DA Gauteng Debates Social Development Budget for 2017/18

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development, Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL and DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Social Development, Justus de Goede MPL, during the debate on the Department of Social Development’ss 2017/18 budget.
Speech by
Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL
“GP Social Development does not care”

  • There is also a severe shortage of Social Workers
  • Gauteng has only 11 social workers who are able to work on adoptions and foster care
  • The budget for people with disabilities has remained relatively stagnant since 2010

The full speech can be found here.
Speech by
Justus de Goede MPL
“GP Social Development budget doesn’t focus on the right programs” 

  • Funds in many instances are not being channelled where they can be most usefully applied
  • The budget gives the impression of being unfocussed
  • I strongly recommend that the MEC investigate the Chrysalis Program in the Western Cape, as a project which is both successful and value for money.

The full speech can be found here.

Rest in peace Suna, you have fought the good fight

The DA has learned with great sadness of the passing of Suna Venter, senior SABC Current Affairs Producer at RSG.
We send our deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues at RSG.
Venter was one of the brave SABC 8 journalists who spoke out against the unlawful interferences and editorial policy changes at the public broadcaster.
Suna fought for the freedom, transparency and independence of the media.
We note from the statement released by her family today that Venter was recently diagnosed with stress cardiomyopathy, and that those closest to her believed her condition was exacerbated, if not caused, by the events of the past year.
She was fearless in her fight, despite suffering undue threats, trauma and victimisation. In the past year Suna was shot in the face with a pellet gun, received threatening messages and was assaulted on three different occasions.
The DA will be following up with the SAPS, as shockingly no arrests have been made, despite it being obvious who was responsible for all her suffering.
Rest in peace Suna, you have indeed fought the good fight.

Myeni must go

The decision to reject, with costs, Dudu Myeni’s application today by the Companies Tribunal only reinforces the need for her to be removed as a director of South African Airways (SAA).
Ms Myeni applied to have the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s (CIPC) compliance notice removed from her record.
The CIPC found that Ms Myeni had misrepresented information to the then Minister of Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba, when she told him that the SAA board were financing two aircraft when they were, in fact, financing ten.
The costs involved in this case are likely to be high and the DA will submit parliamentary questions to the Minister of Finance for details of whether SAA has paid any of the costs of the Companies Tribunal hearing including the costs of Ms Myeni’s legal representation.
There are overwhelming and perfectly valid reasons why Ms Myeni should immediately be removed from the SAA board on which she sits, not only as a director but as the Chair of the board.

DA demands details of R1.6 billion Tegeta-Optimum settlement be made public

The DA will today write to the Acting Public Enterprises Committee Chairperson, Ms Zukiswa Ranthoto, to request that she demands Eskom hands over the details of the Tegeta-Optimum agreement to the Public Enterprises Committee.
Reports today indicate that Eskom slashed a non-performance penalty of R2.1 billion levied against Glencore for their Optimum mine, to R255.4 million, a mere 10% of the original settlement demanded from the previous owners, Glencore.
The details of this outrageous agreement between Tegeta and Optimum must be made public as almost R1.6 billion in public money has apparently been gifted to the Guptas on a silver platter.
This is an almost 90% discount for the Guptas to acquire Optimum. Eskom most likely gave Tegeta this monumental discount because it is a Gupta-owned company.
Even worse, there are allegations that former acting Eskom CEO, Matshela Koko, approved a smaller but substantial, R659 million prepayment for coal from Optimum.
Essentially, it appears the Guptas were given money to take ownership of the mine.
Eskom, under the leadership of former CEO, Brian Molefe, therefore basically forced Glencore to sell off the mine when he refused to negotiate the R2.1 billion non-performance penalty.
The details of this outrageous agreement must now be tabled before the Public Enterprises Committee for scrutiny and effective oversight.
Eskom can no longer hide behind the confidentiality clause. The public deserves to know the content of this agreement. In this instance, it is clear that the public interest outweighs any corporate confidentiality prescriptions. NA Rule 167 gives the power to the Committee to request any documents – it is under this rule that Eskom must account to Parliament.
The captured Gupta cronies at our country’s state-owned enterprises are systematically looting our key institutions for no other reason than their own financial benefit. Ensuring the details of potentially dodgy dealings are made public is the only way to make inroads into stopping this flagrant abuse.

#NoConfidence: DA to meet with Speaker to push for a date for the debate

It is has now been a week since I wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, calling for the DA-sponsored Motion of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be scheduled at the earliest available opportunity.
This followed the 22 June Constitutional Court’s ruling on the matter of the secret ballot.
South Africans have, however, been treated to a deafening silence by Mbete save for a statement by Parliament noting that the Speaker “will … ensure the judgment is given effect”.
I have thus requested an urgent meeting with the Speaker to discuss the scheduling of the Motion of No Confidence. Parliament’s Third Term is scheduled to commence on 31 July and the Motion of No Confidence can and should take place on the very next day, 1 August 2017.
It appears that Mbete is prioritising the ANC policy conference, and her role as ANC Chairperson, instead of her Constitutional role as Speaker of the National Assembly, for which she is paid R2 716 798 per annum.
NA Rule 129 is clear that the Speaker alone has the responsibility to schedule the motion and in doing so she must accord it urgent priority. She cannot drag her feet on this any longer.
Mbete must now prioritise her role as Speaker and act in the interest of the country by scheduling the DA’s motion of no confidence without delay.

DA reports teachers after shocking humiliation

The DA has reported teachers from H.S. Phillips Secondary School near Elim to the South African Council for Educators (SACE) for humiliating and violating the privacy of grade 11 and 12 learners, by making them remove all their clothing to search for crib notes before writing their midyear examinations last week.
Boys and girls were searched separately by having their clothing removed. Some learners were not wearing any underwear and suffered obvious humiliation and anxiety as a result.
According to SACE’s teachers’ code of conduct, all teachers must respect the dignity and constitutional rights of learners, which includes the right to privacy and confidentiality.
The DA believes that the teachers involved violated their code through this despicable and archaic conduct and that the incident needs to be investigated urgently. Immediate disciplinary action must be taken against teachers who are found guilty.
The DA will further inform MEC for Education, Ishmael Kgetjepe, of this incident and request that he immediately suspend these teachers, pending an investigation. We will also request that social workers are dispatched to provide counselling to these learners, especially those who were forced to remain naked in full view of all the teachers and learners.

DA to refer Mdluli’s 6 year suspension to the Public Service Commission

Yesterday, a reply to a DA Parliamentary Question revealed that between 8 May 2011 and 30 April 2017, suspended Head of Crime Intelligence, Richard Mdluli, raked in about R8.3 million for being a ‘couch potato’.
Mdluli’s suspension has dragged on for over six years now and Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, has not delivered any useful updates on the status of the disciplinary process to date. His most recent reply only states that “an internal disciplinary process has been initiated, functionaries have been appointed and the process is under way.”
This is simply not good enough.
The DA will therefore lay a complaint about the progress of the disciplinary process with the Public Services Commission (PSC), calling on them to investigate the matter. The PSC is empowered by section 196(4)(b) of the Constitution to investigate, monitor and evaluate the organisation and administration of the public service and of personnel practices of the public service.
Mdluli’s disciplinary proceedings have been drawn out for far too long and are in no way reflective of an effective administration of the public service. The process must be urgently expedited so that no more public money is flagrantly wasted.
South Africans are terrified to leave their homes and walk the streets of our country. Yet an indefensible amount of the police budget has been squandered on ‘couch potato’ Mdluli who was unfit from the outset.
It is crucial that Mbalula provide measurable information on the progress of the disciplinary progress and that he ensure this matter is brought to an end urgently.

Myeni failed to hand over reports on SAA corruption to Parliament

Yesterday, I was informed by the Chairperson of the SAA Board, Dudu Myeni, after the disastrous meeting of Parliament’s Finance Committee, that she had in her possession copies of forensic investigation reports into SAA, yet failed to table them before the committee.
The DA will today write to the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, and his Deputy, to demand that the investigation reports be tabled in Parliament immediately.
There can be no further delays particularly if the reports confirm the SA Cabin Crew Association’s (SACCA) allegations of widespread corruption at the national carrier.
For 7 months the DA has been requesting these reports. However, National Treasury has refused to hand them over. Last month, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Sfiso Buthelezi, promised to release these reports to the finance committee, he has failed to make good on this promise.
Given the accusations of corruption that Myeni has recently alluded to – which coincidently was highlighted by SACCA immediately after Myeni appeared before Parliament – the DA finds it surprising that Myeni did not inform the finance committee that she had, apparently in her briefcase, investigation reports which expose the corruption she referred to.
These reports include, but are not limited to:

  • An investigation into the sale of surplus materials such as rotables and consumables;
  • An investigation into SAA Technical with respect to Commercial aircraft leases between SAA and Mango;
  • Investigations into various allegations against primarily SAA’s former CEO, Mr Khaya Ngqula; and
  • An investigation into the alleged irregular awarding of a tender for dry snacks by Air Chefs.

If these accusations of corruption are true and are not just tactics to divert attention away from the failures of Myeni in her role as SAA Board Chair, they must be fully interrogated by Parliament.
SAA is on the brink of bankruptcy, with the South African taxpayer very close to having to meet the guarantees of some R 9,0 billion to pay off maturing loans to SAA. If this were to happen the consequences for South Africa’s sovereign ratings will be dire.
There is no longer a choice – SAA must be placed under Business Rescue now before it is too late.

DA refers Minister Zwane to Ethics committee for deliberately misleading Parliament

The DA has submitted formal complaints to Parliament’s Ethics Committee and the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, against Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, for deliberately misleading Parliament. Zwane appears to have deliberately misrepresented information to Parliament when he recently stated, in a written Parliamentary reply, that his December 2015 trip to Dubai was organised and paid for by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).
However, the Public Protector’s State of Capture report found that Zwane had not used the ticket the DMR purchased for him to travel from Zurich to Dubai. The question is, how did Zwane get to Dubai?
Leaked Gupta emails list the Minister, along with Tony Gupta, as a passenger on a Gupta-sponsored flight that was cleared to fly to Dubai on 2 December 2015.
Based on the replies he submitted to Parliament, it appears that Zwane deliberately misled Parliament, which is a breach of Section 7 (a) and (b) of the Powers, Privilege and Immunities Act.
In addition to these allegations, Zwane has also seemingly mislead Parliament when he failed to satisfactorily answer a DA Parliamentary question regarding interaction with the Gupta family. In his response to the DA, Minister Zwane stated that he “has not met with any member, nor close associate of the Guptas”.
Yet, in the media, the Minister has been quoted saying, “Let me put the record straight: I met with them, I’ve engaged them”. Furthermore, the leaked Gupta emails show that the Minister was due to meet with Tony Gupta at the Guptas’ Saxonwold compound.
The DA has now referred this evidence to the Ethics Committee, as well as the Public Protector, to request that the Minister be investigated as a matter of urgency.
Misrepresenting information and deliberately misleading Parliament are serious offences and the Minister must be held to account.
It is clear that Zwane has been captured by the Guptas to further their corrupt interests. His trip to Dubai, in his official capacity, on a Gupta-sponsored flight, is just another example of how he has been placed in his position to loot our public coffers and steal from the poor.
The DA will ensure that every ANC Minister that has been captured and corrupted by the Guptas is brought to book and faces the full might of the law.

Suspended Phiyega and Mdluli earn R11.5 million

Replies to DA Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, since their suspensions in October 2015 and May 2011, former National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, and suspended Head of Crime Intelligence, Richard Mdluli, received a combined R11.5 million for sitting at home and contributing nothing to the fight against crime in South Africa.
Phiyega has received almost R3.2 million, including half a million rand as a cash allowance, an almost R300 000 ‘head of department’ allowance and over R330 000 in employers pension contribution.
Mdluli netted R8.3 million, including a basic salary of almost R5 million, a non-pensionable cash allowance of nearly R1.4 million, an employee pension contribution of almost R800 000 and a motor car allowance of over R700 000.
Astoundingly, this massive amount to Mdluli also includes what is referred to as a “service bonus” of more than R400 000 – which now may as well be called a ‘couch potato bonus’ given his six-year suspension.
South Africans live in fear each and every single day. Yet millions of rand of public funds have been wasted on paying two individuals, who were clearly not fit for their jobs in the first place, to stay at home and twiddle their thumbs.
This is unacceptable.
The disciplinary proceedings must be sped up and concluded with the utmost urgency so that no more money is wasted.
It is absolutely imperative that we have fit and proper leadership in the police so that these millions, that could have been spent on our severely under-resourced police, are not wasted on failed SAPS leadership.