Only the DA has a plan – and the will – to secure our borders

The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a visit to the Ficksburg Border Post in the Free State. 

Fellow South Africans,

We live in a world where borders and border control are vital to the running of nations. It is of the utmost importance that we know, at all times, who has entered and left our country, and that everyone here is properly documented.

This is particularly true here in Africa, where national budgets are stretched and where proper planning is critical to meeting the needs of the people. If we want to give not only South Africa, but indeed the continent of Africa, the best chance at prosperity and safety, then we need to ensure that all governments have a very clear picture of the scope of their task.

We must also make a far bigger effort at focusing our foreign policy on fostering stability throughout the SADC region. We owe it to our neighbours to help them find sustainable and peaceful solutions to their economic and political challenges. And a stable and peaceful SADC region is in everyone’s interest, not least of which ours.

We must condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the xenophobic attacks which recently took place in parts of KZN. Our democracy must be one of tolerance and respect for one another, and we cannot allow our relationships with foreign nationals to be characterised by mistrust, fear and violence. That is not who we are as a nation.

Fellow South Africans, ours is a country with very long land borders which we share with six other countries. And along the entire length of these borders, our government has failed to keep us safe and protect our interests.

Secure borders and effective migration management are essential if you want to plan ahead for services like housing, healthcare and education. They’re also essential for safeguarding citizens against rampant cross-border crime, including stock theft, vehicle theft and drug trafficking.

No country in the world can afford to abandon its borders and allow undocumented people to come and go as they please. And yet this is precisely what this ANC government has done. Not because it stands ideologically opposed to borders, but because it simply cannot do its job.

Between the Department of Home Affairs and the South African National Defence Force, our borders right across the country have become a complete free-for-all, leaving ordinary South Africans to pay the price, and leaving communities near these borders at the mercy of criminals.

This border here between Lesotho and South Africa is no exception. In places there is only the Caledon River that stands between Lesotho and South Africa, and for most of the year it is low enough to be no deterrent at all. People who live up and down the river here are under constant attack from cross-border stock thieves. They also suffer a host of other crimes, including house robbery and vehicle and tractor theft.

Stock theft is a massive problem all across South Africa, and particularly here in the Free State. Just this week police discovered around 400 stolen cattle on a farm in the Steynsrus area. It is suspected that these cattle were stolen from farmers all across the province, as well as neighbouring provinces. Our farmers need the protection of government if they are to keep us food-secure, but they have been let down.

If the ANC government cared at all about the communities along the Caledon River, as well as South Africans in general, it would have plugged our porous borders a long time ago. It would have fixed the fences and it would have staffed and equipped border posts such as this one here in Ficksburg to effectively deal with the thousands of people who cross every day at this border post, as well as the border posts at Maseru Bridge and further down at Wepener.

But it clearly doesn’t care, which is why you find border posts that are severely understaffed and with equipment in dire need of repair or replacement. It is why you find stock theft and farming equipment theft amounting to more than R7 billion in this province alone. It is why you find new outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in provinces like the Free State and Limpopo.

It is unacceptable that our borders have become almost non-existent in places, and that our border control has become severely compromised by corruption, under-resourcing and incompetence.

Securing our borders is not simply about keeping people out. It is about ensuring that all migration occurs legally. It is about knowing who has entered the country and documenting their status. It is about being able to plan ahead and make sure our budgets can stretch to cover all they need to cover. It is about making it easier for those who want to enter South Africa legally – because we want legal, law-abiding people to bring their skills here and help grow our economy – but making it impossible for those who want to enter illegally.

The DA is the only party willing to take on this issue. We are the only party with a plan to secure our borders and rid Home Affairs of corruption so that legitimate migrants like refugees and asylum-seekers get the protection they deserve from the state, while illegal immigrants are stopped before they even cross the border.

A DA-led national government will do so by:

  • Auditing, properly recording and, where appropriate, regularising all undocumented foreign nationals already in the country.
  • Making legal entry and residence easier for skilled immigrants and businesses from all countries, especially from within Africa.
  • Helping South Africans to travel and do business, and assisting those wanting to live, work and trade in South Africa legally.
  • Deporting those who have illegally entered our country’s borders, harbours and airports, and doing so fairly, efficiently and legally.
  • Assisting and supporting asylum seekers, and protecting refugees and those who have been trafficked across our borders.
  • Reviewing the number and size of border posts and their management to increase the number of points of legal entry and exit.
  • Ensuring effective and coordinated border security and border control through increased policing capacity at our border posts and along our borders.
  • Increasing the 15 SANDF companies protecting South Africa’s borders to the required 22 companies, and ensuring that they are properly resourced and trained.

My fellow South Africans, the ANC government has shown us that they have no such plan, and that they have no intention at all to secure our borders. But even if they were to suddenly announce a plan for better border control and migration management, it would be very hard to believe them. Because the man going around the country making promises is not the man in charge of the ANC government.

President Ramaphosa is little more than the face of the ANC election campaign. He is all they have with which to sweet-talk the voters, but behind the scenes it is others who pull the strings and make the calls. It is people like the thoroughly corrupt Ace Magashule who call all the shots. That is why Ramaphosa has to constantly change his tune on almost everything he promises – from land expropriation to the independence of the Reserve Bank.

Don’t allow yourself to be tricked into thinking you can vote for Cyril Ramaphosa. He is just the mask, and behind the mask is the real ANC of Ace Magashule and DD Mabuza. It is the real ANC that keeps people like Nomvula Mokonyane, Bathabile Dlamini, Malusi Gigaba and Fikile Mbalula on the national list. It is the real ANC that rewards criminals with cushy jobs.

The real ANC is a corrupt syndicate that continues to bleed our country dry, despite all the Commissions of Enquiry and all the evidence of looting that is reported on daily. And they desperately need Ramaphosa if they want to carry on looting.

Only we, collectively, have the power to stop this. Only the power of our votes can end the plunder and usher in a new era for our country. No commission of enquiry will do this. No promise by the president for accountability will do this. Because to date, despite all his promises, not one single ANC cadre has been charged, prosecuted or jailed for all the thousands of acts of corruption. No one. In fact, they’ve all been rewarded with the promise of seats in Parliament.

Let us put a stop to that, my fellow South Africans.

Let us, together, be the change our country needs.

Let us secure our borders and keep our communiities safe.

Let us kickstart our economy so that we can put a job in every home.

Let us all stand together as we build one South Africa for all its people.

Robert Mugabe’s resignation the first step towards a new beginning for Zimbabwe

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the decision by Robert Mugabe to resign as President of Zimbabwe after 37 years in power. This is a victory for the people of Zimbabwe who have suffered greatly under the latter years of Mugabe’s reign.
The story of Robert Mugabe is not a unique one, and is all too familiar on our continent. A once liberator of his people, Mugabe brought division, instability, and economic ruin to Zimbabwe as he made the unfortunate transition from liberator to dictator.
While Mugabe’s resignation is the first step towards a new beginning for Zimbabwe, it is not the silver bullet that will fix the country. Mugabe may be gone, but the ruling ZANU-PF remains.
As is the case with liberation movements across the continent, ZANU-PF has become nothing more than a patronage network engulfed in fighting over access to power and state resources for those who are politically connected. Moreover, it is clear from the tense situation over the past few days that this was not a voluntary relinquishing of power by Mugabe, but a forced one.
ZANU-PF is complicit in each and every ill committed by the Mugabe regime, and as such cannot be trusted to bring a new beginning to Zimbabwe. History has taught us that failed liberation movements cannot and will not self-correct. The solution has to come from outside these movements
Therefore we maintain that a fresh mandate is required from the electorate, and the people of Zimbabwe must be given the opportunity to go to the polls and elect a new President. The only way forward for Zimbabwe is for fresh elections to be held immediately.
As Chairperson of the Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change (SAPDC), I have engaged with the opposition in Zimbabwe on a number of occasions, and it is clear that the only way forward is for free and fair elections to be held as soon as possible.
We call on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to take the lead in ensuring an interim government is put in place, and that elections are held as soon as possible.
Today the will of the Zimbabwean people has prevailed as Robert Mugabe is no longer President of their country. It is now time for the Zimbabwean people to decide who ought to replace him as President, and for an election to be held at once.

BOKAMOSO | We must all support a fresh start for Zimbabwe

On Wednesday morning, Zimbabweans woke up to martial law after an overnight military coup that saw Mugabe and many of his cabinet ministers placed under house arrest, while the army took over the state broadcaster and disarmed the police. This is an attempt to stop Mugabe controlling succession through his wife, Grace.
The situation is extremely fluid now and we cannot know what outcome will unfold over the following weeks. Yet there is a tangible sense of excitement amongst Zimbabweans, simply because any outcome at all must surely be an improvement on rock bottom, which is roughly where ZANU-PF has landed the country after 37 consecutive years of Big Man, liberation movement politics.
The DA rejects coups as being illegitimate means to assume power. But we also acknowledge that Zimbabwe has been under ruthless dictatorship for years now, an equally illegitimate arrangement. We are therefore calling on the regional and international community to use this disruptive moment to support a return to constitutional democracy in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans have what it takes to quickly build a prosperous country, if they unite around common values: commitment to Constitutionalism, the rule of law, non-racialism, a market economy and an honest, capable state. They have learnt the importance of these values the hardest possible way, through personal experience, and they are now desperate for a chance at a new beginning.
Zimbabweans must be free to decide their own future. They need strong regional support for and assistance with free and fair elections. How indicting that the ANC and SADC protected (aka “quiet diplomacy”) Mugabe during the 2000 farm invasions, 2008 election violence and the 2016 uprisings and still seek to protect him now.
Zimbabwe’s experience shows that dictatorships do not arrive overnight. They are the result of countless small, often seemingly insignificant, decisions that leaders take and people fail to oppose. The appointment of a loyal crony turns a public broadcaster into a state broadcaster, a public protector into a state protector. An education bill concentrating power in the education department turns public schools into state schools.
We must be wary of liberators becoming dictators.
Comedian Groucho Marx said: “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.” This is excellent advice and South Africans would do well to take it. There are so many similarities between Zimbabwe and SA. Never let it be said that we South Africans did not have the benefit of hindsight.
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has caused immense suffering for the people of Zimbabwe. The party had the opportunity to build strong, independent democratic institutions and contest for power in free and fair elections based on what they could do to improve people’s lives. But they opted to capture or destroy institutions – the independent judiciary, the free press, the rule of law, private property rights – and pursue disastrous populist policies, in order to retain power even as they sucked the country dry. Always, of course, under the guise of continuing the revolution.
They opted for racial nationalism over recognizing the rights of individual citizens. They opted for crude redistribution over transforming their society through growing a thriving economy that could open up opportunities for more people and generate greater tax revenue for more social spending. They opted to reward loyalty to party rather than appointing leaders and managers that could best serve the people of Zimbabwe. They opted to chase away scarce skills rather than harness them for the good of the people.
This is exactly the route that Zuma’s ANC has chosen and South Africa’s economy has responded accordingly, with more South Africans slipping into poverty every month and our fiscal position becoming ever more precarious. South Africans would do well to ditch the ANC now, while they still have the institutional means to do so. Our electoral system is still independent. Our press is still free, even though the ANC is doing its best to install another compromised crony, Alan Mukoki, as CEO – most likely with a view to achieving undue advantage ahead of the 2019 national elections.
As they lose support, due to corruption and service delivery failures, so the ANC is turning to populism to retain voters. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF did the same in 2000, encouraging war veterans to seize land without compensation, ignoring the negative impact on food security and the country’s economy, which has halved since then. Zuma’s ANC is pushing for free education for all next year, even though this is sure to destabilize our already precarious fiscal situation, anticipating a double downgrade next week.
Neither party is remotely concerned with the long-term resilience of their countries’ economies. It’s all about short term gain for the political elite.
Both parties are divided by warring factions that are focused inwards on winning control of the levers of power, rather than outwards on ensuring economic freedom for the people they claim to have liberated. Both have contempt for accountability. The ANC has once again failed to speak out or take action against Zuma following the latest incredibly damning revelations, laid out in The President’s Keepers.
Both ZANU-PF and the ANC have conflated party and state, believing that to liberate a country is to own it. Both arrogantly believe their country could not function without them, when in fact, their countries can no longer function with them. Both parties are dinosaurs, stuck in the past and fighting the extinction that will give their countries hope for a bright future.
Is this where we South Africans want to find ourselves fourteen years hence, desperate to rid ourselves of a parasitic liberation party that has long since abandoned us and destroyed our means to fight back? The great irony is that our liberation party is exactly what stands between us and our freedom. We need to ditch it while we still can.

The new struggle for democracy in Africa has only just begun

The following remarks were made today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a press conference at Parliament in Cape Town. The Leader was joined by the leader of Zambia’s opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND), Hakainde Hichilema. Mr. Hichilema’s full address is attached here
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for joining us this morning.
Today I am reminded of the words of Coretta Scott King, the wife of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr who once said, “Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation”.
These words were true then, are true now, and will be true for generations to come. Today, all the across the African continent, a new fight for freedom is underway.
For the previous generation in Africa, the struggle for liberation from colonial powers was their mission. Today, our generation is engaged in a new struggle: the fight for a post-liberation Africa.  Our challenge is to free ourselves from the liberation movements of old, who have captured entire nations for their own personal gain. And across the continent, new leaders are rising up to this challenge.
Today I am joined by a pioneer of this new struggle – my brother, my friend, and the leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND) in Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema.
Mr Hichilema, or “HH” as he is better known, has recently been released from prison following a sustained campaign of international pressure by many countries and organisations, including the DA. We wanted to celebrate HH’s release with him and the people of Zambia, but we have still received no reply to our request to the Zambian government to visit that country again. So, instead, we invited HH to celebrate with us here.
Today we are grateful for his release and his safety, and we look forward to what he will go on to achieve in Zambian politics.
Hakainde and I first met almost 5 years ago while campaigning together on the continent, and have since become not just colleagues, but personal friends. Hakainde and I both share the values of democracy, constitutionalism, the rule of law, the advancement of human rights across Africa, intolerance of corruption and a commitment to the defence of an independent judiciary and a free press.
These are the values we believe will bring development, growth, and prosperity to Africa, lifting millions out of the poverty and hopelessness faced every day. We believe in the future of Africa, a continent full of latent potential.
Mr Hichilema is not just a fellow democrat, but a strong businessman who views inclusive market led economic growth as the way forward in building a strong and vibrant Africa.
My partnership with Mr Hichilema and his party is not only as the Leader of the DA, which is a sister party to the UPND and a fellow member of the African Liberal Network. It is also in my capacity as Chairperson of the Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change (SAPDC), a network of opposition parties throughout the region who work together, share best practice and support one another to further democracy in the region and rid the region of corrupt, self-centred “Big Man” governments.
In his country of Zambia, the fight for freedom has intensified over the past 12 months, and democracy is under serious threat. Under the incumbent President, Edgar Lungu, Zambia is fast heading towards a dictatorship. Zambia is currently under a declared state of emergency. This is characterised by increased security measures and the suppression of free speech and press freedom. Opposition party members have been intimidated, harassed and arrested en masse, and have been suspended from participating in Parliament.
However, the world only came to appreciate the extent of Zambia’s instability when Mr Hichilema was arrested, detained without trial under fabricated charges of treason, and subjected to 127 days in imprisonment, without visitation rights, often in solitary confinement and suffering inhumane treatment and violations of his human rights. Mr Hichilema will give us a first-hand account of his experience in a short while.
The simple truth is that Mr Hichilema posed a real challenge and democratic threat to the Lungu rule, and as such was vilified and victimised. This is a completely unacceptable abuse of democracy, and should concern all true democrats across the continent.
Despite Mr Hichilema’s arrest, neither President Zuma nor the South African government uttered a single word about this flagrant abuse of human rights, the rule of law, and democratic process. In fact, President Zuma travelled to Zambia, and met with President Lungu while Mr Hichilema was in prison. And still, he said nothing, as if it was business as usual. Worryingly, this is not just an anomaly, but a trend under the the party of liberation in South Africa.
Zambia played a pivotal role in the struggle against apartheid, and South Africa is a leader on the continent. It is therefore deeply regrettable that our government and President Zuma has done absolutely nothing to stand up for basic freedoms and democracy in Zambia when it is now under threat. The state of emergency now in place in Zambia bears many similarities to the state of emergency that existed in South Africa in the 1980s. Zambia stood up for our freedom then. Why will South Africa not stand up for the freedoms of Zambians now?
President Zuma is now the incoming Chair of SADC. He has an opportunity to reassert South Africa’s leadership position in the region and the continent and to reassert the values that South Africa will stand for on the continent. But our government’s track record does not give us cause to hope that this will happen.
In 2015, the South African government aided and abetted the escape of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was then – and still is – wanted on charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
The government stooped to a new low this month by granting Zimbabwean First Lady, Grace Mugabe, diplomatic immunity and allowing her to leave our country after she had beaten a young South African woman with a wire cord in a hotel room in Johannesburg. Grace Mugabe was facing charges of assault in South Africa before, once again, our government ensured she was safely escorted to her home country.
For Africa to prosper as a continent, we must break the stronghold of liberation movements and the dictators which they create. We are going to have to relegate all forms of narrow Nationalist politics to the scrapheap of history.
We are going to have to make a fresh start, and we must begin by restoring the supremacy of the constitutional rights of the individual citizen in these nations. That is the new fight which our generation is engaged in. We call on all those on the continent who share this belief and this vision to join us in this endeavour.
The DA will restore South Africa’s rightful role as a leader on the continent. We will stand up for democracy, constitutional rights and the rule of law on the continent. We will work to bring fundamental reform to the African Union (AU), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) so that accountability is achieved when leaders on the continent abuse their people.
Through existing platforms, such as the SAPDC that I chair, we will continue to push for regional bodies – SADC and the AU – to work constructively with leaders, from both governing and opposition parties in states across the continent to bring about real change in Africa.
Because ultimately, in the words of Coretta Scott King, for Africa to truly be free, we are going to have to win that freedom for our generation.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

Hichilema’s release the first step towards restoring democracy in Zambia

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the release of Zambian opposition leader, Hakainde Hichelima, from prison this morning following a decision by the State to drop the baseless treason charges brought against him in April this year.
The DA has said from the beginning that the charges of treason against Mr Hichilema were trumped up and clearly motivated by a government intent on eliminating a political opponent. Hichilema was arrested back in April for allegedly failing to give way to President Lungu’s motorcade.
The violent nature of his arrest, and the inhumane treatment that Hichilema received in detention, confirms the political motives behind these charges. The arbitrary arrest of political opponents is a hallmark of authoritarian regimes, which seek to systematically eliminate any potential threat to their rule.
The release of Hichilema is the first step towards restoring democracy in Zambia, and ensuring that the rule of law and the entrenchment of human rights and free speech are entrenched not just in Zambia, but across the African continent.
There is still much more to be done to restore true democracy to Zambia. The country is still under a state of emergency, characterised by “increased security measures” and the suppression of free speech and press freedom. Opposition party members have been arrested en masse, and opposition members are still not present in Parliament. Democracy cannot survive without an effect opposition, holding those in power to account.
The party Mr Hichilema leads, the United Party for National Development (UPND), is a sister party to the DA and a co-member of Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change (SAPDC) – a body which I chair. As such, the DA will continue to work with Mr Hichilema and the UPND to deepen democracy in the Southern African region and advance values such as freedom of speech and human rights.
We call on the African Union (AU), the South African Development Community (SADC), and all other regional bodies, political parties, and civil society to join us in the fight for democratic change on the African continent.

President Lungu using undemocratic and Apartheid-like tactics in Zambia

The Democratic Alliance (DA) strongly condemns the approval of an extended 90-day state of emergency in Zambia, implemented by President Lungu and his party, the Patriotic Alliance.
This act is a fresh attempt by the Lungu administration to undermine democracy in Zambia, and to cement a dictatorship by stifling any dissenting voices that do not agree with the current autocratic regime.
I call on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to convene an urgent meeting of its Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation Organ, to consider the current situation unfolding in Zambia, and to speak out. SADC has a responsibility to protect the people of Zambia and democracy in the region, and it has the power to act against Zambia.
Moreover, I call on President Zuma to break his silence on the situation unfolding in Zambia and speak out against the actions of the Lungu administration. The “quiet diplomacy” of the past cannot be allowed to repeat itself and, as history has shown, has the potential to allow for democracy to be undermined.
As the Chairperson of the Southern Africa Platform for Democratic Change (SAPDC), I will not remain silent while democracy in Zambia crumbles.
The Zambian Parliament has voted to extend the state of emergency by a further 3 months, handing virtually unrestricted powers to the President, the police and the military. This is story South Africa is familiar with, having overcome the multiple states of emergency of the 1980s. These powers are nearly always used to intimidate the opposition, crush dissent and punish citizens who speak up. This parliamentary vote was boycotted by opposition parties – including the DA’s sister party in Zambia, the United Party for National Development (UPND) – in an act of protest towards the Lungu administration.
The Zambian Police – under Lungu’s control – now have an increased power to arrest and detain citizens, and many civil rights have been suspended, either partially or in full. This move by President Lungu is the mark of a paranoid dictator, who fears his own people, and fears losing power. The actions by President Lungu are no different to those of Apartheid Prime Minister, PW Botha, who used a state of emergency to consolidate power and crush opposition voices.
Lungu has already jailed the leader of the opposition, Hakainde Hichilema. Hichilema faces charges of treason – a crime punishable by death in Zambia – for allegedly attempting to block a motorcade in which President Lungu was a part of.
The international community must not be silent on what is happening in Zambia. As the DA, we stand with the people of Zambia, and the silenced opposition parties, against this blow to democracy.
South Africa must work with its neighbors to protect democracy because , in Africa, a threat to democracy for some is a threat to democracy for all.
The DA will continue to advocate for the advancement of vibrant, competitive, multiparty democracy, the rule of law and the entrenchment of human rights and free speech across Africa

SA Government must defend democracy in Africa and help #FreeHH

The following remarks were delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, at a press briefing in Pretoria outside the Zambian High Commission to South Africa.
Yesterday, on Africa Day, I intended to visit Lusaka to attend the treason trial of my good friend, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, the Leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND) in Zambia.
Mr Hichilema was violently arrested over six weeks ago and faces charges of treason – a crime punishable by death in Zambia – for allegedly attempting to block a motorcade in which Zambian President Edgar Lungu was a part of.
The violent nature of his arrest, and the inhumane treatment that Hichilema has received in detention, confirms the political motives behind these charges. I have no doubt these charges were manufactured by the Zambian government to intimidate those who are opposed to its oppressive rule, which is an abuse of power and a serious disregard of the rule of law. From my previous engagements with Mr Hichilema, he painted a very grim picture of the state of democracy in Zambia under the current Lungu administration. The government is hell-bent on reversing the gains of democracy in Zambia, and has moved swiftly over the past months to capture the state and its institutions, stifle political debate, limit free speech and the media, and violate basic human rights.
The Zambian government clearly feels threatened by Mr Hichilema and his party, the UPND, who have been working tirelessly in their attempts to stop the decay of democracy in Zambia. As the sister party of the Democratic Alliance (DA), they too are committed to the advancement of vibrant, competitive, multiparty democracy, the rule of law and the entrenchment of human rights and free speech across Africa. Mr Hichilema is also a founding member of the Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change (SAPDC), a body of opposition parties from across Southern Africa who are committed to securing democracy across the region, and which I am the current Chairman of.
It is for these reasons I decided to attend the trial of Mr Hichilema, in order to show solidarity with him and with the project of building and deepening democracy that we are engaged in across the continent. In respecting the Zambian government’s wishes, I honoured their call to refrain from visiting Mr Hichilema in prison, as the government claims there exists a court order preventing such visitation by members of the public. It should be noted that the Lungu administration even blocked Zambia’s founding father, President Kenneth Kaunda, from visiting Mr Hichilema in prison. It is a truly tragic collapse of a once stable democracy.
Moreover, my office notified the Zambian High Commission to South Africa. The visit was entirely legal and in line with the required prescripts. At no point were we informed that we would not be welcome.
I therefore did not anticipate the events which unfolded yesterday evening when I landed at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka. On arrival, members of the Zambian Police boarded the aircraft and aggressively confronted me and the delegation I was travelling with. I was not allowed off the aircraft and was told I was not welcome in Zambia. When I demanded reasons for being refused entry, I was told that the authorities are not required to furnish me with a reason. I have still yet to receive any reasons as to why I was restricted entry. In the altercation, my private cellphone was confiscated, along with other mobile devices. Within an hour of arrival, I was deported back to South Africa.
It is important to add that a member of the South African diplomatic team from the SA High Commission in Zambia was waiting for us on arrival, as was a delegation of Zambian MPs and the Chief Whip of the Opposition. They too were not allowed to speak to us, despite their best efforts.
It is an indictment on the Zambian government that a Leader of the Opposition from a neighbouring African state cannot pass freely into the country – especially on Africa Day – a day where unity on the continent ought to be fostered and celebrated.
The Republic of Zambia is a regional partner of the Republic of South Africa and their treatment today of our country’s Leader of the Opposition flies in the face of these relations. However, this matter does not stop here.
We have been in touch with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, and we have asked that they seek in writing a full explanation and reasons from the Zambian government for denying lawful access to the country, and for the belligerent treatment I received. We have been greatly encouraged by the feedback we have received from DIRCO thus far.
Moreover, it is now time that President Jacob Zuma and the South African government speaks out against the anti-democratic practices occurring in Zambia. South Africa ought to be the leader on the continent in protecting and promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We call on President Zuma to show his concern and speak out against such actions by fellow leaders on the continent.
The DA will continue to advocate for the advancement of vibrant, competitive, multiparty democracy, the rule of law and the entrenchment of human rights and free speech across Africa. We will ensure this specific matter is raised in the relevant forums across the continent, including the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) of which Zambia is a member.
We stand by Mr Hichilema in his trial today, and we once again call on the Zambian government to withdraw these unfounded charges against Mr Hichilema.

Human rights need to be the guiding principle of our international relations

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Stevens Mokgalapa MP, during the Budget Vote on International Relations and Co-operation.
Today, as we mark the 54th anniversary of the AU, we salute the founding fathers and visionary leaders of the African continent. Happy Africa Day.
Agenda 2063 contains the blueprint for a paradigm shift in Africa’s future that aims to create an environment of inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. It strives for an integrated continent with shared values, good governance, democracy, rule of law, justice and a peaceful and secure Africa.
We want to acknowledge and commend the hard work done by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) programmes that seek to facilitate Africa’s renewal and reshape its future. Unfortunately, the current crop of leaders are working hard to reverse the noble deeds of our forefathers and in the process, are tainting the legacy of our continent. Africa is still ravaged by civil wars, conflict, underdevelopment, unemployment, power-obsessed dictators, undemocratic regimes, human rights abuses and corruption.
The current global environment is volatile, as the rise of populist, nationalistic and extremist movements are posing a threat to global security and undermines international order, which brings fear and mistrust among people and states.
This trend has led to many states adopting a narrow nationalistic approach as opposed to globalisation to foreign policy. For example, the presidential election in the USA and BREXIT.
This trend is compounded by growing expectations and disappointments, as well as demographic shifts and migration.
All of this leads to a scramble for scarce resources due to jobless economic growth which contribute to unemployment and poverty. National interests become the focal centre of a state’s approach to foreign policy. States are pursuing a zero-sum game through a narrow nationalistic focus in trying to outsmart each other for the maximum benefit of attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Globalisation and urbanization are a twin reality which must be managed by states, as non-state actors are intensifying their role and involvement in the foreign policy space.
Chairperson, allow me to address you on some of the Department’s programmes:
Programme 1: We are concerned about the ill-discipline of the staff and urge the Minister to take steps against the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) immediately.
Programme 2: International Relations addresses the core business of the Department with a budget of R3.6 billion. This programme still remains a source of concern with 126 missions abroad in 107 countries and 160 resident in South Africa. This is unsustainable and hurtful to the fiscus under the current economic conditions.
It is prudent under these circumstances to follow the National Development Plan (NDP) and National Treasury’s advice to consider rationalization of our missions and to cut expenditure on foreign infrastructure projects.
It is also important to consider the reduction of maintenance costs on foreign leased properties, as over 1000 properties are leased at a cost of R575 million.
Economic diplomacy is still lagging behind the number of high level visits and bilateral commissions still yield little in terms of value for money. We need quality outcomes, not quantity in number of visits. This requires a concerted effort in skilling and equipping our diplomats as economic diplomats to market and sell our country abroad.
Our current crop of diplomatic cadets are a shame as they serve personal interests rather than public interests.
Some are criminals, others are dishonest by faking their academic credentials.
We need more vigorous vetting processes to ensure that these cadets are beyond reproach and are people of integrity, ready to serve with pride, dedication and patriotism.
This is the reason why the DA supports the finalization of the Foreign Service Bill to professionalise and regulate our foreign service and eliminate the dumping ground syndrome.
Programme 3: This provides an opportunity for South Africa to play a meaningful role and take leadership in global politics by influencing the multilateral agenda through its constitutional values.
However, South Africa is failing dismally in multilateral forums when it comes to promoting our constitutional values and principles and championing human rights. This is evident from our failed withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and our relationship with dictators like Mugabe, al-Bashir, Nkurunziza and Kabila.
We cannot afford to be quiet when opposition leaders are persecuted and on fabricated charges as is the case in Zambia with Hakainde Hichilema. That is why DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, will attend the treason trial of Mr Hichilema in Zambia tomorrow to offer him our full support.
We must also use our chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to address this serious issue. In a seemingly democratic country like Zambia, the intimidation and suppression of opposition parties should be strongly condemned.
Programme 4: On public diplomacy, we are happy to see an increase in the allocation to this programme. We would like to see this programme provide early warning systems on major international events and we suggest organising a national dialogue on South African foreign policy and national interests to ensure participatory diplomacy of non-state actors and civil society in foreign policy matters.
Programme 5: We need to evaluate our participation and commitment to international membership. We also need to ensure that we respect and uphold our constitutional values in the global arena.
The DA is concerned about the recurring and serial adverse audit opinions. For three consecutive years, the Department has received a qualified opinion. This raises serious concerns in the Department and we hope that these issues will be addressed urgently.
We have abandoned our moral high ground to stoop low to a slippery slope. If South Africa is to realise its vision of a better South Africa in a better Africa and a better world, we must shape up and be counted or ship out and lose all credibility in the global arena.
We must be vocal and speak out against wrongdoings and also be bold to challenge our allies when they do wrong. The days of failed quiet diplomacy are over. We need to redeem ourselves by ensuring that our voting patterns in the multilateral forums are consistent with our values.
In conclusion, Chairperson, the DA foreign policy is centred on three key pillars of constitutionalism, human rights and economic diplomacy. Under the DA government, we will not roll out a red carpet to dictators and mass murderers. We will respect international law and institutions, we will speak out against wrongdoings, we will ensure our diplomats are well trained in economic diplomacy and are assessed on what value they add to FDI.
Human rights will be the guiding principle in our international relations as we aim to promote intra Africa trade and prioritise regional integration and trade. In 2019, South Africans can choose more racial nationalism, populism and division on the basis of race, or we can choose progress towards an open opportunity society for all. Our country’s national interest consensus will be defined clearly and pursued in all our international relations for the benefit of the people and not only the connected elite.
I thank you.