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Archive 1

Archive 1

Formerly Current  Affairs

HISTORICAL ROOTS OF THE ELECTRICITY CRISIS

 posted 31 January 2015

Besides her penchant for political invective, deputy mayor Nomvuso Shabalala’s historical understanding of the electricity crisis is deeply flawed (Mercury, January 30).  

In 1994, three out of five households had electricity  (Pottinger, The Mbeki Legacy, p. 235). That achievement was way in excess of any independent black African state. But what needs to be appreciated is that the extent of electrification was dependent on economic factors which, as in the USA, were determined by population density, affordability and technical maintenance capacity. Race and ideology played no part.  

In the USA, rural electrification received a jumpstart in 1935 as part of president Roosevelt’s New Deal programme. But it made very slow progress because of the tremendous costs involved. As a result, the pace of rural electrification came to depend on GDP growth, as Lorenzo Pellegrini and Luca Tasciotti show in a 2012 Forum for Development Studies paper.  It was thanks to the  surge in the US economy from  World War 2 that enabled rural electrification  to increase from 50% in 1942 to 95% complete by 1960. 

Matters were different in South Africa. Thanks to ANC-inspired international sanctions, disinvestment and strikes, by 1991 our economy had contracted by 25%. Thus, the ANC inherited an economy in a troubled state. Despite that, it indulged in a great leap forward in electrification. It prioritised a socialist, populist vision ahead of economic and technical realities. Within eight years, three million new customers  were added without considering the ability of poor rural recipients to pay or the capacity of Eskom to deliver. The result was that by 2007 bad debts were costing Eskom R1,5 billion a year while illegal connections into the grid had become rampant. Yet the ANC government insisted that the energy regulator, Nersa, kept power pricing at unrealistically low levels. 

ANC cadre deployment to key Eskom positions  accelerated the  degradation of the utility in terms of capacity to supply and maintenance. As far back as 2007 only two of  power stations were reaching optimum output levels. Then came the Koeberg shut-down in 2008, which was entirely related to poor maintenance, and the fiasco of so-called load shedding. Despite having increased energy requirements by more than 50% since taking office and despite the deterioration in Eskom’s capacity to meet power demands, in 2008 the ANC government continued to equivocate about  the funding of Eskom’s long overdue expansion programme.  

Today South Africa’s economy and its ability to attract foreign investment has been hobbled by the ANC’s abuse of Eskom as a vote-catching tool . The irony, however is that the very people the ANC sought to impress through electrification are suffering as the economy stagnates.Deputy mayor Shabalala needs to recognise that history is life’s teacher.

Since writing the above, it has come to light that R4 billion is owed to Eskom by Soweto residents and that 80% of the electricity supplied to Soweto is stolen or not paid for. {Sunday Times – 1/2/2015

 

 

NOTES ON LIFE DOWN UNDER AND IN NEW ZEALAND - 24 October 2014

 

Having just spent five weeks in Australia – and eight days of that time in New Zealand – it is a worthwhile exercise to

place on record observations about life in those parts of the world.

 

Obviously, the most noticeable characteristic is not only  the complete absence of litter but also how few  litter bins there are.

Walking along the beachfront of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast of Queensland, the only litter bins one sees are

in the vicinity to the gas-fired or electricity powered barbeque sites. Littering is outlawed and everyone complies. The only dogs

on the streets are leashed. And, of course, there are no beggars at traffic lights and jay-walking is rare. Pedestrians are disciplined

in waiting for traffic lights and crossing streets only at designated places.

 

Law and order is strictly maintained by an efficient and respected police force. As a result, the ubiquitous security company signs

we see in our suburbs, are nowhere to be seen Down Under or in New Zealand. Brisbane, with a population nearly as large as that of eThekwini,

is served by a council comprising  just 27 councillors. eThekwini has 205.

 

But despite its smart, sophisticated character, Brisbane lacks the ring-road network which Durban has. As a result, commuting by car

from one side of the city to the other requires a tortuous, time-consuming passage through suburban streets. But the upside is a speedy and

punctual train network which operates on the Go-card electronic system minimising the need for staff.

 

While the cost of a fair-sized new car at around $20,000 AUD (R200,000) is cheaper than what one would pay in South Africa, housing is very expensive.

The median house price in Brisbane is $440,000 (about R4,4 million) which means buying a house is 20 times more expensive than buying a new car.

In South Africa, a reasonable  house (depending on location) costs about R1,2 million – roughly only five times the cost of a new car. Car licences in

Australia are also way higher than in South Africa - $720, about R7,200 as opposed to around R500 here.

 

Petrol is more expensive ranging from R15.39 to R15.59 per litre. Most of the fuel used in Queensland and New Zealand is brought from refineries in Singapore.

The fuel price in New Zealand is even higher – about R19.50 per litre.  There all motor vehicles are required to have an annual road worthiness check at $25 NZD

per vehicle. Older cars are checked every six months. With the exception of parts of Auckland and Wellington, there are no multi-laned highways in New Zealand,

only single-lane roads.

 

The reason solar panels, often numbering up to ten on a roof, are so conspicuous in Australia is because the electricity they feed into the local power supply earns

the property owner a rebate on his electricity bill. The use of coal in the generation of power is a hot political issue with the National University of

Australia recently disinvesting from certain mining stocks in protest against the pollution caused by fossil fuels. (The University, however, declined to

disinvest in the global mining giant B H Billiton).

 

As far as local issues are concerned, it was amusing to note in the South West News, a community weekly serving southern Brisbane, that the major front page story

concerned the abuse of parking bays reserved for the disabled by ‘thoughtless motorists’ and that 39 fines had been served in the past year. It is unlikely that such a

story would be considered newsworthy here. However, the insulated, cotton-wool society which envelopes many communities Down Under is being punctured  by the

effects of multiculturalism and the assertions of minorities such as the  Islamics. No less a figure than former Prime Minister John Howard has stated in the 2013 update

of his autobiography (p. 791) that ‘multiculturalism is not our national cement.’

 

In New Zealand the official mindset is one of apology to the indigenous Maoris for their treatment during the colonial era. This is reflected in the Te Papa museum in

Wellington where white colonials are referred to in disparaging terms. Apparently forgotten is the fact that had the British not intervened, Maori tribes would have

fought each other to the point of extinction. Although Maoris comprise only 14% of New Zealand’s 4,4 million people, most signage is in Maori and English. The most obvious

indication of this is in the official reference to the country as Aotearoa New Zealand. The primary school syllabus requires the learning of Maori cultural practices, greetings

and blessings. Officially, too, New Zealand practices a form of BEE as regards the Maoris. Maori land claims  proliferate the North island of New Zealand; development is

subject to Maori approval if a site happens to be a Maori-proclaimed sanctuary.

 

So, would I immigrate to Australia or New Zealand?  Absolutely not. Where we have already navigated as a nation of different minorities, Australia and New Zealand are only

beginning to go down that road. In fact for all our woes and difficulties,  we are more mature as a society. Besides, roots of history and heritage can neither be ignored nor

exchanged. The emotional feeling I experienced when looking  at the national colours painted on the tail of the South African Airways Airbus that brought us safely across

9,000 kms of Indian ocean from Perth can only be explained as patriotism.

 

    PALLO JORDAN: DAMNING ACADEMIC SILENCEposted Aug 14, 2014

 

It is both sad and shocking that Pallo Jordan has  conceded

that he has no claim to the doctorate degree with which he has

been associated for decades.

 

Equally disturbing and damning, however, is the silence of

the tertiary institutions with which Mr Jordan was associated.

Why did they not come forward long ago and dispute his

academic claim? In an age when stringent measures are applied

in the exercise of intellectual property rights, the silence of

those institutions smacks of political toadyism.

AFRICAN BANK REAPED WHAT IT SOWED  - posted 9 August 2014

The most basic law of banking is to ensure that loans are backed by collateral. By attempting to defy that reality and pursuing a business model premised on unsecured loans, the meltdown of African Bank is not surprising.

 Apartheid had nothing to do with the fact that other banks “ignored” low income borrowers, as Business Report (8 August) claims. What other banks did was to adhere to the fundamentals of banking which is why they have survived and why their clients, unlike those of African Bank, are grateful.

 By exploiting low income borrowers with expensive credit, which is avarice of the worst kind, African Bank has reaped what it has sown. Good riddance!

 

 

DARK ISSUES IN AUDIT REPORT             posted 31 January 2014

 

Although Ethekwini Municipality has once again been given an unqualified audit report by the Auditor-General, the report cites several issues that  cast dark shadows on the state of the  Municipality’s governance and the material losses it is incurring.  

First on the list is what the A-G terms ‘significant uncertainties’ referring to objections lodged  in terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act amounting to R217 million. As regards material losses, the report notes that losses relating to water cost the Municipality R513 million and R386 million on electricity. 

The biggest fiscal drag is R1,98 billion owed in debts to the Municipality. These are consumer debtors whose recoverability is doubtful. 

As regards governance the Auditor-General singled out irregular expenditure amounting to R325,5 million as a result of contracts awarded to suppliers which were in contravention of the supply chain regulations. It was also noted that family members had been awarded contracts by persons in the service of the Municipality and that disclosure of those interests had not been made. 

In terms of the ideal of providing a better life for all, the Municipality was found to have underspent on its capital budget by R792 million. This is deplorable state of affairs as it means that projects that were in budget did not happen. In effect it means that the money was lost because it cannot be rolled over into the new financial year. The A-G calculated that 32% of planned targets were not achieved.  

Overall, whilst the fundamentals of the Municipality are sound, what is of real concern is the ability of ratepayers to continue footing the bill for debts and material losses  which never diminish and currently amount to over R3 billion. If even half that debt was pruned or recovered, it would allow for a rates reduction and bring relief to ratepayers whilst simultaneously serving to incentivise  investment in Ethekwini.

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LESS IS MORE            POSTED January 16, 2014

The millstone that is killing productivity and enterprise is excessive taxation and over-regulation, not only in South Africa but particularly in the developed world.

Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott’s recent decision to scrap 8,000 redundant Federal regulations and to save $1 billion as a result shows the way forward  in incentivising productivity. 

As President of the US, Ronald Reagan demonstrated that by reducing the top tax from 70% to 28%  and by reforming the tax bracket from fourteen to three brackets, America’s GNP increased by 27%. American workers became more productive and made their employers more competitive in world markets.  

As governor of California, on four occasions when the state’s budget realised a surplus, Reagan returned that money to taxpayers by way of reducing their tax obligations. He incentivised productivity by getting government off the backs of workers and out of their pockets and helped California become the seventh largest economy in the world. 

The only way to generate real growth in our economy is to reduce taxes and to prune the size of government. The bloated size of the Cabinet would be the place to start. Tony Blair governed Britain with 18 ministers. Why do we have a Cabinet of 64 (including all the deputies)? Less taxation and regulation, as Reagan proved, increases productivity which, in turn, actually increases revenue collection. We need to embrace the philosophy that less is more.

 

LILIESLEAF COMMEMORATION [JULY 11, 2013]: A FLAWED HISTORY  -    posted July 19, 2013

 

Objectivity should be the aim of the historian. In pursuit of that goal, it is critical

to reconstruct the context of the period under review in order to provide perspective.

To neglect or to misrepresent historical context results in a lopsided and subjective

account of an event.

 

By neglecting a key aspect of historical context, the Liliesleaf Commemoration published

on 11 July with the headline ‘Telling it like it was,’ is lacking in objectivity and is, therefore,

a flawed history.

 

With the exception of a single reference on the first page, the eight page Commemoration

is devoid of any reference to communism. Yet 50 years ago the Cold War was at its height.

In 1962 the the Kennedy Administration had grappled with the communism’s attempt to

plant nuclear missiles in Cuba; in 1964 the US Government became involved in attempting

to halt communism’s incursion into South Vietnam. In Africa, newly independent states such

as Tanzania, Ghana and the Congo were openly aligned with communist Russia and China.

 

By neglecting to emphasise the ideological and strategic links those arrested at Liliesleaf had

with communism and instead focusing only on apartheid, the Commemoration publication

provides an imbalanced account of those times. Communism, which not only denied freedom to

over one billion people in China, Asia and Eastern Europe but was responsible for the deaths of

over 90 million, was a very real threat which no proper history can ignore. Moreover, it was

the reason that the communist party was banned in South Africa.

 

What also needs to be pointed out is that the coverage accorded to the so-called Freedom

Charter is misplaced. Compiled in 1955 during the Cold War, it is an outright socialist document

because it deprecates individual initiative and enterprise and promotes state control of all aspects

of life. That is the very essence of marxism which, as history shows, is a thoroughly discredited and

failed ideology.

 

KHANGELA BRIDGE     Sent to Road Traffic Management, Carlos Esteves, May 17

 

Prior to the construction of the Khangela bridge it was said that container truck congestion

in the South Coast Rd area would be alleviated by the bridge.

This has not happened. In fact the bridge is a white elephant.

 

The suggestion that has been made to me is that container trucks coming down the M7

[Edwin Swales VC Dve] should be compelled to take the left glide-off beyond Southway Mall

and head along Umbilo to use the Khangela bridge to reach Bayhead.

 

If that could be done it would relieve congestion on South Coast Rd enormously.

 

Also: trucks leaving Bayhead to go northwards, should be compelled to cross over Khangela

and into Sydney which becomes Umbilo and then glides them onto the M7 near Southway.

 

ECONOMICS UNDERPINS VIABILITY OF PROVINCIALISM -   sent Jan 25 Professor George Devenish's remarks (Daily News, January 23) on the role and relevance of provincial government touch on a topic which is as old as South Africa itself. Centralism versus the devolution of power  has dominated our political history for over a century.

Aside from academic arguments about federalism, the real viability of a region or province depends on economic factors such as resources and the tax base.Put another way, the degree to which a region or province is dependent on financial support from the central government ultimately determines the extent to which a federal-based provincial government flourishes.


 

DE-GREENING MENACE   sent to The Mercury,   Dec 16, 2011

 Leslie Owens's  lament about the de-greening of the Berea (The Forum, December 16)is equally applicable to the Bluff and Montclair. Each time a property is sold, the firstthing the new owners do is chop down the trees and remove all the shrubbery. 

This obsession with security and the erroneous belief that crime somehow lurks in trees is not only destroying ecosystems and banishing birdlife but increasing temperatures and noise.Trees provide not only shade and coolness; they also act as a filter in reducing noise besides providing beauty and facilitating a degree of privacy. 

If security is of such paramount importance then instead of buying properties set in leafy surroundings these new buyers should opt for gated communities or penthouses.

 

GLOBAL WARMING: HISTORY HAS THE ANSWERS sent to Business Report, Dec 12.

Hats off the CM Mathey of Bellville (BR, December 12) for citing climate and temperaturechanges over the past 1,000 years to prove that these fluctuations are natural and normal. 

Mathey's reference to Al Gore reminds me of the theme song which he and Bill Clinton used in their 1992 presidential election campaign. It was by Fleetwood Mac and called Don't  Stop.The chorus line is ' Don't stop thinking about tomorrow, It'll be better than before, Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.' 

The irony is that if we paid more attention to yesterday and history we could navigate tomorrow a lot smarter.

RESIDENTS' VIEWS ON STREET RE-NAMING WERE IGNORED   - sent to THE MERCURY, 1 December, 2011

 Dr Sutcliffe's claim that the second phase of the street renaming process involving the renaming of 90 streets (Mercury, December 1) was 'completely legal,'is misleading and disingenuous.

 More than 27,000 objections were lodged against the proposed names as opposed to a handful in support.Why were those objections ignored?Why were the feelings of residents in the streets involved not personally canvassed? Surely that is how democracy works - from the bottom up, not  top down?

I personally handed in 42 objections to the changing of the road named Gray Park. Not a single person in that road indicated that the new name was preferred. Of the businesses I canvassed in Edwin Swales VC Dve not a single one was in favour of a name change.

These name changes were imposed against the expressed will of thousands of people. They emanated from the minds of a few cadres and were rubber-stamped by the ANC caucus. As for claim that ward committees were consulted - that simply adds

FUNDING DURBAN        sent to Daily News November 19 

Ed Peens' (Daily News, 17 November) concerns about the negative effects the proposed infrastructure charges would have on the rates base and future funding of Durban are well made. However, festering within the Metro is a cancer that is already eroding the rates base. It is being promoted by slumlords. These are greedy property owners who have transformed their various premises into a series of cubicles which in no way conform to Town Planning regulations. They then crowd these premises with those desperate for accommodation and charge them exorbitant rents. As a result an explosion of health issues and anti-social activity is engulfing neighbourhoods, depreciating the value of all other property in the vicinity as well as the value of the rates base.Slumlords are to be found increasingly in the suburbs, crippling one neighbourhood after another.Yet decisive action against their exploitation is sorely lacking and amounts to disinvesting in Durban's future.Yet at the same time Durban has the means to offset such negative trends by selling off the numerous pieces of unused Council land scattered across its length and breadth. The sale of those plots would remove the need to budget funds to maintain them whilst the resultant development would contribute to the rates base and to job creation.

KING SHAKA AIRPORT IS A HOSTAGE OF ECONOMICS:               sent to Mercury, Nov 10.

The diasppointment expressed at the fact that King Shaka Airport has not attracted more global operators (Mercury, November 10) is neither new nor surprising. 

Back in 2005 it was pointed out that Durban's close proximity to Johannesburg makes it a hostage to economics in terms of long haul flights and the type of aircraft that fly those routes (See: Mercury, 28 December 2005). 

While tour packages to KZN will certainly promote more direct internationalflights to King Shaka, the long term reality is that  the economics of new generation aircraft like the A.380 are premised on fewer stops and longer flights. Johannesburg and Cape Town, logically then, will always be the two main international flight hubs of South Africa.

SA EMULATING AILING STATE OF RUSSIA     -September 25, 2011

As apparatchiks within the ANC push for more state control of sectors of the economy, they would do well to reflect on the effect such policies have had on Russia's condition. 

Although listed as one of four economies Goldman and Sachs saw as best positioned to dominate global growth for decades, Russia's economic growth prospects are now pegged at a dismal three percent. With state ownership now exceeding 50%  of all shares on its bourse, state capitalism is strangling economic growth in Russia. Unchallenged by competition and efficiency, the quality of goods and services has plummeted while simultaneously the numbers of people employed in the public sector has swollen by 80%.

The corollary of the rise of this leviathan has been a spike in corruption. In 2010 Transparency International ranked Russia behind failed states like Zimbabwe and Haiti. Its army of bureaucrats is regarded as no different from an organised crime family so endemic has corruption become.As Time magazine of September 26  notes, Russia's political system is impeding economic growth. The corrupt and predatory Russian state is discouraging what all economies need, namely, investment.

Hobbled by increasing state dominance, Russia no longer merits its BRIC membership because it  is unable to keep pace with the growth rates of Brazil, India and China.

Weighed down by the 63% growth in the size of government in the past five years and weakened by comrade patronage and looting, South Africa's direction mirrors much of what ails the state of Russia.

 

GOVT MUST RESOLVE PORT CONGESTION- Cllr Duncan Du Bois  - 22 Sept 2011

 Whilst the DA appreciates that there have been quayside teething problems with the implementation of the Navis computer system which have resulted in above-average congestion on roads leading to the port of Durban, it believes that those shortcomings are symptomatic of larger issues concerning container transportation.

 

The solution to the ever-increasing container volumes which congest roads in the vicinity of the port lies not in more effective quayside operations but in a return to rail transport as well as the expediting of the development of the dig-out port at Prospecton.

New thinking and research has adduced that the railing of containers directly from Durban to the Witwatersrand hub would be more cost-effective than the proposed dryport at Cato Ridge. Intervening stops which require reloading from road to rail and vice versa are seen as time-consuming and adding to costs.With rail enjoying barely a 16% share of the country's transport load whilst the the road system is increasingly overloaded and rendered hazardous as a consequence of bearing  high volumes of freight, it makes sense for the country's rail system to be upgraded and brought into far greater use. Ideally, road transport of containers should be restricted to back -of- port and local delivery operations.

Within this context the development of the dig-out port at Prospecton needs to be made a priority. Not only would such a facility alleviatethe pressure on the port of Durban but its proximity to the Durban South Basin, the home of some 10% of the country's industry and manufacturing, makes the dig-out port a logical and necessary development. As such, the DA urges the Government to prioritise this project which, in terms of job creation, promises to be the largest generator of jobs ever seen in KZN and thus of major significance in alleviating poverty and unemployment in the southern Durban area.

 

WEALTH TAX ON WHITES: TUTU'S PAST DOES HIM NO FAVOURS:                  20 August 2011

By proposing a wealth tax exclusively on white people because he claims they benefited fromapartheid and  because black impoverishment persists, Archbishop Tutu displays not only an ignorance of economics but also a degree of amnesia (Daily News, August 19). 

Like painkillers, the idea of throwing money at marginalised sections of society, does not provide a cure and at best may bring short lived relief - and then only to some. The more serious downside of punitive, redistributive economics is that it discourages wealth creation. That, in turn, results in fewer jobs, capital flight or relocation and greater impoverishment.  

Tutu's concern for the plight of those who continue to face economic hardship seventeen years into the new South Africa  is one shared by all reasonable people, regardless of colour.  However, if accountability for this state of affairs is to be investigated,T utu's historical record is not without blemish. 

In the 1980s he actively promoted the imposition of sanctions and disinvestment against the apartheid government  thereby triggering a massive wave of black unemployment. Between 1984 and October 1989, some 192 American companies disinvested from South Africa. They were joined by 160 others including 76 British and 24 German firms (see: The Mercury, 1 November 1989). As a result of Tutu's disinvestment promotion, economic growth in 1986 slowed to 0,5%.  A capital outflow of R24 billion occurred between 1985 and 1988. The damage to the economy saw the cost of living soar by 12 to 14%. In May 1990 the Washington-based Investor Responsibility Research Centre estimated that sanctions cost South Africa between R45 and R60 billion and that consequently our economy diminished by 20 to 25%.

 When President Reagan denounced the US Congress for pushing ahead with the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986 stating that 'the victims of an economic boycott of South Africa would be the very people we seek to help,'Tutu said he found Reagan's speech 'nauseating' and that the 'West can go to hell' (see: Time magazine, 4 August 1986).

 Significantly at the time it was Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi who warned against the folly of sanctions and disinvestment saying that its economic legacy would render political emancipation 'meaningless.'

Finally, there is no need for Tutu to attempt to quantify the extent to which whites benefited from apartheid because they have already paid for it. As late as 1989, taxes paid by whites amounted to 91% of the revenue collected from individuals.

 

NOTICE OF MOTION: PENALTIES FOR DUMPING AND LANDFILL SITE USAGE FEES:  tabled by Cllr Du Bois

27 July 2011

Metrowide, the illegal dumping of waste materials  and garden refuse is a practice which is not only an eyesore but is also resulting in environmental degradation.  Appropriate signage and educational efforts have clearly not proven effective in deterring this irresponsible practice. Moreover, penalties for dumping are such that defaulters find it cheaper to risk being caught and fined than paying the required fee at the landfill site.

Accordingly, this motion calls on the Executive Committee to investigate and to report back to Council on revising the penalties for illegal dumping so as to increase their deterrent efficacy whilst simultaneously considering a revision of fees levied at landfill sites so as to encourage usage of those sites.

APPROVED BY COUNCIL; that the Question is to be probed by the Public Accounts Committee which has a solid record of stopping malpractices.

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QUESTION IN TERMS OF SECTION 17:

TENT CHURCH- Albert Park:  tabled by Cllr Du Bois

27 July 2011

Noting that the new Mayor, Cllr James Nxumalo, is on record as pledging to root out corrupt practices within the Metro and to improve governance, the church tent in Albert Park  merits scrutiny. It is a known fact that its existence is in violation of bylaws concerning town planning, zoning and noise. There are also questions concerning electricity connections and water usage. Accordingly, therefore, could the Mayor indicate:

1] Whether those who operate the tent church will be investigated and prosecuted should they be found to be in violation of bylaws concerning electricity and water usage?

2] What penalties will be applied concerning the illegal presence of this structure in Albert Park?

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 PROPERTY RATES AMENDMENT BILL IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

18 July 2011

The Democratic Alliance in eThekwini believes that the proposed Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill is unconstitutional and will severely hamper any growth that South Africa hopes to achieve in the near future.

 It would appear in Section 229(2) (a) of the Constitution which is repeated in Section 16 of the Municipal Property Rates Act (MPRA) that the power of a municipality to impose rates on property may not be exercised in a way which materially and unreasonably prejudices national economic policies.  The proposed amendment would certainly empower municipalities to breach the constitution. Section 26(2) of the Constitution. Provides for the progressive realization of the right of access to housing which the amendment would destroy.

 The amendment could be seen as discriminatory in terms of Section 9 of the Constitution, which provides for equality before the law. Under the amendment Bill, property owners would be double taxed on second properties
which in fact would be a punitive tax. The Democratic Alliance believes that the manner in which the amendment bill has been introduced has deliberately been under the radar to cut off debate and stifle criticism of the proposed changes by ratepayers associations. Should this amendment Bill be passed, it will decimate the property market
in cities like Durban which see a number of people holding second properties. It is vitally important that the ANC buts the brakes on this Bill to stop the wholesale freefall of the property market.

Cllr Dean Macpherson
DA eThekwini Caucus Chief Whip
DA eThekwini Spokesman for Finance
083 776 0202

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PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF PROPERTY RATES ACT IS A NO-BRAINER

 

 The promotion of property investment is the cornerstone of the rates base not only of  municipalitiesbut, indeed, of the economic growth of a country. Whilst the constitution safeguards the right to property ownership by individuals, it behoves municipalities to nurture property investment by exercising prudence in the levying of rates.

In any country there is always a minority of individuals imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit. These people are the initiators and drivers of economic growth and expansion. Property ownership and development is a critical aspect of their modus operandi. At the same time, it is true particularly of developing countries, that there is always a substantial minority of people who lack housing or accommodation. With the exception of the very poor, many of those people look to private property development for their accommodation needs.

By rating residential properties which are used to accommodate people other than the owner at commercial rates the proposed amendment to the Property Rates Act will have the following consequences:

It will result in a crippling increase in rentals making accommodation unaffordable and exacerbating the already critical shortage of housing.

It will discourage property construction as an investment, thereby jeopardising and marginalising jobs in that sector of the economy

.It will contribute to the stagnation and reversal in the growth of the rates base thereby reducing municipal revenues.

 It will  impact negatively on all investment portfolios that are property based, thus reducing incomes not only for property entrepreneurs but for the holders of  endowment policies, retirement annuities and unit trusts.

 The proposed amendment is a brazen attempt to impose the failed and thoroughly discredited policy of socialism  and must be rejected outright.

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TIME TO STOP MAKING APARTHEID THE SCAPEGOAT

12 July 2011 

If apartheid is to blame for the 'lack of social cohesion' within the African family system, as Devi Rajab claims (Mercury, July 12), how does she account for the same kind of social dislocation among African-Americans in the USA where, since 1964, desegregation was implemented? How come this lack of social cohesion does not appear to have affected Indians in South Africa who were subject not only to apartheid but initially to the process and practice of indenture as well?

 The dismantling of apartheid started long before 1994. Black trade unions were legalised from 1980, pass laws were abandoned 25 years ago, white model-C schools were integrated from 1991. Family disintegration and breakdown, sadly, is a worldwide reality occurring in places that have never heard about apartheid.

It's time to stop making apartheid the scapegoat for all our ills

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MALEMA CASTS A GRIM SHADOW OVER SA'S FUTURE                        6 July 2011

 Notwithstanding his marxist moorings, hats off to Philip Dexter on his incisive and honest assessment of the leadership paralysis within the ANC (Daily News,June 30).  In pinpointing avarice and elitism as entrenched within what passes for leadership within the ANC, Dexter cleaves to the heart of the malady that has become endemic within the ranks of the ruling mandarins. Lip service is paid to discipline which, along with principles, has become a casualty of the scramble for position and power. Equally true is his observation that the so-called vanguard of the workers' struggle, the SACP, is now simply part of the ultra-materialist, pork-barrel Establishment that has hijacked the soul of the ANC today. But Dexter's analysis falls short in two respects. He neglects to mention are that the ANC today bears no resemblance at all to the ANC which was founded in 1912. Those pioneers were modest,dignified, respectful and respectable.Secondly, it is a grave mistake to dismiss Malema as one of the 'pirates of Polokwane' who 'espouses nonsense.' The history of Africa since 1960 shows that radicals invariably come to power and that moderates are seldom political survivors. From that perspective, Malema's unchallenged and unchecked malevolence and radicalism casts a grim shadow over South Africa's future

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FACTS CONCERNING LICENSED LIQUOR OUTLETS

 [ as tabled by W/O van Noordwyk of Brighton Beach SAPS  on 29/6/2011]

 

There are 64 liquor outlets on the Bluff. These include: 20 bottle store licences, taverns, B&Bs, clubs, restaurants. 

 Closure times need to be frimly adhered to. The onus is on the license holder to enforce this. Monitoring of customers needs to happen. It is, therefore, unwise to sell a customer a large amount of liquor shortly before closing time. 

 It is illegal to leave with liquor from places where it is sold for consumption on the premises. Such actions may lead to drinking in public which is prohibited. The SAP, as an enforcement agency, is tasked with protecting the public from harassment, intimidation, loitering and other anti-social actions. 

 Those serving liquor in licensed premises should decline to serve a person who has over-indulged. 

 Fines under the current Act begin at R1,500 for the first offence  and double thereafter. Fines are optional to a court appearance. Under the new Liquor Act scheduled to take effect sometime in 2012, fines will be much higher. 

 The SAP may enforce Metro bylaws should Metro Police fail to do so.

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MEDIA RECOGNITION OF  MALEMA'S  AGENDA IS OVERDUE                          (29 June 2011)

 Imraan Buccus (Mercury, June 29) correctly calls for voices of reason to speak out against the incendiary and warlike rhetoric of Julius Malema. But he might have added that  it is the media which is playing the critical role of  amplifying and spreading Malema's poison. 

The Constitution upholds the right to freedom of speech, not demagoguery. And there is a difference between hearing and listening. But thanks to mass media coverage of Malema's crass and vulgar demagoguery a political force is being marshalled which spells the utter destruction of the economy and the rule of law in this country.

 The fact that Malema raises the issue of land reform and nationalisation of mines in no way makes him worthy of one iota of attention because there can never be a rational debate with a demagogue. Food security and mineral wealth are the twin pillars of this country's very being. Any destabilisation of those pillars spells disaster for all. Thus, it is outrageous that Malema's reckless rhetoric should enjoy the level of media attention that it does and it is naive to think that some kind of resolution of issues surrounding the mines and the land may evolve as a result. 

The only card Malema is playing is the card demagogues in Africa have been playing since 1960: race-based populism. As Malema's hero, Robert Mugabe, knows, it's a political winner - even when everyone is impoverished and terrorised in the process. 

Media recognition of Malema's very obvious agenda is overdue.

 

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