SAA loan agreements must be made public following losses of R734 million in the past two months

The meeting of the Finance Committee today was a complete shambles which revealed that SAA losses for the past two months totalled R734 million. This follows losses of R4.8 billion in the 2016/17 financial year.
However even more shocking was the fact that:

  • Neither SAA nor National Treasury had a plan in place to meet the 30th of June 2017 deadline to deal with R9.0 billion worth of maturing loans.
  • SAA has been in discussions with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) about funding the national airline.

We will not sit back and allow SAA to raid funds under management by the PIC.
The only logical solution to ensure the sustainability of SAA and its thousands of employees is to file for business rescue and to stabilise the airline before taking it to the market to find private equity investors.
It is also in the public interest that the terms and conditions relating to these maturing loans be made public.
That is why I will write to the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, to request that he disclose the full terms and conditions relating to renewed or new agreements with lenders to replace the maturing loans.

DA’s application to intervene in Molefe’s Labour Court case granted with costs

The DA welcomes the Labour Courts decision to grant our application to intervene in former Eskom Group Chief Executive Officer, Brian Molefe’s, case before it today. Our application was granted with costs.
The DA is now a full respondent in this action and will therefore be able to argue the substantive issues pertaining the reappointment of Molefe, starting on Thursday, 29 June 2017.
Molefe’s contention that he never ceased to be an employee of Eskom is completely bizarre and the DA will forcefully argue that Molefe’s reappointment was completely irrational and illegal and as a result, the Labour Court cannot reinstate Molefe to a position which he was not lawfully permitted to fill.
We will make these points so that we can proceed with our application in the North Gauteng High Court to have his reappointment set aside as irrational and unlawful, in August this year.
It is clear that Molefe’s fitness to restore good governance practices at the power entity is in serious question and that he should have no place there.
The DA looks forward to arguing these points and to take further steps towards ensuring that our state-owned entities are no longer pilfered for the benefit of the Guptas and a politically connected few.

Dodging Gigaba must be summoned to explain Gupta naturalisation

The DA is angered by the absence of the previous Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, and the current Minister, Buhle Mkhize, from today’s meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs.
Last week, the Committee Chairperson confirmed that the committee would have the opportunity to interrogate these Minister about exactly how members of the Gupta family were naturalised.
They had been asked to appear before the committee and, according to both Parliament’s schedule of committees and the Committee’s own agenda, they we set to appear. Nevertheless, neither were in attendance today without offering a reasonable explanation.
As a consequence, the Committee gained no insight into why then-Minister Gigaba overruled the Department’s decision to dismiss the Gupta’s application for naturalisation, for failing to meet the prescribed requirements.
Instead, the Director-General of Home Affairs only offered us what we knew already: that Gigaba had the discretion to approve the naturalisation of the Guptas and that he exercised this prerogative for reasons which remain unknown.
South Africans are treated to near-daily media reports of how the Gupta family’s relationship with members of the Executive resulted in preferential treatment. Now Parliament is again being frustrated in its efforts to interrogate this suspicious exercise of executive authority.
It is for this reason that the DA believes that Gigaba must now be summoned to Parliament by way of a formal subpoena to ensure his attendance and accountability.
In opposing the DA’s proposal for the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee on State Capture, the ANC in Parliament argued that portfolio committees should be allowed to deal with the many allegations which are now in the public domain, individually. However, events in the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs show exactly how this approach is doomed to fail and how implicated ministers are running scared.
There is no way in which Malusi Gigaba can outrun the allegations which emanate from his tenure as minister of Public Enterprises, Home Affairs and now Finance. He should take time out of his hectic press conferencing schedule and account to Parliament instead.

Bird Flu: Agriculture dept. briefing to Parliament needed

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Machwene Semenya, to request that she call the Minister, Senzeni Zokwana, to brief Parliament on plans to contain the bird flu following reports of cases of the virus in Mpumalanga and the Free State.
South Africa has never had an outbreak of bird flu before. Currently, roughly 19 000 chickens are scheduled to be culled after contracting the highly contagious virus, while 5 000 have already died.
Given the possible major implications for the poultry industry, including the ostrich industry, Parliament must be briefed urgently on what plans the Department has in place to contain the outbreak as well as just how far the flu has spread.
Farmers stand to lose their poultry and this will negatively affect the country’s chicken exports – the last thing the South African agricultural sector needs is to have its exports seen as undesirable and, worst of all, banned.
Various media outlets have reported that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has imposed a ban on the sale of live chickens, but there is no official confirmation of this from the Department.
Farmers, as well as the rest of the country, need to know the extent of the bird flu outbreak so action can be taken to stop the spread of the virus.

Mbalula must get back SAPS money used for ANC business from Mkongi

The DA challenges Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to do the right thing, and recoup every cent from his deputy, Bongani Mkongi, taken from the South African Police Service (SAPS) budget for hotel accommodation and a conference venue for ANC business.
Mkongi’s Chief of Staff, Jabu Mfusi, stayed at a hotel to attend an ANC Western Cape provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting, where he called for the PEC’s disbandment, using public money. Mkongi allegedly then used SAPS money to pay for a boardroom that held a press conference where the disbandment was called for.
This is a clear case of using public money for ANC business.
Should Mkongi be unwilling to give back what he and his office spent, Mbalula should not hesitate to have it deducted from his salary.
This is yet another example of how the ANC abuses tax payer’s money in factional fights rather than prioritising the best interest of South Africa and keeping our country safe.
Rather than directing the limited resources available to them to prevent, combat and investigate crime, it is clear that these funds are being flagrantly wasted on ANC factionalism.
This is money that should go towards resourcing, training, equipping and staffing the police and should, under no circumstances, be used to sponsor ANC events.
Mbalula must prioritise the appropriate resourcing of the police services to ensure that all our people can feel and be safe. If he is serious about fulfilling his mandate as Minister, he will claim this money back from Mkongi.

BOKAMOSO | New Mining Charter is Radical Economic Transformation in action

The new Mining Charter released by our captured and compromised mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane last week is a disgrace. Overnight, it slashed R50 billion off the value of mining shares, but if it is implemented the long-term destruction of value for all South Africans will be much greater. The ANC was quick to distance itself from the charter, and yet President Zuma roundly endorsed it in Parliament last week. Of course. Devised by the Zuptas for the Zuptas, it serves their populist, criminal, destructive agenda. We can expect more of this disastrous, disconnected policy-making in the run up to the national elections in 2019, and we must fight it with all our might.

The charter is Radical Economic Transformation in action, the Zuptas scorched earth approach to liquidating the economy while consolidating power over the state, on the pretext of fighting inequality. State capture has the nature of a patronage Ponzi scheme, a hungry monster to be constantly fed. That’s why the Zuptas, if unchecked, will bleed SA dry. Luckily, and thanks to the unsung hero who leaked the Gupta Emails, South Africans have seen through the ruse. On Friday morning, an angry crowd chased Zwane away from an Mpumalanga mining indaba.

The charter makes it even easier, and even mandatory, for connected cronies to benefit from every mining “empowerment” deal. Far from actually empowering mineworkers and ordinary South Africans, the lion’s share of empowerment deals will now be reserved for the connected Zupta few. The revised Charter was a wonderful opportunity to show what true, broad-based empowerment could be, by incentivising companies to turn mineworkers into shareholders and partners. But that opportunity would not keep the Zupta cash pipeline flowing. Instead, the approach could be called “milking a cow whilst stabbing it”.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents 90% of the mining industry but was not consulted, has rightly challenged it in court. Mining labour unions have said they intend challenging some aspects of the charter, and rightly so. When the mining industry is destroyed, so too will the livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of unionised workers who work in the industry. So the charter is unlikely to see the light of day for months or years, but if it did, it would very soon result in marginal mines closing and destroy jobs in a sector which has already lost 60 000 jobs in the past five years. It would chase away the few companies which may still have been considering investing in a sector which was already hugely uncompetitive. South Africa may have the largest mineral endowment of any country in the world, but it ranks 74th for mining investment attractiveness. And that was before Zwane dropped his bombshell.

The central question informing mining policy right now should be: how can we get this industry to preserve and even create as many sustainable jobs as possible? Yes, this industry has a major role to play in redressing the past, but that should be done by empowering actual workers and their families, not the corrupt fat cats.  Mining needs a lifeline, not a deadweight.

SA is on a precipice. Unemployment is at a 14 year high with a record 9.3 million people jobless. Our economy is now officially in recession, having contracted for six consecutive months, though real per capita incomes have been falling for three years. Our local bonds are just one notch above junk and may be declared junk very soon, which may trigger the sale of R100-150 billion of SA bonds by foreigners. The impact on the rand will be hardest felt by the poorest and most vulnerable.

Under a DA government, mining policy, like all policy, will be made in open consultation with all stakeholders, in the best interest of all South Africans – especially the poorest and most vulnerable. The only way to stop the rot brought on by Zuma and the Guptas is by voting the corrupt ANC out in 2019 and replacing them with a government that puts the people first. A government led by the DA.

Guptas’ R1.6 billion Eskom discount on Tegeta-Optimum settlement must be made public

The DA believes that all information regarding the obscene R1.6 billion discount that Gupta company, Tegeta, received from Eskom, in settlement of a substandard-coal dispute, must be immediately made public.
The current public interest in the capture of Eskom and other aspects of our state by the Guptas, demands that this secretive R1.6 billion settlement not be hidden from public scrutiny. It is highly irregular that this enormous settlement value be kept secret, when it directly affects public money.
We will write to the acting Eskom CEO, Johnny Dladla, to request that Eskom makes the details of the Tegeta-Optimum agreement public. There is no rational reason for the details to be kept hidden when the Guptas have fleeced another R1.6 billion from public money.
Eskom’s seeming acceptance of a R500 million settlement from Tegeta, after Eskom initially vowed to recover every cent, is an amazing about-turn and can only be seen as yet another Eskom favour for the Guptas.
The confidentiality clause in this settlement agreement is clearly inserted to hide something. Yet the public deserves to know how this R1.6 billion decision was taken.
When an Eskom client in a residential home doesn’t pay a bill, Eskom wastes no time in cutting their electricity off. Yet when the Guptas owe R2.1 billion, they get R1.6 billion in discounts.
The Guptas’ influence has completely undermined good governance practices at Eskom, and has captured the ANC government. South African democracy is being undermined and our state is being sold off in large chunks to the Gupta-ANC mafia.

Minister ‘Gigupta’ must use Parliament appearance tomorrow to explain Gupta Spying

The DA believes that revelations about Gupta-owned Sahara Chief Executive, Ashu Chawla’s, access to sensitive, confidential and private state-held information about Gupta opponents, amounts to criminal conduct and that much of the data appears to be of the sort which officials of the Department of Home Affairs, possibly even the Minister, could have accessed and handed over.
The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs last week unanimously agreed to summon Malusi Gigaba to appear in Parliament tomorrow. Minister Gigaba must appear tomorrow, and must fully account for any role that Home Affairs played in this breach.
Minister ‘Gigupta’ must account for how the Guptas accessed this sensitive and private information, much of which is Home Affairs data, while he was Minister of Home Affairs.
The DA will also request that the Chairperson of the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee, Lemias Mashile, add this new Gupta scandal to the ongoing Committee investigation into the capture of Home Affairs officials and Ministry by the Guptas.
Just last week the DA also confirmed that Minister Gigupta did not declare to Parliament the naturalisation of members of the Gupta family and in so doing, breached the Citizenship Act.
Gigaba is clearly attempting to bury the truth that the Guptas were personally granted citizenship by him. On top of the accusations that such sensitive information, which appears to be Home Affairs data, was leaked to the Guptas on Gigaba’s watch, this shows how captured a Minister he really is.
There is growing evidence that President Jacob Zuma, Gigaba and his ANC cabinet colleagues have bent the rules to advantage the Guptas far and wide.
Revelations that the Guptas accessed state-held information to spy on opponents only further exposes the Guptas and their acolytes as law-breakers, looters and crooks, who have undermined the sovereignty of our government in collusion with the ANC.
It is simply outrageous that the compromised family would ‘spy’ on South Africans whom they openly declare to be the opponents, and be privy to government information.
Gigupta must provide a full and satisfactory account as to how and why this information got out, so that we can ensure those responsible face the full might of the law.

DA extends Eid al-Fitr wishes to Muslims across South Africa

As the month of Ramadan comes to an end for Muslims around the world, the DA extends our best wishes to all of those who will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr, also known as the festival of the breaking of the fast.

  • Eid, a celebration which marks the end of the holy month of fasting for Muslims, is one of the Muslim community’s most important religious holidays. It begins this evening and extends until sunset tomorrow.

The month of discipline is celebrated and rewarded by the day with family as what has passed is reflected on and gratitude is expressed. It is a time to be thankful for the blessings received and the spiritual growth throughout Ramadan.
The DA believes that one of our greatest strengths and sources of pride is our cultural diversity. We recognise the immeasurable contributions that the Muslim community makes to the fabric of our society.
Eid Mubarak!