Posts Tagged ‘democratic alliance’

End the hard lockdown say South Africans

May 23, 2020

The results from our lockdown poll are in!

89 % of South Africans want the national hard lockdown to end.

South Africans have a right to choose to get on with their lives, citizens need to safely get back to work.

Let’s save both lives and livelihoods while ensuring our health services can cope with the expected spike in the curve of COVID-19 infections.

Our legal papers are now with the Constitutional Court.

The ANC’s national hard lockdown must end immediately.

The DA pioneers digital democracy in South Africa

May 18, 2020

The DA’s Elective Congress will be held, using a virtual platform, on 31 October 2020, despite the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

This is in line with the mandate of the Party’s Federal Council to hold an Elective Congress this year.

To achieve this, Fedex resolved that the Chair of the Federal Council, Helen Zille, and the Chief Operations Officer, Liana van Wyk, would prepare a detailed proposal on plans for holding an elective Congress via an accessible, secure, digital platform, with systems in place to ensure that every delegate will be able to participate fully and fairly.

This proposal will be submitted for scrutiny and ratification at the party’s online Federal Council meeting in July.

Since the start of the hard lockdown the DA has been busy transferring its systems to digital platforms. By the time we hold the elective Congress, almost every major party function will be operating online, and the process of adaptation continues.

So far, our Federal Executive, Provincial and Regional Executives, Constituencies, the Parliamentary Caucus, the Provincial Caucuses and many of our Council Caucuses have moved their work onto online and videoconferencing software to ensure that the business of our internal democracy continues, and that the DA represents the needs and aspirations of voters during this difficult time.

The DA was the first party to run a fully online mayoral selection process recently, as well as the first ever virtual political town hall meeting in South Africa.

We will be the first party to run a fully online Local Government Policy Conference scheduled for May 29, to begin the process of compiling our local government manifesto for the 2021 election.

Our biggest strength as a party is resilience. We are able to diagnose problems, and develop innovative solutions to them. This has never been more apparent than during the Covid-19 lockdown crisis.

We will continue to offer South Africans coherent policy solutions as we work to reconstruct our ravaged post-lockdown economy. In order to be able to do this, our internal democratic processes must continue unimpeded.

DA calls for Bheki Cele to be removed as Police Minister

April 9, 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to remove Bheki Cele as Minister of Police following his outrageous remarks about a police officer who allegedly raped his wife.

Minister Cele accused the media of negative reporting on police behaviour during the lockdown, following the Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s (IPID) release of statistics detailing police brutality and violence.

In reference to a case where a member of the police was accused of raping his wife during the lockdown, Minister Cele watered down the gravity of the allegations by stating the report that a member of the police raped a woman during the lockdown is untrue because It was the woman’s husband, who happens to be a police officer, who raped her.

The Minister then went on to question the need for the media to highlight that it was indeed a police officer who committed this heinous act against his wife.

As of 2 April 2020, South Africa had an estimated 87 000 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) reported during the lockdown.

“The scourge of GBV is real, and it is irresponsible that the Minister would expect the media to censor themselves by not reporting on cases where those who are responsible for protecting us, are in fact doing us harm,”said Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police.

“The Minister is a rape apologist, and he must be held accountable for his careless and insensitive justifications for rape.

The DA calls on President to Ramaphosa to remove Bheki Cele from his position, as he has proven, especially during this lockdown period that he is not fit for office.

The President cannot, in good conscious allow a person who is a rape apologist to continue serving as a Minister of Police,” added Whitfield.

Time for real Economic Redress

February 21, 2020

The number of unemployed people in our country has grown from 3.6 million in 1994 to 10 million people today. Our most intractable social problems, including poverty and inequality, result largely from our abnormally high unemployment rate.

As a candidate for DA Leader, I recognise that we need to get better at connecting with South Africans who have been left out of the economy. We need to offer them an alternative economic policy that will profoundly improve their economic prospects.

I have a plan to radically grow the economy by providing policy certainty to attract investors, ditching BEE, privatising SOEs, reforming labour market regulation, making the tax system more efficient, to ensure that national funding is spent on the things that people need to help lift them out of poverty.

I am particularly concerned with child poverty. It pains me that 27% of children do not get the nutrients they need for their physical and mental development. We need to review our welfare system to ensure that not a single child gets left behind.

We need to start investing heavily in early childhood development, mental healthcare, and increasing the number of social workers in communities. The most recent available information indicates that we need at least 68,000 more social workers in South Africa. I am committed to ensuring that we bridge this gap.

My plan deals with the 700 or so state-owned enterprises in South Africa, including the big offenders like Eskom and SAA. We will assess all of them and sell off those that are a drain on our economy.

In particular, I want to free citizens from Eskom by fighting for the government to sell off its coal-fired power stations and enable independent private producers to generate most of our electricity using renewable sources like hydro-power, wind and solar. This is how we will solve our electricity crisis, free the people of this country from Eskom, and become a world leader in the battle against climate change.

We are already doing it where we govern. By becoming independent from Eskom and embracing private green energy, the day will soon come when the lights remain on in the Western Cape while Eskom hurls the rest of South Africa into darkness.

I am ready to make tough choices on our labour laws, for the sake of the 4.2 million young people who remain out of work, with no prospects of finding work.

We will unleash growth, productivity and, ultimately, higher wages by making it easier to employ talented workers and dismiss underperforming ones. We will also protect individual workers against militant unions by enforcing the need for secret ballots on planned industrial action across all sectors of the economy.

I will focus on infrastructure-led growth – especially in those areas where infrastructure is collapsing.

When it comes to transport, we will launch the biggest public-private investment partnership in South African history to expand, upgrade and integrate bus, rail and taxi networks across the country.

When it comes to our water supply, we will fix collapsing infrastructure by ring-fencing municipal revenues collected from water so that this money can only be spent on improving and maintaining water infrastructure.

I recognise that we cannot talk about the economy without talking about inequality. And this is something that the DA has really struggled with. It is something that, under my leadership, I pledge to get right.

I recognise and acknowledge that the injustices of the past were perpetrated on the basis of race. And I am firm in my commitment to redress this racial injustice.

However, as a liberal, I am also against all forms of racial labelling, classification and categorisation.

This presents something of a dilemma: how do you redress racial wrongs on a non-racial basis?

This is not an easy question to answer, especially in the tense and polarised political climate we operate in.

My way out of this dilemma has generally been to accept that race-based policies are a necessary evil required to redress the wrongs of the past.

But, as time has gone on, I have come to realise a few fundamental truths about race-based policies like BEE and the way they have been implemented.

First, and most self-evidently, BEE has served only to advance a narrow elite. While this was a controversial thing to say a decade ago, it is now commonly accepted – even by members of the governing party.

The facts speak for themselves. Under the ANC’s race-based BEE policies, black households have become 10% poorer over the past decade. The country’s poverty rate has also increased, with 30 million South Africans living on less than R991 per month. Out of the 30 million people living in poverty, 99.8% are black, coloured and Indian.

So, the question we must ask ourselves is this: why is it, nearly three decades since the end of apartheid, that the few continue to benefit at the expense of the many?

The answer lies in the mistaken belief that race-based policies work to benefit everybody in that racial group. Because the truth is, they don’t.

Race-based policies only benefit those with the social, financial and political capital to leverage the opportunities these policies present.

This explains why Cyril Ramaphosa, for example, became a billionaire in a few short years, while the vast majority of black South Africans remain trapped in poverty.

I believe it is time for us to focus our empowerment efforts on poor and disadvantaged South Africans – 99% of whom are black. We need to stop re-empowering the same people; we need to unlock opportunities for poor black South Africans instead.

As part of the DA’s current policy review process, I will be working hard to ensure that our party adopts a new means-tested paradigm to ensure that empowerment programmes benefit the people who desperately need them.

The time has come for a new economic paradigm. We must do what works for growth and jobs, and we must redress the wrongs of the past. These goals are not divergent; they are compatible. Most important of all, they are achievable.


John Steenhuizen

New Executive Committee for Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency

February 16, 2020

The DA in Kouga and Kou-Kamma Municipalities met yesterday at Oubos, just outside Kareedouw, for the AGM of the Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency.

The meeting was also attended by Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police and Constituency Leader of the DA in the region.

A new executive committee was elected at the AGM.

“I am very happy with the team that has been elected by the branches in Kouga and Kou-Kamma. Many of the executive were part of the team that won Kouga Municipality in 2016 and together we are determined to retain Kouga and win Kou-Kamma in 2021,” said Whitfield.

“The DA is focusing on rebuilding our branches and connecting with our members. We will have a policy meeting with all councillors and branch chairs in the build up to the DA Policy Conference and Federal Congress,” added Whitfield.

The newly Elected Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency Executive Committee is :

▪️Chairperson: Hattingh Bornman
▪️Deputy Chairperson: Richard Krige
▪️Secretary: Timothy Jantjes
▪️Finance & Fundraising Chairperson: Brenton Williams
▪️Councillor Representative: Horatio Hendricks
▪️Councillor Representative: Baker Smit
▪️Additional Member: Denzil van Vuuren
▪️Additional Member: Sakkie Murray
▪️Additional Member: Xoliswa Dlala
▪️ADAC Representative: Danny Benson
▪️DAWN Representative: Amor Hendricks
▪️DAY Representative: Anescha Swart

Jeffreys Bay Police Station Needs Urgent Status Upgrade

February 14, 2020

During an oversight visit to the Jeffrey’s Bay police station on Thursday 6th February it became crystal clear that SAPS is insufficiently resourced to fight crime Jeffrey’s Bay.

I was joined by my colleague from the Provincial Legislature, Bobby Stevenson MPL.

A growing population and an increase in crime in many parts of Jeffrey’s Bay requires the appropriate resources to keep the community safe.

The Station Commander, Col Kiewiet, confirmed that visible policing is a major problem with vehicles in the garage for repair and insufficient manpower to patrol. She indicated that most nights there is only one vehicle with two officers patrolling the streets.

The crime statistics released in 2019 revealed that there is a house breaking in Jeffrey’s Bay almost every single day. This combined with an increase in other crimes such as common assault and theft of goods from vehicles contributes to a case load which is out of control.

The people of Jeffrey’s Bay deserve a responsive and professional police service that will arrive at the scene of a crime quickly and handle all complaints with compassion.

A few years ago the Jeffrey’s Bay Police station was downgraded from ‘Full Colonel’ to ‘Half Colonel’ which means less resources to fight crime.

I will be writing to the National Police Commissioner to report on my visit and demand the reinstatement of ‘Full Colonel’ status for the Jeffrey’s police station so this community can get the resources they deserve.

Other issues that were raised include:

  • The status of the CPF and the role of the station commander in supporting the CPF
  • Escalation of drug related incidents
  • Gang violence
  • State of vehicles
  • Crime Statistics

The DA will fight this issue tooth and nail at a National and provincial level to ensure that the residents of Jeffrey’s Bay can live in safety.

Andrew Whitfield
DA Shadow Minister of Police

Reject Eskom’s proposed R 27.3 billion tariff increases

February 4, 2020

Eskom is currently in the process of challenging the electricity tariff increases previously approved by NERSA for 2019 to 2022, and now wants consumers to pay 10-15% more for electricity, followed by tariff increases of 50% over the next few years.

This, despite the fact that South Africans experienced over 418 hours of load-shedding in 2019 alone.

The DA’s main points of objection are:

  • Consumers simply cannot afford Eskom’s proposed tariff increases;
  • The utility has been entirely unable to demonstrate that they can operate prudently and efficiently, with gross financial mismanagement and procurement processes that have not been competitive enough; and,
  • Eskom has demonstrated that it is wholly incapable of managing South Africa’s electricity supply. To allow an increase in the rate of their tariffs would only reward them for their failures.

The DA has therefore called on NERSA to reject this application, and to protect consumers from Eskom’s incompetence.

With over R400 billion of debt, the ANC must accept that Eskom can no longer be saved and that the lunacy surrounding Eskom bailouts, in any form, needs to end now.

South African consumers cannot afford further tariff increases on electricity. It is unconscionable that Eskom would ask citizens to pour more money into the blackhole of an entirely defunct SOE.

STRAIGHT TALK – February is the month to fight EWC

February 1, 2020

The ANC is trying to sneak expropriation without compensation (EWC) through as a benign tool of transformation. Make no mistake, it’s a potent weapon in a kleptocracy’s arsenal to subjugate and steal from the people of South Africa.

Yesterday in parliament the opposition successfully compelled the government to extend the closing date for objections to its Section 25 Amendment Bill (to enable EWC) from 31 Jan 2020 to 29 Feb 2020.

This means we can unite and fight EWC for a month or suffer its consequences for decades.

The only way a successful society can operate is on the basis of secure private property rights and the rule of law. Anyone who cannot see that these core values are now at stake is frankly naïve.

The EWC bill proposes cutting out the courts by transferring decision-making control around which property can be expropriated, and at what price, from the judiciary to the state. At the stroke of a minister’s pen, our title deeds could become worthless.

Amending the Constitution and legislation to give the state unchecked power to grab land and other property is a very, very bad idea.

We all need to grasp the depth and scale of the risk and act swiftly. Zimbabwe’s story could be South Africa’s too if we don’t act en masse during the month of February. Hindsight is the best source of insight: we either learn from Zimbabwe’s path, or we follow it.

The state can be legally compelled to act in the national interest if society expresses its interest loudly enough in a public participation process.

So, there are four actions I urge you to take during the month of February: 1) write an objection and email it to; 2) sign the DA’s petition against EWC; 3) put pressure on your bank or home loan provider to object to EWC; and 4) get others in your community to do the same.

The ANC claims the purpose of EWC is to enable and accelerate land reform. But the real objective is to bring all land under state custodianship and control, to be used as a patronage tool to shore up its power and secure its access to public resources. Only the very naïve could believe otherwise.

Consider the case of David Rakgase, a poor, 78-year old, black Limpopo farmer who has had to take the state to court to compel it to sell him the land he has leased and farmed for over two decades.

He won, and the state abandoned its appeal in favour of contravening the court’s judgement by offering to sell it to him at 9 times the price instructed by the court.

EWC will undermine confidence in title deeds and investment. Far from being pro-poor, EWC will be profoundly anti-poor as agricultural investment dwindles, land becomes unproductive, food shortages set in, and unemployment soars yet higher.

EWC will not help the poor any more than BEE, employment equity or rigid labour legislation have. Inequality and unemployment have never been higher.

And that’s just the start of it. There’s plenty of scope for creep. After all, land is just one form of property and further changes will only need to be legislative rather than Constitutional, meaning that only a parliamentary majority of 51% will be required.

It’s already clear that scope-creep is the ANC’s modus operandi. By their own admission, the original proposed amendment (published for public comment on 6 December 2019) giving the courts control to decide on compensation was just a ruse. They’d always intended to bypass the courts.

In driving EWC, the ANC has sought to scapegoat first the Constitution and now the courts for its own abject failure to execute an effective land reform programme over the past quarter century.

As no less that former president Kgalema Motlanthe pointed out in his High-Level Panel Report to Parliament, Section 25 in its current formulation in no way impedes meaningful land reform. Rather, corruption, mismanagement, lack of funding and lack of political will are the real impediments.

In other words, the ANC government itself is the obstacle, and this latest amendment proposes to vest even more power in it.

The DA-run Western Cape has a 72% success rate in agricultural land reform projects compared to an estimated 10% success rate nationally. Our urban land reform record is consistently strong, with DA governments having given out well over 100 000 title deeds in urban areas.

The DA is unequivocally opposed to amending the Constitution and we will use every mechanism at our disposal to fight it, just as we are fighting prescribed assets and the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and healthcare.

Indeed, it would be a grave mistake to view EWC in isolation. This move is exactly in line with the ANC’s overall strategy of achieving state control over every aspect of our lives so that their feeding frenzy can continue.

Nationalising the Reserve Bank and healthcare and hanging onto failing state-owned enterprises whatever the cost to the nation, including forcing pension funds to “invest” in them, are all part of the same broad agenda of theft.

These lead not to transformation but to economic ruin. The fastest, indeed only, way to transform our society is to throw open the doors to individual ownership, enterprise and entrepreneurship by embracing the values on which these depend: the rule of law including respect for the Constitution and private property rights; a market-driven economy; and a capable state that delivers to all.

These are the DA’s values and vision and our offer to South Africa.

Warm regards

John Steenhuisen

DA Leader

Eskom cannot be fixed – independent power production is the future

January 31, 2020

The ANC government and its utility Eskom, are unable to meet our nation’s energy needs, and there is no plan to fix this. The DA firmly holds that Eskom’s constant limping from light into darkness cannot continue.

Eskom continues to suffer financial catastrophe, being billions in debt. It blows through bailout cash, and it has proved for years that it cannot recover massive consumer debt owed to it.

Eskom remains operationally weak, and its infrastructure continues to fail and to not meet demand. Its power generation mix is archaic, and has no way to move to cleaner more affordable energy.

These are signs of an entity which cannot be saved. We maintain that it is in a death spiral, and for so long as the ANC government continues to pretend Eskom can be saved, it is dragging South Africa with it down this spiral.

It is deeply concerning that while rolling blackouts continue, transparency and disclosure at Eskom remain elusive – contracts, short, medium and long-term operational and restructuring plans, and importantly a solution to the financial crunch it is experiencing, are kept secret and not disclosed to Parliament for oversight.

The DA has previously requested that the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee of Public Enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, convene an urgent meeting on these issues at Eskom, but to no avail.

The DA has also asked the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, for a meeting to address the electricity crisis and help the nation find solutions, and are awaiting a response thereto. We are absolutely committed to work to find solutions.

In the interim, Eskom demands more price hikes, requests additional funding to the tune of billions, and then promptly announces more looming loadshedding. To what end for our nation?

It is high time for alternatives, including breaking-up Eskom, immediately freeing-up space for all independent power producers, investigating aspects of privatisation and allowing South Africans to make their own electricity generation choices in their own businesses and homes.

STRAIGHT TALK: My vision for South Africa and the DA

January 28, 2020

This is my first weekly newsletter as leader of the Democratic Alliance. I have assumed this position at a perilous time, when our country is slipping backwards and faces the real prospect of becoming a failed state.

So I’d like to use this opportunity to set out my agenda for the DA, essentially to answer the question:

What are the most effective things the DA can do to help fix South Africa and get the country back onto a path to prosperity?

As I see it, there are two overriding imperatives.

First, where we already govern, we must do so to the very best of our ability, prioritizing delivery to the poorest communities. Doing so will have consequences that extend far beyond the lives of those we serve and the borders of our municipalities and the Western Cape.

If DA-run areas are fixing, building, working, growing, innovating and thriving, it will reignite trust in the DA and hope in SA. This is essential, because I believe the party has a central role to play in fixing South Africa.

The DA has long been associated with good governance. The Western Cape is a well-run province by any standard and I am confident of further improvements, such as from Premier Alan Winde’s safety plan.

Yet we have seen a decline in the quality of services delivered by some DA governments over the past few years. While I am DA leader, good governance will be a non-negotiable top priority.

To this end, we are working to ensure that every single DA-run government has the most capable and committed leadership available to us. Good governance starts with good, values-driven leadership at all levels of the party, by individuals who place service to others over self-promotion.

I’ve taken action to replace the dysfunctional Mayor of George and will take similarly swift action against any other DA mayors or public representatives who act against the interests of the people they were elected to serve or who fail to perform to the high level expected of them.

The DA is in talks with all signatories to coalition agreements with the party, including UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, because together we have enough seats in council to take back Nelson Mandela Bay Metro from the ANC and reinstate good governance there.

The UDM enabled the ANC to get into government there in the first place, so it is not an easy conversation to have. But, to my mind, the need to return NMB metro to good governance for the sake of those who live there should be uppermost.

The second overriding imperative for the DA is to build a new majority in South Africa. Ours is an incredibly diverse nation, yet I firmly believe most of us share the same core values of a non-racial society that upholds the Constitution and the rule of law; an economy that is market-driven; and a state that delivers to all rather than to a connected few.

It is these values that will put South Africa on a path to prosperity.

At first glance these values may seem obvious to you, but in fact they imply some sweeping reforms that will cause short-term pain before they produce long-term gain.

True non-racialism, for example, requires that we reject race-based policies in favour of policies that treat people first and foremost as individuals, rather than primarily as members of a group.

A market-driven economy requires a far lower degree of state intervention in our economy than we currently see in South Africa today.

And a state that delivers to all requires government to stand up to those vested interests (unions etc) that currently benefit from the status quo, a system which favours incumbent employees and large firms while placing high barriers to new entrants to the economy.

The challenge is to get all those who share these values to work together, since we are all located in different parties, including in the ANC.

We’re also located in different mindsets and many of us differ strongly on other issues despite our shared core values. Yet South Africa’s current catastrophic situation requires us to muster the same sense of urgency and the same sense of “common cause” as in 2016 when the country united, albeit temporarily, against state capture. The DA has a central role to play in this.

Our nation stands at a fork in the road. One way is the path of populism and short-cuts and appealing-sounding socialist solutions. It seems attractive to many at first glance.

But ultimately it will collapse our economy and immiserate our society, locking people into dependence on a corrupt, incapable state.

The process is already underway, with policies such as property expropriation without compensation, national health insurance, asset prescription and nationalising of the Reserve Bank already on the table.

The other path puts power back in the hands of people and communities. It leads to a free society, in which individuals have the freedom and opportunities to make their own living and their own choices.

This path leads to enterprise and innovation and growth. It has tremendous power to transform our society, to reverse apartheid patterns of deprivation and inequality.

Not through the intervention of the state into every aspect of our lives, but through the aggregated efforts of millions of free people operating in an enabling environment. It is the path to prosperity and the DA under my leadership will strive to build a new majority who will choose this path.

Warm regards,

John Steenhuisen