DA reports Minister Dlodlo to Ethics Committee for French Open and Gupta Dubai trips

The DA have thoroughly interrogated the 2015 Register of Members’ Interests and found that Communications Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, failed to declare her 2015 trip to Dubai as well as her stay at the luxurious Oberoi Hotel when she was still Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration.
Further allegations emerged yesterday by former ANC MP, Vytjie Mentor, that Dlodlo accepted an offer from a French Nuclear company for a first class flight to watch the French Open tennis tournament, an extended stay at a luxury hotel and a possible shopping spree in 2009.
These expenses were not declared in either the 2009 or 2010 Register of Members’ Interests.
The DA will, therefore, refer Minister Dlodlo to the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests for this failure to disclose these expenses.
Documents show her stay in Dubai was arranged by Gupta-owned Sahara Computers and the cost of her stay (including spa massages, room service, accommodation and car hire) was paid by Fana Hlongwane, who was implicated in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report and the arms deal, and has claimed to be “like an uncle” to President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane.
In terms of the Parliamentary Code of Conduct, the following should be disclosed by MPs:

  • Section 9.11 on Travel requires a brief description of the journey, the particulars of the sponsor and the estimated value of travel, accommodation and subsistence and travel allowances; and
  • Section 9.3.8 on foreign travel requires that Member’s declare any business visits unrelated to the Member’s role as a public representative, and official and formal visits paid for by an organ of State or the Member’s party.

Clearly, Minister Dlodlo has a lot to answer for.
The flood of revelations contained in the Gupta emails are further proof of the family’s unbridled influence over countless ANC public representatives.
Yet more allegations of another lavish trip accepted by Dlodlo, which she failed to declare, must now raise serious questions.
What is of great importance is that Minister Dlodlo confirmed yesterday that the Gupta-owned company did indeed organise her stay and that Hlongwane paid for it.  This admission is therefore the first official legitimisation of all of the Gupta emails and the shocking extent of State Capture that they reveal.
These emails also provide concrete proof that the ANC has sold our country for the benefit of a few politically connected individuals, at the expense of 55 million South Africans.
The DA will also continue to investigate any possible links which the newly appointed Communications Minister may have to the Guptas, as we cannot afford yet another captured individual to have free reign over the communication ministry.

Effective Executive oversight by Parliament demands better oversight of Parliament

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, Mike Waters MP, during the Budget Vote on Parliament.
Madam Speaker,
The establishment of the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament was a welcome development as it allowed, for the first time, not only scrutiny over the budget of Parliament but also the Secretary to Parliament and the Executive Authority, namely the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
It is, therefore, unfortunate that the first time you were summoned to appear before this committee, on 12 May 2017, you arrived an hour and a half late, delaying the start of the meeting. Then adding insult to injury, you informed the committee that you had to catch a flight to Gauteng because you were doubled booked. You simply, and rudely I might add, got up and left the meeting without dealing with the issues you were instructed to address.
Your actions, Speaker, clearly indicate the total disdain you have for the Committee and your unwillingness to accept accountability. Much like members of Cabinet.
A copy of the letter sent to you on 4 April, notifying you of the meeting, clearly indicated what was expected of you and what issues you were to address. One of these was the late signing of a performance contract for the Secretary to Parliament for the year 2016/17. In addition, you had a 16:00 deadline on 28 April to submit documents in this regard, which you again failed to provide.
For the benefit of Members, let me recap the issue. The Secretary was appointed on 1 December 2014 and, if you all recall, received a R71 000 ex-gratia payment despite barely warming his seat. We stated in last year’s budget vote that we believed this to be in contravention of Section 7(e) of the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, and we still do. Yet, Speaker, you did absolutely nothing to rectify this abuse.
Section 8 (1) and (2) of the Act stipulates that:
(1) The Executive Authority and the Accounting Officer must conclude a written performance agreement for the Accounting Officer annually.
(2) The performance agreement referred to in subsection (1) must—
(a) be concluded within a reasonable time after the Accounting Officer is employed and thereafter within one week after the start of each financial year;
(b) specify performance standards linked to the objectives and targets of Parliament’s performance plan for the financial year;
(c) provide for an annual assessment of the Accounting Officer’s performance by the Executive Authority; and
(d) specify the consequences of sub-standard performance.
It remains unclear if, for the duration of the period 1 December 2014 to 31 March 2015, or the financial year of 2015/16, a performance contract was indeed concluded with the Secretary to Parliament.
What we do know is that the performance contract for the 2016/17 financial year was never signed. Not in the first week of the financial year, or the second week, nor the third week nor the tenth week, or the twentieth, thirtieth or even the fortieth week. What we do know is that in the 49th week the Secretary confirmed to us that his contract had still not been signed. This Speaker is a disgrace.
Chair, I cannot inform this House as to whether the performance contract was signed before the end of the financial year as the Speaker refuses to be held accountable and answer questions about it.
Speculation regarding the status of the Secretary’s 2017/18 performance contract is still rife. Maybe the Speaker will shed light on the matter in her reply.
Needless to say, we have never received a report from the Executive Authority assessing the Secretary’s performance or what action has been taken with regards to his sub-standard performance.
Given the unhappiness of the staff at Parliament, the past industrial action, and the failure of this Institution to meet key objectives, we are not surprised that the Speaker has not provided an assessment report.
It is ironic that the very institution that is supposed to hold the Executive to account fails to adhere to the law and evades being held accountable themselves.
Madam Speaker, in your press conference yesterday you raised serious concerns about “judicial overreach” and that you were concerned about the plethora of cases against Parliament brought by the DA and other opposition parties. Well Madam Speaker, if Parliament did its job in upholding the Constitution there would be no need for parties to seek justice from our courts.
Your continued insistence on remaining the Chairperson of the ANC and the Speaker of Parliament is the actual problem. It has resulted in Parliament becoming a surrogate for Luthuli House. We witness MP’s freedom of speech being restricted to such an extent that we have more freedom of speech outside the House than inside.
The blurring of the lines continued when you allowed armed military personnel onto the Parliamentary precinct during the opening of Parliament. This despite having given assurances that this would not happen to all parties at a meeting in your office and reiterating those same assurances at a press conference. The Constitution and the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act both protect Parliament as an institution.
Four Constitutional principles have been violated:

  • Firstly, that Parliament is independent and determines what happens on its precinct;
  • Secondly, that the executive interference in Parliament is a serious risk to democracy;
  • Thirdly, that the threat of force undermines the privileges of freedom of speech and arrest; and
  • Fourthly, that the Presiding Officers have a Constitutional duty to protect the independence and integrity of Parliament.

If you did not give permission, Madam Speaker, then the military had been here illegally. And if you did give permission, then Parliament has been lied too.
You need to explain yourself, Madam Speaker.
Another committee that has been captured is the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests. When an opposition MP is fingered, the committee handles the case with exceptional efficiency; however, when an ANC MP is implicated the committee drags its heels to such an extent it stops meeting altogether.
The co-chairpersons of the Committee need to be reminded that this committee is supposed to be neutral and is there to ensure that all MPs, irrespective of party affiliation, are dealt with in the same manner. Failure to do so undermines its legitimacy. We look forward to the committee meeting and starting to deal with the long list of matters before it.
It is quite clear that the next phase of the ANC “state capture” strategy is to take control of Parliament, not only by shutting down debate but by deploying ANC cadres to key positions. So while top officials are employed at huge expense and drain the Parliamentary budget, the rest of the staff here in Parliament have been informed that they will not be getting an increase at all this year.
I put it to you, Speaker, that Parliament is being reduced to an employment agency for Luthuli House.
And while on the subject of staff, your office has 42 staff members, while Member Support Services has only 19.
But what is more astonishing is the amount of money people are being paid. The head of your office earns over R1.6 million and your three special advisors earn nearly R1.6 million each! You have five Communications Managers, each earning a whopping R1.02 million.
The question that begs asking is what do they do all day?
The total cost of your office is a staggering R37 983 153.
It is no wonder that you can’t afford to pay the rank and file staff increases this year.
Another division that needs scrutiny is that of the Parliamentary Communication Services division which has, according to the organisational structure, 84 staff members. The Parliamentary Millennium Programme division is said to have five posts despite being closed in 2013. Another division is called Projects Manager with seven staff members. Yet despite asking what projects they are working on, the Secretary to Parliament could not answer the question.
Speaker, the DA will not let Parliament become a statistic in the ANC state capture campaign. We all swore to uphold our Constitution and never again for this institution to be used as a political football in order to achieve a perverse political agenda.
The voters of South Africa have seen that the ANC no longer wear clothes and their despicable agenda has been exposed for what it is.
In two years time the voter has a choice: re-elect the ANC and get more state capture and corruption, or vote DA and have freedom and opportunities for all.
I thank you.

DA to report ANC MP to Ethics Committee for failure to declare consultancy agreement

The DA will be reporting ANC MP Mnyamezeli Booi to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests for failing to declare remuneration he received in terms of a consultancy agreement entered into with Lurco Coal (Pty) Ltd in November 2015.
In terms of this agreement, Booi was appointed as a “consultant” by Lurco Coal, to “consult with and advise the company, on a non-exclusive basis”; however, this is not reflected in his 2016 Register of Members’ Interests.
By not declaring this agreement, Booi has completely disregarded the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interest for Assembly and Permanent Council Members.
Clause 4.1.1 of the Code of Ethical Conduct requires members to abide by the principles, rules and obligations of the Code, while clause 7.1. forbids members to undertake remunerated employment outside of Parliament without obtaining the requisite permission in terms of clauses 7.2 and 7.3. Furthermore, clause 9.3.4 of the Code, specifically outlines that “consultancies” are considered interests that must be disclosed.
The failure to declare the consulting contract and any subsequent payments he received from Lurco Coal is, therefore, in contravention of clauses 4.1, 7.1 and 9.3.4 of the Code of Ethical Conduct.
The DA is also concerned what the effects of this consulting may have been. The DA will be submitting further questions about any contracts or tenders that Lurco Coal may have had with government or state-owned enterprises. The public should know whether any exist and whether they were obtained through Booi’s intervention.
Members of Parliament are public representatives and should be held to account, it is, therefore, imperative that the Ethics Committee investigate this matter in order to ensure that Booi is held accountable for failing to disclose his interests.