DA urges Mr Holomisa to put the people of NMB first

The DA notes with regret the so-called ultimatum from Mr Bantu Holomisa to pull the United Democratic Movement (UDM) out of the coalition government unless Mr Mongamelli Bobani is reinstated as the Deputy Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB)Municipality.
The decision to move a motion of no confidence against the former deputy mayor of NMB, Mr Bobani, was not an easy one. Over the last 9 months, we have implored Mr Holomisa to redeploy Mr Bobani to another position. We have met with the UDM and other coalition partners endlessly about this matter – to no avail.
The reality is that the NMB coalition government has achieved much since being elected, in no small part due to our other coalition partners who have remained committed to our coalition agreement to zero tolerance for corruption.
However, former deputy mayor Bobani has been a destructive member of this particular coalition, and his actions have served to undermine service delivery, most especially to the poorest and most vulnerable communities.
He has voted with the ANC in the Council on a number of occasions, conduct which is simply unacceptable and contrary to our coalition agreement.
In addition to this, Mr Bobani still needs to answer serious allegations of irregular expenditure, fraud and corruption that allegedly took place in the directorate for which he was previously responsible – conduct which is inconsistent with our collective commitment to stopping corruption, improving service delivery and creating jobs.
The DA urges Mr Holomisa to now put the people of NMB first. These women and men voted to remove the ANC and replaced it with the coalition government. It is crucial that we do not let them down. Mr Holomisa must not prioritise Mr Bobani at the expense of the millions who have put their faith in the coalition government.
We remain committed to working with the UDM and other coalition partners to deliver corruption-free and efficient government, not only where we currently co-govern, but towards 2019 and beyond.

DA files papers to set aside Grace Mugabe’s diplomatic immunity

The DA has filed papers in the Constitutional Court requesting direct access to argue that the decision of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, to grant diplomatic immunity to Grace Mugabe, should be set aside as wholly without legal merit and should thus be declared unconstitutional and invalid.
The DA believes that the decision by the Minister, in granting immunity, was hasty, embarrassing and above all illegal and unconstitutional. It is frankly unconscionable that after the scathing ruling by the Constitutional Court in the Al Bashir matter that the ANC-led government would once again let a high profile person escape justice in South Africa.
It is clear that Grace Mugabe was granted immunity simply to shield her from being tried in a court of law for her assault on Gabriella Engels and two others on 13 August 2017. Condoning such behaviour, as the granting of immunity did, cannot possibly be in the interests of South Africa. There is therefore no legal basis for such a decision.
Grace Mugabe is not a member of the Zimbabwean government and she was in South Africa on personal business. There is nothing in either South African or international law which renders her deserving of diplomatic immunity.
This incident is yet another example of how the ANC-led government is intent on protecting the elite of Africa by abusing its statutory powers at the expense of justice for ordinary South Africans.

Gigaba must stop passing the buck and sell SAA

Note to editors: Attached please find sound bites in English and isiZulu
Claims by Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, that the DA’s revelations that he has already signed a R10 billion bailout proposal for the drowning State airline, South African Airways (SAA), ‘has blown the negotiations’ is disingenuous at best and grossly misleading at worst.
SAA has been in trouble for over a decade and is now in very serious trouble due to the ANC government’s utter failure to turn it around.
Gigaba reportedly said that ‘the statement by Lees that a R10bn recapitalisation of SAA was on the cards… has blown the negotiations. SAA had lost its leverage.‘
He is horribly mistaken. The Standard Chartered Bank demanded payment from SAA in June this year and this no doubt caused other banks to demand payment.
If there were any leverage, it was blown when Standard and Chartered refused to roll over its R2.2 billion loan to SAA two months ago.
The bank’s lack of confidence in SAA and the South African government has nothing to do with the DA’s revelations in Parliament and everything to do with a complete lack of confidence, based on the very actions of the ANC government and their mismanagement of SAA’s finances.
The Minister of Finance would do well to face up to this fact and to finally do what is needed – put SAA into business rescue and to find private equity investors.

Bell Pottinger complaint upheld; DA now awaits ruling – likely on 4 September

Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP
The DA has received confirmation that our complaint against Bell Pottinger has been upheld.
This means that the UK’s Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) Professional Practices Committee has agreed that Bell Pottinger did indeed violate its Professional Charter, and/or its Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct.
In a statement last week, the PRCA indicated that “[i]f the complaint(s) are not upheld, the Professional Practices Committee’s decision will be provided to Bell Pottinger and the PRCA will publish the decision by 24th August”.
We have now received confirmation that our complaint stands, and Bell Pottinger will now be given five days to appeal the PRCA’s decision if it so chooses.
If Bell Pottinger appeals, the PRCA’s Board of Management will consider the appeal and either approve, amend, or overrule the decision by the Professional Practices Committee and then publish the final decision during the week beginning 4 September 2017.
The DA looks forward to the PRCA’s full decision regarding disciplinary action against Bell Pottinger. As soon as we receive this we will communicate on it.
During its work for Oakbay Capital, the Gupta family and the President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma, Bell Pottinger exploited the already sensitive race relations in South Africa, and a strong message must be sent to the PRCA that unethical conduct by its members will not be tolerated.
We trust that a strong sanction will be given against Bell Pottinger.
We reiterate our call for Bell Pottinger to do the right thing and disclose all Gupta contracts and monies from their accounts with the Guptas and reinvest it into South Africa.

The DA welcomes successful motion of no confidence in Bobani

This morning, the DA-led coalition government of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMB) managed to vote out the United Democratic Movement (UDM) Deputy Mayor, Mongameli Bobani.
The motion of no confidence was supported by the African Christian Democratic Party and the Congress of the People.
Mr Bobani has been a destructive element in the coalition, and his actions have served to undermine service delivery, most especially to the poorest and most vulnerable communities. He has voted with the ANC  on a number of occasions, conduct which is simply unacceptable and not in line with our coalition agreement.
In addition to this, Mr Bobani still needs to face the consequences of serious allegations of irregular expenditure, fraud and corruption that allegedly took place in the directorate for which he was previously responsible – conduct which is inconsistent with our collective commitment to stopping corruption, improving service delivery and creating jobs.
As such, we have had to support this motion against Mr Bobani so that we could continue prioritising service delivery which the people of NMB metro desperately need. We cannot be distracted by self-serving people who are compromising the project of clean and efficient governance.

Vrede Dairy Farm: Guptas and the ANC stole economic opportunity from black South Africans

The following remarks were made today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, outside the Hawks Headquarters in Pretoria. Maimane was joined by DA Shadow Minister of Justice, Glynnis Breytenbach MP. The full indictment handed over to the Hawks can be accessed here.
Fellow South Africans,
We are gathered here outside the Hawks Head Office to seek justice for those South Africans – our brothers and sisters – who were robbed of economic opportunity by the ANC and the Guptas.
Today I have in my hand a legal indictment containing over 200 pages of prima facie evidence showing that Minister Zwane and members of the Gupta family, through an intricate web of companies and actors, stole almost R200 million of public funds which ended up paying for a Gupta family wedding at Sun City in 2013.
In a small town named Vrede in the eastern Free State, not further than 250kms from here, a crime was committed and money and opportunity was stolen from the people of Vrede in order to fill the pockets of a small clique of powerful individuals who have captured the government, the President, and the ANC.
The victims of this theft are 80 local community members, who were the intended beneficiaries, who would have become part owners of this project, and who would have had an economic stake in the agricultural sector of our country.
Instead of empowering those who are left out of the economy, black South Africans were used as a front for a calculated scheme of grand corruption and money laundering to benefit the Guptas and their friends in the ANC. Between the Guptas and the ANC government, economic opportunity was stolen from black South Africans.
This is a crime of the most reprehensible nature. And today we are here to ensure those who stole face the full might of the law.
It began back in 2013 when the Free State Provincial Government – under then Agriculture MEC, Mosebeni Zwane – launched what is now referred to as the Vrede Dairy Farm project. This community based project, which targeted over 80 intended local beneficiaries, was a joint private-public project between the Free State Agriculture Department and a successful bidder from the private sector.
The aim was to empower local residents and boost provincial agriculture through the establishment of this large scale dairy, with at least 80 community members having a direct stake in the project. On paper, it was full of promise. However, when Gupta-controlled company, Estina, was handed the tender for this project, it became clear this was a preconceived project designed to fill the pockets of the Guptas.
The project was fraught with irregularities and allegations of corruption from day one. What then transpired was a calculated money laundering scheme through an intricate web of transactions – which saw almost R200 million of public funds diverted from this project and straight into the pockets of the Guptas.
Sadly, the Vrede Dairy Farm project could act as a textbook case study of money laundering, collusion and corruption. Despite this, the Gupta-controlled Estina still sits with almost R200 million of public money while the intended beneficiaries are left penniless.
We are here today to make one thing clear: we will not allow this theft of economic opportunity to fall by the wayside.
Because we know who the bad guys are.
And you know who the bad guys are.
Even the police and the Hawks know who the bad guys are.
They are the Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane; they are Atul, Ajay, and Rajesh Gupta; they are the numerous Gupta stooges who work for Gupta-controlled companies such as Oakbay, Linkway and Estina.
The question thus beckons – why has this cut and dry matter not been finalised by the Hawks and referred for prosecution by the NPA?
This indictment delivered today acts as concrete evidence which outlines in detail how this money was stolen from the intended beneficiaries, and provides sufficient evidence to support the criminal charges laid against several members of the Gupta family, their associates, and Minister Zwane last month by DA Shadow Minister of Finance, David Maynier MP. These charges include money laundering, racketeering, assisting another to benefit from the proceeds of unlawful activities, and acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds of unlawful activities in terms of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act 121 of 1998.
We believe that the evidence contained in this indictment, emanating from the tranche of “Gupta email leaks”, is both clear and comprehensive, and sufficient to conclude the investigation into this matter and hand it over to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for prosecution. There is no reason for either the Hawks or the NPA to drag its feet on this matter.
Included in this indictment are documents which reveal the following:

  • Then MEC for Agriculture in the Free State, Mosebenzi Zwane, now Minister of Mineral Resources, was instrumental in persuading the Provincial Government to adopt the dairy project;
  • The project was not put out to public tender;
  • Linkway Trading, a Gupta-controlled company, entered into a consulting contract with Estina, also a Gupta-controlled company to the value of R138 000;
  • Financial records show that over a six-week period between August and September 2013, Estina transferred $8 348 700.00 (R84 million at the then prevailing exchange rate) to the Dubai bank account of Gateway LLC, a Gupta controlled UAE shelf company;
  • This transfer represented the entire amount transferred from the Free State provincial government to Estina for purposes of the Dairy project, to the Gupta controlled account at Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai;
  • The Standard Chartered account was clearly used to launder the money in question, since at least three quarters of the funds in question were almost immediately transferred back to two Gupta-controlled South African companies Linkway Trading and Oakbay Investments;
  • Three months after the wedding, on 31 July 2013 Linkway Trading, a South African-based Gupta-controlled company, presented Accurate, a Gupta-controlled shelf company in the UAE, with a 4 page, itemized invoice for expenses for the “V and A function at Sun City”.
  • A South African National Treasury probe followed the exposure of the malpractices at the dairy farm in the media and Estina was removed from the project, but by then the Provincial Government had paid Estina the amount of R210 million

We believe that this is a cut and dry example of money laundering and corruption. The charges have been laid, the evidence is clear and overwhelming, and now all that’s left to do is move forward with prosecution. It is this unacceptable that the perpetrators of this crime have yet to be charged, and as such, this indictment serves to speed up the wheels of justice to ensure that those who stole the people’s money are prosecuted, and if found guilty by a court of law – are put behind bars.
The DA is unrelenting in our effort to seek true justice for this group of South Africans who are the real victims of the ANC’s State Capture project

Captured Crime Intelligence appointment highlights need for National Policing Board

The DA will call for Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to implement the National Development Plan (NDP) by urgently convening a National Policing Board to review all police senior management. He also needs to urgently facilitate the selection process for the appointment of a permanent National Police Commissioner through this mechanism.
Such a board is imperative following the latest questionable appointment, that of Zuma loyalist, Major General King Bhoyi Ngcobo, as the Acting Head of Crime Intelligence late yesterday. This is a puzzling appointment given the previous announcement that Acting Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. would directly oversee the Crime Intelligence Division, which was also confirmed at the Police Portfolio Committee yesterday.
It is shocking that a former Head of VIP Protection Services who is a close Zuma confidant and someone under a cloud of allegations of submitting a fake matric certificate to the South African Police Service (SAPS) has been entrusted with the leadership of our country’s Crime Intelligence division.
We condemn Ngcobo’s appointment in the strongest terms. For one of Zuma’s most trusted bodyguards to be elevated to lead South African Crime Intelligence shows just how far Zuma’s web of state capture continues to spread.
This highly suspect appointment follows a string of dodgy senior appointments in Mbalula’s department:
• Previous Crime Intelligence Head, Pat Mokushane, did not have security clearance and was doing business with the state;
• A court ruled that Former Acting Hawks Head, Berning Ntlemeza, is “dishonest” and “lacking integrity” before he was even appointed, and that his appointment process was flawed; and
• Israel Kgamanyane, who was Acting Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Head while Robert McBride was on suspension and led a purge of senior IPID staff, was transferred after McBride’s return to the Hawks in a possibly irregular process and now heads up the Special Investigations Department at the Hawks Headquarters.
The NDP proposal recommends specifically that, “A national policing board should be established, with multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary expertise. It should set standards for recruiting, selecting, appointing and promoting police officials and police officers. The board should also develop a code of ethics and analyse the professional standing of policing, based on international norms and standards.”
The DA will not stand by while questionable and often incompetent appointments continue to seriously compromise the senior police management in our country, from the Hawks to the IPID and now to Crime Intelligence. Fit-for-purpose and ethical police leadership is the very least that the people of South Africa deserve going forward.
Mbalula needs to ensure this by implementing the NDP proposal and facilitating the National Police Commissioner selection process urgently. He simply cannot drag his feet any longer waiting for the SAPS Transformation Task Team under the Deputy Minister’s office to finish its processes.

Historical victory for DASO at UP

Yesterday, the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) received a resounding mandate to provisionally govern the SRC at the University of Pretoria (UP).
DASO won all 10 portfolios that it contested. This reaffirms the growing sentiment among South African students who trust DASO to put them first as their student representatives.
DASO would like to thank all UP students that have entrusted us with their support. We commit to doing justice to the faith shown in us.
We are excited to bring good governance to the institution with DASO provisionally holding 10 of the 12 seats. Our candidates are elected to the following portfolios:

  • Kwena Moloto for SRC President
  • Soraia Machado for SRC Secretary
  • Lihle Ngubane for Transformation & Student Success
  • Akhona Mdunge for Study Finance
  • Obakeng Sepeng for Societies
  • Jodie Chikowi for Postgraduate & International Student Affairs
  • Kyle Goosen for Marketing, Media & Communications
  • Lindi Mtsweni for Facilities, Safety & Security
  • Stanford Ndlovu for Day Students & External Campus Affairs
  • Duane van Wyk for SRC Treasurer

Opposition student political organisations have until Friday, 25 August at 09:00 to lodge objections at the IEC offices.
We are confident that the election was free and fair and we are readying our SRC members to serve all the students at the University of Pretoria, particularly the most poor and vulnerable.
This result reflects the growing support and trust that the DA has amongst young South Africans who recognise us as the only credible alternative for delivering skills, jobs and good governance.
Our DASO structures are working tirelessly to ensure that in addition to representing students successfully on student councils, we work with our local government to support our students and convince other students to deliver a DA-led government in 2019 to fix the broken and underfunded Higher Education and Training Sector.

Mbalula must account for 20 escaped prisoners

The Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, must fully account for the 20 prisoners who escaped yesterday evening while being transported in Johannesburg.
Reports that twenty awaiting trial prisoners escaped when their transport was ambushed by a group of armed men in Southgate, Johannesburg, yesterday are incredibly concerning.
South Africans already fear for their safety every single day. Now there are more criminals on the loose who escaped while awaiting trial.
It is crucial that the Minister takes the country in his confidence by supplying a detailed explanation for this and how the South African Police Service (SAPS) plans to apprehend these prisoners.
Minister Mbalula has a duty to improve the safety of our citizens and must therefore fully account for how a prison break of this magnitude can happen.

Sell SAA, not the future of SA

Reports that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, intends to “dispose of its 39.75% shareholding in Telkom, which is currently valued at approximately R14.4bn” to allow for an R10 billion bailout for SAA are deeply disturbing.
The ANC government has known for more than ten years that SAA is doomed.
Yet, the ANC government has actively chosen, over and over again, to throw R23.3 billion in bailouts and guarantees since 2008 at the problem, instead of cutting the losses.
Now it appears that Cabinet wants to sell its Telkom shares, a successful company so that government can throw another R10 billion at SAA.
We have seen this movie before and we know how it ends – SAA continues to fail and will need more bailouts.
This is money that is desperately needed for education so that our children have a chance at a better future.
It is money that is needed to promote the creation of jobs so that the 9 million South Africans who cannot find a job and are denied dignity, can find employment.
This is money that can be used to make our communities safe for South African women to walk to the shops without fearing for their safety.
The sad fact is that there is no way out of handing over the billions needed to dig SAA out of the very deep hole the government has allowed the airline to fall into.
The effect of the numerous government bail outs and the dire financial situation at SAA is not limited to depleting the public purse but has also been partly responsible for ratings downgrades and negative outlook ratings from international agencies.
It is morally incomprehensible how the situation has been allowed to get to this level.
The only option left, with any hope of plugging financial hole, is for the ANC government to put SAA into business rescue to stabilise the airline before taking it to the market to find private equity investors.