Die ANC is ʼn praat sonder daad politieke party

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Henro Kruger MP, during the Budget Vote on Small Business Development.
Huis Voorsitter,
Die ANC is ʼn praat sonder daad politieke party.
Ja, praat sonder daad.
Die Komitee Voorsitter, Agbare Ruth Bengu, het op 3 Mei 2017, die mandaat van die Departement van Kleinsake-ontwikkeling aan die komitee meegedeel. Volgens haar is die mandaat van die Departement soos volg:

  1. Toegang vir almal tot die ekonomie en welvaart van Suid-Afrika.
  2. Verantwoordelik vir 90% van die skepping van 11 miljoen volhoubare werksgeleenthede wat teen 2030 geskep moet word.
  3. Die vermindering van hoë regulatoriese nakoming wat op kleinsake van toepassing is.

Dit is baie duidelik die ANC tot dusver gefaal het in hierdie mandaat.
Die ANC praat sonder daad.
Gun my asseblief die geleentheid om die afgelope 3 jaar se vordering in hierdie verband uit te lig.
88% van alle nuwe korporasies wat gestig word met die hulp van die Departement en sy agentskappe, die Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) en Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA), faal tragies, ten koste van miljoene rande vir die rekening van die belastingbetaler.
Voorsitter, die vermoede bestaan dat min van hierdie lede word ooit opgevolg of opgespoor. Op ʼn vraag aan Minister Lindiwe Zulu deur Agbare Toby Chance, in verband met huidige bydrae van korporasies tot die nasionale bruto produk, was die antwoord 0.12% – weglaatbaar klein, maar tog verkies die ANC om aanhoudend hieroor te praat, duidelik sonder daad.
SEDA en SEFA, kleinsake se hoop tot ontwikkeling en finansiering, beplan onderskeidelik nie naastenby genoeg aktiwiteite vir die 2017/2018 finansiële jaar om enigsins vordering te maak nie.
SEDA beplan om bykans R757 miljoen te spandeer op kleinsake ontwikkeling gedurende die 2017/18 finansiële jaar, wat gelyk is aan ʼn baie klein munisipaliteit se begroting.
SEFA aan die anderkant beplan om deur middel van hulle ingryping 59 000 werksgeleenthede te skep. Duidelik, Agbare Voorsitter, is daar nie ʼn daadwerklike politiese wil om genoegsame werksgeleenthede teen 2030 te skep nie.
Die ANC praat sonder daad.
Voorsitter, die derde mandaat van die Departement, volgens die Komitee Voorsitter, is die vermindering van die regulatoriese rompslomp wat kleinsake ondervind. Net meer as ʼn week gelede, het die komitee die geleentheid gehad om ʼn wetsontwerp, wat rompslomp sal verminder, goed te keer. Helaas, die ANC het ʼn politiese besluit geneem om nie hierdie weg te volg nie.
Die ANC is inderdaad praat sonder daad.
Die “Red Tape Impact Assessment Bill” sou vir die ANC regering ʼn geleentheid gebied het, om te bewys dat hulle ernstig is om werk te skep, armoede te verminder en inklusiewe toegang vir almal tot die ekonomie te verseker. Met die afkeuring van die wetsontwerp het die ANC ʼn geleentheid om die speelvelde vir kleinsake meer gelyk te maak verhoed, en as ware verseker dat hindernisse soos rompslomp voort sal gaan om ekonomiese groei en werkskepping te rem.
Navorsing het bewys dat rompslomp tot 10% wegvreet in die daaglikse omset van kruideniersware winkels se omset. Tot soveel as R30 per kop word aan rompslomp gespandeer vir ʼn troue, en dit kos die restaurant eienaar 5% ekstra om vir jou ʼn ete op te dis by jou gunsteling uiteet plek.
Elke sent wat rompslomp besigheid ekstra kos, as gevolg van ʼn regering wat nie omgee nie, maak die entrepreneur ontsettend seer. Hierdie onnodige uitgawes vir kleinsake kan eerder tot werkskepping aangewend word.
Die DA is die enigste party met wetsontwerp wat toegespit is om ʼn vriendelike omgewing vir kleinsake ondernemings en korporasies te skep, wat die sukses van kleinsake sal vergemaklik. In die Wes-Kaap, waar die DA regeer, het ‘n soortgelyke beleid reeds 85% van 6 000 rompslomp sake opgelos.
Die President en die Ministers praat gereeld oor die vermindering van rompslomp, maar dit is alles praat sonder daad.
Voorsitter, 2019 is om die draai, dan sal die DA deur middel van goed deurdinkte regverdige beginsels ʼn omgewing vir die kleinsake gemeenskap skep wat geleenthede vir almal sal beteken en tot die welvaart van alle Suid Afrikaners sal lei.
Die DA voeg die daad wat hy praat.

Dysfunctional Home Affairs compromises jobs

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Hannif Hoosen MP, during the Budget Vote on Home Affairs.
I would like to start by congratulating the Honourable Minister on her recent appointment.
I am encouraged by the attitude from the new Minister, especially her regular attendance at the portfolio committee meetings, which is certainly a positive change compared to her predecessor.
Chairperson,
This department must be given credit for some of the good work that has been done. The rollout of 6 million smart ID cards in four years and the quick turnaround times with passport applications are impressive achievements.
Most people have forgotten that it used to take several weeks to get a passport. It is now possible that you could receive one in a week.
While there is little doubt that we are making progress, there is still much more to achieve.
We must not forget that today more than 9 million South Africans are without a decent job and have little hope for the future.
This department has a critical role to play in turning that around.
With the ease of travel, billions of people are looking for new opportunities to work, live and play. Countries all over the world are working hard to be at the forefront of this opportunity and make it more attractive, for those with skills and capital to enter their shores.
If we want to grow our economy and reduce unemployment, we too must exploit these opportunities, through our immigration system.
But Honourable Chairperson, our immigration system is broken.
There are many people who enter our country legally every year and play by the rules, but there are also many who have no respect for our rules.
Most businesses respect our laws and pay their workers a proper wage, but they also forced to watch others exploit these rules as they pay undocumented immigrants low wages.
For far too long we have heard of stories about people who simply walk across our borders.
Nobody in Home Affairs can tell you how many million undocumented immigrants are living in our country.
We need an immigration system that is fair, effective and one that contributes to growing our economy and creating jobs.
We need a system where everyone contributes and one that treats people with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
I want to present the DA’s plan to turn this around and appeal to the Minister to give careful consideration to these proposals.
The first thing we must do, is fix our borders. We must fix our fence.
If we don’t, we will never solve the problem of the high number of undocumented immigrants in the country.
Businesses who break the rules and employ undocumented immigrants must be dealt with harshly. They destroy our economy.
Tracking down and deporting an unknown number of undocumented immigrants will cost us far too much. It costs millions each year for deportation and this is no longer sustainable.
This is why, we are calling on the Minister to find innovative ways to regularise undocumented immigrants. Let us allow them to come forward and regularise themselves and play by the rules. This will save us millions that can re-directed towards more sustainable programmes.
While most countries are rolling out the red carpet, we are rolling out the red tape.
We have to make it easier for those who are willing to play by the rules to enter, live, work and play in our beautiful country.
We have to make it more difficult for those who cross our borders illegally and don’t play by the rules.
And we must fix our fence.
Through our immigration programme, we CAN make a meaningful contribution towards the NDPs aim of finding work for the 9 million unemployed South Africans,
We can achieve this objective by creating a user friendly and attractive visa regime.
If we make it easier for people to invest in SA, we will contribute to that objective.
But sadly, Immigration Affairs is still the worst funded programme in Home Affairs and as a result, we are not taking job creation seriously.
We all know, that our country is experiencing a period of slow growth and declining foreign investments.
If we want to address the crisis of 9 million unemployed South Africans, then home affairs must simplify our visa regime to attract foreign investment, so that it is easier for companies to set up shop here, which will lead to job creation.
But we are doing the opposite.
In 2014, the former Home Affairs Minister and the current Finance Minister introduced disastrous new immigration regulations and increased the minimum amount for a business visa to R5 million.
The DA warned him then that this decision would have a devastating effect and would create an additional barrier to foreign investors to enter the South African Market.
But he did not take this seriously and continued to argue for a higher entry-level investment.
Honourable Chairperson, the evidence is now before us that we were correct.
In the whole of 2016, not a single business visa was approved by Home Affairs for new start-up businesses. By comparison, a country like Mauritius has attracted scores of new foreign owned businesses.
It is clear from this that the Department is not succeeding in making South Africa an attractive destination for investment.
We need a different approach if we want to achieve different outcomes.
We therefore call on the new Minister today, to introduce a sliding scale where both large and small investors can be attracted to our shores.
We must make provisions for a small business visa.
We know that there are thousands of foreigners operating small businesses illegally in South Africa, because our visa regime makes it impossible for them to operate legally.
If we create an environment for small business to thrive, it will have a direct impact on job creation and regularise the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already in the country.
There is an opportunity here that we are not exploring.
But not all undocumented foreigners are entrepreneurs.
Many of them work illegally in the country without proper permits, because of our inability to protect our borders.
You no longer need to jump a fence, there is no fence.
We must fix that fence.
For too long we invested poorly in the number of Immigration Officers, whose job it is to seek out and deport illegal immigrants.
We have fewer than 800 immigration officers in the entire country but a city like London has almost 3600.
The DA has repeatedly called for a greater investment in this department for several years now.
More immigration officers will result in fewer undocumented immigrants and this would increase demand for unskilled labour in South Africa.
I invite the new Minister to offer a commitment to address these weaknesses.
Honourable Chairperson, a few days ago, the ANC attempted to use its declining majority to force through the Border Management Authority Bill (BMA) in the house.
To their huge embarrassment, it failed to achieve the required numbers.
We can hardly afford to fill the vacancies in Home affairs and yet we are experimenting with faulty ideas that make absolutely no sense.
The introduction of the BMA will double the number of staff in Home Affairs yet Treasury has put a moratorium on new appointments. Because we simply cannot afford it.
What is required is a more effective use of our current resources, a reduction in unnecessary spending in the department, and an increased investment in Immigration Affairs.
The estimated cost of the BMA is almost R22bn, something that we cannot afford at this time in our country. Let’s rather focus on fixing our fence.
Honourable Chairperson,
Recently, a culture of mediocrity is creeping in at front line offices across the country. More South African’s are becoming increasingly frustrated with the unprofessional service from some staff and security guards.
While the majority are hard working professionals, a hand full of staff continue to give this department a bad reputation.
The people of South Africa are our customers and we need to start treating them with the respect that they deserve.
As I conclude, I recognise that we have made some good progress, but there have been some poor decisions and poor spending patterns.
But this won’t be for too long. More and more South Africans are becoming increasingly annoyed with the state of governance, mediocrity and corruption in our country.
It is only a matter of time till South Africa ushers in a new government. This one is already on its way out. South Africans and the world are already preparing for life after the ANC.
And when that happens we will make sure that everything we do will be in the best interest of our shared futures and the people of our country.

If Home Affairs fails, our country fails

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Archibold Figlan MP, during the Budget Vote on Home Affairs.
Honourable Chairperson,
This department is one of the most important in our government. It touches the hearts and minds of every single South African and is often used as an indication of just how well our government works. If Home Affairs fails, our country fails.
For this reason, everything we do in this department must bring change to the lives of our people and make a positive contribution to the development of all South Africans and the country as a whole.
The smart ID rollout programme, as my colleague has already mentioned, has made some sterling progress, but the rate of delivery is still too slow. At the current rollout rate, it is likely to take more than ten years to ensure that we convert from the old ID book to the new smart ID card. We must, therefore, implement new measures to achieve this target sooner than planned. We welcome the introduction of banks in assisting with this rollout but there are still too few banks that can entertain applications.
The long queues at Home Affairs offices are also a massive problem for people who are unable to spend an entire day away from work, just to apply for an ID document.
Many offices around the country stop accepting people from 15:30. We appeal to the Minister to take careful note of the declining quality standards at many offices countrywide. In particular, the Edenvale Office in Johannesburg, the Bellville office in Cape Town, and the Umgeni Road office in Durban are the main culprits.
Honourable speaker, for many years now, we have raised the concern around the registration of new-born children. Thousands of children who live in our country are still not properly registered and years later when they attempt to register, it becomes very difficult to prove that they are South African citizens.
Many parents do not take this responsibility seriously. Only 75% of the children born in our country are registered within 30 days. This is a scary statistic. We must do more to ensure that every single child that is born in this country, is properly registered. It does not help that registration facilities at hospitals are inoperable and under staffed. This exacerbates the problem and must receive urgent attention from the Minister.
Honourable Chairperson, another area of concern is the massive backlog that we have in the permanent resident application process.
Recently, the Director-General announced that about 4 600 applications are no longer on the system. What has happened to those applications? Why have they simply disappeared and what steps are being taken to inform every applicant to re-apply?
Many applicants have already been waiting for many years for the adjudication process to be completed, and now we hear that their applications have somehow been deleted. I invite the Honourable Minister to inform this house of the details in this regard, in her final reply.
Honourable Chairperson, in conclusion, I wish to extend our appreciation to all the staff and senior management officials in the department for their contribution.
We must recognise that hundreds of home affairs officials work tirelessly to keep this department operational but that so much more could be done to support and improve the delivery of services to the people of our country.

Overcrowding remains the sore finger on the hand of the DCS

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, Werner Horn MP, during the Budget Vote on Correctional Services.
It is, as has been pointed out here today, commendable that the audit outcome of Correctional Services has improved over the last years. This has allowed us to scrutinise with increased accuracy the performance of this Department.
It is not difficult to identify the sore fingers on the hand of Correctional Services as has been done here today by colleagues like the Honourable Selfe.
At the risk of oversimplifying the problems faced by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), it must be stated that overcrowding remains the big problem. If addressed successfully, the ripple effect will improve not only the effectiveness of incarceration but also that of rehabilitation and social re-integration. This will simultaneously help to address the constant problems in retaining skilled staff, maintaining staff morale and motivation.
More than twenty years into our democracy, it really is unacceptable that some DCS facilities house two and a half times the number of detainees. They were it was intended for. And it really should not have been necessary for a Judge of the Constitutional Court inspect Pollsmoor and for an NGO to approach our Courts for an order to enforce his findings, to force the DCS to craft and implement plans to reduce overcrowding at facilities in bigger cities.
Chair, to ANC colleagues in committee, rather than using briefings like the one last week on how the DCS responded to the judicial report and order into conditions at Pollsmoor to criticise the judiciary because it has pointed out this sore finger, and rather than proposing that the Correctional Services Act must be amended to take away the rights and duties of our judiciary to visit correctional facilities, we, as members of the Legislature, should be introspective and ask why the judiciary is more effective in pointing out the human rights violations at our correctional facilities and bringing about the changes in living conditions of detainees we also talk about in committee ad nauseam?
I will tell you why. It is because you, as ANC members, are too scared to hold the Executive properly to account. You use your majority to ensure committees pay only lip service to oversight.
But this has now caught up with you. The reality is that if you did not, for the sake of political expediency over the years, create a situation where reporting is deemed to be equal to accounting, the Portfolio Committee could have been the institution issuing all the directives issued to ensure a plan of action was implemented to reduce overcrowding and improve the living conditions in Pollsmoor.
What’s more is that instead of looking failure squarely in the eye and making a promise to yourself to do better going forward, you instead berate the judiciary for overreach and ask why judges are allowed to inspect correctional facilities. This is a sad indication of how unsuited the ANC has become for government in a constitutional democracy.
Proper oversight would long have demanded that the DCS craft and implement the type of plans which was now ordered by our courts.
Proper oversight would long have ensured that the build programme, so necessary to create additional bed spaces, is accelerated beyond the promise recycled every year and presented as a fresh plan to create thousands of bed spaces.
Proper oversight should not be afraid of offending the Executive or finding failure.
Because proper oversight will always strengthen governance.
We need the type of good clean governance that will ensure the capital budget of the DCS is not only spent, but spent in a prudent, responsible manner. Ensuring that the taxpayer gets value for money for every cent allocated to the DCS and earmarked for the building and refurbishment of correctional facilities, the upgrading of IT and other reporting systems, of money allocated for not only the care of offenders, but also their rehabilitation and social re-integration.
This ANC government has shown that it can only talk about the strengthening of governance, but after 2019 a DA-led administration will show that it is possible to deliver.
For the sake of South Africa, we will make Correctional Services work.

The judiciary must be protected against intimidation

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Service, Adv.Werner Horn MP, during the Budget Vote on the Office of the Chief Justice and Judicial Administration.
The unenviable and thankless, but yet paramount task of our judiciary was described with great clarity in the 2006 judgment of our Constitutional Court, in the case of Affordable Medicines Trust VS the Minister of Health in which the Court held:
“The exercise of public power must, therefore, comply with the Constitution, which is the supreme law and the doctrine of legality … it entails that both the Legislature and the Executive are constrained in the principle that they may exercise no power and perform no function beyond that conferred on them by law.”
Chair,
This uncomfortable reality is of course at the root of all of the ANC’s criticism against the judiciary – an ANC which more and more regrets ever insisting on installing constitutional supremacy in our country and who want to go back to parliamentary supremacy, so that they can use their majority to do exactly what they want, without any checks or balances.
Therefore, the continuous and constant criticism of the judiciary, especially every time it holds the ANC’s exercise of power to be unconstitutional, is, in fact, not only criticism, but part of an active campaign of intimidation against the judiciary.
In June 2013, the then President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Lex Mpati, had the following to say regarding the independence of the judiciary:
“An independent Judiciary requires both that individual judges are independent in the exercise of their powers, and that the judiciary as a whole is independent, its sphere of authority protected from wrongful interference by the other two branches of government … as for individual judges they must be protected from the threat of reprisals, so fear does not direct their decision making”.
Chair,
For those still of the opinion that the lip service the Executive and the ANC sometimes pay to the supremacy of our Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of our judiciary should ally our fears, we say – don’t be fooled.
On Monday, just prior to the hearing of the matter in the Constitutional Court regarding the application of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) for a ruling on a secret ballot in the Vote of No-confidence debate, the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng issued a statement that must be repeated here. He stated that:
“The South African judiciary reaffirms its commitment to the principles of independence, impartiality, dignity, accessibility and effectiveness of the courts.
The courts, as provided for in our Constitution, exist to promote the rule of law and to uphold the supreme law of the country, the Constitution.
The South African judiciary has been, and will continue to be fearless in its approach to promote the rule of law and safeguard its independence.
The South African judiciary further reaffirms its commitment to the doctrine of separation of powers – provided for in the Constitution – which vests the legislative autonomy in the Legislature, the executive autonomy in the Executive, and the judicial authority in the courts.”
Then, during the hearing, the Chief Justice made a startling, yet coded, revelation that members of the judiciary face unspecified threats.
In a throw-away comment during Monday’s Constitutional Court hearing, Chief Justice Mogoeng suggested that judges face dangers more serious than the risk of losing their jobs, for making unpopular decisions.
Chief Justice Mogoeng gave no specifics of the dangers he was alluding to, but every single South African who holds dear our constitutional democracy should be alarmed.
Clearly some incident moved the Chief Justice to make both of these rather startling statements.
Bearing in mind the stated importance of the principles mentioned by the Chief Justice, and the importance of a truly independent judiciary, who must apply the law without fear, favour or prejudice, it is extremely worrying that our judiciary are in all probability under threat of physical harm.
Chair,
Add to this the specific content of the budget for the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) proposed here today, which does not even enable the full operationalisation of the Mpumalanga High Court or the Superior Courts Act, nor allow for either the upgrading of the security of the OCJ, nor for the personal security of judges.
The question must be asked why we should not brand this budget as yet another attempt to intimidate the judiciary into a state of deference to the Executive and the Legislature?
The DA cannot, in good conscience, support this budget.

DA requests debate of national importance on violence against women

The DA has today written to National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, requesting a debate of national public importance on violence against women in terms of National Assembly Rule 130.
A recent string of utterly shocking cases has brought to light the scourge of violence against women which is plaguing our country:
• In March 2017, 11-year old Stasha Arendse was kidnapped, raped and killed;
• On 4 April 2017, a Grade 2 girl was raped by Grade 7 boys at her school. On 28 April 2017, 22-year old Karabo Mokoena was reported missing and on 29 April 2017, her body was recovered, having been necklaced and thrown in a ditch; and
• In the last 17 days, 15-year old Nombuyiselo was burned to death; 3-year old Courtney Pieters was allegedly raped twice by a 40-year old man and then murdered; a 2-year old girl was allegedly raped and killed by her father; and Popi Qwabe, Bongeka Phungula, Lerato Moloi and an unidentified woman were all found dead in Soweto.
While this scourge has rightly received increased attention in the past days, the sad truth is that this is not a new occurrence. Women in South Africa are routinely subjected to these most horrific incidents, and they occur without the same media attention.
When this debate is scheduled we will demand that Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, Women Minister, Susan Shabangu, and Justice Minister, Michael Masutha, partake in this debate because they have been quiet on the issue and have had no solutions to make South Africa a safer place for women, for too long.
The ANC government has completely failed in its duty to make our society safer for all members, and specifically for women, by not tackling issues of patriarchy and gender violence, further compounded by ineffective policing and often police indifference to serious cases.
The DA, therefore, believes that it is absolutely crucial for the issue to be debated by Parliament. We will require clear plans from the implicated Ministers, and we will hold them to account.
Mbalula, Shabangu and Masutha need to account to the National Assembly and indeed to the nation on why their departments have failed to date on this issue and what will be done going forward to bring this suffering to an end.
As a nation we need to stand up, men and women alike, in defence of women and say that enough is enough.

We live in an abnormal constitutional democracy

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP, during the Budget Vote on the Office of the Chief Justice and Judicial Administration.
We live in a time when the debate on vote 22, the Office of the Chief Justice, again attracts more attention than would have been the case had we lived in a normal constitutional democracy. But then, of course, we do not.
We live in a constitutional democracy described by the President, who should be one of the ultimate guardians of this constitutional democracy, as a “funny” democracy. And he is the only one laughing! Particularly when he displays his total inability to understand the role of the judiciary in scrutinising all exercise of public power.
But he, of course, is not alone in this inability. It is clearly an extremely contagious affliction that has spread not only through his entire cabinet, or what remains of it, but through his entire party.
In his speech on this vote on 19 May 2015, the Honourable Minister of Justice stated as follows:
“Today’s maiden budget vote debate of the Office of the Chief Justice marks an important turning point in the 21 years of our democracy. The independence of the judiciary is crucial in view of the role it plays in a constitutional democracy within the context of separation of powers.”
He then went on to quote, with approval, former Chief Justice Ngcobo who remarked:
“The role of the judiciary in a constitutional democracy is an expansive one. Decisions of judges affect many people. Courts have the power to overrule even the most popular decisions of the other arms of the state if they believe they are contrary to the constitution. The acceptance and support of these and all court decisions by society depends upon public confidence in the integrity and independence of the judiciary”.
Maybe the President is correct in saying that we live in a funny democracy, because, what would have been funny if it was not so terribly sad, is that on every occasion since then where the courts have performed exactly this function, they were roundly criticised and derided by the President and members of his cabinet in a manner that can no longer be seen as merely a discussion of court rulings, but which can only be seen as an attempt to intimidate the judiciary.
Chairperson, then from left of the stage, entered yet more “thieves”, this time of the allegedly common and garden variety, or at least that is what the Acting Commissioner of Police wanted the country to believe, when he rounded up three unfortunate passers-by and tried to pass them off as criminal masterminds of the calibre of George Clooney and Brad Pitt in a South African version of Ocean’s Eleven.
What, however, remains unanswered, is exactly how the real thieves, who remain undetected, gained access to a building that should be totally secure, whether a CCTV camera system was operational at the time, and if so, how it was circumvented, as well as the progress, or lack thereof, in tracking down these real thieves.
Chairperson, in all seriousness, it was with a great measure of discomfort that we learned that the budget allocation to the Office of the Chief Justice will not allow this department to strengthen security measures through their own resources.
If the President, and his colleagues within the ANC, are really serious about the practical implementation of the separation of powers, it must follow that the Office of the Chief Justice should not be dependent on another of the arms of state for its safety measures.
Chairperson, on the right of stage, and present there since before this department was established in 2015, and afforded its own budget vote, remains of course, the issue of a judicially-led court administration model. From the outside, looking in, it would seem that the Minister of Justice approaches this issue with the theory that if he turns a blind eye to it for long enough, it will simply go away – like we sometimes wish he would.
The stance of the judiciary on this matter is clear, and since nothing real has happened to address the standoff since this debate last year, we re-iterate:
The Democratic Alliance supports a model through which the judiciary be allowed, in a manner similar to that of the Auditor General, to negotiate directly with Treasury regarding its budgetary allocation.
Accountability in regard to how this budget would be spent should be enforced by a Parliamentary Committee set up specifically for this purpose, rather than the Portfolio Committee for Justice and Correctional Services.
This unwillingness to constructively deal with the issue must be read against the backdrop of the continuous and continued criticism of the President, members of his cabinet and others within his polluted inner circle.
From accusations that the collective mindset of the judiciary is in need of ‘transformation’, to statements that certain divisions met with what was called ‘characters’ before producing counter-revolutionary judgements to a more specific accusation that specifically the Western Cape and Northern Gauteng benches assisted efforts by opposition parties to govern through our courts – we have heard it all.
After the Nkandla judgement, scathing attacks were launched on the judiciary by many in the ANC, particularly those that rushed, predictably, to the defence of the President, the hand that feeds them.
After the judgement in the matter of Al-Bashir, cabinet ministers openly attacked the judiciary. In particular, Minister Mbalula and Minister Nzimande were most outspoken in their criticism of the judiciary.
When the President addressed the House of Traditional Leaders, he told them that the judiciary was not to be trusted, that judges found one guilty for stating one’s case, even when one was innocent.
The attacks on the judiciary were of such an alarming scale that the Chief Justice was moved to request a meeting with the president in order to address the attacks and the effects thereof.
The meeting took place, and a stone-faced Chief Justice, and a predictably giggly president, told the nation that the proverbial hatchet had been buried, and that a new understanding had been reached, re-affirming the importance and the independence of the judiciary.
For as long as this budget does not facilitate complete independence of the judiciary, the DA cannot support this budget.

Aguma must be suspended after he lied to Parliament about the Hlaudi press briefing

The DA calls on the SABC interim Board to immediately suspend James Aguma, as Acting GCEO of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and its permanent CFO for lying to Parliament.
Earlier today, the Deputy Chairperson of the SABC board, Mathatha Tsedu, revealed that Aguma admitted in an affidavit to giving permission to Hlaudi Motsoeneng to host his infamous press conference denigrating the SABC on 19 April 2017.
Yet, when I asked Aguma, on 26 April 2017 at a meeting of the Communications Portfolio committee, why he allowed Hlaudi to conduct the press conference, he claimed that he had no knowledge of it, that he was in fact in a meeting at the time and could therefore not prevent it.
Aguma’s admission in an affidavit that he did, in fact, know about the press conference, and in fact gave his permission as Acting GCEO for it to go ahead, is proof that he lied to Parliament at the time, and may have also been lying to the SABC interim Board.
According to Section 17(2)(e) of the Powers and Privileges Act, a person may not “wilfully furnish a House or committees with information, or makes a statement before it, which is false or misleading”. This is a very serious issue and can result in a fine or up to two years in prison.
While the DA welcomes Aguma’s replacement today, as announced by Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, the fact is this is just while he is on sick leave, as confirmed by The Deputy Chairperson of the SABC board, Mathatha Tsedu.
Given his close proximity to crucial documents that could reveal the true extent of the financial mismanagement at the SABC, he could interfere in the investigation, and must, therefore, be suspended.
When asked by Tim Brauteseth, DA representative on SCOPA Minister Dlodlo refused to pronounce on whether Aguma should be suspended.
The DA believes that Aguma must be permanently removed as Acting CGEO, and suspended from the SABC in his permanent role as the public broadcaster’s CFO, pending a forensic investigation and a disciplinary inquiry.
The DA calls on SABC interim board, in restoring the public’s confidence in the SABC, to immediately suspend Aguma.
For years we’ve seen the deterioration of the SABC and it is time for the Minister and Interim Board to remove the institutional rot.

ANC government’s bloated bureaucracies only exist to dispense patronage

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Yusuf Cassim MP, during the Budget Vote on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Honourable Chairperson
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) remains exactly what it has been created to be – an employment agency and a means to dispense patronage for the elite within the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and its alliance partners.
It represents everything you need to know about the ANC of today. A proud liberation movement reduced to the struggle between factions for the control of bloated bureaucracies to be the arbiters of dispensing patronage.
As I warned this House before, the flawed NYDA board appointment process serviced exactly these ends, and low and behold, everything I warned was confirmed by the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) whose secretary, Mluleki Dlelanga, reckons, and I quote, “the YCLSA’s conclusion is that the President, based on the appointment of this board took, the decision under factional lines…if you behave in a factional way, you’re factional.
Mr Dlelanga continues to begrudge, and again I quote, “we went further and checked who these new candidates are. We found out that the new chairperson, with due respect to him, is just a mere guy with a driver’s license, matric certificate and a pawn being used in factional politics.” These are hardly shocking revelations as I detailed all of this and more to this House before.
How much longer are you going to defend the indefensible?
1 in every 2 young people are unemployed. Over 15 million young people will be entering the job market over the next decade. The ANC must wake up and stop defending their obvious abuse of power! The futures of an entire generation is being stolen and this is your answer?
This crisis will never be solved by the NYDA type approach. Besides all of the above, its programmes are small and piecemeal and the veracity of it success unverifiable.
Despite a resolution by the portfolio committee in February for a detailed breakdown of its beneficiaries and their success rate, none has been provided. They were given another deadline for last week Friday, still nothing.
With a proposed R432.8 million to be transferred to them, most of it is to be used for staffing and operational costs. R135 million for employee costs, R8.5 million to train its own employees, R8.8 million for Monitoring and Evaluation, R11.8 million for inventory, R8.4 million for its lease, R17 million for travel and subsistence and R35 million for its ICT. All amounting to over 52% of its budget.
Either you streamline government towards skilling young people, supporting young entrepreneurs and creating the environment for job creation. Or, you create bloated bureaucracies like these and others for factions to fight over and use to benefit the winning faction. You cannot do both.
A DA-led national government will scrap these and other entities and departments which exist to dispense patronage. We will instead streamline government towards ensuring that opportunities for young people are offered comprehensively and directly so as to address the greatest crisis facing our generation.

Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation does not serve the public, it serves ANC cronies

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Minister in the Presidency, Sejamothopo Motau MP, during the Budget Vote on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Honourable Chairperson,
The budget allocated to the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in the 2014/15 financial year was a mere R208.2 million.
In a short three years, that budget has ballooned to R923.4 million for 2017/18 – a mere whisker short of the R1 Billion target the department seems to have imposed on itself.
This allocation includes R442 million for National Youth Development and R54.5 million for National Planning Coordination.
This is a substantial amount of money. For this reason, during a recent portfolio committee meeting to discuss the department’s annual performance plan, officials came under severe criticism from the DA.
The committee expressed the view that the country was not getting value for this huge amount of money and questioned the need for the existence of the department.
This echoes the previous sentiments expressed by the DA.
The DA is of the view that most of the work done by the DPME could be done by line function managers in their various departments.
The committee also finally acknowledged that there were overlaps and duplications between the DPME and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). These overlaps will now be investigated. There should be coordination and where necessary they must be eliminated as they are costly.
The DA has warned that the rapid expansion of the DPME smacked of empire building and would only serve to deepen the ANC’s network of cronyism by opening up further underserved opportunities for cadre deployment. This indeed seems to be the case.
We now learn from a newspaper article titled, “Government policy change on the cards,” by Sunita Menon (Business Day, 11 May 2017), that the executive authority of the DPME, Minister Jeff Radebe, is compiling a Budget Priorities Report to align the 2018/19 budget and the National Development Plan. The report is to be presented at the mid-year Cabinet lekgotla.
According to the article, “The department and the Presidency would create a paper outlining the priorities for the coming fiscal year, and the Treasury would lead the standard allocation”.
However, the DPME’s acting Director General, Tshediso Matona, was reported as saying that “the compilation of the document marked a significant policy shift for the government”.
What is going on here?
Could this be the real reason why former Finance Ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan and former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas were so viciously purged by President Jacob Zuma from National Treasury?
Was the ill-considered firing done to have a pliable Finance Minister at Treasury, so that the Presidency, that is President Zuma, would have a free hand to determine budget allocations, as per his “presidential prerogative”?
Honourable Minister Radebe, this Parliament and the people of this country want to know: Is there a state policy shift with regard to the budgetary process? Is this part of capturing National Treasury by President Zuma?
The DA wants to warn that invoking the National Development Plan (NDP) to justify such a policy shift will not save South Africa from a fate worse than a down-grade to junk status by the international rating agencies, if the intention is for the President to interfere in budget allocations to suit his whims.
National Treasury and this Parliament must resist any such interference to protect the economy and the people of this country.
As indicated earlier, the DA remains unconvinced about the need for a Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation. Eliminating the DPME would go some way towards rationalising the bloated Cabinet and cutting costs. Of course, when the DA takes over national government, most of the unnecessary departments would disappear. Billions of rands will be saved in this way.
Which leads to a question that the DA has asked before: What role does the National Planning Commission have in facilitating the implementation of NDP 2030 to achieve the set targets?
There are about 13 years left before we reach the target date, and hardly any of the set goals are likely to be achieved. The country is nowhere near the target of 11 million jobs by 2030. We are nowhere near achieving the target of a five percent annual economic growth, social cohesion and nation building are floundering.
What cost benefit will the country derive from the R54.5 million set aside for National Planning Coordination?
All we see is Ministers and officials holding co-ordination imbizos and talk shops that provide a platform for ANC political speeches. This is a zero-for-money exercise.
Honourable Members, while the DPME receives budget allocations, the department should remain lean, efficient and productive – and deliver bang for the buck.
In this regard, the department should assert its role in assisting the President to assess the performance of Ministers, as the portfolio committee has urged.
In reply to a question I asked him about the performance and delivery agreements signed by Ministers and the President, Minister Radebe, replied, in part as follows:
“There is no legal framework for performance agreements between the President and Ministers….The way in which the President deals with unsatisfactory performance of his Ministers is a matter between him and the Ministers.”
In plain English, this means that the President can do as he pleases in this regard.
This was demonstrated during the recent midnight Cabinet reshuffle by the President. Clearly, merit and performance were not considerations in his bizarre decisions, with one or two exceptions.
Such Presidential recklessness is unacceptable as it seriously jeopardises the stuttering economic growth plaguing this country.
More than 9 million unemployed South Africans are poor and desperate for work. “Presidential prerogative” should not be allowed to gamble with their economic lives and the future of their children.
Unless this situation is meaningfully changed so that Ministers and the President can be truly held accountable, these performance agreements will remain but a sham.