ANC jobs bloodbath continues

The rise of the unemployment rate to 27.7% is a damning indictment of how the ANC has prioritised the looting of our country over the creation of jobs for the more than 9.3 million unemployed South Africans.
The project of all-out state capture by the ANC-Gupta cabal has resulted in more and more South Africans losing their jobs because of our economy being decimated and now recently downgraded to junk status.
It is clear for all to see: The ANC acts on the Guptas instructions, devastating our economy, and now 9,3 million people remain without work.
The official unemployment rate has gone up to 27.7 % – this is the highest level since March 2003. This is the first time in 14 years that our country’s unemployment rate has risen to such a devastating level.
The ANC’s jobs bloodbath is continuing and showing no signs of coming to an end.
Our country is being governed by a shadow Mafia state operating from Saxonwold. There is simply no way to expect jobs growth in an economy that is tanking under Zuma’s ANC.
However, the DA-governed Western Cape has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. This is the DA difference. Where the DA governs we create jobs.
In fact the Western Cape added 67 000 new jobs during this period, showing that the DA’s efforts to grow investment and create jobs are reaping rewards.
The ANC has failed our people. In 2019, the people of South Africa can put a stop to this destruction and vote the ANC out of power.

This ANC government has failed women and children

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP, during the debate on violence against women and children.
This debate is important because women and children in our country deserve to live in safe homes and to be able to walk in safe streets. This debate is important because gender-based violence and domestic abuse is a violation of rights and it is a failure of the ANC government to protect women and children.
This debate is important, particularly to me, because this scourge in our society is one that I take personally. My own mother’s passing six and a half years ago in a brutal murder means that I have directly and deeply felt the trauma that the evil of this femicide epidemic wreaks on our nation.
On Saturday 20 May, I attended the #NotInMyName March in Pretoria along with DA Shadow Minister of Justice, Glynnis Breytenbach. The march was an important expression of outrage from men to other men about the unacceptable violence that is perpetrated against women and children on a daily basis.
It is high time that combating gender-based violence shifted from simply lamenting and condemning it, to men playing the key role of calling each other out and holding each other accountable for sexist, misogynistic and otherwise generally patriarchal attitudes that enable violence against women.
We must seek to deter this scourge in two ways: firstly, through a more effective criminal justice system that won’t let perpetrators get away with it and secondly, also through building new social norms of gender equality and stigmatising violence against women and children as well as the men who commit it.
Two departments in this ANC government exist to do exactly these things, so why are they failing to do so?
The change we need means having Ministers who do not blame the victims of gender violence for their own death. The change we need means having Ministers who do not reduce abusive relationships to flippant advice to women that leaving a man the first time he hits you will solve the problem.
If we are to challenging centuries, if not millennia, of deeply entrenched social codes and conventions we need leaders in government who themselves are committed to this change.
It means taking on and challenging the manner in which these social codes and conventions are transmitted intergenerationally and how they are internally conditioned in our psyches and worldviews. It means facing up to the ways in which patriarchal ideas are held and reinforced by both men and women.
It also means confronting all dimensions of how these ideas and attitudes manifest, including as hate crimes against lesbian women and transgender people. Activism against violence directed at women and dismantling patriarchy is also a fight against homophobia and transphobia.
The scourge of violence is made worse by ineffective policing and police indifference to many cases and victims.
In this debate, we need the Police Minister, the Justice Minister and the Minister of Women in the Presidency to account for the failures of organs of state that are meant to play a key role to keep safe the most vulnerable in our society. Ministers Mbalula, Masutha and Shabangu must, here and today, tell the nation their government’s plan to make our country safe for all women.
South Africa needs an emergency plan on women’s safety. We do not need more empty promises.
They need to start with capacitating the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Units in the South African Police Service (SAPS). These units on average remain under-staffed and under-resourced and there simply are not enough of them.
Today police have one hand tied behind their back when trying to combat violence against women because the officers themselves are stretched too thin. We need swift, quality investigations, that secure high conviction rates, and we need a plan from Minister Mbalula to ensure this.
While the police cannot by themselves prevent domestic violence or rape, they can and they must take each case seriously. This means a new level of training, on gender and sexual crimes must be implemented, and we await to hear Minister Mbalula’s plan on this.
However, effective policing cannot be realised while many stations do not have victim-friendly rooms and rape test kits. Effective policing can also not be realised when, as often happens in much of the country, there aren’t enough vehicles to undertake visible patrols or respond to emergency call-outs.
Sex trafficking syndicates who prey on vulnerable girls and women in this country will not be tackled and defeated without an effective Crime Intelligence division. Unless we boost our Detective Services, those who commit violence against women and children will know that they can do so with impunity and little to no chance of getting caught and facing the consequences of their crimes.
South Africa demands that justice is served for every victim and that every perpetrator can be made an example of. This is the responsibility of Minister Masutha, from whom we expect a clear direction on improving prosecutions for sexual violence. Our courts must also be ready to better manage protection orders, and more quickly dispense them – for this Minister Masutha must answer to this House.
The last 23 years of ANC governance have shown that the ANC is incapable of making our country safe for all women.
That is why the time for change is ripe. That change will come through a new government led by the DA from 2019, when we will demonstrate our resolve to bring safe streets and safe homes to all communities, where everyone, especially women and children, can live with true freedom.

We cannot and will not stop fighting for our mothers, sisters and children

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP, during the debate on violence against women and children.
The atrocious abuse of women and children has been covered widely and deeply, with staggering statistics and anecdotes of untold brutality hogging headlines as the country tries to come to terms with this scourge.  Some cases have even secured slots in court rolls and perpetrators having their days in court.  This is showing that something is done, although it is way too late for the victims, most of whom lose their lives, and for families who have to pick up the pieces of their lives with the loss of their loved ones.
There are stories which never reach the media.  Stories whose impact on the lives of those close to these tragedies is unimaginable.  At the centre of these stories are women and children. Women because they lose their children and children because they lose their mothers.
During a march I attended in Temba, Hammanskraal, I came face to face with the picture of the trail of abuse.  On the programme was Doreen Khalo, a mother who lost her daughter in 2011.
Doreen had in her possession a worn out green plastic bag that contained the letter her daughter wrote before she died, a document with a case number and a letter from an authority absolving itself from the responsibility of bringing the perpetrator to book. The contents of this bag were not just ‘papers’, but they detailed a harrowing tale of a mother who had not only lost her child to senseless violence.
Doreen reached out to the police, but they failed her.  She reached out to the prosecuting authorities and again she was failed.  In her quest for justice, Doreen was failed by the very system that was meant to protect her, and indeed her daughter. She received no counselling, and was forced to bear the grief on her own.
The moment she started speaking, tears streamed down her face. She wanted to share her grief, anger and sadness with the marchers who had come to stand with her and others like her. Her pain and anguish permeated through the crowd and seemed to be as fresh as though she had lost her daughter yesterday.
Yet, in between the heart-wrenching sobs, Doreen’s strength and resilience as a mother shone through. “I will not stop fighting for my girl,” she exclaimed.
This is the message that needs to resonate with us and our nation today. We cannot, and will not, stop fighting for our mothers, sisters and children.
As the Democratic Alliance, we will not stop calling on government to take responsibility and implement its own plan of action to protect the lives of women and children.
What has happened to the government’s Integrated Programme of Action for Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) which was developed by the Inter-Ministerial Committee?
Despite it being lauded from a policy perspective when it came to implementation, the plan was however criticised for not being costed.  How then could it be taken seriously without the necessary budget?  The fact that the country is still experiencing heightened levels of VAWC calls into question the government’s ability to perform one of its most fundamental functions: that is, to protect its citizens.
What then has gone wrong, Chairperson?  Are we continuing to put the lives of women and children at risk while we develop documents that are launched and never implemented?  Are we paying lip service at the expense of lives that are being lost on a daily basis?
As the DA, we will endeavour to empower the vulnerable and give voice to the voiceless.  Our vision for South Africa is one which seeks to build a society that values and expresses the humanity inherent in all women, men and children.

Women are not weak, Minister. Our government is weak

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Minister of Women, Denise Robinson MP, on the Debate on Violence Against Women and Children
Honourable Speaker,
Today we are united in mourning the tragic loss of life of many women and children through brutal rape, violence and murder in this country.
On behalf of the DA, I wish to express my sincere condolences to all who have suffered loss.
We as parliamentarians and particularly the Executive should be taking the lead in trying to find solutions to this tragic situation where the sanctity of life seems to mean nothing.
In the words of Professor Amanda Gouws, a former commissioner of the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), “more political will is needed to transform the justice and policing system so that the horror of abuse can end”.
Members, let us today get the political will to address violence against women.
Throughout the ages in our tumultuous history, South African women have been seen as brave and strong – supporting the struggle for freedom and independence.  From the riveting account of a  Zulu family set in 1879, “Eyes in the night” by Nomavenda Mathiane tells of the battle for  survival during the Zulu conflicts;  to the women who bravely marched to the Union Buildings in 1956  demanding their rights, to those who penned the Women’s charter in 1994, and wrote:
“We, Women of South Africa, claim our rights to full and equal participation in the creation of a non-sexist, non-racist democratic society.”
Yet, women’s subordination and oppression has taken many forms under patriarchy, custom, tradition and racism.  Oppression has continued unabated as today we have to face the fact that women are brutally murdered and raped on a daily basis.
Women should not have to live in fear, yet this has become the reality for every woman in South Africa.
Now those brave activists who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 , chanting  “wa thinta abafazi wa thint imbokodo’” have been reduced to a tame ANC Women’s League which now tows subserviently to the patriarchal attitudes of the “BIG MAN”  defending him before and during his rape trial when “Kwezi”, the daughter of his friend, had to submit to his sexual demands.
Instead of standing up for the rights of the victim Kwezi, the ANCWL mocked and derided others who supported her and eventually drove her out of the country.
The once proud ANCWL has been reduced to the ANC JZDL, the ANC’s Jacob Zuma Defence League, instead of being defenders of the victims of abuse.  Tragic indeed!
Last week our current minister, Susan Shabangu made the shocking statement after the murder of Karabo Mokoena, saying that she was “weak” and hence became the victim of violence.
How dare she say that to the grieving family when Karabo had been strong in reporting previous abuse, and assisting in shelters to help other victims?
I was at the court, I spoke to Karabo’s broken and traumatised family.
No parent should have to go through that anguish and then have an unsympathetic comment like the one made by the Minister for Women, who is supposed to champion the cause of women.
What about providing solutions, Minister?
What about helping children to be prepared for life to be able to discern psychological abuse?
What about encouraging everyone to speak out and not remain silent when there is gender violence and abuse taking place within the home?
Women are not weak, Minister- our government is weak.
We urge government to support programmes from organisations like Family South Africa (FAMSA), The Parent Centre and Sonke Gender Justice and to make them accessible to all so that our hurting families and society can be healed.
Unfortunately, our government has reduced the funding for many non-governmental organisations (NGO) that are doing valuable work, due to financial constraints.
How about cutting down on your frequent visits to the very expensive Oyster Box Hotel, Minister Dlamini and making more money available for NGOs or SASSA grants.
One also has to ask, what are the police and government going to do to prioritise the safety of women?
In many occasions, there are no J88 forms and rape kits available at Police Stations or Clinics.
At 189 Police Stations, there are no Victim Friendly Units for interrogation.
Under a DA Government, we will go back to the basics. We will increase the visibility of SAPS with more patrols on the streets.
We will encourage women to speak out and we will ensure that women are no longer victimised when they approach police officers for help.
The Victim’s Charter needs to be prominently displayed at police stations.
Government needs to increase the number of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units so that the areas of operation are reduced in size, with decent vehicles, thus promoting greater efficiency.
More Thuthuzela Centres and shelters should be built throughout the country, especially in rural areas where they currently aren’t accessible.
The DA envisions a country built on the values of freedom, fairness and opportunity.
A country where girls are seen as being equal to boys in every aspect of life.
A country where women will yet again feel safe and no longer fear for their lives.
We urge every South African to vote for the country we envision in 2019 which will be a turning point, with safety and security of persons uppermost, protected by the rule of law and our constitution.
I thank you

New leaked emails show up Eskom CFO as a Gupta proxy

The DA will be submitting an affidavit to the South African Police Service to include Mr Anoj Singh, the current Eskom CFO, in the charges of corruption and racketeering the DA laid on Tuesday 30 May against President Jacob Zuma, members of the Gupta family, several cabinet ministers and senior executives of State Owned Entities.
A chain of leaked emails in the DA’s possession reveal that Singh was whisked off on at least four suspiciously-timed Gupta-funded trips to Dubai during the period Transnet awarded a R1.8 billion tender to Neotel, resulting in a R36 million kickback to a Gupta company.
Singh was the Transnet CFO at the time.
The email chain indicates that under then-Transnet CEO Brian Molefe, Singh travelled to Dubai on at least four occasions while this R1.8 billion contract was awarded to the Gupta’s preferred bidder, Neotel.
Each trip appears to have been fully paid for by Gupta-owned company, Sahara Computers, which included five-star luxury accommodation at the Oberoi Hotel.
It was clear that the Guptas needed Neotel to win the contract as Gupta-run company, Homix, had a deal in place with Neotel agreeing to secure the contract with Transnet for them in exchange for the payment of 2% of the value of the contract – which totalled a kickback of R36 million.
This was the second agreement Homix and Neotel had struck, with the previous kickback resulting in a R30 million profit for the Guptas.
The timeline of Mr. Singh’s Dubai trips is as follows:

  • 6 – 9 June 2014: Singh travelled to stay at the Oberoi Hotel in Dubai with Rajesh (Tony) Gupta. This was during the time where the bidding process was open, and no preferred bidder accepted. (See booking confirmation here).
  • 7 – 12 August 2014: Singh travelled again to the Oberoi Hotel in Dubai. It seems not just coincidence that it was during this month that Transnet notified Neotel that it was the new preferred bidder. (See booking confirmation here).
  • 7 – 9 November 2014: Singh travels to Dubai again, staying at the Oberoi Hotel once more. Weeks later, Neotel was awarded the contract concerned, worth R 1.8 billion, and paid Homix the amount of R 41 million. (See booking confirmation here).
  • 24 – 26 February 2015: Once the R36 million was successfully paid to the Guptas, Anoj Singh was treated to a celebratory luxury trip to Dubai, once again in the five-star Oberoi, on the Guptas’ tab. (See booking confirmation here).

It is our view that this revelation directly implicates Mr. Singh, and as such charges must be brought against him. It is also impossible that this arrangement took place without Brian Molefe being aware.
This revelation shows quite vividly how the Jacob Zuma state capture project has infected all spheres of the state, and corrupt individuals are working to ensure a small group of connected individuals become rich. We will not stop until every individual involved in the capture of our state is brought to book.
Zuma and his friends cannot continue to steal from our people. We must earnestly focus South Africa towards building a prosperous nation, where jobs can be created for all.

Changes to DA Shadow Cabinet

Dr Wilmot James will be on sabbatical in order to take up a Visiting Professorship at the University of Columbia Medical Centre in New York. We wish to congratulate Dr James on this prestigious appointment, and wish him very well for his time at Columbia. His work on infectious diseases is a credit to South African health sciences and to the Democratic Alliance.
Due to this vacancy, and others, the following changes have been made to the Shadow Cabinet with immediate effect.

  • Patricia Kopane replaces Wilmot James as the Shadow Minister of Health.
  • Malcom Figg replaces Patricia Kopane as the Shadow Minister of Public Works.
  • Alan McLoughlin replaces Malcolm Figg as the Shadow Minister of Appropriations, with Brandon Topham as his deputy.
  • Ian Ollis replaces Gavin Davis as the Shadow Minister of Basic Education. Mr Davis will be focusing on policy development and communications ahead of the 2019 elections.
  • Michael Bagraim replaces Ian Ollis as Shadow Minister of Labour, with Derrick America as the Shadow Deputy Minister of Labour.
  • Dean Macpherson replaces Geordin Hill-Lewis as the Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry. Mr Hill-Lewis will be focusing full time on his work as Chief of Staff to the Federal Leader.
  • Ghaleb Cachalia assumes the position of Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.
  • Mbulelo Bara replaces Tarnia Baker as the Shadow Deputy Minister of Human Settlements. Ms Baker will focus on her work as Shadow Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation.
  • Choloane Matsepe replaces Mr Bara as Shadow Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

The entire Shadow Cabinet can be accessed by clicking here.

A shocking 3% of house-breakings end in convictions

The fact that a mere 3% of house breakings result in convictions is a shocking indictment on both the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Justice system and is a clear indication of a failure to ensure that those responsible for these crimes are first arrested and then convicted for their crimes.
The Victims of Crime Survey, focusing on house-breaking and robbery, released today by Statistics South Africa, details that:

  • Out of all housebreaking/burglaries reported to police, an arrest was made in only 19% of cases – meaning that the SAPS failed to make any arrest in 81% of cases reported; and
  • The conviction rate for housebreakings/burglaries was only 14.3%.

This means that out of all house-breaking or burglaries reported, just 3% resulted in a conviction.
The SAPS are responsible for making South Africa safer, yet if arrests are made in only 19% of all cases, there is a serious problem which must be addressed urgently if South Africans are to ever feel safe in their homes. An 81% failure rate, in addressing hose-breakings, is a truly dire indictment on Minister Mbalula’s Department.
I will, therefore, submit parliamentary questions to get to the bottom of the reasons for the shockingly low number of arrests. Parliament deserves answers on what the Department of Police is doing to improve the SAPS performance on house-breakings.
South Africans deserve to feel safe yet the SAPS is blatantly failing at their mandate.

Zuma killed the ANC. We won’t let him kill South Africa.

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane MP, during the Budget Vote on The Presidency.

Madam Speaker
Honourable Members
Fellow South Africans
Like many South Africans I grew up believing in the ANC as the party of liberation.
It was the party of my parents. The party that turned this country around and set our course for a future that was infinitely better than our painful past.
Back then, the ANC made life better for millions of South Africans.
It brought clean water, electricity, street lights and waste collection to places that had none.
It built RDP houses all over the country.
It introduced a social grant system that shielded the vulnerable from the harsh impact of poverty.
In those early days the ANC truly was the party of and for the people.
But it didn’t last.
One by one, honourable leaders made way for opportunists until nothing remained of the original movement.
I could not have imagined that the party that liberated us would end up captured and corrupted. The party of Oliver Reginald Tambo, whose name is invoked by every ANC speaker in these debates.
We would do well to remember what Albie Sachs said about Tambo, and I quote:

“Anyone claiming to speak in the name of Oliver Tambo would know… that his intrinsic sense of political honour made him totally and utterly opposed to attempts by people to use the name of the struggle for material accumulation, personal or family enrichment… or individual ambition.”

Honourable Members,
Every time you mention OR Tambo you remind us how far the ANC has fallen.
It pains me to say that the ANC of Oliver Tambo doesn’t exist anymore, and hasn’t for many years.
So what happened?
This happened. This man happened. He killed the ANC.
Make no mistake, it was already wounded before he plunged the knife in – weakened by a culture of patronage and corruption and crippled by cadre deployment.
But he struck the final blow. He wiped out Oliver Tambo’s legacy to make himself rich.
First he killed the ANC and now he is killing our country.
Honourable Speaker,
Today we vote on the budget of the Presidency.
But we cannot stand here and pretend that we’re voting on a budget that will serve the people of this country.
We cannot ignore the fact that the President of the Republic has made a crooked deal with a crooked family, and now they own him.
We cannot ignore the fact that the President appoints cabinet ministers and board members of State-Owned Companies according to this family’s instructions, because that’s part of their deal.
We cannot ignore the fact that our President has opened the doors of our Treasury to this family – to give them mines, contracts, advertising revenue – because that is the crux of their deal.
We cannot stand here and pretend that the Presidency is anything other than the headquarters of the Gupta empire, with President Zuma fronting for them.
The budget we’re voting on today is nothing more than a sponsorship deal for a corrupt syndicate.
If we vote for it, we support a budget for a Mafia shadow state.
Section 85 of the Constitution says that the executive authority of the Republic is vested in the President. So why is ours vested in Dubai?
This is a budget for President Gupta. Keep that in mind when you cast your vote.
Honourable Speaker,
Our nation is facing crisis after crisis.
Nine million people wake up every day knowing that they won’t find work.
We have a junk status economy and investors are leaving our shores.
Our education system is considered among the very worst in the world.
Our children disappear every day. Women are raped and murdered every day.
These are the things our President should be talking about, but he says nothing.
They are the things we should all be talking about. But here we are, discussing emails and how President Zuma sold our country.
First he killed the ANC and now he is killing our country.
And the question is: What did you, the ANC, do about it? Because it was within your power to stop him.
If you had the will and the conviction to do the right thing – to do your sworn duty to your country – you would have stopped him.
If you could see beyond the factional loyalties, the perks and the privileges, the Gupta party line, you would have stopped him.
But you weren’t prepared to do that, were you? Because if you were, you would have done so a long time ago.
You’ve had plenty of opportunities.
On six occasions in the past seven years you could have supported a Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma. But you didn’t.
You could have recalled him when the Constitutional Court found that he had violated the Constitution. But you didn’t.
You could have removed him from office when the State Capture Report implicated him in corruption on a grand scale. But you didn’t.
You could have removed him on the weekend after thousands of emails linked him to the corrupt Gupta empire. But you didn’t.
Instead you rallied around him every single time.
President Zuma first. South Africa last.
Guptas first. South Africa last.
ANC first. South Africa last.
Honourable Members, you had the courage to remove the Apartheid government. Now you cannot find the courage to remove one man.
You have shown South Africa your true colours.
You have shown us that South Africa doesn’t have a President Zuma problem. It doesn’t even have a Gupta problem. It has an ANC problem.
The truth is President Zuma and the ANC are one and the same. And that’s why the ANC cannot fix itself.
Any new leader at the top will just be a new front for the same corruption and the same looting.
You have left South Africans no choice but to vote the ANC out of government.
The ANC’s funeral will be held in 2019, but it is already dead.
Fellow South Africans,
We dare not languish in hopelessness. When things fall apart, they fall into place.
President Zuma may have killed the ANC, but we will not let him kill South Africa.
We have a vision of a South Africa that has reinvented itself and is flourishing under a new government.
We have a vision of a South Africa that belongs to all and that works for all who live in it.
We have a vision of a South Africa where every young person has opportunities to become whatever they want to be.
Freedom. Fairness. Opportunity.
To make this vision a reality will require many allies. It will require the cooperation of every party and every person who shares our dream for an inclusive, forward-looking South Africa.
It will also require collaboration with the good men and women who remain in these benches to my right, torn between their love for their country and their loyalty to a party that no longer exists.
This is not about the colour of your T-shirt and it is not about the colour of your skin.
All that matters is that you want what’s best for the 56 million people of this country.
Anyone who agrees with the values that form the foundation of our plan to rebuild South Africa is welcome on board.
These values are: constitutionalism, inclusive economic growth, non-racialism, a capable state and zero tolerance for corruption.
If we can agree on these things, then we can work together to rebuild this country the way we want it to be. No corruption, no stealing, no state capture and no Guptas.
Honourable Speaker,
I know we have allies in the opposition benches. I also know we have allies out there in business, in labour, in civil society and in churches.
But I’m counting on our allies here in these ANC benches too.
Because if you want the same things for our country – and if you cannot stand what has been allowed to happen under President Zuma and the Guptas – then we should be on the same side.
We should be building a post-ANC South Africa together.
In this post-ANC South Africa, we will put the education of our children first by supporting poor schools to become centres of excellence. No child will be left behind.
We will work hard to create a range of education, training and work opportunities for all young people leaving school.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will recognise the important role investors and entrepreneurs play in creating jobs and fighting poverty.
We will modernise our economy and we will invest in industries that make us globally competitive.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will double the Police Force and we will secure our borders, but we will also look at ways to attract skills and talent from across the continent.
We will choose our global friends well, and then stand by them in their time of need.
Friends such as my Zambian counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema, who was thrown in jail by a corrupt government. He will know he can count on the support of the South African government.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will do all we can to create opportunities for people to stand on their own two feet and escape the dependency on social grants. But, for those who need them, we will double the grant income.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will elect a president who will use the Presidency budget to serve the people, and not to stay out of jail.
Honourable Speaker,
This is our plan to bring our country back on track. And parts of this plan are already underway.
Our new coalition governments in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay are already making inroads into reversing the damage left behind in these cities.
In these metros we have tarred new roads, launched new metro police, narcotics and K9 units, handed over thousands of title deeds, launched new housing projects and slashed perks for politicians.
Coalition governments are never easy, but we are making them work for the people of these cities. And we can make them work in national government too.
But it will require a big shift in the way we all think of our roles in building South Africa.
It will require many of you to accept that the ANC you once knew no longer exists.
Jacob Zuma killed that ANC. We will not let him kill South Africa too.
I thank you.

Eskom: Molefe fiasco demands our full-scale Inquiry request proceeds

The DA has written to Public Enterprises Committee Acting Chair Zukiswa Rantho, demanding answers for the delay in constituting what we believe to be a most urgent full scale Parliamentary Inquiry into the rot at Eskom.
The announcement today that Brian Molefe’s return to Eskom must be rescinded shows that governance at Eskom has crumbled.
Only a full-scale Parliamentary inquiry has the capacity to get to the bottom of the rot at Eskom. It must be constituted and scheduled immediately. It is abundantly clear that the Eskom Board has acted like a law unto itself and parliament must rein it in.
The DA believes that ANC efforts to establish alternative investigations into Eskom, and the Brian Molefe fiasco, are nothing but distractions. Only Parliament has the Constitutional power to truly probe the full scale of the crisis and capture of Eskom.
The Special Investigative Unit (SIU), which Minister Brown wants to investigate only certain procurement issues at Eskom, reports to President Zuma and will be empowered by a Presidential proclamation – this will essentially allow the Gupta-captured President to lead the investigation into the Gupta-captured Eskom procurement deals with Gupta companies. It is clear to the DA that this will be nothing but a sham.
The SIU investigation will be nothing but the ANC Zuma-Gupta cohort investigating the Gupta-capture of Eskom, behind closed doors. This can never be considered impartial or transparent.
In the Select Committee on Public Enterprises at Parliament today, it was confirmed that a forensic company has now been instructed to investigate the destruction of key documents linked to Molefe’s contracts, after the DA raised the fact that documents were possibly being destroyed. We welcome this investigation, but it shows that Eskom insiders are intent on the Brian Molefe fiasco not being properly investigated.
The DA will continue to push for the Parliamentary inquiry as this is the only way we, and the South African public, can trust that the the full extent of the rot at Eskom will be brought to light and that those responsible will be forced to admit and then account.

No, We Won’t Stop Fighting for a Better Parliament

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen MP, during the Budget Vote on Parliament.
House Chairperson,
A few weeks ago, as the Speaker was beating a hasty retreat from the newly constituted Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament (JSCFMP), she had an emotional outburst where she asked me a very interesting question. She said, and I quote, “don’t you ever get tired of fighting?”
Given events at the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) over the weekend, perhaps the Speaker should rather have been directing that question to colleagues in her own party!
Nevertheless, this weekend’s meeting of the NEC and the release of emails confirm the fact that President Zuma’s cabinet is captured by an extensive network of parasitic vampires who are sucking the very lifeblood from our state and the State-Owned Entities.
They have set up a parallel government that operates through mutually nefarious means and evades all forms of accountability through its tentacles that extend all the way from the Union Buildings, right through organs of state like the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and reach deep down into local municipalities.
Two things have emerged, as clear as daylight, from this weekend’s events:
1. South Africa doesn’t have a Jacob Zuma problem, it has an ANC problem – the rot in the ANC goes deep and wide.
2. The ANC knows what the problem is; their alliance partners know what the problem is (which is why Mr Zuma is no longer welcome at their events); South Africans know what the problem is; religious bodies know what the problem is (which is why they have taken to the streets in record numbers not seen since the advent of democracy); and those commentators and ANC members who keep holding out for the “self-correction” are going to grow old waiting for something they will never see. The ANC is incapable of self-correction and it will be up to the voters to force the spring of correction through the ballot box.
And that is why Parliament cannot continue to turn a half glance to the seriousness of the crisis our nation faces through capture of our state. This is exactly why the Leader of the Opposition has proposed that this House establishes an ad hoc committee to probe the extent of state capture.
Witnesses must be subpoenaed, documents must be demanded and those Ministers implicated must face full and proper enquiry by this House. The Constitution gave us the power to do this and we must exercise those powers on behalf of the people to get to the bottom of this scourge and expose and remove this network, root and branch, from our government, State-Owned Entities and wherever it has planted its poisonous roots.
Simply chipping away in individual committees may expose some of the branches but will not deal with the rotten root. That will require a broad and overreaching enquiry that will be able to get a full picture of the extent of the problem. Parliament must do the job that the framers of our constitution intended it to do.
What should a Parliament do?
The Constitution is explicit on what we should be doing as Parliament and section 42(3) sets out very simply the four things we must do:
1. Choose a President;
2. Providing a national forum for the public consideration of issues;
3. Pass legislation;
4. Scrutinize and oversee executive action.
Now you can have all the plans, protocols, intentions and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you like, and we have listened to the Speaker rattling off how well she thinks Parliament is doing. But the reality is, once all the management jargon has been stripped away, if we are not meeting these four simple Constitutional expectations then we are not performing our job. They are the core functions of Parliament and we should be measured by them. So how are we doing on these?
Choosing a president:
Well, the less said about this the better. The truth is that we have a President who has been found by the Constitutional Court to have failed to uphold his oath of office, violated the very Constitution he was supposed to protect, and who continues to ride roughshod over democratic institutions and process.
We elected him in this House and we should have had the courage to remove him when he failed us and the people of South Africa. Yet we allow him to continue in office. The Ipsos poll released today showed that 62% of ANC voters disapprove of Mr Zuma and his approval rating is the lowest of any of the country’s democratically elected presidents. Clearly, South Africans, particularly the 9 million unemployed, don’t think too highly of this Parliament’s performance on this score.
Providing a national forum for the public consideration of issues:
Again, hardly a stellar performance here. The freedom of speech in this House, bequeathed to us by the Constitution no less and which should be a right protected with all the might our presiding officers can muster, is being eroded and undermined every day.
Simple terms, quite ordinarily used in Parliaments and debating forums around the world, have been banned. Members’ rights to say the things that need to be said, particularly members of the opposition, are restricted through a stranglehold of insecure presiding officers. Time and again the members of this House have had to approach the courts to get them to uphold this right, yet time and again the rights are eroded.
Just last week, opposition Members were prevented from calling a minister “an invisible minister”. A Parliament where Members, as public representatives, cannot raise matters in a forthright and robust manner is not good for democracy and not worthy of the name.
Passing legislation:
This should be one of the most important functions performed by us and, given how long we have been doing it, something which should be improving and not declining. Yet on a regular and steady basis legislation passed in this house is struck down by the courts as invalid or unconstitutional.
Shoddy, job-wrecking legislation is pushed through and, despite their obvious failings and legal problems, the ANC cannot bring themselves to correct the errors and omissions. Here in the House they stubbornly march on incorrect paths passing legislation (that’s when they are actually able to get their MPs to pitch for work on the day!) and are then repeatedly beaten in court.
The Speaker has had a lot today to say on empowering and capacitating MPs to do their job. It would be nice if we could just start by making sure that we have enough researchers, legal advisors and content advisors at a committee level so we can properly scrutinise the legislation that the Executive send to us and play the role of proper legislators.
Scrutinising and overseeing Executive action:
Anybody who thinks that this 5th Parliament has met its expectations in this regards must have been living on another planet. This is probably the requirement where we have witnessed the worst failures. At every turn the Executive has been protected from proper accountability and scrutiny.
The Nkandla Report should have been the massive wake-up call that this Parliament needed to overhaul and reconsider how we hold the executive accountable. There was a single tick-box meeting after this devastating indictment on this Parliament’s failure and zero action arising from it. The protection and shielding of the executive has simply continued.
Nowhere is this more evident than the manner in which the Executive is protected by Speaker Mbete during oral question sessions. Bearing in mind that these are the only unscripted exchanges where MPs can truly hold the Executive accountable, the Speaker always defaults to protecting the Executive from difficult and probing questions posed by MPs.
It is for this reason that the SABC was virtually brought to its knees before Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, who belatedly felt the firm hand of parliamentary accountability in the ad hoc committee probing the SABC. For an entire year before this, Muthambi was allowed to regularly evade parliamentary accountability with impunity by simply not answering written and oral questions by opposition MPs or by not showing up. There were never any consequences
We witnessed the same pattern with the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, who was also consistently aided and abetted by the Speaker to avoid answering the tough questions relating to the impending South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grants crisis. Minister Dlamini was allowed to regularly mislead the House over her Department’s readiness to take over social grant payments on 1 April 2017.
When opposition MPs challenged these glaring factual inaccuracies in the House, the Speaker was the first to rush to Dlamini’s defense.
When the anatomy of both these crises is properly examined it is plain to see that both could have been avoided had Parliament been doing its job, without fear and favour, and had those Members who take their role seriously been protected in performing their role by a Speaker who actually placed the institution above her organisation.
South Africa requires a functioning and vibrant Parliament if our multi-party democracy is to survive. It also requires a Parliament that is unafraid of holding the Executive accountable as the Constitution prescribes.
The Speaker
Given the myriad of institutional failings, the Speaker’s dismal record of court losses, the daily own goals and organisational foul-ups, one could be forgiven for thinking there was not enough institutional support for the office. Quite the opposite actually, the Speaker has over 42 employees in her organogram costing over R37 million.
I was particularly interested to note that there is an entire office of nine full-time employees who form the so-called Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy, which includes a Director who rakes in over R1.5 million per annum, a Constitutional and legal advice specialist earning R1.4 million, two legal assistants and a manager.
All this and yet when I made a simple inquiry of the Speaker about some outstanding reports from Chapter 9 institutions I received a letter confirming there were none. Surprise, surprise, less than one week later the reports were magically ATC’d. You have an entire office of people whose full time job it is to liaise and monitor with chapter nine institutions and they couldn’t even pick this up. What a disgrace.
The rules of the National Assembly, in acknowledging the key importance of impartiality, directs the Speaker to conduct herself impartially. Rule 26(4) states that “the Speaker must act fairly and impartially and apply the rules with due regard to ensuring the participation of members of all parties in a manner consistent with democracy”. Whenever the Speaker acts in a way that is partisan, biased or conducts herself in a manner that favours a single political agenda, she breaks that covenant.
So it may be convenient to “not hear” when a member is being sworn at under your nose (despite the fact that the whole nation heard it) or refuse to take action when a female member of the opposition is called a “straatmeid” or become conveniently deaf when Mr Dicks shouts out “rented Darkie”. But every time you do this, Speaker, it undermines the very rules that you are tasked with upholding and enforcing. You do this at your own peril and by extension open yourself up to attack and also place the consistent enforceability of the rules of the National Assembly at great risk.
The Secretary to Parliament
Parliament is much more than just bricks and mortar, it is a living institution made up of people. It cannot function without them and today I want to pay special tribute to the hard-working men and women that make up our staff. I want to say to those that really care about this institution and are invested in its success that your work, under difficult circumstances, is greatly appreciated.
And that’s why I am filled with deep sadness when I see the way that many of you are disrespected, targeted and treated like criminals, sidelined and marginalised, threatened or intimidated by the Secretary to Parliament. Since Mr Mgidlana’s arrival in our Parliament there has been a rapid decline in industrial relations and for many this is not a happy place to work.
On top of this the staff have now received notice that there will be no pay increases this year because there is not enough money. Given inflation and rising cost-of-living, this essentially amounts to a decrease.
It never ceases to amaze me that when it comes to the luxuries there is never a problem finding money. Take for example the international travel of the secretary to Parliament. Given the amount of international travel he does I sometimes think he believes he is the secretary to the United Nations, not the secretary to the Parliament of South Africa. In March last year he spent seven nights in a Lusaka Hotel at R21 000 a night, and enjoyed a rented limousine that cost R800 per hour, adding up to some R37 000 for the duration of his stay. We have, through the JSCFMP, asked for a full breakdown of all international travel costs by the Secretary.
This is of course on top of the blue light brigades, and VIP European and international travel. It seems when it comes to the Secretary to Parliament there is no destination too far or conference to obscure that he isn’t ready to pack his bags for. Despite his multi-million rand salary he has added insult to injury by awarding himself a bursary. Why does somebody who earns what he does require a bursary? There must be countless of our employees who are more deserving and more appropriate recipients.
I would also be remiss if I were not to express concern at the spate of new appointments at a senior management level. It is very clear that a determined and unashamed cadre deployment strategy is at play. How else would somebody like the deeply partisan former ANC spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, simply drift through the swing doors, suddenly be appointed as the spokesperson for a multi-party, non-partisan institution like Parliament. The employment procedures were rigged and subverted to make sure that the ANC’s dark arts practitioner could get work. He has wasted no time in proving his critics right by turning the Parliamentary media operation into an extension of the ANC attack machine.
I also suppose that we shouldn’t expect any different when the Secretary himself cannot distinguish his role between the Party and the Institution, which is why he sees no problem attending ANC speakers’ forums at Luthuli House to carry out party business. Of course, “Goebbels” Mathopo promptly tried to spin the Secretary as this non-partisan who attends to all party caucuses. I bet there is not a single other party caucus or training that has been graced by his presence. I’m going to investigate who paid for those flights and accommodation costs to attend this meeting. I have a sneaking suspicion what the answer will be.
How funny then that Mgidlana punts the recently launched “new organisational values”, values which include professionalism, integrity, accountability, openness and teamwork, when he and his closest affiliates practice none of these.
Take for example how “special bid adjudication committees” are set up where the Secretary appoints himself to serve despite the fact that the supply chain regulations do not provide for this and where the Secretary is supposed to act as the adjudicator, essentially being both player and referee. We believe that this is a serious breach of the Supply Chain Management (SCM) regulations and the Financial Management of Parliament and Legislatures Act (FMPPLA). We have further concerns about the process used by the Secretary to simply write off fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
It’s clear that the secretary wants to deal with the deficit by making the staff pay for it through denying them bonuses, which they have worked hard for, and by retrenching those staff members who do not bend to his whims. I have a message for those staff members to stand firm. The time is fast approaching when this Parliament will be under new management and we can turn it into a world-class operation by truly working together for the betterment of this special institution.
We can have a functioning and effective Parliament. It’s going to require leaders both political and administrative who put the needs of this institution first, ahead of self-interest, ahead of party interest.
We can truly be an institution that represents our people, their hopes, their concerns, their needs and aspirations, but that means we must always put the people first, ahead of selfish interests and narrow partisanship.
We believe passionately in this institution. We believe that when Parliament works, South Africa works and we must, as an institution, strive harder every single day to live up to the expectations placed upon us by the framers of the Constitution and the people of this great nation.
And so, back to the beginning if I may. Madam Speaker, the answer to your question is an emphatic no!
No, I will never get tired of fighting for a Parliament that does what it is supposed to do.
No, I will never get tired of fighting for the 9 million unemployed South Africans who have suffered through the policies of the Zuma administration.
No, I will never get tired of fighting for greater executive accountability from the President and his cabinet.
And most of all no, I will never get tired of fighting to hold you accountable, and for you to just do your job as the head of this institution.