Meet the DA members of the Eastern Cape Legislature

May 22, 2019

Ten Democratic Alliance members were sworn in as members of the sixth sitting of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, and as the official opposition in the province.

Front row (left to right): Jane Cowley, Nqaba Bhanga, Bobby Stevenson, Edmund van Vuuren. Second row: Retief Odendaal, Yusuf Cassim, Nomvano Zibonda. Back Row: Sanele Magaqa, Vicky Knoetze and Marshall von Buchenroder.

This follows the election held on 8 May 2019.

The members are:

  • Nqaba Bhanga
  • Bobby Stevenson
  • Yusuf Cassim
  • Marshall von Buchenroder
  • Vicky Knoetze
  • Retief Odendaal
  • Jane Cowley
  • Nomvano Zibonda
  • Edmund van Vuuren
  • Sanele Magaqa

These individuals bring with them a mix of skill, expertise and experience that puts them in good stead to serve the people of the Eastern Cape.

“I have also appointed Bobby Stevenson as chief whip of the party. Bobby brings with him a wealth of experience, as the longest serving member now in his fifth term, and has served the party well as the leader of the provincial legislature during the fifth sitting,” said DA Provincial leaderNqaba Bhanga..

The DA, as the official opposition in the legislature, will be guided by the following two principles:

  1. holding the provincial government accountable for the exercise of their powers, and
  2. putting forward fresh ideas and credible alternatives to government plans and policies.

Humansdorp court to be upgraded

May 17, 2019

Twelve years after much-needed upgrades were first approved, the Humansdorp Magistrate’s Court is set to receive a facelift in the near future – making it safer and more user-friendly.

The multi-million Rand project, to be implemented over a period of 30 months, is expected to start in the second half of this year and reach completion by the end of 2021.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is set to confirm availability of funding for the project by the end of May, while the Department of Public Works (DPW) need to finalise the necessary design and process the approval of the sketch plan.

Malcolm Figg, the DA Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency Leader, says, “The building is in a total state of disrepair and is inadequate – putting the safety of employees and members of the community at risk.

“Major concerns include the lack of security measures, the presence of dangerous weapons on site and easy access to the magistrate chambers.

“Incidents include two men armed with knives entering the court building, as well as the discovery of a concealed panga-type weapon in the only mail toilets opposite the chief magistrate’s chambers.

“No arrests were made by either the security guards or local police.”

He continues that although separate from the main court rooms, there is no safe and private area designated for children who need to testify. The specific room used, is shared with the senior prosecutor when interviews need to be done.

“The office of the family planning officer can only accommodate three people at a time – which is not an ideal situation.

“This is not an acceptable professional environment where the lives of magistrates, public prosecutors and court personnel are endangered on a daily basis.”

SA needs a plan to build an inclusive and growing economy

May 15, 2019

The release of the StatsSA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey has revealed that the South African official unemployment rate has increased to 27.6%, and the expanded unemployment rate increased to 38%, translating to 9.9 million unemployed people in South Africa.

While the increase is marginal, it is indicative of an economy which is stagnant and shedding jobs at an alarming rate. This is compounded by a National Government that is devoid of a credible, long-term plan for jobs and the economy.

This current trajectory is unsustainable. South Africa simply cannot afford to lose any more jobs.

This 0.5% increase represents millions South Africans who cannot put food on the table or provide their families with basic necessities.

In the brutal face of 15% VAT, an increase in electricity costs, looming winter blackouts and unchecked corruption, it is clear that the current National Government is working against all attempts to build an working economy.

Despite this, the DA-governed Western Cape has again bucked the unemployment trend and is the only province to decrease it’s expanded unemployment rate by 0.4 percentage points.

The DA maintains that a job in every home is possible. More than 90% of households on the DA-governed Western Cape have a job in every home.

Instead of the ANC’s one-size-fits-all approach to fixing the joblessness crisis in South Africa, the DA proposes a complete reform of the economy.

South Africa’s current economic conditions are not conducive for job creation. South Africa needs an inclusive and growing economy.

It is for this reason, the DA introduced its ‘Jobs Act’ last month. The Act advocates for the protection and support of SMMEs by ensuring greater flexibility in the labour market through minimum wage exemption for businesses that fall into certain classifications.

This will guarantee that doors of thousands of small businesses remain open and protect thousands of jobs.

The Act will also do away with all unnecessary red tape that small businesses still have to comply with, this will make it easier for entrepreneurs to set up shop.

In addition to this, the DA’s Jobs Act will ensure the creation of a special forum for dispute resolution specifically for SMMEs.

One of the biggest obstacles to economic growth in this country is the rampant corruption and poor governance record on the part of the ANC.

Only if we take a hard stance against corruption, as in the DA governed Western Cape, will the country be able to attract investment to spur growth which creates jobs.

We remain committed to Building One South Africa for All

May 14, 2019

We would like to thank the 3, 6 million voters who entrusted the DA with the responsibility of Building One South Africa.

Further to this, we would like to thank the people of the Western Cape who bestowed upon us the role of the majority party. We will work day and night, to build on the last 10-years of good governance in the Western Cape.

When we set our 2019 elections targets, we did so under very different internal and external circumstances.

This was on the back of terrific and inspiring outcomes in 2016, where we were granted the privilege and responsibility of governing in Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Johannesburg, among another 30-odd municipalities, while retaining the City of Cape Town with a strong majority.

These victories gave us the momentum to launch the ’Back to the People’ and ‘Change 19’ Tours. These played a critical role in laying the foundations for the One South Africa for All 2019 General Elections Campaign.

It was in the mix of this euphoria that the terrain rapidly shifted. We were faced with internal challenges and significant changes in the political landscape, the rise nationalism on both the left and the right.

In short, both internally and externally there were matters we had to grapple with. We will be the first to state that these factors had a role to play in our electoral fortunes. As the DA we are holding the moderate non-racial centre ground; an important position in the rise of populism.

As members of the Federal Executive, which controls and directs the activities of the Party, and implements the decisions of the Federal Council, we all take responsibility for the outcomes of elections – whether good or bad. That burden does not sit on the shoulders of an individual.

There has been much speculation about the future of our Leader, Mmusi Maimane. We would like to state that Mr Maimane remains our leader until a Federal Congress, scheduled for 2021 decides otherwise.

Any talk of a change of a leadership change before a Federal Congress must be dispelled. As the Leadership of the Party, at both a National and Provincial Level, we are unambiguous in our support for Mr Maimane who has led the DA with exemption since the 2015 Nelson Mandela Bay Federal Congress, and his unopposed election in 2018.

One South Africa for All is not just a slogan, it is a call to action, which we will continue to dispense alongside our values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity. Whether in opposition or in government, we will continue to Build One South Africa for All.

We will never celebrate the loss of voters. We are not blind to support in some areas nor are we deaf to the voices of those who chose to support another party in this election.

Where the losses occurred, we will work on regaining the trust of the people as we head into the 2021 Local Government Elections, this starts with two by-elections taking place in Nelson Mandela Bay as early as Wednesday; this will be the start of winning back the Bay.

This morning, the Western Cape Provincial Leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, stated that we must be on the ground working with the people of South Africa and always keep them informed; and our Leadership from the top to the branches on the ground will do exactly that.

Equally, the best way to celebrate our victory in the Western Cape is to intensify the delivery of services and building a more inclusive economy.

Where we have made inroads in new communities, we will strengthen those bonds. We do not underestimate the bravery many showed when they cast their vote next to the DA for the very first time. Once again, we thank you.

There will be a review of the organisational structure and how we can best operate as a party that occupies governments that serve around 15-million people, and the way we campaign. This review will be in consultation with all stakeholders of the Party.

In closing, we are evermore committed to Building One South Africa and reject racial mobilisation. We believe that the prosperous dream of 1994 can be made a reality, even if it is difficult.

That is the nature of change, as we have seen in the past, it is difficult but indeed it is possible.

Athol Trollip

DA Federal Chairperson

Breaching of the Seekoei River mouth begins

May 14, 2019

The breaching of the Seekoei estuary mouth at Paradise Beach got under way yesterday morning in Jeffreys Bay.

It is expected that it will take at least three weeks to remove enough sand for the estuary mouth to be opened, with a 50m x 500m trench set to be excavated.

The excavation site, as well as a section of the parking area, have been cordoned off.

We ask that people please remain outside these demarcated areas for safety reasons,” said Brenton Williams, the DA Councillor for Aston Bay.

The Seekoei River is suffering from a lack of base flow into the estuary with up to 26 legal dams in the catchment area and many illegal dams preventing the flow of fresh water.

This causes a high salinity level in the estuary and residents have reported numerous big fish dying off in the estuary that borders both Aston Bay and Paradise Beach.

The reason for the breach is to create a flow of sea water into the Seekoei River estuary to assist in reducing the salinity level.

More houses powered up at Humansdorp

May 11, 2019

A further 53 households at Humansdorp received electricity for the first time this week, with almost 200 more to follow over the next two months.

Kouga Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor Freddy Campher switched on the electricity to 53 houses at the Kruisfontein 391 RDP housing development on Monday.

The switch-on was part of a R 10 million project to install electricity to the remaining 237 houses at the development.

The power to the first 154 houses was switched on in July last year.

“Electricity has a life-changing effect on the general livelihoods of people. That is why the municipality has left no stone unturned to ensure that these residents do not have to go through another winter without electricity,” Campher said.

“We are happy that we could keep our word and that the electricity to a further 53 houses has been switched on. More than that, we are pleased to see how happy this has made the beneficiaries.”

He advised residents that certain upgrades and new installations still had to be done before the remaining houses could be connected to the grid.

“As a result, there will be a series of shutdowns over the next few weeks.

“We ask that residents who have just been connected don’t get a fright when this happens. It will only be for a few hours on the relevant days to allow the contractor and municipal teams to complete the project.”

The relevant dates are May 10 for the removal and re-installation of an auto recloser and switch; May 15 for the installation of a new MV-cable and pole; May 26 for the installation of two new auto reclosers; May 29 for the tie-in to the existing line so that three new transformers can be energised, and June 2 for the installation of three new switches.

A further interruption will follow later in June for the installation of a new feeder panel at the substation.

DA wins majority of Provincial votes in Kouga

May 10, 2019

The majority of votes cast on the provincial ballot in Kouga were in favour of the Democratic Alliance.

48 % of voters (18 671) voted for the DA, who governs the Municipality in Kouga, after winning the 2016 Local Government Election.

The ANC, who are the only other party represented in the Kouga Council, gained 42 % of the vote (16 332).

None of the smaller parties managed to gain more than 4 % of the vote, indicating that Kouga remains an area dominated by the two big parties in South African politics.

While the IEC has not yet completed counting the votes, the ANC has won the Eastern Cape with around 68 % of the vote with the DA winning around 16 %.

The DA has retained the Western Cape province and will be the official opposition in the Free State, Gauteng and the Northern Cape.

The DA is also the biggest opposition party in South Africa with close to 23 % of the vote at time of publication.

DA calls for a vote audit

May 10, 2019

The DA has served on the IEC over 2000 procedural objections, and a demand for an audit of votes cast on 8 May, and special votes cast on Monday on Tuesday.

Our demand is that the IEC must audit the numbers of ballot cast, against the crossed off voters’ rolls, and VEC 4 forms, to determine that the number of ballots cast is legitimate, and no double-voting has taken place.

This audit is necessitated by an overwhelming number of procedural errors committed by the IEC over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from ink washing off, to VEC4 forms being overlooked, to multiple voting.

We anticipate that the IEC will complete this audit, and present the outcome, before declaring the Election results on Saturday. We reserve our rights to formally challenge the results if the audit reveals serious issues.

Additionally, we have learned tonight that numerous very small parties have filed a formal objection to the Election process, with the IEC. This has the potential, depending on the IEC response, to delay the finalization of the Election results, which we are closely monitoring.

For absolute clarity, the DA is not at this stage part of the formal objection, but we are independently seeking a Vote Audit and thereafter we may enter into a formal objection.

Let me again thank all DA structures who worked with passion, commitment, dedication and tirelessness throughout this campaign. We are well on track to build One South Africa for All, in a project that must continue toward Election 2021.

Ke nako: Be brave, give change a chance

May 8, 2019

This election is undoubtedly our most important election since 1994, with South Africa balancing dangerously on a knife-point with issues of crime, corruption, state capture, unemployment and immeasurable poverty.

When we cast our ballots today, we need to remind ourselves of the heartfelt suffering of millions of our fellow citizens, whose lives have not improved, and have in fact worsened, under the rule of the failing ANC.

This will no doubt be a watershed election. The governing party has had 25 years to better the quality of the lives of our people, but they have instead chosen to prioritize the looting of the people’s money for their own selfish enrichment.

It is with this in mind that the DA would like to implore people to be brave at the ballot box, and give change a chance.

The ANC has brought our beautiful country to its knees through 25 years of failures and broken promises. And when they notice that we are no longer satisfied with their theft and deceit, they choose to divide us along racial lines – much like the apartheid government did.

Only the DA can bring true, tangible change South Africans so desperately need and deserve – with an honest and professional police service, a job in every home, faster service delivery, secure borders and a 15-year jail sentence for anyone found guilty of corruption.

The DA is the only party that can build One South Africa for All – with 10 years of good governance experience we have proven this.

We are asking for more voters to be brave and give change a chance.

We wish all voters clarity, confidence and bravery, as they make a mark next to the DA, a political party they know they can trust to bring real change.

12 great reasons to vote DA on 8 May

May 7, 2019

South Africans are heading for the polls on 8 May 2019. Our country is at a cross roads and corruption has ensured that many South Africans have yet to enjoy the benefits of democracy.

Where the DA governs, we govern well and in Kouga, service delivery has vastly improved since 2016 and the financial position of Kouga Municipality is stable.

Housing projects have been unlocked in Humansdorp and Jeffreys Bay while land has even been bought by the DA led Kouga Municipality to facilitate future housing developments.

Here are more reasons to vote DA on 8 May and bring change to the rest of South Africa.

1. One-party dominance is failing SA. Our democracy urgently needs a strong alternative. We must build this at the centre of our politics and society. This is where the DA is located.

2. The DA is the only sizable party that stands for the rule of law and a market-driven economy.

3. DA is the only party with a solid track record in government. No other party on the national list has demonstrated its ability to run a national or provincial government efficiently and honestly.

4. 15 out of the 20 best-run municipalities in SA are DA-led. (Source Good Governance Africa’s Governance Performance Index 2019.)

5. DA-led Western Cape is SA’s top-performing province for financial stability and governance. (Source: Ratings Afrika’s Municipal Financial Stability Index 2019)

6. DA-led Western Cape has the lowest broad unemployment: 23% compared with SA average of 37%. (Source: StatsSA QLFS)

7. DA-led Western Cape achieves the best basic education outcomes – highest retention of children in school until end of matric. Retained 63% of kids in 2018. All other provinces retained under 50%. Highest real matric pass rate.

8. DA-led Western Cape achieves the best health outcomes. Life expectancy is the highest in the country, has increased by a projected 7 years since DA took over in 2009. And 90% of people live within 30 minutes of a clinic.

9. DA-led Western Cape success rate of land reform farms is 72%, compared to 10% success rate for SA as a whole.

10. DA-led Midvaal municipality is the only municipality in Gauteng to come in the top-20 best-run municipalities in SA. (Source Good Governance Africa’s Governance Performance Index 2019.) Has achieved 5 consecutive years of clean audits. (Source: Auditor General)

11. DA-led Western Cape has by far the best track record in spending public money on the public. Achieved 83% clean audits with Gauteng coming a distant second at 52% (Source: Auditor General’s report for 2017/18.)

12. Cape Town is SA’s best-run metro. (Source: Ratings Afrika’s Municipal Financial Stability Index 2019)