We need a full investigation into Ramaphosa’s Bosasa payments

In a letter to Speaker Mbete, President Ramaphosa has admitted that he received a R500 000 campaign donation from Bosasa, during his campaign for the presidency of the ANC. He has clarified that what initially looked like a dodgy payment to his son, Andile, was in fact a dodgy payment to him.

The fact is that this requires a full investigation into the Ramaphosa family’s relationship with Bosasa. This investigation should cover all payments made to any member of the Ramaphosa family from Bosasa and African Global Operations, and should cover the business relationship between Bosasa and the President’s son. The President should come clean and disclose all payments received by him, his family, and his campaign by Bosasa. We need to find out: Did Ramaphosa solicit the donation? Are contracts awarded to Bosasa payback for their support for the President and his family? These questions can only be answered by a full investigation in Ramaphosa’s family dealings with Bosasa.

His now-standard defence that he “didn’t know” is wearing thin. He claims not to have known about state capture when it was happening right in front of him, and now he claims not to have known about this dodgy payment to his own campaign.

President Ramaphosa may be able to claim that he only found out about VBS too late, but he can’t run from Bosasa quite so easily. Just like VBS, this is another example of how the ANC’s web of corruption works. A company (Bosasa) receives billions in state tenders, then pays bribes to senior ANC figures, and donates money to the ANC and its candidates through hard-to-track trust accounts, all the while looting public money meant for services to the poor.

Only a full investigation and full disclosure by the President will begin to unstitch this web of corruption. The DA will continue our fight to rid South Africa of corruption.

DA to refer explosive new Treasury Reports on State Capture to Zondo Commission

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be writing to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry requesting that the three National Treasury Reports released today, be considered for evidence along with the soon to be finalised Eskom Inquiry Report.

National Treasury released three damning reports which details explosive findings of State Capture at Transnet and Eskom which also implicates McKinsey and Trillian.

These reports paint a picture of how State Capture at state-owned entities (SOE) were seemingly orchestrated by an ANC president, supported by ANC ministers and ANC-appointed executives.

While this looting was transpiring the then Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, would have been privy to Cabinet meetings and discussions around the deployment of executives to essentially pillage our SOEs.

This is reinforced by the fact that Ramaphosa was in charge of reforming SOEs as part of the inter-ministerial committee responsible for overseeing public entities.

The onus is now on Ramaphosa to come clean and set the record straight when he testifies at the Zondo Commission into State Capture. He has a responsibility to play open cards and admit what role his party played in the looting of the public’s money.

Some of the nuggets that have emerged from the three Treasury reports include:

• Eskom and officials at Gupta-owned, Tegeta, contravened section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act. This is in relation to the Optimum Coal Mine purchase with a prepaid payment for coal of R659 million, the coal sampling saga at South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), the prejudice against Glencore in its negotiation and the reduction in a R2.1 billion penalty for Tegeta amongst others.

• The appointment of McKinsey for the Top Engineer Programme at Eskom was not in line with the provisions of Section 217 of the Constitution. Payments made to Gupta-linked Trillian were irregular as Trillian did not have a contract with Eskom. Transnet made irregular payments of R94 million to Trillian.

• Brian Molefe and other Transnet officials allegedly contravened Section 57 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) for failing to take effective and appropriate steps to prevent irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure especially around the locomotive purchases. Transnet Board members failed to act in the best interest of Transnet when they ratified the increase of the acquisition of 1064 locomotives from R38.6 billion to R54.5 billion.

These reports are proof that State Capture was an orchestrated project spearheaded by the ANC.

The time to be transparent is now. Ramaphosa must take the nation into his confidence and detail the ANC’s explicit involvement in State Capture.

The DA will never shy away from holding the ANC accountable for their role in the complete collapse of our once world-class SOEs.

Treasury reports once again find Malusi Gigaba at the heart of State Capture

A series of damning forensic reports on Eskom and Transnet, released by National Treasury today, once again place Malusi Gigaba centre stage as it details the looting and mismanagement at these state-owned entities (SOEs).

Gigaba yesterday resigned as an ANC MP, following hot on the heels of his resignation as Minister of Home Affairs, probably in the vein hope that he can simply walk away from the key role he played in the State Capture project.

Not so. The DA will never allow Gigaba to just walk away.

Part one of National Treasury’s forensic report alone names Gigaba no fewer than 115 times and details his involvement in Transnet’s dodgy locomotive deal with China South Rail.

Specifically, it found that Gigaba signed as a witness when former CEO Brian Molefe signed the contract for 95 locomotives in 2012. It also details how Transnet provided Gigaba with security services amounting to some R675 000 per annum, even though as Minister of Public Enterprises he was already receiving VIP protection.

The report recommends that the Transnet Boards should quantify and recover fruitless and wasteful expenditure at the utility “from the relevant parties”, namely from Malusi Gigaba.

Treasury’s forensic reports will assist us in holding Gigaba accountable. He can never repay South Africa the billions looted from SOEs under his watch, but Gigaba must not be allowed to enjoy a comfortable retirement at taxpayers’ expense.

#VBSHeist: DA lays charges against Supra for his involvement

Note to Editors: Find attached a voiceclip from Joe McGluwa, DA North West Premier Candidate

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West has today laid criminal charges against former Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and Section 6 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA) at the Mmabatho Police Station.

    

    

    

This follows strong allegations citing that he abused his position to facilitate the investment of people’s money with VBS bank, worth R314 million, from four municipalities namely, Madibeng, Moretele, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati and Mahikeng.

Section 6 of POCA states that “any person who (a) acquires; (b) uses; or (c) has possession of, property and who knows or ought reasonably to have known that it is or forms part of the proceeds of unlawful activities of another person, shall be guilty of an offence.”

The looting of VBS will continue to negatively impact service delivery and the lives of those affected, especially people oppressed by poverty.  Many people nearly lost their life savings and the families of the bank’s retrenched employees who have lost a valuable source of income.

The DA is the only party that has continuously fought for justice for those who have been affected by the looting of VBS and we are determined to ensure that the culprits are held accountable.

The SAPS must now investigate these charges to ensure that those responsible for this terrible crime against the people face the full might of the law.

The DA is committed to building One South Africa for All, free from corrupt politicians who abuse their positions for personal enrichment.

You can download the pictures here, here, here and here.

BOKAMOSO | “Bigger mandate” will be a bigger mistake

There is a theory doing the rounds that the best thing for South Africa would be for Cyril Ramaphosa to get a “bigger mandate” in the 2019 elections. Even seasoned political analysts like Carol Paton, Max du Preez and Peter Bruce have succumbed to the illusory allure of this thinking.

I want to interrogate this theory, because it is completely illogical. Unless it is thoroughly debunked, well-meaning people may end up unintentionally contributing to South Africa’s further demise. The reasoning behind the theory is that Ramaphosa only won the ANC presidency by a handful of votes at the ANC’s elective congress at Nasrec in Dec 2017. With such a slim margin, he doesn’t have a strong enough mandate to push through the reforms South Africa needs to get our economy growing. With a bigger mandate he can stand up to the “bad ANC” and fix South Africa.

The first problem with this theory is that it is based on the fallacy that voters are able to give Ramaphosa a mandate. They aren’t. South Africa’s electoral system is one of proportional representation. Voters do not get to vote for individuals, only for parties. Not a single South African will get to vote for Ramaphosa alone. They won’t even get to choose between the “good ANC” and the “bad ANC”.

On the ballot paper, there is only one ANC. The same ANC that has grown the number of unemployed from 3.7 million to 9.8 million people, lost South Africa R500 billion to state capture, put our economy into recession, and produced an illiteracy rate of 80% amongst 10 year-olds.

So a vote for Cyril is really a vote for the ANC which is a vote for failure and corruption. Healthy democracy requires that poor performance is punished at the ballot box. The alternative is impunity and a one party state. When poor performance is rewarded with continued electoral support, the electorate must expect further poor performance. They must also expect continued looting of the state and further conspicuous abuse of power. These are the consequences of the culture of entitlement and impunity that extended incumbency fosters.

If not from voters, where does Cyril get his mandate? It comes from the ANC’s National Executive Committee, which has the power to remove a sitting president on any given day of his presidency. The NEC is packed with the same people who kept Zuma in the presidency for nine disastrous years, only removing him when it came time to save the ANC from committing electoral suicide.

Therefore, Ramaphosa will probably never be as powerful as he is now, before the 2019 election. Because right now, he is the only thing the ANC has going for it, and they know it. Without him, they would be electoral toast in 2019.

(In that sense, Ramaphosa is doing South Africa great harm, acting as a life support system for a party that should be gasping its last breaths, based on its performance. In Zimbabwe, ZANU-PF has survived far longer than it deserves, partly because it also “replaced the face”. Too late, voters are coming to realise that Mnangagwa is no better than Mugabe.)

After 2019, once Ramaphosa has secured another five year term for the ANC, his job will have been done, as far as they are concerned. He will have guaranteed them a further five years of looting. Then, if Ramaphosa steps out of line and tries to hold too many people to account, or tries to bring in too many pesky reforms that threaten the feeding trough, he best beware.

After 2019, the person most keen to see Ramaphosa removed will be Deputy President David “DD” Mabuza. Ramaphosa was elected at Nasrec as ANC president because Mabuza, Premier of Mpumalanga at the time, threw his considerable support in with Ramaphosa, in return for the Deputy Presidency.

He is a ruthless politician who has stopped at nothing to climb the political ladder, as laid out clearly in this New York Times article. He rightly calculated that his quickest path to the presidency would be achieved by supporting Ramaphosa at Nasrec.

Both Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma were pushed out before the end of their presidential terms and replaced with their deputies. Based on this historical record, there is a reasonable chance that Ramaphosa will suffer the same fate, and be replaced by Mabuza.

A Mabuza Presidency would make Zuma’s look mild, and it would open the way for Malema to return to the ANC with the few remaining constitutionalists in that party truly vanquished.

The second problem with the “bigger mandate” theory is that it assumes Ramaphosa is committed to the reforms South Africa needs to get our economy growing at the pace necessary to create jobs on a massive scale. This assumption is based on blind hope rather than fact. Very little in his past record suggests this is the case. But this is a discussion for another article.

(Another ill-considered theory is that the ANC needs a full mandate, so that it is not forced into coalition with the EFF. Once again, this is a topic which requires an article of its own.)

The “bigger mandate” theory simply does not stand up to scrutiny. The sooner we get beyond “big man” politics and start building strong independent institutions that check and balance power, the sooner we will be protected from the likes of Zuma, Mabuza and Malema. These are the institutions envisaged by the Constitution: an independent legislature, judiciary, reserve bank, public protector, and national prosecuting authority. And most importantly, a strong opposition party that will stand up to power, not cozy up to it.

The DA is committed to building these institutions. This is why we support DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach in her decision to stand down as a nominee for National Director of Public Prosecutions, even though we believe she would perform her duties brilliantly, independently and without fear or favour. The culture of “big man” politics is so pervasive in South Africa that political interference in our institutions is seen as the norm. So, we believe it is not enough for the NDPP to be independent. She must also be seen to be independent.

In 2019, a vote for Ramaphosa will be a vote for the ANC and for DD Mabuza. A vote for the DA will be a vote for the Constitutional values of strong, independent institutions and honest, capable government for all.

CRC decision is populist proof that a vote for the ANC is a vote for the EFF

Land reform, including land restitution, is a justice issue as millions of South Africans remain disempowered as they do not own land – both urban and rural – in their own right. This is the legacy of centuries of deliberate government action to halt the accumulation and transfer of wealth for the majority of South Africans.

Yesterday’s vote by the ANC, NFP and EFF coalition in the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) to adopt a recommendation that section 25 of the Constitution be amended to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation is nothing more than a populist move to rig the economy in favour of the politically connected. South Africans will now be at the behest of powerful politicians, choosing who can have access to land and who cannot. Such power residing in the hands of a few politicians has resulted in mass injustices in countries such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

This decision to meddle with the Constitution proves that the ANC has outsourced national policy to a fringe socialist party. This agreement is populist proof that a vote for the ANC is a vote for EFF and vice versa. This decision will increase political uncertainty, decrease investor confidence and further polarise the country.

The Constitution has never been a hurdle to land reform in democratic South Africa. ANC lack of political will, under-budgeting and endemic corruption is the impediment to justice in the country.

Even after oral presentations by over 50 organisations in Parliament, over half a million written submissions and 34 public hearings across the country, this nine-month farce has actually been about cloaking ANC failure to implement meaningful land reform. After the ANC voted against this barely a year ago, they have now done a deal with the EFF, adopting word for word the EFF’s proposal.

The DA opposed the amendment of the Constitution, in favour of real and meaningful land reform. The fact that DA-led governments have succeeded in more than 60% of land reform projects against a shocking national average of barely 10% shows what is possible within the law. We fundamentally believe that South Africans ought to own land and property in their own right, and not be forever dependent on government.

While the land issue is about justice and cannot go unaddressed, empty ANC and EFF promises to redress the original sin cannot be used as camouflage for failed ANC governance. It is an insult to the conscience of the people of South Africa.

We need a land policy that aides and empowers black South Africans with adequate funding of land reform programmes, an honest commitment from the ANC government and to exhaust other mechanisms and legislative interventions. Amending the Constitution will not achieve this.

Section 25 is not simply a constitutional defence of property rights. It is the mechanism through which those left behind can be economically empowered through ownership of property and land in their own right. Yesterday’s decision is an assault on such economic empowerment.

South Africa remains a country of economic ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ and ANC-EFF coalition disguised as righteousness is a betrayal of black South African living outside the economy. The DA will continue to build One South Africa For All – that upholds the Constitution and the rights of citizens.

Constitutional Review Committee recommendations a complete farce

This statement follows a joint-opposition press conference at Parliament by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Congress of the People (COPE), Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). 

Today, in a convenient coalition, the ANC, NFP and EFF voted to take land rights away from South Africans and decided to use their majority to recommend that Parliament should amend Section 25 to allow for land expropriation without compensation. The Democratic Alliance (DA), the Congress of the People (COPE), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) oppose this amendment and voted against the adoption of the Constitutional Review Committee’s flawed report.

The vote on expropriation without compensation allows government the perfect cover to avoid having to explain their rank failure over the past two decades to take land reform seriously.

That is why the ANC has adopted it with such enthusiasm when they voted against it last year.

From the outset, the ANC has sought to undermine the work and processes of the Committee in an attempt to expedite their electioneering tactics.

We are of the view that the Parliamentary process was merely a formality and that the adoption of this report was in fact a forgone conclusion.

The Opposition does not oppose land reform, we oppose the amendment of the Constitution.

We want to make it unequivocally clear that we are committed to redressing the violent history of land dispossession in this country.

The land issue is a delicate and sensitive one. It is indeed a social justice imperative which all South African must rally around.

Sadly, the land issue has been used by some political parties as a political gimmick to score cheap political points and to further deepen the divisions in our society.

South Africa requires a land policy which empowers and supports black beneficiaries of land reform through the adequate funding of programmes and genuine commitment from government. Changing the Constitution will not do this.

South Africa does not have a Constitutional problem, we have an ANC problem.

The Constitution is not the barrier to land reform, but corruption, constrained budgets and a lack of political will on the part of the ruling ANC have contributed to the delays in land redistribution process.

The ANC and the EFF have essentially pushed this report through the Committee, despite errors in procedure that have been willfully committed by the Committee and some of its members.

The Opposition is of the view that the final report is flawed as integral parts of the report are yet to be finalised.

All submissions should be treated equally, and the Committee failed in its duty to include all valid submissions as this was not done for written submission in the process. Hundreds of thousands of written submissions were arbitrarily disregarded and access to all submissions was limited. The committee has thus not engaged, meaningfully or at all, with the contents of the written submissions.

While the CRC’s public hearings were still underway, President Ramaphosa pre-empted the outcome of the process with his late-night announcement that expropriation without compensation would proceed regardless. This had the effect of silencing those not yet heard by the committee. Additionally, the public hearings were characterised by high levels of intimidation and bullying with incidents of racial attacks on, and threats against speakers casting further doubt over the integrity of the process.

Expropriation without compensation holds a real and tangible threat not only to existing land rights of all South Africans but also threatens investment, the banking industry and food security due to the fact that “property” is not limited to land.

Expropriation without compensation does not address the real constraints in land reform. Other constraints including increasing evidence of corruption by officials, the diversion of the land reform budget to elites, lack of political will, inefficiency  and lack of training and capacity have proved to be the real stumbling blocks to land reform.

The current Constitutional provisions adequately allows for progressive land reform, restitution and the protection of tenure security and land rights. Successful land reform doesn’t require amending the Constitution.

Other mechanisms and legislative measures have not been exhausted.  Parliament through the failed leadership of the ANC has not enacted appropriate legislation to lend effect to constitutional provisions that currently exist.

South Africa suffers from a history of systematic exclusion of black people from land ownership, facilitated by discriminatory laws. The effect of this dispossession was to destroy the intergenerational wealth creation potential of black families, and to leave many South Africans without legally protected ownership of land. It is a betrayal of these communities that the real issues in land reform is not going to be addressed by the failing ANC and their enablers.

Gigaba resignation cop-out to avoid Ethics Committee and ensure benefits

The DA notes the resignation of former Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, as an ANC Member of Parliament.

Gigaba’s 11th hour resignation is taken straight from the playbook of disgraced former deputy minister and convicted abuser, Mduduzi Manana, who resigned in July also to avoid going before Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests and to safeguard his benefits.

We are treated to a repeat of an ANC classic. Yet again a senior member of the ANC has avoided accountability by resigning once the writing was clearly on the wall. Yet again ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has been spared the task of taking an errand minister and long-serving ANC lieutenant to task.

President Ramaphosa has once again failed to show leadership by giving Gigaba, and himself, the easy way out. Like Manana and convicted fraudster Tony Yengeni, Gigaba will continue to serve on the ANC’s National Executive Committee and will no doubt be redeployed somewhere else in the organisation.

The Public Protector clearly instructed Ramaphosa to provide the National Assembly with “a report on any action taken or to be taken in regard to [her report].” Ramaphosa’s letter to the NA today effectively says “nothing to report” and merely notes that he has accepted Gigaba’s resignation.

South Africa has an accountability problem and, time and again, the ANC shows us how not to deal with those found wanting in court. The message from the ANC is clear: make hay while the sun shines, then simply walk away when the good times are over.

SAA still overpaying by 200% despite new CEO and Board

Today the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, confirmed that fraudulent and corrupt practices at SAA are still ongoing, costing South Africans billions in tax money.

In a written response to my question, Gordhan states that “[c]orruption in procurement is a major problem in both SAA and SA Express”, adding that procurement of some commodities from middlemen inflates costs by 150 – 200%.

Gordhan not-so-reassuringly claims that this fraudulent practice will be stopped entirely soon. But it raises the question: why has this corruption in procurement been allowed to continue despite the appointment of a new CEO and reconfigured Board?

It is outrageous that the ANC government is supporting yet another R5 billion bailout for SAA precisely as this procurement corruption is continuing unabated.

Only last week, SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana admitted that the struggling airline had already spent R3 billion of this bailout on paying arrears, meaning that these very middlemen are being paid even though Parliament has not yet considered or approved the bailout.

Gordhan’s board reshuffle and bailout strategy has not rooted out corruption and inefficiencies at SAA. The only solution is to place SAA under business rescue, where corrupt contracts with dodgy middlemen can be terminated immediately.

DA governments continue to lead the charge in job creation, says Maimane

Please find attached soundbites in English and isiXhosa by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, following a visit to African fin-tech company, Yoco, this afternoon.

Today, Wednesday 14 November 2018, Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, paid a visit to Yoco, an African fin-tech company at the cutting edge of helping small businesses and entrepreneurs establish themselves, become successful, and create new jobs.

Founded only three years ago, the company’s innovative card payments solutions have radically simplified access to markets and operating costs of more than 30 000 small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout South Africa.

The greatest challenge that we face as a nation today is that there are too many South Africans without jobs and who remain locked out of the economy. South Africa is a country made up of economic ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders.’ Today, our nation’s new heroes are those who create work for the almost 10 million South Africans who do not have or have given up looking for jobs” said Maimane.

He added that “It is by partnering with innovative businesses such as Yoco that DA-led Governments continue to lead the charge in job creation. Between the third quarters of 2017 and 2018, 50% of all new jobs were created in the DA-run Western Cape.”

Maimane was joined by DA Western Cape Premier Candidate, Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schafer, DA Western Cape Deputy Leader, Albert Fritz, Team One SA Spokesperson on Access to Jobs, Geordin Hill-Lewis, and DA Cape Metro Chairperson, Grant Twigg.