President and Speaker stalling restoration of the “broken” SABC

The DA commends the work done by the SABC interim board and looks forward to working through the 362 applications from people who have applied to be permanent board members.
However, the work done by the interim board is being stalled because our President and Speaker are failing to carry out their mandates.
I have today requested that the Chairperson of the Communications committee urgently write to the President to ensure that he promptly sign-off on the proclamation for the SIU to investigate the SABC.  This was expedited by Justice Minister months ago and there is no valid reason for the President to stall this process.
I have also requested that a letter be written to the Speaker of the National Assembly to immediately release the report on the people who lied under oath to the SABC Ad Hoc Committee, which has been ready since 5 June.  It is highly irregular and unacceptable that this report has still not been tabled. These people, who willfully misled parliament, should be held to account.
Further, I requested an urgent briefing by the Minister of Police on work that has been done in relation to the threats against the SABC8. People should not be fearing for their lives when in the employ of the SABC.  I have previously met with the Inspector General of Intelligence who is also looking into this matter after our investigation request.  It is also crucial that all the “enforcers” of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s reign of terror be identified and be acted against.
Finally, I insisted that Prof Maguvhe’s legal fees be revisited, as costs were awarded against him in his personal capacity and should not be covered by the SABC’s so-called legal insurance.  It is crucial that not a single cent more of tax payer’s money be wasted on the SABC and politically appointed cronies.
It is worrying that the amount requested for the bail-out has still not been revealed by the interim board or the Minister, as the Minister has on various occasions promised to make public the amount requested.  It is not clear why the Minister is hiding this amount from the committee and South Africans.
Despite the interim board’s hard work, it seems that yet again the political will is missing to fix the major problems at the SABC.  It is time for President Zuma and Mbete to stop stalling and start acting immediately.

Jozi Billing Crisis – Mashaba takes action

Earlier this week, Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba announced that he was personally taking charge of the billing crisis that continues to plague Jozi residents.

It has taken time to analyse the full magnitude of the billing crisis. We have inherited a billing system where levels of corruption and mismanagement have historically flourished in an environment of chaos and disorder. 
– Mayor Herman Mashaba

Mashaba announced that he has put the entire leadership of the Department on terms, “either there will be resolution of the City’s Billing system or there must be consequences.”
With immediate affect, Mashaba has instructed the City to address the situation as follows:

  1. All residents, who have been in good standing with the City for the past 12 months prior to February 2017, and have been put into arrears by the bringing forward of payment due dates, will have their interest owing on arrears and any costs relating to pre-termination notices and disconnections reversed. This will be actioned with immediate effect and will show corrected in their September statement.
  2. Regional Open Days will be held across the City going forward on Saturdays, where the City will avail itself to residents at Regional Offices and other facilities to assist residents with billing related problems.
  3. A service provider has been appointed and started work on a full diagnostic investigation into the root causes of all billing inaccuracies, from which the City will drive the solutions to remedy the billing system. I commit to the residents that I will communicate regularly on the progress in this respect.
  4. All key vacancies within the Department, will be filled with a matter of urgency.Senior positions such as the Group Chief Financial Officer and Group Information Technology Officer will be appointed at the August Council meeting.Other strategic positions within the Department such as Head of Revenue, Head of Accounting will be filled by 1 October 2017.The Department has operated with over 9 Senior Acting Appointments in key positions in the Revenue Department. These positions will be filled with the very best talent available in the industry by the end of 2017.
  5. Efforts will be focused on the resolution of billing queries logged by our revenue call centre. Currently, the turnaround time, lack of feedback and customer care experienced in this regard is unacceptable. The Department has been tasked with turning this situation around and ensuring billing queries are dealt with faster, and more focus on the care of our residents.


I will personally be taking charge of the situation and seeing to the alleviation of the suffering our residents have endured. This City will be a caring City, one that will put its residents ahead of all else.
– Mayor Herman Mashaba


Kubayi’s suspension of CEF board seeks to protect the real culprits

The decision by the Energy Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, to suspend the entire Central Energy Fund (CEF) board, including the acting CEO and CFO, is highly confusing and may be nothing more than a smoke screen.
It is confusing in the sense that the current CEF board became aware of the sale only in May 2016 and the CEF Chairperson and the two other board members, Mosimaneotsile Besnaar and Mr Neville Mompati, were only appointed in December 2016, well after the issues of the sale which occurred in December 2015.
Removing a new chairperson who is actively trying to clean up the fund and PetroSA is also highly suspicious. The firing of these board members is highly irregular and seems politically motivated – it has nothing to do with the board’s performance.
What the Minister has done is a significant U-turn from two months ago and her opinion is based on an audit report she presented to the Portfolio Committee on Energy that said the CEF board was not complicit in the secret sale of 10.3 million barrels of the country’s strategic oil reserves at alarmingly low prices. Minister Kubayi has admitted that this was not ‘a rotation of stock’ as former Energy Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, had claimed.
The Department of Energy has now appointed a law firm to investigate all contracts at the Strategic Fuel Fund after a whistle blower indicated in a letter that 300 000 barrels of oil were loaned out to a private entity without proper procurement processes.
The DA will therefore urgently write to the Minister to request that she table the findings of these investigations, in Parliament.
Should the investigation reveal any corrupt activities, those people must face the full might of the law. We can no longer afford for our state institutions to be bled dry while the perpetrators of looting get off scot-free.

The Public Protector’s token efforts will not save us from the Guptas

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a public meeting in Morokweng, North West Province, as part of the #Change19 Tour.
My fellow South Africans,
This morning I visited the homes of families here in Morokweng, and I was left saddened and angry at the conditions than many people here have to live in.
You have a government that no longer cares what happens to you here in this far-flung corner of the country. You simply don’t matter to them any longer, because they have become a government that looks after themselves and their friends first, and the people last.
A government that cares about the wealth of President Zuma and the Guptas instead of the welfare of ordinary men, women and children like you.
Every Rand that has been diverted towards the Guptas – and there have already been billions – is money that could have made a difference in your lives.
Last month the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, announced that she would be launching a new investigation into State Capture. But she didn’t give us any details of whom or what she intended to investigate. Of course we were skeptical, given her track record in office to date.
So I wrote to her and asked her to explain the scope of this new investigation. Since the previous Public Protector’s Report we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of Gupta emails leaked to the press, directly implicating the President and the three Gupta brothers in the looting of our resources. She has enough evidence to investigate this matter right to the very top.
A month later, on the 18th of July, I received a reply from her office in which she informed me that her investigation would focus on three things:

  1. Eskom complaints, including the appointment of Briand Molefe as CEO, the awarding of contracts to Matshela Koko’s daughter, the role of Minister Lynne Brown in the reappointment of Molefe, and allegations by former Minister Ramathlodi that Molefe and Ben Ngubane pressurised him into securing the Glencore mine for the Guptas.
  2. Transnet complaints, including allegations of a R5.3bn kickback on locomotive procurement, the role of Malusi Gigaba in the appointment of Iqbal Shama and Brian Molefe to the Transnet board, and the role of Regiments Capital and Trillian Capital in the procurement of freight locomotives.
  3. New State Capture allegations, including the leaking of confidential information to the Guptas by Faith Muthambi, and allegations of South African immigration officials positioned in India to assist Gupta associates and businesses.

Now, I welcome this investigation, as I am sure most South Africans would. But anyone can see what is missing here. Despite a mountain of evidence, she has deliberately avoided going after the four main players in this corrupt super-syndicate: Jacob Zuma, Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta and Rajesh Gupta.
Everyone else is just a minor player in this saga. They are just the foot soldiers who had to open the doors, grease the wheels and cover the tracks of the real criminals. Advocate Mkhwebane’s failure to even mention these people leads me to one conclusion only: She has no intention of doing her sworn duty because the independence of her office is severely compromised.
Fellow South Africans,
Until we rid our government of the parasites that suck our country dry, communities like this will always suffer. Because it is impossible to serve both the Guptas’ greed and the people’s needs.
This ANC government has proven, over and over again, that it does not have the will to kick a corrupt president and his corrupt cronies out. Our only hope lies in a fresh start under a new government. And this is where you come in. Because only through the power of your vote can we save our country.
In the 2019 election, you will have the opportunity to do just that. But for many of you it will mean doing something you’ve never done before. It will mean turning your back on the ANC, like they have already turned their back on you.
I assure you, if you lend the DA your vote in 2019, we will make your needs our priority. We will not forget this community.

Confronting State Capture: the DA’s priorities for Parliament’s Third Term

Note to Editors: The following brief on the DA’s priorities for Parliament’s Third Term was delivered today by the DA’s Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen MP, who was joined by his Deputy, Mike Waters MP, and the DA’s new Executive Director of Communications, Siviwe Gwarube
The significance of Parliament’s Third Term cannot be overstated. South Africa is confronted with an aggressive cancer called State Capture and those who enable and assist the looters have evaded accountability for far too long.
Parliament is uniquely placed to confront State Capture and the time to do so is now.
For months now the media, civil society and opposition parties have worked tirelessly to expose the nature and extent of the Gupta family’s influence over President Jacob Zuma and the ANC government. The DA’s upcoming Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma looms large and one week from now, on 8 August, every Member of the National Assembly will have to search within themselves and decide: does the looting continue unchecked, or do we act and remove the Looter-in-Chief.
The Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma has never been more relevant or more pressing. For far too long he has been allowed to escape accountability, with the ANC in Parliament an all too willing accomplice. Not even the damning findings of the Public Protector or the Constitutional Court could move a single ANC MP to take a stand against Zuma’s ruinous presidency in the House. When history judges this chapter in the story of South Africa, the DA in Parliament will not be found wanting. We have been and remain the vanguard in the fight against corruption and State Capture, and we are unwavering in the defence of our young democracy.
We are concerned that, on the matter of the secret ballot, the Speaker of the National Assembly will delay her decision to the last possible moment, hoping that the House will descend into chaos and the President will escape accountability. This strategy is extremely reckless and prejudicial to both the institution of Parliament and opposition parties who may choose to take her decision on review.
The DA does not, in principle, support secret ballots, except if there are extenuating circumstances, most notably when an individual member’s safety or life is threatened. In the present motion, there is objective evidence that such extenuating circumstances do exist. ANC MP Makhosi Khoza has been the most notable person to suffer threats against her family and her life, but others have been similarly threatened and intimidated. Only yesterday, the Chief Whip of the ANC launched a broadside aimed at Mondli Gungubele, describing his stated intention to not toe the ANC party line as “a defiance campaign”. We can only reasonably infer that ANC MPs who vote with their conscience will be the subject to punitive action, threatening their livelihood or even worse. For this specific motion, we support a secret ballot. Nevertheless, the DA’s vote is no secret.
We have all noted, with interest, that some in the ANC have grown vocal in their condemnation of State Capture. Even Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa seems to have found his voice, crowing that he will “not remain silent” or “turn a blind eye”. We say to the Deputy President and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, the time has come to speak out where and when it matters: not at carefully stage-managed events advancing your presidential aspirations, but in the House where the ANC has time and time and time again voted to keep Zuma in power. On every previous occasion, Ramaphosa has nailed his colours to Zuma’s mast, and has blithely continued to keep his government on even keel.
The Third (Short) Term
Sadly, the Third Term will be all too brief. Although it has officially commenced, the first ‘normal’ sitting of the National Assembly is only set for 22 August and is followed by a mere eight more scheduled sittings. During this brief three week period, the NA is scheduled to have only four oral questions sessions, including the President, Deputy President (twice) and the Peace and Security cluster. As such, the accountability-shy ministers of Finance, Public Enterprises or Social Development will not be called upon to explain what they’re doing about the ailing economy, our failing SOEs, or the social grants crisis. Opportunities for these and other ministers to answer to Parliament via their committees are also limited and, considering their indifferent attendance record, there is the very real possibility of some ministers not accounting to Parliament at all in the Third Term. The DA will do everything possible in the third term to hold these Ministers to account. DA Members serving on crucial committees will insist that errand ministers are called to explain the state of affairs at their departments.
There are currently only three slots to deal with legislation and, as with previous years, the Fourth Term is set to be another panicked scramble to clear the backlog. There are currently no fewer than 30 bills in NA committees and only two on the Order Paper for second reading. Of these bills, 16 date back to 2016 or 2015. Another bill, the Medical Innovation Bill, dates back to 2014. The Legislature is fast losing its right to be so called.
State Capture probe moves to committee
The DA recognises the limited opportunity for dealing with the most pressing matters in the House. Nevertheless, we believe that Parliament’s investigation into State Capture should now move to its committees.
We have on several occasions called for the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee on State Capture. The DA has successfully lobbied opposition parties to support this initiative, but the ANC remains opposed. We are undeterred and will move our motion for the establishment of this crucial committee at the first opportunity in the House. Those who are opposed to State Capture being investigated by a dedicated ad hoc committee should explain why, or for whose benefit.
On 15 June, House Chairperson of Committees, Cedric Frolick, instructed chairpersons of the portfolio committees on Home Affairs, Mineral Resources, Public Enterprises and Transport to “get to the bottom of the [State Capture] allegations”. We immediately warned that Frolick, acting entirely outside his powers, was limiting the scope of the inquiry and without justification. Worse still, subsequent events in some of these portfolio committees have further raised concerns about this already limited probe being frustrated. As illustration, the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs twice failed to get Malusi Gigaba to appear and explain the Guptas’ questionable naturalisation; the chairperson and the ANC members of this committee have also shown little appetite to summon the only man that can explain.
The DA will not accept any effort to limit the state capture probe and will instruct all of our Members serving on any relevant committee to table any and all evidence of State Capture. The e-mails will be tabled and committees will be forced to confront the allegations. This will not be limited to the four committees mandated by Frolick. Importantly, while we will do everything that we can to see an ad hoc committee established, in the absence of this central investigation, we will ensure that any and all committees of Parliament do their part to hold the ANC led government accountable for allowing the capture of our State.
It has become a habit of President Zuma to shuffle his Cabinet and re-deploy his failing ministers, allowing them to escape accountability. Serving ministers that have been positively linked to the Guptas include:

  • Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, formerly of Home Affairs and Public Enterprises;
  • Minister of Public Service and Administration, Faith Muthambi, formerly of Communications; and
  • Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Des van Rooyen, fleetingly of Finance

Some committees have proven unwilling to call on former ministers to account for executive decisions made in their previous role, instead summoning the incumbent, or even department officials, who did not make the decision.
The foolishness of fragmenting the State Capture probe is fast becoming self-evident. Individual committees have already stressed the need for Evidence Leaders, legal support and technical expertise. We will be writing to both the Secretary and Speaker of the NA asking for assurances that each committee will be properly capacitated and staffed. Ultimately, you will be able to measure the seriousness with which Parliament is taking the State Capture probe by the resources that are dedicated to it.
Addressing unanswered questions
The Executive is not only failing to meet their committee obligations. They are also undermining another crucial Parliamentary mechanism, namely written questions. Questions posed by Members exercising their oversight mandate are, according to the rules, supposed to be answered within ten working days although responsible ministers may ask the Speaker, in writing, for an extension not exceeding a further ten working days “on good cause shown”. Despite this rule, some ministers have questions dating back to the beginning of the year which remain unanswered.
It is genuinely concerning that ministers in crucial departments have such astonishingly high numbers of outstanding replies. The Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, has no fewer than 97 unanswered questions, some more than 20 weeks old. The ministers of Communications, Social Development and Basic Education have 33, 19 and 18 unanswered questions, respectively, with Bathabile Dlamini failing to answer questions which were first submitted in 2016 and have, after lapsing, been resubmitted.
Another disturbing trend is replies with information being withheld on dubious “security grounds”. By illustration, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans refuses to answer valid questions on the presidential jet. These are refused on the grounds that they relate to the “movement of the VVIP, and for security reasons, the response to this question can only be presented to a closed session of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.” Meanwhile, the Minister of State Security’s standard response is that the reply has been tabled with the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, a closed forum.
Our otherwise preoccupied Minister of Police has failed to answer questions on issues ranging from Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s security detail; the VIP protection unit; airport robberies; drugs; detective-to-docket ratios; firearm safety; domestic violence; sexual violence; the restructuring of Crime Intelligence; and police officers doing business with the state.
Yet increasingly the Minister of Police is also refusing to provide replies on security grounds. When asked to explain on what grounds VIP protection details are assigned to persons who are not a President, Minister, Deputy Minister, First Lady or foreign dignitary, the Minister vaguely replied that “the reasons for protection are based on the outcome of individual threat assessments” and provided no further insight. On challenging a 2015 reply relating to the number and cost of trips completed by President Zuma’s VIP Protection Services – even exempting operational, geographical, chronological or other details – the Minister vacuously responded by saying “[t]he required information has direct security implications, which cannot be disclosed”. Perhaps recent revelations about the President’s trips to Dubai explains his reticence.
Individual ministers have also been reticent to reply to questions related to State Capture. Notably, the Minister of Public Enterprises has failed to answer questions relating to the Dentons Report and the Eskom Board; contracts signed by Mr Brian Molefe during his brief reappointed at Eskom and, previously, Transnet; and various contracts state-owned entities (SOEs) entered into with companies tainted by State Capture allegations, such as VR Laser SA. Minister Brown has also chosen to withhold information due to its “commercially sensitive nature” when asked about SOEs like Transnet and Neotel.
The DA continues to take the lead in using this crucial Parliamentary mechanism to hold the Executive to account, asking 1,798 written questions since the start of the year compared to zero from the ANC and a paltry 243 from other parties combined. Yet this important tool is also under threat due to the Executive’s intransigence or willful neglect.
It is important to recall that the Leader of Government Business is tasked, among others, with monitoring replies and he reports back to Cabinet on a bi-weekly basis once he receives the Leader of Government Business Reports – essentially the Summary of Questions at the end of the Question Papers – on unanswered questions. In his own words, the Deputy President said on 11 May 2017 that “[w]here problems are identified, especially with regards to outstanding Parliamentary Questions, all Ministers are reminded of their obligations to reply to questions per the arranged schedule”. The DA will impose on the Deputy President to show leadership and address the matter of unanswered questions as a matter of priority. Parliamentarians cannot be hampered in their Constitutional mandate to hold Government to account.
The way forward
Despite the challenges identified, the DA keenly anticipates a productive Third Term punctuated by Parliament confronting State Capture through its many mechanisms, be it committees or Parliamentary questions. The ANC’s long-standing project of undermining Parliament will not succeed as long as we serve the Legislature.

SAPS allocates only 70% of required police capacity to Gauteng, Boksburg North station suffers 38% staff shortage

The Minister of Police and the National Police Commissioner must take full responsibility for the high crime rate and the chronic lack of police officers.
During a meeting at the Provincial Commissioner’s office, I was informed that the National SAPS office allocates only 70% of the required police capacity to the Gauteng Province. This has a ripple effect and means that police stations will not be adequately staffed.
As far as staffing is concerned, the Boksburg North SAPS precinct has a shortage of 36 visible police officers or 38%. There are only 15 visible policing officers for each of the four shifts. This amounts to just 60 visible policing officers in total. There should be a total of 96 officers in the unit, with 24 officers being on duty per shift.
In addition, the visible police unit is supposed to have two vehicles for each of the four sectors within the precinct, 24 hours a day. However, currently there are only three visible policing vehicles that are patrolling our community, within this policing precinct. In order to meet the need, there should be no less than eight vehicles.
In light of these shortages, it is no wonder that crime is increasing.
As far as the overall situation at the station is concerned, the entire station has only 23 vehicles. These vehicles must serve the operations of all divisions, including detectives, visible policing, crime prevention, et cetera. However, out of the 23 vehicles only 10 are currently operational as 13, or 57%, are at the mechanical workshop.
This is a serious problem as the chronic lack of police vehicles and of boots on the ground renders policing in Boksburg North ineffectual. The Boksburg North SAPS station is in a state of decay, it is under resourced and constrained in protecting residents.
The ANC-run National Government has an obligation to ensure that all police stations are adequately resourced. Their failure to do so comes at the expense of people’s lives.
See photo here.
Photo caption
DA Delegation; Mike Waters MP, Janet Semple MPL and Ward Councillors, Ashley Hoods, Simon Lapping and Ruhan Robinson, recently visited the Boksburg North SAPS station.