DA-led Tshwane leads in job-creation

The following remarks were delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, during a visit to the Ga-Rankuwa Arts and Crafts Centre in Tshwane today. The Leader was joined by DA Leader in Gauteng, John Moodey, and the Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga. Please find photographs of the visit attached here, here and here

Today I visited the Ga-Rankuwa Arts and Crafts Centre, a model for expanding opportunities to those left out of the economy.

The programme that I visited today is a good example of why under a DA-led government, the economy grows faster, unemployment is lower, and more and more entrepreneurs have the confidence to start their small businesses. Where we govern, more people have work, and more people have hope of finding work. This is the DA difference that voters can expect in a DA-governed Gauteng.

The flagship project at the centre is the FabLab. The DA-led coalition government in Tshwane, led by Mayor Solly Msimanga, has helped design, manage and fund the FabLab, and has even provided the facilities at Ga-Rankuwa free of charge.

And since taking over the City in 2016, our coalition government has pioneered a Youth Innovation Challenge and a “Hackathon” which, like the FabLab programme, is another opportunity for young entrepreneurs to get the support and they chance they need to thrive. The Hackathon gives young people with innovative service delivery solutions a chance to work with the Mayor in tackling some of the biggest problems in the City.

The primary training that the learners are offered by the programme is run by the City of Tshwane in partnership with other agencies. This programme’s main objective is to work with schools to give these learners access to entrepreneurship, technology and innovation training.  The majority of the youth that the FabLab programme works with are as young as grade 9 to 11 learners and all are from poor communities and backgrounds.

And their use of technology is even targeted at finding solutions to service delivery problems. So it was exciting to learn that there are already more than 250 young entrepreneurs who have benefitted from FabLab and are now using tech to help services get to the people.

This programme is only a glimpse into the DA-led administration’s commitment to small businesses in Tshwane. Since taking office in 2016, the City has spent approximately R3 billion with small business suppliers alone, which is almost triple the amount spent by the previous ANC administration.

We must never stop trying to build a South Africa where no one is left behind. And it is SMME programmes like those run at Ga-Rankuwa Arts and Crafts Centre that will continue to be a shining example of previously disadvantaged communities receiving redress and job opportunities being created for young South Africans.

DA-led Jozi affects major drug bust in Eldorado Park

Following a tip-off on Friday 8 June 2018, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s (JMPD) K9-Unit took swift action and uncovered a total of 554 Mandrax tablets and six bags of Mandrax powder at a drug house in Eldorado Park, Extension 9.

We have been receiving multiple complaints about the blatant drug dealing in Eldorado Park and our JMPD K9-Unit has been monitoring the situation undercover. We knew it was just a matter of time before this drug bust will be made.

 – Public Safety MMC Michael Sun

No suspects have been arrested, but investigation continues and the police are confident that suspects will be apprehended soon. They have also urged that anyone with information relating to this case to contact the SAPS or JMPD on (011) 375 5911.

DA to table a pro-poor budget in Johannesburg today

Today the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, will table a pro-poor budget which is committed to improving the lives of poor residents in the City and increasing service delivery to the people of Johannesburg.

The DA-led government in Johannesburg have inherited a massive service delivery backlog from the ANC and we have committed ourselves to put the people of Johannesburg first in our efforts to restore good governance and services.

The DA is confident that our coalition partners will put politics aside and support the people’s budget. Political grandstanding will not put the people first or solve the massive challenges facing the City.

Mayor Mashaba’s has worked hard to ensure that his budget is inclusive of poor and marginalised residents and rejuvenates service delivery in the City. Some of the main pro-poor budget allocations include:

  1. Pro-poor delivery
  • Next year’s housing budget will be the largest ever in the City’s history at over R1.142 billion.
  • R12.5 million for the rollout of 3 Mobile Clinics.
  • R1.1 billion will be spent over the next 3 years to tar gravel roads in informal settlements.
  • In 2018/19 the City will be extending the operating hours at another 13 clinics, bringing the number to 26.
  1. Infrastructure investment
  • Over R1,2 billion on roads including; R250 million for road rehabilitation/reconstruction, R226 million for stormwater upgrades, R181 million on bridges.
  • City Power has received R1 billion which will be used to upgrade key substations across the City and bring stability to the network.
  • Over R900 million on the water network, expected to reduce the number of pipe bursts by 6 000 in 2018/19.
  1. Visible service delivery
  • The City has doubled its budget for grass cutting and tree pruning from R107 million to R207 million in 2018/19.
  • R45 million will be spent to install new public lighting across the City with the budget for street light repairs going from R1.6 million to R21 million in 2018/19.
  • An additional R40 million has been allocated for road markings.
  1. Public safety and substance abuse
  • R12.5 million on three more Community Substance Abuse Treatment Centres to bring the total to 9.
  • R10 million for traffic calming measures.

By voting to pass this budget, together we can get to work and deliver long overdue services to those who need it most and continue to improve the lives of the residents of Johannesburg.

DA brings change to Soweto business owners

On 11 May 2018 the DA brought change to business owners in Soweto who have been waiting thirty years to own land by handing over title deeds. See photo here.

This forms part of the City of Johannesburg’s Land Regularisation Programme, which aims to redress the distribution of council-owned land.

This programme is important as it can become a catalyst for development that benefits the community, small businesses and developers. Where we govern, the DA is leading by example by ensuring that our people are becoming land owners.

Land ownership plays an important role in growing our economy. By handing over these title deeds, we are ensuring that our people who previously did not have an opportunity to own land are now given this chance.

This is how we are creating a South Africa that is alive with possibilities and builds a legacy for generations to come.

Come 2019, the DA will bring about Change across the province.

DA to lay criminal charges against Transnet CEO for billions wasted on train deal

The DA will lay criminal charges against Transnet CEO, Siyabonga Gama, former CEO Brian Molefe and former Freight Rail Chief Procurement Officer, Thamsanqa Jiyane, following revelations in a report by law firm, Werksmans Attorneys, that they may have breached the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) on the billion rand ‘Traingate’.

The DA further calls on the Transnet Board to suspend Gama with immediate effect pending an investigation into the circumstances that saw the train deal inflated from R38.6 billion to R54.5billion.

The report states that the procurement process for the locomotive deal “identifies serious breaches of statutes, regulations, corporate governance and unlawful conduct in relation to the transaction – involving billions of rand”.

This case must be investigated without fear or favour so that those found guilty of wrongdoing can be held to account.

Transnet has been in a mess for far too long. It is vital that it is restored so it can deliver on its mandate to run the country’s freight system effectively and that it contributes to economic growth by delivering goods, not compromising it.

Corruption has become the norm under the ANC, no matter who leads the organisation and must be stamped out as it steals from South Africans, especially the poor.

This will only happen when the ANC is voted out and the people vote for change so that the DA can extend its good delivery record to the rest of South Africa.

ANC and Ramaphosa obligated to act on Zuma’s corruption claims

The ANC’s silence around former President Jacob Zuma’s repeated claim about knowing those individuals who are corrupt is deafening. If the ANC was serious about combatting corruption, they would have long called on Zuma to come forward with these names; as he is both morally and legally obligated to do so.

Recent comments made by Zuma only shows that the ANC seemingly continues to condone corruption. Despite new leadership, the ANC remains the same.

Zuma told supporters last week that “I kept quiet when I was president of the country, I no longer have that responsibility… and I want to warn them, they must keep quiet … I have things to say about their organisations, they must not provoke me.

If Zuma knows of corrupt activities and fails to report it to police, he is in violation of section 34 (1) of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act which requires that “any person who holds a position of authority and who knows or ought to reasonably to have suspected that any other person has committed [an act of corruption]” has a duty to report it.

This speaks volumes of the moral decay that continues to fester at the heart of the ANC.

Ethical leadership has ceased to exist in the ANC to such an extent that its leaders condone corruption as long as it serves their political self-interest.

The ANC has shown time and time again that it is unable to get rid of corruption in its ranks. It has become part of its DNA and the only cure available will be for South Africans to vote the ANC out in the 2019 general elections.

Where we govern, we have committed to stopping corruption, however uncomfortable that sometimes is, and where it rears its ugly head we act on it immediately. We do this because acts of corruption steal opportunities from the people, especially the poor.

In 2019 South Africa can rid themselves of ANC corruption which continues to deny South African a better life and vote for change led by the DA, which puts the people first and delivers to all.

DA refers Police Minister and Commissioner to Public Protector for misleading Parliament on VIP Protection costs

Please find attached IsiZulu and English soundbites by the DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP

The DA will refer the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele and the National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sitole, to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkwhebane, as we have reason to believe that Police leadership have not been transparent regarding the steep cost escalations in VIP Protection during the Zuma years.

Replies to DA Parliamentary questions have revealed that there has been no rational, objective basis for the exorbitant budget increase for the VIP Protection Services and Presidential Protection Services since 2010. In the last financial year alone, VIP Protection costs increased by over R100 million.

In late April, during Parliament’s Budget and Annual Performance Plans hearing on SAPS, I asked Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole for the reasons behind these increases. He stated that the cost escalations were based on “security threat assessments”.

However, a reply to a DA Parliamentary question last year, reveals that SAPS has done virtually no security threat assessments for individuals since 2010. Thus, the reason Sitole gave for the continuous, above-inflation budget escalations seems to be baseless on the available evidence.

Furthermore, a Parliamentary reply received last week, cites the “additional members of Cabinet [who] must be protected” as one of the reasons for the budget escalation. However, there has not been a year-on-year increase in the Cabinet size since 2010. In addition to this, the number of personal protectors assigned to Cabinet Ministers has stayed fairly constant since 2013, ranging from 382 to 405 each year.

The same reply also claims “an increase in manifested threats against VIPs” as one of the reasons for the escalated budget. However, how can SAPS give this as a reason with hardly any security assessments done for the past 8 years?

It is clear that both the Minister and the Police Commissioner are not forthcoming as to the reasons why costs of VIP Protection Services have ballooned from R353 million in 2008/09 to R1.5 billion in 2018/19.

So far the only reasonable conclusion is that all the cost escalations happened within the Presidential Protection Service and is further evidence of how Jacob Zuma received direct, unreasonable and undue benefit from public resources. It’s basically another Nkandla-type scandal and we don’t know if it entails an increase in the number of personnel as attempts to obtain this information were rebuffed because “disclosure of this information in itself can pose a serious risk to the effective protection of the President and Deputy President”.

The ANC spends more money on VIP Protection than they do on land reform, which begs the question – is the ANC serious about land reform and building a safe and equitable society?

It is clear that the ANC government prioritises the safety of politicians, in the feathered nest of the executive elite, over that of ordinary people who are ambushed by crime in their homes, in public spaces and places of work. Only a DA-led government will bring the kind of change that ensures that the police service is more professional, efficient and effective to ensure that our streets and homes are safer for all South Africans.

Dysfunctional Refugee Reception Offices fuel illegal immigration

This statement follows our oversight inspection at the Durban Refugee Reception Office by DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Haniff Hoosen MP. Please find attached a soundbite in English by DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Haniff Hoosen MP, as well pictures here, here, here and here.

Today, the DA conducted an oversight inspection at the Durban Refugee Reception Office (RRO), which is one of the offices worst affected by the Illegal closure of the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth Reception Offices.

The DA received reports that the Durban RRO is currently fully booked and therefore unable to schedule appointments for new applications until August.

This means that any new asylum seekers needing and wanting to declare their presence and regularise their stay in South Africa, by reporting to this office will remain undocumented if they cannot afford to travel to Musina or Pretoria.

Their undocumented presence in the country is often a direct result of the incapacity of the Department of Home Affairs, which has been made worse by the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth closures. The Department’s ineffectiveness at processing asylum applications could contribute to an increase in illegal immigration.

The DA also received concerning reports of bribes being openly and routinely demanded from applicants to be issued their documentation.

The DA has written to Minister Malusi Gigaba to ask him about the steps his department is taking to re-open both offices. In September 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal found that the decision to close the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office was irrational and therefore ought to be reviewed and set aside. The Department’s appeal to the Constitutional Court was dismissed in December 2017 and was ordered to re-open the Cape Town Office by 31 March 2018.

Not only has the Department failed to comply with this order but it has also failed to comply with another 2015 order to re-open the Port Elizabeth Refugee Reception Office

The DA has submitted parliamentary questions and brought the matter to the attention of the Portfolio Committee. If Minister Gigaba fails to respond to comply with the court orders, President Cyril Ramaphosa must ensure Minister Gigaba is held to account for being in contempt of court. account for the lawlessness of his Executive.

The DA is determined to ensure that the many and varied issues plaguing currently plaguing the system are resolved so that the department fully functional, well-resourced and able to process all applications efficiently.

The DA will pursue this issue tirelessly for the sake of all the people within in our borders, citizens as well as foreign nationals, consistent with our goal of a better and safer South Africa for all.

The DA will champion the kind of change that ensures that the Department of Home Affairs fully executes its constitutional duties, which includes playing a vital role in curbing illegal immigration by running clean and transparent immigration processes and systems.

DA-led City of Johannesburg is financially stable and will continue delivering services to residents

The DA notes the report in the City Press today that the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) is ‘cash-strapped’ and ‘heading for a bailout’ and rejects the allegations as false and a misrepresentation of the city’s finances. The new DA-led administration has worked tirelessly to stabilise finances and this intervention is already yielding positive results.

Thanks to the City’s revenue collection drive, Operation Buya Mthetho, the month of May was one of the highest revenue collection months in the City’s history. This can be directly attributed to a team of highly skilled professionals in the city, who are putting the interests of residents first as part of a fruitful turnaround plan.

Our ongoing fight to reverse the damage done to the city’s finances by previous ANC administrations has has been well-documented. Since taking over the CoJ after our 2016 Local Government Election victory, the DA-led administration has committed itself to ensuring efficient service delivery for all citizens of Johannesburg, especially the poor.

The previous ANC administration’s corruption has robbed the poor of not only quality service delivery, but much-needed jobs as well. The DA’s determination to address the consequences of this corruption is evidenced by our pursuit of 3500 graft cases in the city.

The City Press report appears to be critical of the money the CoJ spent on forensic investigations into corruption in the city administration. This is, however, exactly what is required to ensure that corruption never rears its head again in the CoJ as it is the reason for the country’s skyrocketing unemployment rate – which currently stands at 9.5 million.

Despite the money lost to ANC corruption, the city still has a balance of R3.279 billion and this will be carefully managed as we continue to provide quality services.

Furthermore, we will attract much needed investment to improve the city in order to create more jobs for residents and maintain Johannesburg’s reputation as one of Africa’s economic powerhouses.

The City of Johannesburg will continue to prioritise its citizens through efficient service delivery and a pro-poor agenda that will lift its people out of poverty.

SCOPA must get stuck into the PIC

The allegation that the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs, Dr Zweli Mkhize, received a R4.5 million “kickback” in return for facilitating a R210 million loan from the Public Investment Corporation must be probed by Parliament.

This is just one of several questionable investments made by the Public Investment Corporation, which up until now have included Ayo Technology Solutions Limited, Sagarmatha Technologies Limited, Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. and VBS Mutual Bank.

The fact is that hardly a day goes by without a new scandal surrounding questionable investments emerging at the Public Investment Corporation.

However, the finance committee has proved completely ineffective at probing the questionable investments made by the Public Investment Corporation.

We are prohibited from cross examining senior executives and simply do not receive straight answers to straight questions put to the Public Investment Corporation.

I will, therefore, as a last resort write to the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Themba Godi, requesting him to schedule a hearing probing allegations surrounding irregular payments and questionable investments at the Public Investment Corporation.

The hearing should probe the allegation that the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs, Dr Zweli Mkhize, received a R4.5 million “kickback” for facilitating a R210 million loan from the Public Investment Corporation.

However, it should also probe:

  • allegations of irregular payments made by the Chief Executive Officer, Dr Dan Matjila, which now appear not to have been investigated thoroughly, following the leaking of an “internal audit” report; and
  • questionable investments and loans in inter alia Ayo Technology Solutions Limited, Sagarmatha Technologies Limited, Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. and VBS Mutual Bank.