The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the comments made by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) today, in that their party will no longer vote with the DA in any municipality where we would require their votes, and that they will abstain from voting when it comes to it.
It is unfortunate that the EFF has taken this stance at the expense of the millions of South Africans who voted for change in the 2016 municipal elections. The DA is governed by its policies and principles, which ensures that the people of our country are always put first, by ensuring the steadfast delivery of services, access to quality healthcare, jobs, an education and rooting out corruption from government.
Our arrangement with the EFF, specifically in municipalities in which no party had a majority, has worked well. We have engaged with the EFF and have enjoyed a harmonious relationship with its councillors on a local level. Where we were able to accommodate the reasonable demands of the EFF councillors to deliver to their constituency, we have done so. Simultaneously, we have been able to interdict the wide-spread corruption that characterised the ANC administrations prior to 2016, and have transformed these governments.
We remain convinced that the current arrangement – difficult though it is to manage – is in the best interests of the residents of the municipalities concerned. Our commitment has always been to ensure accelerated service delivery, job creation, ensuring safer communities and the overall improved quality of life of all South Africans. We are unequivocal in this commitment. Our priority will always be to deliver to the people in these municipalities.
Over the past three years, DA-led governments have not only excelled in rooting out corruption, but also in transforming the lives of South Africans. The achievements in the municipalities in which the DA and the EFF cooperate include:
- In its first year in government in the City of Tshwane, the DA-led administration received an unqualified audit and managed to create a stable financial environment by tightening controls over the supply chain management process, reducing unauthorised expenditure by 63%, while almost doubling the cash and cash equivalents held by the City, from R1.1 billion to R2.1 billion;
- The DA-led administration banned the purchasing of new luxury vehicles for politicians and officials;
- Sold the mayoral mansion of former mayor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa for his personal benefit and used the R5 million from the sale to build 52 RDP houses for 40 families in Attridgeville;
- The City has also given 1800 bursaries out to the value of R34 million; and,
- Our efforts to attract investment have far exceeded our initial goals – TEDA has an investment target of R1.5 billion – the current investment pipeline amounts to R3.84 billion with a potential 1 850 job opportunities.
When the DA won the City of Johannesburg in 2016, it inherited a corrupt and broken city. To address corruption, the mayor created an enhanced forensic internal investigation unit. The Unit has since achieved the following:
- The number of cases received by the Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS) for the financial year 16/17 amounted to 1920 and, for 17/18 amounted to 3415. These cases related to fraud and corruption, theft of city assets and maladministration, as well as hijacked properties; and,
- During the 2017/18 financial year, of the 3415 cases reported, 2455 were investigated resulting in 92 criminal cases being registered, 362 arrests, 15 suspensions and 27 dismissals.
Furthermore, the DA has worked tirelessly to address a number of the knock-on effects of a decaying city, such a criminality and economic decline. Since the DA took over the following has been achieved:
- 84 properties have been released by Council to the private sector for development through public private partnerships to deliver an estimated 4000 units for student accommodation, small business premises and even more aﬀordable accommodation for some of our poorest residents;
- Between 80 and 100 buildings will be released this year from the 500 properties that have been identified as ‘bad’ buildings for which expropriation processes have been initiated;
- The rejuvenation of these buildings can truly change Johannesburg’s skyline. This process has culminated in the awarding of two tenders to develop two of these properties in Hillbrow, with the developers committing a proposed total investment of just over R204 million; and,
- The associated buildings earmarked for refurbishment are expected to be completed in the next twelve months, availing 384 units for the residents of Johannesburg.
Nelson Mandela Bay
Under a DA-led government, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMB) received a credit rating upgrade from ratings agency Moody’s, which is all thanks to the DA’s ability to run a clean government. In NMB, the DA-led administration has:
- Uncovered large scale corruption, putting a stop to R615 million worth of irregular and wasteful contracts;
- In the 2018/19 financial year, before the Coalition of Corruption regained control of the purse strings, the DA-led administration passed the City’s largest ever operating budget, of R10.3 billion – this budget was one of the most pro-poor the City has ever seen; and,
- In 2018, the Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality was the only city in the country that managed to improve its score on the South African Customer Satisfaction Index, making it the second most trusted city government in South Africa after the City of Cape Town, another DA-led municipality.
Since Cllr Mongameli Bobani became the executive mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, with the help of the ANC, they have attempted to reverse the good governance gains made under the DA and its coalition partners. On the 26th of June it was reported that:
- Only 63% of the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) was spent, leaving a surplus of R330 million; and,
- Not even half of the Integrated Public Transport System Grant (IPTS) was used (48%), wasting R90 million in the process.
This is in sharp contrast to the DA’s track record in governance in NMB, where more than 90% of the capital budget was spent and a 100% of Urban Settlement Development Grant was spent in the previous financial year.
If the EFF proceeds as planned, it will erode all of the good work coalition governments have done in the past and it will hinder progress in the future. As the opposition, we have a collective responsibility to hold the ANC to account and to prioritise the interests of all South Africans. This move will only embolden the ANC to bring corruption back into the metros to which we have brought change.
The people of DA-led metros voted for change and we have made significant progress in realising that commitment. If the EFF chooses to hand over well-functioning municipalities back to the corrupt ANC, they must account to the people who voted for change and they must explain to voters why they have chosen to be an enemy of clean governance and meaningful progress.