DA Congratulates Midvaal Mayor for achieving fifth consecutive clean audit

The Democratic Alliance (DA) congratulates the young and charismatic Executive Mayor of the Midvaal Municipality, Bongani Baloyi for achieving its fifth consecutive clean audit.

The DA-governed Midvaal Municipality is the only municipality in Gauteng to hold onto its clean audit status, while the ANC-led municipalities failed in this regard.

Midvaal has achieved clean audits for the following financial years; 2014/2015, 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.

This indicates the sterling work done by the energetic Mayor, and the DA’s unwavering commitment to good governance, transparency and accountability.

This municipality has the lowest unemployment rate in the province. Taxpayer’s money is used strictly for service delivery and not for personal gain.

We will ensure that we implement the same strategies in 2019 when we govern this province.

The DA is the only party that is committed to eliminating corruption, ensuring good governance and providing better services to Gauteng residents

Parliament must fill SABC vacancies urgently as per President Ramaphosa’s request

Please find attached a soundbite in English by DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP

President Cyril Ramaphosa has today officially written to Parliament indicating that he has accepted the resignations of the four SABC board members and requested that the vacancies be urgently filled.

Yesterday Parliament’s Announcements, Tablings, and Committee (ATC) report stated:

A letter dated 6 December 2018 has been received from the President of the Republic, Mr Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa

(i) informing the National Assembly that he has, in terms of section 15 (2) of the Broadcasting Act, 1999 (Act No. 4 of 1999), accepted the resignations of Ms Khanyisile Kweyama, Mr John Matisonn, Mr Krish Naidoo and Mr Mathatha Tsedu as members of the Board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation Limited; and

(ii) requesting the National Assembly to urgently begin the process of filling the vacancies that have resulted from the resignations, as provided for in the Act.

The matter has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Communications. We have today written to the committee chairperson, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, to speed up the process of filling the new vacancies (along with four previous ones).

The filling of four vacancies that existed due to the resignations of Rachel Kalidass, Victor Rambau, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule and the withdrawal of Nomvuyiso Batyi has already been advertised.

Another advertisement must now be issued with the same deadlines of nominations closing on 21 December 2018, so that the committee can interview for all eight vacancies in January 2019.

There are concerns that the board is currently inquorate and will, therefore, be dissolved, but in terms of the Broadcasting Act of 1999, this is not the case. A board can only be dissolved following a parliamentary inquiry. We, therefore, plead on board members who remain to stay on the board and provide stability to SABC until the vacancies are filled.

It is crucial that the vacancies are urgently filled as stability in the SABC is imperative. This board should be filled with individuals who not only have the requisite experience and qualifications but are also committed to protecting the SABC’s independence and are above reproach. The DA will work hard to ensure that such candidates are recommended to the president for the SABC board.

Alexandra fire extinguished, relief efforts continue

The City of Johannesburg is saddened by the destruction and loss suffered by hundreds of families as a result of a fire that swept through about 500 shacks in Alexandra yesterday, 6 December 2018.

We are, however, relieved to report that the fire has been completely extinguished with no injury or casualty reported at the scene.

At about 4 pm yesterday the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) received an emergency call to assist with a fire in the Greenville informal township on Vincent Tshbalala Road (formerly London Road) in Alexandra. The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and South African Police Services (SAPS) were also in the scene to assist.

On arriving at the scene the firefighters was met with an inferno and immediately began to evacuate the residents in the area to safety.

EMS dispatched three fire engines to the scene to extinguish the blaze but battled to find a fire hydrant in the area. The only nearby fire hydrant could not be fully utilized because of low water pressure. The fire engines ultimately had to replenish the water tank every 20 minutes, making several trips back and forth.

EMS is thankful for the additional water tankers which was provided by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality in assisting the firefighting efforts.

It is most unfortunate that building shacks on top of the fire hydrants is common practice in the area. The remaining available fire hydrants are often vandalized.

The Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Public Safety, Michael Sun, says, “We are devastated to hear of the fire which have left hundreds of Alexandra residents homeless. Our firefighters were able to control the blaze under very difficult circumstances. We will ensure that those affected receive assistance and emergency shelters are being arranged by the Disaster Management Unit.”

City’s Disaster Management Unit arrived shortly after the fire broke out to assist with temporary emergency shelter at East Bank Hall and other emergency relief. Organisations like the Gift of the Givers were also
available to assist.

We thank these organistions, which include the Zaka International Rescue Unit that assisted with efforts to bring down the blaze. Pick n Pay Alexandra are the provision of food stuffs to those affected, the Al-Imdaad Foundation for their assistance in the provision of rehabilitation resources for fire fighters, and Pace Car Rental for assisting with a truck to move household goods.

We are truly thankful for these kind efforts, which are deeply needed by the distressed community.

The City together with its relief partners will continue to provide food, blankets, hygiene packs and other materials in order to assist the victims of this devastating fire.

DA grows by 4.4% in Witzenberg by-election

The by-election that took place in Ward 9 in Witzenberg yesterday shows promising growth for the DA.

The by-election follows the resignation of the former ANC Councillor and saw the DA grow to 37.7%. This is a 4.4% increase from the 33.3% that we garnered in the 2016 local government elections.

The ANC saw a meagre increase of 0.6% among voters in the ward, receiving 49.5% in the by-election after having received 48.9% in 2016.

This shows that despite the challenges that we have faced in recent months, voters know that we are the only party that can take our country forward.

We are committed to delivering to all South Africans and we are encouraged that voters believe in our record of good governance. We have consistently shown the people of this province that we will work for them and we will continue to do so.

I want to thank those who cast their vote in favour of the DA yesterday, the Leadership of the DA West Region, our operational staff from the Provincial Head Office and most importantly, I want to thank our activists, who are the heartbeat of our party.

Kom ons hou die Wes-Kaap blou in 2019.

DA to refer ANC’s City of Johannesburg State Capture allegations to Zondo Commission

Today, amaBhungane, revealed how the former ANC City of Johannesburg Mayor, Parks Tau, and former City MMC for Finance, Geoff Makhubo, allegedly syphoned R30-million from the City of Johannesburg. Makhubo allegedly acted as a broker for Regiment Fund Managers, which gave them unrestricted access to lucrative contracts within the City.

These latest revelations are once again proof that State Capture was indeed an ANC sponsored project. Whether on a local level or the very top, the ANC facilitated the Guptas’ capture of the public coffers.

Regiments have been heavily implicated in the ANC and Guptas’ State Capture project. What is clear from these revelations is that Regiments wanted to seemingly use the ANC in order to benefit from the State Capture project, which would ultimately benefit the Gupta family and their henchmen.

With the help of Makhubo’s and Tau’s interference, Regiments was allegedly able to facilitate an R290 million loan to Denel – all whilst also receiving kickbacks of R3.42-million from Denel for seemingly securing this deal.

The DA will now refer these revelations to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry.

The brazenness of the ANC, Makhubo and Tau’s criminality is astounding, and we cannot allow for this type of brazen corruption to continue.

It is evident that the rot of State Capture has seeped in every level of the ANC.

The ANC must answer for their role in State Capture before the Zondo Commission and face the full consequences of their corruption.

The DA is committed to rooting out corruption from government. We will build One South Africa for All, where all those who are found guilty of corruption spends a minimum of 15 years behind bars.

Jeff Radebe owes South Africans an explanation about the nuclear situation at NECSA

Please find attached a soundbite in English by Gwen Ngwenya MP.

It has come to the DA’s attention that the CEO of Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA), Mr. Phumzile Tshelane, as well as the Chairman of NECSA, Dr. Kelvin Kemm, have allegedly been removed from their positions by the Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe.

I will be writing to the Minister to request that the he confirms these reports and the reasons for their alleged removal.

NECSA is mandated to undertake and promote research and development in the field of nuclear energy and radiation sciences and technology.

While there have been numerous governance challenges at NECSA, South Africans need to know on what grounds the CEO and chairman have been removed from their positions.

Furthermore, we are concerned that their removal might not be based on the valid grounds outlined in sections 17 and 22 of the Nuclear Energy Act (46 of 1999).

In particular, the Minister needs to answer whether there is a deal with a foreign company involving NECSA/NTP Radioisotopes, from which the Minister stands to financially benefit – or from which he has already benefited.

The DA is determined to ensure that South Africa’s research and development of nuclear energy and technology in South Africa is not once again embroiled in political scandal. Therefore, we urge the Minister to be transparent in his dealings.

With four resignations, vacancies on SABC board must be filled urgently

Please find attached an English soundbite by Phumzile Van Damme MP.

The DA notes that President Cyril Ramaphosa has accepted the resignations of four South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) members, Khanyisile Kweyama, John Mattison, Krish Naidoo and now Mathatha Tsedu.

The resignation of these board members, all who were part of the SABC’s interim board and instrumental in steering the SABC to calm waters following the disastrous Hlaudi Motsoeneng era is highly unfortunate.

It would have been desirable for all board members to stay on and work together to fix the dire financial crisis facing the SABC which has now been exacerbated by the illegal interference of the new Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

We are aware of the interim board members’ implication in the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigation into the awarding of a security tender, which was found to have been awarded irregularly. There was financial misconduct in contravention of the PFMA and we await the final report anticipated to be released in March 2019.

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize must now approve the immediate advertising of the four new vacancies in order to allow Parliament to fill what are now eight vacancies on the SABC board with urgency.

The filling of four vacancies that existed due to the resignations of Rachel Kalidass, Victor Rambau, Febbe Potgieter-Gqubule and the withdrawal of Nomvuyiso Batyi has been advertised. Another advertisement must now be issued with the same deadlines of nominations closing on 21 December 2018, so that the committee can interview for all eight vacancies in January 2019.

The DA will write to the Chairperson to request that this happen as a matter of urgency in order to allow for the SABC board to continue with its work.

Small business owners pay the price for ANC power failures

Note to Editors: Please find attached pictures here, here and here. A video can also be downloaded here

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been talking to small businesses in Jeppestown, Johannesburg on the impact of the ANC’s power failures.

   

DA Spokesperson on State Capture, Natasha Mazzone MP, and DA Deputy Provincial Chairperson and Member of the Economic Development Committee on the Johannesburg City Council, Councillor Bongani Nkomo, engaged with local business owners in the area, to understand the impact of Eskom’s power outages on South African entrepreneurs.

“We interacted with great South Africans, who took it upon themselves to start their own businesses in order to provide for their families. They are all suffering because load shedding has led to job shedding. The ANC’s power failures mean that they are losing their only source of income”, said Mazzone.

The DA discovered the true cost of Eskom’s ineptitude as it continues to fail in providing South African business owners, and the public at large, with access to electricity.

“Businesses depend on electricity each day to run their operations. Local entrepreneurs told us that they lose revenue for hours on end and that in some instances they lose thousands of rands in products which have gone bad. For many small businesses when power goes out, they are forced to close their doors”, said Mazzone.

This is the coalface of State Capture. Everyday South Africans are left to bear the brunt of the ANC and Guptas’ looting and mismanagement of Eskom.

Our citizens deserve to have power producers that are not characterised by the corruption which has rotted most of our state-owned entities, leaving them defunct and unable to deliver the services they are mandated to provide. We need an urgent diversification of power producers which will give power back to the people of South Africa.

The DA has already written to Minister Pravin Gordhan to meet with him and engage on our plan break up Eskom’s monopoly so that we can ensure that South Africans do not have to suffer the effects of load shedding again.

PIC has done an about turn and handed over a significant body of documents to SCOPA

The listed transaction cost schedule, and the unlisted transaction schedule, handed over by the Public Investment Corporation, can be found here and here.

To his credit, the Chairperson of the Public Investment Corporation, Deputy Minister of Finance, Mondli Gungubele, has done an about turn and handed over a significant set of documents to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

The documents requested by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts handed over include:

  • listed transaction cost schedule;
  • unlisted transaction cost schedule;
  • listed investments holdings schedule;
  • unlisted investments holding schedule; and
  • unlisted properties investment holdings schedule.

The unlisted investments holdings schedule includes, most importantly, the names of “Politically Exposed Persons”.

The documents requested by myself via the Standing Committee on Public Accounts handed over include:

  • extracts of minutes of various “approval committees” relating to a number of questionable investments; and
  • details of “advisory fees” paid to transaction advisors relating to investments in MTN Nigeria, Angolan Government Bonds and Kenya Electricity Generation Company.

However, the extracts of minutes of meetings have been marked “confidential” and have been handed over for “members only”.

This follows “Mexican Standoff”:

  • between the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Public Investment Corporation who, for months, refused to hand over the documents to Parliament; and
  • between myself and the Public Investment Corporation who wanted me to sign a non-disclosure agreement in return for information relating to fees paid to transaction advisors.

The fact that the documents have now been handed over is a major breakthrough and credit must go to Themba Godi, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, and members of the committee, who would not let the Public Investment Corporation off the hook in Parliament.

The Public Investment Corporation appears before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts this evening at 18h00, in Committee Room V454, Fourth Floor, Old Assembly Building in Parliament.

DA saddened by the passing Alex Boraine

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply saddened by the passing of Alex Boraine.

Boraine, who served as the Deputy Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, played a central role during the critical years following the dawn of the new democratic dispensation.

As the party founded on liberal ideals for which he fought, we are deeply saddened by the passing of one of the last remaining vanguards and indeed giants of liberal thought and ideals in our country.

Boraine, was elected on the ticket of the Progressive Party as an MP in 1974, a party which fiercely opposed the brutal apartheid government.

Boraine spoke truth to power at a time when it would have been more comfortable for him to remain silent.

His passion for our country and bravery will live within our hearts and minds forever.

The DA will always value his contribution to liberal values in South Africa and we will remain resolute in our efforts to keep his enduring passion for democratic freedoms alive.

Rest in peace, Alex Boraine.