No, We Won’t Stop Fighting for a Better Parliament

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen MP, during the Budget Vote on Parliament.
House Chairperson,
A few weeks ago, as the Speaker was beating a hasty retreat from the newly constituted Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament (JSCFMP), she had an emotional outburst where she asked me a very interesting question. She said, and I quote, “don’t you ever get tired of fighting?”
Given events at the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) over the weekend, perhaps the Speaker should rather have been directing that question to colleagues in her own party!
Nevertheless, this weekend’s meeting of the NEC and the release of emails confirm the fact that President Zuma’s cabinet is captured by an extensive network of parasitic vampires who are sucking the very lifeblood from our state and the State-Owned Entities.
They have set up a parallel government that operates through mutually nefarious means and evades all forms of accountability through its tentacles that extend all the way from the Union Buildings, right through organs of state like the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and reach deep down into local municipalities.
Two things have emerged, as clear as daylight, from this weekend’s events:
1. South Africa doesn’t have a Jacob Zuma problem, it has an ANC problem – the rot in the ANC goes deep and wide.
2. The ANC knows what the problem is; their alliance partners know what the problem is (which is why Mr Zuma is no longer welcome at their events); South Africans know what the problem is; religious bodies know what the problem is (which is why they have taken to the streets in record numbers not seen since the advent of democracy); and those commentators and ANC members who keep holding out for the “self-correction” are going to grow old waiting for something they will never see. The ANC is incapable of self-correction and it will be up to the voters to force the spring of correction through the ballot box.
And that is why Parliament cannot continue to turn a half glance to the seriousness of the crisis our nation faces through capture of our state. This is exactly why the Leader of the Opposition has proposed that this House establishes an ad hoc committee to probe the extent of state capture.
Witnesses must be subpoenaed, documents must be demanded and those Ministers implicated must face full and proper enquiry by this House. The Constitution gave us the power to do this and we must exercise those powers on behalf of the people to get to the bottom of this scourge and expose and remove this network, root and branch, from our government, State-Owned Entities and wherever it has planted its poisonous roots.
Simply chipping away in individual committees may expose some of the branches but will not deal with the rotten root. That will require a broad and overreaching enquiry that will be able to get a full picture of the extent of the problem. Parliament must do the job that the framers of our constitution intended it to do.
What should a Parliament do?
The Constitution is explicit on what we should be doing as Parliament and section 42(3) sets out very simply the four things we must do:
1. Choose a President;
2. Providing a national forum for the public consideration of issues;
3. Pass legislation;
4. Scrutinize and oversee executive action.
Now you can have all the plans, protocols, intentions and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you like, and we have listened to the Speaker rattling off how well she thinks Parliament is doing. But the reality is, once all the management jargon has been stripped away, if we are not meeting these four simple Constitutional expectations then we are not performing our job. They are the core functions of Parliament and we should be measured by them. So how are we doing on these?
Choosing a president:
Well, the less said about this the better. The truth is that we have a President who has been found by the Constitutional Court to have failed to uphold his oath of office, violated the very Constitution he was supposed to protect, and who continues to ride roughshod over democratic institutions and process.
We elected him in this House and we should have had the courage to remove him when he failed us and the people of South Africa. Yet we allow him to continue in office. The Ipsos poll released today showed that 62% of ANC voters disapprove of Mr Zuma and his approval rating is the lowest of any of the country’s democratically elected presidents. Clearly, South Africans, particularly the 9 million unemployed, don’t think too highly of this Parliament’s performance on this score.
Providing a national forum for the public consideration of issues:
Again, hardly a stellar performance here. The freedom of speech in this House, bequeathed to us by the Constitution no less and which should be a right protected with all the might our presiding officers can muster, is being eroded and undermined every day.
Simple terms, quite ordinarily used in Parliaments and debating forums around the world, have been banned. Members’ rights to say the things that need to be said, particularly members of the opposition, are restricted through a stranglehold of insecure presiding officers. Time and again the members of this House have had to approach the courts to get them to uphold this right, yet time and again the rights are eroded.
Just last week, opposition Members were prevented from calling a minister “an invisible minister”. A Parliament where Members, as public representatives, cannot raise matters in a forthright and robust manner is not good for democracy and not worthy of the name.
Passing legislation:
This should be one of the most important functions performed by us and, given how long we have been doing it, something which should be improving and not declining. Yet on a regular and steady basis legislation passed in this house is struck down by the courts as invalid or unconstitutional.
Shoddy, job-wrecking legislation is pushed through and, despite their obvious failings and legal problems, the ANC cannot bring themselves to correct the errors and omissions. Here in the House they stubbornly march on incorrect paths passing legislation (that’s when they are actually able to get their MPs to pitch for work on the day!) and are then repeatedly beaten in court.
The Speaker has had a lot today to say on empowering and capacitating MPs to do their job. It would be nice if we could just start by making sure that we have enough researchers, legal advisors and content advisors at a committee level so we can properly scrutinise the legislation that the Executive send to us and play the role of proper legislators.
Scrutinising and overseeing Executive action:
Anybody who thinks that this 5th Parliament has met its expectations in this regards must have been living on another planet. This is probably the requirement where we have witnessed the worst failures. At every turn the Executive has been protected from proper accountability and scrutiny.
The Nkandla Report should have been the massive wake-up call that this Parliament needed to overhaul and reconsider how we hold the executive accountable. There was a single tick-box meeting after this devastating indictment on this Parliament’s failure and zero action arising from it. The protection and shielding of the executive has simply continued.
Nowhere is this more evident than the manner in which the Executive is protected by Speaker Mbete during oral question sessions. Bearing in mind that these are the only unscripted exchanges where MPs can truly hold the Executive accountable, the Speaker always defaults to protecting the Executive from difficult and probing questions posed by MPs.
It is for this reason that the SABC was virtually brought to its knees before Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, who belatedly felt the firm hand of parliamentary accountability in the ad hoc committee probing the SABC. For an entire year before this, Muthambi was allowed to regularly evade parliamentary accountability with impunity by simply not answering written and oral questions by opposition MPs or by not showing up. There were never any consequences
We witnessed the same pattern with the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, who was also consistently aided and abetted by the Speaker to avoid answering the tough questions relating to the impending South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grants crisis. Minister Dlamini was allowed to regularly mislead the House over her Department’s readiness to take over social grant payments on 1 April 2017.
When opposition MPs challenged these glaring factual inaccuracies in the House, the Speaker was the first to rush to Dlamini’s defense.
When the anatomy of both these crises is properly examined it is plain to see that both could have been avoided had Parliament been doing its job, without fear and favour, and had those Members who take their role seriously been protected in performing their role by a Speaker who actually placed the institution above her organisation.
South Africa requires a functioning and vibrant Parliament if our multi-party democracy is to survive. It also requires a Parliament that is unafraid of holding the Executive accountable as the Constitution prescribes.
The Speaker
Given the myriad of institutional failings, the Speaker’s dismal record of court losses, the daily own goals and organisational foul-ups, one could be forgiven for thinking there was not enough institutional support for the office. Quite the opposite actually, the Speaker has over 42 employees in her organogram costing over R37 million.
I was particularly interested to note that there is an entire office of nine full-time employees who form the so-called Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy, which includes a Director who rakes in over R1.5 million per annum, a Constitutional and legal advice specialist earning R1.4 million, two legal assistants and a manager.
All this and yet when I made a simple inquiry of the Speaker about some outstanding reports from Chapter 9 institutions I received a letter confirming there were none. Surprise, surprise, less than one week later the reports were magically ATC’d. You have an entire office of people whose full time job it is to liaise and monitor with chapter nine institutions and they couldn’t even pick this up. What a disgrace.
The rules of the National Assembly, in acknowledging the key importance of impartiality, directs the Speaker to conduct herself impartially. Rule 26(4) states that “the Speaker must act fairly and impartially and apply the rules with due regard to ensuring the participation of members of all parties in a manner consistent with democracy”. Whenever the Speaker acts in a way that is partisan, biased or conducts herself in a manner that favours a single political agenda, she breaks that covenant.
So it may be convenient to “not hear” when a member is being sworn at under your nose (despite the fact that the whole nation heard it) or refuse to take action when a female member of the opposition is called a “straatmeid” or become conveniently deaf when Mr Dicks shouts out “rented Darkie”. But every time you do this, Speaker, it undermines the very rules that you are tasked with upholding and enforcing. You do this at your own peril and by extension open yourself up to attack and also place the consistent enforceability of the rules of the National Assembly at great risk.
The Secretary to Parliament
Parliament is much more than just bricks and mortar, it is a living institution made up of people. It cannot function without them and today I want to pay special tribute to the hard-working men and women that make up our staff. I want to say to those that really care about this institution and are invested in its success that your work, under difficult circumstances, is greatly appreciated.
And that’s why I am filled with deep sadness when I see the way that many of you are disrespected, targeted and treated like criminals, sidelined and marginalised, threatened or intimidated by the Secretary to Parliament. Since Mr Mgidlana’s arrival in our Parliament there has been a rapid decline in industrial relations and for many this is not a happy place to work.
On top of this the staff have now received notice that there will be no pay increases this year because there is not enough money. Given inflation and rising cost-of-living, this essentially amounts to a decrease.
It never ceases to amaze me that when it comes to the luxuries there is never a problem finding money. Take for example the international travel of the secretary to Parliament. Given the amount of international travel he does I sometimes think he believes he is the secretary to the United Nations, not the secretary to the Parliament of South Africa. In March last year he spent seven nights in a Lusaka Hotel at R21 000 a night, and enjoyed a rented limousine that cost R800 per hour, adding up to some R37 000 for the duration of his stay. We have, through the JSCFMP, asked for a full breakdown of all international travel costs by the Secretary.
This is of course on top of the blue light brigades, and VIP European and international travel. It seems when it comes to the Secretary to Parliament there is no destination too far or conference to obscure that he isn’t ready to pack his bags for. Despite his multi-million rand salary he has added insult to injury by awarding himself a bursary. Why does somebody who earns what he does require a bursary? There must be countless of our employees who are more deserving and more appropriate recipients.
I would also be remiss if I were not to express concern at the spate of new appointments at a senior management level. It is very clear that a determined and unashamed cadre deployment strategy is at play. How else would somebody like the deeply partisan former ANC spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, simply drift through the swing doors, suddenly be appointed as the spokesperson for a multi-party, non-partisan institution like Parliament. The employment procedures were rigged and subverted to make sure that the ANC’s dark arts practitioner could get work. He has wasted no time in proving his critics right by turning the Parliamentary media operation into an extension of the ANC attack machine.
I also suppose that we shouldn’t expect any different when the Secretary himself cannot distinguish his role between the Party and the Institution, which is why he sees no problem attending ANC speakers’ forums at Luthuli House to carry out party business. Of course, “Goebbels” Mathopo promptly tried to spin the Secretary as this non-partisan who attends to all party caucuses. I bet there is not a single other party caucus or training that has been graced by his presence. I’m going to investigate who paid for those flights and accommodation costs to attend this meeting. I have a sneaking suspicion what the answer will be.
How funny then that Mgidlana punts the recently launched “new organisational values”, values which include professionalism, integrity, accountability, openness and teamwork, when he and his closest affiliates practice none of these.
Take for example how “special bid adjudication committees” are set up where the Secretary appoints himself to serve despite the fact that the supply chain regulations do not provide for this and where the Secretary is supposed to act as the adjudicator, essentially being both player and referee. We believe that this is a serious breach of the Supply Chain Management (SCM) regulations and the Financial Management of Parliament and Legislatures Act (FMPPLA). We have further concerns about the process used by the Secretary to simply write off fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
It’s clear that the secretary wants to deal with the deficit by making the staff pay for it through denying them bonuses, which they have worked hard for, and by retrenching those staff members who do not bend to his whims. I have a message for those staff members to stand firm. The time is fast approaching when this Parliament will be under new management and we can turn it into a world-class operation by truly working together for the betterment of this special institution.
We can have a functioning and effective Parliament. It’s going to require leaders both political and administrative who put the needs of this institution first, ahead of self-interest, ahead of party interest.
We can truly be an institution that represents our people, their hopes, their concerns, their needs and aspirations, but that means we must always put the people first, ahead of selfish interests and narrow partisanship.
We believe passionately in this institution. We believe that when Parliament works, South Africa works and we must, as an institution, strive harder every single day to live up to the expectations placed upon us by the framers of the Constitution and the people of this great nation.
And so, back to the beginning if I may. Madam Speaker, the answer to your question is an emphatic no!
No, I will never get tired of fighting for a Parliament that does what it is supposed to do.
No, I will never get tired of fighting for the 9 million unemployed South Africans who have suffered through the policies of the Zuma administration.
No, I will never get tired of fighting for greater executive accountability from the President and his cabinet.
And most of all no, I will never get tired of fighting to hold you accountable, and for you to just do your job as the head of this institution.

DSD paid for Dlamini’s Addis Ababa trip

In a response to a DA parliamentary question, the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, admitted that the Department of Social Development (DSD) footed the bill for her trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January this year.
The Minister’s trip to Addis Ababa took place at the same time the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) was launching its task team and young women’s desk in Addis Ababa.
Photographs and media reports from her trip to Addis Ababa point towards Dlamini seemingly attending events in her capacity as the Chairperson ANCWL, despite her representatives claiming that she was there on official state business.
The DA will now submit further parliamentary questions to find out how much public money was spent on this trip, considering that she might have attended to ANCWL affairs during her stay in Ethiopia.
The trip meant that Dlamini missed a crucial portfolio committee meeting in which she was supposed to give Parliament an update on the DSD and SASSAs progress in institutionalising the distribution of social grants.
When 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans were unsure whether they would receive their social grants on time, the Minister ignored their plight in order to attend to official ANC business.
Dlamini has continuously proved that she is unfit to hold office, but the President, in his cabinet reshuffle, has proven that he awards self-serving and careless individuals, who show little remorse for the suffering of our people.
As long as Dlamini is a Minister, the DA will continue to hold her accountable for her poor performance, as it is becoming shockingly obvious that the President will not.

DA to submit further allegations of improper Dlamini-CPS relationship to the Public Protector

Following reports in the media today on the possible improper relationship between the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, infamous businessman, Lunga Ncwana, and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), the DA will submit the allegations to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to form part of her investigation the DA has requested into Dlamini’s relationship with CPS.
The link between Dlamini and Ncwana was reportedly revealed in a text message that Dlamini sent to the former director-general of Social Development, Zane Dangor, which reads; “You and Sipho [Shezi] have been used by [Thokozani] Magwaza who is a friend to my former boyfriend who wanted to extort money from Lunga and could not”.
The Minister’s connection to Ncwana is of grave concern, considering that Ncwana is a close friend of Brian Mosehla, who allegedly pocketed R83 million as CPS’s BEE partner, due to corrupt dealings.
The DA has long held that Dlamini purposefully manufactured the social grants crisis to ensure that the invalid contract with CPS would continue. The recent revelations could possibly reveal that this was done so that Dlamini and those close to her would benefit financially.
Dlamini played political games with the livelihoods of millions of South Africans, yet she somehow survived the president’s midnight cabinet reshuffle, whilst numerous other competent and effective ministers were removed.
Now that it is clear that the President has no remorse for the suffering of our people, it is up to the DA and ordinary South Africans to ensure that Dlamini and Zuma are held accountable for putting their own self-interest above the best interests of the people.

Baleka Mbete must comply with Constitutional Court judgement on Dlamini

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, must move swiftly to give effect to the Constitutional Court judgement that, on 17 March, instructed Parliament to hold Minister of Social Security, Bathabile Dlamini, to account.
The DA believes that the Speaker should, without delay, establish an ad hoc committee in accordance with the mandate set out in our notice of motion submitted on 15 March.
In its judgement, the Constitutional Court was unequivocal in finding that:
The office-holder ultimately responsible for the crisis and the events that led to it is the person who holds executive political office. It is the Minister who is required in terms of the Constitution to account to Parliament. That is the Minister, and the Minister alone.
Mbete’s indefensible bias and slavish commitment to protecting the Executive facilitated, at least for a while, the most extraordinary evading of accountability in the Nkandla matter, until the Constitutional Court put an end to it.
More recently, and without Constitutional Court intervention, an ad hoc committee established to probe the shambles at the SABC forced Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, to finally account for her role in the crisis.
It is our hope that the good faith and multi-party cooperation shown in this committee can be replicated, and that Dlamini can finally be forced to account to Parliament, as ordered by the Constitutional Court.
Members of the Executive routinely shirk their constitutional duty to account to Parliament and the Speaker has become their ever-willing accomplice. Now, thanks to the integrity and impartiality of the Constitutional Court, time has run out for Dodging Dlamini and Mbete has been left with no choice but to call the minister to account. We suggest she studies the Constitutional Court judgement and establishes an ad hoc committee without delay.

#DlaminiMustGo: DA welcomes Public Protector investigation into Dodging Dlamini and CPS

The DA welcomes that Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has decided to investigate the relationship between the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), following the DA’s request for her to probe their relationship.
The DA is of the belief that Dlamini purposefully bungled the takeover process to ensure CPS would continue to distribute social grants. It is astounding that a Minister who has put the livelihoods of 17 million South Africans at risk, possibly for her own personal gain, would be allowed to keep their job. Yet, we have come to see that President Zuma rewards failure.
The entire country, including the Constitutional Court, has seen Dlamini for what she truly is, uncaring and “incompetent”. The DA has repeatedly called for her to be fired but Zuma continues to protect her.
In fact, instead of firing her, he has opted to establish an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on social security. Like Nkandla, this committee is nothing more than an exercise in institutionalised white-washing.
Dlamini has refused to adhere to three separate legal opinions presented to her and has even disregarded the Constitutional Court. Media reports also indicate that Zuma’s special adviser, Michael Hulley, held special meetings with Dlamini and SASSA officials to ensure the extension of the illegal contract between SASSA and CPS.
Dlamini seemed desperate to ensure that CPS continues to pay out social grants to the 17 million poor and vulnerable beneficiaries and the reasons for this must be fully investigated.
Even when CPS was exposed for illegally deducting money from the social grants of the most vulnerable in our society, she did not care.
The DA therefore hopes that the Public Protectors’ investigation will shed some light on how this crisis came about and that those who are responsible, particularly Dlamini, are brought to account, as it is becoming clear that the president will continue to aid Dlamini in dodging accountability.

Zuma has no plans to hold Minister Dlamini accountable for social grants crisis

The Democratic Alliance condemns, in the strongest terms, President Zuma’s unwillingness to hold the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, accountable for the social grants crisis that she has created. It is now clear that 17 million South Africans have been abandoned by the President and the ANC.
Today President Zuma told Parliament and the people of South Africa that there exists no social grants crisis. This indicates a President out of touch with reality.
He has no interest in making sure that Minister Dlamini is held to account for her astounding lack of action and utter contempt – not only for the Constitutional Court – but for the 17 million poor and vulnerable people who depend on social grants for their livelihood and survival. This is the very Minister who Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng yesterday called “incompetent” in discharging her responsibilities.
Zuma fails to see how Dlamini has sat on her hands for three years since the highest court in the land declared the CPS contract invalid and ordered that SASSA make alternative plans for the distribution of grants. Dlamini has been far too busy campaigning for the ANC to prioritise the payment of social grants.
Zuma fails to see how Dlamini wilfully misled Parliament when she claimed, in her budget vote speech on 5 May 2016, that SASSA will be ready to distribute grants come 1 April.
Zuma fails to see that Dlamini has failed in her responsibility as a Minister to answer 93% of Parliamentary questions relating to the crisis.
The President is flatly refusing to stand up for the 17 million South Africans. The DA will not hesitate to do so and that is why we have written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to request that she establish an Ad Hoc Committee to fully investigate this crisis and to hold those responsible to account.
The millions of South Africans who have been left to wonder if they will be able to put food on the table for their children and families after 1 April 2017 deserve nothing less.

Social Grants Crisis: 28 days and counting since DA called for dodging Dlamini to be fired

It has been 28 days since the DA called on President Zuma to fire the Social Development Minister over her inexcusable mismanagement of the social grants crisis and still no action has been taken to hold her accountable for putting the livelihoods of 17 million South Africans at risk.
Since then it has emerged that:
• SASSA has failed to answer questions put to them by the Constitutional Court regarding social grants and the CPS contract;
• SASSA knew they would not be ready to take over the distribution of social grants as far back as April 2016, a full year ago;
• Dlamini has taken every opportunity to block any alternative options that do not involve CPS;
• Three different legal opinions, which stated that SASSA should approach the Constitutional court, were ignored by Dlamini;
• The President’s special advisor, Michael Hulley, has been involved in ensuring CPS would continue to distribute social grants; and
• Dlamini has failed to answer 93% of parliamentary questions regarding the social grants crisis.
The DA have already written to the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to request two investigations, one into the relationship between the Minister and CPS as there seems to be a possibility that Dlamini will, in some way, benefit from the CPS contract, and the second to investigate whether Dlamini wilfully mislead Parliament.
It is blatantly obvious that Dlamini is not fit for office and her contempt for the highest court in our country is matched only by her contempt for the most vulnerable people in our country.
The laundry list of failures by Dlamini is vast and it is high time the President puts the interests of the people and their wellbeing first.

The DA is fighting for your grants

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, outside the Department of Social Development following a march calling for the payment of social grants to all 17 million grant recipients. The Leader was joined by DA National Spokesperson, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, DA Shadow Minister and Deputy of Social Development, Bridget Masango, and Lindy Wilson, DA SCOPA Spokesperson, Tim Brauteseth, DA Gauteng North Regional Chairperson, Fred Nel, and DA Gauteng MPL, Makashule Gana.
Fellow South Africans,
The corruption and incompetence of this government have put the monthly grants of 17 million South Africans at risk.
How much more must we take from this ANC government?
How much more damage must they do to our country before they are stopped?
How many of our people must they harm or threaten before we say, as a nation: “Enough. This ends here”?
In less than three weeks’ time, millions of South Africans stand to lose their social grants if an urgent solution to the grant payment crisis is not found.
The President described this as an “inconvenience”. This is not an “inconvenience” for those people who rely on their grants. It is a disaster.
A third of our people depend on grants to survive. 17 million people.
This places a massive responsibility on the shoulders of the government.
The men and women who drafted our Constitution knew that we would grapple with the legacy of Apartheid for years to come. They knew that poverty would continue to affect many people.
And so our Constitution guarantees poor South Africans a safety net.
Our state welfare programme is one of the most crucial functions of our government. For many women, men and children it literally is a matter of life and death.
The R10 billion in social grants that go out to 17 million people each month are often all that stand between them and hunger, sickness and homelessness.
It is our immediate duty to ensure that every single child is cared for, fed, kept healthy and sent to school.
It is our immediate duty to ensure that those who cannot look after themselves – the disabled, the sick, the very young and the very old – are cared for and do not suffer.
When we vote for a government, this is one of the most important tasks we expect them to fulfill.
And from the way the ANC campaigns for elections, they know exactly how important this is.
They make it sound like it is the ANC that gives people their grants. They count on the fact that people are conned into thinking their monthly grant is a gift from the ANC.
This is a lie. Your grant is not a gift from the ANC. Your grant is guaranteed by the Constitution.
The only way you will lose it is if the ANC damages SASSA so much that they cannot even deliver your grant to you. That is what is about to happen.
But the ANC wants you to believe the lie that they give you the grant. This is extremely important to the ANC, because it is all that stands between them and losing an election.
But there is something that is even more important to them than tricking the voters. And that is their greed.
You see, their number one priority is to keep their massive web of power and corruption intact. To keep the right people in the right positions so that their corrupt game of giving and taking – of stealing and stashing – can carry on.
It’s such a full-time job that they can’t even pretend to care anymore.
17 million people’s lives depend on receiving their monthly grants, but this ANC government is too busy playing its crooked games to care.
Bathabile Dlamini had three years to find a solution to distributing these grants. She knew exactly how big this job was, and she knew about the deadline. And she did absolutely nothing.
She knew that, come the 1st of April, 17 million South Africans could stand to lose their only financial lifeline if she didn’t present a solution. And she did absolutely nothing.
She knew that the courts and Treasury and Parliament would have no choice but to ask the same company whose contract was found invalid in 2014, to carry on distributing grants in 2017.
She knew that she was playing a deadly game with the lives of our most vulnerable people, but she just doesn’t care.
You see, Bathabile Dlamini is in Zuma’s corner. And when you’re in Zuma’s corner, there are many things you don’t have to do.
When you’re in Zuma’s corner, you don’t have to account for your actions to Parliament and the people of South Africa.
When you’re in Zuma’s corner, you don’t have to answer difficult questions from the media.
When you’re in Zuma’s corner, you don’t even have to do your job.
Fellow South Africans,
Looking after the poor and the vulnerable may be her job, but Bathabile Dlamini doesn’t care about grant beneficiaries. She has too many other things to worry about.
Things like campaigning. If she’s not busy campaigning for Zuma himself, or for her own position in the ANC Women’s League, then she’s out there campaigning for the president’s ex-wife to take over from him.
In Bathabilie Dlamini’s world, this is what she was elected to do. The poor, the disabled, the sick, the old and the young come second. Number 1 comes first.
The ANC is still counting on selling people the lie that it cares enough to hand out R10 billion in grants every month.
But thanks to Minister Bathabile Dlamini, people now know that this is a lie. The mask has finally slipped. Every day, more and more South Africans see this ANC government for what it really is.
So what more must the ANC do before they are kicked out of government?
They have failed in giving black children an education.
They have failed in creating opportunities for young black South Africans to get ahead in life.
They have failed in keeping our people safe in their communities.
They have captured our state institutions.
They have killed our people in Marikana and Esidimeni.
And now they are gambling with the lives of 17 million vulnerable people.
How much more?
Fellow South Africans,
The ANC wants you to believe that the DA is against social grants. They spread fake stories about how the DA will take away grants once we’re in government.
These are lies. Not only do we fully support the safety net of our social grant system, we even tried to increase the grants with an additional R2.2 billion in the budget.
But the ANC blocked this. The party that says they care about the poor blocked our efforts to send more funds towards social grants. Think about that.
Where the DA governs, people get paid their social grants every month and no one has ever lost their grant. But now it is the ANC who is threatening to take away grants through this crisis.
The DA is fighting to save your grants and make sure they are paid on 1 April. The ANC is fighting to get rich, even if that means you don’t get your grants. That is the simple truth.
The same people who spread these stories about the DA will also try and tell you that we’re exploiting this crisis by speaking out on it.
They try to shut us up by saying we shouldn’t “politicise” an issue like this. But to them I say: Nothing will stop us from doing our job.
This ANC government has turned on the people of South Africa, and it is our job to stand in their way.
Let me be clear on this: If standing up for the people of South Africa and protecting them from a corrupt and uncaring government is uncomfortable for the ANC, then tough luck.
Fellow South Africans,
We are fast running out of time to avert this grants crisis. It is a crisis that is entirely manufactured by the ANC.
The memorandum we are handing over to the Department of Social Development today calls for the following four steps:

  1. Minister Dlamini must resign immediately. She is incompetent, and cannot serve in any position in government.
  1. Government must tell us now whether there is an agreement between SASSA and CPS for the delivery of social grants after 31 March 2017.
  1. If there is such an agreement, Minister Dlamini must let us know what the terms of this agreement are, including the costs and timeframes.
  1. The Minister must appear before a Parliamentary enquiry to explain her actions and that of her department.

We know by now that President Zuma will not hold Bathabile Dlamini or her department accountable. We know that he does not care enough about the lives of ordinary South Africans to act against her.
But there are enough of us who do care.
There are enough ordinary citizens, enough members of the press, enough opposition party members, enough judges, enough NGOs and enough business leaders to hold President Zuma and his ministers to account.
There are enough of us to do what he and his uncaring government can’t and won’t do.
Together we will make sure the poor and the vulnerable in our society are not abandoned.
And together we will get rid of this government that has become the enemy of the people and replace it with one that cares for and serves the people.
Today we say, Dlamini must go, and she must go now.
Ke a leboga. Thank you.

Social Grants Crisis: DA will demand the release of the new CPS contract

The DA will write to the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, to demand that the new contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) be made public.
If she will not do so voluntarily, the DA will submit an application, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), to force her to.
Reports indicate that the new contract with CPS has already been signed, yet ‘dodging Dlamini’ has taken every opportunity to avoid answering vital questions of clarity on the terms of the new contract.
The ANC and Dlamini have shown time and time again that there will be no accountability for this crisis and that is why the DA is left with no choice but to submit an application in terms of PAIA for the contract, in the interest of openness and transparency.
The current invalid contract between SASSA and CPS will come to an end in just over 3 weeks, on 31 March 2017.
The 17 million South Africans who rely on social grants just to put the bare essentials on the table from day to day, deserve to know if and how their grants will be paid.
Despite the Department of Social Development and SASSA knowing that the current contract was invalid since 2012, they ignored the Constitutional Court, and the DA believes this crisis was manufactured to force a new contract with CPS.
The DA has reason to believe that SASSA’s new contract with CPS will be at an inflated cost that may cost taxpayers billions of rands.
Tomorrow, 10 March 2017, the DA will march, en masse, to the Department of Social Development to show Minister Dlamini, that even if the ANC-government rewards bad behaviour, the DA and South Africans will not.

Social Grants Crisis: DA calls for immediate Parliamentary enquiry into ‘Dodging Dlamini’

Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, has yet again dodged accountability before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) today, as she failed to adequately account for the social grant crisis and even tried to make an early exit.
The DA once again reiterates our call for a full Parliamentary enquiry into the social grants fiasco as Dlamini’s astounding inability to provide clear answers on the terms of the new CPS contract, the new cost, or on the resignation of the DG, cannot be allowed to stand. By not answering these key questions Dlamini wishes to escape accountability and the DA will not allow this.
Dodging accountability has now become the hallmark of the ANC and comes straight from the top as just yesterday President Zuma instructed officials to stop answering questions on SASSA.
The President’s lack of action and refusal to fire Dlamini is a clear indication of how little he and the ANC care for the millions of vulnerable South Africans who rely on social grants. It is, therefore, the responsibility of Parliament to investigate the social grants crisis to ensure that Minister Dlamini is held accountable.
The DA has already submitted an application in the Constitutional Court, to pursue accountability for those who have created this crisis and put 17 million South Africans at risk. We have sought a declaratory order from the court confirming that the Minister of Social Development, the CEO of the SASSA and the SASSA, violated their duties in terms of Sections 165 (4) and (5) and Section 195 of the Constitution.
The ANC cannot continue to protect ineffective ministers at the expense of poor South Africans. The DA also believe that Minister Dlamini has violated her oath of office by failing to perform the functions of her office with honour, dignity and to the best of her ability and we are seeking a declaration from the court in this regard.
The DA will be marching, en masse, to Dlamini’s office on Friday, 10 March 2017, to send a clear message that her contempt for the poor will not be left unanswered.
The DA will continue to pursue all avenues possible to make sure that Dlamini and all those responsible for this crisis are held accountable to the full extent of the law.