The Democratic Alliance’s Federal Executive (FedEx) met on Friday and Saturday to discuss and decide on a number of issues.
Central to the FedEx deliberations was the 2019 election campaign. The DA is getting ready to launch its election team that will support DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, in driving our key electoral messages to the people of South Africa.
As such, FedEx has undertaken to launch the party’s election movement on the 22nd September 2018 at Mary Fitzgerald Sqaure in Newtown. At that point, all provinces would have elected premier candidates and provincial teams which will feed into the main federal structure.
It was also noted that the various structures and branches across the country are readying themselves to knock on doors and engage with South Africans in various communities. The election machinery is primed to begin its work which will span over the next 10 months for a May election.
In addition to adopting a strategy and messaging framework focused on the issues affecting South Africans, the FedEx also discussed and decided on a number of national issues:
The ANC’s state-sanctioned and job-killing ‘Land Grabs’
Land reform is essential to redress the ills of our past. South Africa’s history of racial dispossession has left the country with skewed patterns of ownership that excludes most South Africans from land. And we maintain that the most appropriate way to address this is through the current constitutional provisions. This is the position we have advocated for throughout the country during the land hearings.
The failing ANC’s intention to amend section 25 of the Constitution to limit ownership of agricultural land to 12 000 hectares is an irresponsible and regressive idea that demonstrates the party’s inability to properly understand the nature of modern agriculture in the 21st Century. This proposal is must be rejected in its entirety. The failing ANC’s bulldozing over this matter, is nothing more than a state-sponsored ‘land grabs’ and job-killing process. Populism by the failing ANC government is already undermining confidence in the economy, with overburdened taxpayers being asked to shoulder multi-billion rand bailouts and government guarantees for underperforming State-Owned Enterprises. This coming Wednesday, 22 August 2018, DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane will be back in Parliament to demand answers from the President on what he plans to do to stem job losses and grow the economy.
The DA will strongly oppose any attempts by the failing ANC to undermine the Constitution and Parliament after reports emerged that the failing ANC top 6 gained access to the approximately 700 000 written submissions made by the public on Expropriation without compensation (EWC), most of which opposed a change of Section 25 of the Constitution. In order to ‘cook the books’, the failing ANC resolved to instruct its branches to collect more submissions from its members to support the failing ANC’s position, for possible submission to the CRC. This is despite the deadline for submissions being closed.
The failing ANC’s handling of the land debate has led to an exponential increase in land invasions. As at July 2018, there has been 87 land invasion incidents outside of the metro in the Western Cape. In the City of Cape Town Metro, Law Enforcement Department have attended to 925 protest actions and 621 land invasions in the 2017/2018 financial year. This is a 249% increase in protest action compared to the 2016/2017 year, where there were 265 protest actions. Relatedly, there has also been a 53% increase in land invasions compared to the 405 incidents in 2016/2017.
DA’s attempts to improve equitable access to land and reverse skewed apartheid spatial planning in Cape Town continue to be frustrated by the failing ANC led national government to release tracts of land in Ysterplaat and Wingfield which could provide could provide approximately 100 000 housing opportunities. The DA-led Western Cape Government has always maintained that the global trend of urbanisation should place the land reform spotlight firmly on urban land and housing. The DA in the Western Cape has a 62% success rate when it comes to land reform and restitution compared to the failing ANC’s paltry 10%. We are the only party with a workable plan that places title in the hands of South Africans oppressed by poverty and high unemployment.
The South African economy remains stuck in a low growth trap, offering no hope to almost 10 million unemployed South Africans. Instead of cutting fat and promoting fiscal discipline, the failing ANC government has become addicted to borrowing and spending beyond what it can afford. A recent announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that his government is considering a R43 billion economic stimulus package, R59 billion bailout package for SOEs, on top of an estimated unbudgeted R30 billion more for the public sector wage bill, begs the question of how this will be financed.
SOEs have become a perennial drain on our fiscus and the government should not hold the country to ransom by refusing to consider part privatisation of these entities, in order to reduce taxpayer exposure and return them to profitability.
South Africa now runs a real risk of being downgraded to junk status due to unrestrained spending by government. To avoid any further downgrade, which would be disastrous for our economy, any additional spending must remain within the current budget. The failing ANC must accept that we cannot borrow our way to prosperity. President Ramaphosa should not saddle South Africans with more debt as this will only worsen the country’s perilous economic situation.
South Africans are already facing a rising cost of living due to the 1% VAT increase, petrol hikes and rising transport costs. When the President appears before Parliament on Wednesday, he must give South Africans concrete answers on what his government is planning to do to ease this economic burden, create jobs and restore the dignity of the unemployed.
DA position on BBBEE
South Africa finds itself at a crossroads where urgent economic and governance reforms need to be implemented to jolt the country out of its technical recession.
We need to get back on a path towards realising the potential of our nation. Towards building one nation where there is access to opportunity for all.
This is why the DA’s has been seized with developing an economic policy which is not only credible but also implementable where we govern and where we should govern next. A policy focused on economic inclusion; to develop a productive workforce that is able to meet the demands of a 21st century economy in an increasingly competitive global economy and one which places cities at the forefront of economic growth and development. This is the debate that the party has been having across our structures, flowing from our recent Federal Council.
It is clear – even by the ANC’s own admission – that it’s policy of BBBEE has failed. It has only managed to enrich the politically connected and by extension widened the gap between those who are included and excluded in the formal economy. This is why the DA rejects the ANC’s version of BBBEE. We will not be forced to view our own alternative through the prism of the ANC’s failed policy formulation.
The function of any policy which seeks to redress the injustices of the past, which saw black South Africans systematically locked out of opportunities, cannot replicate the very evil of Apartheid. It must seek to actively empower those who have been disempowered, the majority of whom are black. And that empowerment must focus on creating jobs. The DA unreservedly supports the goal of economically empowering black South Africans who are currently left out of the economy.
No policy of this nature can negate the fact that race still remains a proxy for disadvantage in South Africa. While we should strive to get to the point where this is no longer the case, we are certainly not there yet. In building One South Africa for All, the DA will seek to rely less on race as the inequality gap lessens in our country. Until then, we must be innovative and look at various models such as reviewing the score-card in order to ensure that black empowerment is truly broad-based. Following the discussions and decisions at FedEx, the party will will launch our full economic offer to the people of South Africa.
Achievements of DA-run Metros
Running South Africa’s biggest metro’s has put the DA in a unique position to create opportunities for South Africans as cities have now become governments of last resort. Following a meeting between the DA Leader, Mayors of DA run metros and the Premier of the Western Cape, it was clear that DA run cities continue to make key interventions to speed up service delivery, improve the standard of living and grow the economy.
Too often, DA led governments are becoming the government of last resort, having to fill the vacuum left by a collapsing national government led by the ANC. Despite this, DA governments are leading the charge with city-led economic growth and creating sustainable job opportunities.
The City of Cape Town, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), and the Western Cape Government signed a memorandum of agreement which will see the formation of a dedicated enforcement unit to focus on the safety and security of Metrorail commuters and infrastructure. The unit will consist of at least a hundred members and will focus on commuter safety as well as vandalism and the theft of crucial Metrorail infrastructure and assets.
The National Department of Transport is planning to devolve control of commuter rail networks to local municipalities, as set out in its National Rail Policy (draft White Paper) of June 2017. However, this could take up to three years to implement, and the City is therefore seeking to fast-track the process. The City’s proposed business plan, approved by Council in October 2017, has been submitted to the National Department of Transport to secure the necessary approvals and funding to take over the commuter rail function in a structured and incremental manner.
In addition, Cape Town has become an example of global best practice on how to beat unprecedented drought conditions. We remain grateful to the residents for their efforts in saving water and helping us defeat Day Zero.
Going forward, the City will consider how to address the current restriction levels and tariff structure to ensure responsible demand management, but also to ensure that the city remains the most viable investment and tourist destination in South Africa and across the world.
As dam levels increase to the 60% level, the immediate danger has been dealt with, however, now we need to ensure that we strengthen CoCT’s long term water supply.
FedEx has discussed the process of electing a new Cape Town mayor. The process will be finalised by the end of September so that we can ensure a proper handover that will not distract us from the core business of delivering services to the residents of Cape Town.
DA administrations in Johannesburg and Tshwane inherited a financial mess in but have since made great strides in restoring financial stability. The City of Johannesburg closed out the 2017/18 financial year with improved performance in the unaudited financial reports. Cash reserves now stand at R1.9 Billion with R6 billion in loans now repaid. The City is raising over R3 billion per month in revenue ensuring the City is in a much stronger financial position to deliver better quality services to more people and meet its debt obligations
The City of Tshwane, on the other hand, closed out the 2016/17 financial year with an operating surplus of R704 million. The City’s capital budget expenditure is projected to end at 87.7%, which is a big improvement from previous financial years.
Fedex noted that the failing ANC’s political gimmicks in Nelson Mandela Bay failed to remove an accountable and responsive government that was turning around the fortunes of the metro from years of failing ANC plunder. The people of NMB had categorically rejected the failing ANC’s corrupt government. Those who seek to bring back this government to the hands of those who stole are putting themselves first and the people last. We will not be deterred in speeding up service delivery to the people that we serve.
Zimbabwe’s experience offers up valuable lessons to South Africa that we ignore at our peril. It demonstrates how a political elite will destroy a nation’s economy, collapse its wealth and ruin millions of lives if that is the price of holding onto power after its authentic moral authority has evaporated. Zimbabwe’s recent election shows how difficult it is to restore true democracy once a single dominant party has entrenched power over decades. The admission by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that it made an error in tallying the votes for the Presidential election brings into question the validity of the entire election and the legitimacy of those who were declared as winners. This is why the work of a strong opposition in a multi-party democracy can never be under-estimated. The DA will work closely with our sister-party, the MDC Alliance to lend support in any way we can with their legal challenge. It is disappointing that the South African government and SADC (The Southern African Development Community) have been conveniently quiet on this matter. We cannot be remain silent when our neighbours on the continent are embroiled in electoral disputes which threaten the very fibre of democracy.
We are on track to build one South Africa that puts the people first by ensuring we liberate our people from the oppression of corruption and unemployment. The DA leadership remains united behind the mission of building One South Africa For All.
The FedEx recommitted to our priorities as a party. Where we govern and where we will govern, we will create fair access to jobs, speed up service delivery, secure our border, ensure that we have a professional police service and run corruption-free governments.