DA wishes South Africa’s Christian community a blessed Easter

On behalf of the Democratic Alliance, I would like to wish all members of the Christian community a happy and blessed time as they celebrate this important period in the Christian calendar.

Good Friday and Easter Sunday are a time to remember the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ and to celebrate forgiveness and renewal. It is a time for deep reflection about who we are and how we should best conduct our lives. It is also a time to be with our loved ones and celebrate life and hope for a better world.

If you are travelling over the Easter weekend, please be especially careful, as the roads will be very busy.

Happy Easter!

Ramaphosa should not use presidential pardon to buy votes

Reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa is considering pardoning AbaThembu king, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, must be seen for what it is – an attempt to buy votes in light of the ANC’s dwindling prospects at the polls.

The granting of a presidential pardon is a very sensitive matter and must be applied on a rational basis.  The DA will keep a close eye on this matter.

That the President is considering releasing a man convicted of assault, arson, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice at this moment in time smacks of politicking and an abuse of the presidential prerogative for narrow political gain.

Furthermore, any reduction in King Dalindyebo’s sentence should be considered by a court of law and not granted by the President or the Minister of Justice.

The Executive has no power to grant a reduction in a sentence. To do so would be a serious breach of the separation of powers as set out in the Constitution and cannot stand.

Should President Ramaphosa pardon King Dalindyebo (or attempt to reduce his sentence), it would be yet another indication that not much has changed since Zuma left.

SABC is protecting Ramaphosa from debating Maimane

The SABC is misleading the South African public and protecting President Cyril Ramaphosa from having to debate DA Leader Mmusi Maimane on live television.

In a statement, the SABC has “put it on record that it has no plans to host a debate between [Ramaphosa] and [Maimane]” and that it is aware that one of its elections productions The Big Debate “has approached leaders of political parties to participate in a debate”.

We can confirm that Mr. Maimane has indeed received an invite from the producers of The Big Debate, but now it is clear the public broadcaster has bowed to pressure from the ANC to not push ahead with the planned debate.

Its own statement is contradictory and is a smokescreen to protect President Ramaphosa and the ANC. They know he has nothing to offer voters and won’t be able to stand the public humiliation of having to account for a rotten ANC.

We have challenged Ramaphosa to a presidential debate countless times, but he has, like all previous ANC presidents, refused to stand up to public scrutiny. Now, he is getting the SABC to do his bidding and sadly the SABC is allowing its strings to be pulled.

President Ramaphosa fails to declare conflict of interest, Public Protector needs to investigate

Today I viewed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Declaration of Interests for the 2018/19 financial year since his election in February 2018. Once a year, the President is required by the Executive Ethics Code to disclose the details of all his financial interests to the Secretary of Cabinet, Dr Cassius Lubisi.

I can confirm that President Ramaphosa has failed to declare the clear conflict of interest that exists between himself, his son Andile, and the corrupt systems management company Bosasa.

It is our view that President Ramaphosa has misled his own Cabinet and in doing so breached the Executive Ethics Code. I will therefore approach the Public Protector to formally include this omission by the President in her ongoing investigation into what can only be described as insider trading between the Ramaphosas and Bosasa.

Section 2(3)(d) of the Executive Ethics Code is clear that Executive members may not “use their position or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person.” The Public Protector must investigate whether President Ramaphosa has indeed breached this section of the Executive Ethics Code.

The conflict of interest in clear to see. In the lead up to Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as ANC President, Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson gave a R500 000 “donation” to Mr Ramaphosa’s campaign. Once Ramaphosa was elected, his son, Andile, earned at least R2 million rand from Bosasa for “strategic and financial advisory services” – emanating from a contractual agreement the President told Parliament he had seen.

Moreover, one of his first acts as President was to appoint Arthur Fraser as the Director-General of Correctional Services. This allowed a man of with a questionable track record to oversee the adjudication of lucrative tenders in a government department that Bosasa continues to do much work for.

We cannot ignore the fact that Bosasa is a company that has been bribing ANC politicians for the last two decades. Bosasa contracts with the ANC government total over R10 billion. Like Zuma-Gupta, the Ramaphosa-Bosasa relationship follows the standard ANC triangle of corruption: the ANC-in-government gives lucrative tenders to connected cronies who bribe officials, which in return funds the ANC.

There is still much we do not know about this relationship. What we do know is that:

  • Cyril Ramaphosa received a R500 000 ‘donation’ from Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson, towards his ANC Presidency campaign;
  • Andile Ramaphosa had a contractual agreement with Bosasa for ‘advisory services’, where he earned approximately R2 million during his father’s first year as President;
  • President Ramaphosa told Parliament the contract he saw was above board; and
  • Andile Ramaphosa’s business partner attempted to secure a R400 million loan from Eskom at a time his father headed up Eskom’s “turnaround”

From Bosasa to Eskom loan deals, Andile Ramaphosa is unduly benefitting due to the fact that his father happens to be the President. This is no different to former President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, and his dodgy business dealings that were in part facilitated by his father’s political connections.

Their remains a circle of secrecy between the Ramaphosa’s, ANC and Bosasa. It is crucial this secrecy is broken and South Africa is told the full truth about this corruption scandal involving the President.

The DA will punish corruption with 15 years in prison, not reward it with another 5 years in the Presidency. South Africans have the power to bring this change at the ballot boxes on 8 May.

If you want to see change in the Northern Cape, then you have to vote for change.

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a public meeting in Douglas, Northern Cape. 

My fellow South Africans,

We’re only three weeks away from a crucial national and provincial election. What we decide at the polls on 8 May will have a profound effect on the lives of ordinary South Africans, and particularly people in poor communities.

This is our chance to look back at what our government has delivered, and where they have failed. And I don’t just mean over the past five-year term. I mean over the full 25 years that the ANC has been in office.

Twenty-five years is a long time in government. It should be enough time to make big inroads into correcting the wrongs of our past and delivering a better life for our people. But when you look at a community like this one here in the Breipaal area of Douglas, you realise that these past 25 years have been completely wasted. The people here have almost nothing to show for this time. And there are hundreds of other communities just like this across the length and breadth of our country.

This ANC government hasn’t just failed the people through its dead-end, job-killing policies, they have actually stolen people’s future through a quarter of a century of relentless corruption.

Some estimates put the amount stolen by this ANC government since 1994 at a trillion Rand. And this number continues to grow every day. Think of what that money could have done. In today’s terms, R1 trillion could have built more than 8 million houses. R1 trillion could have built more than 22,000 schools. R1 trillion could have paid for the salaries of 205,000 nurses or 222,000 police officers, every year for 25 years.

And they want you to vote for them again?

I have been on the road for many weeks now on my Kasi to Kasi tour, traveling right across South Africa. And what I have seen should be cause for great shame for the ANC government. I have seen poverty and despair in town after town. I have seen countless people who have given up hoping for any kind of improvement in their lives – people who have given up on their dreams.

I have seen people living in conditions that no human should ever have to experience – South Africans who want to do right by their families, but who have been robbed of their dignity by crushing poverty. And they live in these conditions because the ANC government has abandoned them.

One of the worst indignities our people continue to suffer is the system of bucket toilets, along with dangerous pit latrines at our schools. This is why the DA in the Western Cape made it one of their priorities to eradicate all bucket toilets in the province when they took over in 2009. It is also why the DA-led coalition in NMB, under Mayor Athol Trollip, managed to get rid of almost 10,000 bucket toilets in the city before the ANC/EFF/UDM coalition of corruption overthrew them there.

Despite all their promises every year – and particularly ahead of every election – bucket toilets are a common feature in ANC provinces and municipalities. The fact that they cannot and will not tackle this problem is proof that they simply do not care.

Here in this small community of Breipaal alone there are over 800 bucket toilets, and they seldom get emptied on time by the municipality. Not only is this an insult to the dignity of the people here, it is also a dangerous health hazard.

Twelve years ago this local government came and built 180 flush toilets in Breipaal. That was the first and last time they were seen here. And now the ANC is asking people here to vote for them again. Why should they? What have they got to show for the past 25 years of ANC government? Just more broken promises from a party that has long forgotten the plight of our people.

Last weekend I read that President Ramaphosa’s administration is going to spend almost three-quarters of a billion Rand on renovating and upgrading the homes of ministers and other government-owned buildings. This money includes a staggering R5.7 million just to replace the carpets in the wing of the Union Buildings used by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

They can spend R5.7 million on new office carpets, but they can’t find the money to build flushing toilets for your community.

I have also just learnt that last year the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, bought herself two luxury vehicles in the space of three days, so that she could have one in Cape Town and one in Pretoria. These R1.2m and R1.1m Audis were paid for by you and me, despite our President reassuring us that he will rein in spending.

All his reassurances about fighting corruption, cutting waste and cleaning up government have turned out to be lies. His ministers are still spending like there is no end to the money, and not one single ANC minister, MP, Premier or Mayor has been prosecuted and jailed for corruption. This is what you need to remember when you visit your voting station next month.

These elections are the one time, every five years, that you get to have a say in how your country is run. It is your one chance to hold your government accountable for the promises they made and broke. Any democracy is only as strong as the willingness of the people to play their part in demanding more from their government.

If you are unhappy with how you have been treated these past 25 years – if you feel let down and betrayed by those who have been promising “a better life for all” since 1994, then this is your one chance to do something about it.

And you will never have a better opportunity. Right now, the DA and the ANC are neck-and-neck here in the Northern Cape. This means you now have the best chance ever of bringing the ANC under 50% in the province, and replacing it with a DA-led government that would not just eradicate bucket toilets but create work for the people of the Northern Cape.

This is exactly the same position the Western Cape was in ten years ago. And because the people there came out in great numbers to vote for change, the DA was able to put together a coalition government and unseat the ANC. Ten years later, the Western Cape is unrecognisable from the province the ANC left behind. It is now South Africa’s best performing province on every single measure, from clean corruption-free governance and job creation to service delivery, education and healthcare.

This is what the Northern Cape deserves too – a government made up of committed and competent people who truly care about improving people’s lives. If that is the government you want, then it is a DA government you should vote for.

Together we can turn the Northern Cape around, and together we can build one prosperous South Africa for all.

Ace’s IEC complaint against DA an attempt to draw attention away from ANC’s incitement of violence in Alex

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has received a complaint from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in which the ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule denies his party’s involvement in orchestrating violent and anarchic protests in a number of municipalities run by the DA.

It is clear from a range of factors that the ANC is inciting violence in Alex and that they used the genuine concerns of the people to fight their own narrow political battles.

The violent protests were nothing more than an diversion tactic by the ANC to draw attention away from its 25 years of empty promises and corruption.

This complaint to the IEC will not take away from the concrete evidence the DA and the City of Johannesburg has uncovered regarding the ANC’s hand in the violent protests in DA-led municipalities. We have evidence that ANC officials were behind Alexandra shutdown and have subsequently lodged a complaint with the IEC.  This is further strengthened by the fact that Mayor Herman Mashaba has established that the protests, were in part, led by the ANC ward councillor.

The choice before South Africa is clear, vote for a party that shamelessly uses the genuine plight of poor people for its own narrow political benefits, or a party that will hold its leaders accountable regardless of who they are.

Only the DA has a clear vision that will build One South Africa for All.

DA to refer Mayor Mashaba’s latest Alexandra revelations to the IEC

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will supplement the existing Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) complaint against the ANC for the Alex violence with City of Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba’s recent revelations on this matter. It has emerged that the ring-leaders of the Alex shutdown are directors of the Ditlodi Community Development Cooperative which was contracted to do community liaison work for the Alexandra Renewal Project.

Coincidentally, following the cancellation of their contract by the Johannesburg Development Agency in February 2019 the very same directors of Ditlodi Community Development Cooperative are now behind the violent protests in Alexandra.

What is clear is that these protests were born from the self-interests of a politically connected few and were not in the interest of the legitimate concerns of the people of Alexandra. Given their connection to the ANC, we are left to wonder if they were not instructed by the ANC.

These revelations today require an urgent and immediate probe by the IEC. The Commission can no longer remain mum on the ANC’s hand in the violence and disorder which erupted in Alexandra.

It is only a morally bankrupt organisation, such as the ANC, that would hijack the genuine concerns of the poor, who they have neglected for more than 25 years, for their dwindling political prospects.

Unlike the previous corrupt ANC -administration, the current DA-led administration has prioritised the delivery of services to the people of Alex. While the ANC looted billions from the Alexandra Renewal Project, the DA is bringing change to Alexandra and other poor communities.

The DA is committed to building One South Africa for All, and our objective remains uplifting and empowering the people of Alexandra and other poor communities.

Ramaphosa scared of debating Maimane

The ANC has today confirmed that President Ramaphosa is running scared of debating DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane.

Yesterday, the SABC’s Big Debate Show invited both Mmusi Maimane and Cyril Ramaphosa to a televised presidential debate on Sunday 28 April. Mmusi Maimane has welcomed this great initiative and indicated that he was ready and looking forward to going head-to-head with the current President.

Today, the ANC has confirmed that Cyril Ramaphosa is afraid of facing up to the DA Leader. He has again confirmed more empty promises of transparency and accountability, just like his empty promises of acting against corruption.

It has been 25 years since the last presidential debate in South Africa. Since then, the ANC has denied the people of South Africa a proper contest of ideas between its Presidential Candidate and DA Leaders.

Cyril Ramaphosa’s retreat into the safety of Luthuli House confirms that he is no different from his predecessors.  He is simply afraid of accounting for Marikana, Bosasagate and the ANC’s inability to create jobs.

Only Mmusi Maimane and the DA can bring change that builds One South Africa for All and puts a job in every home.

We look forward to bringing this change on 08 May.

Many ANC candidates belong in prison not Parliament

NToday the DA delivered the public’s objections to the ANC party lists to its front door, Luthuli House. Several candidates on the ANC’s list have been implicated in crimes ranging from corruption and maladministration, to sexual assault. As such, the DA created a website called Prison not Parliament, which provided citizens with the opportunity to object to the many rogue politicians on the ANC party lists.

The DA can announce that we received over 500 000 objections from the people of South Africa to the failing ANC’s choice of candidates. These objections are proof that the people of South Africa are sick and tired of the criminals and thugs the ANC elects to represent them.

It is for this very reason; the electorate will vote for change on Election Day because they know that the DA is a party of integrity which fights corruption.

The ANC’s own Integrity Commission reportedly recommended the removal of, among others, Deputy President David Mabuza and Gwede Mantashe. Yet, Ace Magashule recently confirmed that the criminals will remain on their list.

The ANC is beyond repair and redemption. Their lists show that they cannot reform, and Cyril Ramaphosa cannot bring change.

Today we delivered the half a million public objections to the ANC’s candidates, along with orange overalls and handcuffs, to symbolise that people like Mabuza and Mantashe, in our opinion, belong in Prison and not Parliament. These are people who have allegedly stolen money from citizens, while corrupting government and capturing the state.

The ANC cannot be trusted to turn the country around with the same cast of characters who destroyed it in the first place. The DA is committed to building One South Africa for All, where we punish those who steal from the public by ensuring a 15 year jail sentence for anyone implicated in corruption.

The only way the people of South Africa can ensure accountability is by voting for the DA. Only the DA can bring change that ends corruption.

I look forward to debating Cyril Ramaphosa live on SABC 10 days before Election Day

Today I received a formal invite to participate in the Big Debate’s official Presidential Debate to be held on 28 April 2019 and aired live on SABC 2 and various SABC radio stations. I welcome this initiative and look forward to going toe-to-toe with Cyril Ramaphosa to debate our respective plans to deal with our country’s most pressing challenges.

It is high time that we debate real solutions to grow our economy, create jobs, eradicate corruption, ensure quality healthcare, and keep our citizens safe, and this provides an ideal opportunity to demonstrate to South Africans the differences between the policy offers of the DA and the ANC.

Voters are best empowered to make informed decisions when presented with the government track record and credible policy offers of those seeking to lead our nation. Instead of orchestrating and endorsing violent “shutdown” protests, the ANC President ought to come to this debate and present his plans and policies to the electorate.

Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to create a culture of transparency and accountability, and this provides him with a perfect opportunity to break with the past and show South Africans he is different to his predecessor.