DA calls on Hangwani Mulaudzi to be suspended until an investigation into his R3 million grant from the NLC is completed

Last week the Democratic Alliance (DA) exposed the fact that Hawks Spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, received R3 million from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) to establish a sports centre in Limpopo. He received these funds despite the fact that the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) handed over evidence to the Hawks regarding alleged corruption at the NLC related to the Denzhe Primary Care Scandal.

Since then, the DA has been made privy to a report conducted by Forensics for Justice into Mulaudzi and his foundation’s alleged misuse of this funding received from the NLC. See the report here.

In this report it is alleged that Mulaudzi is complicit in the following:

  • That he colluded with senior officials at the NLC to secure the funding;
  • The reason for obtaining this funding was to ‘fundraise on behalf of his local ANC branch’; and
  • Funds intended for the sports centre were spent on items unrelated to the actual project itself such as the purchasing of mini-bus taxis and kickbacks paid to NLC officials.

One has to wonder whether or not these revelations have impacted on the Hawks’ ability to investigate, charge and arrest those implicated in corruption at the NLC.

Therefore, considering the serious nature of these allegations as well as the several unanswered questions related to this matter, the DA calls on the Head of the Hawks, Godfrey Lebeya, to suspend Mulaudzi until an internal investigation is conducted.

The integrity of the investigation into corruption at the NLC needs to be maintained so that those guilty of stealing taxpayers’ money can be put behind bars.

DA launches one-stop-shop Federal Congress website

The DA has launched a detailed and information-rich website ahead of the virtual Federal Congress which takes place on Saturday 31 October and Sunday 1 November. For the first time, the 2020 Federal Congress order of events and sessions is now published, and is available on the Congress website.

The website is a one-stop-shop for Congress delegates and also for members of the public to discover more about the historic DA Congress taking place later this month.

The arrangements for our innovative Congress continue smoothly. With more than 2000 delegates attending from their homes or from physical venues nationwide, as connected to the virtual Congress, this is South Africa’s largest ever virtual political congress.

The website includes a 14-page delegates’ guide which is a handbook for delegates attending the elective meeting.

The site also contains the DA’s first ever digital toolkit for a Federal Congress. The kit includes the DA’s values ​​and principles adopted at our Policy Conference earlier this year and a variety of digital graphic and social media content.

The site also explains the Congress theme: Real Hope. Real Change. Now.

The Congress website will soon add a full media information section, with the full scope of details required for journalists and media houses to ensure successful coverage of the virtual Congress.

This website will be updated regularly as information is released by the Party in the run-up to the Congress.

We are delighted to be able to ensure that despite more than 200 days of Covid-lockdown, the DA’s democratic processes go on and our internal democracy is working.

The DA Federal Congress website can be accessed at: https://www.da.org.za/dacongress2020

DA reports arson attack on Oudtshoorn farm to Provincial Police Commissioner after SAPS failed to take appropriate action to address complaints of suspicious activity

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has reported an incident of arson at an Oudtshoorn farm to the Western Cape Provincial Police Commissioner after the local South African Police Service (SAPS) failed to take adequate preventative measures on complaints received from the farmer, Joey Potgieter, of suspicious activity in the area.

Three barns filled with bales of fodder were set alight on the farm. It is extremely concerning that despite the farmer informing SAPS, they simply did not take appropriate action. Had the necessary investigation been conducted and proper preventative measures been taken as it relates to crime intelligence, it could have prevented this arson attack.

This act of arson is more than a mere inconvenience to the farmer. The fodder that was destroyed was meant to feed his livestock. The property damage also adds pressure to an already stressful vocation. Not to mention the potential damage that could have been caused to the surrounding farms had the fire not been contained.

Farmers and farm workers have been complaining about policing for a long time. Many farmers have complained to the DA that they receive little support from the police and that the safety and security of those living and working on the farms are of little concern to SAPS, with the farmers having to invest in expensive private security measures.

These last few weeks security concerns on farms came to boiling point with the brutal murder of Brendin Horner on a Free State farm.

While the DA has received positive feedback from the National Police Commissioner, genl. Khehla Sitole, regarding the implementation of the SAPS Rural Safety Strategy in the North West, we urge that this strategy be employed nationwide.

The safety situation in South Africa’s rural areas are intolerable and cannot be allowed to continue unencumbered. A lot of promises have been made in the wake of the recent farm murders, it is now time that they are implemented, and that farmers and farm workers are protected and not left for the wolves.

DA calls for Prestige Projects funding to be diverted to EPWP projects

During the budget considerations in June this year, I placed the spotlight on R423 million of irresponsible and reckless expenditure plans by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure on Prestige Projects.

Prestige Projects are those focused on the maintenance or upgrade of the Parliamentary precincts, Parliamentary villages, as well as State funerals, amongst others.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) was critical of spending close to half a billion rand in a time when the needs of South Africans dealing with the Covid-19 and lockdown crisis should be paramount.

Fast forward to last Friday, 16 October where the Department appeared before the Joint Standing Committee for the Financial Management of Parliament, and in an unabashed fashion explained that despite the concerns raised, nothing would change and that frivolous expenditure would continue.

Amongst the ridiculous expenditure at Parliament was a proposed R25 million upgrade to the kitchens in the precinct that provide for the various parliamentary restaurants, a proposed R68 million upgrade to security systems replete with ‘anti ramming measures’ as well as an extension of the security fence to comply with South African Police Service (SAPS) requirements.

The DA objected strongly to both proposals and was wholeheartedly supported by National Assembly Speaker, Thandi Modise who made it clear that R25 million on kitchens would ‘not be spent in her name’.

The cherry on the cake was the determination of the department to spend close to R100 million to upgrade Member of Parliament (MPs) accommodation, whether it was needed or not. The department further admitted that they had adopted a blanket approach to renovations when issuing the bid specifications.

Under pressure from the DA and the committee, Public Works finally relented and agreed to conduct house-by-house evaluations and only commence with repairs that were actually required.

The President last week laid out his vision for the economic recovery of South Africa. The DA has made it clear that the key to economic recovery was the actual implementation of recovery plans.

A fine way for that implementation to start would be for Minister De Lille to wake up, smell the economic misery and divert much needed funds away from polishing prestige to Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) projects that can at least employ South Africans and provide some relief to those who have suffered under the disastrous national lockdown.

The DA will always stand for the prudent expenditure of every taxpayer rand towards building a capable, opportunity-driven, caring State.

DA calls for a moratorium on the eviction of farmers on State-owned land 

Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), Thoko Didiza, must issue a moratorium banning all impending eviction notices against emerging farmers, occupying State land, until due diligent investigations are concluded by the Department’s Forensic Investigations Directorate on the farmer’s lease agreements.

Recently, there has been a worrying uptick in the number of eviction notices being served on farmers, especially emerging black farmers.

In one such case, DALRRD had to launch an investigation into Mr Vuyisile Zigana’s complaints against what he termed as unfair treatment and alleged corruption in relation to the allocation of Spionskop farm by the Department’s KwaZulu-Natal officials.

After considering the recommendations of the report, Minister Didiza wrote me a letter to give assurance that Mr Zigana’s caretakership rights of the farm will be honoured and that the Department will assist him with applying for a lease with an option to purchase.

While this is a welcome development, there are many more cases similar to Mr Zigana’s which have paralysed thriving farming enterprises because of the uncertainty brought about by eviction notices.

Mr Velly John Mabaso, a successful black farmer in Mpumalanga recently contacted me to let me know that he has been served with an eviction notice. The Goedhoop farm from which Mr Mabaso runs a successful enterprise has been in his family possession for generations.

Mr Mabaso’s farm cannot be classified under the underutilized category as he runs a successful livestock enterprise. He has repeatedly tried to negotiate with representatives from the DALRRD’s Mpumalanga Provincial Offices, in the hope that they could reach a mutual understanding on the terms of his lease agreement, but all his efforts have been in vain.

In June 2020, Mr Mabaso was one of the farmers who wrote to Minister Didiza requesting her intervention in addressing their ill-treatment by officials working in her Department’s Mpumalanga office. Some of the grievances in their submissions include:

  • State officials demanding R250 000 in exchange for a 30 year lease agreement with the department of land affairs and rural development. Those who did not comply with this suggestion later received eviction notices.
  • Non renewal/ issuing of promised lease agreements for some of the farmers;
  • Inconsistent processes being followed with regard to issuing/ renewal of 30 year lease agreements, e.g. 2 farmers sub-lease farms, one gets a contract and the other doesn’t; and
  • Some farmers have received written notices to vacate the farms and have appealed such decision with the nation office, Director General but received no feedback and the re-allocations are continuing irrespective of those appeals.

The affected farmers are yet to get a response from Minister’s office.

The DA finds it hypocritical for the ANC government to pursue a constitutional amendment calling for expropriation of land without compensation while at the same time evicting successful black farmers from state land that they have put under productive use.

Emerging farmers deserve a fair shot at scaling up their operations to commercial production and they can only do so without the unnecessary distraction of rent seeking behaviour from corrupt land administration officials.

DA publiseer bewyse van US-rektor Wim De Villiers se aanval op moedertaalonderrig

Die Demokratiese Alliansie (DA) publiseer vandag die volle rekord van getuienis wat ingesamel is tydens oudregter Burton Fourie se ondersoek oor die rektor van die Universiteit van Stellenbosch (US), professor Wim de Villiers, se pogings om ‘n regter van die grondwetlike hof, Edwin Cameron, te oorreed om ‘n nominasie te aanvaar om die universiteit se volgende kanselier te word.

Die getuienis toon dat De Villiers inderdaad deurlopend gesprekke gevoer het met Cameron – en selfs een keer ‘n geheime ontmoeting met Cameron gehad het – terwyl De Villiers ‘n respondent was in die grondwetlike hofsaak oor die afskaffing van Afrikaans as ‘n gelyke onderrigtaal aan die US. Kort na die reeks gesprekke tussen De Villiers en Cameron, het Cameron die uitspraak gelewer wat moedertaalonderrig in inheemse tale aan die US keelaf gesny het.

Die getuienis wat die DA vandag publiseer, kom nadat die US aanvanklik op ‘n onwettige wyse probeer het om dit van die publiek weg te steek. Dit het die DA genoop om ‘n hofsaak te loods, met die Wes-Kaapse Hooggeregshof wat gelas het dat die US geen reg het om die getuienis geheim te hou nie.

Die DA is veral bekommerd oor die roekelose en neerhalende opmerkings wat De Villiers tydens sy onderhoud met Fourie oor moedertaalonderrig gemaak het. De Villiers verwys onder andere na “Gelyke Kanse en mense wat hulle ondersteun en die media – Afrikaanse media” as ‘n “groep wat ‘n pre-1990 provinsiale insulariteit nastreef”. Hy verwerp ook die behoefte onder miljoene Afrikaanssprekendes om hul grondwetlike reg op moedertaalonderrig uit te oefen as ‘n “geloofsaak” en ‘n “saak van die Evangelie.”

Tydens sy onderhoud met Fourie voer De Villiers verder aan dat hy “nie geweet het” dat Cameron “betrokke is by hierdie [hofsaak oor die afskaffing van moedertaalonderrig] nie.” Hierdie bewering word egter direk weerspreek deur ‘n WhatsApp-boodskap wat De Villiers op 22 Augustus 2019 gestuur het aan ‘n groep US-alumni, waarin hy prontuit gesê het: “Edwin C. is wel nog betrokke by die skryf van die uitspraak (3-6 maande vanaf 8 Aug).”

Dit is tog totaal verregaande dat die rektor van ‘n universiteit aanvoer dat hy so onbevoeg is dat hy nie eers weet wie op die grondwetlike hof dien nie. Soos sy eie WhatsApp-boodskap duidelik bewys, was De Villiers ten volle bewus van Cameron se betrokkenheid by die saak oor Afrikaans.

Dit is ook opvallend dat die voorsitter van die US-raad, George Steyn, De Villiers kritiseer vir sy “voortvarendheid”. Steyn voer aan dat “die hele taal-saga” begin het “met ‘n uitlating [deur De Villiers] . . . waar hy teen die statuut opgetree het”. Volgens Steyn was “daardie voortvarendheid . . . ook betrokke” tydens De Villiers se pogings om Cameron te oorreed om kanselier te word te midde van ‘n grondwetlike hofsaak waarby De Villiers direk betrokke was.

Die getuienis van die Fourie-ondersoek maak dit duideliker as ooit dat die huidige US-bestuur, onder leiding van De Villiers, op ‘n arrogante en roekelose wyse neersien op moedertaalonderrig. In die proses het hulle miljoene Afrikaanssprekendes se grondwetlike reg op moedertaalonderrig aktief ondermyn.

Die DA glo dat ons ‘n sterk saak sal hê indien ons die Fourie-verslag op hersiening neem, en ons behou ons reg voor om dit te doen. Maar die realiteit is dat die uurglas besig is om vinnig leeg te loop vir moedertaalonderrig, ook aan die US. Daar is eenvoudig nie meer tyd vir hofsake wat jare lank sloer nie.

Wat eerder nou nodig is, is dat elke persoon wat glo in die waarde van moedertaalonderrig opstaan en daarop aandring dat die US begin om Afrikaanse studente net so waardig te ag as Engelssprekende studente. En die DA gaan in die heel voorste linie hiervoor veg. Die US se reëls stipuleer dat die taalbeleid volgende jaar hersien moet word, en die DA is reeds besig om voorbereidings te tref vir ‘n historiese en ongekende politieke veldtog om te eis dat Afrikaans gelykgestel word met Engels aan die US.

Ons vra dat elke persoon wat glo dat Afrikaanse studente se regte net so belangrik is soos die regte van Engelse studente, met ons hande vat vir die geveg wat voorlê in Stellenbosch. Hou hierdie spasie dop.

Die dokumente kan hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier, hier en hier gevind word. 

DA calls on Hawks spokesperson who received R3 million from the NLC to come clean

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Hawks Spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, who received R3 million from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) to establish a sports centre in Limpopo to come clean on the details of this project.

In response to the DA’s statement on 13 October 2020, Brigadier Mulaudzi in a News24 article asserted that “[the] DA is fuelling the narrative that I am corrupt. As to what I have done, I don’t know, my job entails communicating issues of the Hawks”.

It is clear from his statement that he has chosen to employ a Stalingrad defence and believes that he has done nothing wrong.

His claim of plausible deniability regarding the Hawks investigation into the Denzhe Primary Care scandal is disingenuous at best.

Surely the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) would have discussed this matter with the Hawks and their communications team prior to them making public their intention to hand over evidence related to Denzhe Primary Care scandal to the Hawks on 2 September 2020.

If that wasn’t bad enough he then took a leaf straight from the NLC’s playbook and reported to the Star Newspaper that “political leaders have put his life in danger with their agendas”.

My question is – where does a civil servant get off questioning an MP’s request for details related to the expenditure of public money?

It is clear from Brigadier Mulaudzi’s response to the media that he is not being honest and that he seeks to deflect from his compromised ethical choices.

Therefore, the DA calls on him to do the following;

  • Make public the full, unredacted financial report of the sports centre project worth R3 million;
  • That he approaches his nearest SAPS station to depose an affidavit regarding which clarifies that he was not aware of any information relating to the Denzhe Primary Care scandal; and
  • That he provides the public and parliament with any other relevant details pertaining to this matter.

The DA is not in Parliament to pussyfoot around government officials who are not honest and transparent with South Africans – we will hold you to account for your actions.

R350 grant extension: Will SASSA leave millions in the lurch again?

While the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes yesterday’s announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the Special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350 would be extended for another three months – the reality is that the previous seven months of this grant has been a complete mess.

There is little doubt that the intention behind the grant was laudable, however, the implementation was chaotic from the start. Potential beneficiaries had to wait for months to find out if their applications had been approved, while others have still not received a cent. Beneficiaries who were lucky enough to receive grants at the start of SRD implementation, have since been removed from the list for seemingly arbitrary reasons.

That’s if they were even able to apply for the grant. The partial capacitation of South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices and the exclusively online application process excluded multitudes of potential beneficiaries from applying. Little were seen of the promised volunteers with special equipment that were supposed to assist applicants. A backlog of thousands of emails and phone calls received daily meant that citizens were effectively stonewalled by SASSA at almost every point.

While SASSA seems to have the situation in hand on paper, the truth is that millions of people have suffered and starved during the extended Covid-19 lockdown period due to the agency’s ineptitude.

The President likes to make speeches about how many people have benefited from government’s various stimulus packages and projects during the lockdown. His words are far removed from the lived reality of millions of South Africans every day. It fails to understand the desperation of the dozens of people who contact the DA every day without a scrap or a crumb to eat in their homes. By the time they contact us, they had been without food for days, sometimes weeks.

What the Department of Social Development (DSD) and SASSA seem to consistently ignore is that their impotence directly affects the lives of those most vulnerable in South Africa. They affect the lives of children, the elderly, those with disabilities and their loved ones. They affect the lives of the desperate and needy who for whatever reason are not able to fend for themselves at the moment. And in this crisis SASSA showed its rotten core.

Fire Ministers who stand in the way of reform 

The President’s speech was not the brave commitment that we had hoped for, and which South Africa needs. It was full of jargon, and at times turgid. Most importantly, President Cyril Ramaphosa did not close the “credibility gap” between promised reform and absent action.  

He should have used this speech to take on the enemies of growth and reform. And he needed to show exactly how, and when, the promised reforms would be achieved. Without this detail, the President will get zero benefit of the doubt.  

If South Africa’s economy is to recover at all, then it is not more plans that are needed. South Africa has a surfeit or plans. The only thing that counts now is whether the needed reforms can actually be implemented in time to avoid further mass unemployment and poverty. The clock is already ticking.  

He should fire Ministers who stand in the way of reform.  

He should commit to public implementation timeframes that are set in stone.  

Every Minister responsible for a key reform area must commit to a timeline for the implementation of that reform. If they fail to meet that timeline, then they should be held accountable and fired.  

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is completely committed to a wide-ranging reform agenda. We must move policy away from a preoccupation with state control in the economy. This has failed. Now is the time to focus on pro-growth, pro-innovation policies. 

We have told President Ramaphosa that if he cannot carry his own party, he can rely on the DA’s support for the reform agenda. We will also hold him accountable for his promises. That is why we have launched an Economic Reform Tracker, to hold government accountable for slow progress on reform. That document, which sets out the most urgent reforms to focus on, is available here:

https://www.da.org.za/economic-structural-reform-tracker 

Some of the announcements today make little sense, and it is unclear how they will be paid for. The promise of an expansion of the public employment program while at the same time cutting the public wage bill, is clearly contradictory. This promise is not achievable and is nothing more than dishonest spin. We will interrogate the coming budget announcements to see how, or if, these promises will be funded. Increasing trade protectionism is not pro-growth. It is anti-competitive.  

The President must also show commitment to prioritizing people’s need over ANC needs. This means cancelling any further bailouts for SAA, and focusing spending on services to the poor. It is indefensible to prioritize bailing out SAA over the many urgent needs in South Africa now.  

Our economy, our country, is at a crossroads. If we do not make very rapid progress on wide-ranging pro-growth reform, then we will not recover. Today’s speech was a missed opportunity to show genuine tough commitment to driving the reform agenda through government. 

DA calls on DIRCO to refer independent investigative reports to Zondo Commission following damning letter on ANC kick-backs 

In light of the letter from senior bureaucrats at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) requesting that the Zondo Commission investigate allegations that the ANC demands kick-backs from officials representing South Africa internationally, the Democratic Alliance (DA) calls for all independent investigative reports into DIRCO to be released and submitted to the Zondo Commission as evidence.

These investigations by an independent specialist group, Open Waters, and former Justice Minister, Bridget Mabandla, into maladministration, irregular expenditure, allegations of sexual harassment and matters related to human resources was requested by former DIRCO Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu.

In her answer to a parliamentary question from the DA requesting information regarding the reports, Minster Naledi Pandor said that her Department is treating the reports’ findings as preliminary and that it warrants further investigation. While this might very well be the case, it is more than likely that the Minister simply did not like what the investigations found and that this is an effort to bury, or at least skew, the evidence.

It would be of no surprise should this be found to be the case as a letter from Francis Moloi and Nyameko Goso, dated 9 October 2020, alleged that the ranks of ambassadors, diplomats and senior officials are filled with cadres and political appointments who are forced to make donations to the ANC from the moment of appointment.

It is also high time that the Foreign Services Bill, be implemented. This Bill that would put a stop to a lot of the shenanigans, was signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 26 May 2020, and gazetted on 4 June, but has yet to come into operation.

What is happening in South Africa’s foreign services is indicative of the cancer of corruption rampant on South African shores. Despite promises upon promises, little have been done to address the systemic corruption that have infected all levels of government and enabled the looting of State coffers to the detriment of citizens for years.