Metrorail is letting the people of the city down – urgent intervention needed

This morning at 6am Cape Town Mayor-elect, Dan Plato, together with City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member of Social Services and Safety and Security, JP Smith, and the DA’s Team One SA Spokesperson on Crime, John Steenhuisen MP met at Mitchells Plain train station to catch a train from there to Cape Town to inspect the safety conditions in the run-up to the City, Prasa and the Western Cape Government’s deployment of additional safety officers on the trains.

However, almost an hour later, no train had arrived and the leaders engaged with commuters about what they have to endure on a daily basis before they headed back to Cape Town by car.
  

Mitchells Plain train station has become a “ghost station”; Hundred of commuters queue to take a taxi after the train once again did not arrive.

It is clear that the management of Metrorail has reached a point of no return.

It is ludicrous that on a Monday morning, there was no train travelling from this densely-populated area and people had to desperately make use of alternative, more expensive transport to get to their places of work.

Plato said: “Today, I witnessed first-hand the frustrations, commuters have to endure on a daily basis. Commuters has completely lost faith in the management of Metrorail due to trains not arriving on time or simply not arriving at all – as was the case this morning. The Mitchells Plain station, like many other train stations in and around the Cape Town metro region has become “ghost stations” which in turn is a strain on the effectiveness of service delivery in the City of Cape Town.”

Listen to soundbite here.

Commuters no longer rely on Metrorail to get them from home to work and back. The failure of Metrorail to ensure trains arriving on time, has led to commuters having to resort to alternative transport to get to work and back. Many train commuters have to use taxis or busses now to get to work, which has costs implications on train commuters of R250 or more on a monthly basis. This is simply unaffordable for most South Africans.

Watch a video of regular commuter, Rushqah Davis, sharing her daily frustration with the train system here.

With regard to the failing management of safety and security at Metrorail, we again saw last week, with the burning of trains at the Cape Town Station, the need for intervention to take control of this system. The continued arson attacks on our transport system has had a massive economic impact not only Metrorail, but also on train commuters.

John Steenhuisen and JP Smith engaging with commuters.

The people that continue to suffer are however ordinary South Africans. Rail remains the only truly affordable transportation in the era of record fuel prices. Yet the system has been brought to its knees by widespread arson attacks and lack of accountability from the national government. Until the rot is sorted out at the top, commuters in and around Cape Town will continue to suffer due to a lack of action on the part of Minister Nzimande.

Only the DA-led City of Cape Town can sort out the mess at Metrorail created by the failing ANC national government.

DA to unveil its plan to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration

Today, 15 October 2018, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Premier Candidate, Solly Msimanga Cllr, the DA Spokesperson on Immigration, Jacques Julius MP, and the DA Campaign Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi MP, will unveil the Party’s plan to tackle illegal immigration; fix the dysfunctional Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and ultimately secure our borders.

Under 24 years of ANC government; our borders are not secure, the SANDF does not have the human or technical resources it needs to patrol our borders and we have a shambolic Department of Home Affairs which is riddled with corruption and incapable of addressing the monumental challenges facing the country.

This lack of leadership by the ANC has created a breeding ground for illegal immigration which has led to an environment of mistrust and hostility between our citizens and foreign nationals who are here legally. This is not the South Africa it should be.

The ANC is incapable of addressing the challenges of immigration in our country. The DA has a plan to ensure we secure our borders and fix the Department of Home Affairs.

Our plan will bring law and order and protect the interests of those who are in our country legally.

Details of the briefing are as follows:

Date: 15 October 2018
Time: 10:00
Venue: Nkululeko House, 21 Ernest Oppenheimer Street, Bruma, Johannesburg

DA’s immigration plan will secure our borders and stop illegal immigration

The DA’s full immigration document can be accessed here

South Africa, under the ANC, is not the country it could be. We have been taken down the wrong path by decades of ANC mismanagement and corruption. One of the areas that have been affected most by a failing ANC is immigration.

The impact of porous borders and an ineffective, mostly corrupt Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has created a situation where we are completely unaware of the number of people who come in and out of the country. That has profound consequences on the efforts against cross-border crime such as human and drug trafficking, stock theft as well on the provision of basic services to our people – as local and provincial governments are forced to plan and budget for service provision without the most basic of information.

No country in the world can afford to not secure their borders precisely because uncontrolled immigration violates the rights of both nationals of a given country and those foreign nationals who seek to be legally recognised. This is an urgent debate throughout the world. As a party committed to liberal democratic values we believe that this debate can be approached with a responsible and balanced approach, beyond a crude nationalism, best typified by the Trumpian call to simply build a wall. South Africa also stands virtually alone on the African continent, with such an unregulated approach to immigration.

The ANC has failed to secure our borders, under its watch the Department of Home Affairs is crippled by corruption and inefficiency to a point where it actively contributes to illegal immigration, and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has not been afforded the human and technical resources it needs to patrol our borders and secure them.

The immigration system has essentially collapsed, and the ANC has no idea how to fix it. This is evident in the widespread practice of bribery at DHA to get service, the deplorable condition of reception and Lindela centres and the inability to provide basic services in communities is creating an environment which lends itself to xenophobic violence.

When people in communities do not have the confidence in our immigration system to accept that foreign nationals who are here, are here legally, it creates mistrust which fosters violence. There is a real threat that people believe they are competing for basic services such as housing and healthcare.

The DA has a plan that would turn this crisis around and would protect both South Africans and foreign nationals.

The ANC’s failing immigration system:

It is a fact that South Africa has poor border control systems that are unable to accurately and efficiently record the movement of people and goods through our borders.

South Africa’s landward border stretches around 4800 kilometres. We currently have only 15 of the necessary 22 SANDF sub-units to patrol the border. Our borders are porous and, in far too many places, non-existent or not patrolled effectively because the SANDF does not have the human, technical and infrastructural resources it needs to get the job done effectively.

The DHA is riddled with corruption and mismanagement. We have an overburdened, under-resourced asylum system plagued by corruption and persistent backlogs. According to the DHA, there is a backlog of about 140 000 asylum claims which are yet to be finalised. Civil society organisations, however, argue that this number is understated because it does not account for claims which “fall out” of the system for various reasons, for example, permits not being renewed timeously.

Backlogs are further exacerbated by the failure of DHA together with the Department of Public Works to timeously give effect to Constitutional Court orders to re-open Refugee Reception Offices in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The failure to open reception offices, mean that the department has essentially imposed undocumented status on law-abiding immigrants who want to regularise their stay but are unable to because their nearest office has been shut down, or because the over-burdened office they travel to has no capacity to attend to them.

This combined with the endemic corruption and inefficiency at all levels in our immigration system means that the fair and timeous finalisation of visa and asylum applications is almost impossible. This inefficiency is precisely what makes the government complicit in creating the issue of illegal immigration. Even those who seek to be legal-abiding residents in our communities are unable to if the relevant documentation is often lost, delayed or never forthcoming.

In addition, with this crisis plaguing reception offices and Home Affairs across the country, the government lacks progressive and efficient policies to attract tourists, skilled labour and capital as well as adequately trained personnel to implement those policies.

And lastly, we are failing to address the recurrent scourge of xenophobic violence that has devastating costs to the victims primarily, and to our economy and social cohesion more generally.

These challenges have serious consequences on our society and on the state and the blame lies solely at the feet of the ANC government.

Consequences of the ANC’s failing immigration system:

The failure of the national government to secure our borders by running our border management systems efficiently and the collapse of border security means that we do not have reliable numbers of immigrants entering the country.

Estimates have ranged from hundreds of thousands to millions. This lack of critical data on immigration means that the government cannot know or plan to provide services to our own citizens and to those immigrants who are here legally. It is impossible to make proper plans for service delivery with no reliable data on which to base decisions concerning budget allocations.

More than this, the ANC government does not know how many people are here illegally and how many people are placing an unaccounted for burden on service delivery.

The failure of Home Affairs to prevent, detect and correct undocumented migration means that many thousands of undocumented migrants have been living in South Africa for long periods of time. These are people who have families in South Africa, who work and have businesses here, and who make invaluable contributions to their communities. Mass deportation is not only fiscally prohibitive, but it may also very well be unjust to the immigrants in question, and harmful to their communities. The ANC government has no clear programme for fairly addressing this category of immigrants.

The failing immigration system also means that law enforcement agencies cannot effectively combat crime. Law abiding citizens and residents cannot feel safe in South Africa because we cannot be confident that law enforcement agencies have a handle of the scale of cross-border crime.

The DHA is notoriously corrupt. This corruption together with institutional inefficiencies in the asylum system makes it extremely difficult for those foreign nationals who are making genuine attempts to gain legitimate documentation. Until this is set back on the correct path, we will not attract investment, we will not attract skilled workers who want orderly lives and have no need to expose themselves to victimisation by our system.

The cumulative result of these many failures of immigration and border management is a perception amongst South Africans that immigrants, who may well be in South African legally, have entered the country illegally and take jobs or commit crime. We have seen the horrific results of these perceptions as unskilled, skilled, legal and illegal foreign nationals have become victims of prejudicial harassment, exploitation, violence and crime.

Having witnessed 24 years of ANC government failure on this critical national function, South Africans cannot afford to wait any longer for a progressive, efficient system capable of providing legal certainty to those who would contribute to our nation, and peace of mind to our people.

The ANC has proven that they are incapable of addressing and fixing the challenges of immigration and border security – leaving South African citizens and immigrants to bear the brunt.

South Africans have rightly lost faith in the ability and willingness of the ANC government to restore law and order, to keep us safe, and to put in place a policy framework that will make South Africa an attractive destination to the skilled labourers we desperately need.

South Africa needs leadership and change that can deal with the problems we face. The DA is the only party capable of fixing immigration and border security which has crumbled under the failing ANC. We have a plan which will bring law and order and protect the interests of those who reside and move within our country legally.

A DA-led national government will act immediately to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration and thereby create order by:

1. Strengthening our border security. Through proper control and order, we can create corruption-free and effective border security and control.

  • This will be done through revamping and improving border management and governmental coordination.
  • The DA will review the number and size of border posts and their management to increase points of legal entry and exit, prevent criminal activity and secure inter-border transregional business.
  • Immigration officials and police officers will be trained and equipped to carry out their duties with diligence and integrity to ensure the best possible service to all foreign nationals entering this country.
  • We must ensure that border management results in a continuous decline in cross-border crimes within our country and between the borders of our country and our neighbouring states.

2. Eradicating the corruption and inefficiency endemic to Home Affairs. This includes ensuring that the corruption and inefficiency endemic to DHA is eradicated. This will involve initiating a once-off investigation into corruption in the Department led by a reformed Hawks. Any officials found guilty of corruption and/or fraud will be blacklisted and prevented from working for any state agency or government department. To address inefficiency, the DA would enhance and improve the systems and technology, capacity, and competency levels through adequate training to officials at Home Affairs.

3. Ensure undocumented immigrants are regularised or assisted in leaving the country if they do not meet the criteria for remaining in the country. This requires innovative and strategic interventions to properly record and regularise undocumented foreign nationals already in the country, and actively protect, rescue and host refugees and those who have been trafficked, smuggled or abused within or across our borders.

We also believe that it is important to:

1. Assist, support and care for legitimate refugees and asylum seekers.

2. Attract foreign nationals with scarce skills to South Africa to help us grow our economy and create jobs.

    • Skilled immigrants and business people must be welcome in our country. We need to attract highly skilled immigrants to fill our skills gaps and allow them to build businesses and create jobs. This will require a programme of action which must include educating communities about the benefits of integration and social cohesion with those from other countries. Xenophobia and discrimination cannot be allowed to hold back or hamper the progress of our economy and our people or harm economic integration and social unity in Africa.
    • Foreign, skilled nationals will not only drive economic growth by filling the skills gap, but they can also enhance innovation, which is essential for small business development and the manufacturing sector.
    • Skilled immigrants also bring a wealth of knowledge and contacts which could be immensely beneficial for local companies with sights on international expansion.

Conclusion

With this plan, we can approach regular and irregular migration more successfully by eliminating corruption, poor leadership and policy uncertainty.

The DA’s immigration plan will not only fix undocumented immigration and fix the dysfunctional DHA, but it will ultimately secure our borders. This will provide the protection of both South Africans and foreign nationals who live in our country. The issue of unchecked illegal immigration is a powder-keg matter. We no longer can afford the failing ANC’s lax border control, dysfunctional Home Affairs.

They must do so legally, and South Africans must be able to trust that the system is actively protecting them.

We are committed to building One South Africa for All – where South African citizens, residents, refugees and immigrants can come together and build towards a free, fair and diverse society with opportunities for all those who are here legally

PIC must disclose details of R70bn worth of investments in its “unlisted investment portfolio” in SA

One of the first tests of the new Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, is whether he will support the disclosure of detailed information about R70 billion worth of investments made by the Public Investment Corporation in its “unlisted investment portfolio” in 2017/18.

The Public Investment Corporation has disclosed detailed information about investments in its “unlisted investment portfolio” for the past two years before the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement has been presented in Parliament.

However, this year:

  • no disclosure of detailed information has been made by the Public Investment Corporation about investments in its “unlisted investment portfolio” during 2017/18;
  • no provision has been made for hearings on the Public Investment Corporation’s 2017/18 annual report and annual financial statements by the finance committee in Parliament; and
  • there seems to have been an “about turn” when it comes to greater transparency at the Public Investment Corporation.

The fact is that National Treasury is now opposing provisions that would promote greater transparency that are contained in my Private Members Bill, entitled the Public Investment Corporation Amendment Bill [B1-2018], which is before the finance committee in Parliament.

We have to ensure that detailed information about investments, especially investments in the “unlisted investment portfolio”, is disclosed, because it serves as a major disincentive to “rent-seekers” with political influence who want to raid the Public Investment Corporation.

I will, therefore, write to Dr Dan Matjila, Chief Executive Officer of the Public Investment Corporation, requesting him to disclose detailed information about the R70 billion worth of investments made by the Public Investment Corporation in its “unlisted investment portfolio” in 2017/18.

And I have already written to Yunus Carrim, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, requesting him to schedule a hearing with the Public Investment Corporation during the fourth term of Parliament.

We will not back down and will continue to fight for more transparency so that the Public Investment Corporation does not become a “piggy bank” for the governing party in South Africa.

DA Leader Maimane to probe President Ramaphosa in Parliament over allegations of prior knowledge of VBS capture

Reports today that President Cyril Ramaphosa had prior knowledge of grand corruption and looting at VBS as far back as the beginning of last year and failed to act are incredibly serious allegations and need to be answered by the President with haste.

I will therefore be submitting an urgent question to be asked during Oral Questions to President Ramaphosa in Parliament on Thursday to confirm the veracity of these allegations. Our lawyers are also considering charges against the President in accordance with the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).

The President was allegedly made aware of bank executives’ involvement in the wholesale graft and plunder at VBS during a meeting in Johannesburg in early 2017. A shareholder at VBS reportedly met with then Deputy President Ramaphosa, informed him of the corruption at VBS and Ramaphosa committed to intervene.

While President Ramaphosa’s Spokesperson, Khusela Diko, has denied this meeting ever occurred, the President would be wise to use his final Oral Questions session for the year next week to play open cards with the people of South Africa.

Recent allegations suggest that the R8.5 million VBS loan that former President Jacob Zuma used to pay back part of his Nkandla upgrades was used as political security. South Africa cannot afford another compromised President.

This is all symptomatic of the loss of power in a liberation movement and is demonstrable of the politics of patronage trumping the service of citizens. The absence of divisive action and the protection of certain individuals can only mean that unity in the ANC is more important than accountability to the ruling party.

And it begs the question of what other scandals the President also had knowledge of. This system of corruption must be broken.

President Ramaphosa’s ‘New Dawn’ glass box seems to have shattered. He has already confirmed his willingness to appear before the State Capture Commission and now needs to start picking up the shards of this ANC-created mess and come clean with South Africa.

The Venezuelan story is a warning to SA, we must reject theft by the government disguised as righteousness

The following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a press conference at Nkululeko House, Johannesburg. Maimane was joined by Venezuelan opposition MPs Miguel Pizarro and José Manuel Olivares of Primero Justicia – the largest opposition party in Venezuela. Their full statement can be accessed here. 

It is a great honour to share a platform today with two fellow brothers in the fight for freedom and against the growing forces of authoritarian populism across the globe. Seated next to me today are Miguel Pizarro and Jose Manuel Olivares, both members of the Venezuelan Parliament, who represent Venezuela’s main opposition party, Primero Justicia, or Justice First.

Ahead of their visit to South Africa to raise awareness about the devastating social, political, and economic crisis unfolding in their native Venezuela, Miguel and Jose reached out to the Democratic Alliance (DA) as they recognise our party as a defender of liberal democracy, and a champion of the advancement of freedom and human rights.

Jose Manuel Olivares is working on securing humanitarian aid to counteract the terrible human consequences of the shortage of medicines in Venezuela. However, for the last three months he has been in exile in Colombia after his family received threats unless he quit politics.

Miguel Pizarro has defended families and loved ones of political detainees who have been arrested and incarcerated. His fight is fuelled by his own sister’s struggle. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012 and has not been able to receive adequate medication or treatment as imports of life saving drugs have stopped. Pizarro and his family had to make the difficult decision to send her to a different country, so she could get access to the medication.

We are proud to be able to stand with them in their struggles, as the Democratic Alliance and Primero Justicia have much in common. Much like the DA, Primero Justicia is a centrist, liberal party with a large diversity of supporters who are bound together by shared values, and a commitment to the basic tenets of liberal democracy: a market economy that values enterprise, the rule of law, individual rights guaranteed by a constitution which limits and checks power, private property and free speech. This is the best way to defeat poverty and maximise the true freedom of all citizens.

Primero Justicia was founded in 1992, first as a civil society association of university students seeking reform of Venezuela’s legal system. They officially registered as a political party in 2000 – the very same year the DA was formed.

Primero Justicia is the main opposition party in Venezuela. They currently hold 33 seats of the National Assembly’s 167. However, the National Assembly has effectively been denuded of its powers in a clearly illegal and unconstitutional power grab by the authoritarian regime. The governing party – United Socialist Party of Venezuela has 55 seats, but exercises near total power.

Earlier this morning, the DA’s delegation met with Miguel and Jose who gave us a first-hand account of the dire situation in Venezuela. It is important that South Africans hear the real story of the situation in Venezuela, as there are some in our country – including in the ANC – who venerate and celebrate what has happened in Venezuela as a model of “radical transformation”. These powerful lobbies in the ANC, and their fellow travellers in other parties, are proposing and adopting policies that threaten to take South Africa down a destructive path.

In their words, this comes down to three interrelated policies enforced by the governing party in Venezuela: Expropriation of land without compensation, the nationalisation of banks, mines and other industries, and institutionalised corruption through nepotism and cadre deployment.

Venezuela’s collapse began with the election of Hugo Chávez as President in 1998, a radical populist who preached state control and ownership of the country and its resources as the answer. A year later, in 1999, the Constitution was amended to declare that ‘the predominance of large idle estates (latifundios) was contrary to the interests of society’. In other words, similar to the direction the ANC government is headed, the Venezuelan constitution was changed to allow the government to expropriate land without compensation.

In practice, however, it was not only ‘idle’ land that was taken. The government implicitly encouraged land invasions, which often reduced productivity to the point where farms became ‘idle’ enough to qualify for expropriation. Land was also allocated according to political criteria, with those who supported the government first in line to receive land.

In 2003, the government escalated its assault on the economy by introducing price controls. Over the coming years, rapid economic decline followed. Agricultural production dropped sharply between 2007 and 2011: maize by 40%, rice by 39%, sorghum by 83%, sugar cane by 37%, coffee by 47%, potatoes by 64%, tomatoes by 34%, and onions by 25%.

Large quantities of fertile land fell out of production, while food imports continued to rise. This led to people having to queue for five to six hours a day in the hope of buying food and other much-needed items.

Rather than admit these policies were a failure, and start over, in 2014 the government tightened the price controls further. Both farmers and food producers were forced to sell at prices below production costs, which cut supply even further. The manipulation of the economy by the government resulted in investment flight, and between 2013 and 2017, Venezuela’s economy contracted by 39%.

The very people the populists claimed to care for are the ones suffering the most. Extreme poverty grew from 24% of the population in 2014 to 61% in 2017. The infant mortality rate increased a hundredfold during the period of 2012 to 2015, and is now higher than in war-torn Syria. The minimum wage has actually fallen by 75%. Inflation has reached 1 million percent.

Today, Venezuela is a humanitarian tragedy, and it is only getting worse. The country has all but been destroyed – 80% of the population lives in poverty, and three quarters of the population are under-nourished or hungry. The inability to import sufficient food and medicine means the crisis is fast spiralling.

While the majority of Venezuelans are poor, hungry, and hopeless, the politically connected elite are rich and untouchable.

Now that South Africa will hold a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the term 2019 – 2020, we challenge President Ramaphosa to use our position on the UNSC to try to resolve the crisis in Venezuela and return the country to open democracy. South Africa must use its position on UNSC to advance liberal democracy and stand up for justice, freedom and human rights across the globe. The ANC government needs to stop siding with dictators, and thug-governments.

The Venezuelan story is a warning of the dangers of radical populism in South Africa. We must not be arrogant enough to think that it cannot be related here, when many of the same social and political signs that existed in Venezuela in 1999 also exist in South Africa today. We must see the signs and call them out: the divisive language, pitting South Africans against each other, the dangerous violent language, the incitement, the talk of genocide, the use of race to provide cover for the abuse of power, and the destructive socialist policies which only guarantee more poverty and suffering. We must see these things clearly for what they are, and stop them now.

It is vital we do a 180 degree turn from the path we are on under the policies of the ANC and the EFF. Both the ANC and the EFF agree with and champion the same ideas that have brought Venezuela to its knees: An assault on property rights through expropriation of land without compensation; the nationalisation of banks and key industries, creeping state authoritarianism and the abuse of power, and corrupt government filled with deployed cadres.

While in Venezuela it began with land, we must not view land expropriation in isolation. It is the deadly concoction of land expropriation, nationalisation, centralisation of power, corruption and populism that leads to collapse. As was the case in Zimbabwe and Venezuela, this comes with entitlement, envy, division, hatred of others, and more often than not, violence. These things are the antithesis of our vision of building One South Africa For All. The DA is the only party in South Africa still actively working to build a united South Africa that achieves shared prosperity. While others may pay lip service to this ideal,  their words are honoured more in the breach than in the observance.

Today, both parties have officially signed a pledge to work together in advancing freedom and democracy, and towards the following goals:

  • Mobilizing the international community to pressure the Venezuelan government to abandon its programme of state repression;
  • Fight for the opening up a channel to allow humanitarian aid to the people of Venezuela, in order for much needed food and medicine to be supplied;
  • To ensure fair elections in Venezuela;
  • Return power to the de jure National Assembly;
  • The end of political repression of opposition parties in Venezuela; and
  • The release of all political prisoners in Venezuela.

The DA, like Primero Justicia, fundamentally believes in giving more power to individuals, and less to the government.

Together, we believe in the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution.

We believe in universal freedoms and human rights.

We believe in an open, market-based economy that is supported by an enabling environment for job creation and prosperity.

We believe in enhancing trade in a rapidly growing and technologically advancing global community.

We believe in the protection and promotion of private property rights.

We believe in the complete separation of party and state.

And we believe in the total eradication of corruption.

In the words of Russian historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn “Unlimited power in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty.” It is this cruelty that is the inevitable outcome of nationalisation, expropriation, and corruption.

Together, we will continue to partner with Primero Justicia, and fellow brothers and sisters from across the globe to defeat the forces of illiberalism, and ensure people are free from the coercion and manipulation of corrupt governments.

DA lays corruption charges against VBS50 to seek justice for victims of this heist

This statement follows the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Kevin Mileham MP, and the DA National Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi MP, laying criminal charges against the 50 individuals implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank heist.

Please find attached a soundbite by Mr Mileham.

    

Today, the DA laid criminal charges against the 50 people who allegedly siphoned billions from VBS Mutual Bank.

On Wednesday, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) released a damning forensic report titled “VBS Mutual Bank – The Great Bank Heist” and recommended that criminal charges be brought against those who have been implicated.

The report identified various individuals with close ties to political parties who no doubt used their political influence to ransack and defraud the bank.

The DA is of the view that politicians and those close to politicians, such as Floyd and Brian Shivambu, and the ANC Limpopo Treasurer, Danny Msiza, should not only be investigated for their personal involvement but that the parties they are associated with publicly confirm whether or not they have received funds from VBS.

Today, the EFF Chairperson, Dali Mpofu, claimed that the EFF received no money from VBS through Brian Shivambu.

The EFF is increasingly being exposed for its role in corruption, and in working with the ANC in recent weeks as part of a coalition of corruption.

The VBS scandal has had irreparable consequences on the countless poor South Africans who are still struggling to gain access to their life-savings.

The effects of the scandal will also be felt by the numerous municipalities which are now at risk of losing billions in revenue.

Whilst the EFF defended the VBS corruption and with the ANC’s long track record of stealing from the poor – the DA is the only party who have taken action to defend those who have been victims of the VBS corruption.

Please download pictures here, here, and here.

Victims of Crime Survey reveals South Africans are rapidly losing trust in SAPS

The most recent Victims of Crime Survey, released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) today, reveal that South Africans are now losing trust in the South African Police Service (SAPS) at an alarming rate, and are increasingly being prevented from living their lives to the fullest by a fear of crime.

According to the report over half of South Africans fail to report incidents of housebreakings to the police because they do not believe that the police can do anything about it.

One in three South Africans are prevented from enjoying open spaces due to a fear of falling victim to a crime. This fear also prevents 17% of respondents from allowing their children to play outside, 14% of respondents from walking to town or the shops, and 11% of respondents from dressing how they want.

South Africans clearly also seem to have a complete and utter lack of faith in the SAPS’ ability to be there for them in an emergency: only a quarter of respondents now believe that the police will respond to an emergency in less than 30 minutes, while more than 1 in 10 report they don’t believe the police will arrive at all.

South Africans deserve to live in neighbourhoods that are safe, and to trust in a responsive, well-trained, honest police service. The right to freedom and security of the person, as well as to human dignity, is enshrined in our Constitution. The ANC national government has been unable to secure these fundamental rights and has proven that they are incapable of fighting crime.

The SAPS need proper equipment, training and adequate staff to protect the people, and they are not receiving these necessary resources. Our communities have become war-zones as a result of their neglect.

The DA is committed to building One South Africa for All, where the government prioritise the safety of all by ensuring the SAPS is honest and professional.

DA challenges EFF to confirm they did not steal money from VBS

The DA challenges the EFF to set the record straight and publicly confirm whether or not it has ever received money from VBS Mutual bank to fund its operations.

The EFF has not been shy in their repeated and public defence of VBS Mutual Bank. Reports today, which reveal the extent of the looting and corruption at the bank, show that the brother of EFF deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, Brian received a massive R16 million from VBS.

For the EFF, which parades itself as quasi-revolutionaries championing the plight of poor communities, to be intimately linked to individuals who shamelessly stole from the poor, affirms that their political posturing towards VBS may be rooted in protecting the personal interests of their leaders.

Confirming if they did receive funds or not should be a simple exercise that can be settled instantly.

Many hard-working South Africans almost lost their life savings and were forced to wait in long lines, often overnight, just to make sure they could get their money out. A total of 15 municipalities may never see the R1.5 billion they deposited with the bank and will not be able to deliver services to their residents.

The DA will lay criminal charges against those who have been named in the South African Reserve Bank report including the likes of Brian Shivambu who need to be held accountable for theft.

In July this year, we challenged the EFF to confirm whether they had received funds from VBS and no answer has been forthcoming.

The EFF has an opportunity to simply confirm if they have or have not accepted money from VBS and should do so as soon as possible.

Johannesburg: R2 Billion investment into the Joburg Inner City a vote of confidence in DA governance

The DA welcomes the Divercity Urban Property Fund’s investment of R2 billion into Johannesburg as part of its strategy of creating thriving mixed-use inner-city precincts. This investment, will focus on the redevelopment of the iconic ABSA Towers Main building and Jewel City.

The inner-city precinct development project, which combines commercial buildings with affordable residential space to create inclusive and diverse neighbourhoods will commence in early 2019, with 20 floors dedicated to residential accommodation and recreation being launched in various phases, including 520 affordably priced residential rental apartments, child care facilities and a public park to name a few.

Besides creating an inclusive new world-class ‘live, work, play’ environment, the project is also designed to enhance the inner city as a whole and as part of a wider neighbourhood development initiative, a pedestrian-friendly walkway with street furniture, lighting and art will be created from the ABSA Towers Main building all the way to Maboneng. This unique urban intervention prioritizes pedestrians and people of the local community above vehicular traffic.

For the City, this investment indicates renewed confidence by investors’ in the potential held by Johannesburg.

Since coming into government Mayor Herman Mashaba has maintained that the revitalising of the inner city by turning it into a construction site of redevelopment is the key component to aid job creation within the Johannesburg local economy and through strategic public and private partnerships, also creating affordable quality housing for residents.

By working together with all sectors of society, we can progressively transform the inner city of Johannesburg into a space where residents can live work and play.

It won’t happen overnight but the DA is working hard to bring change to the people of Johannesburg. Through clean governance, the DA is committed to bringing about change that builds One South Africa for all.