A shocking 3% of house-breakings end in convictions

The fact that a mere 3% of house breakings result in convictions is a shocking indictment on both the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Justice system and is a clear indication of a failure to ensure that those responsible for these crimes are first arrested and then convicted for their crimes.
The Victims of Crime Survey, focusing on house-breaking and robbery, released today by Statistics South Africa, details that:

  • Out of all housebreaking/burglaries reported to police, an arrest was made in only 19% of cases – meaning that the SAPS failed to make any arrest in 81% of cases reported; and
  • The conviction rate for housebreakings/burglaries was only 14.3%.

This means that out of all house-breaking or burglaries reported, just 3% resulted in a conviction.
The SAPS are responsible for making South Africa safer, yet if arrests are made in only 19% of all cases, there is a serious problem which must be addressed urgently if South Africans are to ever feel safe in their homes. An 81% failure rate, in addressing hose-breakings, is a truly dire indictment on Minister Mbalula’s Department.
I will, therefore, submit parliamentary questions to get to the bottom of the reasons for the shockingly low number of arrests. Parliament deserves answers on what the Department of Police is doing to improve the SAPS performance on house-breakings.
South Africans deserve to feel safe yet the SAPS is blatantly failing at their mandate.

Zuma killed the ANC. We won’t let him kill South Africa.

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane MP, during the Budget Vote on The Presidency.

Madam Speaker
Honourable Members
Fellow South Africans
Like many South Africans I grew up believing in the ANC as the party of liberation.
It was the party of my parents. The party that turned this country around and set our course for a future that was infinitely better than our painful past.
Back then, the ANC made life better for millions of South Africans.
It brought clean water, electricity, street lights and waste collection to places that had none.
It built RDP houses all over the country.
It introduced a social grant system that shielded the vulnerable from the harsh impact of poverty.
In those early days the ANC truly was the party of and for the people.
But it didn’t last.
One by one, honourable leaders made way for opportunists until nothing remained of the original movement.
I could not have imagined that the party that liberated us would end up captured and corrupted. The party of Oliver Reginald Tambo, whose name is invoked by every ANC speaker in these debates.
We would do well to remember what Albie Sachs said about Tambo, and I quote:

“Anyone claiming to speak in the name of Oliver Tambo would know… that his intrinsic sense of political honour made him totally and utterly opposed to attempts by people to use the name of the struggle for material accumulation, personal or family enrichment… or individual ambition.”

Honourable Members,
Every time you mention OR Tambo you remind us how far the ANC has fallen.
It pains me to say that the ANC of Oliver Tambo doesn’t exist anymore, and hasn’t for many years.
So what happened?
This happened. This man happened. He killed the ANC.
Make no mistake, it was already wounded before he plunged the knife in – weakened by a culture of patronage and corruption and crippled by cadre deployment.
But he struck the final blow. He wiped out Oliver Tambo’s legacy to make himself rich.
First he killed the ANC and now he is killing our country.
Honourable Speaker,
Today we vote on the budget of the Presidency.
But we cannot stand here and pretend that we’re voting on a budget that will serve the people of this country.
We cannot ignore the fact that the President of the Republic has made a crooked deal with a crooked family, and now they own him.
We cannot ignore the fact that the President appoints cabinet ministers and board members of State-Owned Companies according to this family’s instructions, because that’s part of their deal.
We cannot ignore the fact that our President has opened the doors of our Treasury to this family – to give them mines, contracts, advertising revenue – because that is the crux of their deal.
We cannot stand here and pretend that the Presidency is anything other than the headquarters of the Gupta empire, with President Zuma fronting for them.
The budget we’re voting on today is nothing more than a sponsorship deal for a corrupt syndicate.
If we vote for it, we support a budget for a Mafia shadow state.
Section 85 of the Constitution says that the executive authority of the Republic is vested in the President. So why is ours vested in Dubai?
This is a budget for President Gupta. Keep that in mind when you cast your vote.
Honourable Speaker,
Our nation is facing crisis after crisis.
Nine million people wake up every day knowing that they won’t find work.
We have a junk status economy and investors are leaving our shores.
Our education system is considered among the very worst in the world.
Our children disappear every day. Women are raped and murdered every day.
These are the things our President should be talking about, but he says nothing.
They are the things we should all be talking about. But here we are, discussing emails and how President Zuma sold our country.
First he killed the ANC and now he is killing our country.
And the question is: What did you, the ANC, do about it? Because it was within your power to stop him.
If you had the will and the conviction to do the right thing – to do your sworn duty to your country – you would have stopped him.
If you could see beyond the factional loyalties, the perks and the privileges, the Gupta party line, you would have stopped him.
But you weren’t prepared to do that, were you? Because if you were, you would have done so a long time ago.
You’ve had plenty of opportunities.
On six occasions in the past seven years you could have supported a Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma. But you didn’t.
You could have recalled him when the Constitutional Court found that he had violated the Constitution. But you didn’t.
You could have removed him from office when the State Capture Report implicated him in corruption on a grand scale. But you didn’t.
You could have removed him on the weekend after thousands of emails linked him to the corrupt Gupta empire. But you didn’t.
Instead you rallied around him every single time.
President Zuma first. South Africa last.
Guptas first. South Africa last.
ANC first. South Africa last.
Honourable Members, you had the courage to remove the Apartheid government. Now you cannot find the courage to remove one man.
You have shown South Africa your true colours.
You have shown us that South Africa doesn’t have a President Zuma problem. It doesn’t even have a Gupta problem. It has an ANC problem.
The truth is President Zuma and the ANC are one and the same. And that’s why the ANC cannot fix itself.
Any new leader at the top will just be a new front for the same corruption and the same looting.
You have left South Africans no choice but to vote the ANC out of government.
The ANC’s funeral will be held in 2019, but it is already dead.
Fellow South Africans,
We dare not languish in hopelessness. When things fall apart, they fall into place.
President Zuma may have killed the ANC, but we will not let him kill South Africa.
We have a vision of a South Africa that has reinvented itself and is flourishing under a new government.
We have a vision of a South Africa that belongs to all and that works for all who live in it.
We have a vision of a South Africa where every young person has opportunities to become whatever they want to be.
Freedom. Fairness. Opportunity.
To make this vision a reality will require many allies. It will require the cooperation of every party and every person who shares our dream for an inclusive, forward-looking South Africa.
It will also require collaboration with the good men and women who remain in these benches to my right, torn between their love for their country and their loyalty to a party that no longer exists.
This is not about the colour of your T-shirt and it is not about the colour of your skin.
All that matters is that you want what’s best for the 56 million people of this country.
Anyone who agrees with the values that form the foundation of our plan to rebuild South Africa is welcome on board.
These values are: constitutionalism, inclusive economic growth, non-racialism, a capable state and zero tolerance for corruption.
If we can agree on these things, then we can work together to rebuild this country the way we want it to be. No corruption, no stealing, no state capture and no Guptas.
Honourable Speaker,
I know we have allies in the opposition benches. I also know we have allies out there in business, in labour, in civil society and in churches.
But I’m counting on our allies here in these ANC benches too.
Because if you want the same things for our country – and if you cannot stand what has been allowed to happen under President Zuma and the Guptas – then we should be on the same side.
We should be building a post-ANC South Africa together.
In this post-ANC South Africa, we will put the education of our children first by supporting poor schools to become centres of excellence. No child will be left behind.
We will work hard to create a range of education, training and work opportunities for all young people leaving school.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will recognise the important role investors and entrepreneurs play in creating jobs and fighting poverty.
We will modernise our economy and we will invest in industries that make us globally competitive.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will double the Police Force and we will secure our borders, but we will also look at ways to attract skills and talent from across the continent.
We will choose our global friends well, and then stand by them in their time of need.
Friends such as my Zambian counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema, who was thrown in jail by a corrupt government. He will know he can count on the support of the South African government.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will do all we can to create opportunities for people to stand on their own two feet and escape the dependency on social grants. But, for those who need them, we will double the grant income.
In this post-ANC South Africa we will elect a president who will use the Presidency budget to serve the people, and not to stay out of jail.
Honourable Speaker,
This is our plan to bring our country back on track. And parts of this plan are already underway.
Our new coalition governments in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay are already making inroads into reversing the damage left behind in these cities.
In these metros we have tarred new roads, launched new metro police, narcotics and K9 units, handed over thousands of title deeds, launched new housing projects and slashed perks for politicians.
Coalition governments are never easy, but we are making them work for the people of these cities. And we can make them work in national government too.
But it will require a big shift in the way we all think of our roles in building South Africa.
It will require many of you to accept that the ANC you once knew no longer exists.
Jacob Zuma killed that ANC. We will not let him kill South Africa too.
I thank you.

Eskom: Molefe fiasco demands our full-scale Inquiry request proceeds

The DA has written to Public Enterprises Committee Acting Chair Zukiswa Rantho, demanding answers for the delay in constituting what we believe to be a most urgent full scale Parliamentary Inquiry into the rot at Eskom.
The announcement today that Brian Molefe’s return to Eskom must be rescinded shows that governance at Eskom has crumbled.
Only a full-scale Parliamentary inquiry has the capacity to get to the bottom of the rot at Eskom. It must be constituted and scheduled immediately. It is abundantly clear that the Eskom Board has acted like a law unto itself and parliament must rein it in.
The DA believes that ANC efforts to establish alternative investigations into Eskom, and the Brian Molefe fiasco, are nothing but distractions. Only Parliament has the Constitutional power to truly probe the full scale of the crisis and capture of Eskom.
The Special Investigative Unit (SIU), which Minister Brown wants to investigate only certain procurement issues at Eskom, reports to President Zuma and will be empowered by a Presidential proclamation – this will essentially allow the Gupta-captured President to lead the investigation into the Gupta-captured Eskom procurement deals with Gupta companies. It is clear to the DA that this will be nothing but a sham.
The SIU investigation will be nothing but the ANC Zuma-Gupta cohort investigating the Gupta-capture of Eskom, behind closed doors. This can never be considered impartial or transparent.
In the Select Committee on Public Enterprises at Parliament today, it was confirmed that a forensic company has now been instructed to investigate the destruction of key documents linked to Molefe’s contracts, after the DA raised the fact that documents were possibly being destroyed. We welcome this investigation, but it shows that Eskom insiders are intent on the Brian Molefe fiasco not being properly investigated.
The DA will continue to push for the Parliamentary inquiry as this is the only way we, and the South African public, can trust that the the full extent of the rot at Eskom will be brought to light and that those responsible will be forced to admit and then account.

No, We Won’t Stop Fighting for a Better Parliament

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen MP, during the Budget Vote on Parliament.
House Chairperson,
A few weeks ago, as the Speaker was beating a hasty retreat from the newly constituted Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament (JSCFMP), she had an emotional outburst where she asked me a very interesting question. She said, and I quote, “don’t you ever get tired of fighting?”
Given events at the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) over the weekend, perhaps the Speaker should rather have been directing that question to colleagues in her own party!
Nevertheless, this weekend’s meeting of the NEC and the release of emails confirm the fact that President Zuma’s cabinet is captured by an extensive network of parasitic vampires who are sucking the very lifeblood from our state and the State-Owned Entities.
They have set up a parallel government that operates through mutually nefarious means and evades all forms of accountability through its tentacles that extend all the way from the Union Buildings, right through organs of state like the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and reach deep down into local municipalities.
Two things have emerged, as clear as daylight, from this weekend’s events:
1. South Africa doesn’t have a Jacob Zuma problem, it has an ANC problem – the rot in the ANC goes deep and wide.
2. The ANC knows what the problem is; their alliance partners know what the problem is (which is why Mr Zuma is no longer welcome at their events); South Africans know what the problem is; religious bodies know what the problem is (which is why they have taken to the streets in record numbers not seen since the advent of democracy); and those commentators and ANC members who keep holding out for the “self-correction” are going to grow old waiting for something they will never see. The ANC is incapable of self-correction and it will be up to the voters to force the spring of correction through the ballot box.
And that is why Parliament cannot continue to turn a half glance to the seriousness of the crisis our nation faces through capture of our state. This is exactly why the Leader of the Opposition has proposed that this House establishes an ad hoc committee to probe the extent of state capture.
Witnesses must be subpoenaed, documents must be demanded and those Ministers implicated must face full and proper enquiry by this House. The Constitution gave us the power to do this and we must exercise those powers on behalf of the people to get to the bottom of this scourge and expose and remove this network, root and branch, from our government, State-Owned Entities and wherever it has planted its poisonous roots.
Simply chipping away in individual committees may expose some of the branches but will not deal with the rotten root. That will require a broad and overreaching enquiry that will be able to get a full picture of the extent of the problem. Parliament must do the job that the framers of our constitution intended it to do.
What should a Parliament do?
The Constitution is explicit on what we should be doing as Parliament and section 42(3) sets out very simply the four things we must do:
1. Choose a President;
2. Providing a national forum for the public consideration of issues;
3. Pass legislation;
4. Scrutinize and oversee executive action.
Now you can have all the plans, protocols, intentions and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you like, and we have listened to the Speaker rattling off how well she thinks Parliament is doing. But the reality is, once all the management jargon has been stripped away, if we are not meeting these four simple Constitutional expectations then we are not performing our job. They are the core functions of Parliament and we should be measured by them. So how are we doing on these?
Choosing a president:
Well, the less said about this the better. The truth is that we have a President who has been found by the Constitutional Court to have failed to uphold his oath of office, violated the very Constitution he was supposed to protect, and who continues to ride roughshod over democratic institutions and process.
We elected him in this House and we should have had the courage to remove him when he failed us and the people of South Africa. Yet we allow him to continue in office. The Ipsos poll released today showed that 62% of ANC voters disapprove of Mr Zuma and his approval rating is the lowest of any of the country’s democratically elected presidents. Clearly, South Africans, particularly the 9 million unemployed, don’t think too highly of this Parliament’s performance on this score.
Providing a national forum for the public consideration of issues:
Again, hardly a stellar performance here. The freedom of speech in this House, bequeathed to us by the Constitution no less and which should be a right protected with all the might our presiding officers can muster, is being eroded and undermined every day.
Simple terms, quite ordinarily used in Parliaments and debating forums around the world, have been banned. Members’ rights to say the things that need to be said, particularly members of the opposition, are restricted through a stranglehold of insecure presiding officers. Time and again the members of this House have had to approach the courts to get them to uphold this right, yet time and again the rights are eroded.
Just last week, opposition Members were prevented from calling a minister “an invisible minister”. A Parliament where Members, as public representatives, cannot raise matters in a forthright and robust manner is not good for democracy and not worthy of the name.
Passing legislation:
This should be one of the most important functions performed by us and, given how long we have been doing it, something which should be improving and not declining. Yet on a regular and steady basis legislation passed in this house is struck down by the courts as invalid or unconstitutional.
Shoddy, job-wrecking legislation is pushed through and, despite their obvious failings and legal problems, the ANC cannot bring themselves to correct the errors and omissions. Here in the House they stubbornly march on incorrect paths passing legislation (that’s when they are actually able to get their MPs to pitch for work on the day!) and are then repeatedly beaten in court.
The Speaker has had a lot today to say on empowering and capacitating MPs to do their job. It would be nice if we could just start by making sure that we have enough researchers, legal advisors and content advisors at a committee level so we can properly scrutinise the legislation that the Executive send to us and play the role of proper legislators.
Scrutinising and overseeing Executive action:
Anybody who thinks that this 5th Parliament has met its expectations in this regards must have been living on another planet. This is probably the requirement where we have witnessed the worst failures. At every turn the Executive has been protected from proper accountability and scrutiny.
The Nkandla Report should have been the massive wake-up call that this Parliament needed to overhaul and reconsider how we hold the executive accountable. There was a single tick-box meeting after this devastating indictment on this Parliament’s failure and zero action arising from it. The protection and shielding of the executive has simply continued.
Nowhere is this more evident than the manner in which the Executive is protected by Speaker Mbete during oral question sessions. Bearing in mind that these are the only unscripted exchanges where MPs can truly hold the Executive accountable, the Speaker always defaults to protecting the Executive from difficult and probing questions posed by MPs.
It is for this reason that the SABC was virtually brought to its knees before Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, who belatedly felt the firm hand of parliamentary accountability in the ad hoc committee probing the SABC. For an entire year before this, Muthambi was allowed to regularly evade parliamentary accountability with impunity by simply not answering written and oral questions by opposition MPs or by not showing up. There were never any consequences
We witnessed the same pattern with the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, who was also consistently aided and abetted by the Speaker to avoid answering the tough questions relating to the impending South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grants crisis. Minister Dlamini was allowed to regularly mislead the House over her Department’s readiness to take over social grant payments on 1 April 2017.
When opposition MPs challenged these glaring factual inaccuracies in the House, the Speaker was the first to rush to Dlamini’s defense.
When the anatomy of both these crises is properly examined it is plain to see that both could have been avoided had Parliament been doing its job, without fear and favour, and had those Members who take their role seriously been protected in performing their role by a Speaker who actually placed the institution above her organisation.
South Africa requires a functioning and vibrant Parliament if our multi-party democracy is to survive. It also requires a Parliament that is unafraid of holding the Executive accountable as the Constitution prescribes.
The Speaker
Given the myriad of institutional failings, the Speaker’s dismal record of court losses, the daily own goals and organisational foul-ups, one could be forgiven for thinking there was not enough institutional support for the office. Quite the opposite actually, the Speaker has over 42 employees in her organogram costing over R37 million.
I was particularly interested to note that there is an entire office of nine full-time employees who form the so-called Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy, which includes a Director who rakes in over R1.5 million per annum, a Constitutional and legal advice specialist earning R1.4 million, two legal assistants and a manager.
All this and yet when I made a simple inquiry of the Speaker about some outstanding reports from Chapter 9 institutions I received a letter confirming there were none. Surprise, surprise, less than one week later the reports were magically ATC’d. You have an entire office of people whose full time job it is to liaise and monitor with chapter nine institutions and they couldn’t even pick this up. What a disgrace.
The rules of the National Assembly, in acknowledging the key importance of impartiality, directs the Speaker to conduct herself impartially. Rule 26(4) states that “the Speaker must act fairly and impartially and apply the rules with due regard to ensuring the participation of members of all parties in a manner consistent with democracy”. Whenever the Speaker acts in a way that is partisan, biased or conducts herself in a manner that favours a single political agenda, she breaks that covenant.
So it may be convenient to “not hear” when a member is being sworn at under your nose (despite the fact that the whole nation heard it) or refuse to take action when a female member of the opposition is called a “straatmeid” or become conveniently deaf when Mr Dicks shouts out “rented Darkie”. But every time you do this, Speaker, it undermines the very rules that you are tasked with upholding and enforcing. You do this at your own peril and by extension open yourself up to attack and also place the consistent enforceability of the rules of the National Assembly at great risk.
The Secretary to Parliament
Parliament is much more than just bricks and mortar, it is a living institution made up of people. It cannot function without them and today I want to pay special tribute to the hard-working men and women that make up our staff. I want to say to those that really care about this institution and are invested in its success that your work, under difficult circumstances, is greatly appreciated.
And that’s why I am filled with deep sadness when I see the way that many of you are disrespected, targeted and treated like criminals, sidelined and marginalised, threatened or intimidated by the Secretary to Parliament. Since Mr Mgidlana’s arrival in our Parliament there has been a rapid decline in industrial relations and for many this is not a happy place to work.
On top of this the staff have now received notice that there will be no pay increases this year because there is not enough money. Given inflation and rising cost-of-living, this essentially amounts to a decrease.
It never ceases to amaze me that when it comes to the luxuries there is never a problem finding money. Take for example the international travel of the secretary to Parliament. Given the amount of international travel he does I sometimes think he believes he is the secretary to the United Nations, not the secretary to the Parliament of South Africa. In March last year he spent seven nights in a Lusaka Hotel at R21 000 a night, and enjoyed a rented limousine that cost R800 per hour, adding up to some R37 000 for the duration of his stay. We have, through the JSCFMP, asked for a full breakdown of all international travel costs by the Secretary.
This is of course on top of the blue light brigades, and VIP European and international travel. It seems when it comes to the Secretary to Parliament there is no destination too far or conference to obscure that he isn’t ready to pack his bags for. Despite his multi-million rand salary he has added insult to injury by awarding himself a bursary. Why does somebody who earns what he does require a bursary? There must be countless of our employees who are more deserving and more appropriate recipients.
I would also be remiss if I were not to express concern at the spate of new appointments at a senior management level. It is very clear that a determined and unashamed cadre deployment strategy is at play. How else would somebody like the deeply partisan former ANC spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, simply drift through the swing doors, suddenly be appointed as the spokesperson for a multi-party, non-partisan institution like Parliament. The employment procedures were rigged and subverted to make sure that the ANC’s dark arts practitioner could get work. He has wasted no time in proving his critics right by turning the Parliamentary media operation into an extension of the ANC attack machine.
I also suppose that we shouldn’t expect any different when the Secretary himself cannot distinguish his role between the Party and the Institution, which is why he sees no problem attending ANC speakers’ forums at Luthuli House to carry out party business. Of course, “Goebbels” Mathopo promptly tried to spin the Secretary as this non-partisan who attends to all party caucuses. I bet there is not a single other party caucus or training that has been graced by his presence. I’m going to investigate who paid for those flights and accommodation costs to attend this meeting. I have a sneaking suspicion what the answer will be.
How funny then that Mgidlana punts the recently launched “new organisational values”, values which include professionalism, integrity, accountability, openness and teamwork, when he and his closest affiliates practice none of these.
Take for example how “special bid adjudication committees” are set up where the Secretary appoints himself to serve despite the fact that the supply chain regulations do not provide for this and where the Secretary is supposed to act as the adjudicator, essentially being both player and referee. We believe that this is a serious breach of the Supply Chain Management (SCM) regulations and the Financial Management of Parliament and Legislatures Act (FMPPLA). We have further concerns about the process used by the Secretary to simply write off fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
It’s clear that the secretary wants to deal with the deficit by making the staff pay for it through denying them bonuses, which they have worked hard for, and by retrenching those staff members who do not bend to his whims. I have a message for those staff members to stand firm. The time is fast approaching when this Parliament will be under new management and we can turn it into a world-class operation by truly working together for the betterment of this special institution.
We can have a functioning and effective Parliament. It’s going to require leaders both political and administrative who put the needs of this institution first, ahead of self-interest, ahead of party interest.
We can truly be an institution that represents our people, their hopes, their concerns, their needs and aspirations, but that means we must always put the people first, ahead of selfish interests and narrow partisanship.
We believe passionately in this institution. We believe that when Parliament works, South Africa works and we must, as an institution, strive harder every single day to live up to the expectations placed upon us by the framers of the Constitution and the people of this great nation.
And so, back to the beginning if I may. Madam Speaker, the answer to your question is an emphatic no!
No, I will never get tired of fighting for a Parliament that does what it is supposed to do.
No, I will never get tired of fighting for the 9 million unemployed South Africans who have suffered through the policies of the Zuma administration.
No, I will never get tired of fighting for greater executive accountability from the President and his cabinet.
And most of all no, I will never get tired of fighting to hold you accountable, and for you to just do your job as the head of this institution.

DA requests Gigaba to begin investigating CPS R1 billion profit

The DA has written to Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, requesting that he commences an investigation within the office of the Chief Procurement Officer, into the unconscionable R1.1 billion profit that Cash Paymaster Solutions has made from the invalid social grants contract.
The DA believes that not only is such extraordinary profiteering from public money an insult to poor South Africans, it also may contradict the Constitutional Court order from 2014 which banned CPS from making any further profits from the invalid contract.
On Tuesday CPS filed a statement of profit with the Constitutional Court, wherein it discloses a pre-tax profit of R1.1 billion from the Social Grant Distribution part of its work, but fails to disclose the profit it has made from other incidental services it has provided, including life cover, funeral insurance and pre-paid services.
All in all CPS has been allowed to profit to the most extraordinary levels, directly from the safety net provided to the poorest and most vulnerable South Africans. It is a profit-driven company, but its contract was never valid and its work was only allowed to continue because of the sheer recklessness of Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s department and SASSA.
Whether CPS has violated the Constitutional Court’s 2014 order preventing it from profiting will be up to the Court to decide. But we believe that the Chief Procurement Officer must investigate the terms under which this contract was concluded that allowed for such obscene profits to be made.
Essentially, either CPS misled government at the time of contracting, or SASSA and the Department of Social Development agreed to this unacceptable profit margin.
We expect that the Chief Procurement Officer will unearth the truth. If CPS misled government, every cent it has milked from South Africa must be recovered. Alternatively, if the Social Development Department and SASSA allowed for this daylight-robbery, albeit under an invalid contract, Minister Dlamini will have a R1 billion question to account to Parliament for.

Effective Executive oversight by Parliament demands better oversight of Parliament

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, Mike Waters MP, during the Budget Vote on Parliament.
Madam Speaker,
The establishment of the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament was a welcome development as it allowed, for the first time, not only scrutiny over the budget of Parliament but also the Secretary to Parliament and the Executive Authority, namely the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
It is, therefore, unfortunate that the first time you were summoned to appear before this committee, on 12 May 2017, you arrived an hour and a half late, delaying the start of the meeting. Then adding insult to injury, you informed the committee that you had to catch a flight to Gauteng because you were doubled booked. You simply, and rudely I might add, got up and left the meeting without dealing with the issues you were instructed to address.
Your actions, Speaker, clearly indicate the total disdain you have for the Committee and your unwillingness to accept accountability. Much like members of Cabinet.
A copy of the letter sent to you on 4 April, notifying you of the meeting, clearly indicated what was expected of you and what issues you were to address. One of these was the late signing of a performance contract for the Secretary to Parliament for the year 2016/17. In addition, you had a 16:00 deadline on 28 April to submit documents in this regard, which you again failed to provide.
For the benefit of Members, let me recap the issue. The Secretary was appointed on 1 December 2014 and, if you all recall, received a R71 000 ex-gratia payment despite barely warming his seat. We stated in last year’s budget vote that we believed this to be in contravention of Section 7(e) of the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, and we still do. Yet, Speaker, you did absolutely nothing to rectify this abuse.
Section 8 (1) and (2) of the Act stipulates that:
(1) The Executive Authority and the Accounting Officer must conclude a written performance agreement for the Accounting Officer annually.
(2) The performance agreement referred to in subsection (1) must—
(a) be concluded within a reasonable time after the Accounting Officer is employed and thereafter within one week after the start of each financial year;
(b) specify performance standards linked to the objectives and targets of Parliament’s performance plan for the financial year;
(c) provide for an annual assessment of the Accounting Officer’s performance by the Executive Authority; and
(d) specify the consequences of sub-standard performance.
It remains unclear if, for the duration of the period 1 December 2014 to 31 March 2015, or the financial year of 2015/16, a performance contract was indeed concluded with the Secretary to Parliament.
What we do know is that the performance contract for the 2016/17 financial year was never signed. Not in the first week of the financial year, or the second week, nor the third week nor the tenth week, or the twentieth, thirtieth or even the fortieth week. What we do know is that in the 49th week the Secretary confirmed to us that his contract had still not been signed. This Speaker is a disgrace.
Chair, I cannot inform this House as to whether the performance contract was signed before the end of the financial year as the Speaker refuses to be held accountable and answer questions about it.
Speculation regarding the status of the Secretary’s 2017/18 performance contract is still rife. Maybe the Speaker will shed light on the matter in her reply.
Needless to say, we have never received a report from the Executive Authority assessing the Secretary’s performance or what action has been taken with regards to his sub-standard performance.
Given the unhappiness of the staff at Parliament, the past industrial action, and the failure of this Institution to meet key objectives, we are not surprised that the Speaker has not provided an assessment report.
It is ironic that the very institution that is supposed to hold the Executive to account fails to adhere to the law and evades being held accountable themselves.
Madam Speaker, in your press conference yesterday you raised serious concerns about “judicial overreach” and that you were concerned about the plethora of cases against Parliament brought by the DA and other opposition parties. Well Madam Speaker, if Parliament did its job in upholding the Constitution there would be no need for parties to seek justice from our courts.
Your continued insistence on remaining the Chairperson of the ANC and the Speaker of Parliament is the actual problem. It has resulted in Parliament becoming a surrogate for Luthuli House. We witness MP’s freedom of speech being restricted to such an extent that we have more freedom of speech outside the House than inside.
The blurring of the lines continued when you allowed armed military personnel onto the Parliamentary precinct during the opening of Parliament. This despite having given assurances that this would not happen to all parties at a meeting in your office and reiterating those same assurances at a press conference. The Constitution and the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act both protect Parliament as an institution.
Four Constitutional principles have been violated:

  • Firstly, that Parliament is independent and determines what happens on its precinct;
  • Secondly, that the executive interference in Parliament is a serious risk to democracy;
  • Thirdly, that the threat of force undermines the privileges of freedom of speech and arrest; and
  • Fourthly, that the Presiding Officers have a Constitutional duty to protect the independence and integrity of Parliament.

If you did not give permission, Madam Speaker, then the military had been here illegally. And if you did give permission, then Parliament has been lied too.
You need to explain yourself, Madam Speaker.
Another committee that has been captured is the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests. When an opposition MP is fingered, the committee handles the case with exceptional efficiency; however, when an ANC MP is implicated the committee drags its heels to such an extent it stops meeting altogether.
The co-chairpersons of the Committee need to be reminded that this committee is supposed to be neutral and is there to ensure that all MPs, irrespective of party affiliation, are dealt with in the same manner. Failure to do so undermines its legitimacy. We look forward to the committee meeting and starting to deal with the long list of matters before it.
It is quite clear that the next phase of the ANC “state capture” strategy is to take control of Parliament, not only by shutting down debate but by deploying ANC cadres to key positions. So while top officials are employed at huge expense and drain the Parliamentary budget, the rest of the staff here in Parliament have been informed that they will not be getting an increase at all this year.
I put it to you, Speaker, that Parliament is being reduced to an employment agency for Luthuli House.
And while on the subject of staff, your office has 42 staff members, while Member Support Services has only 19.
But what is more astonishing is the amount of money people are being paid. The head of your office earns over R1.6 million and your three special advisors earn nearly R1.6 million each! You have five Communications Managers, each earning a whopping R1.02 million.
The question that begs asking is what do they do all day?
The total cost of your office is a staggering R37 983 153.
It is no wonder that you can’t afford to pay the rank and file staff increases this year.
Another division that needs scrutiny is that of the Parliamentary Communication Services division which has, according to the organisational structure, 84 staff members. The Parliamentary Millennium Programme division is said to have five posts despite being closed in 2013. Another division is called Projects Manager with seven staff members. Yet despite asking what projects they are working on, the Secretary to Parliament could not answer the question.
Speaker, the DA will not let Parliament become a statistic in the ANC state capture campaign. We all swore to uphold our Constitution and never again for this institution to be used as a political football in order to achieve a perverse political agenda.
The voters of South Africa have seen that the ANC no longer wear clothes and their despicable agenda has been exposed for what it is.
In two years time the voter has a choice: re-elect the ANC and get more state capture and corruption, or vote DA and have freedom and opportunities for all.
I thank you.

DA to propose 405 amendments, in the amount of R10.8 billion, to the 2017/18 budget

Note to Editors: A comprehensive document, entitled “DA Main Budget Proposals 2017”, setting out the DA’s budget proposals for 2017/18, is available here.
Tomorrow, on 31 May 2017 I will, together with Dr. Malcolm Figg, DA Shadow Minister of Appropriations, propose 405 amendments to the Appropriations Bill [B5-2017], in the amount of R10.8 billion, to 2017/18 budget during a meeting of the Standing Committee on Appropriations.
The budget proposals for 2017/18 are aimed at:

  • creating jobs by allocating an additional R1.5 billion to provide 213 602 more work opportunities in the Expanded Public Works Programme;
  • fighting crime by allocating an additional R688 million to establish a stand-alone specialised unit to fight drug-related crime;
  • supporting poor students by allocating an additional R3.5 billion to provide financial assistance to 63 331 more students who are enrolled, or who would like to enroll, at technical and vocational training colleges;
  • fighting corruption by allocating an additional R174 million to boost the investigative capacity of the Public Protector;
  • assisting the poor by allocating an additional R4.5 billion to prevent malnutrition among children and assist people battling high food prices; and
  • combatting cross-border crime by allocating an additional R483 million to fund 7 more sub-units (+/- 945 soldiers) to safeguard the landward borders of South Africa.

The DA’s proposed amendments are “budget neutral” and will be funded by reprioritising expenditure, within the existing budget, and will have no effect on the fiscal deficit, which is estimated to be R149 billion, or -3.1% of GDP, in 2017/18.

Minister Dlodlo should stop Muthambi taking the SABC inquiry report on review

Parliament’s Legal Services have today confirmed that Faith Muthambi is indeed still taking the SABC Inquiry report on review.
In a Notice of Motion filed in the Western Cape High Court on 5 April 2017, and signed on 29 March 2017 – before the Cabinet Reshuffle – Muthambi requests that the court declare the recommendation of the SABC Inquiry Ad Hoc committee that – “The President should seriously reconsider the desirability of this particular Minister retaining the Communications portfolio”– constitutionally invalid and unlawful; and set is aside.
Muthambi indicates in her founding affidavits that her application has “nothing to do with the individual who is the Minister of Communications at any given time”, thereby saddling the Department of Communications with the litigation, and the costs thereof.
The DA has submitted parliamentary questions to the new Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, requesting confirmation of whether she intends on pursuing this litigation, and using public money in order to do so.
In line with her oft-said commitment to restore public confidence in the Communications Department, Minister Dlodlo would do well to withdraw this litigation.
If Muthambi would like to take the report on review, as she is entitled, she should do so in her personal capacity, out of her own pocket. The recommendation had nothing to do with the office of the Minister of Communications, but her own failures as a Minister.
Not a cent of public money should be spent on this court case.
The DA looks forward to the finalisation of Parliament’s report on those who may have misled or provided false testimony during the SABC inquiry, which includes Muthambi. Parliament’s Legal Services indicated that a report will be tabled on 5 June 2017, detailing against whom criminal charges should be laid.
Muthambi, must be held accountable for her role in the crisis that the SABC finds itself in.

DA’s urgent debate on Violence Against Women scheduled for Thursday

The DA welcomes Parliament acceding to our request for an urgent debate of national importance on violence against women, which will go ahead in the National Assembly, on Thursday 01 June 2017.
I publicly call today for Ministers Fikile Mbalula, Susan Shabangu and Michael Masutha to address this debate. Their portfolios of Police, Women and Justice are key to protecting women in South Africa and the people of our country deserve that they come before Parliament and account. They must address the nation on their plans and emergency responses to the spate of violence across our nation.
The scourge of violence against women has been highlighted recently by the string of publicised horrific attacks and murders of Karabo Mokoena, Lerato Moloi, Bongeka Phungula, Popi Qwabe, Courtney Pieters and Sasha Arendse, among many others.
The fact is that violence against women and children occurs on a daily basis, and without focussed government intervention is only increasing.
The ANC government has entirely abandoned its responsibility to make our country safe for women by not properly addressing issues of gender violence and patriarchy. But on Thursday, the Ministers who are mandated to ensure safety and increasing empowerment of women, have a chance to take the nation into their confidence. Ministers Mbalula, Shabangu and Masutha have a lot of answering to do, and the DA fully expects that they will engage this debate with the seriousness it demands.
The fact is that often ANC Ministers also actively contribute to the perpetuation of undermining women, such as the Minister of Women, Susan Shabangu’s, comments that Karabo Mokoena was “weak” and therefore became a victim of abuse which ended in her murder. Worse still was the Minister’s refusal to apologise and retract her statements, but only to clarify them with equally dangerous adjectives.
Mbalula, Shabangu and Masutha need to account to the National Assembly and to the country as to why they have failed on this issue and state what government policies, strategies and programmes are in place to end this suffering. Empty promises and failed plans of action have done nothing to keep our women safe to date.
Thursday’s debate is fundamentally important for addressing the nation on this critical issue. Parliament, and the implicated Ministers in particular, must use this opportunity to seek and implement effective solutions and to rise in defence of women and children who far too often fall victim to violence.

State Capture charges: The law must now take its course

Note to Editors: The full charge sheet can be accessed here
Today the Democratic Alliance (DA) laid an array of criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma, members of the Gupta family, several cabinet ministers and senior executives of State Owned Entities, and other individuals alleged to be key players in the criminal syndicate that has captured large elements of the South African state. These charges are based on new evidence that emerged last weekend, in the form of documentation and emails, forming a paper trail which implicate these individuals in serious criminal offences. This acts as a preliminary indictment, and as more information emerges, we reserve the right to supplement these charges.
It is clear from the evidence that, acting in concert with each other, President Jacob Zuma, Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta, Rajesh Gupta, Ashu Chawla (Chief Executive of Gupta-owned Sahara Computers), Nazeem Howa (Director of various Gupta-linked companies and former CEO of Oakbay Investments), Mosebenzi Zwane (alleged Gupta-appointed Minister of Mineral Resources), Malusi Gigaba (alleged Gupta-appointed Minister of Finance), Faith Muthambi (alleged Gupta-appointed Minister of Communications), Desmond van Rooyen (alleged Gupta-appointed former Minister of Finance and current Minister of COGTA), Duduzane Zuma (director of Gupta-linked companies and oldest son of President Zuma) and Matshela Koko (suspended Senior executive of Eskom) have committed the following offences:

  • Corruption – through unlawful conduct which contravenes the Prevention of Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act – 12 of 2004 (POCA), specifically offences in respect of corrupt activities relating to public officers, public officials, foreign public officials, agents, legislative authorities, contracts, procuring and withdrawal of tenders, inducing another person to commit offences, and relating to the duty to report corrupt transactions.
    • This specifically includes the specific corrupt offense of the “misuse or selling of information or material acquired in the course of the, exercise, carrying out or performance of any powers, duties or functions arising out of a constitutional, statutory, contractual or any other legal obligation” that amounts to “the abuse of a position of authority, breach of trust; or the violation of a legal duty or a set of rules” in section 3 of the POCA act.
  • Racketeering – through unlawful conduct which contravenes the Prevention of Organised Crime Act of 1998.
  • Treason – through unlawful conduct which violates, threatens or endangers the existence, independence and security of the Republic of South Africa or which has the effect of changing the constitutional structure of the Republic of South Africa.

The law must now take its course. Each of these individuals must be held accountable for their actions and must face the full force of the law. Nothing less will be acceptable to the Democratic Alliance, and nothing less will be fair to the people of South Africa, who are united in their condemnation of these heinous crimes.
The DA also welcomes the growing consensus regarding the desperate need to investigate the corrupt State Capture project headed by Zuma and the ANC. We maintain that the situation requires a truly broad-based investigation that includes all the departments and individuals named in the leaked emails and the State of Capture report. That process must start with a parliamentary Ad Hoc committee, and then through a Judicial Commission of Enquiry we will be able to uncover the truth as to how captured ministers and government officials have allowed the Guptas to control entire chunks of government.
Notwithstanding, criminal investigations and prosecution must follow where crimes have been committed.
The DA will pursue every available avenue until the corrupt State Capture project that has undermined and crippled key institutions of the state is stopped and the ANC is removed from power.
We will not allow Zuma Inc. to continue to steal from our people. We must earnestly focus South Africa towards building a prosperous nation, where jobs can be created for all.