Speech by ANC Leader of the opposition Khaya Magaxa, Western Cape Legislature, in the debate on Premier Helen Zille’s State of the Province Address, Friday, 23 February 2018
Before I begin, I would like to welcome the 54th ANC Conference outcomes and the subsequent election of Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa as the President of the Republic of South Africa. His election has brought a new era of hope and change for all South Africans young and old, black and white.
We appreciate the sense of renewal the President’s SONA’s speech has brought to the country. He promised to restore public confidence in the government; Commitment to ethical behaviour and leadership; a new, national minimum wage to improve the lives of more than six million South Africans; Improvements to government support for the poor and unemployed; and Land restitution, including, if necessary, expropriation without compensation.
Premier Zille we had to write to you to convince you that the SONA should first take place to open the Parliamentary year which would set the tone for the year, believing it would be against the principles of co-operative governance for any province to proceed with a state of the province address before the President has delivered the State of the Nation Address. We were disappointed in your letter dated 15 February where you stated that you received no legal arguments why the State of the Province Address(SOPA) should not take place before SONA, and that the Western Cape Government was not consulted regarding the postponement of SONA whereas your DA party requested SONA be postponed.
Your actions once again prove that you do not want to be part of nation building and you continue to run the province like an island that’s not part of South Africa. No wonder you have been suspended from all of your party’s decision making structures. You have once again tweeted about water colonialism, and had to be threatened about being charged again for tweeting positively about the legacy of colonialism. It will be the second time in a year that you will be investigated for violating the DA’s social media policy, breaching your social media agreement with the party, and bringing the party into disrepute. You represent the old racist apartheid backwards times which cannot coincide in this new dawn the country is set upon.
Premier Zille, in your 2017 State of the Province Address (SOPA) you indicated that it could cost a minimum capital amount of R15 billion for a desalination plant for Cape Town with operational costs potentially running between R350 million and R1 billion per year which would translate into very expensive water. This R15 billion figure is very concerning since the costs of desalination plants across the peninsula at Koeberg, Cape Town Harbour and Harmony Park which would jointly produce 180 million litres per day have been calculated at R1.3 billion by the Department of Water and Sanitation’s technical team.
The City of Cape Town’s Water Resilience Plan estimates that desalination plants at Cape Town Harbour, Strandfontein and Monwabisi together with water augmentation will jointly produce 200 million litres of water per day at a cost of R3.3 billion. Premier your desalination costs have been inflated to provide big business for your election campaign funders.
Your own former DA Steering Committee Chairperson has blown the whistle on your corruption, according to Rodney Lentit, the DA turned against De Lille because she did not want to sign two contracts for desalination plants. Lentit claims these contracts amounted to R834 million and R6 billion, respectively. The DA stands to make R600 million in kickbacks from these Israeli DA funders for their 2019 election campaign.
The Democratic Alliance has manufactured this Cape Water Crisis, they stood by watching our dam levels decrease year on year from 2015 with 25%. When Dams reached 50% in 2016 down from 75% they did nothing, and now in the 2017 summer when dams reached 25% down from 50% they still did nothing meaningful to produce the 500 million litres of water that Cape Town uses per day.
The Western Cape has companies that produce world class technology in the field of Reverse Osmosis technology in Water Treatment with experience in building desalination plants, South Africa has many water boards that have built desalination plants in other provinces, and our national government has prevented metros from running out of water within the cooperative government and intergovernmental relations framework, just last year they prevented Johannesburg from running out of water with proper water demand management strategies.
Shame on you Premier Helen Zille and Mmusi Maimane, we will be submitting complaints for Premier Zille at the Public Protector to investigate her abdicating her duties and fettering by Maimane to cross the state and party line when she allowed an unelected official to coordinate Defeat Day Zero. It is unacceptable for Maimane who is an MP to head a governmental task team, this pushes the boundaries of the separation of powers, where day to day running of government should be left to executive officials.
This is unacceptable since State institutions should be independent and state officials should be accountable for their actions. Maimane who is unelected in the Provincial Legislature or the City Council cannot be held accountable for his actions.
This has the potential to lead to corrupt situations where the political party’s donors expect to be rewarded with government business as is the case with the Israeli DA funders which was exposed by Rodney Lentit. This Corruption and racism is the real reason Rodney Lentit resigned from the DA Caucus in the Legislature.
The province has seen many governance failures the past year, during the annual reporting period the Department of Agriculture failed to produce audited Annual Financial Statements with an audit opinion. The Department of Human Settlements which is headed up by DA Leader in the province, Bongi Madikizela failed to receive a clean audit. This is the same Bongi Madikizela that is under investigation by the Public Protector for receiving benefits, donations and sponsorships which he still has not declared for a Birthday bash at the One and Only hotel.
MEC Madikizela was also found to have not given sufficient answers to the Registrar of Members’ Interest at the time. What did the DA Caucus do, through their Chief Whip Wiley they advertised the current Registrar’s position while he was still in the job, basically firing him through undue pressure in order for them to appoint their man for the job, subsequently fresh complaints were submitted to the New Registrar of Members’ Interests against MEC Madikizela and MEC Mbombo on 1 December 2017. This new Registrar has failed to acknowledge the new complaints almost 3 months have passed and he has also failed to call the Conduct Committee to discuss the old investigation’s reports or the new complaints, what has the New Registrar of Members’ Interests been doing with the R90,000 he has earned thus far?
The Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille has tweeted, “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport, infrastructure, piped water etc.” This tweet has brought back many pain and suffering to victims of apartheid and colonialism in South Africa, she celebrates the oppression, exploitation, racism, and poverty which are direct results of the legacy of colonialism.
By her reckless statements she failed to act in a manner that is consistent with the integrity of her office. I believe that her personal interest of white supremacy and white privilege are in conflict with her official responsibilities.
Our Constitutional democracy entails that we heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. The Premier has violated the principles of our constitution, and divided our society on racial grounds.
By undermining South Africans with her personal beliefs on colonialism she has failed to uphold her oath of office which requires the Premier hold office with honour and dignity.
The affluent town of Hout Bay consists of a number of multi-million rand mansions, luxurious holiday homes and some small wine estates. With the additional fishing community and tourist activities there was a need to house many workers to keep the town operational. This led to the establishment of Imizamo Yethu, the main informal settlement in Hout Bay.
The settlement is lacking important infrastructure: minimal water supply, few toilets and poor sewerage system. Because of its location and the overcrowding, Imizamo Yethu is vulnerable to hazards like floods and fires. In a statement in March 2017, the Deputy Mayor said, “It is believed to be one of the worst informal settlement fires that we have experienced to date.” Such a statement from a high office-bearer would make one think that drastic action and support would have taken place.
Wrong! At the time it would appear that 4 500 structures were razed and approximately 15 000 residents were affected. Three victims lost their lives during the fires. NGO’s assisted the community with meals, blankets, toiletries and mattresses.
In contrast to the Knysna fires which resulted in the damage of property owned by rich residents, the Provincial Government went so far as to have a cabinet meeting in Knysna, it prompted an urgent announcement that R75 million of the disaster funds of the province would be released for a suitable response to mitigate the damage incurred.
Seven people died and at least 1 000 homes in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay were damaged or destroyed. 985 firefighters using 78 fire vehicles, six Oryx military helicopters, four Working on Fire helicopters and two fixed-wing bomber aircraft were deployed to deal with the fires.
One can’t help but ask why a similar response was not deployed for the Imizamo Yethu fires of March this year which displaced 15,000 people. The Provincial Government must really come forward and say why they had such a lacklustre response to the Imizamo Yethu fires compared with how they moved mountains for the Knysna fires.
South Africa has made many gains in fighting the high inequalities which persist through income equality, land ownership, unemployment and education that we simply cannot still worry about being discriminated against on race and class when it comes to disaster responses from your local authorities.
Coming back to the disaster relief which was activated when disaster hit Knysna, in August 2017 the provincial government announced the allocations per municipality. For Human settlements a total of R7.5 million was allocated, R2.5 million was for Cape Town, including Imizamo Yethu and Hout Bay yet R5 million of the R7.5 million went to Knysna.
A total allocation of R5 million was allocated for Aerial Fire Fighting support, this whole R5 million was only allocated to Knysna. What about the people of Imizamo Yethu, don’t they deserve this infrastructure and readiness when disaster hits again I ask?
To put the cherry on the cake, the DA provincial government allocated R3 million towards the Goukamma nature reserve which is in the Knysna area, this is more than the R2 million which was allocated for Cape Town, Imizamo Yethu and Hout Bay combined. Such blatant discrimination of funding shows how the DA government cares more about Knysna’s tourism and Cape Nature entities than the displaced people of Imizamo Yethu. Black and coloured lives don’t matter under the DA government in the Western Cape.
Corporate South Africa thank you for your assistance when disaster hit Knysna, ABSA donated R10m for disaster relief as well as 5 600 tents, FNB donated R10m, Santam also donated R1m, Mutual and Federal donated R400 000, Discovery donated R375 000, and Outsurance donated R250 000. As much as we appreciate the assistance we cannot help but ask the question where were you when disaster struck Imizamo Yethu? Do you only help a particular group in South Africa, a minority group that owns 70% of the JSE?
It is reckless of the DA Provincial Government to sit on R200m disaster funds and sit by idle when our townships and Cape Flats have daily disasters and they only act upon releasing disaster relief when White affluent towns like Knysna have a disaster. This is totally unacceptable because it would mean that disaster must first hit Loevenstein and Welgemoed before the City will respond to a similar disaster which affects Bellville.
The lessons learned in Imizamo Yethu must prevent a nonchalant response from the DA government, we cannot in Kayamandi wait for Stellenbosch to burn before helicopters and bomber aircrafts will be deployed in the future. Equal service delivery for all must happen, and it must happen now in the Western Cape
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey report for quarter four of 2017 showed that the number of employed persons in the Western Cape increased by 92 000 when compared to quarter 3 of 2017. When compared to quarter 4 of 2016, the Western Cape recorded an increase of 106 000 jobs in quarter 4 of 2017. As much as this is commendable, the major cause for concern is the possibility that these jobs may have been contracts of limited duration. The nature of employment is not specified, and in the same period that employment numbers increased in the province, there was an increase in the number of employees on contracts of limited duration in the country.
While we want to celebrate the increase in employment numbers, we are equally disturbed by the fact that in quarter four of 2017 more than 744 000 people of the working age population were unemployed in the Western Cape. Of this number, 515 000 people were in the City, and more than 260 000 coming from the rural regions.
The other side of the Employment statistics the DA never mentions is the Employment Equity report, here they do not have anything to celebrate. In fact they are furthering the over representation of Whites and the decrease of Africans. Cause for the concern in the latest employment equity report is Workforce profile at the Top Management level by race - The representation of the White group (68.9%) at this level is more than six times their Economically Active Population (EAP). The opposite is true for the African and Coloured groups as they are under-represented in relation to their EAP.
The Western Cape still has a significant amount of White representation at the professionally qualified level (48.1%), whereas they make up 17.1% of the EAP. This is followed by the Coloured group at (29.2%), where they make up half (50.2%) of the economically active population in the province. The African group has 15.1% representation.
Your DA government’s job creation does not benefit Coloured and African people in the province, you continue to advance white supremacy and white privilege in the province. Hence you never mention the employment equity report.
The ANC in the Western Cape is a government in waiting, we are ready to provide equal service delivery to all the residents of the province unlike how the DA continues with discrimination with managing disasters and creating water supply shortages. Amandla!
Issued by the ANC Western Cape, 23 February 2018