A DA national government would immediately sell off the luxurious Bryntirion Ministerial Estate

Issued by Mmusi Maimane – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
15 Mar 2019 in News

Today we are gathering in every province across the country to make a stand in protest against the ever-increasing cost of living we are all subject to under this uncaring ANC government.

Millions of ordinary South Africans face a daily struggle to keep the lights on, to put food on the table, and to travel to and from work. And every single month it gets harder as the fuel price rises and transport costs go up, as VAT goes up and food becomes more expensive, and as electricity rates are hiked up again and again. All this while income and social grants have barely kept up with inflation.

Year after year – and no matter who is in charge – this ANC racketeering enterprise increases the intensity of its tax war on ordinary citizens, making life extremely hard for those who can least afford it and struggling to makes ends meet.

Under this ANC government every single metric of social well-being is moving in the wrong direction: unemployment, poverty and inequality are going up, as are crime rates, the cost of living, and the chances of load-shedding. And the ANC has responded with more grand-scale theft at VBS and Bosasa, more human rights abuses at Esidimeni, and more populist polices that just add to the ever-increasing unemployment line.

The reality is that the ANC does not care about ordinary South Africans, it only cares for itself and its connected cronies and cadres. Every day the ANC stays in power, the longer the wall remains between the insiders and the outsiders – the “haves” and the “have nots”.

Fellow South Africans,

Nowhere is this divide between ANC insiders and ordinary South Africans more apparent than the luxurious estate that stands behind us today.

Behind these walls lies the Bryntirion Estate, an opulent 107-hectare estate made up of as many as 28 properties, 15 tennis courts, a 9-hole presidential golf course and a helipad. On the inside of the estate resides President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza and ANC cabinet ministers. The ANC politicians who live inside this estate are completely shielded from the reality of life in South Africa.

For them, unemployment doesn’t matter because jobs are secured for them, their pals and their dirty business connections.

Rampant crime doesn’t matter to them because this estate is guarded by 24-hour security personnel and 8.1km electrified detection fence.

Power cuts and high electricity prices don’t matter to them because their electricity is paid for with public money – much like the generators for when power cuts occur.

Unconscionably high petrol prices don’t matter to them because they are escorted in blue light convoys consisting of million-rand luxury vehicles.

Illegal immigration doesn’t matter to them because access to this estate is tightly controlled, with only elite guided tours provided to special guests and the media.

For these ANC politicians, none of the struggles that ordinary South Africans face daily matter to them, because they are on the inside. They are the connected few. And they are elite.

This ANC tells you they care for the poor, the unemployed and the left behind. Yet they fight each other – sometimes kill each other – over access to resources, and access to lush estates like the one behind us today that are far removed from reality.

And it will only get worse in time. Once such example is the ANC’s fixation on nationalising the Reserve Bank – a dangerous and populist move that President Ramaphosa confirmed he supports. Everything this ANC racketeering enterprise has got its hand on this far has led to the enrichment to themselves and the suffering of South Africans. and the Reserve Bank would be no different.

They would move to adjust the bank’s mandate, meddle with inflation targeting, and in turn negatively affect the cost of living for ordinary South Africans. We must reject such populist policies that seek to serve only the connected few.

Fellow South Africans, it doesn’t have to be this way. There is hope for our nation, and change is possible!

The DA has a plan to break down the walls that exist between insiders and outsiders in South Africa. And we’ll start with ensuring that those in government are servants of the people, not the other way around.

In order to make this a reality, a DA national government would move to immediately sell this monument of luxury behind us today and ensure that money is spent on building homes for those without. Where we are in government, we are already leading by example in this regard.

When we took office in Tshwane, the lush Mayoral Mansion was sold for over R5 million and that money was used to build almost 50 homes for South Africans without roofs over their heads.

A DA national government would also slash this bloated cabinet by more than half – to 15 ministries – which would save almost R5 billion each year. This lean, efficient and service-orientated government would focus its efforts on delivering services and creating an environment for growth and job creation.

A DA national government would also introduce a Ministerial Handbook for national government ministers emulating our current Ministerial and Mayoral Handbooks where in government. This seeks to cut blue light brigades, place stringent limits on travel and spending for politicians and their families, and eliminate all conflicts of interest for those in political office. And we won’t stop there.

In order to cut electricity prices, we’d pass our Independent System Market Operator (ISMO) Bill, effectively splitting Eskom into generation and supply. This would ensure a greater supply of energy to the grid, and bring down the cost of electricity for ordinary South Africans. Already in the DA-led Western Cape, we’ve gone to court to fight for the rights of cities to purchase energy directly from Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Our Energy Security Game Changer continues to diversify and conserve energy supply, and we have legalised the household production of solar energy for over 22 municipalities.

Lastly, in order to ease the cost of transport for South Africans, we would cut the fuel taxes by at least R1 in the short term with a view to review these levies on an ongoing basis. In the medium term we would stop bailing out the bankrupt Road Accident Fund (RAF) and ensure that with prudent economic policy direction and sound fiscal discipline, a strengthening rand will aid the decrease in fuel costs.

Under this ANC government, life continues to get harder and harder for ordinary South Africans. This pattern will continue as long as we allow the ANC to go unpunished. The ANC cannot self correct, and will continue to operate as a racketeering enterprise that steals from the people of South Africa.

We need change, and we need it now. On 8 May 2019, South Africans have the choice to say “enough is enough”, reject the ANC, and vote for the DA’s Agenda for Change that will build One South Africa for All.