Uyinene Mrwetyana: Three life sentences for Luyanda Botha a victory in the fight against GBV

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes and welcomes the ruling by the Western Cape High Court sentencing Luyanda Botha to three life terms in prison for raping and killing Uyinene Mrwetyana.

We wish Uyinene’s family and loved ones strength during this time. Botha’s sentencing will not bring her back or take away the trauma they have suffered but the DA hopes that it will at least bring some level of justice and closure.

The DA believes that Botha’s sentencing is justice served and we trust that it will send a strong message, that committing heinous crimes against South African women and children is an intolerable offence which deserves nothing less than the strongest possible sentence.

Uyinene’s tragic death was a watershed moment for our nation and a stark reminder that South Africa still has a long way to go to address the scourge of Gender-Based Violence.

For far too long, South African women and children have been living under perpetual siege as predators of vile acts of sexual assault and violence have terrorized communities unabated.

South African women have suffered far too long, and they can no longer continue to suffer in silence due to the inaction of a callous Government. The DA will continue to fight for the rights and safety of women and children in our country.

Ramaphosa-administration determined to impose Bathabile Dlamini on the nation, despite public outcry   

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken note of the illogical and frankly ridiculous decision on the part of Human Settlements Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, to appoint Bathabile Dlamini to the position of Chairperson of the Social Housing Regulatory Authority’s (SHRA) interim board.

It is completely illogical that anyone would see Dlamini fit to hold any sort of public office when her record is riddled with ineptitude, scandal, alleged corruption and callousness related to the interests of the poor and vulnerable.

The Ramaphosa-administration is not serious about the interests of South Africans. Why else would they continue to relentlessly impose Bathabile Dlamini on the people of South Africa despite the continued uproar over her holding public office? The New Dawn is indeed an era of awarding bad behavior and incompetence.

The Constitutional Court in the past indicated that Dlamini’s conduct during the social grants debacle in 2017 was reckless and grossly negligent. Furthermore, an inquiry into her conduct revealed that Dlamini had misled the Court to protect herself from the consequences of her behaviour.

Indeed, Dlamini has a host of cases she must answer for, including:

  • The perjury charges brought against her at the Johannesburg Central Police Station on 3 October 2018;
  • Criminal charges at the Cape Town Central Police Station after she claimed that she was aware of wives of ANC members who were allegedly involved in dubious relationships with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS); and
  • A Constitutional Court judgment requested the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) consider prosecuting Dlamini for lying under oath.

First, Dlamini failed to serve the poor and vulnerable during her time at the Department of Social Development. Then she failed to protect our women and children during her time at the Department of Women. Now, she is tasked with overseeing and ensuring that the destitute have dignified access to housing.

The DA will be exploring all our available avenues to oppose Dlamini’s appointment to the SHRA’s interim board.

DA will not make any submissions on Draft Section 25 Amendment Bill

Today marks the deadline for political parties to hand in their submissions on the Draft Section 25 Amendment Bill. The Democratic Alliance (DA) can confirm that the Party has taken the decision to not make any submissions on the Draft Bill as we strongly believe that Section 25 of the Constitution should not be amended.

We will however carefully and thoroughly study all the submissions made by other political parties, in line with our long-held position on advancing land reform that does not entail land expropriation without compensation.

The Constitution is not and has never been a barrier to land reform. The barriers to land reform have been and continue to be ANC-government corruption, constrained budgets and a lack of political will.

The Constitution in its current form includes legitimate mechanisms for land redistribution, including expropriation without compensation, based on just and equitable compensation.

For this reason, the DA will not be making any submissions to the Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution, as we believe that the amendment of the Constitution for the purposes of implementing expropriation without compensation will undermine the core values of our Constitution, and amounts to nothing more than confiscation.

The DA unequivocally supports a legal and constitutionally outlined processes for land reform. And such a process is possible without compromising our hard-fought Constitution and should be expedited.

The following sections from page 72 of the final report by the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture clearly states that amending the Constitution to allow for land expropriation is in and of itself unconstitutional, and frankly unnecessary:

  • Without a constitutional amendment to section 25, the State is currently able and within its powers to expropriate land for land reform purposes, based on just and equitable compensation.”
  • If, however, the purpose of the amendment is to implement expropriation without compensation wholescale and without conditions, then such a motion would offend section 1 of the Constitution and would in effect, collapse the core underlying values of our Constitution.

If land reform is not approached carefully, the consequences will be disastrous. The DA will continue to unashamedly fight to protect our Constitution and individual property rights, while ensuring land ownership for more South Africans.

Top-heavy SAPS spends almost R1bn per year on salaries for senior management

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that the South African Police Services (SAPS) spends around R977 899 971 per year on salaries for major generals and brigadiers. This information was revealed in a reply to a DA parliamentary question.

It is staggering that R1 billion is being spent on top management at a time when there is a critical shortage of front line police officers at ground level to do the actual work of fighting and investigating crime. Whilst these top cops were drawing their millions, crime continued to spiral out of control and 76% of police stations across the country did not have a single rape kit in stock.

SAPS’ priorities are evidently skewed. It is ludicrous that SAPS’ top-heavy structure have been allowed to collects an average annual salary of R1.5 million, in light of the severely under-capacitated and under-resourced police service.

This average annual salary of R1.5 million, stands in stark contrast with the average annual salaries of front line officers, which varies between R54 000 for a Trainee Constable, R243 260 for a Constable, R300 026 for a Sergeant and 391 007 for a Warrant-Officer.

The police’s top management consists of over 170 major generals and 654 brigadiers who, judging by the latest crime stats, do very little in combating crime.

According to the National Police Commissioner, General Kehla Sithole, SAPS is 64 000 police officers short of meeting the United Nations police to citizen ratio of 1:220.  In South Africa the ratio is 1:380. The lack of visible policing has had a significant impact on safety and security and in preventing violent crimes.

SAPS must immediately reduce its top heavy structure and redirect funding to the frontlines of policing. These front line officers are the true vanguard that can clamp down on the scourge of crime in our communities.

While we have a plethora of high rankings official in cushioned offices at SAPS’ head office, the safety of South African citizens remains a huge concern.

The DA believes that SAPS’ top-heavy structure must be reduced in order to capacitate our under resourced police service on the front line.

The DA will continue to fight for an honest and professional police service that is well trained and resourced to tackle crime on the ground, not from behind a desk.

Government pays R2.6 billion bonus to millionaire managers

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can today reveal that, in the 2018/19 financial year, national and provincial governments spent R2.6 billion of public money on bonuses for cadres and millionaire managers. This includes R628 million spent by the national government, and R1.97 billion spent by provinces. These bonuses are paid to cadres in management positions on top of their average annual salary of R1.4 million per year.

In a clear demonstration that the government rewards incompetence and corruption, officials working in dozens of government departments that received adverse audit outcomes still got hundreds of millions of Rands in bonuses. The collapsed ANC-led provincial governments of Gauteng (R848 million), Limpopo (R396 million), and Mpumalanga (R244 million) paid the highest bonuses to cadres despite consistently poor audit outcomes.

In the national government, the department of water and sanitation paid its cadres R101 million in bonuses for destroying South Africa’s water infrastructure and causing taps to run dry across the country. Although the department of rural development and land reform continues to undermine property rights by refusing to turn emerging farmers into owners, its managers got R41 million in bonuses. And while the government could not find any money to support farmers in the midst of a crippling drought, the national agriculture department paid R27 million in bonuses to millionaire managers.

While it spends billions on cadres, in his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, the minister of finance announced that the government has cut R50 million from cervical cancer treatment and R40 million from eradicating pit latrines. This is the immoral choice the ANC continues to make: protecting millionaire cadres while cutting basic services from our most vulnerable citizens.

During his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, the finance minister told us that the government needs to save at least R150 billion over the next three years to prevent outright economic collapse. If the government is at all serious about choosing citizens over cadres, it would immediately end all bonus payments to millionaire managers.

The DA also reiterates our call that the government must immediately freeze wages for all managers and administrators for three years, and reduce the number of millionaire managers by a third. This would immediately save R168 billion, freeing up money to prevent fiscal collapse and protect basic services from the limitless greed of ANC cadres.

“Improving operating performance, declining debt” Moody’s rates DA-led Tshwane

The Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Cllr Stevens Mokgalapa, is pleased the ratings affirmation of a stable (Ba1) outlook for the City’s credit profile provided by Moody’s this week.

Moody’s has reaffirmed that the City’s (Ba1/Not Prime (NP) stable) reflects “improving operating performance, declining debt and steadily rising liquidity”.

This is a vote of confidence in the DA-led administration’s focus of financial stability and accelerated service delivery.

This positive outlook for the City’s short and long term performance is an encouragement for the administration to continue to uphold the highest standards of efficient and sustainable solutions for clean governance.

Indeed there’s room for improvement [and improved ratings] with specific reference to improving liquidity and continued strong operating performance.

Mayor Mokgalapa takes this opportunity to hail the hard work and dedication of the City’s leadership that keeps the administration on a positive growth trajectory.

SAA being held to ransom by unions

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes that South African Airways (SAA) has grounded all its domestic and international flights for the next few days, following threats of industrial action from unions. The South African Cabin Crew Association and National Union of Metal Workers have stated that they will initiate a strike following SAA’s revelation that it may have to retrench workers as part of its turnaround strategy. SAA is playing into the hands of opportunistic unions as they continue to hold the national carrier to ransom.

The defunct and cash-strapped SAA will undoubtedly remain on a collision course if its leadership structures allow unions to drive the entity deeper into the ground with these actions. Furthermore, by bowing to industrial threats, SAA loses all trust from consumers who make this carrier their airline of choice. Even more harrowing is the fact that certain foreign states will not allow SAA to continue flying into their airspaces if it displays continued degrees of uncertain viability.

Efforts by new SAA management and directors to turn around the fraught state-owned entity (SOE) have not amounted to anything. Reports today indicate that the SOE will be losing over R50 million per day due to the catastrophic decision to ground its flights in anticipation of this strike action. This loss in revenue is compounded by the fact that the airline is already technically insolvent, without sufficient capital to fund its daily operations. It is currently operational solely due to continued state handouts, much like Eskom. The DA thus reiterates its calls for Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to place SAA under business rescue and to immediately shutdown SA Express.

Furthermore, by placing SAA under business rescue, the entity will be somewhat able to mitigate the extensive impact of its planned job cuts, as announced earlier this week. As it stands, SAA plans to cut 944 jobs, which translates to almost a fifth of its workforce in order to bring its runaway costs under control.

The airline has been a massive financial drain on the fiscus and the only solution beyond business rescue would be the partial or full privatisation of the SOE. This would prevent SAA from having any further negative impact on South Africa’s economy. These decisions must be accompanied by strict reforms which will also prevent unions from holding the airline, and to an extent, South Africa’s economy, to ransom.

Why is the ANC Government silent as taps run dry?

The following speech will be delivered in Parliament’s Debate on South Africa’s deepening water crisis today

Speaker,

On 17 October this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged Southern African Development Community (SADC) member States to implement comprehensive multi-year response plans to tackle the recurrent droughts and food insecurity in order to boost agricultural production. This was at the 39th SADC Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government.

While this sentiment is welcomed, I need to ask the President, where is South Africa’s drought plan?

Last year, on 13 February 2018, our country was classified as a national drought disaster.

This reclassification of drought as a national disaster designated the primary responsibility for the coordination and management of the disaster to the National Executive, who must act in close cooperation with the other spheres of government to deal with the disaster and its consequences.

Minister Zweli Mkhize, at that time, said that three provinces including Western Cape, some parts of the Northern Cape and Eastern Cape are extremely affected, and are not yet showing comforting signs of improvement.

That was 18 months ago.

Die situasie het intussen vererger en steeds is die ANC regering “missing in action”. Of nee, die Adjunk President het oor die Noord-Kaap gevlieg en gese die droogte is baie erg en kort onmiddelike reaksie.

Droogtes is ‘n normale reëlmatige verskynsel van ons klimaat. Ons weet almal dat Suid-Afrika ‘n droë land is en dat klimaatsverandering ons negatief beïnvloed.

Klimaatsverandering kan seker nie as ‘n ramp gesien word nie maar die uitwerking hiervan met ondergemiddelde reënval oor langer as ses jaar sowel as gepaardgaande rekordhoë temperature is ‘n huidige werklikheid en het ons land se boere op hul knieë gedwing.

Water is lewe en sonder water is daar dood. Geen mens, dier of plant kan oorleef as daar nie water is. Mense in dorpe en stede word direk geraak wanneer daar nie meer ‘n druppel water uit hul krane kom. Duisende mense in plattelandse gebiede drink egter nog water uit strome en riviere. Wanneer hierdie water opdroog raak die oorlewingstryd onmenslik.

The crippling effect on our agricultural sector is devastating. Not only do they have no income during this time but it cost billions to keep animals alive.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to decide which animals you will feed and which once you will leave to die?

This is a choice that our farmers make on a daily basis, most of them just don’t have the funds to keep on buying feed anymore.

And it is not only our livestock farmers that are affected, grain and crop farmers struggled trough below rainfall years during 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019. It has placed many farmers in massive debt and they cannot get further credit from the banks. The agricultural debt is growing yearly and is currently around R190 billion.

We would like to thank the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, who has been instrumental in ensuring drought support to farmers and farmworkers of the Western Cape over the past 3 years. Not only is funding provided to buy feed and help keep workers employed, much needed funding is also going into support for counselling. We have seen farmers committing suicide during this time and emotional support is welcomed.

We also recognise the efforts of the Eastern Cape who has now gazetted drought in the province.

Thanks must also go out to all the groups who raise funds to assist with fodder and drilling of boreholes. This has been ongoing over the past four years and has kept many farmers and families alive.

But where is our National Government? And where is our National Drought Plan?
The Democratic Alliance would like to repeat our call that the drought be declared a national disaster in order to ensure improvement of planning, management and response across various organs of state as well as sectoral roleplayers.

This drought affects more than one province and we cannot leave it up to provincial
governments to deal with this alone.

We urge Minister Thoko Didiza to convene an urgent agricultural MINMEC in order to discuss the impact of the drought and to shift funds from AgriParks towards drought relief. This could make at least R1 billion immediately available.

Minister Tito Mboweni, we call on you, to look at legislation regulating our banking sector in order to assist with soft loan repayments during such long disaster periods.

We support the call by AgriSA to look at a way of getting agricultural insurance that could assist during these periods.

But most of all, we call on the ANC government to find the political will to support farmers, black and white, during these difficult times.

Government should learn from DA-led Cape Town to avoid a nationwide Day Zero

The following speech will be delivered in Parliament’s Debate on South Africa’s deepening water crisis today.

Chairperson,

The ANC National Governemt must wake up!

South Africa is on the verge of a national water disaster, with drought and poor infrastructure maintenance, corruption and the lack of political will to act swiftly to prevent this disaster from worsening.

In die afgelope paar maande het krane leeg geloop in meeste provinsies reg oor die land.

Scarce fresh water is decreasing in quality because of an increase in pollution of our rivers and streams. And the culprits! – Wastewater treatment works run by dysfunctional and corrupt municipalities with a license to kill the environment.

En wat doen die ANC regering hieroor. ABSOLUUT NIKS!!

Access to a secure, safe and sufficient source of fresh water is a fundamental requirement for the survival, well-being and socio-economic development of all humanity. Yet Government continues to act as if fresh water is an everlasting resource. Well It’s not!

National Government is the custodian of water resources on behalf of South Africans and Government acts through the Minister to fulfil this Constitutional mandate.

As die Minister en die Departement vir Water en Sanitasie nie gaan optree om besoedelaars te stop om ons water bronne te besoedel nie, is die Minister net so skuldig as diegene wat ons water bronne besoedel.

Chairperson, it’s common knowledge that South Africa is a water scares country and therefore drought will play a crucial role in water supply.

Despite the drought, the lack of infrastructure maintenance and the failure of infrastructure is a major contributor to our water crisis.

We need to use less water.

South Africans must become water wise and Government must create public awareness of the reality of the effect of climate change.

The delay of six years on the Lesotho Highlands scheme Phase 2, is a classic example of how political interference harmed our water projects.

Phase 2 was planned to be completed this year.

Chairperson, the completion date has now moved to 2026 costing millions more to complete.

While Nomvula Mokonyane was corrupting water, stopping the Clanwilliam Dam project and not assisting Cape Town with its water crisis, she also placed the rest of the country in danger of running dry.

Minister Nkwinti moes haar gemors kom reg maak en het opdrag gegee dat die konstruksie van die Clanwilliamdam moet voort gaan, wat die projek met meer as 2 jaar vertraag het.

The City of Cape Town learnt – the hard way- that prevention is better than cure. The question is did the ANC Government learn anything from this? It seems nothing at all.

While Cape Town – and the greater Western Cape managed to narrow down water usage to prevent a disaster, danger still looms for the rest of South Africa reaching Day Zero.

Chairperson, the Minister need to implement a water demand management strategy for municipalities

• involving water meter replacement;
• pressure management;
• leak detection; and
• free plumbing repairs for indigent households

The country’s non-revenue water loss average at 41% with individual municipalities as high as 70%. Nonrevenue water losses are costing us more than R9.9 billion per year. This after spending R2.9 billion on the corrupt War on Leaks Programme, and in the process not saving any water.

Water infrastructure projects are also at risk with municipalities owing DWS and water boards R15.2 billion.

Stad Kaapstad het hul water verliese afgebring na 16% en spaar miljoene liters water elke dag.

Voorsitter, hierdie is n goeie DA storie om te vertel.

The ANC National Government is failing to respond to this water disaster all around the country.

Dit is baie duidelik dat die ANC regering die bal laat val het om hul grondwetlike mandaat na te kom.

Chairperson, in conclusion:

The ANC National Government is failing South Africa with millions of people struggling without water, not just because of drought, but because of poor infrastructure, corruption and the mismanagement of our water resources.

ANC! – julle moet wakker word!

Suid Afrika sal nie Dag Zero oorleef nie.

Government cost-cutting should begin with the National Empowerment Fund’s R6 million CEO

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that once again, National Empowerment Fund (NEF) CEO, Philisiwe Mthethwa is most likely South Africa’s highest paid civil servant with a combined salary package of more than R6 million for the previous financial year. Ms. Mthethwa’s salary is R2 million more than President Cyril Ramaphosa is paid.

Mthethwa has held the title of “Highest Paid Civil Servant” for a number of years and her package includes a R2 million bonus. Her massive salary is quite shocking given the fact that the NEF has little money to do its work and that the entity does not have much to show for its CEO’s exorbitant salary.

The NEF was set up in 1998 to provide capital funding for black entrepreneurs and while their initial work showed some success after being funded by Government, repeated budget cuts have rendered the entity without funding, except to fund their overpaid executives at a combined total of more than R17 million, all who received bonuses ranging from R580 000 to R1.2 million.

It is becoming blatantly obvious that there is a myriad of Government entities that serve little purpose except to fund the lifestyles of highly paid executives.

The DA believes the objectives of the NEF is best served by being incorporated into the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which there seems to be a universal agreement to. This is something that the Parliamentary Committee for Trade & Industry has discussed for a number of years yet little action has been taken.

The time for talking is over. We cannot spend money to fund the lifestyles of overpaid civil servants at the expense of entrepreneurs who are desperate to scale up their businesses and create jobs.

The DA will seek answers from Trade & Industry Minister, Ebrahim Patel on when the NEF will be incorporated into the IDC so we can start putting the interests of small businesses first.