We cannot and will not stop fighting for our mothers, sisters and children

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, during the debate on violence against women and children.
The atrocious abuse of women and children has been covered widely and deeply, with staggering statistics and anecdotes of untold brutality hogging headlines as the country tries to come to terms with this scourge.  Some cases have even secured slots in court rolls and perpetrators having their days in court.  This is showing that something is done, although it is way too late for the victims, most of whom lose their lives, and for families who have to pick up the pieces of their lives with the loss of their loved ones.
There are stories which never reach the media.  Stories whose impact on the lives of those close to these tragedies is unimaginable.  At the centre of these stories are women and children. Women because they lose their children and children because they lose their mothers.
During a march I attended in Temba, Hammanskraal, I came face to face with the picture of the trail of abuse.  On the programme was Doreen Khalo, a mother who lost her daughter in 2011.
Doreen had in her possession a worn out green plastic bag that contained the letter her daughter wrote before she died, a document with a case number and a letter from an authority absolving itself from the responsibility of bringing the perpetrator to book. The contents of this bag were not just ‘papers’, but they detailed a harrowing tale of a mother who had not only lost her child to senseless violence.
Doreen reached out to the police, but they failed her.  She reached out to the prosecuting authorities and again she was failed.  In her quest for justice, Doreen was failed by the very system that was meant to protect her, and indeed her daughter. She received no counselling, and was forced to bear the grief on her own.
The moment she started speaking, tears streamed down her face. She wanted to share her grief, anger and sadness with the marchers who had come to stand with her and others like her. Her pain and anguish permeated through the crowd and seemed to be as fresh as though she had lost her daughter yesterday.
Yet, in between the heart-wrenching sobs, Doreen’s strength and resilience as a mother shone through. “I will not stop fighting for my girl,” she exclaimed.
This is the message that needs to resonate with us and our nation today. We cannot, and will not, stop fighting for our mothers, sisters and children.
As the Democratic Alliance, we will not stop calling on government to take responsibility and implement its own plan of action to protect the lives of women and children.
What has happened to the government’s Integrated Programme of Action for Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) which was developed by the Inter-Ministerial Committee?
Despite it being lauded from a policy perspective when it came to implementation, the plan was however criticised for not being costed.  How then could it be taken seriously without the necessary budget?  The fact that the country is still experiencing heightened levels of VAWC calls into question the government’s ability to perform one of its most fundamental functions: that is, to protect its citizens.
What then has gone wrong, Chairperson?  Are we continuing to put the lives of women and children at risk while we develop documents that are launched and never implemented?  Are we paying lip service at the expense of lives that are being lost on a daily basis?
As the DA, we will endeavour to empower the vulnerable and give voice to the voiceless.  Our vision for South Africa is one which seeks to build a society that values and expresses the humanity inherent in all women, men and children.

Zuma killed the ANC. We won’t let him kill South Africa.

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane MP, during the Budget Vote on The Presidency.

Madam Speaker
Honourable Members
Fellow South Africans
Like many South Africans I grew up believing in the ANC as the party of liberation.
It was the party of my parents. The party that turned this country around and set our course for a future that was infinitely better than our painful past.
Back then, the ANC made life better for millions of South Africans.
It brought clean water, electricity, street lights and waste collection to places that had none.
It built RDP houses all over the country.
It introduced a social grant system that shielded the vulnerable from the harsh impact of poverty.
In those early days the ANC truly was the party of and for the people.
But it didn’t last.
One by one, honourable leaders made way for opportunists until nothing remained of the original movement.
I could not have imagined that the party that liberated us would end up captured and corrupted. The party of Oliver Reginald Tambo, whose name is invoked by every ANC speaker in these debates.
We would do well to remember what Albie Sachs said about Tambo, and I quote:

“Anyone claiming to speak in the name of Oliver Tambo would know… that his intrinsic sense of political honour made him totally and utterly opposed to attempts by people to use the name of the struggle for material accumulation, personal or family enrichment… or individual ambition.”

Honourable Members,
Every time you mention OR Tambo you remind us how far the ANC has fallen.
It pains me to say that the ANC of Oliver Tambo doesn’t exist anymore, and hasn’t for many years.
So what happened?
This happened. This man happened. He killed the ANC.
Make no mistake, it was already wounded before he plunged the knife in – weakened by a culture of patronage and corruption and crippled by cadre deployment.
But he struck the final blow. He wiped out Oliver Tambo’s legacy to make himself rich.
First he killed the ANC and now he is killing our country.
Honourable Speaker,
Today we vote on the budget of the Presidency.
But we cannot stand here and pretend that we’re voting on a budget that will serve the people of this country.
We cannot ignore the fact that the President of the Republic has made a crooked deal with a crooked family, and now they own him.
We cannot ignore the fact that the President appoints cabinet ministers and board members of State-Owned Companies according to this family’s instructions, because that’s part of their deal.
We cannot ignore the fact that our President has opened the doors of our Treasury to this family – to give them mines, contracts, advertising revenue – because that is the crux of their deal.
We cannot stand here and pretend that the Presidency is anything other than the headquarters of the Gupta empire, with President Zuma fronting for them.
The budget we’re voting on today is nothing more than a sponsorship deal for a corrupt syndicate.
If we vote for it, we support a budget for a Mafia shadow state.
Section 85 of the Constitution says that the executive authority of the Republic is vested in the President. So why is ours vested in Dubai?
This is a budget for President Gupta. Keep that in mind when you cast your vote.
Honourable Speaker,
Our nation is facing crisis after crisis.
Nine million people wake up every day knowing that they won’t find work.
We have a junk status economy and investors are leaving our shores.
Our education system is considered among the very worst in the world.
Our children disappear every day. Women are raped and murdered every day.
These are the things our President should be talking about, but he says nothing.
They are the things we should all be talking about. But here we are, discussing emails and how President Zuma sold our country.
First he killed the ANC and now he is killing our country.
And the question is: What did you, the ANC, do about it? Because it was within your power to stop him.
If you had the will and the conviction to do the right thing – to do your sworn duty to your country – you would have stopped him.
If you could see beyond the factional loyalties, the perks and the privileges, the Gupta party line, you would have stopped him.
But you weren’t prepared to do that, were you? Because if you were, you would have done so a long time ago.
You’ve had plenty of opportunities.
On six occasions in the past seven years you could have supported a Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma. But you didn’t.
You could have recalled him when the Constitutional Court found that he had violated the Constitution. But you didn’t.
You could have removed him from office when the State Capture Report implicated him in corruption on a grand scale. But you didn’t.
You could have removed him on the weekend after thousands of emails linked him to the corrupt Gupta empire. But you didn’t.
Instead you rallied around him every single time.
President Zuma first. South Africa last.
Guptas first. South Africa last.
ANC first. South Africa last.
Honourable Members, you had the courage to remove the Apartheid government. Now you cannot find the courage to remove one man.
You have shown South Africa your true colours.
You have shown us that South Africa doesn’t have a President Zuma problem. It doesn’t even have a Gupta problem. It has an ANC problem.
The truth is President Zuma and the ANC are one and the same. And that’s why the ANC cannot fix itself.
Any new leader at the top will just be a new front for the same corruption and the same looting.
You have left South Africans no choice but to vote the ANC out of government.
The ANC’s funeral will be held in 2019, but it is already dead.
Fellow South Africans,
We dare not languish in hopelessness. When things fall apart, they fall into place.
President Zuma may have killed the ANC, but we will not let him kill South Africa.
We have a vision of a South Africa that has reinvented itself and is flourishing under a new government.
We have a vision of a South Africa that belongs to all and that works for all who live in it.
We have a vision of a South Africa where every young person has opportunities to become whatever they want to be.
Freedom. Fairness. Opportunity.
To make this vision a reality will require many allies. It will require the cooperation of every party and every person who shares our dream for an inclusive, forward-looking South Africa.
It will also require collaboration with the good men and women who remain in these benches to my right, torn between their love for their country and their loyalty to a party that no longer exists.
This is not about the colour of your T-shirt and it is not about the colour of your skin.
All that matters is that you want what’s best for the 56 million people of this country.
Anyone who agrees with the values that form the foundation of our plan to rebuild South Africa is welcome on board.
These values are: constitutionalism, inclusive economic growth, non-racialism, a capable state and zero tolerance for corruption.
If we can agree on these things, then we can work together to rebuild this country the way we want it to be. No corruption, no stealing, no state capture and no Guptas.
Honourable Speaker,
I know we have allies in the opposition benches. I also know we have allies out there in business, in labour, in civil society and in churches.
But I’m counting on our allies here in these ANC benches too.
Because if you want the same things for our country – and if you cannot stand what has been allowed to happen under President Zuma and the Guptas – then we should be on the same side.
We should be building a post-ANC South Africa together.
In this post-ANC South Africa, we will put the education of our children first by supporting poor schools to become centres of excellence. No child will be left behind.
We will work hard to create a range of education, training and work opportunities for all young people leaving school.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will recognise the important role investors and entrepreneurs play in creating jobs and fighting poverty.
We will modernise our economy and we will invest in industries that make us globally competitive.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will double the Police Force and we will secure our borders, but we will also look at ways to attract skills and talent from across the continent.
We will choose our global friends well, and then stand by them in their time of need.
Friends such as my Zambian counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema, who was thrown in jail by a corrupt government. He will know he can count on the support of the South African government.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will do all we can to create opportunities for people to stand on their own two feet and escape the dependency on social grants. But, for those who need them, we will double the grant income.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will elect a president who will use the Presidency budget to serve the people, and not to stay out of jail.
Honourable Speaker,
This is our plan to bring our country back on track. And parts of this plan are already underway.
Our new coalition governments in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay are already making inroads into reversing the damage left behind in these cities.
In these metros we have tarred new roads, launched new metro police, narcotics and K9 units, handed over thousands of title deeds, launched new housing projects and slashed perks for politicians.
Coalition governments are never easy, but we are making them work for the people of these cities. And we can make them work in national government too.
But it will require a big shift in the way we all think of our roles in building South Africa.
It will require many of you to accept that the ANC you once knew no longer exists.
Jacob Zuma killed that ANC. We will not let him kill South Africa too.
I thank you.

DA requests Gigaba to begin investigating CPS R1 billion profit

The DA has written to Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, requesting that he commences an investigation within the office of the Chief Procurement Officer, into the unconscionable R1.1 billion profit that Cash Paymaster Solutions has made from the invalid social grants contract.
The DA believes that not only is such extraordinary profiteering from public money an insult to poor South Africans, it also may contradict the Constitutional Court order from 2014 which banned CPS from making any further profits from the invalid contract.
On Tuesday CPS filed a statement of profit with the Constitutional Court, wherein it discloses a pre-tax profit of R1.1 billion from the Social Grant Distribution part of its work, but fails to disclose the profit it has made from other incidental services it has provided, including life cover, funeral insurance and pre-paid services.
All in all CPS has been allowed to profit to the most extraordinary levels, directly from the safety net provided to the poorest and most vulnerable South Africans. It is a profit-driven company, but its contract was never valid and its work was only allowed to continue because of the sheer recklessness of Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s department and SASSA.
Whether CPS has violated the Constitutional Court’s 2014 order preventing it from profiting will be up to the Court to decide. But we believe that the Chief Procurement Officer must investigate the terms under which this contract was concluded that allowed for such obscene profits to be made.
Essentially, either CPS misled government at the time of contracting, or SASSA and the Department of Social Development agreed to this unacceptable profit margin.
We expect that the Chief Procurement Officer will unearth the truth. If CPS misled government, every cent it has milked from South Africa must be recovered. Alternatively, if the Social Development Department and SASSA allowed for this daylight-robbery, albeit under an invalid contract, Minister Dlamini will have a R1 billion question to account to Parliament for.

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.

DA announces Parliamentary and criminal action against State Capture

The fact that the ANC National Executive Committee chose to keep Jacob Zuma in power as President of South Africa last night is a serious crime against the people of South Africa.
This once again illustrates that the ANC cannot self-correct. The ANC still supports Zuma. Jacob Zuma is the ANC, and the ANC is Jacob Zuma.
The DA believes that Zuma’s ANC government has given over control of our state to the Guptas. No one has ever voted for a Gupta in South Africa, but the ANC has allowed them full control of our nation and as such, they have violated the integrity of South Africa.
The new state capture allegations, which emerged yesterday, show the extent of the rot. Multiple cabinet ministers, public officials and the upper leadership of state-owned entities have been implicated in a criminal syndicate to control the resources of our country, for their own selfish benefit.
While 9 million South Africans struggle every day without work, without hope, President Zuma and by extension, the ANC, has sold their hopes and dreams to profiteers.
Parliament has the power to hold Ministers in the Executive to full account and must use it.
Yesterday’s allegations and the existing State Capture evidence, reveal that at least five Ministers are in the pockets of the Guptas.
Allegations of Gupta capture against Ministers Van Rooyen, Zwane, Gigaba, Brown and Muthambi, and the Executive as a whole, demand full investigation by Parliament through an Ad Hoc Committee.
Parliament is mandated by the Constitution to hold the Executive accountable. For this reason, the DA has today requested that National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, establish an Ad Hoc Committee to fully probe the relations of captured Ministers, the President and the Gupta family.
This request will necessitate a debate in the National Assembly, in which we expect MPs to put South Africa first and to agree to establish this committee.
The powers of such a committee will include the power to summon any person to come and give evidence, and first of these must be the Guptas themselves.
As I announced yesterday we have over the past 24 hours been in consultation with our lawyers over criminal charges, and these are now almost finalised.
I am satisfied that sufficient criminal elements exist for the laying of charges, including grand corruption, undermining of state sovereignty and various statutory crimes, carrying serious prison terms.
Tomorrow, I will lay these charges with the SAPS, fully documented and evidenced, and I expect that a thorough investigation will follow.
The DA will continue to use all measures, contained in law and the provisions in our Constitution to hold the Executive accountable.
The ANCs protection and backing of Jacob Zuma, last night and throughout his eight-year regime of corruption, shows that the ANC has reached its end of days. The ANC is dead, but there is hope for South Africa.
In 2019, voters can vote out this ANC government and can restore the hope of 1994. There is a new future for South Africa, and that future lies in the DA.

Gupta pillage of our country requires stern legal action

What has emerged today is the existence of concrete proof confirming what South Africans have known for some time: the ANC has created, aided, and sponsored a shadow criminal state in South Africa, led by the Guptas and the Zumas.
An array of cabinet ministers, state departments and entities, and public officials have systematically sold off South Africa to a small cabal of foreigners who are on our shores for one reason – to loot our country of its resources in order to makes themselves rich. This should anger anyone who hates injustice and cares about the future of our country.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today consulted our lawyers with a view of taking legal action against Jacob Zuma, the Gupta family, implicated cabinet ministers, public officials, SOE executives and board members, and any other individuals who have acted to undermine the state. We believe there are a host of charges of the most serious order including grand corruption, undermining of state sovereignty, and various statutory offences including the leaking of classified information, and undue influence in the awarding of government contracts.
Today’s reports reveal written proof in the form of a string of emails which confirm that South Africa has been captured by the Guptas. From handpicking Cabinet Ministers, to appointing heads of SOE’s, to winning multi-billion rand government contracts, the Guptas and the Zuma’s have manipulated power in order to create a shadow criminal state which operates to enrich a few, and leave the majority of South Africans poor and jobless.
Moreover, it was revealed that Jacob Zuma has been putting in place an exit strategy – with the help of the Guptas – to relocate to Dubai after he is finished raiding the country of its very last cent.
It is clear that as the Gupta Capture scandals continue to grow, a Judicial Commission of Inquiry recommended by former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, must be established to swiftly investigate this matter and ensure that this corruption of an unprecedented scale is stopped once and for all. Today’s revelations make it clear as to why Jacob Zuma is opposing the Public Protector’s recommendations in court.
While 9 million South Africans have lost hope in ever finding work, and millions more are trapped in abject poverty, the ANC allows this Gupta-headed heist of our country to proceed unabated.
In fact, today the ANC can remove Jacob Zuma at the sitting of its National Executive Committee (NEC). The NEC has the power to do so. Time will only tell if it has the will.
If the ANC chooses to stand by Zuma and all his corruption again today, then no one within the ANC can claim innocence for this absolute pillaging of our country by a band of connected crooks. There must be collective blame on the whole ANC for partaking, benefiting, and allowing this to unfold.
The ANC has past the point of no return. It cannot self-correct, and it cannot govern in the best interests of all South Africans.
That is why come 2019, the people of South Africa will remove the ANC from government and elect a clean, honest, reliable government that will govern for the people, not the Guptas.

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.

South Africa is NOT for sale

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Natasha Mazzone MP, during the Budget Vote on Public Enterprises.
House Chairperson, Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon.
Today I dedicate my 2017 budget vote speech to the brave men and women of South Africa, who, despite facing tremendous pressure, potential job loss and alienation from certain sectors, have boldly spoken out against and exposed corruption, state capture, nepotism, cronyism and mismanagement.
To you all, I say thank you on behalf of South Africa for your determination to look after the South African coffers, and for your relentless patriotism in the face of serious opposition from the highest echelons of power.
Your names will go down in history as true South African heroes.
Our state owned entities are not just in a state of chaos, they are in fact in a state of capture.
Every single morning, another scandal breaks in the media. If we are not dealing with Gupta associated businesses being given tenders, we are dealing with children of employees being given multi-million rand deals or, most recently, resignations … no wait, retirements … no wait … retrenchments … no wait … re-appointments of inept CEOs.
The Public Protector has certainly had her hands full with the DA requesting multiple investigations into issues within the SOEs.
We have asked the Public Protector to probe revelations in the unfolding nepotism scandal at Eskom involving the acting CEO, Matshela Koko, and his stepdaughter Koketso Choma, and a R1.7 million donation that was paid from Choma’s company to the ANC.
The DA has asked the Public Protector to include this new, shocking allegation of a massive donation to the ANC, into an already established investigation into Koko and Choma as requested by the DA in March 2017.
It now appears that, not only did Koko allegedly improperly award tenders worth R1 billion to Impulse International, a company of which his stepdaughter is a Director, when he was head of Eskom’s Generation Unit, but the arrangement was used as a conduit to siphon money to the ANC.
The Public Protector must now investigate and expose what the relationship between Koko, Choma, Impulse and the ANC really is.
It is totally unacceptable that so much public money was allegedly improperly directed toward a family member of the acting CEO of Eskom, only to land in the hands of the ANC!
This latest revelation, including the intimidation of journalists who have exposed this scandal, shows the lengths to which those with much to hide are willing to go to cover up.
Eskom has been reluctant to release the Denton Report that contains details of widespread corruption at the parastatal, and it seems that corruption scandals are only increasing under the current leadership.
The DA welcomed Public Enterprises Minister, Lynn Brown’s, rejection of an exorbitant and unjustified R30 million golden handshake “pension” payout to the disgraced Brian Molefe.
Indeed, after leaving Eskom under the most swirling clouds of state capture allegations, and close collusion with the Guptas, and then being rewarded with an ANC seat as a Member of Parliament, Mr. Molefe does not deserve one further cent from the public purse.
Our joy, however, was very short lived, as we soon learned of the return of Brian Molefe to Eskom.
This was a monumental disaster for the power utility, which is currently in a dire state of affairs and is surrounded by a wave of Gupta-linked corruption allegations as a result of Molefe’s tenure.
The return of Molefe to Eskom will see the Gupta hand return to the power utility, and most likely to the forthcoming nuclear procurement deal.
This South Africa cannot accept.
It was clear in the Public Protector’s damning State of Capture Report that Molefe was seriously compromised in his position at Eskom. He, himself, cited the interests of corporate good governance as the reason for him leaving Eskom.
The State of Capture Report details the close relationship between Molefe and the Guptas and how key decisions were taken by Molefe, as the head of Eskom, for the ultimate benefit of the Guptas and at the expense of the people of South Africa.
Specifically, Molefe called Ajay Gupta a total of 44 times and Ajay Gupta called Molefe a total of 14 times in 8 months. Molefe can further be placed in the Saxonwold area on 19 occasions between August 2015 and November 2015.
Importantly, the criminal charges that I laid against Molefe still stand and I trust are being actively investigated by the South African Police Service.
The ANC themselves came out and said that Molefe is unfit to return to Eskom as his name has not been cleared.
This is somewhat ironic given that he was, just the other day, on their own Parliamentary back benches.
South Africa deserves to know the truth behind the many scandals currently engulfing Eskom.
The damning allegations by the former Minister of Mineral Resources, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, that Eskom’s then CEO Brian Molefe and Chairperson Ben Ngubane tried to force him to withdraw Glencore’s Optimum mining licences in a bid to help the Gupta’s takeover Glencore’s coal mines, are astounding and deserve a full scale investigation as part of the Parliamentary inquiry into Eskom which the DA has requested.
I am most pleased that the Committee on Public Enterprises has stood firm and has agreed that a full parliamentary investigation begin into the shenanigans at Eskom.
Chairperson, I advised the Minister on Tuesday, and I will repeat myself today, suspend the Board of Eskom with immediate effect. Send a full team from Public Enterprises to Megawatt park and collect all the documents pertaining to the reappointment of Brian Molefe as well as all documents related to alleged corruption charges so that we know they are safe and are unable to be destroyed.
Denel has had their fair share of scandals involving of course, the family that is causing chaos in our state owned enterprises (SOEs) and our country, the Guptas.
To this end, Denel will be called to appear before the committee together with National Treasury so that once and for all, we can get to the bottom of capture allegations. Perhaps the next the time they appear, they will be better prepared to answer our many questions.
South Africa is NOT for sale. Our SOEs cannot be bought by the Gupta family with the help of Number One.
As the web of state capture starts to unravel, so will the stranglehold that this unwelcome family has over our country.
It is now the time to put a stop to this corruption and capture and the DA is the only party that can bring an end to the crisis the ANC-government has created at the SOEs.
When the DA comes into national government in 2019, we will ensure that our SOEs work for our people and bring an end to the scourge of corruption that has manifested under ANC governance.
South Africa is NOT for sale, NOT on our watch!

Government must stop talking and start doing

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Cameron Mackenzie MP, during the Budget Vote on Telecommunications and Postal Services.
Thank you House Chairperson,
The time for talking is past.
Telecommunications has moved far beyond making a phone call or sending a SMS. Budget speeches this year have been littered with talk of the fourth industrial revolution and e-government – a good indicator of how far technology has taken us since the birth of the internet and the rollout of fast, ubiquitous broadband.
The fourth industrial revolution – digitisation, automation and the internet of things – is already with us, changing the way the world lives, works and plays.
E-government and its ability to connect citizens with government, business with government, and government with government, is a game changer in how government interacts and communicates – more efficiently, more effectively and at a lower cost.
There is broad agreement across all political parties that inequality is one of the biggest challenges facing South Africa and our people. A growing economy creates jobs and opportunities and a job is a pathway out of poverty but job creation depends entirely on economic growth.
Few economic sectors have the power to directly contribute as much and as quickly to economic growth than Information and Communication Technology (ICT) – and broadband specifically. World Bank research shows that every 10% increase in broadband penetration could contribute an extra 1.38% to the economic growth rate for low and middle income countries. And at 1.38%, that’s double the pedestrian 0.6% economic growth projected for South Africa this year.
Given this fact, we would expect this government and the Department to lead the way in the rollout of broadband and the implementation of e-government in South Africa.
Yet, with a national budget of more than a trillion rand, less than R1.7 billion has been allocated to Telecommunications and Postal Services. This seems comparatively little for a sector that has so much potential to contribute to our country’s economic growth.
So how is the Department doing?
Let’s use the Department’s own goals (pun intended) to gauge this.
In the Department’s Annual Performance Plan, it aims to:
• Expand and modernise ICT infrastructure by implementing the South Africa Connect broadband policy (that’s a fail);
• Coordinate the migration to digital broadcasting (that’s a fail – missed deadlines included);
• Implement the legislative framework stemming from the 2016 National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper (we’re going to be waiting until next year for this); and
• Rationalise state-owned companies (fail – three years later and there’s lots of talk but little action).
The Department is seized with discussing the ICT White Paper, e-government, digital strategies and the mythical SA Connect. The problem is not for want of policies, statements or intentions though; we are awash with these.
The problem is lots of talking and little implementation.
Two of the Department’s Annual Performance Plan priorities for 2017/2018 are the finalisation and approval of the National E-strategy and the e-government strategy.
But they’ve been paying lip service to the concept of e-government for decades. And it’s not me who says this – it’s government itself.
In the proposed national e-government strategy, published in the Government Gazette of 7 April, on page 495, it says “Existing e-government policy and strategies have played lip service over time which led to outdated approaches as well as the fact that South Africa has not moved forward in achieving the strategic objectives as set in the 2001 e-Government policy.”
Sixteen years later and the government is still talking more but doing less. In this regard, time is the enemy and South Africa is losing the battle.
A recent Parliamentary oversight to Mpumalanga provides a useful clue as to why we are so far behind. According to information supplied by the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA), as part of SA Connect, several clinics, schools and government offices had been connected to a broadband network designed and built by MENG, a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) start-up. When we visited the sites, with the exception of a single clinic, no connectivity existed and the network infrastructure was vandalized and not maintained. Yet the government had paid around R30 million for connectivity that doesn’t exist.
It is important to contrast this with another connectivity programme in this country that’s rolling out government services and internet access to our citizens – and its right here, in the DA-governed Western Cape.
The Western Cape Broadband Strategy and Implementation Plan aims to coordinate and integrate government action to radically improve the provision of telecommunication infrastructure, skills and usage within the province so every citizen in every town and village has access to affordable high-speed broadband infrastructure and services, has the necessary skills to be able to effectively utilise this infrastructure and is actively utilising this in their day-to-day lives.
And this is not lip service.
This province has brought together the public sector in the form of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), Neotel from the private sector and the Western Cape government itself in a 10 year, R3.6 billion self-funded programme that is contributing to the provision of affordable, ubiquitous broadband to meet the diverse needs of public and private users.
And it’s working.
The Western Cape is ready for the fourth industrial revolution. It is rolling out broadband and e-government services. It is paying more than lip service to these concepts. But where is national government and where are the other provinces?
It is three years since the illogical, irrational and unnecessary split of Communications and Telecommunications. Who can fathom the inner workings of the President’s mind? (Although a letter writer to Business Day suggested the President is still running on Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS) while everyone else is running Windows 10…)
Three years later and this Department and its programmes are still wracked by underperformance, lack of delivery, policy confusion and worse still, policy implementation.
This government is not just running out of other people’s money, it’s running out of time.
The fourth industrial revolution, e-government and the broadband network that underpins it has the power to effect positive change on a scale sorely needed by this country. But for this to happen, fast, reliable and universal broadband and access to it must be in place, because unless you’ve built the foundation, you cannot deliver the future. The revolution won’t wait for South Africa to catch up. It needs to be done and done now because the time for lip service has passed.
Let me leave you with a piece of advice from Walt Disney:
“The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.”

Shabangu fails to retract ‘Karabo was weak’ comments and must now be fired

After the DA demanded that the Minister Susan Shabangu retract and apologise for calling gender violence victim, Karabo Mokoena, “weak” and seemed to blame Karabo for her own death, the Minister appeared at a press conference this afternoon and failed to apologise for or retract her callous comments.
Even despite being prompted to apologise by journalists, the Minister still failed to apologise unreservedly.
It is horrific that Minister Shabangu continues to blame the victims of abuse and violence for the fate they face. She is setting a terrible example for South Africa, and must be roundly condemned.
If Minister Shabangu represents the views of the ANC, then her performance today shows that the ANC simply does not care about violence against women.
But if Minister Shabangu’s callous and inhumane views are not those of the ANC, she must be fired immediately.