DA not basking in the New Dawn in its 2018 review

2018-12-10 18:45
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen and DA leader Mmusi Maimane provides the media with their party's overview of 2018 on Monday. (Jan Gerber/News24)

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen and DA leader Mmusi Maimane provides the media with their party's overview of 2018 on Monday. (Jan Gerber/News24)

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There is no good ANC and a bad ANC, there is only the ANC.

This was the message from DA leader Mmusi Maimane and chief whip John Steenhuisen as they reviewed President Cyril Ramaphosa's and Parliament's 2018 performance.

It is probably the official opposition's last report card of this kind ahead of next year's election, which will be in May.

"In a year that was billed to be one of fundamental reform, the ANC has continued to fail South Africa. In government, all of the crises that existed at the end of the Zuma presidency have worsened in the first year of the Ramaphosa presidency," reads their statement. 

"In Parliament, the ANC has reverted to their default position of complete deference to the new president, rather than holding him and his government accountable."

Maimane said even though there was a change in leadership, there wasn't a change in the country's direction.

"Our nation is in a difficult position," he said, citing economic growth of 0.7%, the prospect of a "black Christmas" due to load shedding and 10 million citizens who are not going to find work.

"No real structural reforms have been done," Maimane said. "Our country needs structural reform."

Maimane also claimed that Ramaphosa wasn't really in charge of the ANC. 

"Not a single citizen implicated in corruption has been arrested. We may run the risk of thinking state capture was a Zuma project. It was not."

"It is a myth that there is a good ANC and a bad ANC. There is just the ANC," Maimane said.

Parliament 'should have been far more robust'

Speaking about Parliament, Steenhuisen said: "Of the 15 debates that shaped the national agenda in Parliament this year, all confirmed an inconvenient truth: there is no good ANC or bad ANC, only the ANC. The outcomes of the debates on the recession recovery, fuel price increase and VBS bank heist continue to serve as the eulogy of the organisation."

Steenhuisen also criticised Parliament for allowing Deputy President David Mabuza to get away without holding the requisite one question session per month in the National Assembly in the fourth quarter.

"It speaks volumes when you allow an individual to escape accountability," Steenhuisen said.

"Parliament should have been far more robust. Parliament should be ashamed that they allowed this to happen."

He commented on the number of questions departments answered in the National Council of Provinces. According to him, the departments of communications (34%), finance (34%), water and sanitation (32%), social development (28%) and health (28%) answered the least questions.

"It remains an offence to the democratic process that the worst-performing ANC government departments have also been the least accountable," he said.

DA's immigration policy

Maimane and Steenhuisen were asked about the DA's immigration policy as part of its election campaign, and whether it fits in with the upsurge of populist anti-immigration policies worldwide.

"You don't become xenophobic by speaking about an issue that affects citizens."

He said citizens "feel they need control" of the borders, and everyone's rights should be guaranteed, including refugees and asylum seekers.

"No one is anti-immigration," Maimane said.

He said people entering the country should be properly documented and added that, if the DA didn't speak about it, they would allow populists without substance to frame the debate. 

"It would be irresponsible not to address the topic. To not manage it would be irresponsible and would enhance xenophobia."

Maimane also condemned Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama's recent remarks over the weekend. Mngxitama reportedly called for the killing of whites, their dogs and their cats.

"Hate speech must always be spoken out against. Mngxitama's comments cheapen people rights to human dignity which is a fundamental tenant of what liberal democracy depends on," Maimane said.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  mmusi maimane  |  john steenhuisen  |  politics

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