First 100 days: my wishlist for the DA’s delivery plans for Metro’s

Like most South Africans I was excited at the winds of change that swept through the various cities and metros won by the Democratic Alliance (DA). They achieved this ofcourse with support from other opposition parties (shout-out the the Economic Freedom Fighters). Many an article has already been written about the political maneuvering and coalition talks that went into allowing the DA to win, especially in the key Metro’s of Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane (Pretoria), and Johannesburg. So mine isn’t to try offer any insight into that. Rather, I want to discuss what the DA’s ascendancy into governance positions should mean for residents of these cities, especially the poor people.

DA governance should distinguish itself from that of the ANC through the DA insisting on putting people, as individuals and their families, first. The time of the connected cadre and leeching tenderprenuer is over. Local government should seek to provide the best platform for individuals and families to pursue their own separate interests, and prosper. This means clean, well-lit and safe city streets. This means a public transport network that connects the city and gets people to opportunities. This means reliable electricity, water, sanitation and refuse removal. This means the provision and protect of secure property-rights for all residents of the city.

These are the things that a DA municipality must deliver on consistently. These are the things that’ll see the people under DA-run municipalities, prosper. Thankfully we have reason to believe the DA can and will deliver on these things, because they’ve proven at the City of Cape town (since 2006) that where they govern, they govern really well. Let Gauteng metro’s and municipalities be no different.

South Africans want liberty and the freedom to use their knowledge, skills, abilities and talents to seek opportunity and prosper.

So, what should the first 100 days of these administrations look like? I have a wishlist, and so should you..especially if you live in any of the Metro’s newly governed by the DA. Here are 5 things I’d like to see the new municipalities run by the DA to do;

  1. Cut corruption. Send a clear signal early on that the corrupt and kleptocratic ways of the past, are over. Initiate forensic audits on suspect deals. Conduct extensive skills audits. Analyse the administration, with the view of streamlining it for delivery.
  2. Cut unnecessary and wasteful spending. Eliminate useless government programmes, and channel that money into service delivery.
  3. Strengthen the basics. Paint street markings correctly, fix street signs, fix traffic lights, cut grass and maintain public spaces, fix pot-holes, clean streets and pick up refuse, fix broken infrastructure (pipes, sewers, drains etc).
  4. Hasten land reform through property-rights. A clearly pro-poor campaign of giving title-deed ownership of serviced sites in informal settlements must begin. Let people own their piece of Jozi/Pretoria/PE.
  5. Strengthen revenue collection. This is crucial for many metro or municipality. People must pay for the services they use, and a culture of paying must be established early. It is the poor who benefit the most from this, as boosted local government coffers allow for the provision of free and subsidized services for the poorest.

It’s early days, but make no mistake, the DA must hit the ground running. Right now as we speak, presuming its experience in Cape Town and the Western Cape is anything to go by, the ANC and its ally, Cosatu, are already planning how to best sabotage these DA governments. We’re likely to see and hear rhetoric, as we did in the Cape, about campaigns of rendering DA-run areas “ungovernable”. The ANC are sore and rather dangerous losers.

The DA must crack on. Under the leadership of their party leader Mmusi Maimane, I have every belief that the era of freedom, fairness and opportunity for all will happen. Goodbye crooked cadres and corrupt tenderpreneurs, hello liberty and progress!


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Ban Income Tax: Why does government still tax struggling citizens?

The year 2013 is a miserable year for citizens. A greater number of people lost their jobs, and more people swelled the ranks of the under-employed. A segment hardly acknowledged in this country.

A weakening rand, general escalating cost of living, and additional financial burdens cast on them by our country’s economic insiders, is becoming unbearable.

However those directly responsible for the misery because of the decisions they make, generally don’t bear the costs of the consequences of their actions. They enjoy the concentrated benefits, and disperse the costs to economic outsiders.

Take for example the growing amount of government debt and expenditure. In this fiscal year it ballooned to the 1-trillion rand mark for the first time. To most people, this sounded like a good thing, in fact, when delivering his Budget Speech, Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, pandered for applause when he announced this figure. Sure enough, he got it. He got it because I have come to the stark realization that a lot of South African politicians (and many citizens) are economically illiterate. To them, a government spending more money on poorly defined and never ending mandates is a “good thing”. The source of this money and exactly how the government gets its hands on it is seldom scrutinized. Why is this acceptable? Well allow me to offer an elementary explanation. It is stolen money and debt.

Let me focus on the theft element of this equation:

The money government spends is stolen from you and me. The theft is brazen and blatant, and is given a neutral and unimposing name, income tax. Income taxes are a limit on yours and my freedoms. Take for example that nobody pays taxes, rather government simply takes it. That percentage of your wage is taken from you; you don’t voluntarily pay it in.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) creates the illusion of a voluntary exchange between you and it, but in reality there is no such. If you decide for example to opt out of this “voluntary exchange”, then you would see the true nature of the relationship between you and SARS (i.e. government), and that is one characterised by coercion and the threat of violence on you if you don’t comply.

I believe we need to ban personal and all other forms involuntary taxes. They are pure theft. The government, like any other entity, must gather its revenue by providing services and goods which you and I as consumers are interested in acquiring in a voluntary exchange with government. The provision of such services and goods must be on an open market, free to competition. That is the one way we can bring down the cost of living for so many people finding it ever more difficult to stay afloat. Hand back the individual, rich or poor, their liberty and right to spend their income on goods and services as they see fit. This is not a panacea, but this would be a great place to start.

Twitter: @SihleDLK

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1913 Native Land Act Commemorations: Beware the wolf in sheeps clothing!

So this year marks 100 years since the promulgation of the 1913 Native Land Act. This is big stuff, and the media and public attention it has received is justified.

Just as a reminder, the Natives Land Act of 1913 was the first major piece of segregation legislation passed in South Africa, and remained a cornerstone of Apartheid over the years.

If you’ve been recently paying attention, most of the commemorations and events around marking the 100 years since this hurtful law was passed, has been held by political parties and more prominently government.

In fact government has held a bunch of major events across the country, with the largest having been held in Cape Town International Convention Centre, where President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Rural Development & Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, gave impassioned speeches about how blacks were dispossessed, and the need to speed up land reform.

All this sounds great, and has mass appeal, indeed the media ran these stories with not so much as a whiff of critical examination. However the question nobody has looked at in required detail is exactly who took the land away from people in the first place?

The answer most of you would be quick to blurt out is, “white people”, but this is only a half truth. I contend the evil which dispossessed people of land back then is still around today, in fact it is even stronger today than before.

Let me explain;

As we commentate 100 years of the land question in SA, we all make two mistakes;

1) We often gloss over the exact profile of who actually dispossessed people of their land.

2) We also gloss over the means which were used to take away people’s property rights and land.

Both these factors are extremely important in determining whether we are addressing the land issue and whether we are returning liberty to the dispossessed.

In addressing the first mistake, let’s remind ourselves that the real culprit behind the 1913 Native Land Act, and what I refer to as the original sin that spawned Apartheid, was government itself. It was entitled Statist’s drunk with the trappings of big government power who devised and implemented this law. They sought to do what all big governments do, and that is to choose winners and losers in a society.

Government in South Africa, whether colonial, Apartheid or post 1994, has never really changed in its characteristics. All have used force and coercion to implement the will of its Statist politicians.

To this day, government still uses force to pick winners and losers on the land issue.

The noble objectives of the ANC governments land reform policy, masks the reality that they have also relegated millions of black South Africans to a life of poverty and servitude in rural areas. Black South Africans living under what is termed Tribal Authorities run by traditional leaders in communal areas, have been denied the right to own the title deeds to the land they live and work on.

Such people live under the tyranny of traditional leaders who have the power to decide on land tenure and in some cases what can and can’t be done with that land.

In fact, in a televised discussion during SABC 2’s Morning Live breakfast show on the 19th June 2013, I asked the Land Reform Minister whether his government plans to finally planned to give rural blacks their right to own their land, his response was effectively no, and that his government merely planned to give such residents better tenure arrangements which still make the state the owner of their land.

This is unacceptable, and points to an ANC government which simply does not respect individual property rights.

So once again, it is big government which has effectively denied dispossessed black people their right to own land.

In addressing the second mistake, we need to remind ourselves what other means are used by big government to steal land away from individuals; namely taxes.

In order to understand how and why the 1913 Native Land Act was so effective, one needs to look at the subsequent tax law the colonial government Statist’s passed the following year, in the 1914 Hut & Poll Tax.

Once again Statist’s did what they do best, and that’s to use taxes to steal from the individual. I have already explained in previous postings how and why I consider taxes (in that instance, income taxes) as theft and unconstitutional.

So not only did the colonial big government use force to snatch land away, it also imposed heavy taxes on black land owners, many of whom were poor, to further justify confiscating land and property from people.

Both these tools and means used by big government, did not die with the end of the colonialists nor even Apartheid. Even to this day, they are gleefully used by the ANC government.

So there is a real need to be skeptical of government hosting events to commemorate something which was originally promulgated by themselves. In fact, the same said government has refused to drastically limit its power and more importantly, remove the means through which it had perpetuated the original sin, in the first place.

Instead today government pretends to be on the side of the victims! Indeed the wolf has not only slipped into sheeps clothing, but it also “baah’s” like the sheep too! A poor show indeed.

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Income Taxes are Unconstitutional…so let’s #BanIncomeTax!

Yes you read the title of this article right, I believe income tax in South Africa is unconstitutional!

But before I get into why I say this, allow me to clarify three things about taxes and more specifically income taxes;

Firstly, taxes are a limit on yours and my freedoms and liberty. They limit our ability to spend our money on the goods and services we would freely want to spend on. What’s more concerning is that in the South African context, taxes, specifically income taxes, act to limit the millions of poor migrant workers ability to send remittances back home to family members in rural areas. This is significant considering 77% of people in rural South Africa live in abject poverty.

Secondly nobody, and I mean NOBODY, pays taxes. Rather it is a case of them, through an act of coercion, being taken from us. Government simply decides on a rate, and duly helps itself to a portion of your hard-earned income without your permission or agreement. There is nothing voluntary about them. It is pure theft.

Lastly, I don’t have a problem with some forms of tax as a means of VOLUNTARY payment for services and goods in public, specifically if it is more rational and economical to band together resources from all individuals who have a stake in, and need that particular service or good. However the principle must be that such an arrangement be on a VOLUNTARY basis, and as it relates to the particular use of the said service or good, must be on a user-pays basis.

So on principle alone, you can see why I, as a Classical liberal, would oppose the government’s use of force and coercion to simply take money from productive people of all income levels.

However the question must be answered, how do income taxes violate the Constitution of the republic of South Africa?

Section 23(1) of the Constitution reads;

“Everyone has the right to fair labour practices.”

Now I hear what you’re thinking, that the word “fair” is perhaps open to interpretation and is vague. However when applied to this situation, the question I ask is, ‘is unilaterally taking a portion of a workers income, fair practice?’ Surely the answer is NO!

On what basis does the government feel it has a claim to a portion of your income? Does the government send an official to assist you as you toil in a hot, stuffy and dangerous mineshaft drilling away into the rock? Where is the government official assigned to help you as you slave away late into the night to prepare for that important presentation to your managers the following day?

These questions simply underpin my objection to the basis through which the government suddenly pitches up on your pay-day and feels entitled to a share of YOUR hard earned income.

It is theft, and considering the government is not a party to the employment contract between you and your employer, their actions are thus surely an unfair labour practice.

Therefore we, the people, must stand up and freely voice our objection to the theft, as perilous as it may be at times (think: Marikana Massacre). Indeed we are increasingly seeing some of the poorer segment of the South African working few demand not only an increase in their income, but principally the liberty to spend and save it as they see fit. The ever increasing labour unrest in South Africa is being driven by workers questioning the legitimacy of deductions on their small and inflation eroded income. Sadly COSATU which is aligned to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), are in an effort to protect the ANC government, and are deflecting from the unfair nature of the largest deduction from a worker’s payslip, namely income tax.

I will write more on that in later opinion pieces.

For now, allow me to boldly finish-off by saying, LET’S BAN INCOME TAX as the immoral and unconstitutional act of theft that it is! We, the people, must demand our political freedoms and economic liberty as South Africans!

Follow: @SihleDLK

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SA War-Mongering: President Zuma wields a big stick in Africa!

Our foreign policy as a country should be guided STRICTLY by Human Rights and the Non-Aggression Principle!

I do not believe war can ever bring lasting peace…so why is the ANC government, more so under President Jacob Zuma, pursuing a big-stick approach on the continent?

Our incursion into the rest of Africa under the guise of peace keeping and or some sort of African Nationalist duty to intervene in other countries, by using our South African National Defense Force (SANDF), is problematic and highly questionable.

Is it not the height of irony that South Africa, the country which resolved its own major differences through largely peaceful dialogue and negotiation, is teaching other strife ridden and/or war-torn countries that war and military intervention is the way?!

The ANC is effectively using a DEFENSE force for AGGRESSIVE action in locations across the continent, most prominent of which are the Central African Republic (which recently saw 13 SANDF soldiers lose their lives) and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where battle-hardened M23 Rebels are relishing a good fight with our troops…*sigh*.

I do not understand this government, do you?

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