ACDP congratulates newly-elected South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa

ACDP President Rev Kenneth Meshoe today congratulated Cyril Ramaphosa on being elected as the 5th President of the Republic of South Africa.

Rev Meshoe told Ramaphosa, “That South Africa will be looking to him for leadership, direction and unity to restore the tainted image our country has had internationally”.

Meshoe further advised President Ramaphosa “to place a team around him that comprise men and women of integrity, but above all, to “let the fear of God guide him”.

15 February 2018

Tsvangirai remembered for his commitment to a better life for Zimbabweans

The African Christian Democratic Party has extended its sincere condolences to the friends and family of former Zimbabwean Prime Minister and Leader of the main opposition, Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai passed away after a battle with colon cancer in Johannesburg yesterday (14 February 2018), at the age of 65 after receiving treatment for 18 months.

ACDP Leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe says, “We have learned with sadness of the passing of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai. He gained the respect of many leaders across the globe through his commitment to fighting for the betterment of the Zimbabwean people. He will be remembered for his long and unwavering political battle against former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

We express our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues, and we pray that they experience the comfort of God’s healing at this difficult time”.

15 February 2018

ACDP Leader calls on Zuma to place the country above himself

ACDP Leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe expressed deep concern about potential violence being encouraged by the tone of the current President’s statement which was clearly dividing, rather than unifying the nation at this critical hour and has called on President Zuma “to place the country and our people’s welfare” above himself.

Rev Meshoe said “The ACDP welcomes the speedy action taken by the Chief Whips and Officials of Parliament to facilitate the transition of power necessary in the face of the ANC decision to recall Jacob Zuma.  Parliament has a constitutional role and responsibility in placing a President in office and in removing a President.

We are satisfied that every effort is being taken to ensure minimum disruption to the programme of Parliament and the lives of the South African people.”

In the Chief Whips Forum and programming meetings today it was agreed that the EFF Motion will be tabled for tomorrow afternoon at 14:00, and a Plenary scheduled for Friday morning at 10:00, to elect and swear in the 5th President of the Republic of South Africa. A State of the Nation Address (SONA) will then take place on the same day at 19:00.  The SONA debate will take place on Monday, February 19th, and the new President will respond on Tuesday.

Once the motion of no confidence passes in the National Assembly the current President will be out of office with immediate effect.

If the President resigns in the meantime the only change will be that an acting President rather than a President will address SONA and there will be no ‘motion of no confidence’.

14 February 2018

Uncertainty surrounding Zuma’s removal is key factor in SONA postponement

ACDP MP and Whip, Cheryllyn Dudley today said that, “The meeting of Chief Whips yesterday confirmed that the State of the Nation Address (SONA), which was scheduled to take place today (Thursday, 8 February), has been postponed, primarily, to allow for consultations between the ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma who have been in discussions about “transitional arrangements and that South Africans’ concerns about the uncertainty surrounding President Zuma’s removal is a key factor.”

Dudley said that, “The business of the Whips is to see that the work of Parliament continues without disruptions, in the interests of the nation and SONA is therefore likely to be postponed until after the Budget process has been completed”.

The Budget process is scheduled to be completed by 15 March 2018.

In the meantime the discussions regarding ‘transitional arrangements’ are said to be “constructive” and ANC President Ramaphosa is quoted as saying “I am certain that the process we have now embarked on will achieve an outcome that not only addresses these concerns, but also unites our people around the tasks that all of us must necessarily undertake to build our country. We will be able to communicate further on President Zuma’s position as President of the Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters”.

8 February 2018

ACDP welcomes postponement of SONA

The ACDP welcomes the decision by the Presiding Officers of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa to accede to the request of the African Christian Democratic Party and postpone the State of the Nation Address (SONA) as a result of political uncertainty.

We are grateful that they allowed common sense to prevail, and correctly assess the mood in our country.

The second challenge we face as the opposition, is to ensure that the current State President, Mr Jacob Zuma, does not deliver the 2018 State of the Nation Address. We believe any leader in the ANC, particularly the Deputy President, qualifies to do so.

The best and right thing Mr Zuma should do now is to resign as State President.

We believe it will be easier to fight corruption and restore investor confidence once Jacob Zuma is out of the highest office in the land. Without effectively tackling corruption we do not look attractive to foreign investors who can assist us to bring down the high levels of unemployment in South Africa.

For this to happen, Mr Zuma needs to go!

6 February 2018

ACDP calls for inquiry into NECSA

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley, responding to an engineering study prepared for the South African Department of Energy and Eskom, today said that “the ACDP is calling for an inquiry into the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation SOC Limited.”

NECSA is the state-owned public company responsible for undertaking and promoting research and development in the field of nuclear energy and radiation sciences.

“This study,” Dudley says, “vindicates what many have been saying for decades and has disproved ‘myths’ credited to former Eskom executives about the limits and costs of renewable energy capacity in South Africa.”

The study was commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) – under the department’s South African-German Energy programme.

The study contains solid research that confirms the South African power system is sufficiently flexible to handle large amounts of variable wind and solar PV generation. In addition combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) and open cycle gas turbines proposed in the Draft IRP 2016 Base Case can be factored in.

“The ACDP is calling on Parliamentary Committees to seriously consider the implications of the study especially in light of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statements in Davos that South Africa cannot afford nuclear expansion.

We call on the Minister to discard the 2008 Nuclear Energy Policy Framework, approved by Cabinet and Gazetted without any adequate public or Parliamentary participation. We further call for a full and dedicated inquiry into the billions of rands that have been spent by Eskom and at NECSA on nuclear development and the role of nuclear in the massive corruption scandals at Eskom and other SOEs – especially NECSA.”

The report states that up to 2030, the operating and emergency reserve will still be sufficient to balance the increased variability of wind and solar PV generation capacities proposed in the draft IRP 2016 Base Case and confirms that large penetration levels of wind and solar PV can be handled by the South African power system from an active power balancing point of view, at moderate additional costs.

Dudley further said that “civil society has long argued for decentralised Renewable Energy (RE), owned and operated at regional or local level as a means of ensuring energy security, providing employment (local jobs) and cutting down on reliance on the failing grid run by a monopoly.

The ACDP urges the department to take note of the recommendations in the report and to ensure the secure and cost-efficient operation of the power system.”

2 February 2018

Why pro-life Christians should support ACDP’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill

I would like to speak to you today about why pro-life Christians should support the ACDP’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill which is presently before the National Assembly.

In 2007, on behalf of the ACDP in the National Assembly, I put forward proposals for a private member’s bill to amend the Constitution. In 2010, I proposed legislation to amend the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act. The first proposal was to include the right to life of the unborn child in the Constitution and the second was to ensure a more fully informed choice is possible regarding the termination of a pregnancy.

Both bills found no support from any political parties in Parliament other than from the ACDP, and were rejected.

The reality from a political point of view is that until pro-life voters are in the majority in South Africa and they decide to vote for a party who understands their concerns – the life of an unborn child will not be given reasonable protection.

One of the many things that occurred to me through the experience of working on the first two private member’s bills was the choice I had.  A choice to either draft an obviously unconstitutional bill expressing the desires of the more serious Christian community only, knowing it would not get any support and nothing would actually change – or I could carefully contemplate and research what could in fact be improved on within the ambit of the constitution and concentrate on doing what can be done.

Working from this premise I proposed Labour Law legislation which was actually passed in the National Assembly on 28 November 2017.  This is the first Private Members bill and the first opposition party members bill to be passed by the National Assembly.  The legislation provides for parental and adoption leave.

During 2017, on behalf of the ACDP, I introduced the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, 2017, in Parliament.  This legislation – which is not about whether or not abortion can be condoned for any reason – challenges the present situation which facilitates abortion on demand in the broadest sense.

I will be arguing that the intention of the legislators in 1996 to increase restrictions on termination of pregnancy in line with the development of the baby in the womb is clearly illustrated, yet overly broad and vague clauses, appear to have been slipped in and contradict and nullify this intention.

The amendment aims to ensure greater protection of a women’s right to apply her mind to relevant facts and information in order to make an informed choice and aims to ensure through mandatory as opposed to non-mandatory counseling that adequate budgets are made available for this purpose.

Discrimination against babies conceived by women in low income families or in challenging social and financial circumstances is addressed by adding a social worker’s experience and opinion to that of a medical practitioner in the second trimester; and the deletion of the reference to ‘a risk of injury to the fetus’ as a valid reason to terminate an otherwise viable baby after 20 weeks of gestation as it is vague and an excessive response, especially since every birth could be said to pose a risk of injury to the fetus.

Some European countries are now considering tightening their abortion laws. For example, in Norway, midwives have voiced concerns about the number of healthy babies… sufficiently viable to survive outside the womb… being aborted on ‘social grounds’ beyond the usual 12-week limit. Their intervention in this traditionally liberal country, I am told, has led to a change in the law.

Across Europe, many liberals are increasingly coming to regard late abortions where babies are often born alive and have to be left to die, as barbaric.  And more women ministers in socialist countries are also rejecting the argument that limiting late abortions is anti-women.

Today we know so much more than we did in 1996 and babies are recognised as viable at 18 weeks into a pregnancy. We also know that unborn babies not only die but suffer excruciating pain during dismemberment abortion – a cruelty that rips arms and legs off a helpless child.  It seems to me that in 2018 we stand a far better chance than ever before of having meaningful and respectful interactions across hard and fast positions in order to improve existing legislation without imposing on peoples freedom to choose.

The amendments in the private member’s proposal provide for a greater degree of consideration and protection for both women experiencing a crisis pregnancy and for the child they are carrying.

The hope is that a greater appreciation and respect for life will take root in our cultural perspective. There is also the possibility that some through accessing relevant information and help will not feel they have to take the life of their child.

Some Christians have expressed heartfelt concern that this approach is a compromise, which of course it is.  We live in a diverse society and compromise for the sake of living in relative peace and harmony is a given, keeping in mind that when a majority of people in SA decide to stand up for ‘the right of an unborn child to life’ and vote in line with their convictions, the compromise will more meaningfully reflect this view.

Fortunately many of those who reacted negatively, reconsidered when they were asked if they were saying the life of one child was not worth saving if we cannot save the lives of all babies.

The majority of voters are presently pro-choice, even if not pro-abortion, and of those, many are vociferous defenders of super liberal abortion laws.

The ACDP hopes that this legislation will give these people an opportunity to reconsider their views on abortion.  We also hope that it will result in many more women, given the opportunity to consider the truth about what is happening in their body will decide to access options or help, available to them and choose to bring their child into the world alive.  In terms of research done this will not often be the case – but a percentage of women do change their minds and are grateful they did.”

Pro-life demonstration, Parliament
1 February 2018

Signature of father on birth certificate indicates acceptance of responsibility regardless of DNA

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today responded to suggestions that DNA testing will be required to be eligible for paternity leave.

Dudley says that, “Once a man takes on the responsibility of being the father of a child by putting his name on the birth certificate, this should be respected and I think, our Constitutional Court would rule against a requirement for DNA testing. Perhaps a signature of the father at the time of registration indicating he accepts responsibility regardless of DNA could be considered.

WATCH: Introducing Paternity Leave for South African fathers

Regulations on this bill are going to prove tricky as the department itself may be inclined to want to make the legislation seem unworkable. This is unacceptable and minds must urgently be applied and workable regulations put in place speedily. Members of Parliament must take responsibility themselves for seeing workable regulations are in place and that this is not used as a delaying tactic.

Workers in South Africa are no longer prepared to sacrifice their families while pulling their weight to keep South Africa working. Strong families and being productive go hand in hand. They are no longer going to accept having to choose.

Dudley was responding to an article on on 24 January 2018 entitled, “Is This Really My Child? DNA Testing In South Africa.”

25 January 2018

ACDP saddened by death of South African jazz icon, Hugh Masekela

Legendary South African Jazz musician Hugh Masekela passed away today after a long battle with cancer.

A statement released by his family this morning confirmed that ‘Bra Hugh’, as he was affectionately known, “had battled prostate cancer, and had passed on peacefully in Johannesburg this morning, January 23, surrounded by his loved ones.”

In October, Bra Hugh cancelled a scheduled performance at the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival in Rockville, Soweto to dedicate himself to battling the disease and called on all men to go for regular cancer check-ups.

ACDP President and Member of Parliament, Rev Kenneth Meshoe, today said that, “The ACDP is grateful to Bra Hugh for placing South Africa on international stages with his exceptional talent that ‘made the trumpet speak.’ The skills he had with the trumpet made even those who were not lovers of Jazz listen, because he had a gift that allowed him to explore endless possibilities with his choice of horn. He has left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill, but we trust that those young musicians he had mentored in his lifetime will bring back his memory each time the blow the horn he so loved.”

Hugh Ramopolo Masekela was born on 4 April 1939 in Witbank. Bra Hugh received numerous awards throughout his life, among them the Order of Ikhamanga – South African National Orders Ceremony (2010); an honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of York (2014); a Doctor of Music (honoris causa) from Rhodes University (2015); and the African Music Legend Award – Ghana Music Awards (2007).

Masekela is survived by his wife, Elinam Cofie, whom he married in 1999 and for whom he penned the song ‘Ghana,” his daughter, Pula Twala, and his son, Selema “Sal” Masekela, from his relationship with Haitian Jessie Marie Lapierre.

23 January 2018