DA adopts Economic Justice Policy: Redress for the disadvantaged, not for elites

September 7, 2020

Our Economic Justice policy is based on our recognition that South Africa is still a fundamentally economically unjust society, where opportunities are not available to all, and where poverty still limits the life chances of so many.

The DA envisions a society where opportunity is broadly available to all, and where people have the capabilities to make use of them. We are still far from that point as a country.

 

Our history of apartheid, as well as bad governance, cadre deployment and corruption in the democratic era, mean that opportunity in South Africa is still deeply skewed.

Over two decades of political freedom have not resulted in meaningful progress in the socio-economic prospects of the majority of South Africans. Indeed, as the economy shrinks, poverty is actually growing and opportunities are narrowing.

South Africa desperately needs a totally fresh approach to redress and inclusion.

The Economic Justice policy sets out our approach to economic redress. Our policy in one sentence is redress for the disadvantaged, not for elites.

This policy offers an alternative analysis of the challenge: instead of white monopoly capital as the obstacle to economic inclusion we recognise that exclusion is driven by several socioeconomic and governance challenges.

These include an incapable state, poor education, lack of jobs, low savings and investments, inadequate public healthcare, high transport costs, lack of affordable housing, and unequal sharing of childcare responsibilities.

We will ensure that our governments prioritise working with companies who are making a positive impact in addressing these challenges.

Many companies already report on their commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an approach which will align financial return and social impact. In contrast to BEE which defers investment.

The DA’s virtual policy conference that took place over the weekend was a resounding success with not only the economic justice policy adopted, but also 18 core values ​​and principles that will underlie all policy decisions that the party will make in the future.

The adoption of the economic justice policy, with overwhelming support from delegates, is a seminal moment in the history of the DA where we can now offer South Africans a just and workable economic alternative – one that speaks to all South Africans, especially the most disadvantaged, and not, only to cadres and the elite.

John Moodey – Setting out the facts

September 4, 2020

It is unfortunate that, in leaving the party he (until recently) wished to lead, John Moodey has spread blatant falsehoods which appear to be an attempt to justify his reasons for leaving.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) sets a standard in all that we do and we aim to rise above gutter politics. It is regrettable that matters still undergoing internal process are now being played out in public.

In leaving, Moodey has sought to deflect attention from himself by defaming his erstwhile colleagues, playing the race card, and seeking to inflict as much damage on the party as he could on the way out by spreading mistruth and false rumour.

The DA wish to ensure the facts are understood and they are:

Mr Moodey, in resigning, is running away from facing very serious charges relating to an attempt to frame a political opponent in a sex-for-jobs scandal, which also allegedly involved attempting to bribe two young and vulnerable first-time councillors into giving false evidence.

Moodey was also to face a charge that he was involved in offering these councillors promotions on the candidates’ list for the 2021 election, if they co-operated into making false statements to smear the senior politicians.

It is to be noted that the charges Moodey were to face are not based on hearsay evidence and mere allegations from party members. The evidence in this case includes tape recordings of relevant conversations as well as documentary evidence.

The case was one of the most serious that has ever been before the DA’s Federal Legal Commission (FLC). Their proceedings were due to be heard in the near future. In such proceedings, Mr Moodey is given full right to review all evidence and bring forward his own legal defence.

It is clear that John Moodey preferred to leave, choosing to avoid the formal disciplinary hearing as he is no longer a member of the DA. He also issued a blatant threat saying he would “expose the DA” if the party reacted to his allegations.

The party has nothing to hide. John Moodey does, and his threats will not prevent us from setting the record straight.

Issued by John Steenhuisen MP – Leader of the Democratic Alliance

South Africa is a sinking Titanic amid ANC corruption

August 29, 2020

In the National Assembly yesterday during Questions to the President, President Ramaphosa insisted that South Africa is not a “sinking Titanic”, but a turning one. Here’s why he is wrong.

No matter what President Ramaphosa does or says, South Africa will remain a “sinking Titanic” while the ANC remains in national government.

The ANC is largely a patronage network and corruption is the glue that holds it together. Without corruption, the ANC will unravel. Therefore, either South Africa sinks or the ANC does. Ramaphosa confirmed recently: “I would rather be seen as a weak president than… split the ANC.”

Therefore we should not be surprised when, in the same week that he pens a 7-page letter to his party decrying corruption Zandile Gumede, former mayor of eThekwini out on bail for her part in the R400 million Durban solid waste scam, was sworn in as a member of the KZN provincial legislature.

In response to the public outcry and pressure from the DA in the house yesterday, she has today been suspended on full pay, meaning she retains her R1.1 million salary. Just this week, it emerged that R158 million was spent on the salaries of suspended public servants in the six months from October 2019 to March 2020.

We should not be surprised that the party this week appointed its Secretary General Ace Magashule – corruption kingpin in the covid looting, Estina dairy and other scandals – to identify corrupt leaders within the ANC. And this job should be easy since he himself brazenly remarked this month: “Tell me of one leader of the ANC who has not done business with government”.

The ANC cannot act on corruption because almost everyone who is anyone in the ANC is implicated. Everyone has dirt on everyone else. Take one card away and the whole house of cards collapses.

Hence, Ramaphosa cannot act on his commitment yesterday to implement independent lifestyle audits for members of his executive and top government officials. Just as he did not act on that same commitment when he pledged it in his 2018 State of the Nation Address, saying they would be done by October 2018.

In sharp contrast, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde committed to lifestyle audits for his cabinet and their spouses at the beginning and end of the five-year term. The beginning-of-term audits have been completed – conducted by an independent contractor appointed through an open tender process – and show that his cabinet members live a lifestyle in line with their income and that there are no conflicts of interest.

Like it or not, BEE is the mechanism that enables ANC corruption. Ramaphosa himself is a prime BEE beneficiary, so it was unsurprising that he restated his commitment to BEE in the house yesterday. BEE may be legal, but it is not moral. It is simply an instrument to enrich a small connected elite at the expense of the poor majority, under the guise of “transformation”. It enables the glue of corruption that holds the ANC together.

But let us imagine the ANC somehow held together even as most of its leaders were sent to jail. Even in this unlikely event, the Titanic would keep sinking. Because the party is committed to a “state-led economic recovery”, which is frankly a contradiction in terms. The experience of Venezuela, Zimbabwe, North Korea and The Soviet Union show that centralized control sinks economies.

The ANC is South Africa’s ZANU-PF. It will sink South Africa as surely as ZANU-PF has sunk Zimbabwe.

We do not need the DA to get over 50% of the vote to save the Titanic. Rather, we need to bring the ANC below 50%, and then lead a coalition that shares our commitment to the rule of law and accountable government.

Warm regards,

John Steenhuisen

Joint effort to address Domestic Animal issues

August 11, 2020

Kouga residents have been asked to report problems related to stray or neglected domestic animals to the municipal call centre (042 200 2200, option 5).

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson, said the municipality was streamlining its relationship with local animal welfare organisations.

“These organisations do an amazing job with limited resources. The municipality recently met with them to determine how we can improve our support to them.”

He said a key challenge was the vast distances these organisations sometimes had to travel to address animal-related complaints.

“This often happens because people phone the organisations directly even when they are not based in the area where the problem is.

“This then also leads to unhappiness where animals have owners, as the owners then have to travel far to collect their animals.

“We would, therefore, like to ask residents to report concerns about stray or neglected domestic animals to the municipal call centre. They will then alert the organisation that works in that area.”

He said key roleplayers were the SPCA Assisi in Humansdorp, Jeffreys Bay Animal Rescue Services and St Francis Animal Rescue.

He said residents were further asked to refrain from feeding stray animals, especially in the CBD areas.

“This draws stray animals, which then starts posing a safety and health risk to both people and the animals.”

He encouraged those who want to help feed stray animals to donate food to the recognised animal welfare organisations and to get involved.

“They know where the need is and will ensure that the food gets to where it is needed most.”

He said the municipality had established the Kouga Animal Management Committee and was busy reviewing the related policies and bylaws to support roleplayers’ efforts.

“This will go hand-in-hand with a public awareness campaign to help communities understand the role played by the various roleplayers”.

“For example, people often phone animal welfare organisations with complaints about noisy dogs while this is actually the mandate of the municipal Law Enforcement section.”

The municipal call centre can be contacted on 042 200 2200 (option 5).

Government must act now against gender-based violence

August 9, 2020

Today we commemorate Women’s Day, but as the scourge of violence against women and children escalates in the Eastern Cape, and across the country, it is very difficult to celebrate this day that so many brave women fought for.

Women and children are being kidnapped, raped and killed on a daily basis and gender-based violence (GBV) has long ago reached crisis proportions – with the Eastern Cape being a particular hotspot for these heinous crimes.

The recently released crime statistics for the 2019/20 financial year indicated that common assault against women increased by 0,6%, while 25 801 cases of rape against women and children were reported countrywide

A recent case reported in the media highlighted that one of the most shocking acts of rape took place in Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape after nine men entered a woman’s home and raped her for two days.

South Africa is unsafe for most women and statistics indicate that GBV is skyrocketing while the ANC government turns a blind eye.

“Our women have, however, not thrown in the towel and yesterday, 8 August 2020, I attended eight Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) EC Women’s Day events in the DA-run Kouga Local Municipality.

I was joined by Kouga Executive Mayor, Cllr Horatio Hendricks, and DAWN representatives from the Tsitsi-Kouga area in distributing food parcels, gift packs and clothes, and attending soup kitchens. All of this was made possible due to generous donations made by local business people and residents,” said Georgina Faldtman – DAWN EC Provincial Chairperson.

“We visited areas such as Pellsrus in Jeffreys Bay, Donkerhoek in Humansdorp and Hankey and urged women to rise up and not allow GBV to destroy their futures. Women can no longer remain silent – we must speak out in order to save lives.

The government needs to get serious about protecting our women and children. Too many perpetrators are walking around free and too many women are being buried.

DAWN is committed to advancing women’s rights and in fighting for a society where women can feel safe and thrive,”added Faldman.

New vehicles for Kouga Lifeguards and Disaster Management

August 7, 2020

As the Tourism industry slowly but surely re-opens, Kouga Municipality has set the wheels in motion to welcome visitors back to its swimming beaches this coming festive season.

A new 4×4 bakkie and quad bike have been purchased for the municipality’s lifeguards.

“The lifeguards work over a wide area, covering swimming areas all the way from Oyster Bay to the Gamtoos Mouth,” Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said.

“There are also times when they have to respond to emergencies that happen away from the main swimming areas.

“The new vehicles will help to improve their response time in these instances.”

He said the safety of Kouga’s beaches was a big drawing card for tourists and that the municipality would continue its efforts to strengthen its lifeguard section year on year.

A new 4×4 bakkie has also been procured for Kouga’s Disaster Management section.

“This section’s old bakkie is still in working order and will also be used for the lifeguard section when necessary.”

DA welcomes Eskom, SIU summons to recover stolen state capture funds

August 5, 2020

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the move by Eskom and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to issue summons in a bid to recover the more than R3.8 billion in stolen funds from the State-Owned Enterprise’s (SOE) former executives, non-executive directors and the Gupta-family.

The DA has long called for SIU reports regarding the looting at the power utility to be made public, and for money stolen to be recovered and the guilty parties to face the full extent of the law.

That an attempt is made to finally get back some of the billions stolen, is most certainly a step in the right direction.

In a statement Eskom said of the 12 accused, “All of the former executives and board members breached their fiduciary duty of care and good faith to Eskom, and acted in a concerted state-capture effort, with the Gupta brothers, Mosebenzi Zwane and Salim Aziz Essa to illegally divert funds from Eskom.”

The fact is that the Guptas and their cronies happily bled South Africa dry, and their heinous actions contributed directly to the economic regression the country has suffered, in part due to unreliable power generation.

For too long a blind eye has been turned to the corrupt dealings at Eskom with its resources being treated as a personal piggy bank by those seeking to capture the SOE for nefarious purposes.

With new evidence of corruption being brought to light every day, these summons should serve as a warning to looters and capturers that though the wheels of justice sometimes turn slowly, and despite the many rocks thrown in its path, the wheels do turn.

The DA will never stop fighting for the corrupt to be brought to justice, and it’s encouraging to see we are not alone in this fight.

Caring for the elderly in Jeffreys Bay

August 4, 2020

A Jeffreys Bay councillor is helping to look after the frail and elderly in his ward.

Ludwig Vorster, the DA ward councillor for ward eight, recently delivered six new wheelchairs to the Amala Nursing Home.

The wheelchairs were bought through Kouga Municipality’s Ward Development Fund (WDF).

Amala matron, Estelle Botha, said the wheelchairs were heaven sent and would go a long way towards ensuring quality care for those who live at the nursing home.

Other projects that have been completed in ward 8 through the Ward Development Fund include new street name boards and speed bumps.

Speaker Hattingh Bornman joined Clr Vorster for the delivery of the wheelchairs.

Kouga’s future is looking bright

July 31, 2020

More than 1 000 streetlights and floodlights across the DA led Kouga Municipality have been retrofitted with LED lights.

The advantage of LED lights is that they are brighter than conventional bulbs but actually use less energy and last longer, which brings with it cost benefits.

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the programme had been rolled out in the 2019/20 financial year after the municipality’s Electrical Services section secured R4-million from the national Department of Energy for Energy Efficiency Demand Side Management (EEDSM).

“Municipalities can apply for this funding to implement projects such as streetlight replacements and to increase the energy efficiency of municipal buildings and assets such as pump stations,” he explained.

“It, therefore, presented us with an excellent opportunity to decrease the region’s electricity usage, especially during peak periods when Eskom charges a higher tariff, without compromising on quality.

“Reducing energy consumption is also good for the environment and in line with our efforts to keep Kouga green.”

The project included the replacement of 161 1000W floodlights with 400W LEDs while 80 400W floodlights had been replaced with 200W LEDs. A further 860 125W streetlights had been replaced with 37W LEDs.

The funding also made provision for job creation, which enabled the municipality to employ six youths from the area for a period of three months.

Hendricks said the project had been complemented with an awareness drive to encourage residents to minimise their electricity usage between the peak hours of 5pm and 7pm and 6am and 9am.

“I would like to congratulate our Electrical Services team for successfully implementing the project despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

“Going forward, the LED lights will save the municipality money while staff will also have more time to attend to other projects aimed at improving service delivery to communities.”

He said the municipality would be applying for more funding as part its commitment towards service excellence and cutting down on carbon emissions to help save the planet by supporting green energy.

He said the aim was to roll out the programme to towns within Kouga fed by Eskom, so as to reduce the streetlight bill from Eskom in those areas as well.

New wheels for Kouga’s Electrical Team

July 30, 2020

More than 50 new vehicles have been purchased over the past four years to strengthen Kouga’s service delivery fleet.

Among the latest acquisitions are five brand new bakkies for the DA led municipality’s Electrical Services section.

(Pictured) Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks, Electrical Services manager Theo Madatt, Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor Bryan Dhludhlu and Infrastructure & Engineering director Victor Felton joined staff from the Electrical section for the hand-over

Kouga Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor Bryan Dhludhlu welcomed the extra wheels for the section.

“It is essential that our Electrical team has reliable transport as they have to travel across Kouga to do new installations, maintenance or repairs,” he said.

“They used to rely on 12 bakkies, of which two were constantly breaking down.

“The new bakkies will enable them to respond to call-outs sooner and improve this service to communities.”

He said the municipality’s Fleet section had also refurbished three old cherry pickers for the Electrical section.

“The cherry pickers are now as good as new and proved invaluable during the recent roll-out of LED streetlights.”