Top Industries shedding jobs

By Anthony Bernadie MPL, Leader of the official opposition:

The following notice of motion was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by leader of the official opposition, Anthony Benadie MPL, during today’s sitting.

I rise on behalf of the Democratic Alliance to table a notice of motion.

Noting Hon. Speaker, on Tuesday, the 26th May 2015, Statistics SA released its Quarterly Labour Force Survey, and the results do not look good for Mpumalanga.

Hon. Members, it is important that this house notes that:

  • The unemployment rate has increased from 26.6% in the last quarter of 2014 to 28.4% in the 1st quarter of 2015.
  • The expanded definition of unemployment has also gone up from 40.5% to 40.7% over the same period.
  • 20% of the economically inactive people in the province are there because they are discouraged workers (cannot find a job).

Further noting that of the 10 industries that were surveyed by Stats SA, 4 of them recorded job losses. The concern becomes apparent when one looks at the trade industry (which is the top job supplier) recording job losses amounting to 12 000.

The Agriculture and Mining sector have also shed jobs with 11 000 and 20 000 jobs being lost respectively.

As such, I move that this house, at its next sitting, debate the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, the loss of jobs and the failure by the ANC-led government to grow the Provincial Government and create jobs.

This is one serious matter that deserves the time and attention of the legislature and the DA is very concerned with the latest stats.

I so move.

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The house to send a message of support to the Puma Rugby team for the Vodacom Cup final

By Anthony Bernadie MPL, Leader of the official opposition:

The following motion without notice was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by leader of the official opposition, Anthony Benadie MPL, during today’s sitting.

Hon Speaker

I rise to move a motion without notice on behalf of the Democratic Alliance.

Noting that:

The senior team of the Mpumalanga Rugby union is well known as the Pumas.

Hon Speaker,

Further noting that,

  • The Pumas ended on a total of 24 points for the round robin part of the competition.
  • They have carried the provinces’ name with pride the whole season
  • They have won against the Golden Lions this past weekend during the semi-finals.
  • The Pumas are playing in the Vodacom Cup final on Saturday 30 May 2015 at 14:10.

Hon Speaker,

I move that this house:

Send a message of support to the PUMAS and assure them of our support for the final tomorrow in Cape Town.

I so move.

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DA builds bridge to education

By Bosman Grobler DA MPL, Mpumalanga legislature:

The following motion was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by, Bosman Grobler DA MPL

Hon. Speaker

I hereby rise to move a motion without notice on behalf of the Democratic Alliance.

Hon. Speaker, students from Bongokuhle Primary School and Njeyeza High School have for many years been using a broken water pipe and stones to cross a young muddy stream to get to school from their village in Schoemansdal.

Noting that when there are heavy rains, these students are either forced to take a long way to school or not go to school at all.

Hon. Speaker, the DA in Nkomazi has subsequently decided to do something about it, and we have built a bridge to allow the students better and safer access to education. This bridge is now being used not only by the students, but by residents from all neighbouring villages.

As such, I move that this house congratulates the DA for this initiative, as access to education is a basic human right and the DA will continue to be the champion of human rights.

I so move.

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Leader’s letter: Violent protest action continues to ravage Mpumalanga

By James Masango, MP:

Protest action has, for a long time, been used by communities across the country as a means to be heard.

While South Africans have achieved the freedom that we fought so hard for, the majority of those living in rural areas are yet to taste it. They are still experiencing the very same life they lived before the new dispensation. What makes matters worse is that promises were made, especially before elections, many of which have not been yet been fulfilled.

The South African Constitution guarantees everyone the right to protest however this action often turns violent and becomes marred by police brutality and destruction of property.

Our Constitution and the Bill of Rights also provides for access to basic services like water, shelter and healthcare facilities, but the current government fails to deliver to the people.

The very same constitution and the Water Act are explicit when it comes to the duty of government to provide water to people. South Africa is one of a few countries that enshrines access to water as a human right, yet this remains a big challenge for the government.

Mpumalanga is not exempt from protest action, violent or otherwise. Just last week, the community of eLukwatini in Albert Luthuli municipality embarked on a violent protest action, burning a police station, clinic and Home Affairs office in the process. Learning and teaching was also disrupted for almost two weeks.

Bushbuckridge municipality is another hotspot for protest action due to the government’s poor track record of service delivery throughout the municipality. Many communities have not had a drop of clean potable water in years and are forced to walk long distances to collect water from streams they share with animals.

Residents of Bushbuckridge regularly protest, block roads and march to the municipal offices yet they only ever come away with promises of Bulk Water Infrastructure, a promise that has been repeated for five years. Perhaps the government has become immune to the plight of Bushbuckridge residents.

The water crisis in many towns in Mpumalanga is just the symptom of a complex problem. This could be attributed to a lack of expertise, poor maintenance of infrastructure and an absence of political will to maintain existing systems.

Municipalities and the provincial government have always had plans to address the water crisis but the problem came in the implantation because of tender irregularities and shoddy contractors.

The department of Water and Sanitation and the Mpumalanga Provincial Government have allocated a budget of over R500 million to address the water challenges in the municipality. What remains to be seen is whether or not all these efforts will translate into clean potable water for the residents of Bushbuckridge.

It cannot be that 21 years into democracy and many protests later, water delivery in Bushbuckridge is essentially still in the planning phase while people share water with animals.

South Africa needs a government that listens and respects the people that elected it into power; a government that works for them and not the connected few.

The DA will embark on a water delivery assessment tour in Bushbuckridge in the coming weeks to assess the extent of the water crisis. We will then liaise with the community and various stakeholders to come up with alternative ways that affected communities can access potable water.

James Masango MP

082 891 0717

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Budget vote speech: COGHSTA

By Jacques Smalle DA MPL:


The following speech was delivered by Jacques Smalle DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 28 May 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the Department of Cooperative Governance Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs.

Recycled promises won’t hide mediocrity

The DA believes in a society that is characterised by FREEDOM, FAIRNESS AND OPPORTUNITY.

It is in this spirit of fairness that the DA recognises COGHSTA’s achievement of a ‘Clean Audit’.

The Development of human settlements is at the core of your department’s mandate, yet about R644 million was returned back to National Treasury in 2012/13.

In the 2013/14 financial year, the programme under spent the total allocated budget by R449,4 million.

At the end of 2014/15 financial year, COGHSTA  was most guilty of ‘underspending’ of all departments and recorded a failure to spend a staggering R562 397 million, at least according to the

Limpopo Adjustment Appropriation Amendment Bill of 2015.

Hon.MEC

No amount of promises can hide the mediocrity that has cost this province at least 9, 259 basic RDP houses that would have been built had you not lost this amount.

The DA believes that houses are an asset which for the poorest in our communities are leverage and empower many out of trappings of poverty and debt.

Yet, this dept. promised and failed to provide the people of Mutale in Vhembe their dignified right to shelter.

Where the DA governs high quality services are delivered consistently and sustainably, unlike this dept. which is willing to now spend R1.5 million on assessing substandard housing which was supposed to be built properly in the first place.

The mediocrity of your promises in your budget vote leaves us with more questions than answers.

At the heart of Cooperative governance is providing technical and oversight support to municipalities for them to complete their mandate.

There are Municipal Public Accounts Committee’s in our municipalities yet, they are on the verge of collapse.

It befits mediocrity Hon.MEC to celebrate and solely focus on ‘good’ municipalities such as Waterberg, Blouberg etc and conveniently leave out the ‘messy’ ones.

You forget that a dept. is only as strong as its weakest link.

In April, five municipalities owed Eskom more than R 221 million.

Hon. Speaker the MEC mentioned that Capricorn DM has raised the bar i.t.o audit opinion , yet  a January 2015 report of the Auditor General reveals that the Capricorn District Municipality failed to spend R276 million in the 2014/2015 financial year.

Essentially, R130 million was underspent from conditional grants for infrastructure and a further R146 million was underspent from the capital budget.

The rate at which this dept. delivers essential services is appalling. In the 3rd quarter of the previous financial year no new sites were connected to basic water and electricity, yet 500 sites were identified and targeted.

Hon.MEC, explain to our communities why your indecisive political  will and  a lack of leadership led to Limpopo municipalities only spending  a mere 34.9% of their Municipal Infrastructure Grants?

For far too long our people have been waiting for homes and services while the ruling party delivers sanitized sales pitches in the form of Batho pele principles, Operation clean audit 2014 and Back-to-basics and now the Limpopo Development Plan.

Till today, we have no comprehensive feedback report by your department and other ones, on the performance of each of these promises so how can we measure the success of each programme let alone keep you accountable?

Unlike many opposition parties the DA is not opposing for the sake of it. We have an alternative plan that actually works and it goes as follows:

  1. Nationally, the DA has called for the Finance Minister to effect regulation which will ensure that at least 7% of the minimum annual expenditure of municipal and provincial budgets is secured for infrastructure maintenance.
  1. Provincially, we urge you as the MEC to secure at least 7% of your annual municipal budget to strictly servicing the massive infrastructure backlog in your municipalities.
  1. Fast track housing backlog :

allow the private sector greater scope to become involved and to develop innovative models for housing delivery and affordable integrated housing developments.

  1. Restore human dignity

make greater use of the energies and commitment of the poor, rather than seeing them as passive recipients. Give them skills and involve them in the building process of their own homes.

Prioritise spatial redress:

Human settlements policy cannot be separated from its immediate and related context- place people where they’re close to work opportunities, where they regard their properties as the fruits of their own labour rather than gifts from the state.

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DA on Africa day

By Langa Bodlani DA MPL:

The following speech was delivered by Langa Bodlani DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 28 May 2015 during the Debate on Africa Day.

Speaker

Honourable Members

Ladies and Gentlemen

52 years ago, 30 of the then 32 independent African states came together and founded the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which would later go on to become the African Union (AU).

Every year, on 25 May, we commemorate the signing of the OAU’s founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1963.

It is a day on which African unity in combating challenges such as poverty, conflict, disease and climate change is celebrated in the AU’s 53 member states, as well as among the many African diaspora scattered across the globe.

It is also a day on which all South Africans should reflect on our role, as a nation, in Africa.

As I personally do this reflection, I am both optimistic and pessimistic.

I am optimistic because our continent is filled with opportunities, in terms of the mineral wealth, the beauty of our landscapes and the resilience of our people.

Honourable members

This resilience has put Africa firmly on the world map; we are a people who defeated slavery, colonialism and apartheid.

The fates of our country and our continent are intertwined.

With this common history, we were able to emerge from this dark past and craft for ourselves a constitution which will be hailed as the epitome of human triumph over evil the world all over.

We became the beacon of light in the world where despondency was fast becoming a norm.

Speaker

As I said, poignantly, that my optimism runs parallel with pessimism which on its reflection I dare not ignore.

It pains me when our country attracts to itself labels such as xenophobic or afrophobic.

These are not labels which should attach to us. Our brothers and sisters from our continent should not be maimed and murdered under our watch.

Honourable Members

When tenets which are there to safeguard our democracy such the rule of law and the supremacy of the constitution are disparaged, then this is the reason for pessimism.

As we celebrate Africa we must remember what our forbearers envisioned for us and our future.

It is a prosperous Africa.

When the president of Burundi seeks to extend his term of office beyond what that country’s constitution allows it must be us Africans who loudly oppose that. This must not be coming from the

West.

Just next door to us, when human rights are violated in Zimbabwe we cannot afford diplomacy but we must be outright in our rejection.

Members

When the monarch of Swaziland usurps all the powers to himself, he must feel the heat coming from all sides of Africa.

In doing this, we will be living the legacy bequeathed to us by those African ancestors who wanted Africa to prosper.

Honourable members

We have no other home except this beautiful Africa.

Our vigilance in the protection of our Africa must be such that we speak truth to the powers when our chapter 9 institutions are discredited and abused to suit an individual.

We must remember that individuals come and go but Africa will remain.

The DA will supports the call that in celebration of this historic day which has so much significance for our future, that alongside the South African flag must fly the African Union flag.

In this, we will be unequivocally defining our destiny as intertwined, weaved together by the tapestry of love, common future and humanity.

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Budget vote speech: Agriculture

By Jacques Smalle DA MPL:

The following speech was delivered by Jacques Smalle DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 28 May 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the Department of Agriculture.

THE ANC WANTS LAND REFORM TO FAIL

Madam Speaker,

The Honorable MEC wants no piece of land  to lie fallow because this will be akin to casting seed on arid ground.Indeed an attainable vision in the HonorableMEC’s budget speech if the department has the political will to deliver.

However, Limpopo’s Agriculture’s current state is better described by ANC cader Tito Mboweni when he tweeted recently“Most of the farms we returned to communities are today un-farmed. We rely on old commercial farms for our food, yet we do not support them”

The truth is, the ANC wants land reform to fail so that government can ultimately become the owners.

And make no mistake madam speaker –land reform IS failing in Limpopo.

Honorable MEC: Did you yourself have ANY input in the Limpopo Development plan which was never discussed or presented at any committees of this Legislature?

Do you know that the specifics for Agriculture is set out in only 2 pages yet Agriculture is  2ndonly after mining in income generation in the province?

Let us unpack the four 5year objectives:

1)       To increase productive land owned by previously disadvantaged people from 11,5% to 20% in 2019,means that the FetsaTlala and IllimaLetsema and RESIS support programmes must work optimally.

During the previous financial year, only 48% of the targeted hectares were ploughed.The DA also questions the costly R10 000 that the taxpayer pays per hectare to plough the fields of subsistence farmers.Robert Makhubethu, a subsistence farmer in the Sekhukune district received 2 hectares  on which to farm. On The FetsaTlala programme only 1 hectare gets ploughed, regardless of the size of your farm and a bag of seeds gets delivered.

No soil preparation, irrigation or education is provided. The farmers in Sekhukune refer to the project as TlisaTlala which means “bring hunger and starvation”.

2)       To ensure that by 2019 7,2 million hectares will have been transferred (as compared to 4 million in 2013). There is currently 742 outstanding land claims in Limpopo and 22 will be finalised this financial year, if an average of 25 claims gets finalised each year the outstanding claims will be finalised in 2045.

3)       Reduce the households vulnerable to hunger from 11,5% in 2011 to 9,5% in 2019. With the way FetsaTlala is managed, this worthy objective remains a pipe dream.

4)       Reduce rural unemployment from the current staggering 49% to less than 40% in 2019. This calculates to 106996 jobs which is 21399 jobs per year. The Honourable MEC indicated in her budget speech that the department will create 5000 jobs for the different programmes and with the R5 million EPWP grant.This target falls 16399 jobs short of the target in the LDP

Where the DA governs a conducive political environment allows farmers to create jobs.

Currently the caps on agricultural land, the looming expropriation bill, minimum wage and the regional political instability caused by the xenophobic attacks are challenges in agricultural job creation

The DA opposes any caps on agricultural land ownership as it will cap investment and job creation. This will preclude investment across the sector, including in black-owned agri-businesses that have grown beyond a certain point.

The DA’s approach to land reform:

  • Identifies with the NDP
  • States that the restitution and land reform process have been too slow.
  • There has been insufficient support for reform and restitution beneficiaries to build a livelihood on land
  • Money allocated to land reform has not been used effectively. The Makgoba tea estate here is a shining example of wasteful expenditure and lack of accountability of the community in who the land is vested.
  • Less than 10% of land has been transferred under the ANC. The DA believes that ownership must vest in those who work the land in order to provide financial security
  • South Africa needs a fresh approach with the private sector, commercial farmers, universities collaborate with government to make a success of land reform, which is ultimately critical for food security in South Africa

The DA welcomes the establishment of the advisory council and can but hope that the advice will be implemented into the programmes to make them more effective.

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While the President is dancing…

By, Beverley Schäfer MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture:

Speaker,

A headline in the opinion pages of the Argus caught my eye and got me thinking: It’s a piece by Mike Wills, called, “While the president was dancing…” So Mr Wills, forgive me as write my own version of the same headline with a slight change.

  • While the president is dancing, South Africa is on a knife’s edge as our latest job stats paint a bleak picture
  • While the president is dancing South Africa’s unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2015 rose to its highest level since 2003 currently sitting at 26.4%.
  • While the president is dancing, 5.5million people are without work up from 4.9million in the last quarter of 2014.
  • While the president is dancing, the Western Cape created 91 000 jobs while unemployment increased in Provinces of North West and Limpopo.
  • While the president is dancing, public entities are imploding and we have lost 37% of our generating capacity since 1994.
  • While the president is dancing, the families of Marikina still have no closure because he rather protect his friends than provide justice
  • While the president is dancing ANC’s Mathews Phosa says BEE has failed to reduce poverty and inequality,
  • While the president is dancing, Vavi says, “we have a national emergency. No country can survive such levels of unemployment and low growth”
  • While the president is dancing, corruption is at its highest and the morale of South Africa is at its lowest.

Yet while the president is dancing, he says, “You can’t just take Parliament as another place, as if it is a kindergarten. It is a serious matter….”

So says the dancing president while his people, our economy and our people are suffering.

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For Mpumalanga to succeed our communities must be safe

By Jane Sithole MPL, DA spokesperson on Community Safety, Security and Liaison:

The following speech was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by the DA spokesperson on Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Jane Sithole MPL, during the tabling and debate on Policy Budget of the department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison: Vote 9

Hon. Speaker, pretending that everything is all hunky dory is like pretending death is impossible. Singing praises even where things are wrong is like praising a fish for swimming.

Hon. Speaker, I must say, I feel very safe today, when I look around me as I see so many law enforcement officers who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect ours.

Hon. Speaker, it is our duty to promote and protect the fundamental freedom of all citizens. Every person should feel free to exercise their freedom of choice and I stand tall and proud in my choices, especially my choice of a political party.

Hon. Speaker, violent crime tears apart the essential fibre of communities. This is painfully evident in the recent murder of Constable Joseph Baloyi. Incidents such as this are not only a terrible loss for the families but for the community at large.  This underscores the need for focused attention on crime prevention. It is for this reason Hon. Speaker that crime prevention is a critical piece of keeping our communities safe.

Hon. Speaker, the Civilian Oversight programme has received a total budget allocation of over a million for the 2015/16 financial year. The DA remains concerned that some police stations do not have Victim Friendly Facilities (VFF). Citizens need to be assured that law enforcement stands ready to respond at all times. It is also important to ensure that victims of crime feel safe to report crimes.

Hon, Speaker, transport regulations programme have been allocated over R434 million. This programme needs to ensure that it prioritize the lives of our people on the roads and it must ensure that road carnage and high number of road deaths are reduced through mandatory interventions. Our traffic officers are indeed doing a thankless job, especially during Easter holidays, long weekends, Christmas and other holidays. We owe it to them, and for that we would just like to say thank you.

Hon. Speaker the Democratic Alliance would like to commend the police men and women who on a daily basis go out there and sometimes even arresting their own. Criminality within SAPS needs to be tackled head on, we cannot sit and watch a few rotten potatoes ruin the reputation of our police men and women.

For effective management and oversight of this department, the following must be considered:

  1. Drug related crimes are escalating and families are destroyed by drugs such as nyaope in our Province. We need more police with investigative training that will ensure that this drug is taken off our streets. Our call for specialised narcotics unit to combat this scourge of drugs on our communities remains.
  2. If you want to make Mpumalanga communities safer, the establishment of fully functional municipal police service is essential, in order to assist the SAPS.  Research has proved over and over that criminal activity is less in Municipalities that have a functional municipal police service where Municipal by-laws are enforced.
  3. Training and capacitating our police officers is essential, with the large increase in service delivery protests, our men and women in uniform need urgent training on crowd management, we have seen in recent months how easily crowds get out of control.

The fight against crime is everyone’s responsibility. The Democratic Alliance would like take this opportunity to once again wish Lieutenant General Mark Magadlela and his team all of the best.

I also wish to pay tribute to the many officers in our province, who risk their lives every day, to ensure the safety of ours.

I thank you.

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National SAPS deprive WC of adequately resourced policing

By Mark Wiley, MPP, Chief Whip of the WCPP:

The National government is not doing its job in protecting the people of the Western Cape. SAPS is an essential service, not a discretionary one.

Full operational capacity at station level is the key to basic crime prevention. The Western Cape is currently grossly neglected at station level and massively under staffed, according to national minimum service level standards, and denies SAPS in the Western Cape an adequate first responder capacity.

One third of stations cannot give regular service during blackouts as they do not have generators. Of the police stations that do have generators, many of them do not have their telephones connected to generators, which means that they are isolated from the public.

The Western Cape shortages are simply disgraceful, one must wonder whether it is by design?

  • Recruitment totals guarantee less and less manpower.
  • Reservist strategies are poorly thought out and lack in implementation.
  • Current efforts to disguise this debacle enlarges clusters and reduce sectors.

This managerial neglect is nothing short of scandalous. The Western Cape needs rapid intervention from the National Police Commissioner. The use of ad hoc operations and intervention units, including SANDF, should be only as a complimentary force multiplier – it cannot replace a main policing function. SAPS are allowing these sporadic high profile interdict operations to become cynical exercises in political influence peddling.

The question that should be asked of Operation Fiela – which apparently has multiple missions – is which takes precedence? Foreign nationals, gangsters – or counterfeit goods? Is this a classical example of mission creep?

These types of operations are not sustainable and do not address the systemic problems that daily crime prevention policing, and functioning police stations, are designed to achieve – they only suppress criminal activity temporarily.

Is there a reason that the Western Cape gets treated differently regarding creation of specialised units, recruitment strategy and the deployment of the SANDF?

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