Archive for the ‘DA News’ Category

Mantashe is spanner in the works of President’s energy promises

February 17, 2020

While the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcements in his State of the Nation (SONA) address regarding the energy sector, it is worrying that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe does not seem to be on board.

Shortly after Ramaphosa announced during SONA that Independent Power Producers will be able to sell electricity to financially viable municipalities, Mantashe contradicted him in media interviews afterward by saying he is unwilling to commit to opening Bid Window 5.

This essentially makes the president’s promise an empty one.

A limited number of IPPs have received licences to provide electricity to the grid, following the opening of four and half bid windows so far.

The Integrated Resource Plan calls for more renewables to be added on an annual basis, but Mantashe has to open the next bid window, which will be the fifth one.

He has not done so, and judging by his statements last night he does not intend to do so anytime soon.

Mantashe has also continuously delayed the signing of section 34 notices, and has been slow to act on the amendment of schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act.

Every day of delay of these urgent reforms is another day of rolling blackouts and another day of severe damage to the South African economy.

Minister Mantashe needs to come clean on what his immediate steps will be to implement the President’s promises without any further delays. We will hold him to account, as well as calling on the President to act against Mantashe if he continues to be the spanner in the works.

New Executive Committee for Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency

February 16, 2020

The DA in Kouga and Kou-Kamma Municipalities met yesterday at Oubos, just outside Kareedouw, for the AGM of the Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency.

The meeting was also attended by Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police and Constituency Leader of the DA in the region.

A new executive committee was elected at the AGM.

“I am very happy with the team that has been elected by the branches in Kouga and Kou-Kamma. Many of the executive were part of the team that won Kouga Municipality in 2016 and together we are determined to retain Kouga and win Kou-Kamma in 2021,” said Whitfield.

“The DA is focusing on rebuilding our branches and connecting with our members. We will have a policy meeting with all councillors and branch chairs in the build up to the DA Policy Conference and Federal Congress,” added Whitfield.

The newly Elected Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency Executive Committee is :

▪️Chairperson: Hattingh Bornman
▪️Deputy Chairperson: Richard Krige
▪️Secretary: Timothy Jantjes
▪️Finance & Fundraising Chairperson: Brenton Williams
▪️Councillor Representative: Horatio Hendricks
▪️Councillor Representative: Baker Smit
▪️Additional Member: Denzil van Vuuren
▪️Additional Member: Sakkie Murray
▪️Additional Member: Xoliswa Dlala
▪️ADAC Representative: Danny Benson
▪️DAWN Representative: Amor Hendricks
▪️DAY Representative: Anescha Swart

Reject Eskom’s proposed R 27.3 billion tariff increases

February 4, 2020

Eskom is currently in the process of challenging the electricity tariff increases previously approved by NERSA for 2019 to 2022, and now wants consumers to pay 10-15% more for electricity, followed by tariff increases of 50% over the next few years.

This, despite the fact that South Africans experienced over 418 hours of load-shedding in 2019 alone.

The DA’s main points of objection are:

  • Consumers simply cannot afford Eskom’s proposed tariff increases;
  • The utility has been entirely unable to demonstrate that they can operate prudently and efficiently, with gross financial mismanagement and procurement processes that have not been competitive enough; and,
  • Eskom has demonstrated that it is wholly incapable of managing South Africa’s electricity supply. To allow an increase in the rate of their tariffs would only reward them for their failures.

The DA has therefore called on NERSA to reject this application, and to protect consumers from Eskom’s incompetence.

With over R400 billion of debt, the ANC must accept that Eskom can no longer be saved and that the lunacy surrounding Eskom bailouts, in any form, needs to end now.

South African consumers cannot afford further tariff increases on electricity. It is unconscionable that Eskom would ask citizens to pour more money into the blackhole of an entirely defunct SOE.

STRAIGHT TALK – February is the month to fight EWC

February 1, 2020

The ANC is trying to sneak expropriation without compensation (EWC) through as a benign tool of transformation. Make no mistake, it’s a potent weapon in a kleptocracy’s arsenal to subjugate and steal from the people of South Africa.

Yesterday in parliament the opposition successfully compelled the government to extend the closing date for objections to its Section 25 Amendment Bill (to enable EWC) from 31 Jan 2020 to 29 Feb 2020.

This means we can unite and fight EWC for a month or suffer its consequences for decades.

The only way a successful society can operate is on the basis of secure private property rights and the rule of law. Anyone who cannot see that these core values are now at stake is frankly naïve.

The EWC bill proposes cutting out the courts by transferring decision-making control around which property can be expropriated, and at what price, from the judiciary to the state. At the stroke of a minister’s pen, our title deeds could become worthless.

Amending the Constitution and legislation to give the state unchecked power to grab land and other property is a very, very bad idea.

We all need to grasp the depth and scale of the risk and act swiftly. Zimbabwe’s story could be South Africa’s too if we don’t act en masse during the month of February. Hindsight is the best source of insight: we either learn from Zimbabwe’s path, or we follow it.

The state can be legally compelled to act in the national interest if society expresses its interest loudly enough in a public participation process.

So, there are four actions I urge you to take during the month of February: 1) write an objection and email it to section25@parliament.gov.za; 2) sign the DA’s petition against EWC; 3) put pressure on your bank or home loan provider to object to EWC; and 4) get others in your community to do the same.

The ANC claims the purpose of EWC is to enable and accelerate land reform. But the real objective is to bring all land under state custodianship and control, to be used as a patronage tool to shore up its power and secure its access to public resources. Only the very naïve could believe otherwise.

Consider the case of David Rakgase, a poor, 78-year old, black Limpopo farmer who has had to take the state to court to compel it to sell him the land he has leased and farmed for over two decades.

He won, and the state abandoned its appeal in favour of contravening the court’s judgement by offering to sell it to him at 9 times the price instructed by the court.

EWC will undermine confidence in title deeds and investment. Far from being pro-poor, EWC will be profoundly anti-poor as agricultural investment dwindles, land becomes unproductive, food shortages set in, and unemployment soars yet higher.

EWC will not help the poor any more than BEE, employment equity or rigid labour legislation have. Inequality and unemployment have never been higher.

And that’s just the start of it. There’s plenty of scope for creep. After all, land is just one form of property and further changes will only need to be legislative rather than Constitutional, meaning that only a parliamentary majority of 51% will be required.

It’s already clear that scope-creep is the ANC’s modus operandi. By their own admission, the original proposed amendment (published for public comment on 6 December 2019) giving the courts control to decide on compensation was just a ruse. They’d always intended to bypass the courts.

In driving EWC, the ANC has sought to scapegoat first the Constitution and now the courts for its own abject failure to execute an effective land reform programme over the past quarter century.

As no less that former president Kgalema Motlanthe pointed out in his High-Level Panel Report to Parliament, Section 25 in its current formulation in no way impedes meaningful land reform. Rather, corruption, mismanagement, lack of funding and lack of political will are the real impediments.

In other words, the ANC government itself is the obstacle, and this latest amendment proposes to vest even more power in it.

The DA-run Western Cape has a 72% success rate in agricultural land reform projects compared to an estimated 10% success rate nationally. Our urban land reform record is consistently strong, with DA governments having given out well over 100 000 title deeds in urban areas.

The DA is unequivocally opposed to amending the Constitution and we will use every mechanism at our disposal to fight it, just as we are fighting prescribed assets and the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and healthcare.

Indeed, it would be a grave mistake to view EWC in isolation. This move is exactly in line with the ANC’s overall strategy of achieving state control over every aspect of our lives so that their feeding frenzy can continue.

Nationalising the Reserve Bank and healthcare and hanging onto failing state-owned enterprises whatever the cost to the nation, including forcing pension funds to “invest” in them, are all part of the same broad agenda of theft.

These lead not to transformation but to economic ruin. The fastest, indeed only, way to transform our society is to throw open the doors to individual ownership, enterprise and entrepreneurship by embracing the values on which these depend: the rule of law including respect for the Constitution and private property rights; a market-driven economy; and a capable state that delivers to all.

These are the DA’s values and vision and our offer to South Africa.

Warm regards

John Steenhuisen

DA Leader

Eskom cannot be fixed – independent power production is the future

January 31, 2020

The ANC government and its utility Eskom, are unable to meet our nation’s energy needs, and there is no plan to fix this. The DA firmly holds that Eskom’s constant limping from light into darkness cannot continue.

Eskom continues to suffer financial catastrophe, being billions in debt. It blows through bailout cash, and it has proved for years that it cannot recover massive consumer debt owed to it.

Eskom remains operationally weak, and its infrastructure continues to fail and to not meet demand. Its power generation mix is archaic, and has no way to move to cleaner more affordable energy.

These are signs of an entity which cannot be saved. We maintain that it is in a death spiral, and for so long as the ANC government continues to pretend Eskom can be saved, it is dragging South Africa with it down this spiral.

It is deeply concerning that while rolling blackouts continue, transparency and disclosure at Eskom remain elusive – contracts, short, medium and long-term operational and restructuring plans, and importantly a solution to the financial crunch it is experiencing, are kept secret and not disclosed to Parliament for oversight.

The DA has previously requested that the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee of Public Enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, convene an urgent meeting on these issues at Eskom, but to no avail.

The DA has also asked the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, for a meeting to address the electricity crisis and help the nation find solutions, and are awaiting a response thereto. We are absolutely committed to work to find solutions.

In the interim, Eskom demands more price hikes, requests additional funding to the tune of billions, and then promptly announces more looming loadshedding. To what end for our nation?

It is high time for alternatives, including breaking-up Eskom, immediately freeing-up space for all independent power producers, investigating aspects of privatisation and allowing South Africans to make their own electricity generation choices in their own businesses and homes.

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