Zola Skweyiya was an exceptional humanitarian, intellectual and diplomat

The following motion was delivered by the DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Stevens Mokgalapa MP, in Parliament today.

On behalf of the Democratic Alliance (DA) allow me to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr Zola Skweyiya, as well as the ANC.

Words cannot express enough the loss you have suffered, as he was a man with impeccable struggle credentials and a distinguished academic career.

Born as Zola Sidney Skweyiya on 14 April 1942 in Simon’s Town. He went to school in Port Elizabeth and Retreat in Cape Town and matriculated from Lovedale School in Alice in 1960.

He became an ANC student activist during his studies at Fort Hare University where he mobilised for Umkhonto we Sizwe. He joined the ANC in 1956 until his exile to Tanzania. He also underwent military training in Russia.

In 1978 the ANC deployed him to Germany to study law where he obtained an LLD degree. He was later deployed as a representative of the ANC and was responsible for setting up offices of the ANC in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1981.

He later was tasked to head the ANC legal and constitutional department in Lusaka until 1990 and in Johannesburg until 1994. On his return from exile, he was the chair of the ANC constitutional committee and served as an NEC member until 2012.

He also served the New Democratic South African government as first Minister of Public Service and Administration under late President Nelson Mandela from 1994 to 1999 and served again as Minister of Social Development from 1999 to 2009 under former President Thabo Mbeki.

Dr Skweyiya played a significant role in South Africa’s Democratic dispensation with active participation in the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), and he represented the ANC at the United Nations Human Rights Council between 1984 and 1993.

He was an astute member of the military veterans and they have indeed lost a gallant soldier.

He was an intellectual who contributed to founding the Centre for Development Studies and South African Legal Defence Fund at the University of the Western Cape.

Dr Skweyiya was also an astute diplomat who made an impact as the head of UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformation programme, and President of the Intergovernmental Council.

He also participated in the United Nation’s Commission for Social Development, making a significant contribution in this multilateral forum and flying the South African flag high as a diplomat par excellence. His contribution in UNESCO is well documented.

He also played a key role in the University of Oxford’s Department of Social Policy Intervention, assisting in the programme for poverty eradication and building quality evidence-based social policy research and training. His memorial lectures from 2011 to 2015 were hosted by the Centre for the analysis of South African social policy in recognition of his contributions as Minister of Social Development.

It was as a High Commissioner and Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2009 until 2014 where he made his mark as a patriotic and skilled diplomat, championing the bilateral relations between South Africa and the United Kingdom.

He also made a significant contribution with regards to multilateral relations when he was appointed as a special envoy to the Middle East conflict in 2014 where he worked tirelessly to find a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He held talks with both sides of the conflict showing how impartial and diplomatic he was, using soft diplomacy as his strongest attribute.

Let us all learn from this humanitarian, intellectual and exceptional diplomat who prioritised the well-being of South Africa and its people.

This is the kind of diplomat that our country needs to put brand South Africa on the global map. He had the courage to speak truth to power and was vocal against wrongdoing and deviation from principles and values.

We salute you for that bravery.

Rest in Peace son of the soil.

Go Mokgathlo wa ANC rona re le mokgathlo wa DA re re gomotsegang. Modimo o ne a Neile  mme o buile o tsere a Mowa  wa rre Skweyiya.  O robale Ka kagiso mogaka wa digaka  modimo a go tshegofatse. Isithwalandwe.

Ke a leboga

A staggering R800 000+ blown on “intercontinental shopping trips” for Norma Gigaba by National Treasury

The former Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, who was responsible for the implementation of cost containment measures, and who regularly called for greater efficiency in the use of public funds, should have set an example when it came to belt-tightening in South Africa.

However, it has now emerged [see reply] that a staggering R873 366.68 was blown on international travel for the minister’s spouse, Norma Gigaba, who accompanied him on investor roadshows to the financial capitals of the world inter alia in China, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The fact is Norma Gigaba had no official duties on the investor roadshows and taxpayers, who have been pushed to the limit by tax increases, should never have had to cough up for what were, in reality, a series of intercontinental shopping trips.

In the end, even if the expenses are in line with the guidelines set out in the Ministerial Handbook it was simply wrong and the minister should do the right thing and “pay back the money” to National Treasury.

DA will consider de Lille’s submissions on why she should not resign

Last week, after an overwhelming majority of councillors in the DA’s City of Cape Town caucus confirmed that they had lost confidence in Ms de Lille’s leadership by voting for the Motion of No Confidence against her, the Federal Executive (FedEx) provided Ms de Lille with the opportunity to make submissions as to why she should not step down.

The FedEx has received Ms de Lille’s submissions which will now be considered and decided upon in due course. We note that Ms de Lille has chosen to make her submissions public and will not allow this to affect the procedures of FedEx in any way.

It is important that this process of considering the submissions not be rushed, and that FedEx properly and fairly apply their minds.

At all times, the DA will act to ensure that the people we have been entrusted to serve will come first. This includes removing those who do not adhere to the high standards of clean and efficient governance which the DA demands.

National Minimum Wage: DA will work tirelessly to reduce unemployment and protect vulnerable workers

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Labour, Derrick America MP, during the debate on the National Minimum Wage.

Honourable Speaker,the proposed national minimum wage will become one of the biggest barriers for any unemployed person in South Africa to get a job. Young and old will have no bargaining power to sell their labour.

This proposed national minimum wage and other labour legislation will barely protect the employed. There will be absolutely no protection for the unemployed. The reality is that the only way to reduce unemployment is by employing the unemployed and allowing them a chance to enter the job market.

The only person who has the right to decide on the level of his wage is the unemployed. Nobody speaks for the unemployed – they are voiceless, abandoned by government and dependent on others.

The Democratic Alliance believes that we need to grow the economy if we are to absorb the millions of young people who want to work, but cannot find employment. The Quarterly Labour Force Survey tells a sad tale of a country that is failing its youth.

The QLFS indicates that:

• 63,9% of people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed; and
• 42,8% of people between the ages of 25 and 34 are unemployed.

Every young unemployed person deserves a chance to access the education and job opportunities that are available in our country.

Young people in low-income communities face a number of disadvantages when it comes to accessing jobs. They don’t have the same social networks as young people in wealthier areas and they often don’t have money to access the internet to search for jobs, to print out CVs and to travel to job interviews. The ANC is failing our youth.

Therefore, the DA pledges its commitment to assist young disadvantaged South Africans in finding work by:

1. Introducing a job seekers’ allowance of R150 per month for all unemployed young people aged 18 to 34.
2. Rolling out a national Job Centres project where unemployed people can access job vacancies, undertake online courses and get assistance in preparing job applications or receive employment counselling.
3. Introducing a National Civilian Service to provide work experience for thousands of unemployed matriculants.
4. Provide incentives to businesses who employ more young people and those in long-term employment.

Speaker,noting that the National Minimum Wage will be bulldozed through Parliament by the ANC majority, the DA strongly believes that laws should not prevent people from earning a living on their own terms.

Over 9 million of our people experience long term unemployment. They tend to earn less once they are employed and are in poorer health than those workers who avoided unemployment.

Therefore, the DA will introduce various incentives and exemptions for employers in order to give unemployed people who have been unemployed for 12 months or more access to job opportunities and work-based skills training.

Madam Speaker,the Western Cape government continuously expends all its energy to create an environment for investment and job creation.

The Western Cape currently records the lowest official unemployment rate at 19.5% compared to a national rate of 27%.

It is clear that this government continues to create a resilient provincial economy in the face of the longest drought on record, by prioritising job creation which gives the people the opportunity to improve their lives and provide for their families.

Madam Speaker, the unemployed deserve a break. They deserve the dignity that a job will give them. They need to be heard. Most of all, they need a new beginning.

The DA is committed to working tirelessly to create jobs for the millions of unemployed South Africans and supporting legislation that protects vulnerable workers. We pledge to give all South Africa that new beginning in 2019.

Labour laws must protect most vulnerable South Africans

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Minister of Labour, Michael Bagraim MP, during the debate on a National Minimum Wage.

We are here today to celebrate May Day and labour freedom. It is with a heavy heart that I need to say that the labour freedom was short-lived.

In 1995 under the wisdom and guidance of President Nelson Mandela, we hailed the implementation of our Labour Relations Act in a plethora of forward thinking labour laws.

However, since the implementation of these laws we have gone backwards. In this very Parliament four years ago, The President of the ANC and unfortunately of the country, Jacob Zuma, announced that the government would be creating 5 million jobs.

Under Zuma’s leadership, we have seen a steady loss of 5 million jobs.

Our labour laws have acted as a handbrake to job creation and the labour regulatory authority appears to have done everything in its power to not only cause our workforce to dwindle but to stop businesses from creating more employment positions.

Today we have an astounding 9.2 million people unemployed and we are about to embark upon disastrous legislation which will cause at least a further 715 000 jobs to be lost.

The Treasury tells us that they can forecast these losses so it ill behooves us to say this is an unintended consequence.

Although there are some progressive and forward thinking imminent changes to both the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Labour Relations Act, the overall import of the changes will be negative.

It doesn’t help to have some of the best and innovative laws in the world if these laws are not going to have an effect on those at the workplace.

We have over 16 million people employed in South Africa today but only 1200 inspectors from the Department of Labour.

These inspectors are underpaid, overworked and certainly under-resourced.

Invariably small business, with all sorts of pressures, don’t even know what the labour laws are and the majority of our workforce is not unionised.

All the labour federations acknowledge that their numbers are dwindling and the unions confirm that their reach into the small business sector is minimal.

Our labour laws can be compared to a brand new beautiful shining car which has no engine and no driver.

Our government’s answer to its inability to enforce the law is merely to make more law and make the regulations more onerous and complicated.

There is no incentive for anyone to even consider the implementation of the laws that we already have, let alone the new laws and the burdensome regulations we are about to face.

When a staff member is first engaged at the workplace, the very basis of our labour legislation requires that the staff member receives a letter of appointment or a contract of employment.

From that contract the rest of the rights flow in terms of the implementation of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Labour Relations Act and the many other pieces of labour legislation on our statute book today.

When we enquire as to how many workers in South Africa actually do have letters of appointment or contracts of employment we are astonished to see that thousands of our workers don’t even have that simple document from which the enforcement of their rights flow.

Unfortunately, the message that we are receiving from the employers is the same.

Hundreds of companies tell us that they have difficulty trying to register for Workmen’s Compensation and UIF.

Many more tell us when they try to claim from Workmen’s Compensation and UIF they hit a dead end.

The most vulnerable people in our society are those who have been injured at work and who are unable to continue working.

They have insurance for which they handsomely pay every month.

This insurance, workmen’s compensation, supposedly is there to compensate them for these injuries and to pay for their medical expenses.

Only last week, I received a further 27 complaints of claims that have been outstanding for years.

These complaints are a drop in the ocean as I receive regular daily pleas for help from these vulnerable people who are left bereft and non-functioning.

Despite the fact that we have insurance which is heavily resourced and over-funded, they receive nothing.

I have just read an application to The High Court where the applicant is seeking to have a warrant of arrest put out for the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner.

One can only shudder at this abuse when in fact the PIC is holding billions of rands in reserves to enable the commissioner to pay out our injured workforce.

The real elephant in the room is the ongoing mismanagement of just about every section of our Department of Labour.

We have just had current feedback from the Auditor General who talks about material non-compliance, irregular expenditure, inadequate contract management, wasteful expenditure, lack of skills at various levels, high number of fraud and financial management investigations, duplicate payments made and loans issued to medical service providers in prior years not recovered and many recent suspected fraud incidents.

I can go on, however, there is a culture of poor performance and a weak internal control environment.

It is horrific to read about the lack of urgency and commitment to improve the control environment which may lead to increased instances of fraud and could also result in the possible depletion of funds which would negatively impact service delivery.

All this when the service delivery is at an all-time low. It should be pointed out that there are some existing dedicated hard-working staff who are probably over-worked and who often get discouraged and eventually leave the entity or adapt to the culture of poor performance.

We have entities such as the compensation fund who keep purchasing IT systems but somehow never integrate them properly or learn how to use them.

It should be mentioned that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is the one sparkling jewel in the broken crown of the Department of Labour.

The CCMA has managed to a large degree to try and keep labour peace and ensure that disputes are managed both timeously and efficiently.

Unfortunately, we are going to see this jewel have its shine taken off within the next year when the burdensome national minimum wage lands on its lap.

The CCMA performance has been sterling but that are running at full capacity with their budget utilised to the fullest. The CCMA investigated its future workload and has been conservative in stating that its workload will be increased by over 30% with the advent of the new legislation.

There is no budget earmarked for this increase and they are over a year away from being able to train commissioners to handle the tidal wave (no, tsunami) of referred disputes.

NEDLAC, the toy telephone, spent over two years debating the national minimum wage and its modalities.

Many of these issues are going to have an enormous effect on the unemployed in South Africa and the future workforce.

There was no voice of the unemployed and there was certainly no thought with regard to job creation.

This is the true story of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. As talk shops go, NEDLAC is good for those who are entrenched in the workplace and seen as the labour aristocracy.

Even now when a new trade union formation seeks a place at the table, greedy wolves around that table are trying their utmost to deny them a seat.

It is really rich to see that the auditor general has raised a concern about HR management within NEDLAC.

It would be laughable as these are the very people who purport to guide human resources in South Africa.

Over and above this enormous levels of concern have been earmarked within NEDLAC such as appliance management, procurement and contract management, performance management, financial management and oversight and monitoring.

They have been warned they are about to face an audit failure. Collective bargaining in South Africa is about to take another knock with these future amendments where the Minister may extend a collective agreement where either employer parties or the trade union parties are representative.

In other words, big business and big trade unions can extend agreements to destroy small business.

There are some positive amendments which need applause. Firstly, the provision for a secret ballot is intended to ensure that individual union members are able to exercise their right to decide about strike action in a democratic manner.

Furthermore, every strike must have picketing rules and parties may agree on their own rules or the default rules will apply.

At this point I must congratulate Honourable Ian Ollis of the DA who proposed this very amendment in a private Members Bill three years ago to the day.

At that point the motion of a secret ballot was struck down by the ANC as being anti-worker.  Honourable Ollis certainly needs the accolades for this forward thinking.

The intention of the amendment to allow for further extension of a conciliation period is intended to provide for more time where there are reasonable prospects of reaching an agreement.

In essence our law is trying its utmost to find areas of conciliation rather than to resort to strike action.

This is not there to frustrate trade unions and workers but to provide an opportunity for a settlement to be reached. This can be praised as forward thinking.

Anyone materially affected by a strike or a lock out may apply to the Labour Court for an Order to have an advisory arbitration panel appointed.

This is intended to come into effect after a strike has commenced and only in particular circumstances. It does not interfere with the right to strike and nor can it be used to stop strikes.

Again, this decisive piece of legislation will help find solutions to destructive and non-functional strike action. It is intended as constructive and non-binding and will be a means to facilitate a settlement.

These proposed amendments are intended to provide a way in resolving strikes that are intractable, violent or may cause a local or national crisis.  This is in line with the International Labour Organisation.

Unfortunately, the general import of a universal national minimum wage will indeed have costly consequences and will lead to the inflexibility of our labour laws and regulatory bias against employment of low schooled workers.

The reality of our complex regulations will be universal avoidance and unfortunately will also be impossible to implement, monitor and enforce.

Today we face the scourge of unemployment which is increasing monthly and already in the youth category over 50% are unemployed, many of whom are unemployable.

The Democratic Alliance hereby speaks for the unemployed and for those who face imminent retrenchment. The DA will always speak on behalf of the most vulnerable in our society.


ANC opposes VAT increase in the streets and votes for it in Parliament

The ANC’s Secretary General, Ace Maghashule’s call on members of the ruling party to join the movement against the 1 percentage point increase in VAT, is not only proof that the ANC is a divided party, but that the organisation is being utterly dishonest with the people of South Africa.

What Magashule purposefully fails to mention is that it is his very party, the ANC, in parliament which imposed this VAT increase on the poor. Mobilising against VAT now can only be seen as a dishonest publicity stunt.

In February, former Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, announced an increase in VAT in order to ensure an increased flow of revenue into the fiscus.

The VAT increase was undoubtedly the position of the ANC and Magashule’s latest announcement is an attempt by the ruling party to mislead people about their bad decision which will plunge the majority of South Africans into greater financial strain and poverty.

The DA opposed this increase from the onset because it is anti-poor and is a slap in the face of the millions of vulnerable South Africans who face the daily struggle of putting food on the table.

Instead of punishing the poor for the years of corruption and mismanagement under the ANC leadership, the ANC government should have cut government spending and slashed their bloated cabinet.

A DA government would reduce the size of the cabinet by at least five ministries; withdraw from the New Development Bank; sell off assets by privatising or part-privatising certain “public entities”, as many of these entities run at massive losses; selling, or leasing, “underutilised land parcels”, not well located for housing development; and selling government’s remaining shares in Telkom.

The ruling party is completely out of touch with the realities of the disadvantaged South Africans on the ground. If the ANC is truly serious about opposing this VAT increase, it will join the DA in Parliament as we fight to ensure that the poor is not punished for years of poor political leadership.

Misleading people, like Magashule and the ANC are trying to do, will not save them from the punishment they will receive at the polls for choosing their politically connected few over the millions who live in poverty and remain unemployed.

Eskom to overspend by more than R52 billion on power contracts

A report submitted to the Parliament Appropriations Committee by the Office of the Central Procurement Officer has revealed that Eskom will overspend by R 52,2 billion or 48,5% on the Medupi and Kusile power stations. The split between the two power stations is:

  • Kusile power station               R 26,2 billion (45,3%) overspend.
  • Medupi power station            R 26,0 billion (52,2%) overspend

I have since written to the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer to determine whether there are any active forensic investigations into these contracts, and if not, to request that they be instituted as a matter of urgency.

Eskom Rotek Industries, a subsidiary of Eskom, is handling a contract on which there has been a 936,1% overspend. This is not only suspicious but shows a lack of transparency in the procurement process within Eskom

The biggest overspend goes to Mitsubishi Hitachi Power with an overspend of R 10,2 billion. These contracts have been mired in controversy ever since the involvement of ANC’s investment arm, Chancellor House, was exposed.

In 2015, the DA laid charges against ANC’s Chancellor House after it emerged that Hitachi Ltd, the company which won a R38.5 billion tender to provide Eskom with boilers for the Medupi and Kusile power stations in 2007, admitted to have made improper payments to Chancellor House, to the value of $6 million, in the process leading up to the tender being awarded.

Other extreme overspends are;

  • ALSTROM S&E AFRICA            R 9,7 billion (49,8%) overspend          – turbines, instrumentation.
  • MPS JOINT VENTURE              R 6,6 billion (224,2%) overspend        – civils
  • KUSILE CIVIL WORKS              R 4,8 billion (106,0%) overspend        – civils
  • ESOFRANKI CIVILS                   R 1,9 billion (460,6%) overspend        – underground civils
  • BASIL READ                                 R 1,8 billion (123,5%) overspend        – construction
  • AVENG AFRICA                           R 1,3 billion (258.3%) overspend        – plant installation

The conclusion that must be arrived at is that there was extreme mismanagement of these contracts, fraud and corruption or a combination of these.

SASSA: Bhengu’s redeployment does not absolve her from accountability

In today’s Portfolio Committee Meeting on Social Development, Minister Susan Shabangu confirmed reports that Abraham Mahlangu has been appointed as Acting SASSA CEO following the redeployment of Pearl Bhengu to KwaZulu-Natal.

While the DA welcomes Bhengu’s exit from SASSA, her redeployment does not absolve her from accountability nor does it entitle her to a severance package.

Past experiences have taught us that ineffective CEO’s often get rewarded for poor performance and enabling corruption to fester in our parastatals.

Bhengu was at the helm of SASSA when the agency was on the verge of yet another social grants crisis and she was believed to have been very close to former Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, who was set on ensuring the continuation of the illegal CPS contract.

The reality is that Bhengu has to be held accountable for her hand in the many crises that SASSA continues to suffer and her role in the social grants mess must be investigated.

The new SASSA CEO has a responsibility to remain politically independent and to ensure that he always acts in the best interest of the 17 million poor and vulnerable South Africans, who depend on social grants every month to just get by.

The DA will continue to keep an eye on the developments at SASSA and we will ensure that Parliament exercises its oversight and hold Shabangu and Mahlangu accountable.

US tariffs: Minister Davies must present plan to stop job losses in steel sector

The DA will write to the chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Trade and Industry, Ms Joanmariae Fubbs, requesting that she invites Minister Rob Davies to explain what, if any contingency plans have been implemented to prevent job losses in the steel and aluminium industry resulting from tariffs imposed by the United States of America (USA).

It is estimated that a minimum of 7 500 workers in the steel and aluminum industry will lose their jobs after the USA rejected South Africa’s application for exemption from President Donald Trump’s import duties.

On the 5th of April 2018, I met with the US Consular General in South Africa where I emphasised that our aluminum is highly specialised and would not affect US manufacturing. In fact, a disruption of SA aluminum imports would drive up the cost of production for US manufacturers and harm their aluminum sector.

Minister Rob Davies needs to provide a detailed account of the reasons given by the US to decline South Africa’s application for exemption from the steel tariffs. We also need clarity on the role played by the US trade representatives in South Africa in informing the decision taken by the US government.

While governments may wish to protect its own industries from unfair competition, we believe blanket protectionism is not the answer. Developing economies, such as South Africa, that have high unemployment rates are often the hardest hit and this only serves to perpetuate the cycle of global poverty.

The DA looks forward to receiving a detailed plan from the Minister on the steps that will be taken by his Department to ensure thousands of workers will not lose their jobs.

Land reform through real empowerment, not slogans

Note to editors: the following remarks were delivered by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, at a Workers’ Day celebration with farm workers in Wellington in the Western Cape today who have benefitted from the farm equity share schemes that the DA has championed in government. The Leader was joined by DA Western Cape Provincial Leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, DA Western Cape Deputy Provincial Leader, Albert Fritz, and Constituency Head and West Regional Chairperson, Erik Marais

My fellow South Africans

There is an old African proverb that you may have heard before. It is a proverb that speaks of the value of teamwork and collaboration. This proverb says: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Standing here on this particular farm on Workers’ Day, I am reminded of the truth in this proverb. Because what you see on this farm, and the other farms that make up the Bosman-Adama equity share scheme, is proof of what can be achieved when we pool our resources as a nation and try to find solutions together. We can go far.

The workers benefitting from this scheme will go far because this is a project aimed at real, long-term empowerment of individuals. This is not about populist sound bytes. This is not EFF and ANC-style sloganeering around land expropriation without compensation.

This is how you make land reform work for the people rather than for the parties chanting the slogans.

In 2008, 260 workers were each given over R100,000 worth of shares in this equity scheme. The very next year they received their first dividends, and have been doing so every year since. Today the business has grown to include 450 permanent workers.

This is not some quick-fix solution by national government where land beneficiaries are left on their own to either sink or swim. And, believe me, most of them sink – the ANC’s land reform projects have a staggering 90% failure rate.

This is not some crony-benefitting racket where friends and family members of those in power score themselves big land deals with no intention of ever farming the land.

This is a plan that gives the people who work the land a stake in the business. It ensures that this new ownership comes with real skills transfer. It ensures that these new share owners are seen as partners, with open communication channels, regular meetings and joint decision making.

It also provides a comprehensive social development plan for the residents of the farm, including housing, clinics, crèches, school transport, bursaries and old age housing.

This is the kind of land reform that has seen six out of ten such programmes in the Western Cape succeed, while nine out of ten land reform programmes attempted by national government have failed.

The difference between what the DA is doing and what national government is doing comes down to the intentions. The DA intends for land reform to be empowering to the individual beneficiaries, with long-term sustainable benefits.

National government intends for land reform programmes to tick boxes and make up numbers. It’s about short cuts and quick fixes. As soon as the deal is done, the beneficiary is abandoned.

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The irony in all of this is that it is the DA who stands accused of opposing redress on land. Because we voted against the EFF’s proposal to dismantle part of the Constitution to allow for land grabs, they tried to label us as “anti-redress”.

The notion that anyone who stands opposed to the EFF’s land expropriation without compensation is also opposed to land reform is nonsense. And this needs to be said over and over again. We voted against the EFF’s proposal because it will do nothing to empower poor black South Africans. In fact, it will only make them poorer.

You see, by their model, all land will become the property of the state, and no individuals will own anything. This is what they don’t mention in their slogans. But they intend to take away everyone’s property, whether you’re black or white, and make everyone permanent tenants of the state.

That’s not empowerment. That’s just another poverty trap. And it’s also a sure way to chase away any and all investment in this country that could create the jobs we so desperately need.

We voted against their plan because it is a terrible solution to poverty and exclusion. Land reform should be about both justice and economic opportunity. Expropriation without compensation will satisfy neither of these two conditions. It will not return land to the people who were dispossessed, and it will diminish economic opportunities in this country.

We voted against it because we have a far better plan that is already working where we govern.

You’ll notice the ANC voted along with the EFF to scrap Section 25 of the Constitution and open the door for expropriation without compensation. They did so because they knew they had made a mess of land reform for the past 24 years, and they needed a quick way to deflect the attention and blame anything other than themselves.

But the ANC also know it’s a terrible idea, because today you can’t get a straight answer from them on the matter. They can’t tell you whether they plan to change the Constitution. They can’t tell you whether they support expropriation without compensation. They can’t tell you whether they want the state to own the land or whether they want individuals to have full title.

There is only one party that supports true empowerment of the people through real land reform, and that party is the DA. That is why our land reform projects succeed over a long period of time. That’s why the 450 workers in the Bosman-Adama equity share scheme have a bright future to look forward to.

This project here required teamwork. It required a partnership between the original owners of the Bosman Family Vineyards, the farm workers and government. Its success depended on this collaboration. If we want to build a prosperous economy for all, then we have to do it together.

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

We will continue to support and roll out projects like these where we govern. We will continue to fight for justice and economic development through land reform without amending the Constitution. We will continue to harness the power of collaboration to unlock opportunities for our people.

Because we believe we are stronger together. We believe in one united South Africa with one shared future.

Thank you.