World Bank report confirms crime under ANC costs SA 10% of GDP annually

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Dion George MP

In its Safety First: The Economic Cost of Crime in South Africa report released yesterday, the World Bank highlighted the staggering cost of crime under the ANC government. Annually, crime costs amount up to 10% of South Africa’s GDP.

For 2023, this cost is conservatively estimated at R700 billion, nearly three times the amount government spends on healthcare and R600 million more than the entire Police budget itself. The breakdown of these costs includes 2.6% of GDP from theft, 4.2% from protection costs like security and insurance, 1.8% from opportunity costs such as reduced tourism and increased transportation expenses, and 1% from foregone developmental public spending due to excessive government expenditure on crime prevention.

The report’s findings align with the 2023 Global Organised Crime Index (GOCI) which ranked South Africa 7th in the world, and 3rd in Africa, for the prevalence of mafia-style criminal networks and organised crime syndicates who have robbed us of the vital resources necessary for progress.

When taken into context, the numbers by the World Bank become even more alarming. These criminal activities could have cost us up to R175 billion in additional revenue for this year alone. This loss has destroyed National Treasury’s ability to achieve a primary surplus, manage public debt more effectively, and fund critical public services that ensure the safety and well-being of all South Africans.

But instead, under the ANC, the systematic degradation and hollowing out of South Africa’s law enforcement agencies has transformed the country into a haven for organised crime syndicates, who are threatening to overrun every sector of the economy.

The ANC’s solution to the address our fiscal woes has been to consider implementing more taxes . As if bleeding South Africans dry will somehow staunch the flow of illicit activities. What South Africa needs are not more tax hikes but a government with the backbone to eradicate crime.

Moreover, the report states that if wasteful security expenditures could be redirected, South Africa’s growth potential might have been between 0.7 to 1.3% higher between 2015 and 2019. Untold damage has been done by this Government.

And despite spending 2.7% of GDP (almost 10% of non-interest government expenditure) on policing, the judiciary and correctional services – much higher than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average – Government has been unable to increase the effectiveness of this expenditure.

Unfortunately, the ANC, in particular its Minister of Police, the Sheriff of Incompetence, Bheki Cele, shows little urgency in addressing the crisis. And it has become clear, ridding South Africa of crime has now become synonymous with dismantling the ANC itself – such is the depth of the party’s corruption.

The ANC’s tenure has been catastrophic and has caused irreparable damage to our economy and international standing. Only a DA government has the resolve to save our nation from this crisis. It’s high time for South Africans to abandon the party that has clearly abandoned them.

Government lacks adequate planning to prevent fatalities on SA’s most dangerous road

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Thami Mabhena MP

The National Department of Transport (DoT), in its presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCoT) regarding the festive season road safety plan, highlighted the R573 Moloto road as the most dangerous stretch in South Africa.

During the presentation by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) on behalf of the Department of Transport, it was noted that the R573 Moloto road has the highest number of crashes in the country. The RTMC report emphasised that the R573 Moloto road is a critical route, witnessing more fatal crashes over the past five years, with a total of 33 crashes claiming the lives of 38 people.

What is particularly concerning is that, despite this knowledge, the department, through the RTMC, still lacks adequate measures to prevent these fatal crashes. The DA expressed several concerns based on the RTMC presentation:

• The deployment of the National Traffic Police (NTP), especially in Mpumalanga which lacks a scientific basis or data-driven approach.

• The deployed NTP in Mpumalanga that is not operational 24/7, unlike the DA-led Western Cape provincial traffic authorities, which implements a 24/7 shift system for traffic law enforcement.

• There is no dedicated integrated intelligence operational centre to support officers on the ground.

• The RTMC lacks the deployment of technology to assist officers, interventions such as the deployment of drones for managing and dealing with traffic law enforcement are absent.

• RTMC does not include or consult traditional leaders in their stakeholder engagements, especially along the R573 Moloto Road in Mpumalanga.

Given these revelations, the DA is concerned that the RTMC lacks a watertight plan to ensure the reduction of fatalities on the R573 Moloto road.

Another significant concern for the DA is that the department appears to be operating with a blank cheque for their festive season budget, as they could not account for how much has been budgeted and allocated for this road safety campaign. The DA will continue to ask these critical questions in our endeavour to hold government accountable.

DA lays Human Rights Commission complaint against President Ramaphosa for failing South Africa’s 4.8 million starving children

Note to Editors: A Human Rights Commission complaint against President Ramaphosa for failing South Africa’s 4.8 million starving children is attached here and a soundbite here.

The DA has today laid a formal complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against President Cyril Ramaphosa, for the central role he has played in bringing about the nation’s current devastating reality: that almost five million of our children are starving.

According to the latest State of the South African Child Report by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, 4.8 million of the country’s 20 million children are starving.

This shocking and tragic situation is the consequence of sheer negligence and disregard for the plight of our children on the part of President Ramaphosa, who alone has the power to intervene decisively.

Instead, he has allowed this human catastrophe to unfold, even as catering costs aboard his presidential jet Inkwazi run to R24 000 per person for a single flight. There surely cannot be a great indictment on his presidency.
To be clear, this human tragedy of unimaginable proportions is 100% avoidable and the DA has long urged President Ramaphosa and his government to implement the interventions required to address it.

As set out by the DA in several statements, the immediate first step his government should take to address this crisis head on is to raise the Child Support Grant to the Food Poverty Line. This most obvious and urgent intervention would cost just R26 billion.

To anyone saying South Africa cannot afford to spend R26 billion per year to save almost five million starving children, I say we cannot afford NOT to spend it.
The human cost in terms of suffering and the effect of stunting and malnourishment across the full span of these children’s lifetimes is incalculably large.

Furthermore, the President is well aware of the economic reforms required to boost our economy and get it growing again.

Implementing just a few of these reforms would grow our tax revenue sufficiently to cover this cost, as would cutting corruption which his own government says costs the nation R27 billion per year.

The nation elected him on the basis of his commitment to bring these economic reforms and to cut corruption. In this, President Ramaphosa has failed dismally.

Instead of putting South Africa’s interest first, he has prioritised the need to constantly feed his party’s gluttonous patronage system, by retaining and defending the extractive policies of preferential procurement and cadre deployment.

Just this week, Harvard Professor Ricardo Hausmann diagnosed the fundamental causes of poor state capacity and economic stagnation to be BEE and cadre deployment. These, he says, are the two key policies driving the collapse of the state and the economy. President Ramaphosa has defended these core ANC policies to the hilt – policies which enrich the ANC-connected elite at the expense of the nation and especially the children of this nation, whose future he and his party are literally stealing.

President Ramaphosa has failed to capacitate the National Prosecuting Authority so that it can do its job of holding corruption to account, and he has failed to implement the recommendations of the R1 billion Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture, both of which would save the billions lost to corruption that should rather be spent on raising the child support grant to the food poverty line.

On 8 September 2022, I wrote to the President urging him to act boldly and immediately to mitigate South Africa’s growing hunger crisis.

In that letter, I set out several ways that this could be done.

The proposals are realistic and implementable by any government that cares enough to put the country’s needs ahead of its own, and the DA continues to call for them. They include reviewing the list of zero-rated foods, with a view to including bone-in chicken, baby food, and other items most commonly purchased by low-income households.

Child starvation should keep the President awake at night. Addressing it should be his top priority. Clearly, this is not the case.

Let us hope that the SAHRC finds in favour of South Africa’s 4.8 million starving children and holds President Ramaphosa to account for failing them. If not, voters must do so at the ballot box in the 2024 general election.

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DA narrowing gap with ANC: Successful voter registration drive marks the start of the mission to rescue South Africa

Please find attached a soundbite by Greg Krumbock MP.

The DA has made further significant strides in closing the gap between our party and the ANC during this past registration weekend. Our internal polling, in line with external polls, already confirms that we are now just 7 points behind the ANC, with the DA securing 32% and the ANC at 39% support from all registered voters.

The registration weekend was a resounding success, and we are extremely pleased with the results achieved thus far. However, we recognise that there is still much work to be done.

This weekend marks the beginning of our mission to rescue South Africa from the pressing issues of crime, corruption, and unemployment.

Our party is grateful for the overwhelming support from our supporters and citizens committed to positive change. This registration success would have been impossible without their dedication. The DA believes that we have dominated the online registrations and across the country. Our presence was felt while our opponents were few and far between.

As voting stations opened across South Africa, the DA was out in force, urging citizens to register and be a part of the change our nation so desperately needs. The future of our country lies in their hands.

With approximately 14 million unregistered voters, the success of South Africa hinges on each citizen taking a stand and participating in the electoral process.

We anticipate that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will update the voters’ roll in due course, and once merged with our internal IT system, we will be able to gauge the full extent of our strength during this registration weekend. We believe that we have not only met but exceeded our stretch targets, tuning the voters’ roll decisively in a blue direction.

The DA remains committed to being the core of a new majority, equipped to rescue the country from the challenges it faces. Our party’s policies, plans, and proven track record demonstrate our ability to address issues such as load-shedding, job creation, crime reduction, and the delivery of essential services.

The upcoming 2024 Election is pivotal, and we urge every eligible voter to ensure their correct registration and exercise their right to vote. The DA will continue to encourage citizens to register as we work tirelessly towards the goal of a better South Africa for all.

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PetroSA’s impending deal with Russia’s Gazprombank is foolish and must be cancelled

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP

After a tumultuous year in which the ANC government almost recklessly compromised South Africa’s bilateral and trade relations with America due to its unprincipled stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, PetroSA is adding fuel to the fire by choosing to partner with Russia’s sanctioned Gazprombank. This is a foolish move that will send South Africa/America relations over the tipping point and crash our comatose economy.

With President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet expected to make the final decision on the deal, the DA is demanding an immediate course correction before PetroSA’s costly error sends the country over the tipping point. If Cabinet still cares about South Africa’s economic wellbeing – which they have mismanaged to crisis levels, they should immediately rescind this ill-thought deal before its too late.

According to reports, PetroSA wants to partner with Russia’s Gazprombank – through its local subsidiary GPB Africa & Middle East, to restart the gas-to-liquids refinery in Mossel Bay, at a combined investment of R3.7-billion. Such a partnership poses significant risk, not only to PetroSA itself but to the entire economy. Gazprombank and its subsidiaries are under US sanctions as part of punitive measures against Russia’s war in Ukraine.

South Africa barely managed to remain in the AGOA trade deal and this latest stunt by PetroSA will give US lawmakers the excuse they need to expel us from this preferential trade access agreement and impose punitive sanctions on the country’s financial system. These catastrophic consequences were obviously lost on PetroSA and it raises the question of whether any risk assessment was done before a decision was taken to partner with Gazprombank.

The actions of PetroSA executives are a clear indication that corporate governance has been severely compromised at the entity and decisions are being taken without adequate due diligence. Despite several warnings from the Reserve Bank and National Treasury that South Africa faced significant risk of “secondary sanctions amid heightened geopolitical polarisation” due to the ANC government’s ‘neutral’ stance on the war in Ukraine, PetroSA still went ahead to choose Gazprombank as its partner. Not only this, they went out of their way to seek legal opinion to support their decision from the law firm of NJ Ayuk, a man who in 2007 pled guilty to fraud charges in the US and was deported from that country. He has also been accused of money laundering in Ghana, and was found guilty of defamation in South Africa.

PetroSA has lurched from one crisis to the other over the past decade and the DA will not allow the entity to drag the economy down through a reckless partnership with a sanctioned Russian economy. South Africa’s economic interests come first before harebrained attempts to appease the Kremlin warmonger, Vladimir Putin.

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DA urges ANC government to promptly aid with the chicken vaccine

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa MP

It has been almost six months since the outbreak of Avian Influenza, but the government has yet to finalise procurement of the necessary vaccines for farmers. The DA acknowledges the importance of ensuring food safety and preventing reckless vaccinations by farmers, but government’s delayed action to save farmers comes at a cost. Fortunately, the private sector is making progress with Deltamune’s vaccine registration trials.

However, the estimated monitoring cost for vaccinated flocks is a major concern, estimated at R20 000 per house, per month. This high cost is due to the interpretation of a flock by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), which defines a house as a flock. Farmers are also frustrated with the required individual samples, the limited pool of samples to five birds, and the fact that only vets are allowed to conduct post-mortem examinations and order/courier vaccines.

The proposed monitoring draft by the DALRRD is not feasible for producers from a human resource and financial standpoint. The DALRRD is currently understaffed with veterinary doctors, which only exacerbates the situation. In a recent written reply to the DA question, Minister Thoko Didiza, indicated that the department has a vacancy rate of 32% – which translates to 103 unfilled posts. Worse, poultry veterinary doctors are very scarce in this country.

The current deadlock between farmers and the DALRRD is centred on the monitoring of bird flocks. Farmers are required to prove that a flock is negative by providing 120 samples per house, and only then can the eggs go for pasteurisation. This creates delays in the registration of H5/H7 vaccines, and farmers will be blamed for these delays without considering that the monitoring and control is unaffordable. The least the government should have proposed was to subsidise the costs and provide additional manpower resources in the monitoring and control proposal.

To make matters worse, currently, the day-old layer chick supply has now been cut by 65% while layer farms are not going to be able to restock their numbers. South Africa will possibly experience country wide egg shortages around April month next year. According to Astral, the company expects the chicken to cost the consumer R2 more per kilogram during Christmas because farmers need to cover the costs to remain in the sector. Worst, recent reports indicate that 4.8 million children in South African are starving.

In September, the DA had sought urgent intervention of Minister Didiza in this regard and no reply was received. If farmers don’t receive the necessary aid before the end of November, the DA will have no choice but to escalate the matter to the presidency to avoid catastrophe. The DA will request for the placement of the animal health division of the DALRRD under administration for failing to provide the necessary phytosanitary support measures to the farmers. The proposed administration of the animal health department will include private sector involvement in managing animal diseases and animal movement control which if not attended, stands to have a detrimental impact on food security in this country.

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DA’s Social Impact Bill will end uncertainty on race policies

The DA strongly condemns the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development’s (DALRRD) unlawful AgriBEE enforcement plan.

The use of race-based criteria in determining agricultural export permits is morally indefensible and jeopardises the livelihoods of 800 000 people in South Africa’s agricultural sector.

The recent revelations about the ANC’s utilisation of race in awarding export permits to agricultural businesses are alarming. The DA has lodged complaints with the EU and UK trade offices and is exploring legal avenues to counter these discriminatory practices.

In contrast to the destructive policies pursued by the ANC, the DA emphasises its commitment to fair and transformative legislation. The DA’s Social Impact Bill, introduced in June, aims to reform public procurement comprehensively. This bill addresses the root causes of inequality, benefiting the majority of poor and vulnerable citizens.

The DA calls on the Minister of DALRRD to acknowledge and withdraw the AgriBEE Plan and Enforcement Guidelines. These documents propose race-based restrictions on permits, licenses, and certificates, undermining the principles of equality and fairness.

The DA will continue to fight against job-killing policies and discriminatory practices that threaten the economic well-being of South Africa.

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How will NSFAS’ R2 billion budget adjustment affect students?

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Chantel King MP

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s (NSFAS) downward budget adjustment of R2 billion will surely have a ripple effect on funding outcomes of students in 2024 and result in the culling of more eligible students through defunding and rejected appeal outcomes.

These are the realities Higher Education Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, brushed aside yesterday during his media briefing regarding the opening of the NSFAS 2024 application process. NSFAS performed dismally this year, leaving countless students in the lurch, and Minister Nzimande’s address gave no assurances that the Scheme will improve its performance in 2024.

NSFAS failure to properly manage its student-centered model this year means that many students are still waiting on funding and appeal outcomes, not to mention defunding students mid-year.

NSFAS spent too much on information and communication technologies (ICT) – R65 million on budget 1 and an extra R54 million to address NSFAS ICT challenges – to merely say the Scheme has ICT challenge.

The DA will write to Minister Nzimande to get clarity on:

• How the MTBPS budget cuts for both NSFAS and universities will affect students and institutions alike;
• The size of the funding shortfall for the 2024 academic year and where additional funding will be sourced;
• The status on the contracts of the NSFAS direct payment service providers and how students will receive their 2024 funds; and
• The progress on accrediting student accommodation service providers?

We need answers to these questions to ascertain whether students in 2024 will have a smooth start to their academic year. Students are sick of empty promises that brush over the reality of their situations.

The DA will continue to fight for a sustainable approach to student funding so that students are not subjected to hunger and destitution due to non-payment of allowances.

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As loadshedding worsens, Ramokgopa’s ‘Father Christmas’ moment contradicts National Treasury debt relief package

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Samantha Graham-Maré MP

National Treasury should call the Minister of Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, to order after he recklessly promised bonuses to Eskom staff, contradicting the terms of Treasury’s’ Eskom debt relief package.

One of the conditions for taking over part of Eskom’s debt was that “Eskom may not implement remuneration adjustments that negatively affect its overall financial position and sustainability.” With this clear stipulation, Ramakgopa took it upon himself to play populist politics and make promises about bonus payments when Eskom is clearly unable to pay them.

Promising Eskom workers a bonus while loadshedding strips our economy of billions of rands is crass, thoughtless and potentially dangerous. There simply isn’t any budgetary allocation towards a performance bonus, as it did not form part of Eskom’s the operational plan of for this financial year.

In the last week, the Minister has stated that the general malaise afflicting the Eskom workforce could be addressed by paying performance bonuses. There are several problems with this complete overstep by the Minister.

While the Minister is entitled to engage with the Board of Eskom, he is not the Minister of Public Enterprises under which the staff of Eskom fall. Furthermore, it is not part of the mandate of members of the Executive to take operational decisions, particularly those that have financial implications for an entity.

Never one to allow reality to stand in the way of a fantastic idea, the Minister has suggested the balance of money set aside for diesel for the Open Cycle Gas Turbines could be used for the bonuses.

Despite only R 20 billion of the allocated R 30 billion having been spent on the diesel for the turbines, there still remain 4 months of this financial year. The OCGTs are used to address peak times where the transmission grid is constrained. We know, however, that these turbines, despite being geared to operate at 10%, have been operating at 65% at times during this year. And, despite the ongoing promises of the ANC that the end of loadshedding is imminent, facts indicate that the need for the OCGTs will not diminish any time soon.

If the Minister’s goal is to improve morale, making a promise that he cannot deliver on is not the answer. Instead of diverting attention from the inability of the ANC to fix the energy crisis, the Minister and his team of experts should be following the lead of the DA-led Western Cape and thinking outside of the box to provide innovative mitigation measures to address the loadshedding crisis.

The DA calls on the Minister to put the responsibility of his office ahead of the popularity of his party and stop making baseless statements that further contribute to the disillusionment of South Africans across the country.

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Youth cricket week marred by debilitating race quotas

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Tsepo Mhlongo MP

The DA vehemently rejects the race quotas instituted by Cricket SA (CSA) for the upcoming Khaya Majola Under-19 Cricket Week in Grahamstown next month.

In a memorandum sent to all parents of the school cricketers, Cricket SA rules that each provincial team is required to field a minimum of seven black players and a minimum of three Black African players. Teams are further instructed to have two Black African batsmen who must bat in the top six batting order during each game.

It is disheartening that the International Cricket Council (ICC) advocates for inclusivity and proclaims to “make considerable efforts to protect the integrity of the sport through anti-racism programmes”, while CSA institutes quotas in direct contradiction.

This discriminatory CSA policy smacks of political influence from the hopeless, soul-destroying ANC government. They are in effect reinforcing the narrative that that the colour of your skin can mean the difference between your progress being helped or hindered. It simply cannot be allowed. There are many young sportsmen and women who adequately meet the selection criteria for a variety of sporting codes through their talent. Now, with CSA’s instruction, many of these young cricketers will be labelled as tokens.

Sport is a vehicle for children to develop and form lasting relationships. Ultimately, quotas only bear negative consequences on child development and cause disruption in team synergy.

The Springboks has recently shown that if you choose people on merit, building unity and inclusive environment, you achieve more by enforcing draconian measures that at the end of the day has the opposite effect.

The DA will be writing to the ICC to advise on these discriminatory rules. The ANC government’s path of destruction cannot continue unabated.

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