Tag Archives: Democratic Alliance

South Africa – DA demands Public Protector release Guptas report


Public Protector must release Gupta reports – DA

2017-06-19 07:32

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Netwerk24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Netwerk24)


Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to release four reports involving the Gupta family on Monday “in the interest of transparency and the South African public”.

Mkhwebane gave very little away when she announced she would hold a media briefing at her office on Monday morning “to release formal investigation reports”.

The Sunday Times reported that she had sat on at least four separate investigative reports involving the Gupta family since she took up office eight months ago.

Her office told the newspaper that the reports were pending, not buried.

They include:
– the landing of Gupta wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013;
– the relationship and funding of The New Age, key state-owned companies such as the SABC and the North West provincial government;
– The relationship between certain ANC politicians and the Guptas.

Without fear or favour

On Sunday, DA MP and justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach said that with the flurry of reports uncovering state capture, it was more important than ever for the public protector to investigate and report without fear or favour.

“It is telling that not one of the reports released by Mkhwebane during her tenure have involved any key political figures, despite there being numerous complaints against such individuals,” she said.

“The DA were concerned at her appointment and specifically that she has always been employed in and around government and that she specifically indicated that she wanted to have a more ‘friendly relationship with government’, which now seems to be proving true.”

Mkhwebane announced on Wednesday that she would conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the merits of some of the allegations that have been published as part of the #GuptaLeaks saga that point to issues at Eskom, Prasa and Transnet.

These allegations point to improper or dishonest acts or offences with respect to public funds at the state-owned enterprises as well as well as improper or unlawful enrichment by certain public officials at these institutions.

Aside from the #GuptaLeaks, the investigation will also look at the controversial re-appointment of Brian Molefe as head of Eskom.

South Africa – DA’s Zille suspended over colonialism comments


South African opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) president Helen Zille addresses a crowd of supporters during an elections campaign rally in Johannesburg Alexandra township on 30 April, 2014.Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Helen Zille is a major political figure in South Africa

South Africa’s main opposition party has suspended its former leader after she tweeted that colonialism was not all bad.

The leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) said Helen Zille’s remarks undermined its reconciliation project.

The party is holding a disciplinary hearing on the case. The anti-Apartheid activist could face expulsion.

Her tweets led to a storm of criticism in March. It is feared they have affected the party’s electoral chances.

Ms Zille, a major political figure in South Africa, has not yet commented on the decision.

She will retain her elected post as premier of Western Cape province, a DA stronghold and the only province not governed by the African National Congress.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who took over from Ms Zille in 2015, said that her suspension was pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.

“We live in a fragile democracy. Our public representatives must be sensitive to the legitimate anger that people still feel about our past and its legacy,” he said in a series of tweets.

“I asked Helen Zille to tender an unreserved apology to both South Africa and the DA for damage she has done. Unfortunately, she declined.”

However, after the criticism, she sent a tweet saying: “I apologise unreservedly for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism. It was not.”

Tweet from Helen Zille reads: Image copyright Twitter – @helenzille
Tweet from Helen Zille reads: Image copyright Twitter – @helenzhille

The DA had been under pressure to sanction Ms Zille for her comments.

It is desperate to dismiss the impression that it largely represents white interests in South Africa, BBC Africa editor James Copnall says.

Mr Maimane, a young and charismatic black leader, has sought to make the party more attractive to the black majority, our correspondent adds.

The DA won 22% of the vote in the 2014 general election, coming second to the governing ANC. It is hoping to build on its success in local polls in 2016 as it prepares for the presidential election due in 2019.

South Africa – Maimane tells ANC MPs it’s Zuma or South Africa


2017-04-27 16:09

Jeanette Chabalala, Iavan Pijoos and News24 Correspondent

Mmusi Maimane

Mmusi Maimane

Pretoria – Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane on Thursday challenged ANC parliamentarians to make a choice between President Jacob Zuma and all of South Africa when it comes to an upcoming motion of no confidence vote.

“In a few weeks we are going to be debating the motion of no confidence.  On that day we face one of two choices,” said Maimane at a gathering of various opposition political parties, as well as civil society and religious organisations at Caledonian stadium in Tshwane.

“Either ANC MPs choose Jacob Zuma or South Africans.  Either the ANC members will choose corruption or they will choose a clean government.  Either they will choose the Guptas or they will choose ordinary South Africans.”

Maimane suggested: “55 million of us are not going to be held ransom by one South African called Jacob Zuma”.

He promised the crowd that going into the future, a coalition government would be in place in 2019.

“Change is coming…Our ’94 is coming in 2019.”

‘Time up’ for Zuma

The opposition leader was in a soaringly optimistic mood, declaring that “the future for South Africa has never been better than what I see today”.

Maimane ended his address by calling on those gathered to hold hands with the person next to them.

The crowd did so lifting their linked arms in the air, as Maimane quoted an extract from the national anthem, before promising to meet again at ongoing protests against Zuma:

“We will see you on the streets,” he said.

Earlier, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa told supporters that in 2019, the ANC would be “punished”, while Congress of the People head Mosiuoa Lekota said that those who supported Zuma were “enemies of the people”.

African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe said it was simply “time up” for Zuma – a sentiment reiterated by the crowd many of whom held up red cards – as used by a soccer referee as a sign that a player has been ordered to leave the field.

Freedom Day commemorates the country’s first post-apartheid elections held in 1994. This year signals 23 years of South Africa’s democracy.  The various groups represented at the rally have dubbed themselves the Freedom Movement.

South Africa – Tshwane’s DA mayor drops blue-light motorcades


Mayor Solly Msimanga rejects  luxury cars

BMW cars (file photo)GETTY IMAGES The ANC ordered the cars, believing it would be re-elected

A new mayor in South Africa says he will give away a fleet of new luxury cars ordered by his predecessors.

Solly Msimanga, from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), said the vehicles would instead be given to a police anti-hijack unit.

However, he will continue to use the luxury car used by the previous mayor.

The DA took control of Tshwane, a metropolitan area including the capital Pretoria, from the African National Congress (ANC) in local elections.

Mr Msimanga said no more luxury cars would be bought under his leadership.

He took over from the governing ANC, which lost control of the capital for the first time since 1994, last month.

The ANC bought 10 new BMW 3 series vehicles, which are yet to be delivered, for 5 million rand ($356,000; £266,000), local reports say.

The cars were meant for members of the mayoral council, with the ANC said to be confident it would retain control of the municipality in the elections.

Solly MsimangaEPA Solly Msimanga won elections in August

He will still use a BMW 5 series car he inherited from the previous mayor, reports the IOL website.

Mr Msimanga’s spokesman Matthew Gerstner told the BBC that this vehicle could not “be dispensed with because it’s been bought and paid for already and treasury regulations prohibit that”.

He added: “But, as soon as he can replace it, he will, with a sensible, low-cost vehicle”.

Mr Msimango says the DA-led coalition government wanted to embark on cost-cutting measures.

He said in a statement: “No new luxury cars will be bought or leased for politicians‚ and if vehicles currently owned by Tshwane require replacement‚ sensible and low-cost vehicles will be procured.

“I will not allow public money to be spent on luxury cars‚ while our people struggle for services‚ houses and jobs.

“A Hyundai i20 or Toyota Corolla can do the same job for a politician as an expensive sedan.”

The ANC national government has been criticised for wasteful expenditure, so South Africans will be closely watching what the opposition do differently in the key urban areas they won in the August elections, says the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg.

South Africans will be keen to see if the opposition, which has until now only run one province, will be able to make good on its ambitious election promises, our correspondent says.

Opposition aims for upset in South Africa’s high-stakes election

The Conversation


Voters wait their turn outside a polling station at Nkonjeni village in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The country is gearing up for local elections.Reuters/Radu Sigheti

The leading opposition party in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has billed the August 3 2016 municipal elections in the country as the most important ever. The word “change” dominates the party’s posters.

But the DA is wrong: August 3 will not be the most important electoral date in South Africa – 1994 remains the most momentous year, when black people voted for the first time in the country’s history.

To an outside observer, the word “change” might suggest that the governing African National Congress (ANC) will no longer be the majority party in South Africa after the elections. But those who follow South African politics closely know that such a thing is not about to happen.

The change the DA is touting is the expectation that the ANC might lose three closely contested metros: the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on the Indian Ocean coast; Johannesburg, the country’s economic heart; andTshwane, South Africa’s capital city.

Polls suggest that, in these municipalities, the ANC will not clinch a majority. This prognosis is not far-fetched, considering the party’s performance in the past three elections. As is evident in the table below, the party has been in decline.

Supplied by author

Should this decline continue, which is what the polls conducted by research organisation Ipsos suggest, the ANC will not be able to constitute a government in these metros.

Chasing an elusive, decisive win

But the polls also predict that the DA will itself not clinch a majority in all three metros. So what’s the excitement about?

The DA’s exuberance lies in the expectation that, should the ANC fail to clinch a majority, the DA will gang up with smaller opposition parties to form a coalition government.

Were that to happen, the DA would be right to describe the 2016 elections as the most important to the party itself. For the first time since its inception, the DA would have the opportunity to co-govern two metros in Gauteng province and another in the Eastern Cape. It already runs the key city of Cape Town.

Such a prospect is intriguing in that the DA seems set to co-govern with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the party projected to take third place in the upcoming elections. Ideologically, the DA and the EFF don’t see eye to eye.

The EFF wants to nationalise mines and banks, and appropriate land from white farmers without compensation to distribute to black people –à la Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. On the other hand, the DA is supported mainly by whites, and it worships capitalism and private property.

If the DA and the EFF are so diametrically opposed, how could they ever dream of co-governing? Well, miracles are possible in South Africa. Who could imagine that the National Party, the party of apartheid, would eventually dissolve into the ANC, an anti-apartheid liberation movement? This miracle happened.

Both the DA and the EFF have already signalled that they are prepared to enter into a coalition government together, difficult as their negotiations will certainly be.

It should by now be clear: what is at stake in these elections is the possibility of the ANC losing three of its traditional support bases.

Historically, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has been a stronghold of the ANC, being home to many leaders of the liberation struggle, including two post-apartheid presidents, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Losing such a municipality would mean that the ANC is being rejected by its own constituency, and thus the party would need to do some serious soul-searching.

Losing both Tshwane and Johannesburg would mean effectively that the ANC-led national government has to knock on opposition parties’ door before entering South Africa’s economic nerve centre as well as the country’s seat of government.

It is now clear that, once it loses a metro, the ANC never gets it back. Cape Town is a case in point, where the DA has solidified its supportfrom its early shaky grounds. There the ANC seems gone – forever.

What’s at stake

If the ANC were to lose the three metros, it would essentially mean the end of Nelson Mandela’s party in Gauteng, the most urbanised province in South Africa. Thus, the party would be retreating into the obscurity of rural existence when the country’s future lies in the cities.

The mere fact that we can now speculate like this is a sign that South Africa is changing. The days of an ANC that has the throats of opposition parties confidently under its heel are over.

We are now entering a new era – the epoch of unpredictable politics. This is precisely what was in the heads of the thinkers who introduced the idea of democracy in ancient Greece.

This, perhaps, is what the DA means when it says the 2016 municipal elections are the most important ever. We must all wait to see if the word “change” on DA posters is reality or fiction come August 3.

South Africa – Zuma damaged as State of Nation address looms

Mail and Guardian

The president will deliver his annual address to the nation today, just two days after the Concourt reserved judgment in an application against him.

President Jacob Zuma (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

President Jacob Zuma will deliver his State of the Nation address on Thursday under a cloud, after the Constitutional Court was asked to find that he violated the Constitution and his oath of office.

The president was seen to be weaker politically than ever before following Tuesday’s Nkandla Constitutional Court matter.

“We can safely say he is much weaker than he was the day before he fired [former finance minister Nhlanhla] Nene. There’s no doubt about it and yesterday did not help. That kind of public humiliation did not help,” political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi said on Wednesday.

Judgment was reserved in the application by the Economic Freedom Fighters and Democratic Alliance to the Constitutional Court for an order that Zuma repay some of the R246-million spent on his home in Nkandla.

In an about-turn last week, Zuma approached the Constitutional Court to ask that it order the auditor general and finance minister to determine how much he owed for the non-security upgrades to Nkandla.

Public protector Thuli Madonsela, however, said only she could decide whether to change her recommendations, and, until this happened, Zuma had to abide by what she ordered.

Wim Trengove, for the EFF, told the court that Zuma violated the Constitution and his oath of office by ignoring Madonsela’s recommendations.

The president appeared to have thrown some Cabinet ministers and the National Assembly under the bus during the proceedings.

Jeremy Gauntlett, for Zuma, said the president accepted that the ministers involved in the controversy be reprimanded, and that this should be part of the court’s order.

Zuma’s personal interests come before the interests of the party
He would, however, reject an order stating that he had been defiant, because this could be used against him in impeachment proceedings.

Matshiqi said he was not surprised by this move.

“What he has done, after people acted in his defence on Nkandla, in the manner that they did, sacrificing their integrity and their sense of dignity … throwing them under the bus, in the way that he did, it’s very clear his personal interests come before the interests of the party,” Matshiqi said.

Last year, the EFF disrupted Zuma’s speech with chants of “pay back the money”. This year, the party had threatened to interject to demand that Zuma explain why he fired Nene.

Matshiqi said people were going to be disappointed by Zuma’s speech.

“He’s going to tell us how bad things are, especially in terms of the economy. He’s going to talk about the delivery record of his administration and how well he has done. But when it comes to solutions there are only two places to go.

“One, how to avoid another down grade to junk status, two, how do you ameliorate the conditions of those who sit in the constituency of the ANC who are poor and working class.”

Matshiqi said he expected the downgrade would come in December.

Zuma had to worry about big business’ expectations. It was not going to be impressed with “rhetorical commitments” of public-private partnership, he said.

“I think he’s going to be very thin on that. He’s also going to be very thin on the aspirations of the poor. It’s going to be a disappointing Sona. It’s one of those things I would like to be wrong about.” – News24

South Africa – more Zuma antics as he rejects Nkandla and Marikana criticism in parliament

Mail and Guardian

The president downplayed demands that he address Nkandla and release the Marikana report during his response to the presidency budget vote debate.

DA MPs said Zuma had done as much damage during his term as president as apartheid.

A chipper President Jacob Zuma took a stab at opposition parties for obsessing “for a year about one person’s house” during his response to the presidency budget vote debate on Wednesday.

Calling for the seriousness of Parliament to be respected at all times, the president had the ANC benches in stitches as he raised the thorny issue of his upgraded Nkandla homestead, while Economic Freedom Fighters MPs looked on grimly and Democratic Alliance MPs heckled him.

“Some people could not pronounce Nkandla before, they have now learnt. N-khandla, they say,” he joked, repeating it four times while laughing.

“Even if you tell them the Nkandla report is being processed, it is going to come, they say Nkandla. Even if you are discussing serious matters, they raise points of order and say Nkandla. That is a problem. It again emphasises the poverty of politics in our opposition parties.”

Zuma said he only dealt with serious issues that were raised within debates.

“There is a broken president, in a broken country,” he said, making fun of DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s State of the Nation address debate speech.

“The opposition must say, for example, what is the alternative of their policies to the current policies. There are no debates in that area. Others want to stand for hours, one after the other, raising points of orders, points of privilege.”

Zuma still applying his mind
Reiterating that he was still looking and applying his mind to the Marikana report, Zuma said he, as the president, had to say what must be done about the recommendations.

“It is important therefore for us to be [patient]. Now that is a problem for the parties that suffer from poverty of politics, because they have no substantial issues to raise in Parliament. If you listen to our good friends, the opposition, I’m telling you, you can think you live in another world.”

Throughout his 50-minute speech, DA MPs heckled, shouted and made sarcastic comments as Zuma outlined some of the progress highlighted by various ministers during the budget vote debate on Tuesday.

When Zuma said that “some of the honourable members on the opposition benches need to accept the fact that reversing the legacy of apartheid will take decades; the damage was extensive; the structure of the apartheid economy will also take longer to transform”, some DA MPs shouted that he had done as much damage during his term as president.

Zuma said the issues raised by MPs on Tuesday, including load shedding, poverty and job creation, were being addressed.

“We will never rest for as long as there are still people with no food to put on the table in our country. You will recall, honourable members, that we have interventions in place already, which are igniting growth. The economic cluster is implementing the nine-point growth plan that I announced in the State of the Nation address in February.

“The plan is a response to four big challenges that slow down our growth. These include the current electricity shortage, the availability and cost of broadband, a regulatory environment that is cumbersome and labour market stability.”

Load shedding model
On load shedding, he said the government had completed a medium-term outlook model for the supply and demand of electricity.

“The model indicates that demand will exceed supply for the next 24 to 36 months. To increase supply, Eskom is implementing a structured planned maintenance programme to ensure that the availability of all power stations is improved.”

The president said it did not help the country when people just saw horror stories and not the “good story”.

“Our country is doing well under difficult global economic conditions. This is a period of unity in action and not point-scoring,” said Zuma.

In his closing remarks, he said elected leaders had a joint responsibility to build the country.

“Parliamentarians should appreciate this responsibility. Let me reiterate that Parliament is an important pillar of our democracy. Members of Parliament must demonstrate that they take Parliament seriously, so that our people can continue to look up to this institution. The conduct of some of the members of Parliament raises doubt about their commitment to the work of Parliament.”

Poor grasp of crises
Maimane said that by joking through his speech, the president showed a poor grasp of the seriousness of the crises and issues that faced South Africa and its people.

“From the energy crisis that promises three more years of load shedding and job-shedding to the economy, which has shed two million jobs and raised unemployment to 36.1% since President Zuma was elected to office.

“While the president continues to joke, more and more South Africans are falling into the clutches of poverty and our society becomes more and more unequal. Every time the president steps up to the National Assembly podium, the country is left with even less hope and an image of a jester, rather than a leader who has solutions to solving the country’s problems,” Maimane said.