Thursday, August 12, 2010

DA @ Work 12 July 2010

12 August 2010


Welcome to DA@Work, a weekly newsletter keeping you in touch with the hard work being done to create an Open, Opportunity Society for All in South Africa.

In this edition of DA@Work:

Call to Action
Quote of the Week
Top Story
In other news
Did you know?

Call to Action

The Democratic Alliance stands vigorously opposed to the Protection of Information Bill. The bill would seek to classify information legitimately in the public interest as secret. Its draconian provisions represent one of the greatest potential assaults on the freedoms and ideals of our young democracy. We call on all citizens of South Africa to write to the Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee to stop the implementation of this bill. Email:

Quote of the Week

“The DA’s approach to land reform is one of genuine empowerment. It expands opportunity, and increases productivity. It protects property rights and the market principle of willing-seller-willing-buyer. It usually secures positive outcomes based on good management, and sound farming practice. It empowers the poor, not the politically-connected. It spreads success, not failure.”

Helen Zille in her recent SA Today, ‘Successful and productive land reform is possible in South Africa’.

Top Story

Media freedom: Our battle plan to save the open society

In a recent press conference, Helen Zille, Leader of the Democratic Alliance said that the Democratic Alliance was strongly opposed to the proposed Protection of Information Bill, currently before Parliament. Zille stated that the Bill posed the gravest legislative threat to South Africa’s democracy since 1994 and said that the Democratic Alliance would fight the Bill with every means at their disposal.

The Bill states that:

It is a punishable offence (up to 25 years in prison) to possess, communicate or publish classified state information.
Any government information is classifiable if (in the judgement of politicians and senior civil servants) its disclosure is deemed harmful to the “national interest”. Any “head of an organ of state” or any person delegated by them at a national, provincial or local level or parastatals, to classify documents. Importantly, it gives the Minister of State Security the power to define what categories of information are classifiable.
Zille added that previously under apartheid, the Bill would allow the government to invoke the “national interest” to cover up abuse of power. Documents that contain evidence of corruption, maladministration or dodgy deals are likely to be classifiable – in the “national interest”, said Zille.

She pointed out that the Bill would have a devastating impact on press freedom and effectively outlaw investigative journalism and whistle-blowing in relation to activities undertaken by the state, or the government.

The Arms Deal, Oilgate, the bribing of Selebi, Malema’s tenders and Bheki Cele’s flouting of tender procedures may never have seen the light of day, if this Bill had been law, said Zille.

The DA proposed to:

Oppose the passage of the Bill through Parliament
Lobby ANC MPs to vote against the Bill
Meet the Speaker to discuss the ramifications of the Bill on Parliament
Invoke Section 80 of the Constitution
Approach the Constitutional Court to overturn the Bill, should it become law
Zille concluded by saying that it was in everybody’s interest – regardless of political affiliation – to oppose this Bill and called on members of civil society, other political parties, the media and the general public to join the DA in this fight. We must protect the right of all citizens to know the truth, said Zille.


In other news

Survey shows City of Cape Town provides strong foundation for business

A recent Customer Satisfaction Survey conducted by TNS Research, an independent market research company, found that the Democratic Alliance-governed City of Cape Town was creating a strong, stable footing for business development and economic growth.

Willem Doman MP, Shadow Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs said that the survey, carried out completely independently, found that eight out of ten businesses in the City rated the City of Cape Town’s performance as ‘good, very good or excellent’.

They also rated their level of trust in the City as fairly strong, very strong or extremely strong, and the performance of the City in fulfilling its role as a provider of municipal services as good, very good or excellent. In each case, business confidence had grown over the course of the last three years of DA governance, said Doman.

Furthermore he said that the survey findings followed a string of recent accolades, including top honours at the African Access National Business Awards, confirming that, where the DA governed, the DA delivered on services, job creation and investment opportunities which were critical elements in achieving an Open, Opportunity Society for All.

Doman said that as the DA approached the upcoming 2011 local government elections, they were confident that their focus on delivering quality services to the people of South Africa would continue their winning streak that saw the DA win 11 new wards in areas they had never held before.


Did you know?

That more than R770 million of South African state funds had been used to prop up rogue states, and countries that have a history of human rights abuses or non-democratically elected governments, over the course of the last three years, and under the auspices of the African Renaissance Fund (ARF)?

A total of R600 million in 'economic assistance' had been provided to Zimbabwe’s government under the ARF
A total of R172 million was handed over to Guinea Conakry, beginning in 2008, the same year in which the country underwent a military coup
The African Renaissance Fund (ARF) has, since 2004, allocated over R1.2 billion to fund projects in over 17 African countries. The DA has no direct evidence that funds have been misappropriated, but we have no evidence either that funds were spent on the appropriate projects, and instead evidence that no monitoring of the use of the funds is in place.

Helen Zille

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