“Malikanegate”: Time to fire Professor Chris Malikane immediately!

The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, must now act decisively and fire his economic advisor, Professor Chris Malikane, for suggesting that people “take up arms” to achieve “radical economic transformation” in South Africa.
The minister says that Professor Chris Malikane has been “reined in” and told to “keep quiet”. But Professor Chris Malikane says the minister cannot tell him to “keep his mouth shut”. Up until now, Professor Chris Malikane has made a fool of the minister by ignoring his instruction to “keep quiet”.
However, things have now come to a head: Professor Chris Malikane crossed a “red line” in our constitutional democracy when he pivoted from warning about “civil war” to calling for “civil war” in South Africa. Speaking at an event last night, Professor Chris Malikane reportedly suggested that people may have to “take up arms” to achieve “radical economic transformation” in South Africa.
The fact is that it is complete madness for the minister’s economic advisor to be allowed to suggest that people “take up arms” to achieve “radical economic transformation” in South Africa.
These are exactly the kind of reckless statements that undermine investor confidence and discourage private sector investment, which are desperately needed to boost economic growth and create jobs in South Africa.
The minister must now try to save himself by acting decisively to stop the bleeding by immediately: making a public statement distancing himself from his economic advisor’s mad ideas; and firing Professor Chris Malikane as his economic advisor at National Treasury.
In the end, the minister can run but he cannot hide from “Malikanegate” because I will be holding the minister’s feet to the fire for his reckless decision to appoint Professor Chris Malikane during “Question Time” on Wednesday 10 May 2017 in Parliament.

There is now a risk Malusi Gigaba may delay the implementation of the Fica Bill

There is now a risk that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, may delay the implementation of the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill [B33D-2015], which is one of the most important legislative weapons in the fight against corruption in South Africa.
The Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill provides for the ongoing monitoring of the business relationships, sources of wealth and sources of funds of “domestic prominent influential persons”, and family members and close associates of “domestic prominent influential persons”, in South Africa.
What this means is that President Jacob Zuma and his most important clients, the Guptas, are going to feel the heat as their business relationships, sources of wealth and sources of funds are subjected to ongoing monitoring by financial institutions in South Africa.
However, the battle is far from over and there could still be significant delays in implementing the legislation because, despite being signed into law by President Jacob Zuma, the legislation only actually commences on a date to be determined by the minister and published in the Government Gazette.
The Financial Intelligence Centre must, for example, still produce an official list of “domestic prominent influential persons” and of family members and known close associates of “domestic prominent influential persons”.
This will be a massive task because the list of “domestic prominent influential persons” includes, for example, senior executives, as well as family members and close associates of senior executives, of all companies supplying goods and services above a threshold amount, which must be determined by the minister and published in the Government Gazette.
There are also doubts about whether the Financial Intelligence Centre, which only has a budget of R289 million for 2017/18, will have the resources to effectively implement the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill.
The minister will no doubt be under political pressure to delay the implementation of the legislation to protect his political master’s most important clients, the Guptas.
The minister should, therefore, take decisive action and set out clear timeframes and budgets for the implementation of the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill.
Whatever the case, we will have to very carefully monitor the implementation of the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill.
And I will, therefore, be requesting the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim, to schedule a meeting to probe the readiness of the Financial Intelligence Centre to implement the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill in South Africa.

Eskom must account before Parliament for alleged nuclear pay-offs

The DA will today write to the Chair of Chairpersons to request that Eskom is urgently summoned to appear before Parliament, to account for the damning allegations that the entity has paid off anti-nuclear research groups.
According to a report released by amaBhugane, Eskom has allegedly paid the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) millions of rands in exchange for their silence on government’s nuclear aspirations.
These two research groups have in the past been among the most critical voices against the nuclear deal, and if these allegations are true, two well respected South African research foundations have been discredited because of greed and corruption.
This sets a very dangerous precedent for the lengths that Jacob Zuma’s government will go to, to force a nuclear deal through. This also shows that the government is not rolling out the nuclear option in good faith at all, but seemingly stooping to depths of “paying off” opponents to nuclear.
These allegations are serious and are indicative of the alleged rot of corruption that has captured our government and state entities.
Parliament must now investigate these allegations. At a time when the “nuclear question” is of national importance, we cannot allow Eskom to allegedly pay off opposing voices.
The DA will continue to fight against the onslaught of state capture that is so devastatingly impacting our economy already, and will only impoverish our country.

UCT must immediately unban artworks

The DA will today write to University of Cape Town Vice-Chancellor, Dr Max Price, and Chairperson of Council of the University of Cape Town (UCT), Dr Sipho Pityana, to request that the University immediately unban the 75 or so artworks that have been removed from public display or covered up in the past year.
We also expect Price and Pityana to clarify the exact details of which artworks are on the “banning” list, and to name the 23 works of art that were destroyed through burning in February 2016.
The Groundup publication has provided a provisional listing of the banned artworks, and if this list is correct it vividly brings to life the sinister actions of the University. Some of South Africa’s most significant artists are included in the list, including Breyten Breytenbach, Christo Coetzee, Steven Cohen, Mia Couvaras, Pieter Hugo, Vusi Khumalo, Lucky Sibiya, Pippa Skotnes, Irma Stern and Sue Williamson.
Breytenbach yesterday spoke out against his works being banned in a scathing open letter.
Banning an artwork is just as bad as taking a book from a library and burning it. Such actions prevent students from critically engaging with arts and literature.
It is difficult to comprehend that one of our leading Universities, known for its commitment to openness and free speech, and dedicated to the support and curation of the creations of many of South Africa’s best artists, should have indulged this kind of censorship, akin to the censorship and banning of literature, film, theatre and art by the apartheid government.
It is entirely unsurprising that the great photographer David Goldblatt has decided that his priceless collection will no longer be housed by UCT. A shutdown of academic debate and artistic discourse is clearly afoot at UCT.
The DA urges the University to reverse the decisions of the Orwellian “Artworks Task Team” and to restore these works to their rightful place in the University’s buildings.

DA congratulates Gift Ngoepe on ground-breaking debut in Major League Baseball

The DA congratulates Gift Ngoepe for becoming the first player from the African continent to make his debut in a Major League Baseball game in the United States of America, which took place on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Ngoepe, from Polokwane, marked the occasion by getting a single for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The DA is proud to see a rising star of Ngoepe’s calibre break barriers to become the first African-born player in a Major League baseball game. He has done our nation proud.
We encourage other aspirant sports players to use Ngoepe’s achievement as an inspiration for them to reach the highest levels of success.
Ngoepe was rated by Baseball America as the “Best Defensive Infielder” in the Pirates minor league each of the last five seasons (2013-2017), and his graduation into the Major League is moment to celebrate for all of South Africa and indeed our continent.
DA supports the grassroots development of sports in South Africa and encourages more young people to pursue the sporting codes of their choice. Government must take the inspiration of Gift Ngoepe to do more for local sporting development in our communities.

A new fight for freedom starts now

Note to editors: The following remarks were delivered by the Democratic Alliance Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the Freedom Movement Rally at the Caledonian Stadium in Tshwane today.
My fellow South Africans,
It gives me great pleasure to call you that: my fellow South Africans. Because that is what we are today.
Yes, we come from different political parties, trade unions, churches and civil society groups, but today we are here as South Africans.
We stand united by nothing other than our love for our country.
We’ve been here before. On this day in 1994 South Africans came together to vote for a new future.
It was an incredible day.
We showed the world that the spirit of the South African people cannot be crushed.
We showed that we can unite in the pursuit of a better life.
We showed that we are a people who love freedom, and we are prepared to fight for it.
Today we are here as a movement of South Africans, brought together by our common goal: Freedom for all who live here.
We represent political parties.
We represent labour movements.
We represent civil society groups – churches, non-governmental organisations, universities and business.
We have come together to save our democracy from a corrupt government.
We have come together because we believe that freedom must be fought for in every generation.
We have come together because we believe unity is strength.
Unity doesn’t mean you’re the same. It means you’re together.
Today we stand together. United in our diversity.
Under the banner of the Freedom Movement, we will channel the hope and the passion of millions of South Africans who believe in the future of this great nation.
I am privileged to share the stage today with leaders from across the spectrum.
Leaders like Mosioua Lekota from COPE and Bantu Holomisa from UDM.
Leaders like Giet Khosa, from the National Religious Leaders Council, Wayne Duvenhage from OUTA, Prince Mashele representing academia and civic leader, Zelda la Grange.
We are also honoured to have the support of a man who has dedicated his entire life to the pursuit of freedom for all South Africans, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
We may all be from different backgrounds, but today we stand here as allies.
All of us have seen what happens when you give one man too much power.
We have seen what happens when one party is in power for too long.
Together, we are building a new movement to realign politics as we know it.
And, together, we extend a hand of friendship to other parties and individuals who want to join us.
Fellow South Africans,
When I look to the future of this country, I see beyond the divisions of the past.
When I look to the future, I see past the narrow party politics of the present.
When I look to the future, I see people who aren’t defined by their political choices. People who no longer have to say “I am ANC” or “I am COSATU” or “I am DA”.
When I look to the future, I see a new political formation in power.
A new political formation of leaders from across the political spectrum.
A new political formation free of corruption and free of corrupting influences.
A new political formation that defends our Constitution.
A new political formation of, and for, the people.
A new political formation united in the pursuit of prosperity for all.
Because the old order is dying and a new struggle is born.
The old order gave us corruption, looting and the abuse of power.
It gave us an oppressive government that abuses state institutions to fight its fights and settle its scores.
It saw millions of people trapped in poverty and unemployment.
But we’re witnessing the dying kicks of the old order, and the rise of a new struggle.
A new fight against oppression begins today.
A new fight for opportunities begins today.
A new fight for freedom starts now.
Thank you.

SAA strike is merely a symptom of a deeper crisis

We welcome the court interdict putting an end to the strike by cabin crew employed at South African Airways.
However, today’s strike, which has caused the cancellation of 32 flights, and has left thousands of passengers stranded at airports throughout the country, is a symptom of a much deeper crisis at South African Airways.
The fact is that Dudu Myeni, who behaves less like a chairperson, and more like a “corporate warlord”, has run the national airline into the ground, and bankrupted South African Airways.
A staggering loss of R4.5 billion is projected for 2016/17, which adds to the R1.5 billion loss in 2015/16 and R5.6 billion loss in 2014/15.
A total of R19.1 billion worth of government guarantees have apparently already been exhausted, which means that South African Airways will likely need a further bailout long before the end of the 12 month “going concern” period claimed by the national airlines directors and verified by external auditors in 2016.
The fact is that South African Airways is now in a crisis which effects the sovereign credit rating of South Africa.
I have, therefore, written to the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim, requesting him to schedule an urgent meeting with South African Airways on 04 or 05 May 2017 in Parliament.
We cannot sit back and allow things to continue like this; we have to step in and stop the rot at South African Airways.

Instead of building homes, DHS wastes almost R5 million on workshops

The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) has admitted, in a written reply to a DA parliamentary question, that the department and its 7 entities needlessly spent over R4.8 million on workshops and conferences between 2014 and 2016.
The DHS was the biggest spender and splurged over R1.8 million in this period.
The DA is not opposed to government officials receiving training and learning to improve their skills to provide services to our people. However, upon closer examination, these workshops and conferences show a clear duplication and a tendency for hosting these events at luxury hotels and lodges such as 15 on Orange in Cape Town.
The exorbitant expenditure on these events, during a period where National Treasury continuously warned against spending on non-essential services, appears reckless and financially imprudent, and is quite frankly a slap in the face of the poor.
The R4.8 million spent on these workshops in total could have provided 40 RDP houses to those in need.
The DA will now write to Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to establish what austerity measures she has initiated, if any, in her department as part of National Treasury’s cost-cutting initiatives.
After 23 years of democracy, millions of South Africans still do not own title-deeds, yet the department responsible for building homes for our people, would rather waste money on luxury hotels and lodges.

Eskom Must Halt All Work on the Nuclear Deal Immediately

The Court ruling today by the Western Cape High Court is a victory for all South Africans. The Court’s findings have greatly narrowed government’s ability to legitimately procure additional nuclear capacity.
The DA will now work to ensure that Eskom halts all work on the nuclear procurement process and will seek to guarantee that no Request for Proposal (RFP) is issued. Any attempts by Eskom to subvert the decision of the court will be challenged by the DA.
What does this mean for government’s nuclear deal?
Simply put, it means that there is no legal decision by government to procure nuclear – nuclear procurement is halted.
The Court has ruled that all Requests for Information (RFI) and potential RFPs pursuant to the outdated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and Section 34 Ministerial Determinations are set aside with immediate effect. This means that Eskom must cease all work being done on nuclear procurement with immediate effect.
The judgement also suggests that future Section 34 Ministerial Determinations will be subject to public participation and require that all necessary information regarding the determination be made publically available – this would include costing and affordability assessments. We welcome this order as it will ensure much needed transparency over nuclear procurement going forward.
The court has argued that the necessary procurement processes and procedures were not completely followed. The Energy Minister and National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) were supposed to finalise the amount of nuclear and process beforehand. The following three points came out of the verdict:
• The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between Russia and South Africa for 9600MW has been set aside.
• Deals with South Korea and USA have also been set aside.
• The Section 34 determination made in 2013 by the previous Minister of Energy, Miss Joemat-Pettersson, to procure nuclear power has also been set aside as unlawful and unconstitutional.
The fight to block nuclear now returns to Parliament and the DA will use all powers at its disposal to block this unaffordable and corrupt deal.

James Aguma must be suspended for driving the SABC into the ground

The Acting Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the SABC, James Aguma, must be suspended for overseeing the plunder of the public broadcaster’s cash reserves, pending the conclusion of a forensic investigation.  The DA will write to the chairperson of the SABC Interim Board, Khanyisile Kweyama, requesting the immediate suspension of the Acting GCEO, pending a forensic investigation into the SABC’s finances.
The Auditor-General’s (A-G) office yesterday confirmed to the Portfolio Committee on Communications that the SABC’s cash reserves declined from R1.5 billion in 2014 to R200 million in December 2016.
Not only has this left the SABC as barely a “going concern”, it is at risk of being forced to cease operations, unable to pay its staff and meet its obligations.Cash reserves refer to money which the SABC should have saved to cover any
Cash reserves refer to money which the SABC should have saved to cover any emergency. According to treasury regulations, the liquidity requirement of SABC is allegedly R650m a month on average.
This is a situation that Aguma, its Acting GCEO, and former CFO, was aware of and he should have taken steps to protect the public broadcaster’s cash reserves.
Aguma is complicit, and in fact, central, along with Hlaudi Motsoeneng, for the current dire straits the SABC is in and should be held accountable.
Pending the conclusion of a forensic investigation, Aguma must be suspended, particularly as he still has access to the SABC’s financial documents and could interfere with witnesses.
Aguma is a sad cautionary tale of what happens if you sell your soul to the devil.  A talented Chartered Accountant, he was allegedly head-hunted by Motsoeneng from the A-G’s office, and served as the SABC’s Acting CFO from March 2014 to December 2014, its CFO from January 2015 to June 2016, and Acting GCEO to date.
During this time, Aguma served as Motsoeneng’s “first lieutenant”  defending him, appearing next to him in court cases, providing financial backing for his various madcap decisions. He used his skills as an auditor to wrap the wool around the public’s eyes about the true state of the public broadcaster’s finances.
It will be a sad end to what could have been a stellar career, but held accountable, he must.