De Lille slams anti-gay slur by ANC councillor in Cape Town

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Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille at the opening of Parliament.

Cape Town – An ANC city councillor has been taken to task for describing Cape Town as a “moffie city”.

The remarks were reportedly made by Abdulhamied Gabier in Wedmesday’s sitting at the council chambers.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said the councillor had laid into Cape Town with a string of insults, among them the anti-gay slur.

“He was so homophobic and so insulting. I stood up and told the Speaker we cannot allow that language in the house, it’s unconstitutional.”

De Lille said she did not know what had prompted the outburst, as it “was not even relevant to the debate”.

On Twitter, DA councillor Dave Bryant reported: “(The) mayor spoke up and took him (Gabier) to task for homophobic statements and (the) ANC caucus just laughed. What a classy bunch.”

 

ANC caucus leader Tony Ehrenreich said: “Obviously the ANC does not endorse statements like that, and are completely opposed to such terms.”

Contacted today, Gabier said, somewhat confusingly: “You must ask the mayor why she is angry.” He then hung up.

Cape Argus

 

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ANC in Cape Town fails to support R472m tax-break for City’s poor – Ivan Meyer -DA WCape leader says Marius Fransman should apologise for his party’s shameful politicking.

DA WCape leader says Marius Fransman should apologise for his party’s shameful politicking

 

Fransman must apologize for rejection of R472m tax-break for City’s poor

Marius Fransman, ANC Western Cape Chair, needs to explain to his supporters why the ANC abstained from voting in the City of Cape Town‘s council on a decision to give poor residents a R472 million tax break.

The DA-led council adopted a majority recommendation to write off the interest on the arrears for properties with a municipal valuation of R300 000 or less.

Despite the ANC’s unwillingness to vote on the recommendation, council adopted it and the total amount of charges to be written off for qualifying poor residents amounts to R472 million.

In her State of the Province Address last week, the Premier, Helen Zille, stated that 76% of the annual budget of the DA led Western Cape government is directed towards opening opportunities for people in poor communities.

Clearly the DA puts its money where its mouth is. Unlike the ANC in this province that constantly claims to have the best interest of the poor at heart but then refuses to support a recommendation that does just that!

Mr Fransman must publically apologize to poor residents of Cape Town for this shameful politicking by the ANC.

One of the greatest challenges in the Western Cape is the alleviation of poverty.

The DA believes that every citizen of the Western Cape should have the freedom to improve their lives and break the cycle of poverty.

This can only be achieved through real and tangible initiatives like the one before council yesterday and not through political grandstanding and empty promises.

Statement issued by Ivan Meyer, Leader of the DA in the Western Cape, February 28 2013

 

TNA questions Zille’s analysis

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Helen Zille announced that she has pulled out of a New Age business breakfast after weekend reports said the breakfasts were sponsored by cash-strapped state-owned enterprises.

Johannesburg – The New Age (TNA) has questioned DA leader Helen Zille’s criticism of a series of their business breakfasts that reportedly cost millions of rands in public funds.

“Her attempt to analyse the business model… is flawed and far-fetched. Her comments are more in line with that of (a) politician wishing to score cheap political points,” the newspaper’s chief executive Nazeem Howa said in a statement on Wednesday.

Zille pulled out of a TNA business breakfast on Monday following reports that the event was funded with public money.

City Press reported that some of the biggest state-owned companies were paying millions to bankroll the breakfasts, hosted by the Gupta family.

According to the report, Transnet paid R17.5 million for 18 breakfast sessions and Eskom R7.2 million to sponsor six sessions between November 2011 and last year.

It was previously reported that Telkom sponsored 12 business breakfasts to the tune of R12 million in the 2012/13 financial year.

The SABC reportedly did not charge TNA a cent to broadcast the event live on SABC2.

Previously, Zille said, she was under the assumption that the events were funded by the newspaper and by members of the public who purchased tickets to attend.

“Now that it has come to light that the breakfasts are funded by public money… the DA cannot continue to participate,” she said.

“These breakfasts must be very profitable for the New Age, which is owned by the Gupta family, who are in turn vocal supporters and funders of the ANC and President Jacob Zuma.”

The opposition leader said it was unacceptable that public money be used to bankroll a privately owned newspaper, and indirectly fund the African National Congress.

Howa said Zille had ignored the fact that costs were attached to organising an “event of this nature”.

“She should be assured that the sponsors of our business briefing do indeed pay for the marketing of the event, the cost of venue hire, catering and event management… Without sponsors such events will never take place and it is commonly agreed that the business briefings have transformed public discourse in this country.”

Howa said the event allowed people to directly pose questions to President Jacob Zuma, Cabinet ministers, premiers, economic analysts, and sport celebrities.

He said it was interesting to see the amount of time Zille and competitor newspapers were spending on analysing the newspaper’s business strategy and sustainability.

“The New Age’s entry into a fairly set newspaper industry and its innovative approach to newspapering were bound to ruffle some feathers. Zille has identified with those who want to ensure the demise of a newspaper intent on projecting a positive image of South Africa and provide a forum for balanced news coverage and debate.”

Earlier, the ANC and its Women’s League demanded an apology from Zille, accusing her of lying about not knowing that Telkom sponsored a TNA breakfast briefing she attended last year.

On Tuesday, the newspaper released a video clip on its website of Zille thanking Telkom for sponsoring a TNA business breakfast in Cape Town in February last year.

Asked during an interview with Eyewitness News whether she had thanked Telkom at the breakfast, Zille said she could not recall doing so.

Zille said the ruling party was trying to deflect attention away from the fact that millions of rands had been siphoned out of state-owned enterprises for the events.

“This (Telkom’s involvement) was not a sponsorship. When someone sponsors an event, they pay the cost of part or the entire event,” Zille said.

“It has now emerged that these costs were more than covered by the ticket sales. So what was Telkom doing giving R1 million to a private company owned by a major benefactor of President (Jacob) Zuma and the ANC?”

Zille asked if the sponsorship was merely a convenient cover-up for this. – Sapa

 

Zuma will answer to MPs: Parliament

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma will be called to answer questions in the National Assembly (NA), Parliament said in a statement on Tuesday.

It criticised the Democratic Alliance for making public the NA’s provisional programme and for claiming President Jacob Zuma would escape scrutiny by not appearing before MPs to answer questions.

“It is regrettable that a draft programme, an internal working document of the National Assembly (NA), issued for consideration by the NA Programme Committee, was misconstrued as the final programme,” it said.

Parliament said the programme was subject to changes and would be finalised only following a meeting of the multi-party programming committee.

“There is no reason to assume that the draft programme is the final programme for the first quarter of 2013,” it said.

“Nor is there any reason to presume that because dates have not yet been fixed for when the president and deputy president will answer questions in the NA and NCOP (National Council of Provinces), that these occasions for oversight will not be available.”

Parliament said the questioning of the president, his deputy, and the executive was a critical responsibility of Parliament and had been “scheduled without fail” since 1994.

ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga took aim at DA Chief Whip Watty Watson for his “legendary ignorance of parliamentary processes and procedures”.

Motshekga’s spokesman Moloto Mothapo said the draft parliamentary programme would become official only once adopted by the programming committee, following its first meeting of the year.

“Until such time, Mr Watson will do well to desist from making a spectacle of himself by publicly fretting over things without first establishing facts,” said Mothapo.

In his statement on Sunday, Watson claimed parliamentary rules were being abused to protect the president from being held accountable. – Sapa

 

Treasury ultimatum may ‘close’ old town

Cape Town – Political infighting between the ANC and the DA in Swellendam may lead to the municipality effectively closing its doors – if the national Treasury stops funding it.

The country’s second-oldest town stands to lose 15 percent or R22 million of its current R146-million budget if the national government calls a halt to all transfers.

On Monday, the mayor warned that the municipality would not be able to deliver water, electricity, maintain its sewers and build houses for the poor if its funding were to dry up.

The municipality was reduced to chaos last year when angry residents blocked the N2 and looted shops over political infighting at the council and poor service delivery.

The DA controls the municipality in a coalition with the ACDP, which has the deciding vote.

Both the ANC and the DA have four seats. Last year the coalition almost fell apart when ACDP councillor Julian Matthysen, who had been fired from his party, tried to help the ANC unseat the DA. The DA went to court to reaffirm its control of the council.

Chaos in Swellendam led to Co-operative Governance Minister Richard Baloyi stepping in. He appointed officials from his Pretoria office, along with a provincial government administrator, Graham Paulse, to help with the running of the town.

The national Treasury dealt a blow to Swellendam in the past week when it said it would stop all transfers if the municipality did not get its books in order.

“If the Treasury continues to takes this approach with Swellendam, we will have to close our doors pretty soon,” said Swellendam mayor Nicholas Myburgh.

 

He admitted that the municipality could not get its finances in order because it did not have enough people in the finance department.

“We couldn’t appoint the correct people because of the situation in the council. We just couldn’t agree,” he said.

ANC councillor John Nortje said the responsibility lay at the feet of the DA and Myburgh. “It’s all their mistake. Myburgh didn’t attend to his responsibilities and the municipality has too many consultants,” said Nortje.

The municipality has appointed one consultant to help with its finances.

Swellendam still has not submitted its annual financial statements for the past year to the auditor-general.

Myburgh said the municipality would have to halt its R30m upgrade of its sewer works if funding dried up.

“This will also affect the building of 600 houses for the poor. If we can’t expand our sewer network to these areas, we can’t build these houses,” he said.

Myburgh said the municipality could still pay its creditors but it did have cash flow problems.

“We have approached private banks to help fund our capital projects, but they, too, are unwilling to help until our financial statements are up to date,” said Myburgh.

Western Cape Local Government MEC Anton Bredell said yesterday his officials went to Swellendam last week to look at the town’s financial statements.

“We will meet on Wednesday (tomorrow) to see how we can implement a turnaround strategy and convince the national Treasury not to withhold its funds. Our provincial treasury is already talking to national government about this and setting up meetings,” said Bredell.

“Kannaland had similar problems and we were able to find a solution. We are working to solve the problems before the next transfer.”

The national Treasury is scheduled to make the next transfer to Swellendam in March. Myburgh said the municipality would be able to turn its finances around in the next seven months if it had the qualified staff and support.

 

DA ‘will fight transfer of hospitals’

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Groote Schuur Hospital.

Cape Town – The DA provincial government will not relinquish control of Groote Schuur and Tygerberg hospitals to the national Health Department without a fight, Health MEC Theuns Botha says.

“It will be unconstitutional to nationalise it and we will resist it,” he said on Monday.

Botha was approached for comment after Western Cape Health Department head Professor Craig Househam had told Business Day the national department had neither the capacity nor the skills to run the two hospitals from Pretoria.

Househam was interviewed on Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s plan to place 10 academic hospitals under national control.

“I firmly believe this decision, in the current context is a mistake. Groote Schuur and Tygerberg are not perfect, but in the South African context they are well managed. Their CEOs are competent and well qualified and they play a very important part in a health system focused at local level,” Business Day quoted Househam as saying.

Botha said he was in full support of Househam who spoke on behalf of the Western Cape Health Department.

“These two hospitals are provincial assets, are run provincially and they render a quality service. There is no reason to put them in a basket with other hospitals that are poorly run,” he said.

The problem of poorly managed hospitals would remain unsolved as long as proper control was missing and health MECs and provincial governments lacked political responsibility, Botha said.

“We take responsibility and that is why we make a difference. It is not a magic formula. The national department could not muster a clean audit, but now wants to take control of hospitals in a province where we received a clean audit,” said Botha.

In the Business Day article on Monday Motsoaledi said he knew the Western Cape resented national control of Tygerberg and Groote Schuur.

“The problem with the Western Cape is they regard themselves as a different country because they are under the DA,” the paper quoted him as saying.

The province had also been opposed to the National Health Insurance, but later agreed to it being piloted, Motsoaledi added.

“It’s opposed to training doctors in Cuba, which is an indictment. There are poor kids in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain who would benefit from the programme,” Motsoaledi told Business Day.

Said Botha: “He talks about the DA. I can say some things about ANC-controlled health departments, but I’m disappointed he makes such political remarks.

“What we do has got to do with good governance. The health minister decided to appoint chief executive officers at central hospitals everywhere in the country except in the Western Cape and this proves the Western Cape hospitals are well managed.”

Cape Times