Archive for the ‘DA News’ Category

STRAIGHT TALK: My vision for South Africa and the DA

January 28, 2020

This is my first weekly newsletter as leader of the Democratic Alliance. I have assumed this position at a perilous time, when our country is slipping backwards and faces the real prospect of becoming a failed state.

So I’d like to use this opportunity to set out my agenda for the DA, essentially to answer the question:

What are the most effective things the DA can do to help fix South Africa and get the country back onto a path to prosperity?

As I see it, there are two overriding imperatives.

First, where we already govern, we must do so to the very best of our ability, prioritizing delivery to the poorest communities. Doing so will have consequences that extend far beyond the lives of those we serve and the borders of our municipalities and the Western Cape.

If DA-run areas are fixing, building, working, growing, innovating and thriving, it will reignite trust in the DA and hope in SA. This is essential, because I believe the party has a central role to play in fixing South Africa.

The DA has long been associated with good governance. The Western Cape is a well-run province by any standard and I am confident of further improvements, such as from Premier Alan Winde’s safety plan.

Yet we have seen a decline in the quality of services delivered by some DA governments over the past few years. While I am DA leader, good governance will be a non-negotiable top priority.

To this end, we are working to ensure that every single DA-run government has the most capable and committed leadership available to us. Good governance starts with good, values-driven leadership at all levels of the party, by individuals who place service to others over self-promotion.

I’ve taken action to replace the dysfunctional Mayor of George and will take similarly swift action against any other DA mayors or public representatives who act against the interests of the people they were elected to serve or who fail to perform to the high level expected of them.

The DA is in talks with all signatories to coalition agreements with the party, including UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, because together we have enough seats in council to take back Nelson Mandela Bay Metro from the ANC and reinstate good governance there.

The UDM enabled the ANC to get into government there in the first place, so it is not an easy conversation to have. But, to my mind, the need to return NMB metro to good governance for the sake of those who live there should be uppermost.

The second overriding imperative for the DA is to build a new majority in South Africa. Ours is an incredibly diverse nation, yet I firmly believe most of us share the same core values of a non-racial society that upholds the Constitution and the rule of law; an economy that is market-driven; and a state that delivers to all rather than to a connected few.

It is these values that will put South Africa on a path to prosperity.

At first glance these values may seem obvious to you, but in fact they imply some sweeping reforms that will cause short-term pain before they produce long-term gain.

True non-racialism, for example, requires that we reject race-based policies in favour of policies that treat people first and foremost as individuals, rather than primarily as members of a group.

A market-driven economy requires a far lower degree of state intervention in our economy than we currently see in South Africa today.

And a state that delivers to all requires government to stand up to those vested interests (unions etc) that currently benefit from the status quo, a system which favours incumbent employees and large firms while placing high barriers to new entrants to the economy.

The challenge is to get all those who share these values to work together, since we are all located in different parties, including in the ANC.

We’re also located in different mindsets and many of us differ strongly on other issues despite our shared core values. Yet South Africa’s current catastrophic situation requires us to muster the same sense of urgency and the same sense of “common cause” as in 2016 when the country united, albeit temporarily, against state capture. The DA has a central role to play in this.

Our nation stands at a fork in the road. One way is the path of populism and short-cuts and appealing-sounding socialist solutions. It seems attractive to many at first glance.

But ultimately it will collapse our economy and immiserate our society, locking people into dependence on a corrupt, incapable state.

The process is already underway, with policies such as property expropriation without compensation, national health insurance, asset prescription and nationalising of the Reserve Bank already on the table.

The other path puts power back in the hands of people and communities. It leads to a free society, in which individuals have the freedom and opportunities to make their own living and their own choices.

This path leads to enterprise and innovation and growth. It has tremendous power to transform our society, to reverse apartheid patterns of deprivation and inequality.

Not through the intervention of the state into every aspect of our lives, but through the aggregated efforts of millions of free people operating in an enabling environment. It is the path to prosperity and the DA under my leadership will strive to build a new majority who will choose this path.

Warm regards,

John Steenhuisen

Threat of land expropriation without compensation is escalating

January 27, 2020

On 13 December 2019, while businesses were wrapping up for the year, the ANC-government published an official legal notice to signal its intention to change the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.

This will put your home, business or land at risk.

The sub-committee in charge has given the public until just 31 January to submit written submissions.

Please visit www.protectpropertyrights.co.za and lodge a formal objection.

Stand up for your property rights, and encourage everyone you know to stand up for theirs.

We don’t have to change the Constitution, undermine your right to own property, and sink South Africa’s economy to provide legal and thorough land reform.

The Constitution, as it stands, is not a barrier to land reform.

The corrupt and incompetent ANC government is the real barrier to land reform. Don’t put your property rights in their hands.

Please urgently submit your objection, and we will make sure that it is taken to Parliament and heard!

Kind regards

John Steenhuisen

DA Leader

Do you want to be a leader in the Democratic Alliance

January 19, 2020

Applications for the Eastern Cape DA Leadership Programme are still open, and close next week FRIDAY, 31 JANUARY 2020.

We are looking for young South African leaders between the ages of 18 and 35, who are already making a difference where they are.

Find more information below if you are passionate about South Africa and care about your community.

Candidates for Interim Federal Leader and Interim Federal Chairperson

November 1, 2019

The Democratic Alliance can confirm that the period for nominations for DA Interim Federal Leader and DA Interim Federal Chairperson has now officially closed.

The elections will take place at a special sitting of the DA Federal Council (FedCo) on Sunday, 17 November 2019, at Nkululeko House in Bruma, Johannesburg.

The following persons availed themselves to contest for the position of DA Interim Federal Leader:

  • Bonginkosi Madikizela
  • John Steenhuisen
  • Makashule Gana

The following persons availed themselves to contest for the position of DA Interim Federal Chairperson:

  • Dharmesh Dhaya
  • Ivan Meyer
  • Khume Ramulifho
  • Nomafrench Mbombo

The nominations for the two positions closed at 17:00 this afternoon and we now look forward to a constructive period of campaigning between the candidates in line with the DA’s values and rules for internal elections.

Helen Zille elected as Chairperson of DA’s Federal Council

October 20, 2019

Over the past two days, the DA’s Federal Council (FedCo)– the party’s highest decision-making body in between Federal Congress – sat to elect a new Federal Council Chairperson, and to consider the report of the Organisational Review Panel established following the 2019 national and provincial elections.

Election of new chairperson of Federal Council

The election of a new Chairperson of Federal Council presents an opportunity of renewal and change for the DA.

The position was previously occupied by James Selfe, who led FedCo for just under 20 years with the utmost distinction.

I want to again thank James for his leadership, support and friendship. James is an unsung hero of South Africa’s democratic project and his valiant work has positively shaped the country we live in.

I want to congratulate Helen Zille on her election as Chairperson of Federal Council, and I look forward to the new energy, ideas and vigour that Helen will bring to the leadership collective of the Party.

Helen has served the party in various positions over the past years, and brings experience and political clout second to none

Further, I want to call on all the candidates and members of the party to unite behind the new FedCo Chairperson. The election and campaigns are over, and now is the time to unite and work for the people with the future in mind.

Resolutions adopted

Federal Council considered the Organisational Review Panel’s report. Following extensive deliberation, Federal Council adopted the following resolutions.

  1. That Federal Council expresses its appreciation to the members of the Review Panel and thanks them for producing their report.  Federal Council accepts the report in principle and gives effect to recommendations in the following resolutions.
  2. That a Federal Congress be convened as soon as constitutionally possible, bearing in mind the administrative processes which should be concluded as quickly as possible to give effect to recommendations of the review process.
  3. That a Policy Review Committee be established, convened by the newly elected Chairperson of the Federal Council, to undertake a comprehensive policy review of the Party’s positions on a number of key matters, most particularly on economic justice and jobs.  The process followed by the Policy Review Committee must involve consultation with Party structures and should be discussed by Provincial Councils.  He or she must cause a policy conference to be convened before the Federal Congress.
  4. That Federal Executive determine the job description and key result areas for a new Chief Executive Officer. Federal Executive should also appoint an interviewing panel and should cause applications to be invited for this position as soon as possible.  As is provided for in the constitution, the Federal Executive should appoint a CEO as soon as possible. The appointment be made for a renewable five-year contract.
  5. Dr Ivan Meyer, Deputy Federal Chairperson, must be charged with the responsibility for building teams at all levels of leadership and that his proposals in this respect should be considered by the Federal Council at its next meeting.
  6. That an investigation, the membership of which is approved by the Federal Executive, be undertaken under the leadership of Refiloe Nt’sekhe, Deputy Federal Chairperson, into the events surrounding the Party’s reaction to the event at Schweizer Reneke and the Party’s reaction to this as well as other issues highlighted on page 6 of the Review that were used to exploit racial divisions. Such investigation reports must be tabled before the Federal Council.
  7. That in preparation for the early Federal Congress, a constitutional review committee be established by the Federal Executive to give effect to the recommendations by the Review process and be charged with producing appropriate amendments to the Party’s constitution.  Such proposed amendments should be workshopped through the structures of the Party.  Such a constitutional review committee should inter alia consider term limits for the election of office-bearers.
  8. That a review committee be established to review the organisational and administrative structures of the Party under the direction of Natasha Mazzone, Deputy Chairperson of the Federal Council.  This review committee to be approved by the Federal Executive.  To the extent that such an organisational review results in recommendations that would affect the Party’s constitution, such recommendations should be fed into the constitutional review committee.
  9. That the committee established to consider the organisational and administrative structures of the Party, considers the advisability and practicality of establishing an advisory panel as proposed in the Review Panel as well as a crisis communication committee.
  10. That sections 6 and 7 in the Review Panel Report dealing with the Political Purpose, Culture and Values be networked and discussed with all branches and structures with immediate effect.  Such networking should involve a guided discussion approved by the Federal Executive.
  11. That a proper assessment of the Party’s role in governments and communication thereon by our governments be undertaken by the Governance Unit urgently.  Such assessment shall include polling in these governments.
  12. Focus is paid to all upcoming by-elections before 2021 which will require the participation of all required public representatives as allocated to roles, and as agreed to by national, provincial, regional and constituency leadership.  A roll-out of by-election training is undertaken which requires the participation of all public representatives, relevant operational staff and other key role players in by-elections where appropriate.
  13. Focus be given to the 2021 elections urgently in order that the Party can recruit potential candidates and immediately conduct comprehensive and certified training for such candidates.  That the Party undertake a campaign to interact with voters to communicate the Party’s core values that is aimed at winning the trust of voters.

Conclusion

The country is currently facing profound challenges noting the current Eskom rolling blackouts, the 10.2 million South Africans unemployed due to our collapsing economy, citizens continuing to live in fear due to the scourge of crime, and lack of access to basic services due to failing local governments and corruption. These challenges require a stronger and united DA because when the DA works, South Africa works.

We come out of this weekend’s Federal Council committed and reenergised to building One South Africa for All – accelerating our work in parliament as the official opposition to offer alternatives to the governing party and hold the national executive accountable. We further made a commitment to strengthen and capacitate our governments in their work of running clean, capable governments that deliver services to all.

It is now time to roll up our sleeves, and work with South Africans from all walks of life towards building a prosperous South Africa for all.

 

Mmusi Maimane

Leader of the DA

No Smart IDs for poor and unemployed South Africans

October 15, 2019

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that the Department of Home Affairs has no plans to roll out Smart ID Cards to indigent and unemployed South Africans. This was revealed to the DA in a Parliamentary reply by the Minister of Home Affairs. The reply further states that Government will only provide free Smart ID Cards to the elderly and first time applicants.

The DA believes this will disproportionately affect people who simply cannot afford to pay for the new Smart ID . Assisting indigent and unemployed people with free Smart ID cards, would not be a handout, but rather a means to empower citizens to access employment, educational and other opportunities.

We are of the view that Government should provide indigent and unemployed persons, who earn less than a set amount per year, access to free Smart ID cards.

The ANC government should go an extra mile to empower those South Africans who are poverty stricken largely because of numerous government failures to attract investment that will create employment opportunities.

Living without an identity document can be extremely limiting for the poor as they struggle to access housing, sanitation, healthcare or even basic education, and ultimately excludes them from meaningfully participating in our society.

The DA Rural Safety Plan will keep communities safe

October 2, 2019

The Democratic Alliance has announced a plan to bring law and order back to our rural communities.

The six point plan looks to completely stamp-out violent crimes committed on our farms. Kouga has also been affected by farm attacks with a particularly gruesome attack taking place in Hankey last year.

“Our rural safety plan aims to guarantee community-based policing in rural areas and will focus on the unique challenges experience by each district.

The model proposed is constitutional, does not require any legislative, regulatory or policy changes. It is designed to act as an effective means to fight rural crime,” said Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police.

DA Rural Safety Plan: A boots-on-the-ground approach to keep rural communities safe:

Establish rural policing centres

Police stations that serve a mainly rural area need to create at least one dedicated rural sector as part of its regional policing structure and plan

Deploy more officers to rural areas to limit farm murders

Each rural sector will require boots on the ground to ensure communities feel safer and to deter criminals.

Embolden “community policing”

With SAPS being short-staffed as ever, there simply aren’t enough cops to go around. The proposed solution? Allow rural safety plans to be customised at a local station level, alongside community volunteers.

Introduce the Rural Community Policing Unit (RCPU)

Blurring the lines between neighbourhood watch and SAPS, “RCPU reservists” will work just like SAPS reservists, receive specific rural police training and allow paid volunteers to act as “part-time rural officers”.

Farm murders: Improve the support networks for police and volunteers

Citizen Band (CB) networks, radio rooms, rural policing by drone, a rural radio safety station and additional financial support have been identified as tools to bolster communication between each potential RCPU.

Create new structures within SAPS

A Rural Crime Intelligence Division (RCID) function will help collate, process and share rural safety information and work mostly at a district level.

Meanwhile, a Provincial Rural Safety Directorate (PRSD) will use tip-offs to mitigate threats in rural communities.

“Our plan takes a community-focused, ‘boots-on-the-ground’ approach to rural safety which includes the extensive use of technology in new ways and proposals for greater police visibility to keep rural residents safe,” added Whitfield.

DA celebrates Heritage Month in Kouga

September 29, 2019

Great fun was had in Jeffreys Bay on Saturday when the DA held a bowls day at the local bowling club.

36 teams from all over Kouga enjoyed an afternoon of bowls and socialising after watching the Springboks dismantle Namibia in the Rugby World Cup.

The Bowls Day was held as a fund raiser in the Ttisti Kouga Constituency.

“Thank you to everyone who came out to support the inaugural DA Bowls fundraiser in Jeffreys Bay. What a tremendous success!

A very special thank you to Carla Kritzinger without whom this day would not have been possible,” said DA Provincial Chairperson Andrew Whitfield.

“Politics can also be fun and we will be holding this event on an annual basis,” said Whitfield.

Five ways DA governments across South Africa are innovating

September 26, 2019

Here are five ways that DA governments, across the length and breadth of South Africa, are meeting the challenges of the 21st-century head-on:

Africa’s first plastic road in Kouga:

In the small town of Jeffrey’s Bay in the beautiful Eastern Cape, the DA-run municipality of Kouga has officially started work on Africa’s first-ever plastic road.

“Non-recyclable plastic waste, which ends up in the ocean or clogging up landfill sites, is processed into pellets and used to replace a large component of the bitumen in a conventional asphalt mix.”

– Vicky Knoetze, DA Eastern Cape MPL

Water is the number one cause of potholes on regular roads. The plastic road is therefore said to be stronger and more durable, as it is more difficult for water to penetrate the surface.

Green innovation in the City of Johannesburg:

The DA-led City of Johannesburg’s Housing Department recently won a Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Award at the United Nations 14th Annual Session of the Global Forum on Human Settlements.

The award was won for the City’s South Hills mixed-income housing development, a housing development praised as a “global green model community“.

The South Hills development will yield 6 204 units, with 408 already completed.

South Africa’s first housing app in Stellenbosch:

The DA-run Stellenbosch Municipality recently launched a housing app to increase accessibility and access to the housing database for all residents.

The app is not only a first for Stellenbosch but is one of the first-ever municipal applications in South Africa.

There are currently over 16 300 applicants currently registered on Stellenbosch’s housing database, but the information of many applicants is incomplete or out-dated. The app will allow residents to update their information, and create a secure profile that can be used to complete an application.

“Our new housing app and the implementation of our housing demand database will allow us to keep accurate records and plan according to the needs of our residents.”

– Stellenbosch Mayor, Gesie van Deventer

A future-focused school in rural Worcester:

Thanks to a partnership between the DA-run Western Cape government and private donors, a state-of-the-artworld-class primary school has officially opened in rural Worcester.

Botha’s Halte Primary places an emphasis on e-learning, demonstrating how 21st-century technology can be used to reach and contribute to quality education in rural and outlying areas of South Africa.

Digital technology is changing the way learners are educated. The school has already become an educational hub for the district and, through digital teaching, seamlessly links with other teaching institutions such as the University of Stellenbosch.

For the last 18 months, the DA-run City of Cape Town has embarked on an innovative project to tackle harmful methane emissions from Cape Town’s landfills.

Waste to energy in the City of Cape Town:

By safely trapping methane gas pockets produced by decaying rubbish in landfills and then burning the gas, the City of Cape Town is eliminating harmful greenhouse gasses.

The innovation, however, doesn’t stop there. The City will now embark on phase two of the project which will see the harmful methane gas used as a heating fuel in industry, to generate electricity or as a fuel for vehicles.

This initiative will be a useful case study for all other local governments across South Africa, with other DA governments, in particular, focused on fighting greenhouse emissions.

DA shows growth in Eastern Cape by-elections

September 19, 2019

The Democratic Alliance (DA) yesterday retained Ward 19 in the Buffalo City Municipality, following a tightly contested by-election.

The DA’s Derek Green emerged victorious and received 71% of the valid votes cast. This shows massive growth after the DA received 57% of the vote in this ward in the 2019 National and Provincial Elections.

The by-election was also contested by the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the African National Congress (ANC) the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

The ward became vacant as a result of the tragic passing of former DA councillor Richard Rooy.

“This result is a vote of confidence in the DA, and the endorsement from the voters proves that the DA remains on track ahead of the 2021 local government elections.

It is also a clear indication that the residents of the Buffalo City Metro are tired of being neglected and ignored by an uncaring ANC government,” said DA Provincial Leader Nqaba Bhanga/.

The DA also contested Ward 20 in Nelson Mandela Bay and showed growth, with our candidate, Nandipa Qongqo, receiving 5.65% of the vote. In the 2019 National and Provincial Elections the DA only achieved 2.1% of the vote cast.

This ward became vacant as a result of former ANC councillor Bongo Nombiba being found guilty of fraud and money laundering and sent to jail for 5 years.

The ANC showed a big drop in support to 66.65%. In the 2016 Local Government Election the ANC won the ward with 72.24% of valid votes cast.