Cyril and the ANC are coming for your pensions!

Fellow South Africans,

Today, we join millions of people around the world to celebrate International Workers’ Day.

We celebrate the victory of the hard-won fight for fair labour practices and employment standards, and honour the role organised labour played in the struggle for democracy in our own nation.

This public holiday was proclaimed in 1994 at the dawn of our democracy, to celebrate our freedom from an oppressive regime; to celebrate the power of the people.

But after twenty-five years of ANC rule, our freedoms are once again under threat. Ten million of us are without work at all. And those of us who do work are losing more and more of our income to the greedy and corrupt ANC that is looking for more and more ways to feed its connected crooks and cronies.

With every passing month, our wages and earnings buy us less as we pay more for electricity, fuel and VAT to feed ANC corruption and to cover for ANC failure at Eskom, SAA, PRASA and other state-owned enterprises. The latest increase came just last night, when the price of petrol went up by another 54c per litre.

But the state-owned enterprises are so chronically corrupt and bankrupt that they need still more of our money. And so, in the ANC’s manifesto, they speak about “prescribed assets”.

I want to send this stern warning to South Africans – the ANC is coming for your pensions! What the ANC and Cyril Ramaphosa mean by “prescribed assets” is that they are planning to force us to invest our pensions in these failing state-owned enterprises. Due to their own failures in government, they are now looking to make laws that force the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and private pension funds to use our pensions to keep these entities going, so that they can mask their failures and keep stealing. This is the policy of Cyril Ramaphosa and his ANC.

The ANC have stolen approximately R1.2 trillion through corruption and will not stop now. They have shown that there is nothing they won’t stoop to.

Fellow South Africans, this Workers Day comes just one week before the most important election since 1994. So, this Workers Day, you need to think about how you can protect your financial freedom and your future going forwards.

And I am here to put it to you straight that the party that will best protect your financial freedom is the DA. The DA will stand with workers and we will fight this. We will fight the PIC Bill to protect the hard-earned pensions of South Africa’s workers. We will fight in Parliament for financial freedom and protection of your hard-earned pension savings.

And I stand before you not just with promises of financial freedom, but with hard proof. The Western Cape has a long way to go, but just look at the progress we have made here in the past ten years.

After a decade of DA government, the Western Cape has the lowest broad unemployment rate in South Africa. At 23%, it is 14 percentage points lower than the SA average of 37%. There are 508 000 more jobs here now than there were 10 years ago.

Even after 3 years of bad drought, the agricultural and agri-processing sector grew here by 10 000 jobs, thanks in large part to the satellite technology that the provincial government put in place to assist farmers use water more efficiently. No surprise that we have the lowest rural unemployment rate, at just 15%. Or that we lead in land reform, with a 72% success rate for land reform farms here.

We’ve grown tourism jobs through our Air Access strategy which has added 14 new routes and 750 000 international inbound seats to this province, injecting R6 billion in tourist spending into our provincial economy.

In fact, on every single measurement of good provincial governance, the DA-run Western Cape comes first. We run the cleanest government, which simply means that we spend public money on the public. The Western Cape achieved 83% clean audits in the most recent financial year – well ahead of Gauteng at 52%.

That’s why last week, it came as no surprise when Good Governance Africa reported that the Western Cape is home to 12 of the 20 best-run municipalities in SA, and that the Western Cape is SA’s best-run province.

The Western Cape has the best basic education results, keeping the largest proportion of children at school until matric and achieving the highest real matric pass rates. We’ve built 132 new schools and over 2000 classrooms in the past decade and rolled out broadband internet to 1200 schools.

At 90% we have the highest proportion of the population within 30 minutes of a primary healthcare clinic and we’ve built two major new district hospitals – in Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain. So, it’s not surprising that life expectancy is the highest in the country, increasing by 7 years since we took office.

Where the DA has provincial control – education and healthcare – we are streaks ahead of ANC governments. Now DA Premier Candidate Alan Winde wants to get provincial control of police and railways too.

Policing and trains will be much better run when they are controlled at a provincial level. When service delivery is closer to the people it becomes more responsive to their needs. Police and trains will never be efficient when they are run from Pretoria. When we fix policing and public transport, we will see even more jobs being created in this province, and that means more financial freedom to the people of the Western Cape.

If the DA is elected into National Government, we will introduce a Jobs Act to serve as an economic stimulus shock. We want to make doing business as easy as possible for companies that want to invest and create jobs in South Africa. South Africans are incredibly innovative and entrepreneurial, and that must be encouraged. This is what real freedom is all about.

In democratic South Africa, the fight for freedom happens at the ballot box. And today I put it to you that the best way to protect your freedom is to vote DA on 8 May. The DA’s vision is to build One SA for All, a country in which everyone’s rights are protected, as set out in our Constitution.

Every single vote is going to count if we are going to keep the Western Cape blue. Every vote counts to keep corruption out. Every vote counts to save our pensions from being stolen. So, on 8 May, go and vote DA and take your friends and family with you!

R21 billion SAA loan may be too good to be true

The Democratic Alliance will write to the Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, to urge him to put pressure on his cabinet colleagues to carefully consider the proposed R21 billion private loan from a consortium of local and foreign investors to SAA.

Reports today indicate that the loan is conditional on the consortium being given a 51% equity share in the national carrier.

The reported offer of the R21 billion loan looks attractive on the surface. The condition of the consortium taking a 51% equity share is particularly attractive as it would ensure that the ANC government loses all influence over SAA which would be free to conduct business without political interference that has dogged the airline in the past.

However, the offer may not be as attractive as it first appears. The following conditions must apply if the offer from the consortium of local and foreign investors is to be considered;

  • The proposed loans of R21 billion to SAA from the consortium must;
    • not be backed by any government/taxpayer guarantees; and
    • be used primarily to extinguish all existing loans to SAA that are backed by government/taxpayer guarantees.
  • All existing government/taxpayer guarantees of R 19.1 billion must be withdrawn from SAA and no further guarantees must be issued.

The R21 billion offer may be too good to be true and, in the end, the only solution will be to put SAA into business rescue.

SAA is bankrupt and is only able to continue trading as a result of lenders having allegedly at the eleventh hour, provided short-term funding of an additional R3.5 billion until the end of March. This will bring the SAA loans, repayable by the end of March 2019, to a massive R13 billion.

The basis on which lenders have made an additional R3.5 billion available to SAA will presumably have been on the basis of yet another “letter of commitment” from Tito Mboweni/National Treasury, that commits the government and the taxpayer, to a further cash bailout in the 2019 budget. This means that R3.5 billion has effectively been paid to SAA from the 2019 budget before parliament has approved this budget.

The use of a “letter of commitment”  also avoids the use of section 16 of the Public Finance and Management Act to make such an unbudgeted payment that so embarrassed Malusi Gigaba, previous Minister of Finance, when section 16 was used on two occasions to bailout SAA foreign lenders.

The possible sleight of hand use of a “letter of commitment” by Tito Mboweni would seem at best to be underhanded but possibly illegal.

Unless robust action is taken to put SAA into business rescue or an equity partner with deep pockets is found, the massive taxpayer bailouts of SAA will continue unabated.

BOKAMOSO | Time for some “Ramarealism”

This newsletter is the third in a four-part series that seeks to debunk the well-meaning but dangerous idea that Ramaphosa is the “knight in shining armour” come to save SA.

In the first newsletter, I debunked the idea that Ramaphosa needs a “bigger mandate” from the public. In the second, I poked holes in the notion that a strong ANC will protect us from the EFF. In this third newsletter I seek to explain why confidence in Ramaphosa is based on hope rather than evidence, and that “Ramarealism” will serve us better than “Ramaphoria”. In the fourth, I will set out why the DA is the party to vote for in 2019.

After 25 years of ANC hegemony, South Africa finds itself on a distinctly negative trajectory. Every single metric of social wellbeing is moving in the wrong direction: unemployment, poverty and inequality are going up, as are crime rates, the cost of living, and the chances of load-shedding. Desperate for hope, many people are looking to a single individual, Cyril Ramaphosa, to fix South Africa.

Ultimately, job-creating economic growth is the only show in town. Nothing else will solve South Africa’s problems. Yet it is extremely unlikely that Ramaphosa will get our economy growing and creating jobs.

Why? Because Ramaphosa is fundamentally an ANC man.

Firstly, he is committed to the ANC’s failed ideology of state-led development. This is evident in his determination to keep pouring billions of taxpayer rands into the bottomless pit that is SAA.

And it is evident in the legislation going through Parliament under Ramaphosa’s watch: expropriation without compensation, the one-size-fits-all national minimum wage, the Competition Amendment Bill, the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill, the National Health Insurance Bill.

This legislation does not solve the core problems at the heart of all service delivery failure in South Africa, it makes them worse.

Secondly, Ramaphosa is deeply embedded in and committed to the ANC’s cosy relationship with big labour and big business that underpins our insider/outsider economy – in which those with jobs are protected and the 9.8 million without jobs stand very little chance of finding one. He fully endorses the ANC system that enriches a connected elite at the expense of the excluded poor. Indeed, his estimated net worth of R6.4 billion – including 31 properties – depended on it.

Thus the most decisive outcome of his jobs summit was the moratorium on public sector retrenchments.

Unions are the ANC’s core support base, so the deep reforms required for the economy to grow – privatising SOEs, cutting the public wage bill, liberalising labour legislation, fixing basic education – will remain strictly off limits and investors will continue to go elsewhere.

“But at least we’ll have stability” is the standard Ramaphorian reply to this argument. Really? Our disillusioned young army of 9.8 million jobless will soon grow to 10 million and more. Stability is not going to be a word in our lexicon until we break free from the ANC’s insider/outsider paradigm that sustains this abnormally high unemployment rate.

The DA has a plan to do just that. It centres on freeing our economy and leveling the playing field for new entrants, be they entrepreneurs, young people, or the unemployed. We will grow small business opportunities by removing blockage and red-tape, including exempting them from restrictive labour legislation.

We will do what Ramaphosa cannot and will not: privatise SOE’s, cut the public sector wage bill and appoint on merit. This will free up resources to invest in the infrastructure required to enable economic growth and it will create the conditions for a far more inclusive economy.

Ramaphosa knows these are the reforms to fix South Africa. But he will never go that route because his focus is on fixing the ANC. The big Ramaphoria hope is that he will do this by tackling the corruption that infects the ANC and its governments. Yet the evidence is that even in this endeavor, he will fail.

Despite much lip service, there has still not been a single arrest of any person involved in the capture and looting of Eskom and Transnet, or their handlers inside the ANC. The NPA are letting the Guptas get away with the Estina Dairy scandal. And Ramaphosa is still making the public pay for Zuma’s defence costs, despite it being within his power to cancel this irrational deal now.

Ramaphosa’s track record in fighting corruption is abysmal. He was not only Deputy President and Head of Government Business from 2014-2017, but also headed the ANC’s deployment committee during the worst years of state capture, from 2012 to 2017.

He oversaw the appointments of Brian Molefe, Matshela Koko and Ben Ngubane to steer Eskom, amongst others. So either he played a key role in state capture, or else he is extraordinarily incompetent. Neither fits in with the “corruption-buster” theory. (And his excuse that he “didn’t know how bad it was” makes him either dishonest or incompetent.) But optimists argue he was just biding his time and playing the “long game”.

Then there is the matter of a R500 000 payment by Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson into a fund for Ramaphosa’s election campaign, and the fishy business relationship between Bosasa and Ramaphosa’s son, Andile.

The evidence tells us that this election is not about how best to save the ANC. It is about how best to save South Africa from the ANC. That’s why voters should resist the lure of Ramaphoria, and support the only party building one South Africa for all – the DA.

SAA still overpaying by 200% despite new CEO and Board

Today the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, confirmed that fraudulent and corrupt practices at SAA are still ongoing, costing South Africans billions in tax money.

In a written response to my question, Gordhan states that “[c]orruption in procurement is a major problem in both SAA and SA Express”, adding that procurement of some commodities from middlemen inflates costs by 150 – 200%.

Gordhan not-so-reassuringly claims that this fraudulent practice will be stopped entirely soon. But it raises the question: why has this corruption in procurement been allowed to continue despite the appointment of a new CEO and reconfigured Board?

It is outrageous that the ANC government is supporting yet another R5 billion bailout for SAA precisely as this procurement corruption is continuing unabated.

Only last week, SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana admitted that the struggling airline had already spent R3 billion of this bailout on paying arrears, meaning that these very middlemen are being paid even though Parliament has not yet considered or approved the bailout.

Gordhan’s board reshuffle and bailout strategy has not rooted out corruption and inefficiencies at SAA. The only solution is to place SAA under business rescue, where corrupt contracts with dodgy middlemen can be terminated immediately.

SAA reportedly spends R3 billion of R5 billion bailout, before approval by Parliament

South African Airways (SAA) CEO, Vuyani Jarana, has reportedly admitted that the struggling airline has already spent R3 billion of the R5 billion bailout before Parliament has even considered such a bailout.

The R3 billion was reportedly spent on paying arrears. The R5 billion bailout for SAA is contained in a Special Appropriations Bill and Parliament may yet reject this bill in which case SAA would not be allocated the money and would have to pay the R5 billion or any part thereof that has been prematurely paid to it back into the National Revenue Fund.

I will therefore write an urgent letter to the Minister requesting confirmation on whether this R5 billion bailout has already been paid to SAA. If this is the case and it is clear that either Tito Mboweni or National Treasury has acted outside of the law, there will have to be consequences for those involved.

The airline posted a R5 billion loss in 2017/18; in 2018/19 they are looking at another R5 billion net loss.

SAA requires a total of R21.7 billion to turn it around according to its management. Money, which could be used to provide desperately needed police resources in our crime-ridden communities, assist in teaching and school resources and speed up service delivery.

The DA reiterates the call that SAA be placed under business rescue with a view of selling the zombie state-owned entity.

The national carrier has long been a black hole that is draining our fiscus and effectively stealing from the poor.

ANC Government must come clean on SAA’s future

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has submitted an urgent question for oral reply by Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises, on Government’s plans regarding shutting down South African Airways (SAA).

The Minister is due to reply to oral questions in Parliament on Wednesday the 14th of November 2018 and must use this opportunity to address the confusion surrounding the future of the ailing national carrier.

It is clear that there are divisions in the ANC government as to whether or not to cut SAA loose.

On Monday, Minister Gordhan stated that SAA must be kept going by way of taxpayer bailouts in an attempt to stabilize the ailing airline. The Minister stated that “we are going to put in competent boards, we going to put in the right kind of managers who work and don’t just claim to be managers. They must know enough about the business to make a difference.’’

On the other hand Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, is of the view that “[SAA] is in a loss-making situation and it is unlikely that the situation is going to be sorted out so we need to close SAA down”.

Clearly the left hand does not seem to be aligned with the right hand. The confusion that must now be reigning amongst SAA suppliers who supply the bankrupt company and the SAA staff must now be considerable.

It is evident that there is a lack of communications between the two Ministers on the vital issue of closing down SAA in order to save the R21.7 billion in taxpayer bailouts that the airline requires to keep operational. SAA continues to run at a loss and has time and again failed to effectively implement turn-around plans, at the expense of the South African taxpayer.

For the DA the answer is simple – SAA must be placed under business rescue without delay.

Mboweni at odds with ANC

The DA notes with great interest the view expressed by the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, while addressing an investor conference in New York yesterday, that South African Airways (SAA) should be “closed down”.

Mboweni’s refreshing views on SAA are in sharp contrast to the repeated mantra by the ANC in Parliament that maintains that the state carrier is a developmental tool that cannot be done away with and which will never be privatised.

This troubled state-owned entity (SOE) continues to be a huge drain on the fiscus. Notably:

  • SAA recorded losses of R5.6 billion in 2014/15, R1.4 billion in 2015/16, R5.5 billion in 2016/17 and R 5.7 billion in 2017/18, and is running at a loss in 2018/19 with the SAA turn-around plan making provisions for further losses until the 2020/21 financial year;
  • SAA has been bailed out by the taxpayer to the tune of R10 billion over the past two financial years and is set for a further R21.7 billion in taxpayer bailouts over the next three years; and
  • The airline has, through incompetence and unreliable service, lost part of the maintenance contracts for British Airways and Lufthansa who are now apparently in the process of establishing their own maintenance operations.

The DA has long expressed the view that SAA should not be kept alive through taxpayer bailouts and that if it is to survive it must do so on its own and be privatised. The first step towards saving SAA and the approximately 10 300 jobs must be to put SAA into business rescue. If business rescue fails there will be no other option but to liquidate SAA.

There should be no further bailouts for SAA and the R5 billion that Tito Mboweni wants to appropriate for the airline in a special appropriations bill must be rejected by Parliament. Indeed, it’s curious that Parliament should be considering the bill at all considering Mboweni’s reported views on SAA.

The DA will oppose the Special Appropriation Bill and will do everything in its power to prevent another massive bailout to another dysfunctional SOE.

“Technical team” on high fuel prices misses deadline by almost 100 days and counting

On 5 July this year President Ramaphosa set up another “technical team” tasked with finding solutions to the persistent petrol price hikes that have hurt the pockets of South Africans since the beginning of the year. Over the past ten months, the price of petrol has increased seven times.

While this “technical team” was given two weeks to present solutions to mitigate these fuel increases, the Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe, has confirmed to the DA that no significant progress has been made – with an “initial report” still more than a month away.

The Minister said that “The initial report was expected at the end of September 2018, however, more work is still required before the report is finalised. It is anticipated that the work would be completed by the end of November 2018.”

This “technical team” has missed its deadline by almost 100 days and counting. While this failing ANC government dithers, South Africans are financially suffocating. To make matters worse, there was no relief announced in yesterday’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) for consumers – with fuel taxes set to increase each year over the medium term.

These fuel price increases are not only the result of international markets and global trends – as the ANC government claims – but are also in large part due to the weakening rand that is directly related to the mismanagement of the economy by the ANC government. Approximately one third – or R5.30 – of the cost of petrol per litre goes directly to government via the General Fuel Levy and the Road Accident Fund Levy.

The DA’s solution to this is straightforward: cut the fuel taxes by at least R1 in the short term with a view to review these levies on an ongoing basis; stop bailing out the bankrupt Road Accident Fund and ensure it runs efficiently; cut the bloated Cabinet; reject the proposed fuel levy increases in yesterday’s MTBPS; and tighten government’s belt to halt wasteful spending. In the long term, with prudent economic policy direction and sound fiscal discipline, a strengthening rand will aid the decrease in fuel costs.

The lax approach to providing any respite to ordinary South Africans appears to be the approach of this ANC government under Cyril Ramaphosa. Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni’s MTBPS yesterday delivered no hope for the poor and jobless. When it comes to the cost of living for ordinary South Africans, Mboweni decided to:

  • Commit more precious public money to bailing out bankrupt SOEs such as SAA and Eskom, instead of selling them off;
  • Cut funds to basic services – including health and education;
  • Reaffirm the continuation of E-tolls for Gauteng residents; and
  • Increase the fuel levy on already sky-high fuel prices;

With corruption and waste by ANC national departments and SOEs totalling over R100 billion, South Africa is being taxed to death to pay for the failing ANC governments repetitive sins. We cannot continue along this path any longer.

It is time for the change that creates One South Africa For All, where public money is spend on creating jobs and delivering basic services to all.

More taxpayer bailouts for SAA

Tito Mboweni, the Minister of Finance, tabled a Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement that included R 5 billion in bailouts for SAA.

Interestingly, the bailout for SAA is contained in a Special Appropriations Bill.

The Special Appropriation Bill gives no details of the conditions that the Minister of Finance must impose in terms of the Bill. I will submit a parliamentary question to Minister Mboweni in order to obtain details of these conditions.

This R 5 billion bailout is just the current year’s portion of the R 21,7 billion that SAA requires in order to be able to continue trading at a loss or the next three years.

It is outrageous that vanity projects such as SAA are considered by the ANC to be more important than Child Support Grants that don’t even meet the minimum food requirements for children.

The R 5 billion to be paid to SAA could have been used to increase Child Support Grant by R 34 per month from R 410,00 to R 444,00 per month for a full year.

The refusal of the ANC to put SAA into business rescue as an interim step towards privatisation or liquidation is incomprehensible

Failing ANC racks up R75.6 billion in irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure

The DA has analysed the 2017/18 Annual Reports of government departments and selected entities that have been tabled in Parliament. Our analysis reveals a shocking level of financial mismanagement and wasted funds by the failing ANC government.

Irregular expenditure

Irregular expenditure occurs when expenditure is not properly managed and is sometimes an indicator of corruption. When government spending cannot be properly tracked, it becomes much easier to cover up corruption and directly enables State Capture.

Total irregular expenditure has reached a staggering level of R72.6 billion. The composite analysis complied last year by the DA revealed that total irregular expenditure, across all departments and entities, stood at R42.8 billion. The figure for the most recent year is double what was incurred in the previous year and does not include all departments and entities as some are yet to table their report.

 The departments and entities that spent the most money irregularly are:

  • Eskom – R19.6 billion
  • South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL) – R10.5 billion
  • Transnet – R8.1 billion
  • Department of Water and Sanitation – R6.2 billion
  • South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) – R5 billion
  • Water Trading Entity – R4.9 billion
  • Department of Correctional Services – R3.2 billion
  • Property Trading Management Entity (PTME) – R2.3 billion
  • Department of Basic Education – R1.7 billion
  • Department of Defence – R1.7 billion
  • Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) – R1.2 billion
  • South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) – R1.7 billion
  • South African Post Office (SAPO) – R1 billion

Fruitless and wasteful expenditure

Fruitless and wasteful expenditure cannot be explained away through misfiling of receipts or harmless delays in implementation. This is expenditure that has no benefit to the public and is wasted due to a lack of reasonable care and the basic requirements of management.

Fruitless and wasteful expenditure totals another R3 billion – enough money to build 75 new schools.

The departments and entities that wasted the most money are:

  • Water Trading Entity – R1 billion­
  • Compensation Fund – R446 million
  • Department of Defence – R398 million

Reports still outstanding:

As bad as these figures are, they are just the tip of the iceberg: serial offenders Denel, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), South African Airways (SAA) and SA Express have not yet tabled their annual reports for 2017/18. This means that the totals for irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure is likely to be much higher than what we are currently able to glean from the reports which have been tabled.

Departments and entities which have still not tabled their reports, as is required by law, are:

  • Department of Energy
  • CoGTA
  • State Security
  • Prasa
  • Denel
  • SAA
  • SA Express

Prasa is suffering major institutional failure and continues to lose Metrorail trains to arson on a monthly basis. SAA suffered a loss of R5 billion in 2016/17. Denel has been left scrambling to recover R400 million in losses due to its ill-fated relationship with Gupta-linked company VR Laser.

Despite this, the ANC government has continued to pour public money into bailing out these failing entities.

If these entities report the same irregular and wasteful spending figures as they did in 2016/17, the total amount of money spent irregularly could rise to R94.5 billion. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure could rise to R4 billion.

Financial collapse:

The Auditor-General has identified one department and seven entities that are at serious risk of financial collapse. These are:

  • Department of Water and Sanitation
  • Compensation Fund
  • PetroSA
  • PTME
  • Public Protector
  • Road Accident Fund (RAF) – financial loss of R26.4 billion
  • SAPO – financial loss of R908 million
  • Water Trading Entity – financial loss of R573 million

In addition, the SABC is considered to be commercially insolvent.

The Department of Social Development has a negative cash flow balance of R12.7 billion, and the Department of Water and Sanitation has admitted that it is essentially broke. The Public Protector – an office that is supposed to protect citizens from corruption and maladministration – reported an R18 million financial loss and almost doubled irregular expenditure.

These are not unimportant departments and entities. They are crucial to governance and to service delivery, yet they are treated as little more than sources of finance to be exploited – with devastating consequences.

These are not abstract figures. Mismanagement and wasteful spending results in poor service delivery and skyrocketing costs to the public. Yet the ANC continues to make the public pay for its terrible mismanagement and corruption, in higher electricity and water prices, increases in VAT and fuel taxes.

South Africans are being asked to pay more and more for their electricity. The National Energy Regulator has given Eskom four years to recover R32.7 billion and has allowed it to increase tariffs by 4.41% this coming April. Eskom wants a higher increase though and has applied for an additional 15% increase for next year.

The near-total collapse of the RAF has led the ANC government to raise the RAF levy in the fuel price – South Africans must now pay more for fuel in order to fix the ANC’s failure to manage the RAF properly.

The Department of Water and Sanitation is drowning in debt as a result of the tenue of Nomvula Mokonyane as Minister. The Department has now taken the extraordinary step of asking Parliament to revise its budget so that it can meet basic service delivery targets. Unfortunately, metros like the City of Cape Town have been forced to raise water tariffs to ensure their continued water supply because the national government has failed to do this.

Endless bailouts of the most corrupt state-owned entities have drained public funds, requiring a VAT increase that impacts poor South Africans the most.

Despite this ever-greater financial pressure on South Africans, service delivery has ground to a halt. SAPO cannot deliver the mail, never mind the social grants that SASSA can’t seem to administer successfully.

NSFAS failed to pay out to thousands of funded students, despite the promises of the wayward former president. And President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted that lethal pit toilets at schools will only be phased out in 18 years’ time.

The country’s finances are in a dire state. Not only did they ANC get us to this point, but they have no plan to fix what they have broken.

South Africans have an opportunity in the coming election to refuse to reward this lack of accountability, and instead, choose a party that has an absolute commitment to transparency and good governance.

Where the DA has taken over failing ANC governments, it has succeeded in sorting out the financial mess and improving service delivery in remarkably short periods of time.

The DA can build One South African for All, not just the politically connected friends of the ANC.