Archive for the ‘South African Politics’ Category

DA’s Bell Pottinger victory highlights SA’s glaring accountability deficit

September 10, 2017

Accountability prevailed this week, when the DA achieved a successful prosecution on an issue we are passionate about.

Following the complaint we laid with the Public Relations and Communications Association, UK-based Bell Pottinger has been thoroughly held to account for its central role in the Zupta state capture project.

The Guptas and Duduzane Zuma contracted Bell Pottinger, one of the largest and best known PR firms in Europe, to sow racial hatred and division in South Africa in order to deflect attention from their own looting, by creating a fictitious enemy known as “white minority capital” and by winning popular support for a programme of “radical economic transformation”, a fig leaf for policies designed to facilitate further looting of the state.

Through this campaign, Bell Pottinger has done tremendous damage to South Africa, not only by facilitating the ongoing theft of billions of rands of public money that should be spent on SA’s poor, but by damaging SA’s fragile race relations and unsettling our democracy.

In justifying Bell Pottinger’s expulsion from the industry body, UK head of the PRCA, Francis Ingham claimed that Bell Pottinger’s work for the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma “was the worst piece of unethical PR work” he’d seen in his ten year tenure.

The expulsion is a massive blow, from which Bell Pottinger it is unlikely ever to recover. This sends a loud and clear message to other firms, that unethical dealings with corrupt individuals and firms will not be tolerated.

Holding anti-social behaviour to account is what functional societies do in order to maintain the social contract and promote the public good. This is why adherence to the rule of law is a key determinant of why nations thrive or fail.

So it is a huge indictment on South Africa that not a single state capture related arrest has been made, despite thousands of incriminating emails providing incontrovertible evidence of the Gupta and Zuma families’ coordinated programme to loot the state.

On the contrary, the ANC is actively pursuing those within its own ranks who have had the courage to speak out against state capture.

The DA has laid formal charges against all the key known perpetrators of state capture. But the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority have done nothing at all, because they themselves are captured, being led by Zuma cronies.

Unfortunately, the NPA is vulnerable to political interference, a grave oversight by the writers of our Constitution.

The head of the NPA, the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), is appointed directly by the President.

So the NPA is unlikely ever to play its central role in preventing Big Man politics from taking hold in SA. Parliament has no part whatsoever in the appointment.

To protect our democracy, we need to build more independence for the NDPP and for the NPA as a whole. The DA supports a constitutional amendment that would make Parliament responsible for the NDPP appointment, in the same way it is responsible for the appointment of the heads of the Chapter 9 institutions.

As per section 179 (4) of the Constitution, the NPA must be able to function without fear, favour or prejudice. SA’s recent history makes it clear that the NPA needs to be independent from the executive.

And our entire history makes it clear that South Africa as a whole will never prosper under a nationalist, race-based political order.

Bell Pottinger and the Zuptas are not the only ones sowing racial division and attempting to polarize society here in South Africa.

There are plenty others too, and we need to reject them in the same way we have rejected Bell Pottinger.

Both Afrikaner nationalism and African nationalism have failed South Africa.

The DA’s project is to move beyond group-based politics, to achieve a society in which we are united by shared values rather than shared identities, and are thus more resilient to the likes of Bell Pottinger, who pursue a “divide to conquer” strategy.

South Africans are better together, and non-racialism is another value, together with institutional independence, accountability and the rule of law, that will underpin our success as a nation.

That’s why the real victory in the Bell Pottinger matter is that going forward, South Africans will be more sensitive to being crassly manipulated by all hate and division mongers, whether here or abroad.

SA needs to reject extractive, racist politics in favour of inclusive politics based on the equal rights of individual citizens. The DA is leading that move.

Regards
Mmusi Maimane

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By- elections being fought in South Africa tomorrow

August 22, 2017

Five municipal ward by-elections will take place in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng and Western Cape on Wednesday.

According to the IEC, the by-elections will be contested by 20 candidates representing eight political parties.

In the Eastern Cape, Ward 7, in the Ngqushwa Municipality, will be contested by Mlungiseleli Luzipho of the African National Congress (ANC), and Nontsikelelo Felicia Majamani of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The ward was previously represented by the ANC and became vacant as a result of the death of the councillor.

The voter turnout for this ward in the 2016 Municipal Elections was 59.61% and the ANC candidate won the ward with 81.31% of valid votes, the IEC said.

In the Free State Ward 3, in the Matjhabeng Municipality, will be contested by Mofihli Phillip Thejane of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP); Sabata Dominic Lenong of the ANC; Margaretha Johanna Badenhorst of the Democratic Alliance (DA); Sello Patrick Molefi of the EFF; Lesego Wilfred Masibi of the Power of Africans Unity (PAU); and Motete Petrus Kopela of the United Front of Civics (UFC).

The ward was previously represented by the DA and became vacant as a result of the resignation of the councillor.

The voter turnout for this ward in the 2016 Municipal Elections was 59.36% and the DA candidate won the ward with 34.15% of valid votes.

In Gauteng, Ward 91, in the City of Ekurhuleni, will be contested by Melinda Maré of the ACDP; Michael Mkhanyeli Mabhena of the ANC; Desmond Andrew McKenzie of the DA; and Matome Jeffrey Musekwa of the EFF.

The ward was previously represented by the DA and became vacant as a result of the resignation of the councillor.

The voter turnout for this ward in the 2016 Municipal Elections was 67.70% and the DA candidate won the ward with 65.04% of valid votes.

Ward 124, in the City of Johannesburg,will be contested by Mongameli Mnyameni of the ANC; Shenaaz Khan of the Congress of the People (COPE); Gcinilizwe Salaze of the DA; and Mahuma Pelo Jeremiah Moholoaboni of the EFF.

The ward was previously represented by the ANC and became vacant as a result of the death of the councillor.

The voter turnout for this ward in the 2016 Municipal Elections was 47.94% and the ANC candidate won the ward with 47.58% of valid votes.

In the Western Cape, Ward 5, in the Bergrivier Municipality,will be contested by Billy J Claasen of the ANC; Martha van der Ventel of the Cape Party (CP); Sarah Willemse of the DA; and Dirk Jakobus Adams of the EFF.

The ward was previously represented by the DA and became vacant as a result of the death of the councillor.

The voter turnout for this ward in the 2016 Municipal Elections was 60.55% and the DA candidate won with ward with 50.76% of valid votes.

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