Eskom must hand over Oliver Wyman report to Parliament after lying about payments to Trillian

The DA has noted Eskom’s sudden U-turn today after it initially claimed that the R1.6 billion paid to the Gupta-linked Trillian and Mckinsey was above board back in June this year.
The fact is that Eskom defended these payments and stated that everything was above board following an investigation by Global consultancy, Oliver Wyman, in June.
It has now been revealed that Oliver Wyman not only warned against the approval of these payments, but had actually red flagged these payments, stating that Eskom needed to conduct a legal review of all contracts.
The DA will write to the Acting Public Enterprises Committee Chairperson, Ms Zukiswa Ranthoto, to ask that she urgently ensure Eskom hands over the report by Oliver Wyman to Parliament for scrutiny.
It is now apparent that Eskom procured the services of Oliver Wyman. Yet, when the advice was not in favour of the Guptas, they blatantly chose to ignore it.
It is unacceptable that Eskom thought they could get away with this lie for so long.
The DA will ensure that all those responsible for this will be held to account at Parliament’s upcoming Eskom Inquiry.
Under the toxic influence of the seemingly Gupta-captured Eskom leadership, the power utility has floundered from one corruption scandal to another and enough is enough.

SAA CEO may not have signed contract yet

Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, committed in his 14 point plan to appoint the SAA CEO by 31 July 2017. This was a key ‘action item’ in the plan and a condition imposed by some of SAA’s lenders.
Gigaba assured the country on numerous occasions that Mr Vuyani Jarana had been appointed as the CEO:
• On 3 August 2017, he said that ‘Vuyani Jarana has been appointed South African Airways Chief Executive Officer. He will commence his duties after his current employer has officially released him;’
• The next day, he said that ‘I think it is appropriate to start with an announcement that I am sure you all have heard that we have appointed the CEO of SAA yesterday;’ and
• On 25 August 2017, he said that ‘The good thing is that there is a new CEO who has been appointed. We are paying close attention to strengthening the board of SAA and appointing the requisite skills on the board.’
These assurances seem to have been contradicted by SAA Board Chair, Dudu Myeni, on 23 August 2017 when she informed Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) that she did not have a date for when Jarana would take up the CEO position. Myeni told SCOPA that ‘He has accepted the offer’ and that ‘We are hoping that he will start on the first of September.’
It is quite astounding that the SAA Board Chair does not seem to have knowledge of any signed contract which leads us to believe that Mr Jarana may not have signed the contract yet.
The CEO’s appointment is important because if the CEO is not appointed, this could result in a default that would require all remaining R14.6 billion of bank loans to be repaid immediately.
SAA has not had a permanent CEO for more than two years and has run at massive losses amounting to R6.1 billion during that period. It is critical that a permanent CEO be put in place to take control and implement robust cost-cutting and revenue improvement measures.

The DA will not tolerate corruption

The DA welcomes the apparent commitment from the Leader of the United Democratic Movement (UDM), Bantu Holomisa, that the UDM will remain in the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) coalition. We are however concerned with his intention to approach a court to reverse the removal of Mr Bobani as Deputy Mayor.
One of the main purposes of forming coalition governments, in NMB and elsewhere, was to make a distinct break from the previous ANC administrations, which were riddled with corruption and maladministration.
Our primary responsibility in government must, therefore, be to expose corruption where it exists and to root it out completely from the governments we, in coalition with others, run.
This is what we were elected for and it is a duty we take seriously.
The DA cannot and will not be indecisive in dealing with those who put their own interest above those of the residents of NMB. When we say we have a “zero tolerance” approach to corruption, we mean it, and we cannot have someone in our government who is ambivalent about corruption.
It is also impossible to have a coalition partner who regularly votes with the ANC to slow down service delivery, which Mr Bobani has done on numerous occasions. This is in contravention of the co-government agreement, and the agreement places a duty on the party leadership to deal with these situations. Despite numerous requests over a period of nine months, Mr Holomisa has refused to do so.
The DA does not wish to end the coalition agreement with the UDM. There are many fine men and women in that organisation who, like us, are committed to eradicating corruption and delivering services efficiently to all the people of NMB.
But we simply will not work with one individual whose personal conduct is at odds with our agreement and commitment to zero tolerance of corruption. It is for that reason – and that reason only – that the DA voted to remove Mr Bobani as the Deputy Mayor.
We, therefore, urge Mr Holomisa to not waste any further time, to put the interests of the residents of the Metro first and to nominate a new UDM councillor to take Mr Bobani’s place in the government.

DA to refer ‘Project Wonder’ to the Inspector-General of Intelligence for investigation

The DA notes with concern the revelation of continued interference in police operations by suspended heads of SAPS, Crime Intelligence and Hawks through an alleged clandestine intelligence operation called ‘Project Wonder’.
The reported participation of operatives in these agencies in this project, specifically the illegal monitoring of Cabinet Ministers and their support staff, diverts attention away from the real task of fighting crime and shows how the chickens are coming home to roost after years of political interference and capture of the police service.
The DA will therefore refer this alleged unlawful interference and acts of intimidation to the Inspector General of Intelligence (IGI) for possible investigation.
Berning Ntlemeza, Richard Mdluli and Khomotso Phahlane are currently on suspension for various alleged offences committed during their tenure, which means they could face further sanction should it be established that they are the ringleaders of ‘Project Wonder’.
In addition to the referral of the issue to the IGI, the DA will also write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police to summon Major-General Ngcobo, as the Acting Head of Crime Intelligence (CI), to come and brief Parliament on what his Division will do to clamp down on rogue CI officers who are suspected of participating in ‘Project Wonder’.
We cannot allow stability in our state security institutions to be corrupted by a mafia of rogue elements whose objective has mutated from fighting organised crime to conducting illegal witch-hunts to promote narrow agendas.
Confidence in state security sector is already at an all-time low. It is therefore unacceptable that there are sustained efforts to promote further destabilisation and abuse of state resources.
Organised violent crime in the country is at an all-time high and has been escalating continuously for years, therefore it is important that SAPS and its crime intelligence structures are focused on fulfilling their core objective of fighting crime. Any unrelated undertakings is a betrayal to South Africans who are forced to live their lives in fear because of organised crimes like robberies, hijackings and human trafficking.
The DA looks forward to the initiation of an investigation by the IGI into ‘Project Wonder’. Those implicated must face the full might of the law.
It is abundantly clear that the only way to ensure that sanity and stability is restored in our state security sector is to remove this corruption-ridden ANC government which has bred such lawlessness. In its place we must have a DA-led national government elected that will put the fight against crime firmly back on the agenda under fit-for-purpose leadership whose integrity is beyond reproach.

DA launches petition calling for early emergency elections

The Democratic Alliance calls on all South Africans to sign our petition calling for early emergency elections.
We believe the ANC has lost the confidence of the majority of South Africans, and that Parliament requires a new beginning through the ballot box.
In the Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma on 8 August it was clear that the ANC is willing to do anything to protect this corrupt president. A man that has 783 corruption charges against him.
The ANC has proved time and again that is totally incapable of self-correcting and that they will do anything to protect President Zuma and keep him in power. As the ANC fights itself, Parliament is becoming dysfunctional.
The DA cannot allow this to happen. While 9.3 million South Africans are jobless and 30.4 million (55.5%) South Africans live below the poverty line, unauthorised, irregular, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure under President Zuma’s ANC amounts to R252 billion. It may be too late to wait until 2019 to save our country. We have to act now.
South Africans must be allowed to have their say and by supporting the DA’s motion you can help to ensure that South Africa does not have to withstand the devastating effects of Jacob Zuma’s presidency for another two years .

DA calls for a debate of national importance on SAA’s financial position

The DA will call for a debate of national importance on the financial position of South African Airways (SAA).
SAA recorded a loss of R1.5 billion in 2015/16 which spiked to R4.7 billion in 2016/17. At the current rate, it seems almost certain that the airline will record an even higher loss in 2017/18 than in the previous financial year.
Investors are already not willing to invest because of the poor state of SAA. In June, Standard and Chartered’s unwillingness to roll over their loan to SAA caused a R2.203 billion bailout and recent revelations confirm that Citibank will not extend a R1.8 billion loan due at the end of September.
The total loan amount maturing at the end of September amounts to R6.785 billion. There is next to no hope that any of the lenders will roll the debt over.
Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, has therefore approved a R10 billion bailout for 2017/18 which does not even take in to account the R23.3 billion in bailouts and guarantees to SAA over the past decade. However, given that the corporate plan and memo indicate that there will be a R13 billion bailout from 2017/18 to 2019/20, it can be assumed that there is a R3 billion bailout planned for either next year or the year thereafter.
The airline has R7.8 billion in debt maturing between 2019 and 2022. Assuming that the R13 billion will be the last bailout would mean that the airline could pay its debt that matures between 2019 and 2022 which is entirely untenable. Therefore, another bailout beyond 2019 is highly likely.
SAA is a colossal drag on the fiscus and highlights the drain that State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) present to our country, with a staggering R780 billion in guarantees already extended to SOEs. This debate of national importance on the ticking time bomb that is SAA is more imperative now than ever before.

Let the Metros run passenger rail services

The following speech was delivered by DA Leader Mmusi Maimane at the Transport and Mobility Summit in Nelson Mandela Bay yesterday evening.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The clock is ticking for our young nation. We have no time to waste. The report on poverty trends released this week by Stats SA paints a bleak picture indeed of the daily lives of South Africans.
According to this report, over 55% of South Africans live in poverty. That’s more than 30 million people, and the graph is heading in the wrong direction.
Economic exclusion and the social ills that go hand-in-hand with this are very much a product of our brutal and unjust past. This is especially true in public transport, because black and coloured South Africans were uprooted and dumped on the distant peripheries of towns and cities.
Efficient, affordable and reliable public transport networks is one very important way of undoing this legacy, and loosening the grip of poverty.
But like in many other areas of public policy, we have not done nearly enough to fight poverty with excellent public transport.
And when I say we, I mean all of us. The temptation is to point fingers at the failings of the ANC government alone, as if that somehow absolves us. We must do what we can with what we have until we are in national government. And right now, the DA governs, in some form, for around 16 million South Africans in metros and municipalities.
Our cities can and should lead the drive for economic development in South Africa. Cities governed by the DA must be the shining example of how efficient, clean and responsive governments can attract investment and create jobs. And importantly, our cities are best placed to build and maintain transport infrastructure.
These things are within our control. We have the power to make a big difference in the lives of many poor South Africans, and with that power comes big responsibility.
In every sphere and level of government, it is our job to reverse the legacy of centuries of colonial rule and decades of Apartheid. If correcting the wrongs of the past is not at the centre of every single thing we do, then we are in the wrong job.
Spatial segregation was at the very heart of Apartheid planning. Unlike many cities across the world where the poor are clustered in and around the city centre, the architects of Apartheid had the exact opposite in mind.
Here, our poorest citizens find themselves pushed to the outskirts of the city, isolated from opportunities. This was a deliberate strategy to keep black South Africans poor and powerless, and it worked.
While most middle-class residents in suburbs have a relatively short and inexpensive commute to their work, poor South Africans in outlying townships find themselves spending up to 40% of their income just to get to work and back.
But it’s not only the cost or the inconvenience of the commute that holds people back. Poor families also suffer because they are robbed of their time together. And this is something middle class South Africans don’t always realise.
For someone living in the suburbs who has to get their children to school before commuting to work, the morning will typically start at around 6am. They will return home in daylight hours, and get to spend quality time with their families before going to bed.
Compare this to the millions of South Africans who set their alarm clocks for 4 in the morning and send their children off to school in the pitch dark before starting on a 2 or 3 hour commute to work.
No one can ever get this stolen time back.
If we want to talk about creating a fair society, where all our people can enjoy the freedom they were promised since the dawn of our democracy, then breaking down the walls of Apartheid spatial planning must be a top priority.
We can do so by integrating communities through affordable housing solutions across all areas of our cities. But we can also do so by connecting people in our outlying communities to opportunities in our cities through better public transport.
Without being in national government, the provision of reliable, affordable transport is one of the best ways we can impact the lives of the people for whom we govern.
Efficient transport drives economic inclusion. It brings people to places of opportunity, and it connects employers with the unemployed.
I am hugely encouraged by the work our new Metro Mayors are doing in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay in tackling the transport challenges they inherited in these cities.After just a year in office, the changes are already visible.
Already, Mayor Trollip’s administration has begun to integrate Nelson Mandela Bay.
After staggering losses of R2bn to fruitless expenditure in the last 5 years of the ANC government in this Metro, it is hugely encouraging to know that the city will finally get the world class transport system it deserves.
Equally encouraging is news that engagements with PRASA have led to commitments to construct a rail line connecting Motherwell with the CBD. This will see 7.8km of rail and three new stations linking the people of Motherwell to opportunities in the city.
This is a big step forward from the previous Metro government that spent R100m on buses that couldn’t even fit onto the city’s roads.
In Johannesburg, the City has assisted 110 minibus taxi operators in Johannesburg to complete a first-ever course in business and financial management through the Wits School of Governance.
Mayor Mashaba’s administration has also declared war on potholes and broken traffic lights, and these efforts have already made a noticeable difference across the city.
In Tshwane there are plans to expand the A Re Yeng Bus Rapid Transport System as well as to increase the number of people using the Tshwane Bus Service.
Mayor Msimanga’s administration also reviewed bus fares in June in order to make the service more affordable for unemployed residents seeking job opportunities.
In addition to lower fares across all routes, there are also new concessions for scholars, pensioners and people with disabilities.
Just one year in, these DA governments have already had a visible impact on the lives of the people of these cities.
But when it comes to radically altering the way a city’s people move about, you need a little more time. The people of the City of Cape Town, after 11 years under a DA government, are now seeing the benefit of long-term planning by a stable, capable local government when it comes to transport.
The world-class MyCiti bus service already provides a rapid bus service as well as feeder service to thousands of Capetonians in areas such as Blouberg, Melkbosstrand, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Hout Bay, with routes now also rolling out in Philippi, Nyanga and other poorly serviced parts of the City.
And as the next five corridor routes are completed over the coming years, the Cape Town Metro will become a far more accessible place for all its people.
The design of the MyCiti buses makes Cape Town the only city with disabled-friendly public transport, and this is topped-up with the Dial-A-Ride service for those unable to use mainstream transport.
The new initiative announced by the DA government in Cape Town earlier this year, in which jobseekers will get free rides on the MyCiti network thanks to a subsidy from the City, is another great way in which barriers to employment are being broken down.
But bus routes will only get us so far. To truly unlock the potential of our cities, we must get our people back onto trains in great numbers. Because, when properly run, commuter rail holds the key to connecting the bulk of our people with economic opportunities.
Again, using Cape Town as an example, the deterioration of the Metrorail service has had a profound impact on the City’s ability to move people in and out of town.
Over the past four years, the number of passengers boarding trains daily in Cape Town has dropped by a staggering 43%. Delays, service interruptions and crime have become so commonplace that many commuters have abandoned the trains for good.
And these people all ended up on the roads in taxis, in buses and in cars, making Cape Town South Africa’s most congested city. Every day around 260,000 cars enter the city’s CBD. The roads simply cannot cope with this volume of traffic.
The solution is to allow the City to bring commuter rail into its transport plan by giving it control of the rail networks, the stations and the land on which these lie.
The Metro government is in a far better position than PRASA to get the most out of the city’s rail network and to run it properly. if our Metros ran their own train systems, then voters could hold us accountable for the success or failure to deliver a reliable train service.
It makes no sense that such a vital public service is run by people who are totally unaccountable to the public.
In many ways this is similar to the SAA story, but with trains, not planes. And frankly, the implications for poverty and economic growth are far more profound than with a failing airline.
National government has an opportunity to fix this in their new National Rail Strategy by assigning the management of Metrorail to the City.
So let me issue a sincere call to national government here: let DA-led Metro governments run passenger rail networks in those cities. Give us the opportunity to run an efficient, well-run, accountable passenger train service and I promise you we will not let you down.
You should not see this as a threat, but as an opportunity. If you care about dismantling barriers to economic opportunity and fighting the legacy of Apartheid, then you should be willing to do whatever it takes to deliver a great public transport system. Even if that means giving it to us to deliver.
And I ask all of our Mayors and Mayoral Committee Members responsible for public transport: take forward this request in your engagement with national government. They will take some persuading, but to me, it is a “no brainer”.
Public transport should be delivered by local governments, not by a distant unaccountable state-owned company.
Ladies and gentlemen, when I speak of our cities, I don’t mean the way they look today. I mean the cities of our future.
Rapid urbanisation has already had a dramatic impact on the way we move around our cities, and this trend will increase sharply over the coming decades. We must plan our transport systems for how our cities will look 30 or 40 years from now.
We must think big, and be prepared to invest just as big. A bus system that can barely service the people of Johannesburg today will certainly not cope with the needs of a city of 20 million people a few decades from now.
Let’s explore all the options. Perhaps it is finally time for an underground metro rail for South Africa’s beating economic heart.
Cape Town may have had a ten year head start on the other DA-run metros, but I know that Mayors Mashaba, Msimanga and Trollip are not daunted by the idea of playing catch-up.
I know they lead teams of committed and competent people who care deeply about the plight of poor South Africans. And I know that they can replicate, and even surpass, the transport successes achieved over the past decade in Cape Town.
When we meet again for a summit like this, I hope it will be to discuss our transport plans as national government, and how we can bring freedom, fairness and opportunity to all the people of South Africa.
Thank you.

DA welcomes guilty verdict in coffin assault case

The DA welcomes the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court ruling that the men accused of forcing Rethabile Mlotshwa into a coffin are guilty of attempted murder, amongst other charges.
Throughout the duration of the trial, neither Theo Jackson nor Willem Oosthuizen showed any remorse for assaulting Mlotshwa in what is believed to be a racially motivated attack.
This verdict sends a strong message that racism in any shape or form will not be tolerated in South Africa. It also once again highlights the need for rural safety units to be reinstated for the protection of all those living in outlying areas.
The DA believes that we must strive to build a society that is free of conflict and fear and that all South Africans must stand up against racial hatred and bigotry.
The DA calls for a sentence befitting of this crime so as to once again highlight that racism had no place in South Africa.

DA welcomes that SIU can finally begin SABC investigation

The DA welcomes the signing of the proclamation allowing the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to begin a forensic investigation at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
Although three months late, President Jacob Zuma’s signing of the proclamation means that the SIU can now finally begin to do the work that will reveal the true extent of corruption, maladministration and unlawful conduct at the SABC likely implicating former Communications Minister, Faith Muthambi; former SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng; former SABC CEO, James Aguma and indeed, the Gupta family.
We encourage the SIU to conduct its work speedily and without fear or favour and to be a bulwark against any attempts at political interference during its investigations.
It is unfortunate that the President took so long to sign the proclamation and appears only to have done so today, given that he would have been forced to answer for the delay during Oral Questions to the President next week.
For too long the SABC has lurched from crisis to crisis and served as a piggy bank for corrupt ANC-linked individuals and politicians. We trust the SIU’s investigation will reveal the true depths of the rot at the SABC, the SABC inquiry only scratched the surface. We look forward to the outcome of the SIU’s investigation.

BOKAMOSO | Poverty: SA’s 30 million poor need a new beginning

Of all the sad things we’ve learnt this year, surely the saddest news came on Tuesday, when Pali Lehohla, our Statistician General, told us that absolute poverty is on the rise in South Africa, and that our children are suffering more than any other group. This is our clearest call to action yet. Each passing day, more South Africans slip into poverty, more children fall into deprivation. It is time for a new beginning and that new beginning can’t come soon enough.

More than half of our country lives in poverty. One in four South Africans cannot afford to feed themselves adequately, let alone any other necessities. StatsSA’s Poverty Trends in South Africa report reveals that between 2011 and 2015, the proportion of people living in poverty (below the poverty line of R1138 per person per month in 2017 prices) increased from 53.2% to 55.5%, equating to 30.4 million people. Of these, 13.8 million people (up from 11 million in 2011) live in extreme poverty (below the food poverty line of R531 per person per month), lacking adequate nutrition.

And of course, the burden of poverty is almost entirely borne by black people, courtesy of our deeply unjust apartheid past and the failings of a callous, corrupt ANC government.

Shockingly, 67% – two in three – of South Africa’s children live in poverty – a much higher proportion than for any other age group. Over 13 million children, almost all of them black, are growing up in poverty, their early childhood development compromised and their life chances stunted. Millions of children go to sleep on an empty stomach and sleep badly as a result; they go to school on an empty stomach and perform badly as a result. Some 15 000 children per year are admitted to hospital for severe acute malnutrition, of whom around 1 500 die from it. South Africa will never flourish while so many of our children are caught in this cruel poverty trap.

We must never, ever accept poverty as normal. Absolute poverty must always be absolutely unacceptable.

Tackling and eliminating poverty must be our top priority as a nation, the yardstick by which we measure our success.  The DA in national government will take a two-pronged “protect and empower” approach. We will give as much protection as possible to those who remain in poverty, while moving as quickly as possible to provide the opportunities that empower people to lift themselves out of poverty.

A strong social safety net is a social and moral imperative, but the fact is that in SA, the key driver of poverty is large-scale unemployment. There are more people receiving social grants (17 million) than people with jobs (16 million) in SA. Clearly, the only sustainable solution to the challenge of poverty, is to bring poor people into the economy en masse, through inclusive, job-creating economic growth.

In national government, we will be relentless in seeking to grow income-generating opportunities and to improve poor people’s access to these opportunities. Over and above its capacity to empower the poor, a thriving economy also provides the revenue that funds greater social protection. Without a thriving economy, our welfare system itself is at risk.

How will we grow an inclusive, thriving economy? By growing people’s capacity for economic activity through improving access to quality education and healthcare. By de-concentrating our economy and supporting small, medium and micro enterprises. By investing in rural development and giving people title deeds to the land they live on. By providing the infrastructure that connects people to each other and opportunities – broadband internet, transport networks; and that underpins all economic activity – water and energy infrastructure. By ensuring that state-owned enterprises are a benefit rather than a cost to the public.

But undoubtedly, the single most important requirement for a thriving South African economy is political will: a state that is genuinely committed to the wellbeing of the many rather than the enrichment of the few; a state that is committed to democratic accountability; a state that inspires confidence through coherent and stable policy; a state that understands that inclusive economic growth and true broad-based economic empowerment are mutually reinforcing; leaders who seek to unite rather than divide and who are genuinely committed to righting the wrongs of the past; leaders with social consciousness so that they do not squander resources that should go to the poor. I am confident that the DA will lead a state such as this; that we will unite the nation and work hard, together, to rapidly reduce poverty and build the bright future that every single one of our children deserves.