Matric 2017: Upward adjustments must be explained

Umalusi has today announced their adjustments to the matric results: out of 58 subjects written this year, 20 had their marks adjusted (16 upwards and 4 downwards).
Last year, the DA as well as education experts raised the alarm about the number and size of the upward adjustments. While we are pleased to hear that fewer subjects were adjusted, we are concerned that Umalusi has felt the need to block MPs from attending this year’s standardisation meeting to avoid anyone asking questions about these adjustments.
As such, we do not know how big the adjustments were, and what the justification for making them was. We will submit written questions in the New Year to determine the size of the adjustments, and what the reasons for these changes are.
Marks should be adjusted when an exam paper was significantly more or less difficult than in previous years. However, Umalusi and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) have resisted answering questions about the adjustments that are being made to matric marks.
The need for continuing upward adjustments suggests there is a very serious problem somewhere in the schooling system that must be identified and addressed, particularly as it is a trend over a number of years.

Year Total subjects Total adjusted Adjusted upwards Adjusted downwards
2012 61 17 4 13
2013 62 15 2 13
2014 58 23 13 10
2015 59 30 29 1
2016 58 32 28 4
2017 58 20 16 4

Until the DBE admits that there is a problem, no steps can be taken to identify and solve it. Sticking our head in the sand won’t improve the quality of the basic education our learners receive.

Parliament must commence impeachment proceedings against Jacob Zuma

The Constitutional Court has delivered yet another blow to President Zuma and his keepers. Today, the Constitutional Court ruled that Parliament has violated its constitutional obligation to hold President Zuma to account by failing to determine whether he has breached section 89 of the Constitution. This is a consequence of the ANC capturing Parliament and turning it into a lapdog of the Executive for the sole purpose of consistently protecting Zuma and his corrupt acolytes at all costs.
Parliament’s evolution into another captured arm of Jacob Zuma’s corrupt administration has been championed by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete. She has consistently been found wanting in several court judgments for failing to fulfil her constitutional duties in order to protect Zuma and the corrupt ANC – this judgment has again made it clear that Baleka Mbete is unfit to serve as Speaker of the National Assembly.
Following yesterday’s judgment, Parliament has been ordered by the Court to comply with its constitutional duties without delay in terms of section 237 and fulfil its obligation to determine whether the President should be impeached. This is a direct result of the Nkandla ruling which found Zuma to have failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law in South Africa.
This now requires that Parliament step up and correct its course before it is completely lost. The Democratic Alliance therefore requests that the Speaker attend to the following:

  • Parliament must earnestly apply itself to the question of whether Baleka Mbete is still fit to hold office as Speaker of the National Assembly in light of the damning judgments against her;
  • Parliament’s Rules Committee must be ordered to meet as a matter of urgency in order to review Parliament’s Rules and Procedures governing impeachment in order to comply with the judgment of the Constitutional Court and section 237 of the Constitution;
  • The DA’s motion to impeach Jacob Zuma must be re-tabled as soon as reasonably possible and debated in a manner that is consistent with constitutionally compliant rules devised by the Rules Committee.

It is now the task of Parliament to ensure that the rules governing impeachment do not fall victim to another farcical ANC process in which majoritarian tactics are used to bully the Rules Committee into devising rules designed to absolve Jacob Zuma. The rules devised by the Rules Committee must be constitutionally compliant and the process must be imbued with constitutionality. Accordingly, we request that the Speaker comply with the order of the highest court in South Africa and do the honourable thing – accede to our requests and set Parliament back on course to fulfill its constitutional mandate.

Ramaphosa must stop Zuma’s abuse of court processes

The Democratic Alliance is appalled but not particularly surprised at Jacob Zuma’s decision to appeal the unanimous full bench judgment of Gauteng North High Court rejecting Zuma’s application to review and set aside the Public Protector’s remedial action in the State of Capture report.
The remedial action ordered President Zuma to appoint a commission of enquiry into state capture, but ordered that the Chief Justice, and not the President, should choose the judge to preside over the commission. This follows the well-accepted legal principle that one cannot be the judge in one’s own matter.
Mr Zuma is following his own well beaten track of appealing anything or everything that goes against him in the courts. His grounds of appeal were well traversed by the Gauteng North High Court, and there is nothing original in them. He is simply playing for time; delaying the inevitable, and wasting the time of the courts. He clearly wants to delay the appointment of the commission for as long as possible, so that witnesses can forget, and evidence can be destroyed.
It is instructive that his decision to appeal appears to be at variance with a decision of his own conference, not even a week ago, to the effect that the commission should be appointed as soon as possible. Mr Ramaphosa, as the new president of the ANC, ought to reign Mr Zuma in. Mr Zuma is being reckless. He is undermining the reputation of the Presidency and provoking a showdown with the courts. And he is doing it on taxpayers’ money.
The DA will be opposing his leave to appeal, and if he is granted it, his appeal. We cannot allow this abuse of court processes to become a feature of the way the President gets away with things. We will once more seek a punitive, personal cost order against Mr Zuma.
State capture has bled South Africa dry. It is one of the worst chapters in our history. It institutionalised corruption, and it besmirched the reputation of the ANC. There is only one way that Mr Ramaphosa can both assert his authority and end this farce, and that is by recalling Mr Zuma from the position of President of the Republic.

Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets Investigating Deloitte Accountants for their role in the audit of Steinhoff International Holdings

Note to EditorsA copy of a press release from the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets on their investigation into Deloitte Accountants B.V. into the audit of the financial statements of Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. can be found here.

Today, I was informed by Mr Martijn Duffels, Senior Supervision Officer, Audit & Reporting, that the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) have decided to launch an investigation into the role of Deloitte Accountants B.V. in the audit of the financial statements of Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.

This follows my request on 07 December 2017 for the regulators in three jurisdictions, including the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (Netherlands), the Auditor Oversight Body (Germany) and the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors (South Africa), to investigate the role of Deloitte Accountants B.V. in in the audit of the financial statements of Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.

We need to know whether Deloitte Accountants B.V. turned a blind eye to accounting irregularities at Steinhoff International N.V.

In the end, we need to be tough on crime in the public sector, and tough on crime in the private sector, and that is why we will ensure that the accounting irregularities at Steinhoff International Holdings NV, are fully investigated both abroad and in South Africa.

Zuma’s legacy lives on in the list of members elected to the ANC’s NEC

The published list of ANC members elected to the party’s highest decision-making body shows that they are far from ridding themselves of Zuma’s legacy of cronyism, corruption and state capture.
The list includes the following high profile individuals with less than savoury track records:

  • Tony Yengeni – a man with a history of criminal charges and convictions against his name, including one for fraud.
  • Mduduzi Manana – recently convicted of three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
  • Collen Maine – self-appointed Supreme Leader of the Gupta Brigade.
  • Bathabile Dlamini – the architect of the SASSA crisis that jeopardized the social benefits of 17 million South Africans.
  • Bongani Bongo – currently facing allegations of attempting to bribe the evidence leader in the Eskom inquiry into State Capture.
  • Faith Muthambi – notorious for nepotism and gross mismanagement of various portfolios.
  • Pule Mabe – embroiled in improper tender scandals and benefits at PRASA.
  • Sylvia Lucas – a figure of controversy during her tenure as Premier of the Northern Cape with a habit of spending huge amounts of public money on fast food.

The unashamed inclusion of these names in the new National Executive Committee shows that the ANC’s promises of self-correction were a myth. Newly elected President of the party, Cyril Ramaphosa, built his campaign on the idea that cutting the head off the snake will kill it, but instead the snake has simply shed its skin.
That the above listed individuals, and others on the list, can not only avoid accountability for their actions, but can be rewarded with decision making power within the ruling party, shows that the ANC cannot, or will not self-correct. South Africans must take matters into their own hands in 2019 and shed themselves of the ANC in favour of a multi-party coalition government with democratic principles as their foundation.

DA welcomes another judgement against Abrahams

The Democratic Alliance congratulates Freedom Under Law on their victory in the North Gauteng High Court today.
Once again the actions of Shaun Abrahams have been sharply called into question by our courts. Today’s judgement, effectively setting aside the clearly irrational and expedient decision by Abrahams to withdraw fraud and perjury charges against Jiba, has demonstrated again that he is unfit for high office. The sooner he vacates that position, the sooner the work to reverse the capture of the NPA can begin.
Unsurprisingly, the President has also once again been found wanting. Jiba and Mwrebi should now face the consequences of their actions and be held accountable for the damage they have wrought.
This judgement again confirms that the judiciary will enforce the Constitution and the rule of law and that those who choose to flout these principles will be held to account.

Expropriation calls divert us from the real solution for SA – More private property rights for the poor

The Democratic Alliance will stand firmly behind the property clauses in section 25 of the Constitution and in the process stand firm behind the rights of the poor to be included in the economy.
Subsequent to the ANC’s Elective Conference the ANC has indicated that it is in favour of changes in the Constitution that will allow for expropriation without compensation.
It did so in an atmosphere of a divided ANC, increasingly seen as failing to lead South Africa out of poverty and inequality, riven with corruption and maladministration – that is trying to reposition itself as a party of radical economic transformation.
In the process it has shown again that it is unwilling to face up to the real challenges of our society, choosing diversion from the real issues rather than facing up to the real challenges in land reform.
Land Reform in South Africa is not saddled with a flawed Constitution, but is characterised by the following:

  • Enormous failure of land reform projects in its care;
  • Massive corruption and mismanagement;
  • A hesitancy to provide the poor with private title deeds;
  • Poor administration of land claims and related processes; and
  • Poor resource and budget allocation by an incapable state.

None of these issues is addressed by the calls by the ANC to amend the Constitution.
In fact, these calls are all presupposed on a bigger role for the government in effecting change – the very government that has failed in the first place.
Our Constitution has been misrepresented as protecting the property rights of a few at the expense of the many – a flawed compromise of the early nineties – rather than what it truly is; a Constitution that protects the property rights of the poor and vulnerable against arbitrary loss to a rapacious and divisive state driven by narrow interests.
It is exactly to protect against governments like what the ANC has become who repeatedly demonstrate that government policy is subservient to party interests, that the Constitution was drafted.
Rather than looking at how the Constitution can be given real effect by extending property rights to more South Africans, thus including more people in ownership in the economy, and protecting the rights of such first-time property owners, the ANC has chosen to make the poor more vulnerable and more excluded.
The DA will stand up for our country’s Constitution and property rights in the face of an ANC government which only seeks to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.

Cyril Ramaphosa cannot save South Africa, only the voters can in 2019

The election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC President is too little too late for the ANC, and means very little for the people of South Africa who have been left behind in poverty and joblessness. The ANC is dead and cannot self-correct, no matter who is at the helm. This is because the party itself is held together only by the glue of patronage and corruption, and Cyril Ramaphosa is just a new face to the same old ANC. The future of South Africa lies outside of the ANC. It is up to the voters to bring about total change by removing the ANC in 2019 and ushering a new beginning for our country.
Ramaphosa now leads a deeply divided organisation, which has evolved into a self-serving party that has forgotten the poor and the jobless. The truth is, no matter who leads the ANC, cabinet and policy direction is determined by the party, and it has been these ANC policies that have sought to withdraw South Africa from the International Criminal Court (ICC), kept poor people locked out of the economy, captured the mining sector, chased after an unaffordable Nuclear Deal, and increased unemployment with now over 9 million South Africans without a job.
Ramaphosa has stood in Jacob Zuma’s shadow for years, silent in the face of his crimes and the crimes of fellow ANC comrades. His election means that the corrupt system that is oppressing South Africans will continue. Ramaphosa has relied on David Mabuza to secure a marginal victory, in turn electing him as Deputy President. As Premier of Mpumalanga, Mabuza has presided over a collapsing province, characterised by maladministration and corruption, while keeping people in poverty.
Even before being elected ANC Deputy President in 2012, Ramaphosa’s political career has been one of silence towards corruption in government. He has shown no willingness or ability to fight corruption and State Capture. While serving as Jacob Zuma’s Deputy President since 2014, he sat silently on the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) while the ANC looted the state and stole money from the people of South Africa.
Ramamphosa’s first act as ANC President must be to recall Jacob Zuma as President of the South Africa, prosecuting him for his corruption charges, and jailing him if he is found guilty. If he fails to do so, Ramaphosa will show South Africa that the leaders in the ANC are all friends, and they practice their corruption together.
In addition to this, Ramaphosa must ensure an immediate plan of action is adopted, which seeks to do the following:

  • Scrap any version of a “Nuclear Deal”;
  • Appoint a new, competent National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) in order for prosecutions against Zuma and others to swiftly proceed;
  • Commit to a National Budget that is balanced and sustainable, and carefully manages the public sector wage bill;
  • An entire overhaul of the structure and management of State Owned Entitles (SOEs), including a “clean up” of captured boards and executives, and selling off those SOEs which strangle our economy and the national fiscus; and
  • Ensure that a future cabinet is comprised of fit for purpose individuals, rather than a “rewards scheme” for certain factions within the ANC.

These are the short term interventions that Ramaphosa must urgently action.
As the Democratic Alliance (DA), we will continue our preparation for 2019 national elections.  The opportunity for the realignment of politics in South Africa is now before us, and we are committed to this project – regardless of what happens within the ANC. The future lies in a post-ANC South Africa.
We are committed to working with any political party committed to constitutionalism; stamping out corruption; building a non-racial South Africa; educational and work opportunities for the youth; and a policy suite focused on creating prosperity for all South Africans – especially those left behind.
This is the South Africa we seek to build, and our project continues regardless of who leads the ANC.

The Hawks must do what Lynne Brown has failed to do and hold Koko accountable

Today the Democratic Alliance filed criminal charges against the newly reinstated Eskom CEO, Matshela Koko.
Follow the sham of a disciplinary hearing, clearing Koko of all charges relating to misconduct, we have laid charges in terms of the Public Finance Management Finance Act (PFMA) as we believe Koko may have used his position at Eskom to improperly benefit his step-daughter’s company and her, which, if true, is a violation of the PFMA.
Earlier this year it came to light that Koko allegedly awarded lucrative Eskom contracts, worth R1 billion, to Impulse International, a company linked to his stepdaughter. He was also apparently involved in approving an R650 million loan from Eskom to Gupta-linked Tegeta, in order to ensure that the Guptas purchased Optimum.
Since Eskom and the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, are incapable of holding the seemingly captured and heavily implicated Koko to account, it is up to the Hawks to investigate the matter and to take action should the investigation find evidence of wrongdoing.

DA notes serious concerns with aspects of the “Rome Statute Repeal” Bill

The International Crimes Bill 37 of 2017 was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday night and seeks to repeal the Implementation of the Rome Statute Act and withdraw South Africa from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
While it seems that the Bill pays lip service to South Africa’s role as a leader in the African context, and as a champion of dispute resolution, the DA is currently combing through and have made the following observations:

  • Having previously attempted to withdraw from the ICC, with no alternative for the prosecution of international crimes being presented, the ANC is now seeking to confer jurisdiction over these crimes on domestic courts;
  • Jurisdiction is limited to crimes committed in SA, crimes where the accused or a victim is a South African citizen or resident, and crimes where the accused is present in the country after the commission of the crime;
  • In order for any prosecution contemplated by this Bill to even begin, a warrant of arrest must be applied for by the National Prosecutor, or an authorised prosecutor. This already introduces administrative delays that may allow an accused time to flee the state. Vesting this discretion in a political appointee, like the National Director of Public Prosecutions, currently Shaun Abrahams who we know to be a lapdog for President Zuma’s cabal of cronies and cadres, is a recipe for disaster;
  • Administratively, a request for arrest issued by the ICC to member states applies immediately upon receipt, with the effect that subjects may, and ought to be, arrested upon arrival in the country. This Bill fails to achieve that, probably deliberately;
  • The ANC has maintained the illusion that the decision not to arrest Al-Bashir, a decision found to be unlawful by the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal, was a principled one. They claim that they have ideological differences with the ICC, and that on this basis, they did not feel obliged to arrest Al-Bashir. However, it is abundantly clear that this is false. In reality, the ANC’s decision was a political one, intended to protect a brutally authoritarian dictator in the interests of reciprocity and impunity;
  • The impropriety of the Bill’s prosecutorial mechanisms is also present with regards to investigations. While the Rome Statute allows South Africa to outsource international justice, this Bill will place the onus to construct and manifest a criminal case squarely within domestic structures. Therefore, it shall fall to the Hawks to investigate complaints relating to international crimes, a duty they are singularly ill-placed to carry out; and
  • The Bill seems to be aware of the shortcomings of a Hawks driven investigation, as it lists factors to be considered when deciding whether or not to investigate, but it fails to address these shortcomings and in so failing it leaves open an enormous loophole for prosecutions to be stillborn at the investigative phase.

While there is a great deal more in the Bill to analyse and engage with, which the Democratic Alliance shall be doing in due course, it is clear on a first reading that the Bill is not intended to achieve justice for international crimes, but will only assist in the evasion of justice.
This ‘Impunity Bill’ will not pass through Parliament unchallenged, and the ANC will not be permitted to absolve themselves of their duties to victims of genocides and other human rights violations taking place on a daily basis across the continent and the world.