DOCUMENTS

FF+ assessment of govt 2011 - Pieter Mulder

ANC gets 4/10 for combating corruption, national planning commission scores 7/10

FF Plus' annual evaluation of the ANC's performance/failures

The FF Plus today released its annual end-of-year evaluation (report card) of the ANC's performance and failures in 2011.

Members of the FF Plus from across the country were asked to identify the issues which had been the most important to them during this year. Thereafter they gave their opinions and awarded a mark to each.

It appears from their evaluation that the ANC, from the view of the average FF Plus supporter, obtained a mark of 42%.

Some of the issues which had been singled out were crime, corruption, Minister Manuel's Planning Commission, administration of Justice, economic affairs and language and cultural rights.

Where Minister Manuel's Planning Commission was judged to be positive, the two police commissioners Selebi and Cele were judged very negatively.

The corruption investigations of the Public Protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela, was viewed to be very positive but the fact that South Africa's local councils are wasting R74 million a day or R27 billion in a year, was seriously condemned.

The assault on the Constitutional Court as well as the proposed Information Bill set off a lot of red lights as well as the tax burden which through toll gates are silently increasing.

FF Plus' annual evaluation of the ANC's performance/failures

1. Introduction

Herewith, the FF Plus' annual end-of-year evaluation (report card) of the ANC's performance and failures in 2011.

1.1 Method

The method used is to request FF Plus members from across the country to point out the issues which had been of importance to them. Thereafter they have to give their opinions and award a mark for these issues.

In this period, Dec 2010 to Dec 2011, some ministers changed portfolios and others were fired. This makes an evaluation difficult. That is why the experiencing of government policy as a whole was evaluated and not individual ministers.

1.2 Advantages

The advantage of such a poll is that it indicates which political issues are at present very important to FF Plus members and how they feel about it. The report does not purport to be objective, but it is an accurate summary of the average FF Plus voter's experience of government policy. Where the poll is done at the end of the year, experience has shown that immediate news events, for example the release of Minister Manuel's planning commission report, the Cele and Selebi issues, etc. may be more prominent than events which had taken place at the beginning of the year. Naturally, many issues are mentioned from which only those which had received the most comments, are given here in sequence.

The issues which had been evaluated and had been of importance to FF Plus members are the following:

  • Crime
  • General corruption
  • Planning commission
  • Administration of justice
  • Economic growth and job creation
  • Language and cultural rights

The government's "exam results" for 2011 are set out further below.

2. Crime

Combating crime is a constitutional duty of which the political responsibility lies with the minister and government (section 205(3) & 206). If a government fails in this regard, the state fails because then the state becomes a criminal state.

The Positive

2.1 Murder: The only positive aspect is the general decline in most violent crimes according to the statistics of the Police. The latest statistics indicate that murder has declined by 6,5%. South Africa's murder figure is now 31,9 per 100 000 of the population. It is still nearly five times higher than the world average.

2.1 Robbery: Residential robberies have declined by 10,1% (16 889). If the past five years are viewed as a period, it has still increased by 60,6% and by 16,6% in the past three years.

The Negative

2.3 Police Commissioners: The suspension of Bheki Cele as commissioner and the final sending to jail of the former commissioner, Jackie Selebi, has affected the trust of the public in the Police. It can not be expected of the public to have faith in the Police with two such commissioners.

2.4 Trigger happiness: Last year concern was expressed about the trigger-happiness of the Police. This year the concern was confirmed. Mr. Andrew Tatani's death during a march in Ficksburg proves that the Police do not hesitate in shooting and killing innocent civilians during protest marches.

2.5 Police Corruption: The further laying bare of corruption in the Police with buildings and the building of new Police stations in KZN and Mpumalanga is worrying. This year it also became known that the Police had in the past seven years noted 20 429 (since 2004) firearms as being lost and could only recover 4 810.

2.6 Firearm licences: The Police's handling and controlling of firearms of the public is extremely poor. The Minister's announcement that the backlog in the application for the re-licensing of firearms in terms of the new Firearms Act (Act 60 of 2000) would be processed within nine months, has, as the FF Plus had predicted, not materialised and it was merely empty promises of the Minister.

2.7 Racism: Increasing racism against white and brown members in the SAPS leads to them not being able to function properly and being swamped with work of other colleagues who are incompetent. Promotion possibilities for especially white SAPS members are still slim and discriminatory.

2.8 Farm murders: This continues and the minister's refusal to reveal figures about farm murders creates suspicion and is still unacceptable, as the FF Plus views it as a priority crime which threatens food security in SA.

From the above it is clear that the negative aspects still dominate this year.

The FF Plus' allocation of a mark for the ANC for combating crime is reduced from 5/10 in 2010 to 3/10.

3. General Corruption

Corruption was consistently identified as a serious problem.

The Positive

The fearless statements against corruption and the objective investigations of Adv. Thuli Madonsela as public protector, is positive and is strongly supported. With the same vigour with which she investigates ANC municipalities, she investigates, for example, the corruption and maladministration of the DA council in the Midvaal Municipality also.

The Negative

Minister Pravin Gordhan announced in September 2011 that the wasting of municipalities cost SA R74 million per day. It already amounts to R27 billion a year. No tenders, quotes and contracts in the public sector are longer above suspicion. In the Free State, for example, women who apply for housing and can not afford bribes are paying with sexual favours. The culture of corruption in the public sector is deepening every day. The fact that it is alleged that bribery and fraud in the department of the Police is the highest of all departments, serves as proof of where South Africa finds itself at present.

The Special Investigative Unit is at present investigating more than 1 000 cases of fraud and corruption in the public sector. They cannot do any investigation which has not been permitted through a proclamation by the President. Nearly 600 of the 1 000 cases which the Special Investigative Unit is at present investigating relates to tender fraud and contracts worth more than R 9 billion. In 360 cases, the conflict of interests is an element. This unit has indicated that 20% of the Government's budget which relates to tenders is lost as a result of corruption. This information of the Special Investigative Unit confirms that it is merely the tip of the iceberg. If corruption was to be nipped in the bud, extra taxes such as toll tariffs would not be necessary.

In many African and other countries little or no opposition against corruption is accepted as part of public administration. In South Africa it is important that the struggle against corruption, through continuous investigations of Adv. Madonsela, with media revelations and questions of the FF Plus and other opposition parties in Parliament, is continued in order to prevent us from also ending like that.

The FF Plus' awarding of points to the ANC for combating corruption is 4/10 for 2011.

4. Planning Commission

The National Planning Commission's development plan for South Africa (a vision for 2030) is one of the most comprehensive strategic plans which have been produced by government in recent years.

The Positive

The Planning Commission's plan was not, as its predecessor, drawn up by a bunch of civil servants with a preconceived political ideology. It is the result of 18 months of intensive research by experts in the country into what is needed to make South Africa a winning country.

The document of 430 pages is not afraid to address core problems and it gives a comprehensive analysis of the country's challenges. For example:

That the ANC's policy of cadre-deployment has led to a weakened state with a public service which can not effectively apply government policy. This has to be replaced with a merit based public service;

That combaters of corruption, such as the special investigative unit and the public protector, is under funded and understaffed and have to be protected by legislation against political interference;

That labour legislation is undermining job-creation, that uncertainty about mining rights are frightening investors away and that South Africa's public service and infrastructure requires attention urgently.

The Negative

The Planning Commission stands outside of government in an advisory capacity which means that the government does not have to accept or implement the proposals.

Some elements within the ANC and specifically within the governing alliance with Cosatu and the SACP differ with the proposals and are planning to seriously oppose it.

The FF Plus' allocation mark for the ANC for the Planning Commission report is 7/10 for 2011.

5. Administration of Justice

The independence of the courts and the separation of powers between the Executive authority and the Judicial authority are of the most important building blocks of a Constitutional State and an effective democracy. From various comments made by President Zuma and the Minister of Justice, Mr. Jeff Radebe, it is clear that the transformation of the courts and the legal system is a priority of the ANC government. In 2010 the FF Plus warned that the ANC's objective with this is unclear and precisely for this reason it set off red lights. During 2011 the ANC's objectives in this regard became more clearly and the FF Plus was proven right in that transformation was used to infringe on the independence of the legal system.

5.1 The appointment of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

The appointment took place amidst great controversy. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is a relatively junior judge in the Constitutional Court. It is general knowledge that there are more senior and experienced judges, such as Judge Moseneke who had been overlooked by President Zuma. Big question marks about the consultation process also arose during this appointment. The question was rightly asked whether the President, in contrast to what the Constitution requires from him, truly consults with opposition leaders before he makes any appointment. The impression is that he decides upon a name and thereafter creates a semblance of consulting.

5.2 The apparent assault on the Constitutional Court.

More and more ominous comments are being made which fly in the face of the independence of the judiciary and in particular the Constitutional Court. Even President Zuma did not hesitate in saying that the Constitutional Court is being used or abused by minorities and opposition parties if they can not get their way democratically. These remarks, seen in conjunction with the ANC government's so-called "research" which they intend undertaking into the Constitutional Court's decisions sets off numerous red lights. It appears too much like the gathering of ammunition with which to pull the Constitutional Court's teeth.

5.3 The Bill on the Protection of Information.

The government's uncompromising charge with this unfortunate draft bill, despite the unprecedented opposition, points to an unyielding ANC government which is calving away at the cornerstones of our democracy. The ANC government knows how important an independent judiciary and free media are in a democracy, but persists with this.

The ANC government clearly has the Constitutional Court and the judiciary in its sight. The Constitutional Court is a core institution for the protection of the Constitution and the Constitutional order. Clearly the ANC government is of the opinion that these cornerstone of our government system should also be brought under ANC rule. It should be avoided at all costs.

In the light of the above the FF Plus considered it to be reasonable to award a point of 3 out of10 to the ANC government with regard to the administration of justice.

6. Economic growth and job creation

The Positive

6.1 Discipline: The impression is that the previous minister of Finance, Mr. Trevor Manuel, together with the current minister of Finance, Mr. Pravin Gordhan, are doing their best to manage South Africa's public funds and bring economic discipline back.

6.2 Provinces: For the first time the government is prepared to intervene in provinces where maladministration, corruption and waste is at the order of the day.

The Negative

6.3 Unemployment: Unemployment remains a very serious problem with far-reaching consequences for everyone. The government is failing in its attempts to address this.

Some of the main reasons for the failure are a rigid labour market, maladministration, creeping taxes and corruption in the public sector.

It is clear that the South African economy is now paying a heavy price for its rigid minimum wages, excessive protection of employees against the unemployed and other discriminatory policy directions such as affirmative action and black economic empowerment which keep minorities, especially white people, out of the labour market.

The IMF recently indicated that the rigid labour market is the biggest stumbling block for South Africa's economic growth. Against this backdrop it is heartening to know that the ministers of finance and labour will be investigating the labour regime for possible reform. This creates the opportunity to decisively start talking about the phasing out of discriminatory measures in the labour market.

6.4 Taxes: A further stumbling block for economic growth is increasing taxes and growing forms of taxes. Various academics have indicated that South Africans are already paying so much as 60% of their income toward taxes when all direct and indirect taxes are taken into account. The burden is becoming heavier with the adding of creeping taxes such as toll gate levies. In addition an unhealthy part of taxes are spent on supporting 15 million people on welfare grants. The situation is unsustainable given the fact that only approximately 5 million people out of 50 million are paying taxes. That is why the ministers of finance and labour will have to make quick work of it to deregulate the labour market in order to give entrepreneurs a free reign. Only then the economy will grow and create jobs.

6.5 Foreign Investments: The Walmart-Massmart court case is confusing investors and sends negative signals to the international community about South Africa's economy. Where South Africa in the past had drawn the most foreign investments in Africa, it is at present Angola. Angola received $10 billion as opposed to South Africa's $1,6 billion.

6.6 Transnet pension funds: The refusal of Transnet and Treasury to fully supplement the Transnet pension funds, as per instruction of Parliament, is scandalous. It is scandalous in the light of the high bonuses which Transnet's top management awarded to themselves. The critical situation of Transnet pensioners, who had built up a public enterprise such as Transnet, is a showpiece of the maladministration and lack of moral prioritisation of the government.

Against this background, the FF Plus' awarding of marks to the ANC for economic management is 4/10 for 2011.

7. Language and cultural rights

7.1 National Language Act.

The Positive

More than 14 years after it became a Constitutional prerequisite for the government to adopt a national language act, a draft bill about this was eventually introduced to Parliament.

The language unit in public departments have to, in terms of the bill, ensure the "equal treatment and same recognition" of all of the country's 11 national languages.

The Negative

The Bill is not an ANC accomplishment but the result of the court order of judge Ben du Plessis in the High Court in Pretoria in March 2010 that the government has to comply with section 6(4) of the Constitution with regards to the implementation of a language act. Parliament has to adopt the bill before 15 March 2012.

The draft bill still has many problems and still does not adhere, according to the FF Plus, to the Constitution's requirements.

7.2 Geographical names.

Every year there are new court cases, protests and fights about name changes. Because there is no cut-off date for these types of changes name changes have been continuing in this unsatisfactory manner for 17 years already. It affects voters directly.

This year the names of Louis Trichardt and Nelspruit were changed to Mkhado and Mbombela. In the same manner various towns' names were changed. In Bloemfontein the ANC is changing a large number of well-known historical street names (or example, Andries Pretorius Street to Raymond Mhlaba Street and Paul Kruger Avenue to O.R. Tambo Avenue) and the DA is doing the same in Cape Town.

The FF Plus has no objection if buildings, places, streets, etc. are named after persons who in the past had been overlooked and did not receive any recognition.

What the party does object to is the obsession on the side of both the ANC and DA - wherever they govern, to try and rewrite the history of South Africa according to their current subjective judgments. The Anglo-Boer War, colonialism, the slave period, apartheid, etc. are all made scapegoats. The question is - who determines the level of sin, for which period and its personalities?

President Paul Kruger said: "Retain the good from the past and build a future on it!" This country has been built up over 350 years to the economic giant which it is in Africa today, with infrastructure from which generations to come will still be reaping the benefit. Everything which had been done in the past was not necessarily without mistakes but definitely also not without positive results.

The result: The ANC is disregarding the diverse composition of South Africa's diversity of communities. They cause an insensitive and purposeful infringement on the history and cultural goods of many communities such as for example the Afrikaners through the blatant disregard of the positive contribution of leaders and heroes of old.

The FF Plus' view is: Add without taking away!

Emergency services who search for addresses continually complain about the many new streets and residential areas which do not have any names. Name buildings, places and streets after those who did not get recognition, but do not replace existing names merely for short term party political gain. We have to strive here as well for a win-win situation if we are honest and sincere about South Africa belonging to all its people.

The FF Plus awards the ANC government a mark of 4/10.

8. Conclusion

In conclusion the following points were awarded:

Combating crime

3

General corruption

4

Planning commission

7

Administration of justice

3

Economic growth

4

Language and cultural rights

4

It therefore appears from the above evaluation that the ANC, from the view of the average FF Plus supporter, obtained an average mark of 42% for its performance with regard to its policy.

The FF Plus remains committed to a South Africa which offers room for everyone. The party will in 2012 - as in previous years - remain committed to the constructive setting up of discussions where it can and the mobilisation of opposition and resistance where it has to.

Issued by Dr. Pieter Mulder, Leader: FF Plus, December 12 2011

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