Straight talk: The road rescue South Africa runs through Parliament

09 Feb 2024 in Straight Talk

On Tuesday this week, ahead of yesterday’s State of the Nation Address, I delivered a speech titled “A Blueprint to Rescue South Africa”, setting out our plan for the DA’s first 100 days in national government. This plan amounts to the most comprehensive legislative reform agenda since 1994.

A defining failure of the Ramaphosa administration is that the outgoing President never grasped the importance of Parliament. Saying there should be bullet trains and an end to loadshedding does not magically make it so. Only the hard work of legislative reform makes change possible.

Within the first 100 days in office, the DA will introduce legislation to rescue our country from five key sources of state collapse. This legislation, the bulk of it already written and ready to go, is aimed at: fixing the institution of Parliament itself, in order to turn it into the engine room of reform; ending loadshedding by embracing privatisation; abolishing cadre deployment in favour of merit-based appointments and a capable state; halving the rate of violent crime; and growing the economy while protecting social grants.

To get Parliament working for the people, we will create a committee to oversee the Presidency, increasing the frequency of presidential questions, and introducing penalties when members of the executive fail to answer questions. As in the Western Cape legislature, we will reintroduce snap debates that force Ministers to account, and we will empower opposition MPs to serve as committee chairs. These measures would give expression to the recommendations of the State Capture Commission. The DA is serious about oversight and accountability.

To end loadshedding, we will reintroduce our bill to create an Independent Transmission System and Market Operator. This entity will be mandated to urgently establish a fully private market for the trading and distribution of electricity. In the first budget tabled by a new multi-party government, the DA will push for the introduction of an expanded R75 000 tax rebate to further encourage private households to install solar energy.

To ensure a capable state, our End Cadre Deployment Bill will outlaw cadre deployment. We will make it a criminal offence for any politician to interfere in appointment processes, and we will remove powers of appointment, promotion and dismissal from politicians. Instead, the DA will fundamentally reform the Public Service Commission to become an independent custodian of the public sector, with a mandate to ensure that all appointments are based strictly on merit and skill.

Within 100 days, the DA will introduce the Scorpions 2.0 through a constitutional amendment that will create an independent anti-crime and anti-corruption institution in Chapter 9 of the Constitution. At the same time, we will introduce a Devolution Bill to devolve policing powers to competent provincial and local governments, to bring policing closer to the people.

Finally, within 100 days, this new DA government will immediately prepare to introduce a new budget to begin to fundamentally restructure our economy. Unlike the ANC, we understand that social development is intricately linked to economic growth. That is why our first budget will contain no tax increases, no bracket creep, and will start to reduce the unaffordable wage and debt bills that suffocate the economy.

The DA’s Responsible Spending Bill will put a limit on government debt, while our Social Impact Bill will replace the corruption of race-based BEE with means-tested empowerment that benefits the 30 million people who still live in desperate poverty and who are struggling with the greatest cost-of-living crisis in a generation.

At the same time, the DA will bury the ANC’s job-killing policies that come straight out of the socialist playbook, including expropriation without compensation, the nationalisation of mines, farms, industry and the Reserve Bank, as well as the madness of the NHI.

With the DA in government, investor sentiment will soar, and our new budget will kickstart economic growth and job creation. Nothing could better protect the sustainability of social grants while at the same time lifting millions out of poverty.

A Parliament that works for the people. A private electricity market to end loadshedding. A capable state free from cadre deployment and corruption. An independent crime-busting entity and stronger local policing. A budget that creates jobs and protects social grants.

That is the DA’s Blueprint to rescue South Africa within 100 days of taking office. It will improve the daily lives of every South African. This can be the new state of our nation just weeks from today. The DA is committed to serving as the anchor tenant for a new multi-party government, and to carrying this Blueprint into coalition negotiations.

At the end of the day, the simple truth is this. South Africa’s next government will either be a coalition of corruption with the ANC and EFF at its heart, which will seal this country’s fate. Or it will be a Multi-Party Charter government with the DA at its heart, which will implement the most comprehensive legislative reform agenda seen in a generation. When you strip away the noise, those are the stakes in 2024.

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