Steenhuisen outlines plan for ‘first 100 days in office’ after elections
DA leader details his 'blueprint for change' should they win the elections
DA leader John Steenhuisen has presented what he calls a “blueprint for change”, detailing his party’s priority areas for their first 100 days of office should they win at the upcoming polls.
He announced that their strategy is to achieve structural reforms through parliament, which he says has been eroded over time, dating back to post-former president Nelson Mandela’s tenure.
“Our entire manifesto will be anchored in one critical fact: that the road to rescuing South Africa runs through parliament.
“Beyond the corruption, the mismanagement and the economic decline, a defining failure of the Ramaphosa administration is that the outgoing president never grasped the importance of parliament,” he said.
Steenhuisen added that it is only through the hard work of legislative reform that change is possible, citing that the DA blueprint will amount to the most comprehensive legislative reform agenda since 1994.
Five priority areas
“Within the first 100 days in office, the DA will introduce legislation aimed at rescuing our country from five key sources of state collapse,” he said.
These reforms will be aimed at the five following priority areas:
- fixing the institution of parliament itself, to turn it into the engine room of reform;
- ending load-shedding by embracing privatisation;
- abolishing cadre deployment in favour of merit-based appointments and a capable state;
- halving the rate of violent crime, including murder, attempted murder and gender-based violence; and
- growing the economy while protecting social grants.
The DA leader claimed his party had the greatest appreciation for the true role of parliament out of all the political parties in South Africa.
“Many of us have spent our lives on those benches. It is heartbreaking to witness what this once-proud institution has been reduced to. The house from which history was made when FW de Klerk announced the end of apartheid, the house from which Nelson Mandela outlined a new vision, is now burnt to ashes.”
Reconstruction of parliament
In addition to prioritising the physical reconstruction of parliament, the DA announced a plan it believes can make parliament work again for the people.
“We will do this by creating a committee to oversee the presidency, increasing the frequency of presidential questions, and introducing penalties when members of the executive fail to answer questions.”
This would be based on the model used in the Western Cape legislature, which reintroduces interpellations — snap debates that force ministers to account.
To demonstrate their seriousness about oversight and accountability, Steenhuisen announced they plan to empower opposition MPs to serve as committee chairs.
“Within the first 100 days, the DA will give expression to the recommendations of the state capture commission. We will also table legislation to rapidly increase private electricity generation and transmission.”
Steenhuisen said it was important to reflect that a failing state that cannot fix potholes is never going to end load-shedding — motivating for a push to embrace privatisation, especially concerning electricity.
Anti-cadre deployment bill
Steenhuisen’s blueprint plan included the abolishment of cadre deployment by introducing legislation that outlaws it.
“By expanding on our end cadre deployment bill, we will make it a criminal offence for any politician to interfere in appointment processes, and remove powers of appointment, promotion and dismissal from politicians.
“Instead, the DA will reform the public service commission to become an independent custodian of the public sector, with a mandate to ensure that all appointments are based strictly on merit and skill.”
Steenhuisen announced crime as a priority area, through the introduction of a Scorpions 2.0 through a constitutional amendment, which he deems will create an independent anti-crime and anti-corruption institution in chapter 9 of the constitution.
“We will introduce a devolution bill to devolve policing powers to competent provincial and local governments. This will not only bring policing closer to the people. As the DA has already demonstrated with our LEAP project in the Western Cape, devolved local policing will also reduce violent crime by empowering well-run local governments to hire skilled, competent and properly trained and equipped officers.”
Last, the DA envisions an overhaul of the budget to reflect its new priorities and restructure the economy.
“Unlike the ANC, we understand that social development is intricately linked to economic growth. Our first budget will contain no tax increases, no bracket creep, and will start to reduce the unaffordable wage and debt bills that suffocate the economy.
“I also want to make it clear that the DA will bury the ANC’s job-killing policies that come straight out of the socialist playbook, including expropriation without compensation, the nationalisation of mines, farms, industry and the Reserve Bank, as well as the madness of the NHI [National Health Insurance].”
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