SAPS R20 billion budget cuts could lead to a loss of 23 000 personnel over next 3 years

On Wednesday, in the Portfolio Committee of Police, the South African Police Service (SAPS) announced that National Treasury has instructed SAPS to cut their budget through a 5%, 6% and 7% baseline reduction over the next three years, which may ultimately result in a loss of 23 000 personnel. This shocking announcement comes at a time when the majority of South Africans feel increasingly unsafe in their communities, due to escalating levels of violence and crime.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has proposed an alternative, yet constructive, budget proposal, which considers cutting VIP protection costs instead of other police programmes. The VIP protection budget allocation amounts to approximately R10 million per individual, per year, with an approximate Cabinet cost to taxpayers amounting to R631 million yearly.

It is unconscionable that National Treasury would request SAPS budget cuts, when our police service is already severely under-capacitated and under-resourced. Further budget cuts will only continue to hinder SAPS’ ability to provide visible policing and will condemn citizens to living in even greater fear than they do now. It would appear that the President sold us a pipe dream when he stated he would reduce violent crime by 50%. Currently SAPS has approximately 191 000 employees, a number which would drop to 167 000 by 2022/23. A drop in personnel is not the way to achieve a 50% reduction of violent crime.

The instruction from National Treasury requests that SAPS must cut its budget by R5 billion in 2020/2021, R6.5 billion 2021/22 and in R7.8 billion in 2022/2023. This will lead to 23 617 posts being lost, through an approximate R20 billion cut, over the next three financial years.

SAPS is currently 64 000 police officers short of meeting the United Nations (UN) policing ration of 1:220. In South Africa, the police to citizen ratio is 1:380. A loss of an additional 23 000 personnel is not the answer. The Civil Secretariat has revealed that SAPS’ contingent liability for civil claims currently totals R14 billion per year, with claims relating to unlawful arrests and detention totaling R189 million per year. The budget shortfall  should rather be addressed by ensuring a more professional, properly trained police service, with minimal civil claims.

The ANC has bankrupted the state and broken the economy to such an extent that the safety of South African citizens is now at increased risk. Crime thrives in a broken economy. Now is not the time to be tying the hands of SAPS behind their backs. The DA believes that by creating a safer South Africa we can ensure prosperity for all our citizens.

DA to push for reversal of election of VBS Mayor as Communications Committee Chair in clandestine meeting

Today a former VBS Mayor, Boyce Maneli was elected Chairperson of the Communications and Digital Technologies Portfolio in an urgent meeting I was not informed was taking place.

The procedure followed for meetings in the committee is an emailed “Notice of Meeting,” followed by two SMSes. If it is an urgent meeting as today’s was, in addition to this, members are phoned to confirm attendance.

I was not informed of the meeting which started at 14h00 in any manner, and only saw it was to be held when I happened to see a document to be discussed at the meeting emailed at 13h00 today and I saw at 13h47. If it was not for this document I would not have known that the meeting was taking place.

I have been informed by other members that they were not only sent messages but also called twice to confirm attendance. I was not.

Given that I had not been informed of the meeting taking place, I requested that the meeting be postponed. It was not and Maneli’s election went ahead.

This is a seeming attempt to block the DA from the meeting in order to not bring attention to another compromised ANC MP being elected as a Chairperson of a Committee, joining Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane, Tina Joemat-Petterson, Supra Mahumapelo and others.

This poor attempt at hiding the ANC’s dirty laundry will not go without action. The DA will write to Parliament’s Chair of Chairs Cedric Frolick requesting that Maneli’s election be reversed.

When Maneli was West Rand District Municipality Mayor, R77 million was illegally invested with VBS. As a result, the municipality was forced to stop multiple projects such as the Construction of Roads and Maintenance Project and the Droogehheuwel Bulk Water Supply Programme. The municipality is in such dire financial straits that in June this year it did not have money to pay its staff and councillors.

Maneli was “exonerated” of the illegal investment in VBS by the ANC’s West Rand region of Johannesburg in their own “investigation.” Despite repeated requests from the DA that the “report” has not been made public.

Parliament has an important role to play in our democracy, and is not the dumping ground for crooked comrades. Even if Maneli’s election is unlikely to be reversed given the ANC’s use of its majority, ignoring other views, on principle all members must be allowed the opportunity to voice objections and this be officially recorded.

Intimidation and violence will not deter the DA from saving NMB

These comments were made by DA EC Provincial Leader, Nqaba Bhanga MPL, at a press conference hosted in Port Elizabeth today, 21 Augusts 2019. MPL Bhanga was joined by DA NMB Cllrs Athol Trollip and Rano Kayser. See pictures attached here and here.

Criminal elements within the government of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality have shown their desperation to loot this City after I survived a failed attempt on my life.

The attempt occurred last night, 20 August 2019, after a meeting between the DA and other political parties in Summerstrand.

At the meeting all stakeholders involved came to an agreement that we can no longer allow the Executive Mayor of NMB, Cllr Mongameli Bobani, to drag the City down into corruption and a state of perpetual fear and other forms of intimidation.

We have submitted a motion of no confidence in Mayor Bobani and followed all protocols through the Speaker’s office to have this debated at a special emergency council meeting on Friday.

The Speaker has today turned down this request, but all parties concerned with the future of Nelson Mandela Bay and its people, will not let this decision stand.

We had a very successful meeting last night with other parties involved with removing Mayor Bobani. After the meeting I caucused with Cllr Rano Kayser, who had joined me during the meeting, and we then gave telephonic feedback to NMB Caucus Leader, Cllr Athol Trollip.

Afterwards, between 22:00 and 22:30, I was on my way to Gomery Avenue and noticed a car behind me. This car followed me everywhere and accelerated every time I tried to get away.

Another car then joined the chase and even followed me across a red traffic light near the old Telkom Park Stadium. I drove towards the Humewood Police Station, but took the wrong street and eventually ran to the Paxton Hotel from where the police was called.

A case of attempted hijacking was opened, but this will be added to as more information comes to the fore.

I am requesting anyone who observed this car chase, to go to the police station and report what they saw.

I believe these people were hired from outside PE, because they chased me for more than 7 km in a secure area such a Summerstrand.

This attempt is a direct outcome of our meeting about the removal of Mayor Bobani, but I will not hide, I will fight. We will pursue the removal of the Mayor, because when nobody stands up and fights, when there is terror, anarchy and killings, this criminality will become the status quo.

Our City must be safe once again, because since Mayor Bobani took over there has been no peace, stability and service delivery.

For this goal we are willing to lay down our lives.

DA notes Equality Court ruling on old South African flag

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the Equality Court ruling officially declaring the gratuitous display of the old South African flag as hate speech, harassment and unfair discrimination. The flag, however, can still be used for artwork, academic research and journalistic purposes. An outright ban is a position we do not support.

The democratic flag must act as a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow, which the DA is committed to as articulated by our mission of Building One South Africa for All, underpinned by the values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity.

Our democratic flag, which represents all the people of South Africa, espouses the values of Unity in Diversity and we must rally behind this flag, and work towards a shared future.

The apartheid flag forms part of our painful history and should be utilised to educate and inform.  The total ban of the flag from our society would have deprived future generations of the full account of the country’s history – a history that we can never forget nor repeat; therefore the limitation on its use for academic research and journalistic purposes is a critical point of the judgement.

We are mindful that there are those who seek to undermine the reconciliation project by abusing the use of the old South African flag and to retreat back into the laagers of racial and cultural identity. This only seeks to hinder social cohesion and undermines our democratic project.

Countless South Africans still live with the scars and pain they endured under the brutal apartheid regime. As a society, we should strive to engender a sense of reconciliation and unity as symbolised by the new democratic South African flag.

As difficult and complex as it is, the DA will not abandon the 1994 mission of building a country for all who live in it – black and white.

DA Young Leaders Programme 2020 applications now open

Now more than ever, we need young people to help South Africa overcome its challenges and the Democratic Alliance (DA) remains committed to developing the leaders of today and tomorrow.

As such, we are proud to announce that applications for the DA’s Young Leaders Programme Class of 2020 are now open until 9 September 2019 at 5pm.

 Now in its 13th year of existence, the Young Leaders Programme counts among its graduates over 60 DA Public Representatives currently serving the South African public as Members of Parliament, Members of Provincial Legislatures, Provincial Ministers, Mayors and Members of the Mayoral Committee.

What is the DA Young Leaders Programme?

The Young Leaders Programme is the DA’s intensive, yearlong, part-time political leadership development course. It strives to give passionate, young South African leaders the opportunity to develop themselves to their full potential, irrespective of their background.

What do we look for in a potential Young Leader?

Young South African leaders between the ages of 18 and 35 who are already making a difference where they are. They are committed to not only bringing about change in their communities, but to also growing and developing their own potential. Young Leaders are able to align their own personal value set to the DA’s liberal values, and are passionate about creating a better South Africa, considering politics and government as a serious career option for their own future.

How to apply?

To apply, applicants can go to www.youngleaders.org.za.

A complete application consists of:

  • A completed online application form;
  • A 90-second video (submitted via the application form);
  • A valid letter of reference (submitted via the application form).

For any further information about the programme or the application process, applicants can visit www.youngleaders.org.za or contact the Young Leaders Team at youngleaders@da.org.za.

As a graduate of the programme, I wish all applicants the best of luck with their applications.

DA welcomes High Court judgement setting aside ‘whitewashed’ arms deal report

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the North Gauteng High Court Ruling today, setting aside the findings of the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the Arms Deal of 1999. The DA has always been of the view that the Commission’s findings were illegitimate and inconsistent as it seemingly allowed all those implicated in the deal off the hook – including Jacob Zuma and Shabir Shaik.

The Seriti Commission of Inquiry was appointed by then President Zuma in 2011 to investigate claims of corruption, wrongdoing and fraud in the R30 billion Arms Deal with the object of revealing the truth to the public. The Court, in a scathing judgment lambasted the Commission for manifestly failing in this regard, by several indicators:

  • Critical reports were not investigated, but rather dismissed;
  • Facts were accepted as common cause, when a reasonable commission would have tested all supplied evidence;
  • It refused to examine the proceedings of the Shabir Shaik trial, saying it was not relevant to the inquiry – when he was a primary witness; and,
  • It failed to appreciate the rules of evidence which surround a commission of inquiry.

The Seriti Commission was a gross miscarriage of justice, which cost the people of South Africa over R137 million. What is even more worrying, is the fact that accused and convicted Shaik was released from prison with a terminal illness, and finds himself alive and well 10 years later. Today’s judgment also holds implications for the case against Jacob Zuma.

It is quite clear that the tainted Seriti Commission was never set up to investigate the truth and to unearth corruption regarding the arms deal – it was only instituted to clear the names of individuals such as Zuma, Shaik and their corrupt cabal.

The people of South Africa have once again paid the price for ANC corruption and the public has been robbed of the truth by a commission of inquiry whose findings are now null and void.

DA Leader Maimane submits urgent question to President Ramaphosa on “CR17” payments to at least four Cabinet Ministers

I have today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Thandi Modise, requesting that an urgent oral question to the President be added to Thursday’s Order Paper, in terms of Rule 141 of the National Assembly Rules.

When President Ramaphosa appears in Parliament to answer questions on tomorrow, I will look to ask him the following question:

Whether the appointments of Ms K P S Ntshavheni to the position of Minister of Small Business Development, Ms R T Siweya to the position of Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Mr F Mbalula to the position of Minister of Transport and Mr Z Kodwa to the position of Deputy Minister of State Security were informed in any way by the fact that both worked for, and received payment from his CR17 campaign?

This follows recent reports that the “CR17” campaign – set up to elect Cyril Ramaphosa as President of the ANC – made payments to at least four individuals who later become Ministers in Ramaphosa’s Executive.

The Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Siweya, Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, and Deputy Minister of State Security, Zizi Kodwa, received a combined R7 million in payments from the “CR17” campaign – allegedly for work done to see Ramaphosa elected ANC president.

This raises great concern as to whether President Ramaphosa acted impartially and rationally when he appointed such individuals, and wasn’t repaying them for work done in the bid to get him elected.

In the matter of The President of the RSA v DA & others (664/17) [2018] ZASCA 79, the court was clear in its assertion that an executive decision must be rational and as such, the President must be able to supply rational reasons for the appointment of members of his Cabinet.

Therefore, the President needs to use his first oral question session for the 6th Parliament to clarify to the people of South Africa and unequivocally state whether these individuals’ payment for work on his campaign is related – in any way whatsoever – to his decision to appointment them as ministers.

Arcelor Mittal’s Protection by Government Leads to Job Losses

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with concern steel manufacturer, Arcelor MittalSA’s (AMSA) admission that the market’s consumption of its steel has crashed to a ten-year low. This reveals a 70% decrease since 2008.

This is unacceptable considering the level of protection provided to AMSA by the tax payer and government.

Moreover, it is well documented that AMSA’s production methods are outdated and archaic, its product quality poor and its pricing strategy out of sync with international markets.

As the beneficiaries of a 10% custom duty and 12% safeguard duty on steel imports, Government has decimated competition within the South African steel industry – particularly the steel downstream which puts at risk 100 000 job.

In July 2019, AMSA announced to the public that they may shed up to 2 000 jobs as its revenue projections revealed that they would lose up R650 Million. AMSA has cited increased electricity, freight and primary raw costs as its reasons for the proposed job-shedding.

After AMSA was slapped with a R1.5 Billion penalties for uncompetitive practices in 2016, it committed to spending R4.64 Billion in capital expenditure over the next 5 years as a part of its settlement agreement. The DA would like to know how much has been spent and how many jobs have been created as a result of this expenditure?

It is now of critical importance that Minister Patel tells us what the success or failure of this deal was so that Parliament can best decide how to move forward with any further assistance for AMSA.

It would be unthinkable to continue to throw money at AMSA which will continue to costs jobs in the downstream sector.

We propose that the Minister solicits a full analysis on AMSA’s effects on the steel downstream and in doing so generates alternatives that open up the steel market to new market entrants – who are able to provide cheaper, better quality steel to the South African market.

DA welcomes historic service delivery-orientated agreement between City of Johannesburg and labour trade unions

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the City of Johannesburg and labour trade unions – the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) and the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) – announced by Mayor Herman Mashaba on Monday. This agreement, which seeks to achieve a strategic partnership between the City and labour trade unions, will foster mutual accountability and a healthy relationship between the City and labour unions.

Once again, Mayor Mashaba and the multi-party administration of Johannesburg have shown political maturity to deliver change to the people of Johannesburg.

When the DA-led administration took over the reins of South Africa’s economic hub, it inherited labour relations which were often volatile and disruptive. This historic agreement between the City and labour unions will go a long way in fostering peaceful and stable labour relations in the City and will provide employees with a conducive work environment.

Most importantly, this MoU will bring, to the centre,  service delivery to the people of Johannesburg. Under the previous ANC-administration, disruptive strike action meant residents got the short end of the stick, as services were often delayed or worse, halted indefinitely.

The MoU between the City and labour unions will establish the following framework:

  1. Establish a partnership between IMATU, SAMWU and the City in the budget planning processes of government.
  2. Drive performance management in the City in such a manner as to accelerate service delivery and generate a more conducive working environment for employees to serve residents.
  3. Require IMATU, SAWMU and the City of Johannesburg to partner together in ensuring allegations of fraud and corruption are investigated and that requirements are in place to protect those who report wrongdoing.
  4. Establish the principles of a labour relations environment that achieve greater levels of stability through an open-door policy, requirements to engage in good faith and from a problem-solving perspective.
  5. Set out the requirements of a labour relations engagement framework which will provide the mechanisms to achieve stability in our labour relations.
  6. Ensure that the City does not provide recognition to unrecognised trade unions as per the stipulations of the Labour Relations Act.

Where the DA governs, we understand that a positive and constructive work environment is key in delivering services to residents. We, therefore, congratulate Mayor Mashaba on this landmark agreement.

In almost three years, the Mashaba-administration has ensured that Johannesburg is working again. The ANC and its narrow political agenda are seeking to destabilise and destroy the positive work of Johnesburg’s multi-party administration.

The DA calls on the people of Johannesburg to support Mayor Mashaba by signing a petition  to ensure that he can continue delivering quality services to the people of Johannesburg.

DA welcomes SAPS action on rape kits

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the announcement by the South African Police Service (SAPS) that a supplier for rape kits has finally been appointed after the previous tender was cancelled in 2017 due to alleged corruption.

The delays in awarding a tender resulted in critical shortages in rape kits across the country.

Last week the DA revealed that 76% of SA police stations did not have adult rape kits and 69% of stations do not have child rape kits in stock. The DA wrote to Police Minister Bheki Cele, to give him a deadline by which to ensure that all police stations had rape kits.

The shortage of rape kits has been a gross injustice to rape survivors. Without these kits, evidence in reported rape cases cannot be collected. Without evidence, the ability to successfully prosecute rapists diminishes drastically.

Because of alleged corruption between the supplier of the kits and some police officers, rapists went unpunished for the heinous crimes against women and children.

This issue has to do with the lives and dignity of the women and children of our country. The current figures indicate that SAPS has run short of over 128 000 rape kits, with only around 18 000 adult rape kits in circulation in SA.

No one deserves to become a victim of sexual violence and everything possible must be done to eradicate this evil from society. A fundamental part of holding perpetrators to account is gathering the necessary evidence to convict them of these crimes.

The DA will now closely monitor the distribution of these kits and ensure that SAPS’ logistics operation delivers rape kits to every station in the country

We will continue to fight that those who commit heinous crimes against the most vulnerable members and our society are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This country cannot continue to be a danger zone for women and children.