Monday, November 2, 2009

DA at work

Quote of the Week

Indeed, the DA is committed to employment equity, through broadening opportunities for everyone, not manipulating outcomes to benefit our families, friends, or political connections. That is why, within two years of DA government in Cape Town, the tenders awarded to BEE companies had risen 10% over what the ANC was able to achieve. The ANC limited the eligible pool to the favoured few. The DA opened opportunities to all -- and the outcome was an improvement in the equity profile.”

Helen Zille. Leader of the Democratic Alliance, in her weekly newsletter, SAToday


Last Week's Highlights

Top Story: DA greets Gordhan’s first budget speech with cautious optimism

Dion George, Shadow Minister of Finance, was cautiously optimistic after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s first budget speech.

George said that there were a number of positive initiatives outlined in the MTBPS. These included adopted DA initiatives such as:

• Wage Subsidies to lower the cost of employment

• Opportunity Vouchers to give young South Africans access to work and skills development

• Accelerated Exchange Control Liberalisation

George also praised the Minister’s renewed focus on job creation and his hard line on inflation, public sector wage increases and infrastructure bottlenecks, while acknowledging his comprehensive cost-saving measures that identified savings of R3bn, or 3% of government expenditure.

He further welcomed the Minister’s openness to the DA’s proposed Trade, Export Processing Zones, and tax incentives to stimulate job creation.

George approved of the announcement that transfers to State-Owned Entities would be trimmed, but held the Minister accountable to outstanding examples of bad judgement, mismanagement and incompetence.

These included the R59 million spent on new government departments, the R200 million transfer to the SABC, R1 billion capital assistance to the Landbank and the R192 million for the Airbus deal.

The Shadow Minister prompted Gordhan to recognise taxpayer’s reluctance to finance inappropriate bonuses paid to senior executives of SOEs while these institutions failed to deliver on their mandate.

George commented that in contrast to most emerging markets, South Africa entered the economic crisis in a particularly vulnerable position due to low savings rates, high inflation and a large current account deficit and that this vulnerability was exacerbated by structural rigidity in the South African economy.

“This budget shows that the global financial crisis has had a far worse effect on our economy than anyone previously thought,” said George.

DA Chief Whip, Ian Davidson, similarly welcomed the cost-cutting initiatives tabled in the Finance Minister’s draft report. “If the government is able to save R27 billion by being more efficient and streamlined, that is good news indeed, most of all to those millions of South Africans who look to the State to deliver services, as opposed to bureaucracy and self-indulgence” said Davidson.

Read more here >>

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Government report champions DA municipalities

Last week, Marti Wenger, Shadow Deputy Minister of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, highlighted a report tabled by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs which showed that five out the six municipalities run outright by the Democratic Alliance are classified in the top tier of the 58 best performing municipalities in the country.

Wenger refuted previous criticism by the ANC accusing the DA of not delivering services. The Shadow Minister reiterated that the report was objective and conclusive proof from the government’s own study that the DA excelled in administration.

“These 58 local authorities are defined as the ‘Highest Performing Local Municipalities’ by the report, and this constitutes proof that, even by the ANC government’s own admission, that DA delivers and it delivers to the highest standard,” said Wenger.

The twelve DA municipalities on the list represent 21% of the top 58.

Wenger confirmed that local municipalities governed outright by the DA included Midvaal, Cedarberg, Swartland, Overstrand and Mossel Bay.

The report entitled ‘State of Local Government in South Africa’, also described a further seven municipalities in which the DA co-governs with other parties that appear on the top performing list.

These included the local municipalities of; Matzikama, Bergrivier, Witzenberg, Thweewaterskloof, Swellendam, George and Oudtshoorn. Wenger encouraged the ANC to examine the rest of the underperforming municipalities that fall outside of the top 58, (the majority of which fall under ANC responsibility) and recommended that the ruling party prioritise and focus their energies on fixing those that are proven to be mismanaged and inefficient rather than worrying about efficient municipalities that they don’t control.

Read more here >>

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Accountability is Zille’s watchword

DA leader Helen Zille yesterday refused to shift responsibility for the Cape Town BRT project, confirming a fully accountable DA paper trail for every stage of the project.

Zille described increases in uncontrollable factors such as commodity prices as a key factor in the cost escalations but said that most concerning was that the DA had not been informed of the escalations until after the fact.

Read more here >>

CEO criminal record oversight

Dianne Kohler Barnard, Shadow Minister of Police revealed last week the DA’s concern over The Police Portfolio Committee’s suspension of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority CEO.

Kohler Barnard questioned how an individual with a criminal record headed up an authority charged with the task of bringing criminals to justice and why the NIA’s initial vetting process failed to pick this up.

Read more here >>

The DA takes swift action against hate speech

Dr Wilmot James Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training last week laid a formal complaint of hate speech with the Equality Court in Cape Town in addition to a criminal charge of intimidation at the Magistrates Court in the Free State.

This was in response to calls by ANC Youth League Chairperson, Thebe Meeko, that the University of the Free State Vice Chancellor Professor Jonathan Jansen should be “shot and killed because he is a racist”.

Read more here >>

For the record

Annelie Lotriet, Shadow Minister of Arts and Culture, welcomed the dismissal of the Falcon Security employee who played a subverted and racist version of the national anthem, which denigrated former President Nelson Mandela.

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