DA delivers water to residents as Tlokwe water shortages continue

Juanita Terblanche

DA MP for Potchefstroom

The DA is currently delivering thousands of units of bottled water to residents in Potchefstroom as water shortages continue into the 4th day.

During the past weekend, for the first time in history, 5 of the 8 water pumps in Potchefstroom were cleansed at the same time. Not only are residents suffering but institutions such as the North West University have been forced to close

The process of cleansing, or “bleeding”, water pumps, must be done with care as it can deplete the water levels in the towns reservoir. Normally just one water pump at a time should be cleansed. However on Friday, just days before the ANC’s attempt to debate a motion of no-confidence in DA Mayor, Annette Combrink, the city’s pumps are being maintained simultaneously which resulted in causing the reservoirs to run dry.

This strange occurrence is the result of municipal staff disregarding the basic functions of municipal management.

We believe that sabotage could have been at play. The extension of the crisis due to releasing water to areas too soon before the reservoir could fill is an unfortunate further consequence of the original irresponsible pump cleansing.

The DA, in an affidavit, formally requested a SAPS investigation based on the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, 2004.

We trust that the police will get to the bottom this matter.

Western Cape 2013 Equitable Share will allow for even better service delivery

Alan Winde MEC

Western Cape Minister of Finance

Following a process of extensive intergovernmental deliberations, the Western Cape has been awarded a share of the 2013 national budget reflective of the increased population data observed in the 2011 Census.

In terms of this new allocation, the Western Cape will receive an Equitable Share of 9.5% (R32.175 billion) of the National Budget for the 2013/14 financial year. This is a R3.402 billion increase from the previous financial year’s Main Estimate Budget. Over the 2013 Medium Term, the Provincial Equitable Share will contribute on average 79 per cent of national transfers received by the Western Cape. Western Cape Minister of Finance, Alan Winde said: “We are pleased that following our deliberations at the Budget Council and the Technical Committee on Finance, our Province has been allocated its fair share of the national budget. In terms of the 2011 Census data, the Western Cape population figures have swelled by 30%. In the recent past, we have had to do far more with far less per head than other provinces. Despite this, we have ensured that service delivery in our province is the best in the country as reflected in the 2011 Census. The increased budget means that we will have financial resources at our disposal to deliver even better services to residents of our Province.” “I will detail our Province’s spending priorities for the year ahead when I deliver the Western Cape Budget Speech on 7 March 2013. I can reveal that, as highlighted in Premier Helen Zille’s State of the Province address last week, the largest proportion of our budget will be directed towards opening opportunities for people in poor communities through a focus on education and health services. I will also outline our infrastructure spending plans”, Minister Winde continued. According to sections 214 and 227 of the Constitution, an equitable share of the national budget must be allocated to provincial governments to enable them to provide basic services. Individual provinces have the discretion to spend their share of the national budget according to their own priorities. The Equitable Share is calculated according to relative need and the different economic and demographic profiles of each province and is reviewed and updated with new data annually. According to National Treasury, for the 2013 MTEF, the formula has been updated with data from:

* The 2011 Census on the population and the school-age cohort (5 to 17 year olds);

* the 2012 School Realities Survey conducted by the Department of Basic Education on school enrolment;

* the 2011 General Household Survey for medical aid coverage;

* the Risk Equalisation Fund for the risk-adjusted capitation index;

* the 2010 gross domestic product by region (GDP-R) survey; and

* the 2010 Income and Expenditure Survey for poverty.

“Other than the improved Equitable Share formula, I was particularly impressed that Minister Gordhan put on the table for discussion tax relief for special economic zones. This will be beneficial for our province as an area of Saldanha Bay is expected to be designated an Industrial Development Zone in the very near future. I also look forward to hearing more detail about the implementation of the Youth Wage Subsidy. Should it be implemented, it will mean that, over and above our Work and Skills Programme, the youth of our Province will have more opportunities for employment before them”, Minister Winde concluded.

Northern Cape needs urgent plan to mitigate farm worker job losses

Gerda Moolman, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Spokesperson on Agriculture

The Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape condemns Cosatu’s baseless statements in which the union claims that looming job losses in the agricultural sector, as a result of the new minimum wage, are merely empty threats. Cosatu is once again ignoring the facts and underestimating the impact of their selfish intentions to grow union support at the expense of job creation.

The DA calls on the Premier to denounce Cosatu’s unfounded claims during her State of the Province address tomorrow, and instead pronounce her support of the farming sector by presenting a detailed plan to ensure the continued viability of the sector and to mitigate against job losses in the agricultural sector. Failure by the provincial government to do so, will jeopardize the livelihoods of countless Northern Cape families.

Agriculture is a key sector in the Northern Cape economy. Farming is also one of the few remaining sectors in South Africa able to absorb unskilled labour. However, the number of commercial farmers in South Africa had decreased from 120 000 in 1994 to 37 000 to date. And now, many jobs are at risk as a result of the new minimum wage settlements for the agriculture sector.

Commercial farms that remain viable without the subsidies accorded to their international competitors are a precious resource that we must sustain for food security. The Premier should prioritize a number of steps to mitigate the looming crisis, including:

* Introducing an incentive programme that will assist the agriculture sector to absorb higher labour costs.

* The introduction of a provincially orientated youth wage subsidy that would serve to reduce whatever job losses may occur in agriculture by lowering the cost of employment. This will, in turn, bring down the cost of permanent employment for young workers, while also ensuring that all workers are hired with full labour rights and paid at least the new minimum wage.

* Introducing initiatives that will improve the productivity of the sector so that farmers are able to pay higher wages.

* Improving training and support services for farm workers, through initiatives such as the Farm Worker Development Programme that has been successfully implemented in the Western Cape. The Farm Worker Development Programme of the Western Cape is the only one of its kind in South Africa. In the past financial year, 1294 farm workers were supported with training courses. Training was supported by a budget of R12 million.

The Premier needs to present these plans as a matter of urgency. It is time for our provincial government to show that they are serious about restoring stability to the sector and supporting all stakeholders to maintain their livelihood and contribute to the economy.

ANC Western Cape Chair rejects R472m tax-break for City’s poor

Ivan Meyer MPP

Leader of the DA in the Western Cape

Marius Fransman, ANC Western Cape Chair, needs to explain to his supporters why the ANC abstained from voting in the City of Cape Town’s council on a decision to give poor residents a R472 million tax break. The DA-led council adopted a majority recommendation to write off the interest on the arrears for properties with a municipal valuation of R300 000 or less. Despite the ANC’s unwillingness to vote on the recommendation, council adopted it and the total amount of charges to be written off for qualifying poor residents amounts to R472 million. In her State of the Province Address last week, the Premier, Helen Zille, stated that 76% of the annual budget of the DA led Western Cape government is directed towards opening opportunities for people in poor communities. Clearly the DA puts its money where its mouth is. Unlike the ANC in this province that constantly claims to have the best interest of the poor at heart but then refuses to support a recommendation that does just that! Mr Fransman must publically apologize to poor residents of Cape Town for this shameful politicking by the ANC. One of the greatest challenges in the Western Cape is the alleviation of poverty.

The DA believes that every citizen of the Western Cape should have the freedom to improve their lives and break the cycle of poverty.

This can only be achieved through real and tangible initiatives like the one before council yesterday and not through political grandstanding and empty promises.

Gauteng police now perpetrators of mob justice

Kate Lorimer MPL

Spokesperson on Community Safety

The brutal slaying of a Daveyton taxi driver by police officers is one of the cruelest and outrageous things I have ever seen. I called Acting Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Major-General Gela immediately after viewing the video footage of the Daveyton taxi driver being handcuffed by police officers to the back of their police vehicle and dragged. I asked whether he had seen the footage to which he responded “No”. Gela then said “we don’t suspend for the sake of suspension” and that he “did not take instruction from me” when I conveyed to him my hope that the police officers involved would be suspended immediately. I cannot believe that the SAPS have not taken this matter seriously. There is clear evidence of wrongdoing on the part of SAPS members. The police officers involved must be suspended immediately, subsequent to the completion of the IPID investigation, must be charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The fact that it was police who were the vigilantes in this case shows that we cannot trust the SAPS to uphold the law. The fact that the crowd watched and did nothing to help, some even cheering, is a sad indictment of the state of our society. Acting Police Commissioner Gela must step up to the plate and do his job. Gela must further ensure that all police officers know that if they act outside the law they will not be protected by top cops.

DA Action Programme for Gauteng

Jack Bloom MPL

Caucus Leader

The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng releases today a ten-point action programme in response to Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s State of the Province address. It includes support for a more adequate budget allocation for Gauteng that matches our population as assessed by the latest census. It also includes measures to cut red tape that stifles small businesses, the banning of blue lights for speeding politicians, and fighting corruption by ensuring that all civil servants declare their business interests. Government credit cards will be abolished in terms of a proposed “no frills” Ministerial Handbook to limit excessive spending on cars, travel and accommodation. The DA will campaign for the upgrading of informal settlements, the provision of land title to spread property ownership as wide as possible, and more food gardens to meet the nutrition needs of 2.8 million food-stressed people in Gauteng. The DA will continue to oppose the imposition of the e-tolls on Gauteng highways, and calls for a provincial referendum so that public views are heard loud and clear. The DA will introduce the following private members bills in the Gauteng Legislature:

* Red Tape Reduction Bill

* Business Interests Bill

* Crime Oversight Bill

The full programme, which I will propose tomorrow in the debate on the Premier’s speech, is appended below. The DA is serious about winning Gauteng. This programme highlights how the DA will fight corruption, eliminate waste, improve the lives of the poorest people, and boost jobs for everyone.

Capacity, not classification, obstructs Nyaope fight

Hendrika Kruger MPL

Spokesperson on Social Development

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has dismissed claims that the non-classification of Nyaope hampers prosecution of possession and dealing in this drug. Constraints on the part of police investigations and forensics were instead highlighted as significant barriers to effective prosecution. The NPA was responding to a letter from the DA in Gauteng, in which the party highlighted its belief that sufficient grounds for both the classification and prosecution of Nyaope existed within the current Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act (No 140 of 1992). While the DA welcomes the justice departments’ intention to amend this act to make specific provision for Nyaope, it is clear from the NPA that this is neither necessary border sufficient to effectively combat the increasingly devastating impact and widespread abuse of this deadly cocktail.

The DA will submit questions to Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko to determine what she intends to do to bolster the investigative capacity of police in the province. The police must ensure that officers are adequately trained and forensics labs are properly staffed and equipped to expedite investigations speedily and effectively. A well run and functioning criminal justice system is pivotal for Gauteng to win the war on drugs.

DA remains unconvinced as KZN’s Premier rolls out plan for 2013

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

Leader of the DA in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature

KWAZULU-NATAL Premier, Zweli Mkhize, delivered a lacklustre State of the Province Address today, glossing over the areas that pose a threat to progress within the province and devoting a derisory 13 lines to how the provincial government is fighting corruption.

The DA believes that the Premier failed to live up to expectation. We see his tenure as being marked by the announcement of a myriad grand plans and not much action. We also believe that the Premier will leave a legacy of not having demanded accountability from his executive members.

The areas that the DA believes the Premier has treated superficially are;

· Drugs in schools and the alleged involvement of SAPS members

· The drop-out rate between Grade 1 and Grade 12 in KZN’s schools.

· Road and rail infrastructure: Where is the Premier’s 2012 plan to see heavy freight return to rail? Today he announced extensive plans aimed at improving passenger rail but he seems to have forgotten the promise he made during the SOPA 2012.

· Ability of agencies such as the ADA and Royal Household to deliver value.

· Weak efforts to combat waste and inefficiency within the Agriculture and Health departments specifically. The Premier did not once mention Addington Hospital’s failure to provide a quality health service to the people of the province.

· Municipalities in meltdown: Despite our province’s municipalities being in financial crisis, the Premier has only touched on this. Provincial operation clean audit has proved a dismal failure with just one municipality in the entire province able to achieve a clean audit from the Auditor-General. Yet there is not a single harsh word for the 60 municipalities that failed to deliver. What does this say about the provincial government’s commitment to the people of this province?

· The proposed rural development summit must tackle head on the widespread failure of the land restitution programme to delivery meaningful transfer of productive land. It is astonishing that the Premier can concede that 108 960 hectares handed over are now totally unproductive – this is a massive failure that cannot simply be glossed over.

The one highlight for the DA in today’s SOPA is the reduction in HIV infection rates and the extended life expectancy figures, especially in rural areas. A programme of making anti-retrovirals freely available, for which the DA fought for many years and which the province of KZN adopted long before it was national ANC policy, is definitely bearing fruit.

Many of the plans proposed for the province of KwaZulu-Natal are set to culminate in 2030. To the poor and the unemployed this is a very long way away. They are not interested in academic or political speeches – action on the ground is what counts. The people want results now.

A DA-led government in KwaZulu-Natal would confront the issues in the province head-on. On behalf of the people of KwaZulu-Natal, the DA demands that the leadership of the province step up to the plate and deliver on their undertakings.

The DA’s wish list for the SOP address

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Leader

The upcoming State of the Province address is a golden opportunity for the provincial government to provide us with a bold new plan to take the Northern Cape forward. For the sake of all the people of this province, it is our wish that Friday will finally provide hope for all the forgotten people of this province who are crying out for real leadership. Sadly, however, given the apparent in-fighting and confusion of power lines between the ruling party and the state, we merely expect to hear more of the same empty promises.

Nonetheless, some of the points on our wish list for the SOP are as follows:

• In contrast to President Zuma’s vague pledge to fight youth unemployment, we want our provincial government to announce the implementation of a provincially driven version of the Youth Wage Subsidy, as the Western Cape is doing. This will give young people a foothold on the ladder of our economy so that they can build careers and move out of poverty. • In response to the burgeoning problem of violence against women and children, we expect not only a strong condemnation of this social ill but also a clear and concrete plan as to how government will improve safety and security of all people of the Northern Cape, with specific reference to: training of police officers, increased resources to the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit, and how the provincial government aims on effectively implementing the Domestic Violence Act, and the Sexual Offences Act. • A clear pronouncement on plans to crack down on fraud and corruption, including a long overdue review of the Northern Cape’s Ministerial handbook will be appreciated. • A distinct plan as to how provincial government includes cleaning up provincial departments, not least of all our sinking municipalities is long overdue. This should include a clear set of consequences for non-compliance to the Public Finance Management Act, as well as details of who will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing these consequences. • We expect a detailed plan as to how the growing backlog of human settlements is to be prioritized, as well as a commitment to ensure that underspending, which in effect translates into non-delivery of services on such programmes, will no longer be tolerated. • Similarly, we would also want to hear exactly how the provincial government intends on attracting investment to the province, as well as whether certain quantities of bulk infrastructure will be put aside in municipalities specifically with the aim of enabling investment in our province. In this regard, we also expect an announcement on the future of the Northern Cape Economic Development Agency, which has thus far failed dismally to contribute to economic growth in the province.

Provincial government needs to pronounce itself on these issues, which if properly addressed, could go a long way in addressing burgeoning challenges within the Northern Cape.

DA begins province-wide schools monitoring

Jacques Smalle MP

DA Leader in Limpopo

The DA has a launched a province-wide campaign to monitor the delivery of textbooks to Limpopo schools by Friday’s deadline.

Education Department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi has said that all schools should submit book shortage information by close of business yesterday.

The Department will then deliver all books within 24 – 48 hours, the City Press quoted Mr Lesufi as saying.

The Department clearly cannot be taken on its word that the estimated shortage of 42 000 in Limpopo will be resolved by this Friday.

The DA’s councillors and activists in all Limpopo districts will from today form a province-wide monitoring network to assess textbook delivery.

By Friday, all schools in Limpopo must have textbooks – that is that standard.

Nothing less than 100% of books delivered this year will be acceptable. The DA achieves this where we govern and we expect nothing less from ANC-governed provinces.