Baleka Mbete leaves businesses in the lurch as bill for The Speaker's Ball goes unpaid

I have reliably been informed that none of the service providers that worked on The Speaker’s Ball, a post-SONA event hosted by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, have been paid in full. Some service providers have not received any payment for the event which was held at a five-star hotel in Camps Bay on 9 February.
The DA will be reporting the matter to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests as we contend that Mbete has brought the Office of the Speaker into disrepute.
More than a month after the event, several small businesses are still owed payments ranging from R70,453 for flowers and décor to R137,444 for equipment hire to R206,482 for catering and staffing.
It is understood that Western Cape service providers were engaged by a Johannesburg-based events company which, in turn, was engaged by yet another Johannesburg-based events company purporting to be acting on behalf of Baleka Mbete and Nkuli Kgositsile, both of whom were personally involved in planning the event. We are led to believe that legal action is now pending against Mbete.
The DA raised questions over The Speaker’s Ball on 7 February, seeking clarity over who was paying for the lavish event and whether or not Parliament had contributed or committed any funds, in disregard of Treasury’s cost-cutting measures. Media conjecture prompted ANC spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, to state explicitly that it was not a party event.
It is especially concerning that the event was organised and held in the name of the Speaker, who is indeed the representative of Parliament. Tarnishing the name of the Speaker is no different to tarnishing the institution itself.
The DA is appalled that Mbete’s failure to pay her accounts has placed businesses in distress. This ugly affair is symptomatic of a self-indulgent, opulent ANC leadership that holds honest, hard-working South Africans in contempt.
Mbete must settle her dues immediately, failing which she should be called to account to Parliament on why she has disgraced the Office of the Speaker and, by extension, the Legislature.

Change begins with all of us

Note to Editors: The following remarks were delivered by the DA Leader during a public meeting in Atteridgeville to mark the start of the #Change19 National Tour. The Leader was joined by DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, DA Shadow Minister in the Presidency and Constituency Head, Sej Motau, Tshwane MMC for Human Settlements, Mandla Nkomo, and DA Gauteng North Regional Chairperson, Fred Nel.
My fellow South Africans
Life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.
If you are worried or angry about what you see around you, then you have to ask yourself: What have I done to change it?
Today I want to invite you to join hands with those who feel the same as you, so that we can do what needs to be done to get our country working again.
I know that our problems often seem too big to overcome. Rampant unemployment has shattered the dreams of millions and left entire communities struggling to get by from day to day.
More than half our people live below the poverty line. That’s 27 million people who have to survive on less than R780 a month.
11 million of them live below what is called the Food Poverty Line. This means they cannot even afford the minimum daily nutrition.
These are numbers that we should never, ever have to accept as good enough.
But this ANC government wants you to think they’re doing the best anyone can do – that this is, for now, as good as it will get.
They want you to accept that our economy can’t grow at even half a percent a year, that we have the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, and that more than a third of our people cannot find work.
According to the ANC they have done all they can do, and we must just tough it out until things get better.
Well let me tell you, I refuse to accept any of this.
I know we can tackle and beat poverty by creating opportunities for people to become truly financially independent.
I know we can change. But I also know we are going to have to do so without this ANC government.
The truth is, this ANC under Jacob Zuma doesn’t want change. Because change means giving up what you have in order to gain something else.
And this ANC has worked too hard to set up a network of corruption where everyone benefits. Where tenders go to friends, where cronies become billionaires and where the kickbacks flow like water.
They’re not going to give any of this up.
The good news, my fellow South Africans, is that there are enough of us to change this country without the ANC. We are everywhere, we just need to find each other.
We already took the first steps in last year’s municipal elections. Opposition parties in three metros found enough common ground to be able to say to the ANC: you are no longer needed here, we can do it without you.
And it’s not only political parties. NGOs are finding allies in business, churches are standing together with civil society.
Our country has transcended politics before to fight an unjust government. In the 1980’s the UDF united civic bodies, churches, students and workers to fight for a free and non-racial society.
Today we are once again seeing such a realignment – a Coalition of South Africans who have nothing in common other than a hunger to build a country that works for all its people.
South Africans who are not bound by race, by language, by religion or any other superficial “identity” that some like to label us with.
South Africans who share a common vision for our country, and who despise the selfish people with their wicked plans who stand in the way of our vision.
We just need to find each other to see how great our numbers really are.
Fellow South Africans, today marks the start of our #Change19 National Tour.
Over the next year I will visit communities in every province, where I will go door-to-door, conduct street meetings, town hall meetings, engage with the youth and speak to stakeholders in communities.
I will make it my mission to let South Africans know just how big our movement for change really is.
And when we go to the polls in 2019 to elect national and provincial governments, you will see that our movement – our Coalition of South Africa – will be unstoppable.
Together, we will be the change we want to see in South Africa. But for that to happen, many of you are going to have to be bold and do something you’ve never done before: You’re going to have to put your faith in the DA and not in the ANC.
That’s the only way this country will change. If the DA should disappoint you, then you must take your vote back and lend it to someone else. But first give us a chance.
If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.
Please join me in making South Africa the country we all know it can be..
Ke a leboga. Thank you.

Meddling Muthambi must personally pay for her judicial review of SABC report

The DA will write to Communications Minister, Faith Muthambi, to demand confirmation that she will personally pay for the legal costs of taking the SABC Ad Hoc committee report on judicial review.
Muthambi is doing her utmost to avoid accountability by taking the report, which was adopted in the National Assembly on Tuesday by most parties, including the ANC, on review.
She claims she was not given proper notice of the allegations against her and as a result was “substantially prejudiced” in her ability to respond meaningfully. This is a bold-faced lie.
Muthambi was given ample opportunity to reply to the allegations in person before the committee and was also allowed to publish a written response to the findings of the report before final publication, which she did.
During the Ad Hoc committee proceedings, it became clear that the SABC board’s failure could, in many ways, be attributed to the Minister’s meddling. The committee also found that the Minister displayed incompetence in carrying out her responsibilities.
If the Minister had one ounce of shame, she would do the honourable thing and resign, not use public money to try and defend the indefensible.
The DA has already written to the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to request an urgent investigation as we believe she lied under oath, gave false and misleading evidence to the committee and used her position to unduly benefit Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
In so doing, the DA believes she has breached the Constitution, Executive Ethics Code and the Powers Privileges and Diplomatic Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Government Acts.
It is clear that the Minister is now scrambling as the evidence against her is plain for all to see.
Muthambi is clearly not fit for office.
Whether Muthambi does the honourable thing and resigns or the President removes her of her position, she must go with immediate effect.

BOKAMOSO | Our Constitution is the most powerful tool we have to effect land reform

The 1913 Land Act dispossessed millions of black South Africans, denying them the right to buy land in most of South Africa or even to farm white-owned land as tenants or sharecroppers. Further legislation caused millions more to be forcibly removed from the land they lived on and owned during Apartheid. These inhumane, immoral laws had devastating socio-economic repercussions, causing and continuing to cause tremendous pain and loss of dignity, and entrenching the deep racial inequality, poverty and resentment that still plagues our society today.
Our Constitution was designed to achieve justice and redress, and to prevent arbitrary, destructive deprivation ever happening again. However, the ANC government’s land reform efforts since 1994 have been an unmitigated failure. The failure rate, depending on the measurement of success, has been calculated as between 73% and 90%.
Last Tuesday, the EFF led a debate in Parliament calling for an amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation. The motion was rejected by MPs of most other parties, including the ANC. Three days later on Friday, President Zuma echoed EFF sentiments in an address to Traditional Leaders calling on “black parties” to unite to enable expropriation without compensation. Fortunately, Zuma does not have the backing of his party or government, though the ANC commonly blames the Constitution for land reform failure.
Land reform is a social, moral and constitutional imperative. It can and should be made to work. There is nothing in the Constitution that limits the government from implementing land reform rapidly and successfully. In fact, our Constitution is the most powerful tool we have for achieving justice and redress in land reform. Changing it will not fix our land reform problems. Instead, it will put South Africans at risk of experiencing the same deprivation and disaster now being suffered in Zimbabwe.
The ANC and the EFF like to scapegoat the Constitution for failed land reform when in fact it is due to failed policy and corruption. It is disingenuous and lazy to blame the Constitution. One major policy downfall is that government has prioritised allocating land over helping beneficiaries to farm it productively, resulting in unproductive land, which helps neither the recipients, nor South Africa at large. The transfer of skills and support into beneficiary communities is absolutely critical to a successful land reform process.
Another is the unintended consequences of state ownership with long-term leases for beneficiaries. Without title to the land, beneficiaries are unable to access the credit they need to farm productively. In many cases leases are not given at all or, worse still, are given to “strategic partners” rather than the beneficiaries themselves, creating avenues for elite enrichment and corruption. With neither title nor lease, there is little to distinguish “beneficiaries” from squatters on state-owned land.
Corruption is the biggest problem of all. Land reform deals often involve inflated prices that enrich the elite. Last month, the Sunday Times reported on a Limpopo farm that Agriculture Minister Gugile Nkwinti lined up for two ANC cronies. The deal cost R130 million of public money, while 31 farm workers went unpaid and a productive farm fell into disrepair. The Mala Mala land claim deal cost taxpayers R1 billion and yet the “beneficiary” community has not seen any benefits and remains in deep poverty.
Government puts much blame on the “willing seller willing buyer” approach. But if government were serious about acquiring land for reform, they could go onto the open market and buy farms for a bargain, without having to go through the arduous land claims process. Currently, arable land in SA is very cheap because of the drought. There is an unprecedented number of commercial farms on the market, especially smaller farms. The fact is that the ANC government lacks the will, competence and integrity to effect successful land reform. It has failed despite the Constitution, not because of it.
Policy uncertainty and the ANC’s radical economic transformation rhetoric is already deterring long-term investment in agriculture. A move to expropriation without compensation will open the way for the kind of uncontrolled, arbitrary land seizures that happened in Zimbabwe in 2000, which has reduced the country from an exporter of grain, to a recipient of food aid for over four million people.
Where the DA governs, we make land reform a priority and it happens faster than anywhere else in South Africa. This is why the DA-led Western Cape has delivered in total over 75 000 title deeds since 2009, more than any other province. This number includes the transfer of title deeds to housing beneficiaries in urban areas – the DA believes that urban land reform is a very important empowerment tool. In national government, we would enact legislation to secure the property rights of those who live on state land, state-owned land reform projects and former homelands. We want poor people to own their own property and not have their property controlled by Traditional Councils or by the state.
And we would buy well-priced arable land on the open market and allocate it transparently. We would target young, black aspirant or emerging farmers and provide both title deeds and appropriate support to enable productive farming, ensuring sustainable funding models. As we have done in the Western Cape, we would provide an on-going package of financial support, technical and managerial assistance as well as invest in supportive infrastructure.
Also as in the Western Cape, we would support farm ownership equity schemes whereby workers share in the ownership of existing, successful commercial farms enabling a progressive transfer of ownership and skills and providing access to markets – an approach which has been found to be far more successful than a wholesale transfer of land to people who may be ill-equipped to farm it successfully.
The DA’s combination of well-considered policy and effective, honest implementation will rapidly expand property ownership and wealth creation for black South Africans. And when they finally have title to their own land, they will be glad that the Constitution protects their right to own it.

The DA is fighting for your grants

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, outside the Department of Social Development following a march calling for the payment of social grants to all 17 million grant recipients. The Leader was joined by DA National Spokesperson, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, DA Shadow Minister and Deputy of Social Development, Bridget Masango, and Lindy Wilson, DA SCOPA Spokesperson, Tim Brauteseth, DA Gauteng North Regional Chairperson, Fred Nel, and DA Gauteng MPL, Makashule Gana.
Fellow South Africans,
The corruption and incompetence of this government have put the monthly grants of 17 million South Africans at risk.
How much more must we take from this ANC government?
How much more damage must they do to our country before they are stopped?
How many of our people must they harm or threaten before we say, as a nation: “Enough. This ends here”?
In less than three weeks’ time, millions of South Africans stand to lose their social grants if an urgent solution to the grant payment crisis is not found.
The President described this as an “inconvenience”. This is not an “inconvenience” for those people who rely on their grants. It is a disaster.
A third of our people depend on grants to survive. 17 million people.
This places a massive responsibility on the shoulders of the government.
The men and women who drafted our Constitution knew that we would grapple with the legacy of Apartheid for years to come. They knew that poverty would continue to affect many people.
And so our Constitution guarantees poor South Africans a safety net.
Our state welfare programme is one of the most crucial functions of our government. For many women, men and children it literally is a matter of life and death.
The R10 billion in social grants that go out to 17 million people each month are often all that stand between them and hunger, sickness and homelessness.
It is our immediate duty to ensure that every single child is cared for, fed, kept healthy and sent to school.
It is our immediate duty to ensure that those who cannot look after themselves – the disabled, the sick, the very young and the very old – are cared for and do not suffer.
When we vote for a government, this is one of the most important tasks we expect them to fulfill.
And from the way the ANC campaigns for elections, they know exactly how important this is.
They make it sound like it is the ANC that gives people their grants. They count on the fact that people are conned into thinking their monthly grant is a gift from the ANC.
This is a lie. Your grant is not a gift from the ANC. Your grant is guaranteed by the Constitution.
The only way you will lose it is if the ANC damages SASSA so much that they cannot even deliver your grant to you. That is what is about to happen.
But the ANC wants you to believe the lie that they give you the grant. This is extremely important to the ANC, because it is all that stands between them and losing an election.
But there is something that is even more important to them than tricking the voters. And that is their greed.
You see, their number one priority is to keep their massive web of power and corruption intact. To keep the right people in the right positions so that their corrupt game of giving and taking – of stealing and stashing – can carry on.
It’s such a full-time job that they can’t even pretend to care anymore.
17 million people’s lives depend on receiving their monthly grants, but this ANC government is too busy playing its crooked games to care.
Bathabile Dlamini had three years to find a solution to distributing these grants. She knew exactly how big this job was, and she knew about the deadline. And she did absolutely nothing.
She knew that, come the 1st of April, 17 million South Africans could stand to lose their only financial lifeline if she didn’t present a solution. And she did absolutely nothing.
She knew that the courts and Treasury and Parliament would have no choice but to ask the same company whose contract was found invalid in 2014, to carry on distributing grants in 2017.
She knew that she was playing a deadly game with the lives of our most vulnerable people, but she just doesn’t care.
You see, Bathabile Dlamini is in Zuma’s corner. And when you’re in Zuma’s corner, there are many things you don’t have to do.
When you’re in Zuma’s corner, you don’t have to account for your actions to Parliament and the people of South Africa.
When you’re in Zuma’s corner, you don’t have to answer difficult questions from the media.
When you’re in Zuma’s corner, you don’t even have to do your job.
Fellow South Africans,
Looking after the poor and the vulnerable may be her job, but Bathabile Dlamini doesn’t care about grant beneficiaries. She has too many other things to worry about.
Things like campaigning. If she’s not busy campaigning for Zuma himself, or for her own position in the ANC Women’s League, then she’s out there campaigning for the president’s ex-wife to take over from him.
In Bathabilie Dlamini’s world, this is what she was elected to do. The poor, the disabled, the sick, the old and the young come second. Number 1 comes first.
The ANC is still counting on selling people the lie that it cares enough to hand out R10 billion in grants every month.
But thanks to Minister Bathabile Dlamini, people now know that this is a lie. The mask has finally slipped. Every day, more and more South Africans see this ANC government for what it really is.
So what more must the ANC do before they are kicked out of government?
They have failed in giving black children an education.
They have failed in creating opportunities for young black South Africans to get ahead in life.
They have failed in keeping our people safe in their communities.
They have captured our state institutions.
They have killed our people in Marikana and Esidimeni.
And now they are gambling with the lives of 17 million vulnerable people.
How much more?
Fellow South Africans,
The ANC wants you to believe that the DA is against social grants. They spread fake stories about how the DA will take away grants once we’re in government.
These are lies. Not only do we fully support the safety net of our social grant system, we even tried to increase the grants with an additional R2.2 billion in the budget.
But the ANC blocked this. The party that says they care about the poor blocked our efforts to send more funds towards social grants. Think about that.
Where the DA governs, people get paid their social grants every month and no one has ever lost their grant. But now it is the ANC who is threatening to take away grants through this crisis.
The DA is fighting to save your grants and make sure they are paid on 1 April. The ANC is fighting to get rich, even if that means you don’t get your grants. That is the simple truth.
The same people who spread these stories about the DA will also try and tell you that we’re exploiting this crisis by speaking out on it.
They try to shut us up by saying we shouldn’t “politicise” an issue like this. But to them I say: Nothing will stop us from doing our job.
This ANC government has turned on the people of South Africa, and it is our job to stand in their way.
Let me be clear on this: If standing up for the people of South Africa and protecting them from a corrupt and uncaring government is uncomfortable for the ANC, then tough luck.
Fellow South Africans,
We are fast running out of time to avert this grants crisis. It is a crisis that is entirely manufactured by the ANC.
The memorandum we are handing over to the Department of Social Development today calls for the following four steps:

  1. Minister Dlamini must resign immediately. She is incompetent, and cannot serve in any position in government.
  1. Government must tell us now whether there is an agreement between SASSA and CPS for the delivery of social grants after 31 March 2017.
  1. If there is such an agreement, Minister Dlamini must let us know what the terms of this agreement are, including the costs and timeframes.
  1. The Minister must appear before a Parliamentary enquiry to explain her actions and that of her department.

We know by now that President Zuma will not hold Bathabile Dlamini or her department accountable. We know that he does not care enough about the lives of ordinary South Africans to act against her.
But there are enough of us who do care.
There are enough ordinary citizens, enough members of the press, enough opposition party members, enough judges, enough NGOs and enough business leaders to hold President Zuma and his ministers to account.
There are enough of us to do what he and his uncaring government can’t and won’t do.
Together we will make sure the poor and the vulnerable in our society are not abandoned.
And together we will get rid of this government that has become the enemy of the people and replace it with one that cares for and serves the people.
Today we say, Dlamini must go, and she must go now.
Ke a leboga. Thank you.

DA calls for lawful consultation on new ICT policy

I have written to Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Leader of Government Business, requesting that a lawful consultation process, in terms of the Electronic Communications Act that solicits written submissions for consideration, be held on controversial aspects of the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper gazetted last October.
I am concerned that the process of developing legislation arising from the National White Paper is irregular in terms of the Electronic Communication Act 2005 and is proceeding with reckless haste.
While much of the White Paper was subjected to lengthy public participation since 2013, its plans for a Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) – the most controversial and potentially destructive aspect – was not subjected to public dialogue.
The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) has indicated that the first draft of legislation will be presented to Cabinet by the end of March 2017.
The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, has told various public forums that there will be no discussion on the recommendations, only on how they will be implemented.
The Minister’s spokesperson, Mr Siya Qoza, yesterday confirmed this approach in an interview with TechCentral.
The consultations on the White Paper that have taken place with the ICT sector since last October have been informal and not in compliance with the Electronic Communications Act.
My view is that the Minister and his department have cynically participated in these to create the impression of public consultation.
Despite a concerted effort by the network operators, who are most affected by the WOAN, to propose a win-win compromise, there has been no indication that Minister Cwele is prepared to thoroughly engage on these.
I fear that unless a lawful public participation process of some of the White Paper’s key aspects and a credibly researched socio-economic impact assessment is done, much of the legislation will be legally contested because of its unconstitutionality, asset expropriation plans and inadequate processes.
Such is the fundamental opposition from the ICT sector to the contentious aspects of this White Paper that I am concerned that, should we leave the public participation until the parliamentary legislative process, positions on these will become unnecessarily entrenched and hostile.
This means there will be years of vigorous legal battles that will hinder the deployment of leading-edge, affordable communications networks for years, at great cost to economic expansion and job creation.
I have urged Minister Ramaphosa to propose to Cabinet that the implementation of the White Paper initially focus on legislating the recommendations which are urgent, and not contentious – such as the Rapid Deployment Guidelines that were unnecessarily delayed for inclusion into the White Paper – and embark on a thorough public participation process to develop a wireless network strategy that is constitutionally, legally and financially sound.

Cronin’s actions confirm EPWP jobs are only for ANC card carrying members

I will today write to the Deputy Minister of Public Works, Jeremy Cronin, to ask him to explain why it was that the ICC was used for the ANC Caucus meeting this morning, and why they were joined by hundreds of Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) participants.
Durban North Ward Councillor, Shaun Riley, of the DA, thought he needed to attend the meeting, but upon arrival was ordered by the eThekwini Mayor, Zandile Gumede, to leave immediately as it was, “an ANC caucus meeting”.
Despite the fact that I have been assured over and again by the Deputy Minister Cronin that the EPWP does not see thousands of work opportunities given only to ANC cadres, what happened in Durban today shows I have been misled.
The Mayor allegedly went on to promise to extend the EPWP contracts for the current participants until the work opportunities became permanent jobs. This, too, flies in the face of every fact we have been told of the Programme in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee by the Deputy Minister.
It is generally accepted that indeed the poorest of the poor are only able to access these job opportunities if they can produce an ANC membership card. Attached is a photograph from the ICC today where the EPWP participants were called to join the ANC caucus.
The Deputy Minister of Public Works must answer to this abuse of the system he purports to be so proud of and try again to convince South Africa that there is no abuse of the programme which is generally viewed as system of largesse dished out by ANC Councillors to loyal cadres.
Unlike in DA-run municipalities, where these job opportunities are determined in a stadium filled with local residents, who have their IDs drawn from a barrel to ‘win’ the job opportunities.

Deputy Minister Dlodlo spends R1.5 million on two luxury Audis in 3 weeks

According to a reply to a DA parliamentary question, Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, spent a shocking R 1.5 million on two cars in the space of 18 days last year.
On 2 June 2016, an Audi A8 3.0 TDI Quatrro Tip-tronic was purchased for R 750 000 and on 20 June 2016, an Audi A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI Tip-tronic was purchased for R 735 700.
It is wasteful expenditure like this that has created the lost generation, the millions of young people that have given up on ever finding work because the ANC would rather spend money on fancy cars than on quality basic education and skills development for our young people.
The DA will not let this shocking abuse of public money stand and call on Deputy Minister Dlodlo to return the cars and opt for a more appropriate one.

OR Tambo heist: DA calls on crime intelligence heads to brief police portfolio committee

The DA will today write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, to request that he summon the national head of crime intelligence as well as the Gauteng provincial head, to brief the committee on what intelligence, if any, they had before the heist that recently happened at OR Tambo, and what steps they are taking to make sure that an intelligence failure on this level does not occur again.
Reports suggest that up to ten heists, with the same modus operandi, have occurred at OR Tambo in the last year. Many of these heists have been carried out by individuals dressed in police uniforms. This is on top of the heist on Tuesday in which a reported R24 million was stolen, a bogus police vehicle was used and the criminals were dressed as police members. This clearly points to a failure in crime intelligence.
Crime intelligence must account for their inability to prevent these incidences and what they are doing to curb these.
In a press conference today, Acting National Police Commissioner, Kgomotso Phahlane, was asked about what role crime intelligence played in preventing the heist and whether this could be seen as a failure on their part.
Phahlane’s reply was to acknowledge that crime intelligence is important in preventing and solving crimes.
In light of the previous heist, this response is simply not good enough and it is now time that the Crime Intelligence division account for their inability to prevent airport heists which are apparently on the rise.
Crime intelligence needs to assist in getting the police information about crimes before they happen, in order that police can act on the information and prevent crime.
In the cases where crime intelligence don’t succeed in this, they are still important role players and should assist in gathering information on what happened, as fast as possible.
Crime intelligence is vital, and the failure of crime intelligence in this instance is deplorable.

DA to report homophobic abuse of school girls to the SAHRC

The DA is appalled at the report of homophobic abuse of school girls in the Eastern Cape and will report this abuse to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for full investigation.
On Wednesday 7 March 2017, the principal of Ulwazi High School in Mdantsane, Nomampondomise Kosani, forced 38 teenage girls, aged 14 to 18, to publically tell their parents they are gay.
The girls were then subjected to a barrage of insults and were told to “stop” being gay.
The DA will not stand for any form of discrimination, on any grounds. We stand opposed to all forms of bigotry, including homophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia and any other forms of discrimination.
The SAHRC is mandated to address human rights violations and seek effective redress. This incident indicates a clear violation of these children’s human rights and must be investigated fully.
Principal Kosani’s reference to the pupils’ sexual orientation as a “problem” and that the girls were teaching other pupils “bad habits” is deeply concerning.
These comments are grossly out of line with the Bill of Rights which states that “no person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on the grounds of sexual orientation.”
The DA is committed to building a united nation where all people are free to enjoy the rights guaranteed in the Constitution and will continue to fight to ensure these rights are upheld.