Nepotism, gay rights and a controversial slogan: FF Plus leader Groenewald answers your questions

2019-05-03 15:06

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald answers your questions ahead of the elections. It's a live, online interview led entirely by YOU as a citizen!


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Last Updated at 07:44
03 May 16:17

Finally, looking back on the 5th Parliament, what in your mind have been some of FF+ significant achievements?

Groenewald: I submitted private member bills on school safety and firearms. I also succeeded in getting the speaker to hold a debate on farm murders. We tried to restore the dignity of Parliament. Undisciplined behaviour is not acceptable. We even apologised to South Africans for the behaviour of MPs. 

03 May 16:16

03 May 16:16

03 May 16:15

03 May 16:09

There is an election video posted on Twitter by FF+ narrated by Steve Hofmeyr. With the controversy surrounding Mr Hofmeyr playing out as we speak, is the FF+ comfortable associating with Mr Hofmeyr considering some of his views?

Groenewald: We used him as an artist only. Nowhere in the video does it say that he is a supporter of ours. But I must say that it violates the rights of all artists if their right to freedom of expression is being shut down. There are people who have spread hate speech who are still allowed on screen, and it's a double standard. 

03 May 15:50

FF+ is also clear it is against expropriation of without compensation. Similarly, what alternative does the FF+ have in mind, if we can agree that land redistribution and restitution are key issues that must be resolved – and this will always have a significant impact on your target voter base.

Groenewald: We believe in the principle of willing buyer, willing seller. There is more than enough land in SA. 94% of people who have submitted land claims don't want land, they wanted money. So it's not really about land, it's about compensation. So expropriation without compensation will not solve the problem. It's the misuse of an emotional problem to solve a political problem. The poor did not benefit from BEE. Abolish those things, go back to the principles of the free market so we can build the economy and create jobs for the poor people. 

03 May 15:47

Based on discrimination of the past and the current culture of certain political parties to deprive and isolate minorities, do you feel that there should be self-determination and a separate homeland for minorities?

Groenewald: Yes we believe in self-determination but it is a process. It must also be determined by the people not by a party. We plan to engage each other more on this after the election. There are also phases of self-determination. The total separate homeland is the last phase - like the Catelonians in Spain. The UK is busy with Brexit, which is another form of self-determination. The Scottish people want more powers. It is when communities are empowered to govern themselves. We also say that municipalities must become smaller so that they are closer to communities. 

03 May 15:43

Pieter Groenewald on the importance of voting for smaller parties: 

03 May 14:37

How will the FF+ bridge the growing racial and economic divide in South Africa if given the opportunity? - Sibusiso Zungu, Facebook

Groenewald: We will enhance nation building. The government of the day is creating polarisation. I said to the President in Parliament that you have a duty to create unity, not polarisation. You do that by recognising the diversity. Recognising 11 official languages, not like now when Afrikaans is bullied. You must ensure there is mutual respect for each other. Zuma having many wives is a cultural difference, and we must respect that. There is goodwill amongst our people to create prosperity. Stop using race to create division. 

03 May 14:24
Groenewald:Well firstly, what is nepotism. It's when you use your position to unfairly favour your friends or family members. But our people were elected on merits. For example, my son started putting up posters when he was six years old. He's earned it, and I'm very proud of that. Our situation is also not unique. There are married people on the DA's list too. You can't just fire someone because they are married. The question is whether they are there on merit or not. 

03 May 14:23
Groenewald: Who said that? That's not true. We know there's a debate about the committees. I've attended public works committees which I'm not a member of. You just aren't allowed to vote. Our chief whip for instance participated on the constitutional review committee on expropriation of land without compensation. But they don't have the stats. So I challenge the person to say where they got the statistics to say we did not attend the committees. If you're not a member of the committee, you won't sign the attendance list.

03 May 14:21

What is your stance on crime along the death penalty lines? - Godfrey Samuel

Groenewald: We support the death penalty for murder. But we are cautious. If you look at the findings of some courts... you must be careful. The pre-requisites must be in place to ensure that there are no double standards. 

03 May 14:20

What is your stance on the recent Caster Semenya ruling? 

Groenewald: In sports they are allowed to have certain regulations. She's participated until now, so why now? We believe in fairness. To come now and say we have a problem is unfair. They should have said there was a problem long ago. It's not only Caster Semenya. There are many Caster Semenyas, and the same question applies: why now? And was it fair and just?

03 May 14:16

What is the parties stance on gay rights? - Lauren Hugo, Facebook

Groenewald: We say that they have equal rights like anyone else in SA. I'm the first person since 1994, we had visits of the SA Gay and Lesbians Rights Association visit the portfolio committee I was in - they've asked for equal rights, and I said, yes of course you have equal rights. They came to thank me afterwards. As a Christian, the principle is, love your neighbour as yourself. That is our stance. We have gay and lesbian people who are official members of the party. 

03 May 14:13

I assume he strongly believes that BLF will not secure a single seat in Parliament, so why is he so hellbent to have the party deregistered? - Puongwe Bakang, Facebook

Groenewald: The FF Plus says noone is above the law. We've got good legislation in SA but people do not comply with it. It's about the fact that the BLF is not complying with the Electoral Act. It says a political party cannot have it's membership based on race. The BLF says white people cannot be in their party. There was another party which said coloured people could only be members, and the Electoral Commission rejected it. So why is the BLF being allowed? We say that noone is above the law, especially when it comes to the Electoral Commission which is supposed to be fair and impartial. 

03 May 14:07

Do you have any black representation on in your party and on your parliamentary list, and if not, why? - @jj_de_beer, Instagram

Groenewald: We have. Have a look at the list, they are there. You will also find women there. But I must stress that we do not believe in Affirmative Action. They got on to the list on merit. It's an insult to put someone in a position just because they are a woman, or black or coloured. Everyone in the FF Plus has earned their position. 

03 May 14:06

In a country plagued by violence, why did you make your slogan "slaan terug" (fight back)? - @nelisjvr, Instagram

Groenewald: Firstly you must understand that it's an election poster that says, "fight back", you must understand the context of it. You as a voter has a right to raise your concerns. The economy going down, corruption, etc, you must use your vote to stand up. It's purely a political term. It means that you have been politically bullied for so long... minorities in Parliament are bullied so much... so you must fight for your rights, not physically, but in a peaceful way. It means enough is enough.

03 May 14:02
Groenewald: To implement our manifesto. My private members bill on firearms has been rejected but I will submit it again, for instance. Our manifestos will be pushed for. Politics is also about influencing the governing parties. If you treat your colleagues behind the scenes, you can ensure that your policies are implemented.

03 May 14:01

I honestly feel as a leader he embodies the right attributes but just two questions in my mind: Why is he not campaigning in townships and rural areas? In the current SA You can only succeed if you strive to include all races and people, why are we not seeing any effort to attract all voters to your party? I saw your launch , feel you have the best manifesto, but feel what's the point of having a great plan and not worrying about it reaching everyone? - Sibonelo Mashase, Facebook

Groenewald: We have our principles and manifesto. Anyone who wants to vote and supports those principles is welcome to vote for us. Remember that there are huge costs when it comes to campaigning in rural areas. With posters: we just don't have the money to do this throughout the country. In 2016, we had two black candidates. If you believe in the same principles, you are welcome. We have some places where supporters of the FF Plus campaign in the townships but I must admit, we just don't have the money to be all over. 

03 May 13:57
Groenewald: It's not outsourcing. We advertised in newspapers to say anyone who wants to be in the FF Plus can apply. Marais was one of them. He was not handled in a specific way. He had to go through all the hurdles to be appointed as a candidate for the FF Plus. For instance, all the vetting processes... he has a clean record. He also has experience as former mayor of Cape Town. On a mere merit case, with his experience, he became the Premier candidate. 

03 May 13:54

Which parties - if any - would you go into a coalition with to get the ANC out? -Jacquie Dow

Groenewald: We are in coalitions with the DA in some places. In certain places we are even the kingmaker. We will not be going in to coalitions with the EFF and we've never been in one with the ANC. There are also smaller parties like the UDM and the IFP that are part of these coalitions. After this election we will have to look at the pre-requisites to ensure that if the FF Plus is part of that coalition, that our policies are also expressed in that coalition. 

03 May 13:53

What exactly has your party done for me as a middle aged white women who cannot find a job? The position I held turned into an EE position as corporates are so scared they will loose a point on their BBBEE evaluations. - Marlet Wepener

Groenewald: Economy needs to grow. We are against Affirmative Action and BEE. We say there should only be one criteria and that is merit. Potential investors will then come and invest in SA. The government cannot create jobs. That is not their function. If you want the economy to grow, you must lower personal income tax and company tax. The power of unions must be limited. The labour unions have too much power. We also have to broaden the tax base by increasing VAT. We have a specific proposal - a Fiscal Commission, which will be an independent body like the Reserve Bank, but which will determine the VAT rate. This will increase fiscal discipline and hold government accountable. 

03 May 13:50

The DA keeps saying that it is a wasted vote to vote for a small party. I don't really want to vote for them, but don't want to 'waste' my vote and end up aiding the ANC. What is your opinion on this? - Kevin Grunewald

Groenewald: I say that's a lie. We must remember that we have a proportional representation system. In simple terms: the electoral system is the formula which puts seats in Parliament. Your vote has two functions: Firstly, you want your party to elect a representative in Parliament. Some parties don't get a representative but then that vote has a second function, which is to ensure the ANC does not get more seats in Parliament. It's quite a complex system. But a vote for a small party will count against the governing party whether or not you get a seat. 

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