We expect 783 charges against Zuma to be re-instituted immediately

The DA is currently finalising our submissions to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as to why the 783 charges of corruption, fraud, money-laundering and racketeering against President Jacob Zuma should be reinstituted immediately.
The NPA set a deadline of 30 November 2017 by which President Zuma and the DA can submit representations on the matter.
The impending decision by the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, on whether or not to proceed with charging President Zuma is the one case that will make or break the NPA’s credibility.
Throughout the eight and a half years that the DA has been fighting to ensure that President Zuma gets his day in court, the basis of our case has been that it should not be up to a civil servant to unilaterally decide to withdraw criminal charges once the charge sheet has been finalised. The decision should be made rationally, by a court of law with the right to exercise judicial oversight.
This was confirmed by a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court in April 2016 when Justice Aubrey Ledwaba handed down a judgment that the decision to drop the charges against President Zuma was irrational and further that the decision to drop the charges in this instance should be made by a court of law.
This judgment should have seen the charges reinstated immediately yet President Zuma saw fit to waste more time and spend taxpayer’s money on frivolous appeals, despite repeatedly professing his innocence, and asking for his day in court.
If President Zuma is as innocent as he claims, he must convince a court of law just like any other ordinary citizen.
Shaun Abrahams must seize the opportunity to prove that the NPA has not been captured and proceed with the prosecution immediately and set a date for the trial.

DA to request invitation to Matric standardisation meeting from Umalusi

The DA would like to wish all matriculants well as they write their last exam tomorrow. We congratulate them for all their hard work and hope that it will pay off come the release of their results.
Thousands of matric papers will soon be marked and moderated, culminating in the standardisation process by Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training body, Umalusi.
Standardisation is the process by which the results of subjects are moderated and adjusted through a mathematical model to ensure consistency in examination levels and the best possible results for learners given any errors there might be in question papers.
This process has a meaningful impact on the matric pass rate and therefore, it is in the public interest that the meeting, to be held shortly before Christmas, in which the adjustments are discussed and explained, is open and transparent.
It is standard practice that the Basic Education Portfolio Committee be invited to the annual meeting. This year, however, there has been no invitation extended.
The DA will therefore write to Umalusi to formally request that our MPs are invited to the meeting. MPs are constitutionally obligated to perform oversight and they should be given the opportunity to carry out this important duty by being allowed to attend the meeting.
Umalusi has committed to “making its processes transparent to all who have an interest in the examinations [it] quality assures” and we believe they must show this by making the meeting publicly accessible – it should be opened up to the DA and the media. This will ensure matriculants, their parents and key stakeholders are confident in the qualifications our matriculants obtain.
Last year, 32 out of 58 subjects had their marks adjusted upwards during the standardisation process – which suggests that there is some problem in the system since exam papers were checked and moderated before writing
By opening up the standardisation meeting, Umalusi will give the public an honest and accurate reflection of matriculants’ performance.
It will allow us to identify weaknesses in the education system so that necessary improvements can be made and we call on Umalusi to do the right thing by ensuring the standardisation process is inclusive.

BOKAMOSO | Ramaphosa policy is DA-lite

Cyril Ramaphosa gave a lengthy speech recently, setting out the DA’s economic policy. To be fair, he didn’t call it that. He called it A New Deal for Jobs, Growth and Transformation. But there is nothing new about it. The DA has consistently called for economic policy that has jobs and growth at its centre, because that is the only way to lift 30 million South Africans out of poverty. We have consistently held that growth and transformation are mutually reinforcing, rather than conflicting, objectives. So even though Ramaphosa’s new deal is somewhat secondhand, we welcome it heartily.
It is wonderful that there is a growing consensus at the centre of SA’s politics around the DA’s approach to economic policy and growth. This is the unity of purpose we have been pursuing. We want South Africans to come together around the values of Constitutionalism and an open economy that delivers for all and not just the elite. We want South Africans to unite behind economic policy that focuses on the 30 million poorest South Africans rather than on enriching a small number of black industrialists.
So this public endorsement from a leading ANC presidential candidate is gratifying. At the Daily Maverick’s The Gathering last week, Pravin Gordhan emphatically denied any common ground with DA policy, but was unable to point out major differences. From our side, we’re certainly happy to be in the “same Whatsapp Group” as anyone in SA who understands that job creation through an unrelenting focus on inclusive growth and investment is the only way to sustainably transform our economy and society.
As Ramaphosa acknowledges, this requires us to commit to stable, investor-friendly policies, to invest heavily in infrastructure and skills, and to put small and medium enterprises at the centre of our policies, since they have the highest potential to create jobs. These are policies that have led to growth and employment where we govern. This is why the Western Cape has achieved faster job creation in the past decade than has the rest of the country. Our policy approach has been tried and tested and shown to work. We believe strongly in it, and we want to see it implemented as widely as possible.
As Ramaphosa conceded, rather ironically, we need to move from looking to create a small number of super elite to an economy in which the state’s role is to create an enabling environment so that entrepreneurial activity can flourish, creating sustainable, private-sector jobs on a massive scale.
He recognizes that this means aggressive support for SME’s by massively reducing their cost of doing business, through policy and regulatory reform. It means prioritizing sectors with the greatest potential for job creation, such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and mining. It means promoting renewable energy. It means harnessing ongoing urbanization to improve access to land and housing ownership, services and economic opportunities. It means land reform that includes systems to improve land productivity, and greater support for small-scale black farmers.
So much music to our ears: He says we must maintain fiscal discipline and reject populist projects. We must promote export-oriented businesses, and local procurement from a wider variety of smaller businesses. SOE’s must be properly governed and operated for the benefit of the public, and private capital must be considered.
Sound familiar?
The DA has been consistent in this policy approach for years. Ramaphosa is getting to the table somewhat late, but better late than never. It is unfortunate, though, that he and Gordhan and their faction within the ANC have been legitimizing policies that serve to enrich a connected elite at the expense of the many, for many years now. This has taken South Africa backwards, increasing poverty and enabling corruption and state capture to take root and become deeply entrenched.
And herein lies the most important difference between the DA and the ANC. The DA will be able to actually implement these policies. We already do so where we govern, which is why DA governments have lower unemployment and higher growth. Effective implementation requires a capable state. The DA seeks to recruit the best people for public service, who will actually implement policy. Appointments are not a reward for comradeship.
The ANC is so deeply infested with corruption, patronage and factionalism, that it is literally paralysed. Ramaphosa has been the second most powerful person in the country for some years now and under his watch South Africa has gone backwards.
Point number 10 in Ramaphosa’s 10-point plan is to confront corruption and state capture. He states unequivocally that it is “necessary to take immediate steps to remove from positions of responsibility those individuals who have facilitated state capture”. I couldn’t agree more. Roll on 2019.

NMB Government Doubles EPWP Job Creation

The ANC has tabled a Motion of No Confidence in Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor, Athol Trollip. Sign the petition to show your support for Mayor Trollip.
The DA-led Nelson Mandela Bay Government has created 3533 job opportunities since the beginning of the 2016/17 financial year, with over R10 million spent on wages, training and equipment.

Despite a sluggish economy and slashed EPWP grant funding, this coalition government has already doubled the number of jobs created by our predecessors even though the previous administration’s poor performance resulted in grant funding cuts for this coalition government, we still continue to make progress.
– Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Athol Trollip

Nelson Mandela Bay is serious about ensuring that every cent of grant funding allocated for job creation is spent. Thus, for the first time this Metro has employed the services of a Director in the EPWP unit.
By the end of the 2017/18 financial year, the Metro is aiming to have created 5000 job opportunities. While these opportunities are for fixed periods of time, the money earned during this time is often the difference between a young child going to school hungry or not.

Upon taking office, we ensured that EPWP was formally placed in the Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture Directorate, under the stewardship of Mayoral Committee Member, Cllr Andrew Whitfield.
– Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Athol Trollip

Nelson Mandela Bay is serious about improving the lives of those residents who struggle to access opportunities. By promoting skills transfer and creating a database of job seekers, we are also improving the chances of access to permanent opportunities.
Nelson Mandela Bay is becoming an opportunity city. This is just the beginning.
The ANC has tabled a Motion of No Confidence in Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor, Athol Trollip. Sign the petition to show your support for Mayor Trollip.

Public Protector can no longer ignore request for Set-Top Box probe

The Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, can no longer ignore the DA’s request for a probe into the procurement process of the government-sponsored set-top-boxes (STB) – a key component of the broadcast digital migration (BDM) process.
The DA has written to the Public Protector once again to request that she proceeds with the investigation without further delay as it seems the BDM process is marred by irregularity and corruption, which needs to be urgently investigated.
The DA’s initial request to the Public Protector, acknowledged on 8 August 2017, was for her office to:

  • Probe the procurement process for the government- subsidised STBs;
  • Investigate alleged tender irregularities and possible unlawful decision-making;
  • Determine whether the entire BDM process needs to be cancelled and re-run; and
  • Recommend disciplinary action or actions by SAPS or other investigatory bodies to further probe the process and pursue possible criminal acts.

Yet, three months later and there seems to be little to no progress.
This past week, the GuptaLeaks revealed how Tony Gupta acted as a channel between MultiChoice – a key protagonist in the STB encryption battle – and former Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, to change the BDM policy in MultiChoice’s favour, which she did.
Today it has come to light that the Hawks raided 13 of the 26 firms involved in the STB tender, following a 10-month investigation by the Competition Commission into collusion in the process.
These revelations, in conjunction with the Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) investigation into the process clearly indicate serious procurement irregularities or criminal acts had been committed and must been acted upon.
The PWC report that was forwarded to the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, who has administrative authority of the BDM programme while the Minister of Communications has executive authority over it, has not been acted upon because “it is a draft”.
Clearly, there’s something in the report that Minister Muthambi and Telecommunications Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, do not want the public to see.
Repeated requests to the Chairpersons of the Communications and Telecommunications and Postal Services portfolio committees to hold two-day hearings into the entire BDM process have also failed to materialise, despite being included in the committee programmes of each term this year.
In August 2017 USAASA applied to the North Gauteng High Court for a declarator order to declare the tender process unlawful and to set aside the purchase orders as there were irregularities – and possibly criminal acts – in the awarding of the tenders. The matter is still to be heard.
The DA remains resolute, and we will not be deterred by the obvious tactics to sweep the irregularities and corruption in the BDM process under the rug.

DA demands protection for Eskom Inquiry committee members and witnesses

The Democratic Alliance will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to demand protection for both members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises currently investigating allegations of State Capture at Eskom as well as the witnesses appearing before the inquiry.
It is clear from recent media reports that those implicated in the illicit activity at Eskom will stop at nothing to hamper the investigation into State Capture. It has already emerged that witnesses appearing before this committee are at risk, as evidenced in Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara’s affidavit in which he alleges that State Security Minister Bongani Bongo attempted to bribe him to step down as evidence leader in the inquiry.
However, committee members are now also being targeted – the Democratic Alliance’s member on this committee, Natasha Mazzone, has recently been followed and her vehicle has also been tampered with.
As the truth emerges in this inquiry into how billions of rands are being unlawfully funnelled away from our state enterprises to a small group of politically connected criminals, it is blatantly obvious that both committee members and witnesses appearing before this inquiry need to be afforded protection by Parliament.
The Democratic Alliance will not yield to intimidation or halt our efforts to ensure that those implicated in State Capture are held to account and criminally prosecuted.

DA calls for public release of Multichoice Gupta-TV contract & pushes for parliamentary enquiry

The DA calls on Multichoice to publicly release the full contracts it entered into with Gupta owned TV station, ANN7, as well as the record of the prior negotiations.
This follows the latest revelations in the Gupta leaks about questionable payments made by Multichoice to ANN7, as well as the involvement of former Communications Minister, Faith Muthambi.
If there is indeed nothing untoward about the nature of its dealings with the Gupta family, Multichoice will have no issue publishing the requested documents for public scrutiny.
Should it fail to do so within 48 hours, the DA will request that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) force it to do so.
In terms of clause 7 of ICASA’s Subscription Broadcasting Services Regulations, as a licensed subscription service provider, Multichoice is required to keep a record of all contracts it enters into, which ICASA has the power to subpoena, as it deems fit.
In terms of Muthambi’s unsurprising involvement, the DA will write to the Chairperson of the Communications Committee, Humphrey Maxegwana requesting that the now overdue inquiry into state capture as was requested of the committee by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Lechesa Tsenoli be scheduled as the first item on the committee’s agenda in 2018.
In August this year, the Portfolio Committee on Communications received a letter from Tsenoli, requesting that the committee investigate state capture, and in particular, allegations pertaining to Muthambi. The latest revelations are an indication that the matter can no longer be delayed.
The DA looks forward to Multichoice’s feedback and questioning Muthambi during the inquiry. This time, she cannot be allowed to escape without being held accountable, if wrongdoing is found.

You can give Metsimaholo a new beginning!

My fellow South Africans,
In four days’ time the people of Metsimaholo Municipality will have a rare chance to do what many other South Africans wish they could do: To vote for a fresh start.
A chance to look at what’s happening in your country, in your province, in your municipality and in your community, and to say: My vote can help fix this.
These chances don’t come round often in between elections. Usually, at most, you’ll get to vote for one ward in a by-election. But to vote for an entirely new council is almost unheard of. It is a rare opportunity that you must grab with both hands.
On Wednesday you, the people of Sasolburg, Deneysville, Kragbron and Oranjeville, can choose a local government that works for you – that puts every cent of the budget into your communities and not into the pockets of the corrupt.
But if you want to make it work – if you want to kick the ANC out of this municipality for good – then every single voter is going to have to get to a voting station on Wednesday. We are running neck-and-neck with the ANC, and it could go either way.
The only difference will be the willingness of the people to go out there and claim their municipality. If you stay away from the voting stations on Wednesday, Metsimaholo will go back to the ANC, and your communities will suffer again for years.
Trust me, the ANC will not let go here easily. We have already seen that they will use every dirty trick in the book to try to take back Metsimaholo. Why else did Premier Ace Magashule suddenly announce a whole string of government projects in the Municipality, right before the elections? Houses, a park, a community centre – all funded by the state but branded by the ANC.
He did this back in the 2011 elections too, and the Public Protector wrote a whole report on all the things he did wrong by abusing state resources for party purposes. Clearly the findings of this report have been completely ignored, because he’s doing it all over again. And he’s doing it because he’s scared.
The ANC knows exactly what it lost here in 2016 when the new coalition government unseated them. They lost the first ever Free State municipality to the opposition. And this was a major blow to them, because they know very well what it means when you start losing municipalities in a province.
They saw what happened in the Western Cape. They saw what happened in Gauteng. They saw what happened in the Eastern Cape. Once you start losing municipalities, and the people in other areas get to see what a new, clean government can do, they want the same for themselves. It creates a momentum that is hard to stop.
Ace Magashule and his Free State ANC could see what was coming, and so they deliberately undermined the will of the people here by turning the Mayor against the coalition. They got Mayor Sello Hlasa, from the 5% MCA, to pull out of the coalition, replace all DA MMC members and try to push through a budget that had no benefit to the poor.
There was no other option but to dissolve this municipality. The ANC had completely broken the pact between voters and government. They had cheated you out of the government you voted for.
So now we need to do it all over again, but this time round we must ensure that we don’t have to rely on a party like the MCA to form a government. Now that we know about their relationship with the ANC, we have to win enough votes so we can cut them out of the loop.
Fellow South Africans, I have been saying for some time now that the ANC is dead. And I’m not the only one. More and more people are realising that the ANC of Zuma and Magashule has nothing to do with the party that helped liberate our country from Apartheid. Our future will be built without them.
We are about to embark on a new journey for our country – one in which the ANC no longer plays a leading role. For most people, this journey will start in 2019, when they get to elect a new national government. But for you, the people of Metsimaholo Municipality, the journey begins on Wednesday.
There are 79,000 registered voters in this municipality. If you want what’s best for you and your children – if you want a government that delivers for all, that looks after your money and that brings jobs back to these communities – then every single one of you is going to have to make his or her vote count.
You can’t cling to the hope that the ANC will one day save itself and start caring about the people again. That’s not going to happen – it’s too far gone already. The ANC is dead.
If you want a fresh start, then you are going to have to go out and make it happen yourself by voting for the DA on Wednesday.
With your vote, you can take back your own future.
 
Thank you.

Rating downgrade to “junk status” is a vote of no confidence in the Presidential Fiscal Committee

Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba’s strategy to delay the hard decisions necessary to hold the fiscal line and allow the budget to “blowout” with national debt ballooning to R3.4 trillion, or 60% of GDP, in 2020/21 has backfired.
The major ratings agencies, which used to give us the benefit of the doubt, have finally lost patience, with:
• Standard & Poor’s downgrading their sovereign credit rating with a long-term foreign currency rating of “BB”, and a long-term local currency rating of “BB+”, with a “Stable Outlook”; and
• Moody’s affirming their sovereign credit rating with a long-term foreign currency rating, and long-term local currency rating, of Baa3, with a “Negative Outlook”, but triggering a “review for downgrade”, which should be completed sometime after Main Budget 2018.
What this means is that Standard & Poor’s have effectively dialed back their “ratings clock” by 23 years and downgraded South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to “junk status”.
The bottom line is that the ratings decisions of the two most important ratings agencies amount to a vote of no confidence in the new and mysterious “Presidential Fiscal Committee’s” capacity to stabilise public finances over the medium term in South Africa.

What Police Commissioner Sithole’s top three agenda items should be

While the DA still has reservations about the new permanent National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khehla John Sithole, he must hit the ground running to drive the massive task of turning the South African Police Service (SAPS) around to being a professional and effective police service that can truly tackle and reduce crime.
We believe that General Sithole’s top three agenda items from day one of his first full day on the job should be:
1) Addressing the 4Us: We all know that the SAPS at station level is chronically under-staffed, under-trained, under-equipped and under-resourced. The new Police Commissioner must urgently address this problem by ensuring that he gets the basics of human resource, financial, supply chain and asset management right.
He must ‘de-bloat’ the police service by rationalising the SAPS National Office and Provincial Offices to divert more posts into the operational field and out of desk-bound, paper-pushing administrative functions. He can ensure this by putting an end to any exorbitant or wasteful spending that deprives police stations and the communities they serve of much-needed policing resources.
2) Fixing our Crime Intelligence-in-Crisis: This division has been in shambles with declining performance over years. Over the last half a decade, the number of crime threat analysis reports that enable police commanders at stations to better target their resources at those perpetrating organised crime produced has more than halved.
At a recent meeting of Parliament’s Police Portfolio Committee, members were told that human resource mismanagement in the division has resulted in a chronic shortage of intelligence analysts at cluster level and many clusters have intelligence gatherers but not enough analysts to process crime information into useful reports. This alone explains the strident increase in violent syndicate crimes.
Commissioner Sithole must expedite the finalisation of the Richard Mdluli matter which has stalled for 6 years now and cost taxpayers more than R8 million. A permanent Divisional Commissioner for Crime Intelligence needs to be appointed to stabilise its leadership and get it on track to tackle organised crime syndicates that are terrorising our communities.
3) Boosting our Detective Service-in-Distress: A previous reply to a DA Parliamentary Question revealed that while the recommended average caseload per investigator is 40 to 45 case dockets, the current average norm across the country is about double that but the reality in high-crime police precincts is closer to triple the recommended average load. Worse yet, a DA oversight to the Nyanga police station in the heart of the ‘murder capital’ of South Africa found that some detectives have a caseload of between four to five times this recommendation.
Our investigators cannot function like this whilst being expected to drive swift and quality investigations that yield high conviction rates. The division needs to be better capacitated, resourced and supported.
If the General focuses on these three priorities from day one of his tenure, ordinary South Africans may well have reason to start trusting the custodians of their safety.