Posts Tagged ‘democratic alliance’

DA pressure leads to upgrades at Humansdorp Court

October 15, 2021

After 15 years of false starts and broken promises, the residents of Humansdorp will finally have a functional and decent court precinct to attend to their legal requirements.

This follows numerous oversight inspections and enquiries over the years from various members of the Democratic Alliance (DA).

“Following my oversight inspection at the court on 13 October 2020, I submitted a detailed report on the issues being faced by the staff and public at the existing court precinct and urged the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to speed up their processes to ensure that construction could begin as soon as possible,” said Samantha Graham-Maré, MP – DA Shadow Minister for Public Works.

Parliamentary questions were also submitted to ascertain what would be done to address the most pressing concerns.

“Security and ablutions are two of the most urgent concerns we raised in our reports and parliamentary questions.

There are a large number of female personnel on the site, and there have been various incidents where members of the public and staff have been attacked due to a lack of security infrastructure and personnel.

The toilet facilities were an abomination with no facilities whatsoever for female members of the public. The toilets in the holding cells are appalling, and there are no toilets in the overflow area used to house females and juveniles when the main holding cells are full,” said Graham-Mare.

“The holding cells themselves are woefully insufficient, both from a capacity point of view and a security perspective. Members of the public can freely gain access to these cells.

The lack of proper space for the administration of the courts means piles of dockets stored in passages and on the floors of offices.

There are no offices or areas where lawyers can confer with their clients, and the seating and waiting areas for people required to attend court are almost non-existent.

There is only one broken chair for the people attending court on maintenance issues, which stands out in the open. People deserve to be treated better than this.

Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the Democratic Alliance is extremely pleased to note that there has been site establishment by the appointed contractor on the premises to begin the renovations.

Cllr Hennie Britz, who has been driving this issue for years, and I will be monitoring the progress of the build closely to ensure that nothing prevents this project from being completed on time and within budget.

Persistence pays, and only the DA has been pushing for the renovations of the Humansdorp Magistrate Court because it is only the DA that gets things done,” concluded Graham-Mare.

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: https://notomoretax.co.za

Ablution facilities delivered in Thornhill

August 6, 2021

Residents of the informal settlement in Thornhill will soon have access to ablution facilities.

The last of three container ablution facilities – each consisting of both male and female amenities – were delivered in Thornhill earlier today.

It will now be connected to the existing sewerage infrastructure – benefitting local residents.

The DA led Kouga Municipality continues to improve the lives of all residents within the Municipality.

Moseneke Inquiry: DA objects to the postponement of 2021 LGE

July 5, 2021

The DA has presented oral submissions to the Moseneke Inquiry in support of the Local Government Elections (LGE) proceeding this year. The submissions can be accessed here.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) appointed Judge Dikgang Moseneke to prepare a report in terms of Section 14(4) of the Electoral Commission Act.

The Inquiry was established to make findings and recommendations on whether the IEC would be able to ensure a free and fair 2021 LGE.

The DA does not support the postponement of the LGE and submitted the following arguments to back our position:

The LGE must adhere to the Constitutionally prescribed timeframe:

According to our Constitution, the LGE must take place every 5 years.

The decision by the IEC, as a Constitutional body operating in a Constitutional democracy, to investigate whether it is likely or not to ensure a free and fair election, should never have been made on the grounds that some political parties hold the view that the election should not take place within the Constitutionally prescribed timeframe.

Especially since none of those political parties has attempted to initiate any process, via their representatives in Parliament, to amend the Constitution in order for the LGE to take place at a later stage, in a Constitutionally compliant manner.

The decision by the IEC to formalise this process is at best ill-advised, and at worst a failure on the part of the Commission to uphold its own independence and the requirement to not treat some political parties differently to others.

Furthermore, any process to entertain arguments that are in contradiction to Constitutional provisions which obligates the IEC to arrange the elections to take place on/before 1 November 2021, must be viewed as questionable Constitutional conduct.

State of readiness for political parties:

The state of readiness, or lack thereof, of any party, should not be considered in any way by either the IEC or the Moseneke Inquiry, as a valid reason to postpone the elections.

The DA is of the view that many political parties who argue for a postponement of the 2021 LGE have, in as many words, admitted that a major reason for their position is their own state of unpreparedness for the elections.

The election timetable is a regulatory mechanism to ensure free and fair elections. It cannot and should not be changed based on the readiness of a party to contest in an election.

Participation:

Protestations of political parties that the LGE should be postponed because it will lead to the infection and death of many South Africans are irresponsible and emotional.

These statements are unfounded in light of the various by-elections which took place since the start of the State of Disaster.

While scepticism exists around the Covid-19 protocols and turnout had been lower than the average turnout in the 2016 LGE, this is not indicative of any general intention on the part of the electorate not to vote in the 2021 LGE because of the Covid pandemic.

Covid infection rates:

The DA has been advised that a number of unlikely events and occurrences would have to materialise in order for an “unmanageable spike” in infections to be present in the run-up to the 27 October Election Day.

We were further advised that most scientific models, at this stage, predict that there is a very good possibility that infection rates will be stable and even low in the period immediately before and on 27 October.

The fact that government’s vaccination programme is now finally showing some progress also works against the possibility of an “unmanageable spike” in infections even though it is accepted that the number of people that will in all likelihood have been vaccinated by Election Day will not meet the threshold that will establish so-called “herd immunity”.

The right to campaign :

The right to campaign is ultimately not a right that exists for the benefit of political parties but rather for the benefit of voters.

The postponement of the LGE cannot, therefore, be based on the convenience of political parties to host political campaign events. Parties cannot claim that they are unduly restricted from campaigning solely on the basis that one form of campaigning (i.e. larger and mass meetings) are prohibited.

It is our view that no reasonable voter will view the prohibition on larger gatherings during the campaign period as a clampdown on political rights.

The prohibition of large gatherings can therefore not be viewed as an impediment to free and fair elections. A range of other campaign methods remains available to political parties and candidates.

Ultimately, South Africa’s systems to contest free and fair elections are still intact.

For one, South Africa’s legislative framework and Bill of Rights are mechanisms that give effect to the formal protection of rights and freedoms such as the right to vote, the right to form and participate in the activities of political parties and the right of individuals and political parties to contest elections.

In addition to this, the IEC has already made it clear that it has either already discharged its duties to ensure the presence of some of the elements of free and fair elections, or is favourably positioned to do so.

The Commission is also on record that it will, once again, call on all political parties to sign and commit to the Electoral Code of Conduct.

The DA is of the view that the IEC is ready to ensure free and fair elections and there is no basis for the elections to be postponed.

John Steenhuizen

Leader of the DA

Why Service Delivery is so important

June 9, 2021

Nothing could better underscore the importance of voting – and voting DA – in the upcoming local government elections than yesterday’s news that dairy group Clover has decided to close South Africa’s biggest cheese factory, in the North West town of Lichtenburg.

This decision comes on the back of large financial losses due to poor or non-existent service delivery by Ditsobotla Local Municipality.

The frequent water and electricity supply disruptions and crumbling municipal infrastructure including the practically impassable road leading to the factory means it is no longer feasible for Clover to operate there.

Clover is consolidating its production activities in its Durban factory, a move which will cost Clover R1.5 billion. This is a massive vote of no confidence in Ditsobotla municipality and a massive blow to the community. Some 330 breadwinners will lose their jobs. Other smaller businesses in the municipality will suffer a drop in demand for goods and services.

On the other side of the spectrum lies Midvaal Municipality, the only local government in Gauteng that the DA runs with a full mandate.

A decade of solid delivery under the capable leadership of DA mayor Bongani Baloyi has attracted investment to the area and boosted local economic activity, giving rise to its reputation as the fastest-growing municipality in Gauteng.

Unsurprisingly, Sedibeng Breweries, South African distributors for Heineken chose to establish its national office there, bringing with it new opportunities for job creation and small business.

Other major organisations operating there are Ferrero Roche, New Hope, BSI Steel, South 32, Paramount Trailers and the Oprah Winfrey School. You will not find any of them closing or moving because of poor municipal service delivery.

Midvaal is rated one of the top five best-run municipalities out of 278 municipalities in the country, by independent ratings agency Ratings Africa. It is also the best-performing municipality in Gauteng, and the only one that can boast seven consecutive years of clean audits, meaning public money is reliably spent on the public.

This tale of two municipalities shows the clear blue water between DA- and ANC-run governments. It also makes clear the relationship between local government performance and the area’s ability to attract and retain investment.

More investment means more jobs, more economic activity, and more revenue that can be spent on things that improve people’s lives, such as electrifying informal settlements and building community sports facilities. DA-run Midvaal Municipality does these things and much more.

Local government is the coalface of service delivery and is therefore especially important to vulnerable communities. It is also the essential foundation on which our country’s economy is built. Businesses like Clover vote with their feet.

No business will risk investing in a municipality that can’t guarantee delivery of the most basic services required to run a business profitably – water, electricity, roads, sanitation, refuse collection.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the broad unemployment level in DA-run Western Cape province, where most DA-run municipalities are located, is 17.5 percentage points lower than the average for the other eight provinces.

This is according to Statistics SA’s recently released figures for the first quarter of 2021, which show unemployment at 27.9% in the Western Cape and at 45.4% in the rest of South Africa.

The DA is the only party with a proven track record of delivery. If we want to revive the dying economies of our towns and cities, we have to install DA governments in municipalities and metros across the country. The upcoming local government elections on 27 October 2021 is a crucial opportunity for voters to do this.

Yesterday, the DA was first out of the blocks with its voter registration campaign, fixing DA registration posters to street poles in Nelson Mandela Bay.

DA registration posters will be going up across the country from this week, calling on all South Africans who will be 18 years or older by 27 October to use the registration weekend of 17 and 18 July to make sure they registered to vote DA.

If we want South Africa to work, we need to fix it. There is no more powerful action step you can take to fix your town or city than to vote DA on 27 October 2021, because the DA gets things done.

John Steenhuizen

Leader of the DA

Service delivery gets fiery boost

June 4, 2021

A state-of-the-art water tanker and fully equipped fire and rescue vehicle are set to significantly enhance the DA governed Kouga Municipality’s ability to respond effectively to emergency situations across the entire region.

The two new vehicles were procured at a combined cost of R3.5 million – boosting Kouga’s emergency fleet to 14 fire and rescue vehicles which are stationed across the Municipality.

The new fire and rescue vehicle replaces the old bakkie that will now be solely used for rescue operations. The municipality’s Housing Department, furthermore, boasts a brand-new Nissan double cab bakkie.

“We are very proud of this latest addition to the municipal fleet,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks. “The two new fire-fighting vehicles will strengthen the capacity of our fire department to keep Kouga safe, while the newly-purchased bakkie will help to improve service delivery.”

He said the three new vehicles brought the number of vehicles that had been added to Kouga’s fleet over the past four years to 58.

The vehicles procured include eight TLB’s, eight Toyota LDV’s and two chippers. A new 4×4 bakkie and quad bike have also been purchased for the municipality’s lifeguards, as well as five brand new bakkies for the municipality’s Electrical Services Section.

“The municipal fleet was in a terrible condition when we took over control of the municipality in 2016,” said Hendricks.

“This had a devastating impact on service delivery and the morale of staff who had to struggle to get things done without the right equipment on hand,” he said.

“We have since then been implementing a fleet replacement plan. In addition to the new vehicles, we strengthened the capacity of the municipal workshop. “The workshop team has been doing an incredible job and has refurbished over 115 vehicles, adding further muscle to the municipality’s service fleet.

”One of the latest refurbishments is an old Komatsu TLB and a MAN tipper truck, two cherry pickers and one old fire truck.

They have also repaired and refurbished four sewerage suction tankers, and one old redundant refuse compactor has been converted into a sanitation truck.

“Kouga continues moving from strength to strength and we are grateful to everyone who has supported our drive to establish a culture of service excellence across the region,” said Hendricks.

The truth about by-election trends

May 26, 2021

A summary of the main trends revealed in the 19 May by-elections are: 

  • the ANC’s support base is collapsing in South Africa’s cities.
  • In contrast the DA is showing considerable growth in wards representing 89% of South Africans —  ie among both black and white voters.

Of course, there was also some bad news.  We lost four wards in specific circumstances where smaller ethnic- and race-based parties are splintering the opposition, and making it difficult for us to do the really important work of South African politics  —   beating the ANC.

This is bad news, not only for the DA, but for all South Africans and we need to address it.

But it is only one part of the picture, (and a small one at that).

The really important trends (that already became apparent in by-elections during 2020 and were reinforced during 2021), have not been analysed anywhere, as far as I am aware.  I therefore do so here:

The bottom line is this: Across 64 by-elections where the DA faced-off against the ANC, in November and December 2020 and in May 2021, the ANC grew in only 18 and declined in 46.

In contrast, the DA grew in 36 – well over half — and declined in 28.

Moreover, the DA’s support doubled in several of these by-elections, while ANC support doubled in none.

Some of the most notable examples include:

  1. In the City of Cape Town (in the by-elections of 11 November 2020) the ANC declined by 37%, (from 71% to 46% in Ward 88 Philippi), where the overwhelming majority of voters are black.
  2. In Tshwane, in Wards 3 and 92, both majority black and both contested last week, the ANC polled a paltry 31.6 % and 31.5% respectively.  In both these wards, political commentators were predicting a DA loss.  We had a comfortable win, so the result was predictably ignored by the same commentators.
  3. In Ekurhuleni Ward 42, a ward in which the ANC had an absolute majority in the 2019 general election, we came within 88 votes of winning.
  4. The DA is growing in wards with a demographic profile in which we previously would never have stood a chance.  In Ward 92, Central Pretoria, a ward that is now majority black, the DA won comfortably last week.  We came within 85 Votes of winning a black ward in Matjhabeng and took a voting district off the ANC in a ward in Ekurhuleni.
  5. We are the only party building the moderate, non-racial centre of politics  —  and we are able to beat back challenges from both the Freedom Front Plus, and the ANC, on the same day in the same City.  No other party can do this.

These are simply remarkable results compared to what we were polling only a few years ago.

A truthful analysis of the by-elections reveal that it is the ANC that is imploding while the DA is growing across the board all over South Africa.

Helen Zille

DA Federal Council Chairperson

IEC review of Election date completely unnecessary: DA ready to go to polls

May 21, 2021

The DA does not agree that a review of this year’s Local Government Election date is necessary, and we reaffirm that the DA and South African voters are ready to go to the polls this year.

For the DA, the election must proceed on 27 October 2021. We are ready.

South Africans facing increasingly dire circumstances are crying out for change, which can only come through the ballot box at regular and timeous elections.

It is, in fact, every citizen’s constitutional right to participate in regular elections to make their voice heard and to vote out failing and corrupt governments.

Our participatory democracy rests on the IEC’s mandate to conduct free, fair, and regular elections.

The IEC has shown, through the series of by-elections over the past seven months that it can hold completely free and fair elections, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

By-elections since November last year have seen good, and in some cases, above-average turnout which shows that voters are keen to come out, safely, and cast their ballots despite the pandemic.

During these by-elections campaigning has been free and fair, political operations have adapted as required, and voters have been reached by their parties on the ground through digital media and an array of other communication platforms.

The IEC has, to their credit, run very successful Covid-19-compliant by-elections in all instances. Queues have been social distanced, masks have been mandatory, and equipment has been sanitised, which bodes well for the 27 October local government election in every ward across South Africa.

The IEC has already proven that elections can be held during a pandemic. There is no reason why it cannot proceed with this year’s Local Government Elections as planned.

Being ready for the election later this year means that the DA is well underway with our planning and preparation for the campaign, and we will be first party out of the blocks this weekend as we hold our Time for Change Rally – the first national DA rally in the lead-up to our campaign.

We are excited and very proud to hold our Time for Change Rally on Saturday, connecting thousands of DA members and supporters in over 400 watch parties in locations across the country.

Our rally this Saturday is a bold statement of intent: The DA is ready for Election 2021, and our preparation toward 27 October is proceeding at full steam.

The unnecessary review of the election date, announced by the IEC today, is not about empowering voters, it is about an unprepared, weak, and divided ANC which has no momentum to campaign, and an increasingly irrelevant EFF which has failed to adapt campaign operations during the pandemic.

The IEC should not bow to the whims of these party-political issues. The Constitutional right of each and every South African to cast their vote should not be determined by any party’s preparedness in any election season.

This election is about South Africans and the future of our country, not the ANC.

South Africa needs this year’s local government election to proceed, to give effect to voters’ rights to choose their governments, and to ensure accountability at local government level. South African voters desperately want change. The IEC must give them the right to it.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

John Steenhuizen

Leader of the Democratic Alliance

1500 rental units for Jeffreys Bay

March 3, 2021

Some 300 temporary and 20 permanent job opportunities will be created through a new housing programme in Jeffreys Bay.

The social housing programme was officially launched at the corner of Koraal Street and Dolphin Street in Ocean View, Jeffreys Bay on Monday, February 22, opening rental opportunities for residents who earn between R1 500 and R15 000.

With construction of the first phase set to commence in the 2021/ 2022 financial year, the target is to deliver at least 1 500 rental units over the next five years.

The Keep Kouga Growing campaign was also launched on the day. This campaign ties in with three other campaigns already launched: Keep Kouga Safe, Keep Kouga Clean and Keep Kouga Green.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said that the municipality had secured a place in the “Municipal Social Housing Support Programme” run by the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA), the agency of the Department of Human Settlements that oversees the implementation, regulating and funding of state-subsidised rental housing projects in South Africa.

“Kouga is the only municipality in the Eastern Cape to have been selected for the municipal social housing support programme and one of only six local authorities countrywide,” he said.

“Our inclusion will ensure that the municipality receives the necessary technical and organisational support to implement social housing programmes.

“The target is to deliver at least 1 500 rental units over the next five years, but according to SHRA, the project can be approved, built, tenanted and managed withing as little as one to three years.”

He commended the municipality’s Human Settlements section for their excellent submission that secured the municipality a place in the programme.

“It is another feather in the municipality’s cap and will help to address the demand for affordable rental housing in the area.”

He said the project would complement the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) that had also been approved for the area.

“While social housing addresses the need for affordable rentals, FLISP offers first-time home-ownership opportunities to South African residents earning between R3 501 and R22 000 per month,” he explained.

“This is the income group that earns too much to qualify for an RDP house but typically also struggles to secure a bond to buy a home.”

He said the municipality had appointed a service provider, Own Haven Social Housing Institute, in October 2019 for the planning and implementation of social housing and FLISP projects.

“This is the latest in a string of recent housing successes,” said Hendricks. “Social Housing, in particular, contributes to transforming urban spatial patterns as it promotes integration and densification in close proximity to economic and social amenities.”