The DA makes a difference where we govern

September 29, 2021

The 1st of November is an incredibly important date for every South African concerned about the future of our country and worried about what this future may hold for our children.

It is the one day every few years where you, the citizen, get to flex your power. If you think our ship is heading in the wrong direction, it is your chance to put your hands on the wheel.

National elections may get most of the attention, but it is at local government level where the foundations for a prosperous future are built.

If we want to get our country to work, we need to get our towns and cities to work. Because you cannot build a functional economy on dysfunctional municipalities.

As a nation, our number one priority must be to get South Africans into jobs. The solutions to almost every other problem in our society will flow from this.

Well over 40% of adult South Africans don’t have work. Three-quarters of them have not worked in more than a year, and almost a third have never had a job. That is our crisis.

The only thing that can lift millions of South Africans out of crippling poverty is the kind of economic activity that brings millions of jobs. And this kind of activity doesn’t just happen. It follows good governance.

Investors and entrepreneurs make rational decisions. They take their business where they see opportunities and where they know their investment will be safe.

This means they want the same things from a local government as all citizens do.

Dependable electricity, clean water, reliable refuse removal, protection from criminals, well-maintained roads, bylaw enforcement, and knowing that public money is safely kept and responsibly spent – these things are all critical for communities, investors, and entrepreneurs alike.

Luckily, these criteria can be measured and compared.

Whether it’s the jobs numbers released by Stats SA, or the number of clean audits issued by the Auditor-General, or the municipal rankings by Ratings Afrika, or the results of the Citizen Satisfaction Index, or the value of new investments per metro, the best performer can always be objectively identified. And that best performer, on every single measure, is the Democratic Alliance.

Now, just like investors, ordinary citizens are also rational decision makers, and thousands already vote with their feet every month in search of a better life.

They go where they know they will have better access to good education, quality healthcare and jobs. They go in search of the DA difference.

It is now time to take that vote to the ballot paper so that we can bring the DA difference to even more towns and cities.

I believe we can turn them into places where all arrive in search of opportunities, rather than places people leave in search of opportunities elsewhere.

I am proud to lead the DA in this election campaign. I am proud that our party runs the best municipal, metro, and

provincial governments in the country, and that we can honestly put forward this track record as proof of our offer. No other party in the country can do this.

Only the DA has a record of action, and a promise of more.

John Steenhuizen

Leader of the DA

Gravel roads being upgraded in Kouga

September 28, 2021

The DA led Kouga Municipality officially launched the tarring of the first gravel road, Koerat Street, in Humansdorp on Friday, September 17 – a first in over 20 years.

Construction of the 1km road, estimated to be completed by the end of the month, is set at close to R2 million.

“I am absolutely proud of this historic moment – the first gravel road to be tarred in the region in over 20 years,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks. “And it is only the first of many gravel roads to be tarred across the region.

He said roads provides access to livelihoods and support economic development. “Roads represent progress. It provides a visible buffer against economic decline.”

Several local SMMEs will, furthermore, benefit during the construction phase.

According to Hendricks, the tarring of the road – previously known as Rooilyn Street – is dedicated to the first families who lived there: Marais, Scheepers, Matodlana, Booysens and Claassens.

One of the oldest residents in the street, Meisie Laetitia Sheila (68) who has been living in Koerat Street since birth, is elated that the road will be tarred. “I am overjoyed that the road will be tarred after all these years – indeed a day for the history books,” she said.

Hendricks said, “Some R10 million had been budgeted for the tarring of gravel roads in the current financial year – the entrance to Golf Course in KwaNomzamo and Mentoor Street in Kruisfontein.

“An additional R20 million will be spent on the tarring of gravel roads in the 2022/ 2023 and 2023/ 2024 financial years.”

The DA has turned Kouga Municipality around

September 23, 2021

In 2016 the Democratic Alliance took over government of a nearly bankrupt Kouga Municipality in the Eastern Cape.

Five years later, this municipality has recovered financially and doesn’t just deliver more services to more people but can also afford to invest more funding in capital infrastructure development than ever before.

The sad reality for the people of Kouga is that the DA could have already governed their municipality in 2011.

The five wasted years of further ANC rule between 2011 and 2016 nearly brought this municipality to its knees.

If you look at the election results of 2011 below, you will see how easily the DA could have won the municipality in 2011 already.

2209 votes were casted for parties and/or independents that could not manage to get a seat in that council.

Unfortunately, all of those votes were wasted. In contrast, the DA would have only needed 860 of those votes to take control of Kouga in that election.

It’s certainly your democratic right to vote for the party of your choice. If you are however serious in wanting to defeat the ANC, there is only one party that can deliver a knockout blow to them and that is the DA.

Vote for the DA because the DA gets things done in Kouga!

Kouga, a South African success story

September 17, 2021

No matter how bad things are in many parts of South Africa, the story of Kouga Municipality in the Eastern Cape shows us that things can turn around swiftly with the right leadership.

Kouga is home to some 200 000 people living in Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, St Francis Bay and the surrounding areas.

When they gave the DA an outright majority in the 2016 local government elections, we inherited an indebted municipality collapsing under years of ANC neglect and corruption. To make matters worse, it was also the start of a prolonged drought.

Five years on, Kouga is a place of hope and progress, where the promise of “a better life for all” is real for people. The difference between 2016 and 2021 is striking. Consider the progress made in the following delivery areas.

Housing: The ANC-run council had neither built nor facilitated the building of a single house in Kouga since 2007. Since 2016, the DA-run council has completed 611 houses and another 3025 are in the pipeline while a further 2790 are being held up by land and infrastructure issues.

This is against a backlog of about 15 000 houses needed, meaning that real progress is being made.

Fleet: In 2016, only 4% of Kouga’s vehicle fleet was operational. Today, 96% of the municipality’s vehicles are on the road every day to service communities, and 57 new vehicles have been added to the fleet.

Roads: From 2011 to 2016, the ANC-run municipality spent an average of R3.5 million per year on road maintenance. The DA-run municipality has tripled that delivery rate, spending on average over R10 million per year on repairing and upgrading roads in the past five years.

Public amenities: In 2016, public amenities were in a state of disrepair with little to no maintenance happening. Since 2016, the DA council has undertaken a massive maintenance drive and upgraded community halls, ablution facilities, sports facilities, parks, and campsites.

Investment: By 2016, investment in Kouga had all but dried up and local businesses did not want to take on contracts for the municipality because of its reputation for non-payment. Kouga is now an investment hub. A brand-new hospital is being built in Jeffreys Bay, while R4 billion has been invested in two housing developments, and several large companies have set up in Kouga.

But the municipality isn’t just content with getting these basics right. It is actively innovating, to take Kouga from good to great.

The municipality won gold at the Eco-Logic awards last year for the first plastic road in Africa, built in Jeffreys Bay using recycled plastic (equivalent to 1.8 million plastic bags per kilometre of road).

This revolutionary new approach to tarring could increase the lifespan of roads while reducing maintenance costs and plastic pollution. If ever there was hard proof that the DA goes the extra mile, this is it.

Kouga has its sights on becoming the country’s leading Bioeconomy Zone. An SA subsidiary of Hive Energy is set to develop a waste-to-energy plant, a solar plant, and a biochar plant that turns invasive alien vegetation biomass into “green charcoal” which has several environmentally friendly applications.

The first biochar units have been manufactured to kickstart the project.

The council has built a new state-of-the-art waste water treatment works and is upgrading its three other waste water treatments works, one of the many ways this municipality is fighting off Day Zero during a devastating drought which has brought the Kouga Dam level to below 5% this week.

Day Zero may be just weeks away but if it happens, Kouga residents will know their municipality pulled out all the stops to avoid it. It is aggressively pursuing water security by every means possible, including through groundwater supply and water conservation and demand management initiatives.

All this investment and innovation comes at a cost, and yet Kouga’s finances are in a much healthier state now than five years ago when the DA council took over. In 2016, Kouga was heavily indebted. Today, this debt has been paid off yet cash on hand is almost double what it was back then.

Kouga is a wonderful South African success story that needs to be replicated in municipalities across the country. What are the keys to its success?

First is meritocracy. People and service providers are appointed based on their ability to get the job done for the benefit of the public, rather than on political connections for the benefit of the party. This is why the people of Kouga are at the centre of everything council does.

Second is accountability. Before 2016, corruption was rife and went unchecked.

Since 2016, the approach has been one of zero tolerance for corruption, driven by an anti-corruption unit which has seen two officials suspended for fraudulently issuing drivers licenses.

Third is decentralization. By collaborating with community groups and the business sector, they’ve managed to get much more done than would have been possible working in isolation.

The trick to getting stuff done in government is to understand that government is not so much about doing stuff as about enabling stuff to get done. South Africans are super entrepreneurial and innovative. They just need a government that’s working for them rather than against them.

The story of Kouga shows that the first step to building a successful South Africa is to vote DA. In the local government elections on 1 November 2021, a vote for the DA will be a vote for success because the DA gets things done.

DA announces mayoral candidates for three Eastern Cape municipalities

September 7, 2021

In the run-up to the Local Government Elections, the DA has announced Mayoral candidates in three of the Eastern Cape municipalities, outside of Nelson Mandela Bay, which the DA can win.

These three are the DA-run Kouga Municipality, and the Eastern Cape Karoo municipalities of Inxuba Yethemba and Dr Beyers Naude.

“We have spent a year on our very thorough candidate selection process and we are confident that our mayoral candidates are the right people to get things done,” said Andrew Whitfield, the DA Provincial Chairperson in the Eastern Cape.

“In the Kouga Municipality, where the DA government has been a beacon of hope for local government in the Eastern Cape since taking over in 2016, our candidate is the current Mayor, Cllr Horatio Hendricks.

In the Inxuba Yethemba Municipality, our candidate for Mayor is Cllr Monde Desha who has served as a DA councillor for six years and as caucus leader for five years.

In the Dr Beyers Naude Municipality, our candidate is Cllr Ewald Loock who served as Mayor of the erstwhile Baviaans Municipality for 13 years.

The DA is ready to retain a majority to keep making progress in the Kouga Municipality and bring even more prosperity to this region.

We also believe we can win outright majorities in Inxuba Yethemba and Dr Beyers Naude as a result of the complete neglect by the ANC and the work we have done over many years in those municipalities,” said Whitfield.

Towns like Cradock (Inxuba Yethemba) and Graaff-Reinet (Dr Beyers Naude) used to be the pride of rural Eastern Cape, but decades under an ANC government have seen these towns reduced to rubble and stripped of their former glory.

Residents have become accustomed to raw sewage flowing in the streets, massive potholes, rubbish not being collected and constant water and electricity outages.

The lack of service delivery has destroyed the local economy, and unemployment has sky-rocketed.

But where the DA governs, we get things done, and a prime example of this is the Kouga Municipality.

Some of the successes achieved in Kouga are:

☑️Kouga passed its first-ever R1 billion budget in 2020.

☑️1 596 households have received access to electricity for the first time.

☑️Africa’s first eco-friendly plastic road was constructed.

☑️More than 20 000 potholes have been repaired since 2018/19

☑️R151,2 million was secured in drought disaster funding.

☑️1 827 historic title deeds have been delivered to beneficiaries

☑️Kouga is the most financially stable municipality in the Eastern Cape.

The DA has a plan to keep making progress in Kouga and save the people of Inxuba Yethemba and Dr Beyers Naude from the corrupt, inept and destructive ANC.

Our candidates and their teams will be out in their communities to share the DA’s message of change and prosperity with the residents of these municipalities.

Because where the DA governs, we get things done.

DA can get South Africa working

September 1, 2021

Dubbed last week by Bloomberg as the “highest in the world”, South Africa’s unemployment rate drives poverty and inequality in this country.

At 34.4%, it is five times that of the world average, and double what it was in 1995 according to economist Mike Schüssler.

If you include those who’ve given up looking for a job, that number goes up to a crippling 44.4%.

Tackling unemployment would be the obsessive focus of a DA national government just as it is already that of local DA governments and the DA-run Western Cape provincial government.

We believe no decision should be taken by government without considering its effects on unemployment.

There is only one route to mass job creation and that is inclusive economic growth – economic growth that creates opportunities for all.

The DA’s approach to growing the economy can be summed up in four words – power to the people.

Economic decision-making power should be decentralised to all the people of South Africa, because even the most brilliant and well-intended cabinet could never match the aggregated knowledge and incentives of sixty million people all making economic decisions in their own best interest, as expressed by free markets.

President Ramaphosa is going to update the nation on Friday on his administration’s latest plan to grow the economy. Our advice to him can also be summed up in four words – get out the way.

It is a great irony that the ANC cannot afford to pay its own employees at Luthuli House and aren’t organised enough to submit its local elections candidates list on time yet want to micromanage every aspect of South Africa’s economy.

When it comes to prosperity there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Experience the world over shows that economic freedom and prosperity go hand in hand.

The Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World report concludes that “virtually without exception, these studies have found that countries with institutions and policies more consistent with economic freedom have higher investment rates, more rapid economic growth, higher income levels, and a more rapid reduction in poverty rates.”

Which isn’t to say there is no role for government in job creation. Quite the contrary. All three tiers of government – national, provincial and local – have a crucial role to play in creating the conditions that bring as many people as possible into the active economy.

Give plants water, soil, air and sunlight and the garden will grow. Give people affordable, reliable, quality water, electricity, education, health, transport, ICT, energy, safety, and a coherent regulatory regime and the economy will grow.

Governments don’t create jobs. Businesses create jobs. So here are the top ten steps a DA would take in national government, to make it easy and attractive for people to invest in businesses:

 Ensure reliable, affordable electricity by opening the energy market to independent producers and allow municipalities to buy directly from them.

Level the playing field for small businesses by exempting them from all but the basic conditions of employment, including from wage bargaining council decisions to which they have not been party.

Stand up to SADTU so that teachers can be properly trained and incentivized to deliver a quality basic education to SA’s labour force.

Curb the public sector wage bill to bring down debt and release funds for spending on essential infrastructure such as ensuring bulk water supply.

Sell or close failing state-owned companies to improve services to the public and bring down debt.Part-privatize rails and ports to bring down the costs of logistics.

Bring down the cost of data by auctioning spectrum.

Introduce an independent public service commission to ensure public appointments are based on ability to deliver to the public, to ensure performance-based remuneration, and to hold public servants accountable for lack of delivery.

Devolve some power over rail and policing to competent metros to enable integrated local public transport systems and greater public safety.

Decisively walk away from investment-repelling, corruption-abetting, control-centralizing policies such as EWC, NHI, asset prescription, BEE, and the mining charter.

The DA in national government would put the “inclusive” into “inclusive economic growth” by protecting against anti-competitive behaviour and by using tax revenues to open opportunities to more and more people, as per our Economic Justice policy.

As employment and tax revenues grow, so will we be able to ensure a stronger and more sustainable social safety net/trampoline for the poor and vulnerable.

But since metro and municipal elections are imminent, this is where the DA can have the most immediate impact on job creation.

DA mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis plans to make Cape Town the most business-friendly city on the continent.

There can be no more pro-poor undertaking than that because there is nothing that poor South Africans need and want more than jobs.

Nowhere are the effects – and many of the causes – of unemployment more evident than in the embattled North West Province which, together with seven of its municipalities, has been placed under administration due to collapsed service delivery.

I am touring it this week to see for myself and to share the DA’s approach to job creation at the local level.

Where the DA is in local government, we attract investment and job creation to the area by reliably delivering quality basic services – water, sanitation, electricity, roads, streetlights – that are fundamental operating requirements for businesses.

A state of local government report presented to Parliament this week shows that the vast majority of South Africa’s stable, well-run municipalities are in DA-run Western Cape.

Which goes some way to explaining why the Western Cape’s unemployment level is 17 percentage points lower than the rest of South Africa.

In the upcoming local government elections, a vote for the DA will be a vote for the only party with a track record of getting things done to create jobs.

Warm regards,

John Steenhuisen
DA Leader

Say no to more tax

August 31, 2021

The Democratic Alliance has launched a petition against the ANC proposal to tax citizens between 8-12% amounting to nearly R3000 a month more tax for those earning R275 000 a year.

South Africans are already facing extraordinary financial pressure in a shrinking economy, as millions have lost jobs or had their businesses shut or looted.

The tax base is shrinking.No nation can be taxed into prosperity.

Only economic growth that delivers more work for more people, and which grows the tax base, can fund a larger social safety net.

Please sign and share our petition:

Kouga Municipality adds no markup on Electricity tariffs

August 26, 2021

As much as the DA governed Kouga Municipality was mindful of the tough economic climate on residents when setting the 2021/22 budget, the recent electricity tariff increase was guided by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and Eskom.

From July 1 this year, residents were paying 14.59% more for electricity.

This despite the municipality voicing their concern through the participation process to NERSA earlier this year.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said the municipality realised that the electricity hike would hit residents’ pockets hard, given the current economic climate brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a bid to keep the electricity tariff as low as possible for local residents, the municipality did not add a markup to the awarded increased percentage by NERSA to Eskom – giving them the green light to charge municipalities more,” he said.

“The municipality is also on the receiving end as far as this is concerned, especially when it comes to electrical infrastructure service delivery and electrical bills that have to be paid.”

The step tariff electrical costs are as follows:

Block 1: 0 units to 50 units – R1.16 per unit
Block 2: 51 units to 350 units – R1.51 per unit
Block 3: 351 units to 600 units – R2.16 per unit
Block 4: More than 600 units – R2.60 per unit

Hendricks urged all residents to utilise electricity wisely, as well as to use less electricity from 07:00 to 09:00 and from 17:00 to 22:00.

Kouga’s Finances are stable

August 20, 2021

Ratepayers in Kouga can sleep easy at night with the knowledge that the finances of the DA led Kouga Municipality are being well-managed, despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, Council decided to budget on an 85 % collection rate for the 2020/21 financial year as the economy of the region was being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown – including the closing of beaches, which was devastating for the tourism industry.

At that point in time (March 2020), Council was collecting 96% of revenue. However, it was recognised that the pandemic would have an impact on the stability of ratepayers to meet their financial obligations.

“We settled on a prudent approach and decided to budget on an 85% collection rate as the consequences of hard lockdowns and the shutting down of the tourism industry would have an effect on our ratepayers,” said Kouga Finance Portfolio Councillor, Brenton Williams.

“We are really grateful for the vote of confidence that the ratepayers of Kouga have placed in the leadership of the municipality by paying their municipal accounts and ensuring we could continue with service delivery during the turbulent times we went through during the 2020/21 financial year.”

According to Williams, in February 2021, Council adjusted their collection rate upwards to 90% and by the end of the financial year in June, the actual collection rate was 94%.

“This is probably the best collection rate in the Eastern Cape with some municipalities collecting between 30% and 40% under their budgeted collection rates,” he said.

“At the same time, we had to make provision for COVID-19 related expenditure, such as having to supply masks and sanitisers, as well as supporting a homeless shelter in Jeffreys Bay.

“We also had to budget for drought related expenditure, which included bringing additional bore holes online,” said Williams.

Revenue and expenditure

Property rates brought just over R200 million into the municipal coffers, while sales of electricity amounted to R289 million.

Water revenue amounted to R80 million.

The biggest expenditure items were employee related costs of R316 million, which came in at 10% under budget after overtime was reduced. This despite COVID-19 related regulations, which meant that the municipality had to assist the police with the enforcement of the regulations – often after hours.

Bulk purchases of electricity came in at R254 million, while other expenditure amounted to R117 million.

“This amount included payments totaling R6 million to the Bargaining Council, said Williams.” This is a result of the illegal municipal workers strike, which the municipality successfully defended legally, while keeping municipal infrastructure safe which also came in at a financial cost.”

Hire charges amounted to R33 million, primarily due to hiring extra suction tankers as well as water tankers.

R60 million was spent on the repair and maintenance of municipal properties, which was 92 % of the approved budget.

“These figures are unaudited, and the Auditor General will conduct their audit of the financial information over the next few months,” said Williams.

“Kouga Municipality received a clean audit on the finances during the 2019/20 financial year. Findings were made on performance management within the institution.”

New Substation to provide reliable electricity supply to JBay

August 19, 2021

The new R3 million substation at Ocean View in Jeffreys Bay is set to provide more reliable electricity and services for residents and businesses in the area.

After five months of construction, the substation now brings Ocean View almost double its original capacity, from 4 Mega Volt Amps (MVA) to 7.315 MVA. This is the equivalent of lighting up 28 134 sixty Watt light bulbs.

Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor, Willem Gertenbach, said it was decided at the end of last year to move the substation from its previous location to a more secure and safer site after numerous acts of vandalism by residents – causing major power failures in the area.

Municipal officials were also threatened and victimised when conducting repairs at the substation.

“The substation will not only increase the reliability of the electricity supply, but it will also improve network capacity, strengthen the electricity network, and ultimately reduce power interruptions,” he said.

“Residents from Pellsrus, Ocean View, and Tokyo Sexwale are set to benefit from the project, while the substation will also provide electricity to the planned housing project in Ocean View once completed.

“Marina Martinique residents, as well as homeowners from Aston Bay and Paradise Beach will also benefit, as there will be fewer power failures in the area due to illegal electricity connections.”

Gertenbach said the new substation shows residents where they municipality spend the money that is received from electricity tariffs.

“About 6% of the income that we make from electricity tariffs goes towards the repair and maintenance of our electricity grid, which includes new substations, power lines and meters,” he said.

Photo: At the substation are Kouga Area Engineer (Jeffreys Bay), Ndumiso Nongcaula (left) and Kouga Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor, Willem Gertenbach (right).