Medium-Term Budget: Mboweni allows a debt blowout

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni today revealed the true horror of our nation’s precarious financial situation. We acknowledge his honesty that things are worse than imagined. We also welcome his tough talk on cutting the public wage bill and on the mismanagement of state-owned entities (SOEs).

But the Minister’s number one priority in this speech was to present a credible plan to control national debt and rein in the deficit. The fact is that he did not do this. For all the tough talk, the Minister’s bark was worse than his bite. The spending cuts he did announce – roughly R50 billion over the next two years – will not be nearly enough to slow down the ballooning of national debt, and will not be enough to restore credibility with ratings agencies.

Earlier this week the DA made a credible proposal to cut the wage bill by R168 billion in three years, while protecting frontline service delivery staff like teachers and nurses. Today the Minister echoed that call, with tough talk on the wage bill, but didn’t do anything about it. All of the cuts he announced will be applied to “non-compensation” spending, with no cuts to the R630 billion wage bill. Effectively, he procrastinated again on the tough action needed to turn our finances around.

Far from reining in the deficit, the Minister’s proposals see the deficit expanding to an alarming 5.9% this year, and blowing out completely to 6.5% next year.

Far from getting national debt under control, debt will skyrocket by a truly staggering R1.5 trillion in the next three years alone. By then we will be spending R299 billion a year just on interest payments. This will be more than we spend on educating our children (R262 billion), more than we spend on healthcare (R222 billion), nearly triple what we spend on police (R104 billion), and more than we spend on social grants (R206.8 billion)

National debt has exploded from 54% of GDP in 2017/18, to a projected 71.3% of GDP in 2022.

And far from ending support for zombie SOEs, the detail of today’s proposals reveal another R33 billion for Eskom and a R9 billion debt write off for SAA. While the basic services on which the public rely are being cut, more money is being spent on failing SOEs. This is an indefensible choice.

Further procrastination will have terrible consequences for South Africans, particularly for the poor, as service spending is squeezed out by debt and salaries. We urge the Minister to implement the DA’s proposal to cut the wage bill.

Police and IEC must immediately intervene to put an end to ANC-orchestrated anarchy

The following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a press conference on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Maimane was joined by Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, Tshwane Mayor, Stevens Mokgalapa, Midvaal Mayor, Bongani Baloyi, Modimolle-Mookgophong Mayor, Marlene Van Staden, City of Cape Town MMC for Safety and Security, JP Smith, DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, Solly Msimanga, and DA Gauteng Leader, John Moodey.

With just 24 days to go until the defining 2019 National and Provincial Elections, we gather here today at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg to urgently address a matter of national importance that threatens the very founding values of our democracy.

I am joined by DA mayors, senior party leaders, and representatives from DA governments, to seek immediate intervention in what can only be described as a malicious and calculated attempt by the ANC to render DA-run cities ungovernable in the lead up to the election, and to shift attention away from its failure as national government over the past 25 years.

The reality is that millions of South Africans live in communities that have seen little or no change since the dawn of democracy. Our painful history still lives with us and after 25 years of ANC rule, many South Africans live without basic services. This is because the ANC government is one of self-enrichment rather than building infrastructure in poor communities.

It appears that the likelihood of the party losing power in key parts of the country on 8 May has now firmly panicked the ANC, as it has now resorted to desperate and dangerous so-called “shutdown” protests in DA-run governments spanning over the past two weeks. While these violent protests were intended to appear as organic and community-driven, it has become embarrassingly evident that the protests have been initiated and sustained by the ANC.

Beginning in Alexandra, Johannesburg on 3 April, the “shutdowns” have spread to other DA-run governments. These include:

  • Ga-Rankuwa, Mabopane, Pretoria West, Soshanguve, Winterveld, and Hammanskraal in the City of Tshwane;
  • Orange Grove and Pennyville, Soweto in the City of Johannesburg;
  • Khayelitsha, Lwandle and Happy Valley, Blackheath in the City of Cape Town; and
  • Caledon in the Theewaterskloof Municipality in the Western Cape.

There remain threats of further “shutdown” protests, with the Johannesburg Inner City allegedly planned for tomorrow, Monday 15 April, as well as rumours of an impending Soweto Shutdown later this week.

This cheap, dangerous politicking is not being carried out by a few rogue elements in the ANC. It is the party’s election campaign strategy, endorsed and approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa himself. This is evidenced by his decision to go to Alex – the epicentre of these violent protests – to campaign in ANC colours, to publicly approve the shutdown and attempt to blame Mayor Herman Mashaba for the service delivery failures of the ANC over the past 25 years.

At the very core of a democracy such as ours is the possibility of a peaceful transition of power from one party to another through the ballot box. It appears the ANC is not willing to allow this to happen, stooping to new lows in an attempt to maintain their grip on power.

This is not only limited to violent “shutdowns” but has also extended to other underhand means in order to undermine the will of the electorate in the DA-led Modimolle-Mookgophong Municipality in Limpopo.

In November 2018 the Limpopo Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) signalled their intention to dissolve the Modimolle-Mookgophong council in terms of section 139(1)(c) of the Constitution which would trigger a municipal-wide election. This section allows the PEC to dissolve a council in “exceptional circumstances”.

The decision by the PEC was taken only a month after the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) approved the PEC’s section 139(1)(b) intervention at the municipality. The PEC had also approved the municipality’s financial recovery plan in early November 2018.

The PEC cited slow progress in the municipality, a failure to hold the required amount of council and executive committee meetings and a failure to execute its financial obligations as some of the reasons for its decision. When in fact, the DA-led government has been working hard to stop corruption, improve the finances and accelerate service delivery after years of neglect by the ANC.

Following the receipt of the PEC’s letters, Council gave Mayor Van Staden permission to appoint legal counsel to fight the dissolution. The Mayor then sent a letter to MEC Jerry Ndou outlining her responses to each of the “exceptional circumstances” listed by the Provincial Government. The letter argues that invoking section 139(1)(c) would be irrational and unlawful.

We are of the view that this amounts to blatant and unwarranted political interference by the ANC to undermine the current administration and to wrangle back power in order to continue looting the people’s resources. We reject this and will fight it on all fronts.

As a party that governs for 16 million South Africans across over 30 governments, we would be in dereliction of our constitutional duties if we failed to act now on behalf of current and future generations of South Africans. We will not sit back and watch the ANC erode the very values that were sacrificially fought for.

As Leader of the DA, I have therefore decided to take the following immediate action.

Firstly, I will again approach the National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, requesting an urgent face-to-face meeting in the next 48 hours to establish what plans are in place to put an end to this violence and to restore law and order in our communities. Earlier this week I requested a meeting with General Sitole, who committed to meet on 29 April 2019. This is not good enough. We need urgent intervention and 29 April may be too late. The SAPS must immediately institute a plan to halt the ANCs objective of inciting violence and turning our communities into warzones and will address this head-on when I meet with General Sitole.

Secondly, on the back of the DA’s formal complaint lodged with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) over the “shutdown” protests, I will formally request to meet with the IEC Chairperson, Mr Glen Mashinini, to:

  • Seek an update on this complaint and, if required, request the investigation to be fast-tracked to ensure we get to the bottom of this threat well before election day on 8 May; and
  • Seek reassurance that the elections will go ahead on 8 May.

Finally, we believe Parliament has a vital role to play in getting to the bottom of this orchestrated anarchy. As such, we will write the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting the urgent establishment of an Ad Hoc Joint Committee on consisting of the Portfolio Committees on Police, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and Home Affairs to use its legislative power to consider this matter in its entirety. Parliament must use its powers to summon all involved.

While the ANC – and President Ramaphosa – continue to place their own narrow political interests ahead of the country’s collective interest, South Africans are rejecting the party in their numbers in search of real change. The ANC knows this and President Ramaphosa knows this. They are panicking and frightened and are making a grave error in thinking South Africans will not punish them for spearheading these violent protests.

South Africans face a clear choice at the ballot box on 8 May – a choice between more violence and chaos from the ANC, or the DA’s agenda to bring change that restores order and builds One South Africa For All.

The ANC government that allowed Gaddafi’s millions to be smuggled in and out will not secure our borders

The following remarks were made today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a public meeting in Nkomazi, Mpumalanga. 

My fellow South Africans,

Our border posts, such as the one near here at Jeppes Reef, are meant to protect South Africans and their interests, whether it be from cross-border crime, drug trafficking, illegal immigration or the illicit flow of money. But they don’t. Instead they are weak and vulnerable to exploitation, and pose a risk to all South Africans.

Understaffed, under-equipped and poorly maintained, our borders and border posts have become easy pickings for those who want to enter our country illegally, or conduct illegal activities on both sides of the border. And it is mostly poor South Africans, and not the rich and powerful in government, who bear the brunt of this problem.

It is poor South Africans who are targeted by the cross-border drugs trade. It is poor South Africans who fall victim to human trafficking syndicates. It is poor South Africans who have to face increased competition for healthcare, education and housing resources. And it is poor South Africans whose lives are most affected when we lose precious tax revenue to illicit trade and smuggling.

When the DA makes the call for more secure borders and better documentation of all people entering our country, it is because we are acting in the interest of those who are most affected: poor South Africans.

Ironically, it is precisely our porous, weak borders that seem to benefit the ruling elite and their billionaire friends across the world. How else would Jacob Zuma have brought hundreds of millions of Rands of Gaddafi’s money into South Africa in the first place to hide it at his Nkandla homestead? And how else would he manage to shift this vast amount of money across the border into eSwatini?

And if the former President of the Republic can do so with impunity – and allegedly with the knowledge of government and the current President – then what does that mean for the Rule of Law here in South Africa? How are ordinary South Africans meant to respect the laws of the country if they see those at the very top disregarding these laws at will?

If our borders were secure, and if these border posts were properly equipped and properly staffed by personnel who were prepared to do their job without fear or favour, Gaddafi’s millions would never have entered our country illegally, let alone left our country again the same way.

No country in the world can afford to turn a blind eye to the comings and goings across its borders. Yet our government has allowed the situation here to deteriorate to the point where some stretches of our land borders are a complete free-for-all.

The fact is, the ANC government does not care what happens to ordinary South Africans when it neglects to do its duty. It only cares about itself. The ANC government has neither the plan nor the desire to fix our border fences, bolster our border posts and reform Home Affairs.

The DA, on the other hand, has a comprehensive plan to immediately plug our porous borders and reform Home Affairs to rid it of its debilitating corruption and incompetence. If the old ANC government won’t fix it, then the new DA government will.

Our plan includes auditing, properly recording and, where appropriate, regularising all undocumented foreign nationals already in the country.

We will make legal entry and residence easier for skilled immigrants and businesses from all countries, especially from within Africa. We will also help South Africans to travel and do business, and we will assist those wanting to live, work and trade in South Africa legally.

Our plan also includes assistance and support for asylum seekers, and the protection of refugees and those who have been trafficked across our borders.

We will review the number and size of border posts to increase the number of points of legal entry and exit, and we will ensure effective and coordinated border security through increased policing capacity at our border posts and along our borders.

We will also increase the 15 SANDF companies protecting South Africa’s borders to the required 22 companies, and ensure that they are properly resourced and trained.

Those are just some of the steps a DA government will take to ensure that South Africans are kept safe, and their interests protected. I urge you to read our manifesto to get the full plan for our borders, as well as our plan to clean up Home Affairs.

But if we are to make this plan a reality, we will need you to do your bit first. You need to add your vote to the millions of others who are tired of the empty promises and the endless corruption of the ANC government, and who want change.

Grab this opportunity on 8 May to shape the destiny of our country, and to help build the kind of South Africa you want to live in. It is only through the power of our collective votes that we can make our democracy work for us.

Let’s make 8 May the day we take the power back from those who have abused it for too long. Together we will build one united, prosperous South Africa for all.

DA observes 30th World AIDS Day

As the world observes the 30th annual World AIDS Day, the Democratic Alliance (DA) would like to call on all South Africans to take a moment to remember all of the countless South Africans who have sadly lost their lives in the fight against this epidemic.

To all those living with HIV/AIDS, we commend your courage and bravery and trust that you will continue to fight for your good health and the rights of those living with HIV/AIDS.

An estimated 7.5 million South Africans live with HIV. Of this group, 19% are people aged 15 to 49.

Despite having the largest antiretroviral treatment programme in the world, HIV/AIDS continue to have a devastating impact on South Africa’s youth.

Young people are the lifeblood and future of this country and we should do much more in ensuring that our future is healthy and vibrant.

This statistic paints a grim picture of how little we have accomplished in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Organisations such as the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), which is chaired by Deputy President DD Mabuza, play a vital role in addressing the progress of HIV/AIDS alleviation in South Africa.

As a society, we also have a collective responsibility to fight for better HIV awareness and treatment in our country. We need to build a South Africa where HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence or a shame.

On this World AIDS Day, the DA commits itself to build One South Africa for All, where those living with HIV/AIDS have access to dignified medical treatment and live free and full lives.

DA to table Bill to end Eskom monopoly and lower electricity prices for all South Africans

The following remarks were delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a Press Conference in Parliament today. Maimane was joined by the DA Team One South Africa Spokesperson on State Capture, Natasha MazzoneA legal summary of the DA’s ISMO Bill can be found here

The year 2018 has been characterised by a sustained financial attack on the pockets of all South Africans by the failing ANC government. With increases in petrol tax, VAT, sugar tax, personal income tax, and “sin taxes” – more and more money is being taken away from hard-working South Africans to pay for the ANC’s corruption and inefficiency.

Another costly expense for South Africans has been the increase in electricity prices with Eskom wanting a further 15% increase after the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) granted Eskom a 4.41% price increase for 2019/20 and approved a 5.23% average price increase that came into effect at the beginning of April this year. Over the past decade, Eskom’s electricity prices have increased by about 356%, while inflation over the same period was 74%, which means that electricity prices have increased four times faster than inflation over the past 10 years.

This is due to a wide range of factors, with the most systemic cause being a complete lack of competition in the energy sector. Government has a monopoly which breeds inefficiency, rampant corruption and maladministration. This cannot continue any longer.

Moreover, it is not just South African families who are affected by this. Affordable, uninterrupted and reliable electricity access is a bare essential requirement for businesses to operate – especially SMMEs – which are the creators of much-needed jobs for the almost 10 million unemployed South Africans.

Shortly after the economy went into recession, I announced the DA’s plan to get the economy growing. Part of this 7-step “Agenda for Reform” is a plan to end Eskom’s monopoly by splitting Eskom into separate power production and distribution businesses, while at the same time allowing cities to purchase directly from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Today, we formally introduce and unpack the DA’s Private Members Bill, namely The Independent System and Market Operator Bill – the “ISMO Bill”. We believe the ISMO Bill is a key component in our plan to revive our economy, fast-track growth, and open up access to new jobs.

It goes without saying that the only way to keep the cost of electricity down for consumers is to introduce competition in the electricity market. Our ISMO Bill aims to achieve this by legislating the creation of an entity that is:

  • financially sound;
  • has efficient systems management;
  • acts as an electricity trader;
  • guides electricity supply and transmission planning;
  • is responsible for the integrated power system; and
  • will dispatch within this integrated system.

The Bill envisages the establishment of an independent body owned by the state tasked with buying electricity from electricity generators. The operator will function as a wholesaler of electricity that sells electricity to distributors and customers at a wholesale tariff. ISMO will function independently to electricity generation businesses to ensure fairness between generators, encouraging competition and innovation.

ISMO’s functions and capabilities include:

  • buying power from generators including IPPs through a power purchase agreement;
  • its operating cost being factored into the wholesale tariff in line with the Regulator’s approval;
  • ensuring that the new electricity produced by generators is incorporated into the national electricity grid and circulated to consumers; and
  • when required, assisting with planning as requested by the Minister of Energy.

A crucial objective of the Bill will be to allow metropolitan municipalities with a proven history of good financial governance and electricity reticulation management to trade with electricity generators directly, buying electricity straight from the source. In the spirit of accountability, the processes involved with such procurement will be required to be transparent, and any agreement concluded will be required to be the result of a competitive bidding process. Metropolitan municipalities that have shown themselves to be capable of good governance will be allowed to manage their energy requirements without being dictated to by national or provincial government.

This is a major boost for consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs in South Africa’s major cities, which aligns with the DA’s “city-led growth” agenda. The DA will now refer the Bill to Parliamentary Legal Services and issue a call for public comment to be published in the Government Gazette. Thereafter, ISMO will be tabled in the National Assembly.

The failed ANC government appears to be unwilling to take the tough decisions to fix the current state of Eskom, and electricity generation and distribution in our country. As far back as 1998, in democratic South Africa’s first energy policy, the 1998 Energy White Paper, government agreed that ‘Eskom will be restructured into separate generation and transmission companies.

This was followed by a Bill to this effect introduced by the ANC in 2012, stalled, withdrawn and then finally binned by the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC). As recently as last week, Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni’s, Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) made it clear that ‘Eskom’s weak financial position remains a risk that could lead to a call on guarantees.’

The truth is South Africa does not have another 20 years of Parliamentary withdrawals, post-election delays, and reformulations for ISMO to be passed. Eskom is a zombie State Owned Entity that is so financially precarious that it could pull our entire economy down with it.

Eskom’s most recent coal shortage crisis is so severe that last month’s indication from the utility was that four stations had less than 10 days of coal supply remaining. Corruption, mismanagement of coal contracts and a decision not to invest in coal-plus mines threaten the coal supply of multiple power stations that will ultimately lead to more load shedding and another devastating blow to South Africa’s economy.

The power utility’s plans to take on R212 billion more debt over the next four years from R388 billion to an unprecedented R600 billion while owed over R20 billion by almost 100 municipalities is grossly irresponsible.

Which is why today I have also submitted a Notice of Internal Appeal to Eskom in terms of section 75 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act for not granting my request for access to the terms and conditions of the R33 billion loan from the China Development Bank within the 30-day PAIA period. If Eskom fails to honour the further 10-day deadline set by this Notice of Internal Appeal, the DA will not hesitate to take the necessary legal action and approach the courts for relief.

The DA’s agenda for reform is in pursuit of a lean and capable state that builds an enabling environment to attract investment in a transparent, market-driven and competitive economy.

Changing failing SOEs like Eskom is the most critical intervention required to create fair access to real and long-term jobs and rapidly speed up the delivery of basic services in South Africa.

The DA’s ISMO Bill is one such intervention that is woven into the fabric of our agenda for change to build One South Africa for All, whereby more economic power lies in the hands of South Africans, not a corrupt and failing ANC government.

Failing ANC’s R100 billion irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure could fund job-seekers

The total balance of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure by ANC national departments and state entities has increased to R100.9 billion.

This is a staggering sum of money. To put it in perspective, the R100.9 billion that was wasted would be enough to provide a jobseeker grant of R875 a month to every single unemployed person. Or a once-off cash grant of R10 500 for each unemployed person in the country. That is not to say the money could or should be used for these purposes. But it does put in perspective the scale of the loss, to consider how this sum could have improved the lives of all 10 million unemployed people.

The R4.1 billion that was lost to fruitless and wasteful expenditure in 2017/8 is enough to fund the salaries of over 22 000 police officers or 21 000 nurses.

It should be a national scandal that wanton waste on this scale has been allowed to take place by this failed ANC government.

Earlier this month, the DA analysed the annual reports of national departments and selected entities that had been tabled in Parliament. This revealed irregular expenditure of R72.6 billion and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of another R3 billion. However, serial mismanagement offenders SAA, SA Express and Denel had not tabled their reports at the time. The DA cautioned that the total was likely to increase substantially.

Prasa has now tabled their annual report, and the financial results are truly shocking:

  • Irregular expenditure: R24.2 billion
  • Fruitless and wasteful expenditure: R1 billion
  • Net loss for the year: R925 million

The Auditor-General (A-G) issued the entity with a qualified audit opinion, due to the large amount of dodgy spending, and the unclear accounting of passenger fares. Despite spending all this money, the entity achieved only 21% of its performance targets.

Prasa also joins the list of departments and entities that the A-G has expressed serious uncertainty over their ability to remain a going concern. There are now eight entities and one department at risk of financial collapse, in addition to the commercially insolvent SABC.

There is no excuse for this massive maladministration, particularly in fruitless and wasteful spending – this money is spent with absolutely no gain for the public. The ANC continues to pour vast sums of money down the drain at State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

Prasa’s results are a slap in the face to all those commuters who queue for hours attempting to catch trains that never arrive. With fuel prices sky-rocketing and 9.6 million unemployed, the neglect of the train system that provides vital links to jobs clearly shows that the ANC does not care about the daily struggles of South Africans.

The DA has shown that whenever we take over failing ANC governments, we clean up the administration and improve service delivery. South Africans have an opportunity in 2019 to choose a party that stands for One South Africa for All – not just the cronies of the ANC elite.

ANC government’s cost of living Panel cannot provide the change South Africans need

Today marks the deadline for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Economic Cluster Panel to present their package of economic measures to protect South Africans against the escalating cost of living.

It is no secret that since President Ramaphosa took office in February, the cost of living for ordinary South Africans has escalated dramatically. Between the VAT increase, fuel hikes, sugar tax increase and sin tax increase it is clear that the ANC has put a stranglehold on the unemployed, working class and middle class as costs continue to rise.

The truth is that the President’s Economic Cluster Panel cannot provide the change South Africans need.

For decades, the ANC has stolen the people’s money and mismanaged the economy. Now the ANC is making ordinary South Africans carry this burden.

It is, for this reason, the DA has launched a #StopTheTaxAttack petition and call on all South Africans to sign our petition and demand that VAT be brought back down to 14% and that the exorbitant petrol price increases be brought to a halt.

Under the Ramaphosa administration, there has been a total of four consecutive petrol increases, with another hike expected for August. Every time a motorist fills their tank, R265 (33%) goes directly into the pockets of government.

Instead of taking money from the pockets of South Africans, the government must reduce the Road Accident Fund and general fuel levy by 20%, and balance the budget by ridding the state of corruption.

The ANC is not only playing games with the economy but also with people’s lives. It is becoming more and more expensive for families to put food on the table and to cover the cost of transport.

Yesterday, South Africa’s growth forecast was cut from 1.7% to 1.2%. This knock to the economy will no doubt make life considerably harder for the destitute, especially the unemployed.

The government clearly does not care about the poor and the continued tax increases will not lead South Africa into prosperity. In fact, it will only trap the vulnerable in continued poverty.

The DA will continue to oppose the unjustifiable VAT increase and fuel hikes as we are a party that stands on the side of the vulnerable and unemployed. In the DA governed-metros of Cape Town and Tshwane jobseekers receive free bus rides on a continued basis.

With the 2019 elections approaching, South Africans will make their voices heard and punish the ANC for placing the burden of its corruption on the vulnerable.

DA urges Ramaphosa to stop paying Zuma legal fees

The DA has today written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to request that he reconsider his decision to continue to pay for former president, Jacob Zuma’s, legal fees.

The State has already spent at least R15.3 million on Mr Zuma’s legal costs. This figure is likely to be significantly higher as it is still unclear whether this amount is confined only to the litigation involving the DA.

In March, the DA filed papers with the North Gauteng High Court asking that the agreement between the Presidency and Jacob Zuma, to cover the legal costs incurred by him for his criminal prosecution be reviewed, declared invalid and set aside.

We have also requested that the court order that the R15.3 million already spent on past criminal and civil proceedings, be refunded.

The DA welcomed the President’s decision to abide by this upcoming decision of the Court as well as the previous commitment that the State would no longer pay Mr Zuma’s legal costs, which has now seemingly been reversed.

President Ramaphosa’s decision may pave the way for Mr Zuma to file an application to review the decision of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute him. Therefore, these costs could escalate alarmingly at precisely the time when 9.5 South Africans are unemployed.

Mr Zuma has repeatedly abused court processes over the last ten years by launching civil proceedings and opposing applications with the clear intention of avoiding or significantly delaying the criminal prosecution against him.

The reason he did this is that he knew full well that the State, and therefore the people of South Africa, would pay for his legal fees.

Mr Zuma should not be entitled to any further financial support from the government and the people of South Africa.

The DA is, therefore, considering an application to interdict the State from paying any further costs related to Mr Zuma’s legal fees in this matter as he has already cost the people of South Africa dearly and unjustifiably.

However, we do not wish to litigate needlessly and have therefore requested that President Ramaphosa reconsiders his decision to continue to pay for Mr Zuma’s legal costs both in the best interests of all South Africans and so that justice will be allowed to prevail.

DA extends condolences to the family of ANC MP, Sbusiso Radebe

The DA is deeply saddened by the passing of ANC MP Sbusiso Radebe, who tragically passed away yesterday as a result of injuries sustained during an alleged robbery.

Radebe will be lovingly remembered by his family, friends and the ANC as a servant of the people who worked hard to improve the lives of South Africans.

The DA extends its deepest condolences to the ANC caucus as well as the friends, family and community of Sbusiso Radebe.

May his soul rest in peace. Lalani ngenxeba bantu bakwa-Radebe.

DA-led Tshwane leads in job-creation

The following remarks were delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, during a visit to the Ga-Rankuwa Arts and Crafts Centre in Tshwane today. The Leader was joined by DA Leader in Gauteng, John Moodey, and the Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga. Please find photographs of the visit attached here, here and here

Today I visited the Ga-Rankuwa Arts and Crafts Centre, a model for expanding opportunities to those left out of the economy.

The programme that I visited today is a good example of why under a DA-led government, the economy grows faster, unemployment is lower, and more and more entrepreneurs have the confidence to start their small businesses. Where we govern, more people have work, and more people have hope of finding work. This is the DA difference that voters can expect in a DA-governed Gauteng.

The flagship project at the centre is the FabLab. The DA-led coalition government in Tshwane, led by Mayor Solly Msimanga, has helped design, manage and fund the FabLab, and has even provided the facilities at Ga-Rankuwa free of charge.

And since taking over the City in 2016, our coalition government has pioneered a Youth Innovation Challenge and a “Hackathon” which, like the FabLab programme, is another opportunity for young entrepreneurs to get the support and they chance they need to thrive. The Hackathon gives young people with innovative service delivery solutions a chance to work with the Mayor in tackling some of the biggest problems in the City.

The primary training that the learners are offered by the programme is run by the City of Tshwane in partnership with other agencies. This programme’s main objective is to work with schools to give these learners access to entrepreneurship, technology and innovation training.  The majority of the youth that the FabLab programme works with are as young as grade 9 to 11 learners and all are from poor communities and backgrounds.

And their use of technology is even targeted at finding solutions to service delivery problems. So it was exciting to learn that there are already more than 250 young entrepreneurs who have benefitted from FabLab and are now using tech to help services get to the people.

This programme is only a glimpse into the DA-led administration’s commitment to small businesses in Tshwane. Since taking office in 2016, the City has spent approximately R3 billion with small business suppliers alone, which is almost triple the amount spent by the previous ANC administration.

We must never stop trying to build a South Africa where no one is left behind. And it is SMME programmes like those run at Ga-Rankuwa Arts and Crafts Centre that will continue to be a shining example of previously disadvantaged communities receiving redress and job opportunities being created for young South Africans.