have not received a fair deal from your government.

These conditions here in Welbedacht, and particularly this transit camp, are not what you were promised. How long ago were you told that this was a temporary measure, and that proper housing would follow? It’s been ten years that you have been stranded here with no help from your government. And now they want your vote again?

The 400 families living here have been abandoned by this ANC government. And the only time you ever hear from them is right before an election. Is that good enough?

This will not happen under a DA government. Without even being in government here, we have already done more for this community than the ANC could manage with all the resources of government at its disposal.

From clearing up the surrounding bush and ensuring a closer taxi drop-off point, to fighting for the delivery of toilets and electricity, the DA in opposition has been more effective here than the ANC in government. So when they come begging for your vote once more, remind them of the promises they made to you – promises which they had no intention of ever keeping.

But as much as this election should be a referendum on the past 25 years of ANC government, it should also be about the next 25 years. What should Chatsworth look like? What should KZN look like? What should South Africa look like? And what kind of government can best realise this vision?

Let me start by saying what this government should not look like.

It can’t be a government that divides us into separate corners based on what we look like or the languages we speak. Here in KZN you have suffered for too long under racial and tribal politics. We need to reform our politics to speak of values, to speak of policies and to speak of big ideas, rather than of race. We need to build one united South Africa.

It can’t be a government that kills economic growth and chases away investment through destructive, outdated policies. We need a government that can reform our economy – a government that knows how to attract the kind of investment that creates work. A government that is able to put a job in every home.

It can’t be a government that uses its position to enrich itself. It can’t be a government that rewards its friends and families with jobs and tenders. It can’t be a government that does lucrative business with itself. We need a government whose only business is its service to the people.

It can’t be a government that sees municipalities as mere centres for tender adjudication, and who treat municipal budgets as their own ATMs. It can’t be a government like the ANC local government here in Ethekwini which is more interested in giving Jacob Zuma recording deals than delivering basic services to communities like yours.

When you go to your voting stations next month to make your mark, you need to think about the past 25 years, and what you got from your government during all this time. But you also need to think about the next 25 years, and the change you would like to see here in Welbedacht, in Chatsworth, in KZN and in South Africa.

If you’re unhappy with your government, you have every right to protest against them. But there is only one proven way to protest effectively, and that is with your vote. If they have lied to you or sold you empty promises year after year, then punish them with your vote. That’s the only protest that delivers results.

Use your vote to hire a government with a proven track record of delivery wherever it governs. Use your vote to hire a government that does not tolerate any form of corruption. Use your vote to hire a government that fights for the rights of all South Africans.

Fellow South Africans, there is only one party that can be this government, and that is the DA. There is only one party with both the policies and the track record to improve the lives of all South Africans.

If we should ever let you down, then use your vote to fire us too. But first give us a chance to show you what a South Africa could look like under a DA government. One united, prosperous South Africa for all.

Choose a government that can keep you safe from criminals

The following remarks were made today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a public meeting in Kleinvlei, Cape Town. Maimane was joined by DA Western Cape Premier Candidate, Alan Winde, and Team One SA Spokesperson on Crime, John Steenhuisen, and Team One SA Spokesperson on Women, Nomafrench Mbombo.

Fellow South Africans,

I want to start off by strongly condemning the xenophobic attacks that are taking place in KZN and other parts of our country. Violence must have no place in our society. Not against fellow South Africans, and not against our brothers and sisters from other African nations.

Our stagnant economy has left many South Africans angry, fearful and frustrated, but innocent, law-abiding foreign nationals who play be our rules should never pay the price for bad government that is holding South Africa back.

It is always the innocent who suffer most. I know the price that communities like yours have had to pay because of gangs and drugs.

I know the heartbreak so many families have already had to endure at the hands of criminals who have taken over their neighbourhoods and terrorised their children. I know what the killings, the violence and the drug addiction does to mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. And I know it is so often the innocent who pay the price.

I have just spoken this morning to a family whose lives have been ripped apart by the senseless murder of their young son by gangsters here. He had nothing to do with their gang. He had no part in their life of violence and crime. And yet he was brutally murdered by them.

This is the worst nightmare for any mother or father – to learn that their child lost his life so young, and for nothing, at the hands of thugs who don’t follow rules or fear the law.

And something like this happens every single day in communities across the Western Cape. Last year 808 people lost their lives in this province to gang-related murders.

Cape Town and the Western Cape are under siege from gangs, and yet the ANC government just looks the other way. It simply does not care. National government controls all aspects of SAPS – all station resourcing, all appointments, all police officer allocation and all specialised units – but they have just washed their hands of the gang and drug violence in this province.

They sit up in Gauteng, miles from the lived reality of the people who are under daily attack here, and they make terrible decisions that have a profound effect on your lives.

The DA has been asking for years for a fair allocation of police officers to gang and drug-ridden communities in the province, but still the ANC government turns a blind eye and continues to under-resource these areas.

The DA has been asking for years for the reintroduction of the specialised narcotics and gang units, which the ANC themselves disbanded. Don’t be fooled by their recent announcement of new specialised units. No new police officers have been appointed. They simply pulled officers from somewhere else, leaving a hole there. This was done just for show, ahead of the May election.

This is simply not good enough. The people of the Western Cape should not be made to suffer at the hands of a national government that cannot and will not keep them safe.

I am here today to tell you: enough is enough. You shouldn’t have to put up with gangsters and drug dealers in your neighbourhood, in your streets and outside your schools.

You shouldn’t have to hide in your homes and pray that these thugs pass you by. You shouldn’t have to fear the bullets of their crossfire, or fear your children being recruited into their gangs or sold their drugs.

This is your community, not theirs. If anyone should be running and hiding, it is the gangsters.

Fellow South Africans, in communities such as this one, we all know that it is the women and the children and the most vulnerable in our society who are impacted most. And often, the communities know exactly who the criminals are, but they are too scared to come forward, because they don’t have a policing system that will work with them.

Communities need to be able to partner with the police effectively. This is the only way we can stop criminals. Together we can beat them. Together we can fight for your right to live safe and peaceful lives here in Kleinvlei, and in all communities across this province.

The Cape Town Metro Police partnered effectively with the community to bring down crime levels in the inner city by 90%. I say it again, we can only do this together. That’s why the DA believes passionately that we need to decentralise policing powers.

The DA will continue to fight for a Provincial Police Service, so that decisions that affect the safety of communities in this province can be made right here in the Western Cape

We will continue to fight for the introduction of proper, well-resourced specialised narcotics and gang units here in the Western Cape, and not just pre-election window dressing.

We will continue to fight for a fair allocation of officers and other resources to the police stations in these gang-ridden areas.

But the biggest difference we can make is in national government. Because that is where we will be able to shape the policy to make every community in South Africa safe from criminals.

We know that SAPS is currently severely under-trained, under-staffed, under-resourced and under-equipped. Our plan will address all of these critical issues. A DA national government will completely transform SAPS into an honest and professional service, staffed only by those committed to serve and protect.

We will appoint only the best, fit-for-purpose people to positions of leadership. The days of deployed cadres in SAPS whose only loyalty is to the ANC will be gone for good.

We will actively recruit police officers with a passion for policing, and we will ensure that all new recruits undergo extensive training. Where necessary, we will retrain officers and we will increase the number of specialist officers and detectives.

Provinces with a proven capability will be allowed to take on the responsibility of managing policing in that province.

We will immediately slash the budget for VIP protection services, and shift this money to the protection of people like you in communities such as this.

We will institute a semi-independent drug-busting force within SAPS which can target gangs and drug-related crimes, and we will create specialised units aimed specifically at things like rural safety, sexual offenses, organised crime and missing persons.

A DA government will ensure that law and order is maintained in our communities, and we will do so by seeing to it that effective arrests are followed by effective prosecutions and convictions.

This is the safe and peaceful South Africa that I want to build. And to do so, I am going to need your help.

Together we need to fire the government that has abandoned you and left you at the mercy of gangsters. In its place we need to install a government with both the will and the plan to keep you safe in your homes, and to keep gangsters in jail, where they belong.

We can’t have parents burying their sons and daughters. We can’t have young children, not even teenagers yet, lured to the life of a gangster. We can’t have deadly drugs flooding our streets and our schools. That is not the South Africa of our dreams.

Let us stand up as one and say: No more! These street belong to the people of this community, and not the criminals. If the ANC government can’t keep you safe, you need to vote for a government that will.

In next month’s elections you can either choose five more years under this failed ANC government, or you can choose a South Africa under a DA-led government where your children have a future, and where you can reclaim your streets from the gangsters and drug dealers.

Join me on 8 May as we choose to build one safe and prosperous South Africa for all.

Our duty is to perform oversight over SAPS. We will not be prevented from doing so.

The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the KwaZulu Natal provincial launch of the party’s team One SA campaign outside the SAPS Provincial Headquarters in eThekwini. Maimane was joined by DA KwaZulu Natal Premier Candidate, Zwakele Mncwango.

Fellow South Africans,

Today marks the start of the DA’s provincial election campaign here in KZN. Over the coming months, under the leadership of our Provincial Leader and Premier candidate, Zwakele Mncwango, we will take our message of “Change that builds one South Africa for all” to every town and village in this province.

Our campaign is about sharing our message with voters, but it’s also about listening to them. Whenever I speak to people about what concerns them most, the same two issues always appear at the very top of the list: Jobs and crime. No matter where we are and who we’re speaking to, people are most worried about finding employment and about being safe in their own community.

If we can’t find a way to address these two critical issues, then we have no chance at turning our country around and securing a better tomorrow. And it is this second issue – crime and safety – that I want to speak about today.

Across South Africa, communities are under attack every day from criminals who not only have no respect for the law, but also have no more fear of law enforcement. They do just as they please, leaving innocent citizens terrorized and traumatized in their homes, their streets, their schools and their work places.

Criminals have become brazen because they know our Police Service is so under-resourced, under-funded and under-trained that there is very little chance of them being caught. That’s why poor communities have become gang lands. That’s why drug dealers target young children outside their schools. That’s why we have the highest rape statistics in the world, and a murder rate that puts us on par with a country at war.

I will not accept that this is the way it should be, and neither will my colleagues. It is not only our duty as citizens, but our sworn duty as Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Legislatures to perform oversight over SAPS – not to wave a finger at them, but to help identify where they are falling short and how this can be rectified.

That is our Constitutional duty, and it is very clearly set out in a Parliamentary document called the Oversight and Accountability Model. But here in KZN we are being prevented from doing our work. The Acting Provincial Police Commissioner has decided to instruct all police clusters and station commanders not to cooperate with MPs and MPLs who arrive to conduct oversight visits.

Lieutenant General Mkhwanazi sent out a memo telling all cluster commanders not to share any information with any public representatives, and particularly DA reps. There were occasions where he sent SMSs to station commanders when he knew MPs or MPLs were on their way there, telling them not to cooperate in the oversight visit. Fearing for their jobs, these commanders have no choice but to obey him.

We even heard of a police officer who is now facing disciplinary action for cooperating with MPs during an oversight visit. This is simply unacceptable. Any SAPS member who finds him or herself victimized or intimidated for allowing public representatives to perform their Constitutional duty can count on the support of the DA.

General Mkhwanazi is wrong. He is legally wrong, Constitutionally wrong and morally wrong. Whether he has issued this directive by himself, or whether he is acting on the instruction of someone else, it will not stand. The DA – and any other party – has both a right and an obligation to perform oversight. This oversight can be either pre-announced or unannounced. And I assure you, we will continue to perform our duty, whether General Mkhwanazi likes it or not.

We have been doing so for decades, and the effect of this oversight has always been an improvement of the conditions, the equipment or the morale at the stations in question. Oversight is not a finger-pointing exercise. It is a thorough assessment of where the gaps exist and what can be done to fill them.

Our reps have always had extremely constructive engagements with station commanders. The Station Monitoring Tool – a document drawn up by the Police Sub-committee in Parliament – is able to compile a detailed picture of a station’s weaknesses and shortcomings. One hour with a station commander using this tool is often worth weeks of work far away in a committee meeting.

We will not allow petty politics and ego to get in the way of the important work our public reps do. This is not about point scoring. This is about trying to keep people safe by ensuring that their local police are able to respond to crime and apprehend criminals.

We know how important this issue is to millions of South Africans, which is why it is one of the DA’s key focus points as we head into next year’s elections. We made a pledge to the people of SA that we will overhaul SAPS and turn it into an honest, professional organisation that is able to protect and serve all the communities in our country.

As we launch our KZN provincial election campaign today here in Durban, I would like to reiterate this pledge. The DA will not rest until people feel safe in their homes, and criminals feel unsafe.

Our election campaign message is about change that builds one SA for all, but we cannot build a prosperous, united and inclusive South Africa if we are being held hostage in our own communities by thugs. That’s why a DA government will turn the tables on criminals by transforming SAPS into a well-staffed, well-trained and well-resourced crime fighting machine.

We will root out corruption in the Police Service, we will re-train existing officers to ensure that they can serve and protect the public with pride, we will only hire people who display a true passion for policing, we will establish a world-class drug-busting force within SAPS and we will ensure that effective arrests are followed by effective prosecution and conviction of criminals.

That is the DA’s pledge to the people of South Africa, and the people of KZN. And so I urge you to join us in this fight to take back our streets from criminals by lending us your support and your vote next year.

If we then should disappoint you, then take your vote back. But first give us a chance to prove to you what we can do. Together we can build one South Africa that works for all and in which everyone is safe from crime.

Thank you.

DA supports individual ownership of Ingonyama Trust Land

The Democratic Alliance (DA) agrees with King Goodwill Zwelithini on the principle that ownership of land under the Ingonyama Trust be given over to the people, through individual title deeds.

Infact, we have submitted a motion to the Speaker of the KwaZulu Natal legislature, Lydia Johnson, requesting an urgent debate on the recommendations made by the Kgalema Motlanthe panel on Ingonyama Trust land.

As a regular participant in meetings convened by Isilo and chiefs, there is a general view that the Ingonyama Trust land act must not be abolished entirely but must be amended to ensure that individual land ownership becomes a reality in KZN.

We do not share the ANC and EFF’s view that the state should be the sole owner of land and everyone else tenants on state land. This approach to land reform by the ANC continues to alienate traditional leaders who are critical stakeholders in ensuring that a process to transform communal land to individual ownership is successful.

The ANC’s insistence that the state should be the sole custodian of land ownership is nothing more than an attempt to perpetuate a culture of rent-seeking behavior that has so far worked to serve its corrupt network.

Successful land reform does not require a Constitutional amendment, what is needed is strong leadership and proper funding. As things stand, the ANC spends more money on VIP protection than it spends on land reform.

Individual land ownership, gives residents security of tenure and ability to create economic value through agricultural or commercial enterprise underwritten by enterprise finance from banks and micro lending institutions.

If the DA’s policy of individual land ownership and freehold was to be implemented, it will enable black South Africans to own the majority of land owned by private individuals in South Africa.

A wholesale expropriation of the Ingonyama Trust land by the state will do nothing to improve the material and economic conditions of residents living in the area. If anything, it will perpetuate the cycle of poverty among the people as they won’t be able to realise any economic value as ‘tenants of the state’.

True economic empowerment for residents on Ingonyama Trust land will only become a reality once they are given the opportunity to own the land from which their families have lived on for many generations.

DA demands transport for children who walk for hours to get an education

Note to editors: Please see pictures here, here and here
This morning, DA leaders walked to school with learners from Ukuthula Secondary in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Each morning these learners must walk 10 kilometres just in the hope of getting an education.
For too long the provincial government in KZN has promised to provide safe and reliable scholar transport but continue to abandon the learners of Ukuthula Secondary and more than 42 000 other learners in the province.
This will be the first of many walks the DA will go on to highlight how these learners are continuously let down, by KZN MEC of Education, Mthandeni Dlungwane, and ultimately by the national Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshegka, who cannot ensure our learners have transport to school.
What is of serious concern is that the KZN Department of Basic Education has the funds to ensure that fewer children are subjected to these long walks that compromise their education.
As of the fourth quarter of the 2016/17 financial year, the department failed to spend a massive 60% of their budget for the current plans in place, which only accounts for half of the learners who need transport. This failure is simply offensive.
We cannot expect our children to perform to the best of their ability when they have to worry about getting safely to school and they are exhausted before even starting their day. Many children also miss school because they do not have transport.
The KZN education department is continuously failing the children of the province by not spending what they have been allocated but more than that, they have also failed to apply for funding so that the 42 000 children not planned for, can get access to transport to school.
A reply to a DA Parliamentary question shows that KZN, along with other provinces, has not applied for additional funding to cover a combined shortfall of R640 million for school transport nationally, which would allow for all children, having to walk more than 10kms to school, to be covered.
Many children risk life and limb daily just to learn and the ruling ANC government is content to turn a blind eye to their struggles.
The DA is firmly committed to ensuring learners across the country receive scholar transport so that they are able to focus solely on learning and developing themselves so that they can have a better future.

SAPS attempts to frustrate DA laying of criminal charges against Minister Motsoaledi and MEC Dhlomo

Today, my colleague, Dr Imran Keeka MPL, and I have been prevented from laying charges of culpable homicide against the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, for their apparent role in the deaths of more than 300 cancer patients in the province.
The officers on duty did everything in their power to delay and frustrate our efforts to lay these charges. After three hours of back and forth, it became apparent that the SAPS would only accept an inquiry into the matter and would not accept the DA laying charges.
The police are supposed to take charges and investigate them, not decide who can lay them.
In terms of Section 205 (3) of the Constitution, the “object of the SAPS is to prevent, combat and investigate crime…”. The SAPS cannot arbitrarily refuse to do their job. This constitutes a gross dereliction of duty. In addition, section 98 of the Criminal Procedures Act states that “it shall be sufficient in a charge of culpable homicide to allege that the accused unlawfully killed the deceased”.
The DA has a credible case that must be investigated. The assertion that we simply cannot lay charges because we are not in possession of the names of all those who died, is simply absurd.
Our affidavit clearly has some of the names of the victims and moreover, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), a Chapter Nine institution, has found that both the national and the provincial health departments failed to provide cancer patients in the province with access to proper oncology services.
The report states that this apparent negligence was a violation of “the rights to human dignity and life of the affected patients” as they “failed to take reasonable measures to progressively realise the right to have access to health care services in the KZN province”.
The truth is that the Minister and the MEC’s seeming negligence was nothing less than a death sentence for cancer patients who had no other alternative but the unnecessarily limited and appalling public health services available to them.
Despite the DA’s repeated calls for MEC Dhlomo to be removed from his position, the Minister and local officials have continued to protect him.
And now the very people who are at the front line of protecting South Africans have fundamentally failed the 300 cancer patients who died by purposefully refusing to do their duty and accept the laying of charges.
The DA will not stand by and watch as the failing ANC continues to put the needs of their cadres before the needs of the people. It is unacceptable, and frankly unethical, to play political games with the lives of sick and vulnerable citizens.
The DA will not be deterred from laying these charges. Both the Minister and the MEC must be held accountable for failing to protect South African citizens who have no other choice but to rely on the failing public health system.

DA welcomes tabling of SAHRC report into KZN oncology crisis before Parliament

The South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) damning report containing findings on the state of health services in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has been tabled in Parliament for the Portfolio Committee on Health to scrutinise. The DA will do everything possible during this process to ensure that justice is served for the gross failures which this report exposes.
In 2016, my colleague, Dr Imran Keeka MPL , the DA KZN Spokesperson on Health, lodged a formal complaint with the SAHRC based on allegations that the KZN Health Department was violating the rights of cancer patients, after it came to light that cancer patients did not have access to proper healthcare services; including severe shortages of staff and a lack of functional health technology machines for screening, diagnosing and treating cancer at KZN hospitals.
The lack of services to cancer patients in the province has potentially resulted in the deaths of no less than 300 cancer patients. The report notes that the “Department advised that the average waiting period for a patient to be seen by an oncologist is five months whereas those waiting to receive radiotherapy usually wait 8 months”. This is akin to a death sentence.
Health officials were also found to “have violated the rights of the patients with cancer at the Addington and IALC Hospitals to have access to health care services as a result of their failure to comply with applicable norms and standards set out in legislation and policies”.
Moreover, the SAHRC report found that there was a failure to:

  • evaluate and identify the need for functional equipment;
  • procure, maintain and put in place adequate functional equipment;
  • provide access to adequate oncology services also violate the rights to human dignity and life of the affected patients; and
  •  monitor and evaluate the health needs of oncology patients in the province.

The DA will now scrutinise this report in order to ensure that all those who are responsible for the KwaZulu-Natal oncology crisis is held to account. Their failures were a violation of the rights to human dignity and life of the affected patients.
To date, there has been very little justice for those who lost their lives as a result of the gross negligence of local health officials – despite the binding recommendations in the SAHRC report, and patients living with cancer in KZN continue to face an uncertain treatment future.
It is now up to Parliament to perform in its mandate and hold the MEC, Provincial Health Department and the National Health Department accountable for their utter failure.
The DA will not rest until SAHRC’s recommendations are fully implemented.
Tomorrow, Dr Keeka and I will conduct an oversight visit to the affected Hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal.
Details of the visit are as follows:
Date: Monday, 7 July 2017
Time: 10:00
Venue: Addington Hospital, later proceeding to the Inkosi Abert Luthuli Central Hospital at 12:30.