NCOP outcome on Tshwane intervention is driven by political maneuvering

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is dismayed by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP’s) announcement in favour of the dissolution of the Tshwane Council by the Gauteng Provincial Government without due process.

It is clear that the outcome was politically driven and that the NCOP is caught in the web of lies the province is weaving.

The DA vehemently disagrees with the decision to put the City of Tshwane under administration.

The matter will be heard in court on 24 March 2020 and we are confident that it will be set aside.

This is a principled fight that concerns the preservation of our democracy and democratic processes.

This outcome sets a dangerous precedent where municipalities that do not have an outright majority will be forced to go to elections every 90 days if parties do not agree in council.

Alternative solutions are required as this may become a prevalent occurrence after the 2021 local government elections.

Section 139 (1) (c) of the Constitution should be the last resort and in fact more emphasis should have been placed on Section 154 that indicates assistance to a local sphere from provincial and national spheres of government.

The report tabled by the NCOP today is factually flawed and is a clear indication that the NCOP and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Nikosazana Dlamini Zuma failed to hold Gauteng COGTA MEC Lebogang Maile accountable for the misleading information he continues to dish out to the public.

The sudden rush to have the NCOP certify the Gauteng Provincial Government’s intervention in the Tshwane Municipality is nothing short of political exploitation and an incorrect interpretation of the Constitution.

This intervention was only referred to the NCOP last week, leaving the Select Committee on COGTA with very little time for adequate engagement.

During its submissions to the NCOP yesterday, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) noted that new elections could result in no party obtaining a majority, risking a hung Council, with no political leadership. If the MEC was serious about assisting the City of Tshwane and not attempting a power grab through the backdoor, it should have approached SALGA to assist in finding solutions and lobbied all parties to work together.

A time for a renewed NCOP

The following farewell speech was delivered in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) today.

Honourable Chairperson,

Honourable Members,

Fellow South Africans,

It still feels like just yesterday we were all out on the campaign trail, speaking to thousands of South Africans on what issues mattered to them in this election.

Now, seven months later, we are wrapping up the first session of the 6th Parliament.  Reflecting on this year really makes one note and appreciate that time really does fly by.

I say that again, time flies by.

But not all time is lost. four and half years remain of this 6th Democratic Parliament.  At this moment in the term, we do not require farewell speeches. We need planning speeches – visions to outline our road map of how we as the Members of the Upper House of this bicameral Parliament, would like to be remembered come 2024.

The activities of the NCOP this year alone, reflects once again, the shortfall of recognizing the true purpose and nature of this House;  The rushing of Bills in committees and plenaries, galvanizing the false sentiment that we are a rubber stamp to the National Assembly, the failure of interrogating legislation with the most optimal inclusion of provincial interests, and the lack of political will in holding the Executive to account through the various mechanisms that allow for such engagement.

I want all of us to visualize an NCOP that acts and functions like a true Upper House. I want us to imagine an NCOP that operates as a First Chamber, provides expertise to legislation like a House of Lords and has the respect like a Senate.

And just like any Upper House, the interests and needs of the provinces we represent are what should drive us to deliver the best quality of work in the national legislature. We are not the National Council of Parties, we are the National Council of Provinces.  It is about time we started acting as such.

If you look at Parliaments and Congresses across the world, you would find that both the Lower and Upper Houses hold unique powers to each other.

Why then should the National Assembly have the only say when it comes to electing the President? Why can’t that power be balanced with the NCOP having the ability to confirm Cabinet members nominated by the President?  Does this not speak to a truer balance of powers – after all, the NCOP is effectively the checks and balances of the National Assembly, and indirectly, the National Executive.

What happened to the days of rigorous debate? What happened to the filibuster? We are the last point of departure of often life-changing or life-damaging pieces of legislation before they arrive to the President’s desk. We owe it to the democratic project that we make the most of our role as an Upper House and really ensure the maximum processing of legislation.

There is a problem when the media labels this House as the National Council of Pointlessness or, more commonly, Shady Pines – an allusion to being a dumping ground for expired cadres. Respect is earned.  Only once we as Members of this House take our role seriously and apply with a careful and correct interpretation of our functions as laid out in the Constitution, will the public follow suit.

Unlike the National Assembly – in fact, unlike any other Upper Houses across the world, we have the unique feature of combining all spheres of government – the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) is permitted to take part in House debates, Members of the nine Provincial Legislatures occupy special delegate seats with voting powers, and the national government is accountable to this House through our committees when dealing with legislation.

Time really flies by. But while we still have enough time, we can embark on a journey of truly altering this NCOP into a real, respectable, unique Upper House of Parliament.

I would like to lastly, give a word of thanks to all of those involved in this House. From the Members to the table staff, to the office staff – we are all responsible for the functioning of this Chamber.

Go forth and enjoy your festive holiday.  But come back with more motivation and energy than ever before. We will need it if we truly wish to change the NCOP for the better.

I thank you.

The ANC’s Rogues Gallery: the wolves in shepherds’ clothing

This month, before the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture, Justice Raymond Zondo was unequivocal: the 4th and 5th Parliaments failed utterly in their constitutional duty to keep the executive to account.

The 6th Parliament cannot afford to follow the same route.

One of the things that the 6th Parliament can do to ensure we do not follow the same route as our predecessors is to ensure that Ministers appear before portfolio committees and are vigorously asked to account for their departments’ annual financial statements. We need to fearlessly interrogate their performance on key indicators such as building proper school infrastructure and connecting homes to running water and other services.

The truth is, however, that a great many of the ANC’s chairperson candidates have allegations of corruption hanging over their heads or have a proven track record of disregard for good governance and disrespect for the institution of Parliament.

They have been set to guard over our committees, but in actual fact, they are wolves in shepherds’ clothing.

The ANC candidates

Rosina Semenya, the ANC’s nominee for chairperson of the Human Settlements, Water & Sanitation committee, who earned herself the nickname of “sleepist” during the last Parliament might do nothing worse than doze off while her flock is carried away, and therefore seems almost benign when compared to some of the other dangerous wolves that are set to be handed shepherds’ staffs.

Of particular concern are:

  • Mosebenzi Zwane (Transport) – notorious for his role in the Estina dairy farm project, which saw the Gupta family loot millions of Rands from the Free State government to pay for a luxurious wedding for their niece.
  • Supra Mahumapelo (Tourism) – gave millions in tenders to the Gupta family and refused to share/release damning forensic reports while cities and towns fell apart and health services in his province all but collapsed.
  • Bongani Bongo (Home Affairs) – Bongo was the Zuma-deployed Minister of State Security and has racked up numerous allegations of corruption and bribery against him, most infamously during the inquiry into state capture at Eskom, when he tried to bride Adv. Vanara.
  • Tina Joemat-Petterson (Police) – Joemat-Petterson allegedly sold off the country’s strategic fuel reserves, at well-below market value, without the requisite permission while she was Minister of Energy.
  • Dr. Sibongiseni Dlomo (Health) – MEC for Health in Kwazulu-Natal when the collapse of oncology services in that province deprived hundreds of thousands of cancer patients of treatment.
  • Faith Muthambi (COGTA) – Generally considered a corrupt and failing minister. She leaked confidential state information to the Gupta family and lied to Parliament’s ad hoc committee of inquiry into the crisis at the SABC.

The individuals above are but a sample of the more problematic candidates.

Others include Mondli Gungubele, accused of misleading the Mphati Commission; Sfiso Buthelezi, who has allegations of corruption against him from his days as Chairperson of the PRASA Board and Mapulane Phillemon, similarly with charges of tender fraud hanging over his head.

The ANC under pressure in the NCOP

In the NCOP, the ANC has a very small majority. They occupy 29 out of 54 seats. This has already caused the governing party interesting headaches.

After realising that in two Select Committees they have only 6 out of 12members, the ANC rushed to add additional members to these committees to ensure that they have a majority.

During the first sitting of the Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy on 26th June 2019, the ANC failed to elect their own nominee, having only mustered 4 provincial votes, while the DA’s nominee received 3. They then insisted on to reconvening an hour later to elect a Chairperson.

The ANC’s inconsistency in applying the Constitution and the Rules of the NCOP were evident during the sittings of other Select Committees. The members of some Select Committees on Finance and Appropriations voted individually to elect Chairpersons while in others voting was on a provincial basis. This is all in a desperate attempt to cling to power.

DA proposals

The DA will be laying formal complaints with Parliament’s Ethics Committee against committee chairpersons with substantial allegations against them, as they should not be eligible for these key positions of responsibility of responsibility they are in.

We will also, where appropriate, be putting forward our own candidates for the positions of committee chairpersons.

During previous Parliaments, at least one House Chairperson would also come from the opposition benches. The 5th Parliament had been the exception in this regard. It is for this reason that the DA moved for an amendment to the ANC’s draft resolution in the NA on Thursday. The ANC used their majority to vote against this.

The DA believes that we have a responsibility to build a strong and capable 6th Parliament that will fearlessly hold the president, ministers, and departments to account. With the country teetering on the knife edge where corruption is still rife, 10 million people are unemployed and citizens do not feel safe in their own homes, elected representatives have a duty to do all they can to fight for the people of South Africa.

DA requests urgent meeting with NCOP Chairperson after MP violently removed from Parliamentary sitting

The Democratic Alliance will be writing to the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Thandi Modise, to request an urgent meeting after Cathlene Labuschagne, the Party’s leader in the NCOP, was violently assaulted while being unlawfully removed from a Parliamentary sitting yesterday, 6 June 2018, by Parliamentary Security Services.

The sitting, chaired by Masefako Dikgale, had devolved into complete chaos during the Policy Debate on the Budget Vote for Rural Development and Land Reform, largely due to the Presiding Officer’s incompetence. Labuschagne had raised a valid point of order as the Presiding Officer failed to execute her duty to maintain order in the sitting.

Instead of yielding to the DA’s call to maintain order, the Presiding Officer requested that the Parliamentary Security Services remove Labuschagne from the chamber in contravention of the Rules of the NCOP. Labuschagne was then physically forced from the chamber by members of the Parliamentary Security Services and was further assaulted by them on the way out.

It is an abuse of process and entirely unlawful for the Parliamentary Security Services to enter the NCOP chamber. Moreover, to do so in order to prevent a democratically elected Member of Parliament from executing her duties in service of the people of South Africa on an issue as critical as land reform is an indictment on the constitutional role of Parliament.

The DA is appalled by the gross abuse of Parliamentary procedure by a presiding officer and we hope that we can work together with the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces to ensure that the Presiding Officer in question is appropriately sanctioned for her conduct on the day. An assault on Members of Parliament is a direct assault on South Africa’s Constitutional Democracy – the DA will continue to fight for South Africans in Parliament, particularly on critical issues such as land reform.

Supra’s exit is a starting point, more needs to be done

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the North West notes the much anticipated and delayed exit of disgraced North West Premier, Supra Mahumaphelo.

This is a step in the right direction towards bringing order and stability to the North West, which has being besieged by violent protest action after years of ANC mismanagement and callous leadership.

Mahumaphelo’s “early retirement” does not shield him from accounting for the long list corruption allegations, which have been closely associated with him.

Mahumapelo represents only the tip of the iceberg, therefore his exit will not miraculously fix the province’s deep problems of corruption, service delivery collapse and joblessness. The ANC is rotten to its core and over the past years, the ANC has put the interests of the party before that of the people of North West.

The reality is that  President Cyril Ramaphosa has accommodated Mahumaphelo’s lies and arrogance for too long. If he had acted swiftly, the province could have been spared the protests and upheaval of the past months.

While Ramaphosa played political games, healthcare in the Province’s major centres has come to a complete standstill, despite the supposed interventions made by National Government and the South African National Defence Force. Ramaphosa’s dithering has led to avoidable deaths, where patients in critical conditions were turned away due to the incapacity of healthcare facilities to carry out their functions.

Furthermore, Ramaphosa’s Section 100 intervention and task team have amounted to nothing more than political gimmicks and PR stunts used a  smokescreen to cover his inability to deal with one of his political rivals. It has been marred by legal questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) clearly showing that he is using state machinery and acting outside of due process to fight his political battles.

Again, Mahumaphelo’s removal is only the start of getting the North West working; an ANC government is incapable of putting the people first, delivering services, stopping corruption and delivering jobs.

Only a DA-led government can bring the Change the North West needs. Only the DA can build one South Africa for all.

Thandi Modise must reclaim the image of NCOP, tarnished by MEC Dube Ncube

The DA has written to the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Thandi Modise, in terms of Section 139(1) (b) of the Constitution, regarding the irregular consideration of the ‘amendment’ of the Report of the Select Committee of COGTA – which deals with the Notice of Intervention in eMadlangeni Local Municipality.
To date, the DA has not received any response from the Chairperson.
KZN COGTA Spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, seemingly misled the public when he said that the MEC had been invited to answer some questions to the Select Committee on the intervention. The meeting was only called urgently as a result of pressure by the MEC on the ANC.
Mabaso further lied that the committee supported the intervention. In the urgent meeting, the SC decided to keep the report unchanged – that the NCOP should disapprove the intervention. This was also evident when the Chairperson of the SC read the report out in the Council before the consideration thereof.
He further misled the public by stating that the information submitted by the MEC changed the committee’s decision. Mabaso lacks the competency to read and listen, as he is also captured.
The MEC is using the NCOP to fight her political battles. The ‘amendment’ of the report was irregular and subsequently invalid. There can be no administration intervention in the eMadlangeni Local Municipality, based on this irregularity.
We urge Thandi Modise to respond as a matter of urgency, given the seriousness of the implications if the irregular consideration is condoned.
We reiterate our call for the Premier to recall this errant, arrogant MEC with immediate effect.

Effective Executive oversight by Parliament demands better oversight of Parliament

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, Mike Waters MP, during the Budget Vote on Parliament.
Madam Speaker,
The establishment of the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament was a welcome development as it allowed, for the first time, not only scrutiny over the budget of Parliament but also the Secretary to Parliament and the Executive Authority, namely the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
It is, therefore, unfortunate that the first time you were summoned to appear before this committee, on 12 May 2017, you arrived an hour and a half late, delaying the start of the meeting. Then adding insult to injury, you informed the committee that you had to catch a flight to Gauteng because you were doubled booked. You simply, and rudely I might add, got up and left the meeting without dealing with the issues you were instructed to address.
Your actions, Speaker, clearly indicate the total disdain you have for the Committee and your unwillingness to accept accountability. Much like members of Cabinet.
A copy of the letter sent to you on 4 April, notifying you of the meeting, clearly indicated what was expected of you and what issues you were to address. One of these was the late signing of a performance contract for the Secretary to Parliament for the year 2016/17. In addition, you had a 16:00 deadline on 28 April to submit documents in this regard, which you again failed to provide.
For the benefit of Members, let me recap the issue. The Secretary was appointed on 1 December 2014 and, if you all recall, received a R71 000 ex-gratia payment despite barely warming his seat. We stated in last year’s budget vote that we believed this to be in contravention of Section 7(e) of the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, and we still do. Yet, Speaker, you did absolutely nothing to rectify this abuse.
Section 8 (1) and (2) of the Act stipulates that:
(1) The Executive Authority and the Accounting Officer must conclude a written performance agreement for the Accounting Officer annually.
(2) The performance agreement referred to in subsection (1) must—
(a) be concluded within a reasonable time after the Accounting Officer is employed and thereafter within one week after the start of each financial year;
(b) specify performance standards linked to the objectives and targets of Parliament’s performance plan for the financial year;
(c) provide for an annual assessment of the Accounting Officer’s performance by the Executive Authority; and
(d) specify the consequences of sub-standard performance.
It remains unclear if, for the duration of the period 1 December 2014 to 31 March 2015, or the financial year of 2015/16, a performance contract was indeed concluded with the Secretary to Parliament.
What we do know is that the performance contract for the 2016/17 financial year was never signed. Not in the first week of the financial year, or the second week, nor the third week nor the tenth week, or the twentieth, thirtieth or even the fortieth week. What we do know is that in the 49th week the Secretary confirmed to us that his contract had still not been signed. This Speaker is a disgrace.
Chair, I cannot inform this House as to whether the performance contract was signed before the end of the financial year as the Speaker refuses to be held accountable and answer questions about it.
Speculation regarding the status of the Secretary’s 2017/18 performance contract is still rife. Maybe the Speaker will shed light on the matter in her reply.
Needless to say, we have never received a report from the Executive Authority assessing the Secretary’s performance or what action has been taken with regards to his sub-standard performance.
Given the unhappiness of the staff at Parliament, the past industrial action, and the failure of this Institution to meet key objectives, we are not surprised that the Speaker has not provided an assessment report.
It is ironic that the very institution that is supposed to hold the Executive to account fails to adhere to the law and evades being held accountable themselves.
Madam Speaker, in your press conference yesterday you raised serious concerns about “judicial overreach” and that you were concerned about the plethora of cases against Parliament brought by the DA and other opposition parties. Well Madam Speaker, if Parliament did its job in upholding the Constitution there would be no need for parties to seek justice from our courts.
Your continued insistence on remaining the Chairperson of the ANC and the Speaker of Parliament is the actual problem. It has resulted in Parliament becoming a surrogate for Luthuli House. We witness MP’s freedom of speech being restricted to such an extent that we have more freedom of speech outside the House than inside.
The blurring of the lines continued when you allowed armed military personnel onto the Parliamentary precinct during the opening of Parliament. This despite having given assurances that this would not happen to all parties at a meeting in your office and reiterating those same assurances at a press conference. The Constitution and the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act both protect Parliament as an institution.
Four Constitutional principles have been violated:

  • Firstly, that Parliament is independent and determines what happens on its precinct;
  • Secondly, that the executive interference in Parliament is a serious risk to democracy;
  • Thirdly, that the threat of force undermines the privileges of freedom of speech and arrest; and
  • Fourthly, that the Presiding Officers have a Constitutional duty to protect the independence and integrity of Parliament.

If you did not give permission, Madam Speaker, then the military had been here illegally. And if you did give permission, then Parliament has been lied too.
You need to explain yourself, Madam Speaker.
Another committee that has been captured is the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests. When an opposition MP is fingered, the committee handles the case with exceptional efficiency; however, when an ANC MP is implicated the committee drags its heels to such an extent it stops meeting altogether.
The co-chairpersons of the Committee need to be reminded that this committee is supposed to be neutral and is there to ensure that all MPs, irrespective of party affiliation, are dealt with in the same manner. Failure to do so undermines its legitimacy. We look forward to the committee meeting and starting to deal with the long list of matters before it.
It is quite clear that the next phase of the ANC “state capture” strategy is to take control of Parliament, not only by shutting down debate but by deploying ANC cadres to key positions. So while top officials are employed at huge expense and drain the Parliamentary budget, the rest of the staff here in Parliament have been informed that they will not be getting an increase at all this year.
I put it to you, Speaker, that Parliament is being reduced to an employment agency for Luthuli House.
And while on the subject of staff, your office has 42 staff members, while Member Support Services has only 19.
But what is more astonishing is the amount of money people are being paid. The head of your office earns over R1.6 million and your three special advisors earn nearly R1.6 million each! You have five Communications Managers, each earning a whopping R1.02 million.
The question that begs asking is what do they do all day?
The total cost of your office is a staggering R37 983 153.
It is no wonder that you can’t afford to pay the rank and file staff increases this year.
Another division that needs scrutiny is that of the Parliamentary Communication Services division which has, according to the organisational structure, 84 staff members. The Parliamentary Millennium Programme division is said to have five posts despite being closed in 2013. Another division is called Projects Manager with seven staff members. Yet despite asking what projects they are working on, the Secretary to Parliament could not answer the question.
Speaker, the DA will not let Parliament become a statistic in the ANC state capture campaign. We all swore to uphold our Constitution and never again for this institution to be used as a political football in order to achieve a perverse political agenda.
The voters of South Africa have seen that the ANC no longer wear clothes and their despicable agenda has been exposed for what it is.
In two years time the voter has a choice: re-elect the ANC and get more state capture and corruption, or vote DA and have freedom and opportunities for all.
I thank you.

We must unite to safeguard our Constitution

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in Parliament today by the DA Member in the NCOP, George Michalakis MP, during the debate on Human Rights.
Honourable Chairperson,
George Bizos in his autobiography, An Odyssey to Freedom, quotes Nelson Mandela, saying in 2001:
“The Constitution speaks of both the past and the future. It permits us to build a nation based on the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom, through constitutionalism and the rule of law. It describes the mechanisms and institutions which we have created to ensure that we achieve this. There are no shortcuts on the road to freedom. The constitution describes the path which we must and shall follow.”
These are profound words. It implies that there is something sacred about the principles underlying the Constitution and that we, as the people – and more so the leaders of this nation – must and shall follow it.
The Constitution grants citizens inalienable rights, such as:
The right to equality: Yes, there is a vast legacy of apartheid that needs to be addressed and this government should have made an honest effort to address it over the past 23 years.
How many billions that were supposed to be used to address the apartheid legacy got lost through corruption?
Is this legacy not prolonged because the ANC failed to address it in the past 23 years?
The right to life: A right denied to the citizens at Marikana and elsewhere across the country, brutally killed at the hands of the State. Every time our State kills one of us, it is denying us our fundamental right to life. One can argue that every single time that our State fails to protect us, they are also sharing in the guilt.
The right of freedom of expression: Where an artist’s work is defaced because he has dared to draw a penis on a democratically elected dictator who is driving a spear through the core of our democratic life and value system.
The right to access to information: With bills brought before Parliament in the previous term that was found to be unconstitutional. Ministers who do not answer to Parliament or to the public, but think that they are above the law and the Constitution.
The right to assemble, demonstrate, picket and petition: Time and again undermined by President Zuma and his riot police. Against students protesting, against private citizens raising their concerns and even against members of Parliament.
Political rights: Undermined by the alleged involvement of the ANC in so–called “war-room” tactics, to sabotage the opposition by printing false posters and hijacking the media.
The right to property: Undermined by the President’s recent foolish announcements about expropriations, despite clear opposition from the wiser factions of his Party and others.
The right to access to adequate housing: Felt every single day by millions of South Africans who have to either live in a dwelling that is falling apart with apartheid-style planning by the ANC with a toilet OUTSIDE, or no house at all because the money simply disappeared or you do not qualify because you are not a card carrying member of the ruling party.
The right to health care: Esidimeni.
The right to access to water: With 27 towns in the Free State alone experiencing this problem constantly due to nothing other than bad administration by ANC municipalities.
The right to access to social security: Where the only grants Minister Dlamini is concerned about is the one that comes in liquid form.
The right to education: Where we get excited about a pass rate of 72.5%, but fail to mention how many students dropped out on their way to matric, or were asked to let subjects stand over for the sake of numbers. We are failing a generation of students who are in desperate need of quality education, skills and jobs. A lost generation that, if we do not look after them, will carry the legacy of the ANC in the same manner that they will have to carry the legacy of apartheid.
All of this speaks to the heart of our right to human dignity.
Then there is just administrative action: Nkandla, the decision to withdraw from the ICC, and the disrespect shown for our Chapter 9 institutions. And then, probably the root of all the problems in the first place: Schedule 2, the President’s failure to stay true to his Oath of Office: to obey, observe and uphold the Constitution, promote all that will advance the Republic, protect and promote the rights of all South Africans, discharge his duties to the best of his abilities, do justice for all and to devote himself to the wellbeing of the Republic and all its people.
Chairperson, this Constitution is the inheritance that my generation receives from your generation. It is supposed to be the guideline, the road map for us to move forward. And yet, the President has given us the middle finger and this government has violated almost every single one of our most important rights.
President Mandela said: “The Constitution is a living document. Our understanding of its requirements will and must adapt over time. But the fundamental principles are and must be unchanging. Full understanding of how and why those principles were adopted will help us to ensure that we remain true to the solemn undertakings which we have made to each other and to those who follow us.”
Chairperson, it is a road shown to us by giants. You will note that 2017 is not only the year of OR Tambo, but that on 7 November 1917 another giant was born on MY side of the House, that made such a profound contribution to establish our democracy that President Mandela invited her to stand next to him when he signed it into law 20 years ago.
On 7 November 1917, Helen Suzman was born. Chairperson, whether you are a child of Helen Suzman or a child of OR Tambo, we share a common heritage: a set of values, of what we as progressive South Africans want to achieve. To safeguard the rights and freedoms of our Citizens as enshrined in the Constitution, to address the legacy of apartheid and to build an open opportunity society for every single individual.
The late Honourable Dene Smuts said that accountability for an MP should lie in the four C’s: conscience, country, Constitution and constituency. She makes no mention of Party. Because principles are above politics and you will find that the voters out there are ahead of most members in here: for them, it is about principles, a better life and a better country. It is not about the party banner under which Tambo stood, but the principles for which he stood.
Perhaps then, it is time for the children of Suzman and of Tambo to stand up, to stand united and to say: enough is enough. This, Chairperson, is the only way in which we can safeguard their legacy, our Constitution.
I thank you.

ANC absenteeism means more delays on Whistle-blower Bill in the NCOP

For the second time, the ANC has been unable to pass its own legislation in the Select Committee on Security and Justice today due to a lack of quorum.
The approval of the Protected Disclosures Amendment Bill was postponed from 23 February 2017 to today, purely because the ANC did not have the required quorum of 6 members present to pass the Bill.
Today, when it became clear that the ANC would again have no quorum, the item was again removed from the agenda of the meeting without any reasons given.
The DA objects to section 9B of the Bill on the grounds that it may serve as a deterrent for possible whistle-blowers in the future. This view is shared by organisations such as Whistle-blowers International, Corruption Watch and Open Democracy.
It is the duty of the opposition to ensure that possibly problematic provisions in proposed legislation do not get passed, not to pass such legislation on behalf of the government.
The inability of the ANC to reach a quorum to pass their own legislation is a clear indication that they have lost the will to govern and no longer respect the parliamentary process.