SONA2020 Good and Bad

SONA2020 Good and Bad

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe has said that the most significant pronouncement in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday was the procurement of energy by municipalities.

“The most important thing that we appreciated that came from the president’s speech tonight was for him to say municipalities that are doing well with their finances, will be allowed to procure power directly from independent power producers (IPPs).

“We know that IPPs have not been given the right to sell directly to municipalities, so we believe that is one of the best things he said tonight. There was an applause from both sides of the house, because we all welcomed that,” said Meshoe, in reference to the governing party’s MPs and opposition MPs.
He said that although Ramaphosa said “many things” on how he would improve the stagnant economy, “details were not given”.

However, given that the president was “so specific” on the procurement of power, Meshoe said, he hoped that it would become a reality within the next few months.

He said Ramaphosa should have mentioned more about the country’s crime problem, which inhibited investors. Violent service delivery protests were chasing away tourists and investors and had to be addressed, he added.

“This is a concern to the ACDP because we want stability in the country and policy certainty.”

“In general, [Ramaphosa] has done much better than we had expected tonight,” said Meshoe.

African News Agency/ANA

https://www.iol.co.za/…/procurement-of-power-by-municipalit…

We must make South Africa safe for women again!

We must make South Africa safe for women again!

Women played an iconic role in the history of our country. South African history is filled with real female heroes who have championed the cause for equality and the eradication of discriminatory laws during the difficult years of apartheid.

They left an indelible mark on the political struggle for a democratic South Africa. The women who lived through the social oppression of those days, did not back down to the status quo. They demanded their voices be heard and they addressed injustice in the most valiant ways possible.

When we say “she is a woman”, there is a recognition of the power of the female voice and unique role women play in shaping society.

It is important now more than ever, for the voice of women to be heard in our nation. The inequality and poverty the majority of our nation live in, affects women the most.

Economic disparity has severely limited the freedom of women in our democratic South Africa. The pandemic of disease and violence affects women disproportionately.

The issue of equality remains critical in a society where broken families are becoming the norm, and more than 38% of households are women led.

Women’s Month should be a time to reflect on how far we have came in the pursuance of equality and justice for all, but it also needs to be a time to refocus our attention and redefine the path to building strong, healthy communities.

The fight is at the most basic level of how women live and the opportunities that are available for them to pursue advancement in order to attain economic freedom.

It is in recognizing how systemic failures at all levels have given rise to the brutal reality of Gender Based Violence.

26 Years after the dawn of our democracy, this country is among the most dangerous for women to live in, and raise her children in.

The Constitution of South Africa states that “everyone has the right to life”. Every day in South Africa that right is being violated, and women are being killed in a manner that resembles a war zone.

The abnormal has become normal and the tide is rising. The most critical issue we face is the right to live in safety for there is no dead person who can enjoy the fruits of equality and freedom.

This Women’s Month we must again revisit that moment in 1956 when 20 000 women of all races and class marched on the Union Building to hand over a petition to the then Prime Minister.

How do we celebrate women when the names of the slain are growing daily, and still today the female body is being exploited?

How do we celebrate women when she is forced to live in a shack and raise her children in fear? When she must sell herself in shame to protect her children against hunger?

There is a new breed of women that should revisit that moment in 1956 to say – how many times will you strike this rock?

We should do so in the same unified voice of the women who came before us, a voice that history teaches us, shall not be denied.

The ACDP this Women’s Month, calls for unity across political and racial divides to tackle the giants we face: Gender based Violence, Unemployment and Inequality.

We must make South Africa safe for women again!

We support the Chief Justice.

We support the Chief Justice.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has expressed his deeply held personal beliefs and views on Israel based on his strong religious and spiritual connections with the Holy Land of Israel, but he now faces criticism, intimidation and reprisal from the ANC, BDS, the Judicial Services Commission and others.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has a proven track record of upholding the Constitution and human rights over the years.

In addition, the judiciary, under his leadership, has been fiercely independent, and was the strongest bulwark against the ANC’s complete capture of the state during the Zuma years.

  1. We reject criticism and intimidation of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng as baseless and an attack on his constitutional rights of freedom of belief and freedom of expression.
  2. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng must be allowed to exercise his constitutional right as a South African citizen to express his personal opinion and beliefs based on his deeply held views on Israel.
  3. All Christians must be able to express their beliefs without criticism, intimidation or fear of reprisal.
  4. We similarly reject the calls for Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to resign, as well as the ANC’s call on the Speaker of Parliament to have “high level talks” with the Chief Justice regarding his views.
  5. We see this as a very dangerous attempt at intimidating our Chief Justice from expressing his deeply held personal religious views, which can also be seen as an indirect threat to the independence of the judiciary.

Background:

In a recent wide-ranging interview with the Jerusalem Post (https://bit.ly/2VQ85eC), which included South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, discussion focussed on global racial tensions and the need for love, forgiveness and reconciliation.

During the interview, he made it very clear that he was not undermining the government’s policy on Israel but had the right to express himself as a citizen and as a Christian.

It is also undeniable that South Africa, with its unique history and experience in negotiating a peaceful solution, could play an important role in facilitating the peace process in the Middle East.

We thus fully agree with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s sentiment that “the people of South Africa are an asset we must use around the world to bring peace when there is no peace, and to mediate effectively based on rich our experience.

The ANC has chosen to ignore these important parts of the interview, but has only focussed on Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s personal comments on Israel.

Sadly, the unbalanced approach of the ANC in condemning Israel whenever possible, along with its resolution to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel, while turning a blind eye to far more serious human rights violations in many other countries including China, Iraq, Syria, Iran, North Korea and Myanmar, has resulted in it losing any credibility as an honest mediator in international affairs.

This resolution to downgrade the SA Embassy in Israel flies in the face of growing diplomatic ties between Israel and many African countries who see the benefits of such relationships when it comes to Israel’s technology such as in the medical, water and agricultural spheres.

These growing diplomatic ties are ironically being mediated by Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates who mediated a meeting between Prime minister Netanyahu and Sudanese President Burhan, and clearly illustrates how short-sighted the ANC’s foreign policy towards Israel is.

The ANC asserts that South Africa “is a secular state and officials of the state, which include our esteemed judiciary are bound by the constitution to respect this.” This view shows that the ANC has no understanding of the relationship between the state and religion as clearly articulated by the Constitution and the courts.

South Africa is not a secular state. This was confirmed by a full bench of three Gauteng High Court judges in the 2017 OGOD judgement which stated that, “this fits a twin theme often raised during argument, and accepted by all, namely first, that we are not a secular State and, second, that in this country our diversity is celebrated, not tolerated.”

ACDP proposes hybrid system as more children return to school

ACDP proposes hybrid system as more children return to school

The ACDP notes the announcement by the Minister of Basic Education Minister, Ms Angie Motshekga, in which she has said that more learners would be returning to school in the months of July and August.

**On July 6, 2020, Grades R, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10 and 11 will return.*

**On August 3, 2020, Grades 4, 5, 8 and 9 will return.*

The ACDP encourages the Department to recognise the rights of parents, as we believe that no parent should be forced by the Department to send their child/children to school if they deem it unsafe, or should they be able to home-school.

We are of the opinion that the Department should introduce a hybrid system in order to facilitate the successful completion of the academic school year for ALL children.

The cold fact is that our schools are overcrowded, and that the next intake of learners on the 6th of July, and the 3rd of August, respectively, will most definitely impact compliance to health and safety standards negatively. The ACDP proposes that the DBE enable those parents who can home-school their children, to do so without having to de-register their children from school. In light of the impact of Covid-19 on our schooling system, the Department has to adapt and adopt a more flexible mind-set to schooling.

The ACDP is also concerned that the psycho-socio support that was set out by the minister is not easily accessible for both learners and teachers who seek the psychological support during this difficult time.

*In a hybrid system:*

**Three groups of children would be accommodated at a time.*

**Children whose parents can afford to home-school would be allowed to do so and receive the necessary support from the department.*

**Children in disadvantaged communities would collect work from school to practice, study, and work from home.*

**Children at risk in poorer communities who need supervision, and those who depend on the school nutrition programme, would attend school.*

This system is an alternative that is completely possible. Some schools have already adopted this method, particularly in the Western Cape.

The ACDP has full confidence that the hybrid system will address overcrowding in our schools, and that it would make life for parents, teachers, and children much easier and safer.

All is not equal in our society, and the loss of the academic year would further disadvantage children who live, and attend schools, in our poorer communities – the cost of which would negatively impact the next string of students going onto the next level.

The ACDP proposes the hybrid system because we cannot afford to have any of our children left behind.

ACDP concerned about spiralling public debt levels

ACDP concerned about spiralling public debt levels

In response to Finance Minister Mboweni’s Special Adjustment Budget to revise state spending in response to the ongoing health crisis, ACDP MP and Whip Steve Swart, this evening said,

“The minister had no fiscal space to move given that the economy is set contract by 7.5 % of GDP as a result of the hard lockdown, resulting in R300bn less than projected tax revenue.

This results in the budget deficit growing from an already high 6.8% of GDP (R370 5bn) to an enormous R761bn. Debt service costs, which were already crowding out expenditure on other budgetary items, are set to escalate to a staggering R4 trillion or 81.8 % of GDP.

While the ACDP supports additional funding to combat the virus pandemic, it is also necessary to assist struggling businesses and individuals. We welcome the financial assistance in this regard – believing we need to protect lives and livelihoods.

While much of the R500bn relief package will need to come from reprioritised funds and borrowing, the funds must be carefully spent and fully accounted for.

The ACDP supports real time auditing of such expenditure and swift action by the Hawks, NPA and SIU where any irregularities are uncovered.

This particularly given that municipalities, where rampant corruption occurs, are to be given substantial additional funds.

We also support moving to zero-based auditing by the state.

It is also crucial that the spiralling public sector wage bill is addressed. This, together with unacceptable bailouts to SOEs (such as the R3bn to the Landbank and talks of a new airline at substantial cost) are totally unaffordable during this crisis.

The ACDP welcomes the implementation of the Treasury’s Economic Growth strategy. The question is whether Mboweni has the political support to implement the very tough decisions which are necessary to implement this strategy to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and stave off a sovereign debt crisis in the medium term.

Mboweni today repeated his warning that unless public expenditure is cut, the country will face a sovereign debt crisis by 2024, forcing it to seek help from the IMF.

We share these concerns, and trust that his colleagues in government are heeding his warning.

In order to qualify for the release of the Covid-19 relief funds, Treasury will need to present the IMF with a credible fiscal consolidation framework which must show that the country has a plan to stabilise debt over the longer term. The country has entered this crisis on our back-foot, largely as a result of years of looting and plundering of state resources and ill-guided government policies. We look forward to the presentation of such plans.

Lastly, we will be closely studying the financial details contained in the various Bill’s tables today, and as far as possible, exercise due parliamentary oversight over the allocation and expenditure of these additional funds. We require good stewardship and accountability of these funds, much of which must be repaid with interest.”

Statement on the ACDP’s support for the phased reopening of schools

The ACDP has welcomed the fact that the Department of Basic Education (DBE), together with the Minister, Ms Angie Motshekga, have taken a phased approach (meaning that it will be incremental) to implement plans to reopen schools.

The reopening of schools will be done based on assessment, school by school, on their individual readiness. This will also be done in consultation with stakeholders – of which parents, teachers, and SGB’s, are the most important.

The ACDP further notes Minister Motshekga’s commitment that a school will only be opened if it meets all the individual readiness requirements. The ACDP will continue to perform in its role as public representatives to hold the DBE to account in that regard. We will be monitoring and reporting on the readiness of schools or the lack thereof. We will also engage with the DBE and bring to their attention where there are not satisfactory health and safety measures in place at schools (those which are opened from June).

The ACDP’S support for the phased reopening of schools is realistically based on the following facts:
· Schools provide protection and food security to children in our most vulnerable communities.

· More parents, who do not have the support available to them to have their children cared for, will be returning to work from June (considering that the easing of the lockdown to alert-level 3 will presumably take effect on 1 June 2020).

We wish to highlight that Minister Motshekga yesterday recognised the right of parents to home-school their children should they not deem it safe for them to return to school at this time. The ACDP encourages parents to utilise this right in choosing what is best for their children. We have consistently – over the years – called for the rights of parents to be recognised by the DBE when deciding how to best educate our children.

We, however, must note that not all South Africans have the option to home-school their children. The safety and wellbeing of our children is paramount in everything that we do. It is in this regard that we welcome the phased reopening of schools.

Covid-19 requires our faith and courage in the uncertain, unchartered territory. The landscape will be changing and challenging – our resolve will be tested. We ask for your prayer for the nation, and we also ask that you continue to engage with us.

We are aware that the systems globally are being shaken, and that from it will emerge a new way of doing things. We also firmly believe that the new will emerge through creative and active engagement.

#ACDPCovid19ReliefFund
#Covid_19SA
#LockdownSA

ACDP CALLS ON GOVT TO RETAIN NURSES BY PROVIDING THEM WITH OPPORTUNITIES

ACDP CALLS ON GOVT TO RETAIN NURSES BY PROVIDING THEM WITH OPPORTUNITIES

Today, 12 May 2020, the world celebrates International Day of Nurses.

The purpose of this day is to celebrate the achievements and continued sacrifice and contributions of great men and women – the unsung heroes in our medical fraternity.

The appreciation for the role that nurse’s play is not always as forthcoming as it is in the case with medical doctors. However, our nurses are central to the wellbeing of our people, and contribute immensely in building strong and healthy communities in all of South Africa.

A prosperous nation puts the advancement of core medical staff, such as nurses, at the forefront of its development programmes. This pandemic has shown that it is imperative that we make strides to retain our nurses. We can do so if we pay them properly, and also afford them access to free education opportunities that would allow them to advance their skills and careers.

The ACDP is disappointed that many capable and hardworking nurses that work in our government healthcare facilities, who are employed by agencies, have had their contracts suspended, and are sitting at home as a result of the lockdown. This, while government has forked out some R400 million to import Cuban doctors. Where government can, it must seek to permanently employ these nurses. R400m would have gone a long way in permanently employing South African nurses and doctors who have the necessary qualifications and experience but are unemployed.

Even with the arrival of the Cuban health workers, nurses who are permanently employed by government are not coping with the added pressure this health pandemic has brought to our shores. This is a gap that could have been filled by permanently employing nurses, who are in the employ of agencies, who work in government healthcare facilities on a contractual basis.

The ACDP salutes our unsung heroes: the men and women who keep things going under the most difficult circumstances. We also extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of those courageous health workers who have battled on the frontlines throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and who sadly contracted the virus and have fallen while saving lives.

Here’s to the front-liners who keep marching forward!

#ACDPCovid19ReliefFund
#Covid_19SA
#LockdownSA

ACDP calls for immediate lifting of lockdown restrictions*

ACDP calls for immediate lifting of lockdown restrictions*

The African Christian Democratic Party calls for the immediate lifting of the lockdown restrictions on all sectors of our economy, while ensuring that strict hygiene conditions are in place.

We are of the view that the South African economy is facing one of its worst storms ever. Prior to taking the reins from his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, it was President Cyril Ramaphosa himself, who lamented over the nine wasted years under the presidency of Zuma. The estimates are that those wasted years have cost the South African economy in excess of R1 trillion. Put into perspective, that is some 20% of our GDP and about 70% of our National Budget.

Many dreamed of a New Dawn, which until now has failed to materialize. Our unemployment rate is among the highest in the world, and we have the unenviable title of being the most unequal nation in the world, with a Gini coefficient in excess of 0.6, and rating agencies having downgraded our economy to junk status. It must be said that under the ruling party, poverty, inequality and unemployment have continued to grow.

The wounds inflicted on our economy up until this stage was self-inflicted, where megalomaniacs plundered, raped and pillaged our fiscus with impunity. Now, to add insult to injury we have been inflicted with a Covid-19 pandemic that has brought the global economy to a virtual standstill.

Economists predict that our economy could shrink by between 5-10%, our debt to GDP could grow from 60% to 80% in 2020, and the 6% deficit on our National Budget is set to increase to 12% of GDP. Additionally, a further 1 million workers could be added to the ranks of the unemployed, taking our unemployment rate of 38%, on the expanded definition, to beyond 50% after lockdown. Furthermore, the South African Employers Association indicated that of the businesses surveyed in South Africa, 68% said they would survive a 3 week lockdown but only 28% said they would survive beyond one month.

The ACDP believes that it is time to unlock our economy and remove the onerous restrictions imposed on it. According to South African actuaries, if the lockdown is not removed soon, the mortality rate as a consequence of unemployment, malnutrition and hunger, will be 29 times worse than Covid-19 itself.

The ACDP is on record for saying, as early as 13 April 2020, that if due attention is not given to our economy the consequences will make the Covid-19 pandemic look like a Sunday picnic. Hence, we now call for the immediate lifting of restrictions on all sectors of the economy, while simultaneously calling for these sectors to adhere to strict health protocols, to limit the spread of Covid-19.

The ACDP believes that our focus should be to protect those that are most vulnerable to Covid-19 such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, while applying a zonal or area-specific approach to restrictions, rather than mutilating our entire economy.

#ACDPCovid19ReliefFund
#Covid_19SA
#LockdownSA

ACDP Condemns Gross Abuse Meted Out To Africans In China – urges govt summon Chinese Ambassador

ACDP Condemns Gross Abuse Meted Out To Africans In China – urges govt summon Chinese Ambassador

ATTENTION NEWS EDITOR

PRESS RELEASE
African Christian Democratic Party,
Parliament.
16th April 2020

ACDP CONDEMNS GROSS ABUSE METED OUT
TO AFRICANS IN CHINA

* URGES GOVT TO SUMMON CHINESE AMBASSADOR
TO ACCOUNT FOR VIOLATIONS.

Statement by Bongani Luthuli, ACDP NEC member.

“The ACDP expresses is utmost condemnation and regret at the reported discrimination and gross violations of human rights of Africans in the Chinese Province of Guangzhou.

It is now accepted that the reports are true and have since been corroborated by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, who conceded that there was discrimination against Africans in the province due to the Coronavirus epidemic. Despite this confession, the spokesperson went on to blame the US on these reports being perpetuated.

The ACDP views this statement as problematic and concerning as it demonstrates how little China cares about the African continent. Instead of genuinely apologizing for the discrimination, it plays to the international gallery by attributing the spread of the reports to its opposite number in the global stage.

McDonalds China has also confirmed that its stores have refused to serve African black customers.

We do not know what informs the discrimination of black people given that the Coronavirus broke out in China and not in Africa.

The ACDP calls on the South African government to join other African countries by summoning the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa to account to us about these violations. Although some South Africans were repatriated from China, we still have a large number of our nationals in that country.

We understand that the ANC led government has strong ties with China, which played a significant part in the addition of South Africa to BRICS, we however implore our government to put aside its narrow interests and put South Africa and its people first.

Since South Africa also holds the African Union chairmanship, we implore that our government takes strong measures and a stance that will serve as a lodestar to the continent in the fight against discrimination and violations of the rights of our people.”

Bongani Luthuli
ACDP NEC

ACDP statement on COVID 19 test results of Rev Kenneth Meshoe and Steve Swart MP

African Christian Democratic Party

27 March 2020

ACDP Parliament

Media Statement

Wayne Thring MP, ACDP Deputy President

ACDP statement on COVID 19 test results of party leader, Rev Kenneth Meshoe and Steve Swart MP

It is now common knowledge that the President of the African Christian Democratic Party, Rev Kenneth Meshoe MP and Mr Steve Swart MP, were present at the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast held on 10 and 11 March 2020 at the Divine Restoration Ministries in Ribblesdale, Bloemfontein. This prayer breakfast took place before the “100 people gathering limit” pronounced on 16 March 2020.

Five visitors at the breakfast, two from the USA, two from Israel and one from France, started to feel unwell over the weekend of 14-15 March and had Coronavirus tests done around 16-17 March. The results of these tests were made known on 19-20 March, with the five visitors testing positive for COVID-19.

It must be mentioned that during this period, Rev Meshoe, who displayed no symptoms of the virus, was not aware of the health status of the visitors at the Prayer Breakfast (who had also passed through airport screenings), and hence attended the briefing of political party leaders, on 18 March, hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa at Parliament.

The ACDP President was only subsequently informed about the results of the visitors’ tests on 20 March.

He immediately went into self containment and made himself available for testing, where he was tested by the Health Department on Sunday, 22 March. Mr Steve Swart, who had experienced mild flu-like symptoms had also self-isolated and had his test done on Monday 23 March.

Regrettably, many media houses reported that both Rev Meshoe and Mr Swart had tested positive – before they had even both been tested. This contradicts the media ethics code and caused much trauma to their families and colleagues. The press has the responsibility to disseminate information that is true, factual and accurate.

The ACDP can, however, now confirm that both Rev Kenneth Meshoe and Mr Steve Swart have tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Rev Meshoe displays no symptoms and remains in good health. Mr Swart, who has experienced mild flu-like symptoms, is recovering well. Both have been self-isolating, together with their close families.

It is unfortunate that Rev Meshoe had to wait five days for the outcome of his test, and had to call the Health Department numerous times for the outcome. This has placed unnecessary stress on him, and his family, and has also resulted in unwarranted speculation in the media. Nonetheless, the ACDP wishes to thank the medical staff in both the public and private spheres who attended to Rev Meshoe and Mr Swart, and indeed all other medical staff who are on the frontline of the battle against this pandemic. We are deeply grateful to them and pray for their protection.

In addition, Rev Meshoe is also grateful to President Ramaphosa for the gracious manner in dealing with his meeting with Rev Meshoe. The ACDP can confirm that the President of South Africa has spoken to Rev Meshoe and has given his support to the Meshoe family. We are pleased that President Ramaphosa has tested negative.

Lastly, the ACDP wishes to convey its condolences and prayers to the two families who have recently lost loved ones after becoming infected with the virus. Our hope and trust is in our God and with Him, we are able to overcome all things, including this COVID-19 pandemic.