Archive for the ‘South African Politics’ Category

Zwane’s Mining Charter a plan for more state capture

June 16, 2017

The release of the Mining Charter is proof that the ANC government does not care about long-term and sustainable transformation in the mining sector. Version 3 of the Mining Charter will be a disaster for the mining industry.

In presenting his new rules, which amount to a massive giveaway of mine value to the ANC’s favoured groups, Minister Zwane has opened the doors to more ANC crony enrichment.

The DA supports share schemes for miners when they are structured to benefit the workers and are economically viable.

One way of diversifying the mining sector would be to bring mine workers into mining schemes. It’s pointless to try and diversify if it leads to the collapse of companies.

But this is not what the ANC government is proposing. Instead, the ANC government’s Mining Charter proposal wants to make cronies and insiders richer, as they open up new opportunities to get in on mining deals.

We have seen the devastating impact of how connected cronies, like the Guptas, prey on deals like this and how they facilitate capture of resources.

The reality is that only 8% of ownership will ever make it into the hands of mineworkers under Zwane’s proposal.

Zwane’s proposal also seeks to win back the favour of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) who are unhappy because of State Capture and a declining industry.

We believe that the proposal’s by the Minister seek to buy off communities who have been let down by the failure of ANC municipalities to deliver services, and the failure of the ANC government to create an economy that provides jobs.

We also believe that the requirement announced by Minister Zwane that all prospecting rights must be 50% +1 BEE inclusive, will mean the virtual death of prospecting.

The BEE sector is perennially short of cash, particularly for speculative actions like prospecting. The amount of prospecting will plummet. Even if there are new finds, capital will be extremely difficult to raise.

One wonders if Zwane actually believes his statements about this charter which he says will “catapult South Africa’s economy forward.” The only place the industry will be catapulted is over a cliff.

Almost 450 thousand South Africans work directly for the mines. At least as many again work in associated industries. The future of their jobs is now in doubt. Zwane and Zuma’s grasping charter will be to blame.

We have no doubt that this charter will end up in court in the very near future.

Make sure your address is registered at IEC

May 25, 2017

The 2019 National and Provincial election is shaping up to be the most important election ever in the history of a democratic South Africa.

It is critical that every South African is enfranchised and able to cast their vote in an election where there is a very real possibility that the ANC will slip below 50 % of the vote.

The Electoral Commission has launched the first phase of an online address capture facility where registered voters can provide their address details via the IEC’s website.

The facility is only for already registered voters to provide and update their address details and is not an online registration facility.

In this initial phase the online facility will also only be available to the approximately 3 million registered voters for whom no address is currently on the voters’ roll.

The affected voters are being contacted and requested to submit their addresses online via a targeted SMS campaign.

It is planned to open the system to all registered voters to check and update their address details in later phases of the campaign which will also include additional opportunities for voters to provide their address details – including those without access to the internet.

The initiative forms part of on-going efforts to enhance and update the voters’ roll with the address details of all voters where available following the ruling of the Constitutional Court in June 2016.

In a widely publicised ruling, the Constitutional Court gave the Electoral Commission until June 2018 to rectify deficiencies on the national common voters’ roll with regards to missing addresses.

In March 2016 approximately 7.85 million (32%) of the 26 million registered voters had no address details on the voters’ roll and an estimated 8.6 million (34%) of addresses were incomplete.

Through a variety of initiatives this has been significantly and systematically improved:

The proportion of complete addresses increased from 32% of registered voters to over 72% of registered voters

The proportion of incomplete addresses has decreased from 34% to 14%

The percentage of registered voters without a recorded address on the voters’ roll has been reduced from 32% to 12%

Among the measures taken to date include:

  • Checking all records and storage to find any registration forms which have address details which the Electoral Commission may not have captured
  • Asking voters to update their address details during the April 2016 voter registration weekend
  • Asking voters without address to please complete an address form on Election Day for the 2016 Municipal Elections (this initiative generated almost 3 million addresses)
  • The Electoral Commission has focused on obtaining missing addresses for voters during all by-elections held since July 2016

The Electoral Commission has started sending out SMS messages to those voters whose addresses are not on record and for whom it was able to source a cellphone number requesting them to submit their address via http://www.elections.org.za

They will first need to register on the website and provide a username and password for security purposes.

Zuma or South Africa – the two cannot co-exist

April 3, 2017

Today, Monday, 03 April 2017, the Leadership of the DA, EFF, IFP, COPE, UDM, and ACDP met in Johannesburg following the hostile takeover of the Treasury, and selling of the country by Jacob Zuma to a grouping whose only interests are amassing wealth and weakening the State through the theft of the people’s money and the undermining of the country’s Constitution.

These are indeed irregular and trying times for South Africa and the people, which demands a united vision and programme of action from leaders of society, like Opposition Parties represented in the National Assembly.

Opposition Parties agreed that the Constitution must come first, and the country must be protected from those who seek to undermine it. We therefore deliberated and agreed upon a number of issues in this regard.

National Day of Action to the Union Buildings

It was agreed that as Opposition Parties, we will start the process of mobilising their structures from across the country for a National Day of Action to the Union Buildings.

We are planning to have this mass action event as soon as possible.

We will also be engaging Civil Society formations and other Political Parties to mobilise in order to support the people’s National Day of Action to the Union Buildings, so that we are united and not fractured in our call to save our country in the short-term.

We therefore call upon all South Africans and the whole of Civil Society to support this mass action, where will speak with one voice calling for Jacob Zuma to remove himself from the Union Buildings, failing which he will be pushed, using democratic processes.

Zuma cannot hold an entire country hostage.

Motion of No Confidence

Opposition Parties are fully behind the Motion of No Confidence in Jacob Zuma and the call for the Speaker of the National Assembly to reconvene the House for a special sitting so that this matter of National Importance can be debated and voted on.

The DA and EFF have already asked the Speaker to reconvene Parliament. The UDM have submitted a similar request today.

We expect an urgent answer from the Speaker about progress made in scheduling the Motion, should we not be satisfied with her response, court action, supported by Opposition Parties will be taken.

Given the crisis engulfing our society, we are confident that Members of Parliament will stay true the Constitution and their Oath of Office.

The Motion of No Confidence is not about the removal the ANC. The ANC was voted into government by the majority, through the democratic project, which we respect.

In the short-term, we are working to remove Jacob Zuma, and elect someone from the ranks of the National Assembly who is committed to South Africa, the people and the Constitution.

The choice South Africans must make is: Zuma or South Africa. The two cannot co-exist.

The time has come to defend our democracy

March 31, 2017

President Jacob Zuma’s decision to fire the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, and the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebesi Jonas, should be a rallying call for all South Africans to stand together and defend our hard-won Constitutional Democracy.

The President has once again shown that he has no interest in our beloved country’s future – or the 9 million South Africans who are unemployed.

He has bowed to the whims of those who are determined to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and jobless. This is an act of complete state capture.

We cannot sit by and let this happen. It is time that all South Africans stand together to protect our democracy.

It is Parliament who hired Jacob Zuma and it is Parliament that can fire him.

We therefore urge all political parties, including members of the ANC, to vote President Jacob Zuma out when the DA’s motion of no confidence is debated in the National Assembly.

The time is now. We must stand together and defend what so many fought and died for.

Visit NoConfidence.co.za and become a citizen co-sponsor of our Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma.

Mmusi Maimane

A better life for all – just invest in the ANC

January 28, 2013

Jacob Zuma has been accused of blatantly promoting corruption in South Africa.

In his words, ‘We’re not forcing people … you can support and be a supporter, but if you go beyond that and become a member, [and] if you`re a businessman, your business will multiply. Everything you touch will multiply. I`ve always said that a wise businessperson will support the ANC … because supporting the ANC means you`re investing very well in your business.’

This statement was made at a gala dinner celebrating the 101st anniversary of the African National Congress (ANC), attended by the political elite and some of the wealthiest and most powerful business people in South Africa. Business leaders paid hundreds of thousands of rands for tables at the event, which also served as a fund-raising vehicle. In total, R21,4 million was raised for the ANC’s coffers.

DA young leaders

Although ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu tried, unsuccessfully, to spin this statement as simply an expression of African culture, the President’s words raises a number of worrying questions. For example, how exactly does providing monetary support to the ANC result in a particular business ‘multiplying’? Why would investing in the ANC be a ‘wise’ business decision compared to for example, investing in skilled staff, better technology or additional marketing? At face value it sounds strange, but there are plenty of examples that provide context to President Zuma’s statement.

The Mail and Guardian reported on 18 January 2013 that Edison Power, a company owned by Durban-based businessman Vivian Reddy, had been awarded a contract to the tune of R1,25 billion for the supply of smart meters to the City of Johannesburg. The newspaper alleged that this company had won the contract irregularly because of evidence that Edison’s bid was not the lowest, it had no experience in this type of business, it would not source any components of the electricity meters from local businesses, and a letter informed Edison that it had won the bid before the decision was made.

Interestingly, Reddy is a long-standing benefactor of President Zuma, having generously contributed to the costs of expanding his private homestead in Nkandla. Reddy also ‘invests’ heavily in the ANC and paid R450 000 for a seat at the same table as President Zuma at the recent gala.

But what are the consequences for South Africa?

It means that the vast majority of South Africans who are not able to ‘invest’ in the ANC will not have the same influence over its decisions as those who can give generously. Essentially, the interests of the poor and marginalised will always play second fiddle to those of elites who can afford to give large amounts of money to the ANC and its officials. Businesses that cannot compete fairly can opt to purchase influence, as the Shaik trial demonstrated. This undermines the extent to which innovative, honest businesses can compete and can lock honest business people out of state contracts.

It is this state of affairs that starts to explain why South Africa fell 10 places to 64th on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index of 2012, the country’s lowest ranking since the index began in 1997.

President Zuma’s remarks were attacked by many, including Advocate Paul Hoffman of the Institute of Accountability in South Africa, who stated that, ‘This is no way to run a country … it is unethical and unsustainable’, and went on to say that President Zuma was essentially offering businesses a ‘get-rich-quick kind of arrangement’.

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said that, ‘With high levels of corruption already costing the economy billions of rand, hurting the poor and vulnerable the hardest, such a comment is deeply irresponsible’, and she indicated she would ask President Zuma to retract the statement.

The president’s statement certainly raises questions as to whether the political will exists to aggressively deal with corruption, which is at the heart of a number of governance-related challenges facing the country. However, if South Africa continues on a path where corrupt behaviour in government and the private sector is condoned at worst or ignored at best, the country will lose much-needed resources and the poor will continue to suffer. It will then be only a matter of time before it is increasingly realised that the ANC slogan of ‘a better life for all’ means very little to those in power.

Written by Hamadziripi Tamukamoyo, Researcher, Governance, Crime and Justice Division, ISS Pretoria office

South Africa needs an 8 % growth rate

June 27, 2012

Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, has said that government will be working towards maintaining the 2 to 3 percent economic growth rate of recent years.

This is unacceptable. We should be targeting much higher growth rates. That is the only way to create the jobs we need to lift hundreds of thousands of South Africans from poverty.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes we should be targeting a growth rate of 8 %. Next month we will be releasing our plan for South Africa to achieve 8% growth.

This is in line with growth potential in other developing economies. Growth rates between 2 and 3 percent are what the struggling Western economies are producing. Instead, we should be positioning ourselves to grow at rates similar to those of our peer countries.

A growth rate of between 2 and 3 percent will not be enough to pull people out of poverty. Such a rate will only maintain the status quo.

The ANC clearly does not have a plan to achieve faster growth. Instead of adopting the necessary measures to open up our country to more investment, growth and job creation – like the youth wage subsidy or labour market liberalisation – the ANC is intent on placing more shackles on growth. The “50% resource rent tax” that is being discussed at its policy conference this week is just the latest example.

The time has come to put high economic growth and job creation first. That is the only real way to improve people’s lives.

Zuma has it wrong on land reform

June 26, 2012

This morning during the opening of the ANC’s policy conference in Midrand President Jacob Zuma reiterated the misconception that the Constitutional property clause requires a willing seller and willing buyer for the purposes of agreeing compensation at expropriation. He said that this distorts the land market and makes land reform expensive and slow.

It is simply not true that a seller can frustrate expropriation and land reform in this way. It is fruitless to try to “review” a requirement that is not present in section 25 of the Bill of Rights.

The property clause says property may be expropriated under a law of general application in the public interest subject to compensation which has either been agreed between those affected or decided or approved by a court. The public interest includes land reform.

When a court sets the amount of compensation and the time and manner of payment, it must find a fair balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected. That equitable balance is not dictated by market value alone, but also by other factors including the purpose of the expropriation, the history of the acquisition and use of the property, and its current use.

The failure of land reform is the failure of government itself.

The first policy drafts for this conference included the proposition that the property clause was a sunset provision. President Zuma by and large expressed acceptance of the Constitution, including an independent judiciary, and exhorted the policy conference to tackle poverty, economic inequality and unemployment.

Those laudable goals can be successfully pursued within the constitutional framework – indeed they cannot be achieved outside it.

ANC is a pressure cooker waiting to explode

June 26, 2012

The ANC is not an organisation whose mission is to liberate ordinary South Africans from poverty.

It is a party that has been hijacked by people whose aim is to loot the state as quickly as possible before the taps are shut.

As it goes into its policy conference this week, the party’s provincial structures are in tatters and its leaders are at war with each other.

This extends to local government as well and the ANC in Kouga is unable to deliver and years of mismanaging the municipal coffers.

It is clear from the current budget that service delivery will not happen in 2012. It is time for change.

Read more here

71 paroled criminals have been re-arrested

June 25, 2012

Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele stated that it would have been optimistic to think that none of the offenders who received special remissions would re-offend. To date, 71 offenders have been rearrested. This is 71 too many.

As the Democratic Alliance has stated before, two offenders are rearrested on average every day. At this rate, a conservative estimate of 150 individuals will be rearrested before the process ends on 23 July.

Although Justice Minister Jeff Radebe called this number ‘very negligible’ today, we regard this number as a failure by Correctional Services to ensure that released offenders have been properly rehabilitated.

The Minister has also stated that only 17,556 out of 167,819 prisoners were actively involved in correctional programmes. This amounts to around 10% of the prison population and would go a long way toward explaining why 71 offenders are now back in prison. The Department of Correctional Services is clearly failing to ensure that there is an adequate rehabilitation and reintegration process.

The poor handling of the remissions process has put the safety of ordinary South Africans in jeopardy and this cannot be considered as ‘very negligible’.

Mangwashi Phiyega is new Police Commissioner

June 12, 2012

The Democratic Alliance welcomes President Zuma’s decision to relieve former National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele of his duties. Sacking Cele was the right thing to do.

However, singing the praises of Cele as the President did this afternoon is an insult to the remaining dedicated and law-abiding members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The President’s strong action against Cele was unfortunately watered down by the “personal gratitude” expressed to the fallen general.

Mangwashi Phiyega is the new Police Commissioner

The DA also cautiously welcomes the appointment of Mangwashi Phiyega as the new National Police Commissioner. Her qualifications and wealth of experience in management make a welcome addition to the top brass of the SAPS. The DA remains concerned, however, that she is not a career police officer and has no experience in fighting crime.

The fact that she is not a career politician is, however, a welcome departure from her predecessors and we trust that her tenure will not be marked by similar disgraceful conduct. We wish Phiyega well in her new position, where challenges abound. We will continue to closely monitor and scrutinise developments in the police under her watch.

The DA hopes that Phiyega’s appointment will usher in a new era for the SAPS marked by stability and effective management at the top level. We trust that this will translate into increased credibility and integrity for the service as well as renewed confidence and public trust in the work of the police.