Joint statement by opposition parties represented in Parliament

The following parties were represented in the meeting:

Democratic Alliance (DA)
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP)
United Democratic Movement (UDM)
National Freedom Party (NFP)
African Transformation Movement (ATM)
Congress Of the People COPE
Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC)

Today the opposition parties represented in Parliament met – as agreed to in the last meeting of the 3rd of August 2022.

The purpose of these engagements is to strengthen the arm of Parliament in holding the executive to account and representing the people of South Africa.

It is important to stress that despite parties being independent, there’s concensus on the issues and broader strategy to hold the executive including President Ramaphosa accountable.

The purpose of these engagements is strictly to ensure convergence so that parliamentary processes are used optimally to hold the President and the executive to account, especially in the context of a governing party that often abuses its majority to evade accountability.

The meeting decided that a joint press conference will be held by the opposition parties next week on Wednesday, the 17th of August. Details about venue and time will be shared in due course.

The purpose of this media briefing is for the opposition parties to take the country into its confidence and announce areas of agreement and a programme of action to achieve the desired objectives.

The business of Parliament is the business of the people of South Africa. It is therefore important that the developments in the institution are explained to the people who elected us to serve them in the national legislature.

SASCOC must reward Commonwealth Games medallists

The DA calls on the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, to ensure that the South African Commonwealth Games medallists are rewarded with bonuses.

South Africa netted 27 medals at the Games – 7 gold, 9 silver and 11 bronze – and our athletes deserve to be rewarded accordingly.

It is unacceptable that athletes representing their country on an international stage do so often without proper support from government. Bonuses for athletes should be finalised before competitions take place, and not come as a hasty afterthought when they do well. All sporting codes deserve to be equally recognised, incentivised and developed.

South Africa’s ninth place is a tremendous achievement considering the obstacles athletes in this country have to overcome. The ANC government and SASCOC do not properly support athletes – whether through training or financial compensation. At every turn, sports men and women have an uphill battle for investment into their sporting careers, yet they compete against sports people whose countries are fully invested in their success.

There is also a continued failure to invest in grass root development of sports.

South African athletes deserve a Committee and Department that are as professional as they are.

DA launches Heritage Day Poetry Competition

To commemorate Heritage Day on 24 September this year, the DA has decided to hold a poetry competition.

We are inviting all South Africans in the age groups 6 to 13 years and 14 to 18 years to participate by submitting a poem on “What I love about South Africa”.

We are constantly bombarded with negative news and it becomes so easy for us to forget the good things about South Africa. It is exactly for this reason that the DA is doing something different this Heritage Day by celebrating our unique country.

There are great cash prizes to be won in each of the two categories. First place winners will receive R2000, second place winners will receive R1000 and third place winners will receive R500. The poems of all the winners will also be posted on the DA’s website and all social media pages.

Winning poems will be announced on Heritage day and poems can be written in any of the 11 official languages.

There is no prescribed length and we encourage participants to be as creative as possible.

The entries will close on Sunday 11 September at midnight.

Poems can be submitted on the DA’s website at:

DA refers Bheki ‘lucky to not be raped’ Cele to Parliament for investigation

The DA remains appalled and disgusted at Minister Bheki Cele’s “lucky to not be raped” sentiment, which demonstrates how deeply unsuitable he is to be Police Minister.

Worse still, over 7 days later, neither Cele has apologised nor has President Ramaphosa reprimanded the loose-lipped Minister.

We believe that Cele’s “lucky to not be raped” sentiment is absolutely unacceptable, and dangerous. It perpetuates a culture of blaming or blame-sharing female rape victims, and implies there is some sort of gratitude missing among those women who escape South Africa’s out of control rape pandemic.

The DA believes that it is so antithetical to his oath, as a member of Parliament, so egregious a pronouncement as minister and so damaging a sentiment for society, that it warrants a Parliamentary Investigation by the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests. We believe that the Registrar of Members’ Interests should refer Minister Cele for investigation for breach of his oath and breach of the codes which are binding on him. See our letter to the Registrar here.

Once more we give President Ramaphosa the opportunity to condemn and chastise Minister Cele, and better yet, to fire him once and for all so that the SAPS can be rescued from his failing hands.

More than 30 000 South Africans have already signed the DA’s petition to call for just that.

For every woman that is killed and raped, it is on you, Mr President!

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered by Siviwe Gwarube MP, following a march to the Phakamile Mabija Police Station in Kimberley. Find attached soundbite, handed over memorandum here and pictures here, here and here.

It has been 66 years since South African women marched to the Union Buildings against the Apartheid pass laws.

We pay tribute to those women who put their differences aside and fought bravely against an oppressive regime.

Sibamba ngazo zozibini kubo.

Balikhokele idabi lamakhosikazi.

Theirs was a fight for equality and against oppression.

In 2022, South African women have a different fight on their hands.

A war has been declared against the women of this country.

The war rages on; our bodies used as battle fields.

While the rest of the world is grappling with issues of gender representation or equal pay, we are stuck in a hell-loop, begging for our lives to be spared.

Women’s Day is not a Gender-Based Violence and Feminicide (GBVF) awareness day.

It is an opportunity to take stock of how far we have come and how much further we have to go to achieve true gender equality.

But how can we?

When we have a Police Minister in Bheki Cele who considers a woman lucky to have escaped being gang-raped?

A leader in government who tells people to shut up when they raise their concerns about safety in our communities;

A Minister who has presided over the DNA backlogs crisis denying justice to hundreds and thousands of victims of rape, murder and violent crimes.

To date there are over 150 000 DNA samples yet to be processed.

That means even the cases that are reported to the police are not being solved because these samples are stuck in the system.

Can you imagine being let down like this by your last line of defense as a citizen?

Why should we beg for justice?

Is it because ANC ministers do not have to worry about their safety on a daily basis?

Because they are protected by the police 24/7, while millions of women in this country are living in a war zone?

Government spends R8 million to protect each politician.

Yet police stations in communities like this only have the bare minimum.

It is no wonder that this is not a priority for them.

It is not their lived reality.

Theirs is a life of armed police, high rise fences and blue lights.

For millions of women theirs is life of sexual abuse and violence from strangers and family members alike.

A life of consistently looking over your shoulder.

A life that could be cut short and your body disemboweled and shoved into a rubbish bin.

Democrats, this is why we are here today taking a stand and handing over this memorandum.

Over the past couple of years there’s been a sharp increase of violent crimes in the Northern Cape, especially here in Kimberley.

Murder has increased by 20%;

Attempted murder by over 116% – the highest in the country;

Rape has increased by almost 10%

This is a crisis.

Today we are not interested in empty words, commissions and task teams.

Two years ago, President Ramaphosa introduced a GBVF Council claiming to tackle the scourge of violence against women.

To this day, nothing has been done.

I have this message for him:

For every woman that is raped and killed in this country, it is on you, Mr President!

It is on you because you protect a minister who is clearly out of touch and ill-suited for the job.

It is on you because you can fix the broken SAPS; put more boots on the ground and fund crime fighting efforts.

But you do not. Therefore, you are complicit.

If the President and his cabinet are serious about the safety of women in this country, then DNA sample backlogs must be cleared now!

There is nothing to celebrate if women cannot be safe in their homes and in their communities.

That is why the Western Cape Government has the biggest and most comprehensive safety plan in the country – with the largest budget.

Eventually, we want to take policing powers away from national government.

We believe local policing authorities are better at crime prevention and fighting.

And in Parliament the DA introduced a Bill to deal with this very issue of DNA backlogs.

We want to ensure that those who commit these crimes do not become repeat offenders at our expense.

Genoeg is genoeg!

We cannot allow the lives of Uyinene Mrwetyana, Tshegofatso Pule or Nosicelo Mntebeni and many others to have been lost in vain.

ANC chooses to spend R30 million on millionaire managers rather than improve hospital conditions

Please find an attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

Despite the serious concerns raised by the public and various experts and the fact that the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill has yet to be passed through Parliament, the deputy director-general for the Department of Health, Nicholas Crisp, revealed that 44 positions would be advertised for the NHI Scheme in August. Government has approved this travesty at a cost of R30 million, and plans to allocate more resources to in 2023/24 to fund a staff of 120 people.

This is a clear indication that the ANC intends to bulldoze the Bill through Parliament – the Health Department’s track record when it comes to public participation is atrocious. There is every indication that the ANC government yet again intends to ignore revelations from the DA, whistleblowers and the media.

After 27 years in power, the ANC has yet to learn to listen to the people. If the Department has R30 million to spend on salaries for an entity that does not exist yet, why does it not have money to maintain and improve existing public health facilities.

A recent oversight by the DA to Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein revealed shocking conditions. The hospital suffers extreme shortages:

  • It is 70% understaffed despite budget being set aside to hire more staff;
  • There’s a significant lack of access to working computers, telephones and the internet;
  • No new assets have been purchased in the last 5 years – the equipment is outdated or non-functioning;
  • No neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or theatre was built, despite budget allocations 12 years ago;
  • Necessary supplies must be sourced from other hospitals; and
  • The lifts have been broken for 2 years.

It is deplorable that money can be so easily set aside for positions for an entity that does not exist yet, but State hospitals continue to wallow in horrific conditions without any help or oversight from government.

The sad truth is that many hospitals are in the same state with the ANC health officials doing nothing to make the working conditions more bearable for doctors and nurses, let alone the patients whose lives are on the line.

All South Africans deserve quality health care, and the DA supports universal health care in principle. But unless the ANC government fixes and maintains the current health care system, the NHI will be nothing but a cash cow for corrupt cadres. If the ANC truly cared about South Africans, it would not be forcing through the NHI Bill, which will only further ravage the country’s coffers.

Politicians who incite xenophobic violence – including attacks on the media and civil society – must be condemned by all

The DA strongly condemns the recent xenophobic incitement and attacks by politicians from several parties – attacks which have now also been directed at the media and civil society. Political leaders playing cheap populist politics by scapegoating foreigners for our country’s ills have misjudged the people of this country. As we saw during the riots and looting of last July, South Africans abhor violence and unrest.

The behaviour of ActionSA’s Johannesburg MMC for Economic Development, Nkululeko Mbundu, as well as ActionSA’s leader, Herman Mashaba, for springing to his defense – must be condemned in the strongest terms. Mbundu’s social media comments directed at the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) in the wake of a court order reversing his eviction of 600 informal traders were nothing less than an incitement to violence, and the NGO had to subsequently shut its office down following death threats to their lawyers and threats to burn down their offices.

Similarly, the death threats made to a Sunday Times journalist, along with threats to burn down the publication’s offices in the wake of a piece on gender-based violence in which the journalist warned against the scapegoating of foreigners by politicians, must be condemned in the strongest terms. There can never be any tolerance for this kind of attack on our media.

It is unthinkable that in our modern democracy with its progressive, human rights-based constitution, there can be room for xenophobic politicians looking to score quick wins off violence and hatred. And while ActionSA’s leaders have long been at the forefront of this incitement campaign, they are by no means alone. Several ANC leaders, including Bheki Cele, David Makhura and Pule Mabe, have also taken this route, openly declaring war on foreigners and disingenuously grouping “zama-zamas”, “rapists” and “foreigners” in the same phrasing in order to paint all foreign nationals with the brush of criminality.

Politicians who exploit the frustrations of marginalised South Africans by directing their anger at foreign nationals will carry the blood of these foreigners on their hands when these incitements find fertile soil.

This latest development, where the attacks have now widened to also target members of civil society and the media for speaking out against xenophobia, is extremely worrying. The DA condemns this behaviour, and we call on all politicians and other high profile South Africans to use their public platforms responsibly. Our country’s dire economy and runaway unemployment have already created a powder keg of desperation in our society, and we cannot afford to add any sparks to this volatile situation.

I am currently in Kenya to observe their elections, and leaders from several African countries – including Zimbabwe – have approached me to express their concern over recent increases in these

incitements and attacks. Memories of the 2008 and 2015 xenophobic violence are still fresh across our continent, and we dare not repeat those terrible chapters. This is a time for calm heads to prevail and for us all to focus on the real cause of our country’s high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality: the failing ANC national government.

Eskom skills crisis – DA calls for moratorium on the BBBEE requirement on Eskom’s hiring decisions

Please find attached a soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

“The stubborn insistence by Eskom, especially its head of Human Resources, Elsie Pule, that the entity rigidly enforces BBBEE hiring practices in the face of a skills shortage is corporate sabotage which places South Africa at significant economic risk”, says DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

Following media revelations that Eskom continues to bleed highly skilled engineers and technicians, made worse by race based considerations that are making it very challenging to rehire experienced staff, the DA is calling on the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to urgently implement a moratorium on the BBBEE requirement on Eskom’s hiring decisions.

It is simply a no brainer that, faced with a national electricity crisis, Eskom should be hiring the best skilled people irrespective of race to fix broken generation units, effect maintenance and ensure that costly mistakes by poorly experienced employees do not continue to happen – as they have.

In 2021, a procedural error at Medupi power station resulted in the explosion of Unit 4 which caused extensive damage to the generator. At the time of the incident, Eskom placed the blame on a deviation from procedure by employees who were tasked with carrying out a routine technical process on the generator. Such costly errors reveal the dangerous consequences of Eskom’s skills hemorrhage and its insistence on race based hiring practices, which creates unnecessary barriers for experienced individuals to offer their services.

Failure by Gordhan and Eskom to remove the regressive requirement in hiring engineers and technicians, would negate the energy emergency plan that was announced by the President and worsen underperformance of Eskom plants.

Success in securing the amount of power made available by Eskom’s fleet of power plants to meet the minimum demands by consumers will continue to be a pipe dream until all red tape is removed to enable the seamless on boarding of critical skills across Eskom’s generation plants.

For Ramaphosa’s energy plan to work, people who hide behind regressive ANC policies need to get out of the way and let experts fix Eskom’s struggling power plants, generate adequate electricity to meet the economy’s needs and end loadshedding.

Nelson Mandela Bay set to lose millions in grant funding

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Cllr Retief Odendaal.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality runs the risk of forfeiting hundreds of millions of rand to National Treasury due to an inability to spend its budget.

Over the last two years the Metro was forced to surrender R500 million to National Treasury.

Capital expenditure for the 2021/22 financial year stood at only 67%. The Metro only managed to spend R1,046 billion of its R1,562 billion capital budget.

During the 2020/21 financial year the Metro forfeited R319,6 million in grant funding. In 2019/20 R188 million in grant funding was forfeited to National Treasury.

NMB now runs the risk of once again forfeiting hundreds of millions of rand as we have incurred record underspending of conditional grant funding in the past financial year.

When comparing this to capital expenditure during the financial years 2016/17 (92,2%) and 2017/18 (98,42%) , it becomes clear that the current ANC-led administration has no control over the finances of the Metro.

During the two stipulated years NMB achieved some of the highest conditional grant funding spent in the country and was rewarded additional Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG) funding by National Treasury to the amount of R378,8 million.

Poor project management as well as poor financial controls are to blame for the record underspending that we have seen during the past year.

Adding to these financial woes, the collection rate has dropped to 75,67%. If not addressed immediately, the poor collection rate may lead to cashflow problems in future financial years.

The DA and its coalition partners will have a plan to get Nelson Mandela Bay working again.

Our plan to ensure that we timeously spend capital budget would include:

  1. Capacitating Supply Chain Management.
  2. Dual funding model for all large capital works projects.
  3. Credible procurement plans for all capital works projects.
  4. Weekly expenditure reporting to directorates.
  5. Weekly cash flow reporting to directorates.

Let’s take our future in our hands and get Nelson Mandela Bay working again.

Medical positions now included on new Critical Skills List after DA pressure

The DA welcomes Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s decision to accept the DA’s recommendations from earlier this year to include various professions of medical practitioners on the newly gazetted Critical Skills List.

The DA sent an advisory note in April this year, warning Minsiter Motsoaledi of the implications of the deficiencies in critical positions.

The DA has also constantly put pressure on Government to re-include these positions by posing questions to the Minister of Health as to what the reasons were for omitting these positions from the previous Critical Skills List. Parliamentary questions exposed a shortage of 27 000 critical medical positions that were vacant.

With the inclusion of critical medical positions, the following positions are now rightfully declared as critical:

  • Dentists – specialising in community dentistry, maxillofacial and oral pathology and maxillofacial and oral surgery, among others;
  • Medical practitioners – specialising in anaesthesiology, cardiothoracic surgery, clinical pharmacology and public health, and paediatrics, among others;
  • Pharmacist – including industrial pharmaceuticals, among others;
  • Registered Nurses – including critical care nurses, midwives, and childcare nurses, among others.

It is no secret that the healthcare sector, especially the public sector, is suffering from an immense shortage of skilled doctors and nurses.

This coupled with the fact that South Africa is not able to train sufficient doctors and nurses to fill the needs of the country, will surely give doctors and nurses around the country a sigh of relief.

Currently, the public healthcare system displaces about 800 intern doctors each year due to maladministration of funding.

Ideally, there should be no need to get outside assistance with filling critical positions when there are so many intern and community service doctors waiting to be placed, however, this is sadly not the case as it is no secret that the health department constantly mishandles its funding.

By opening up the health sector to foreign, skilled doctors and nurses, it will provide much relief to the short-term future of the health sector in South Africa given the current shortage of qualified doctors and nurses, with the rural areas and the poor benefitting the most.

The DA will now be looking to provide actual solutions to assist the medical community, especially with regards to training interns and community service doctors.