Mayor Mashaba confirms ANC behind violent protests

The emergence of pictures of an ANC-branded vehicle loaded with tyres in the Johannesburg inner city once again proves that the failing ANC sits behind the violent protests which has rocked the city and other DA-led municipalities across the country.

On Tuesday, a Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) search operation discovered an “ANC branded vehicle which was loaded with old tires […] ANC paraphernalia, branded material as well as delegate accreditation cards of 2 ANC members for the ANC Gauteng List Conference in December 2018”.

So brazen is the ANC that it openly parades the materials of which the intended destination is no doubt another ANC-orchestrated violent protest.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes City of Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba’s decision to seek a meeting with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Public Protector in regard to the ongoing political protests in his city.

For more than 25 years, the ANC has failed to deliver in its promises to the people of Alexandra and other poor communities. Instead of addressing the grievances of the people, they incite violence and anarchy on the eve an election.

The dirty tricks employed the ANC is not just carried out by a few rogue elements, it’s clearly a campaigning directive issued and orchestrated by its Top Six and Campaigns Head, Fikile Mbalula. The ANC does not care about the plight of the people on the ground. They only care about holding onto their declining electoral prospects and looting the public coffers.

The governing party, emboldened by its president, Cyril Ramaphosa, shamelessly hijacked the genuine concerns of residents across the country to orchestrate violent and anarchic protests in DA-led municipalities.

The DA will not quiver in the wake of the ANC’s destruction, in the absence of any leadership from the ANC and their president, the DA Leader Mmusi Maimane has requested an urgent meeting with both the National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, and the IEC Chairperson, Mr Glen Mashinini.

Further to this, Maimane has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to request an urgent establishment of an Ad Hoc Joint Committee on consisting of the Portfolio Committees on Police, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and Home Affairs to get to the bottom of these violent protests.

Our sole objective remains to uplift and empower the people of Alexandra and other poor communities. Unlike the ANC, the DA is committed to building One South Africa for All, not destroying the country through violence and devastation.

Where in the world is the Deputy President?

The DA notes reports that Deputy President David Mabuza is in Russia on sick leave. Mabuza was scheduled to answer questions from Members of Parliament this week, but the session had to be postponed indefinitely as a result of his absence.

While we can accept that the deputy president is not well, his parliamentary duties are not being met. As the leader of government business, he is responsible for the affairs of the national executive in Parliament and “the programming of parliamentary business initiated by the national executive”, among other important tasks. This is not being done and it does not bode well for accountability nor does it inspire confidence.

What are citizens of the country meant to think when the man meant to step in for the President if he is out of the country or indisposed, is himself is so indisposed that he is clearly unable to manage the affairs of his own portfolio?

Mabuza has been absent for the better part of the third Parliamentary term and South Africans deserve answers on how the presiding officers will ensure that as members of parliament we all fulfil our constitutional obligations.

Since it was announced that he would take sick leave on October 25, the Deputy President has not only missed his question-and-answer session but other important events such as the keynote address to the Chilean Parliament by National Council of Provinces Speaker, Thandi Modise. The Presidency only said that Mabuza would “take a few days sick leave” and did not elaborate.

The DA demands accountability from all public representatives and Mabuza must show leadership by revealing full information on his sick leave. The office he holds demands that he account to the public and he can no longer evade this.

The DA will now write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting that she provide clarity on how this vacuum will be filled. It is unclear what is happening due to the odd comment by his office that he was not ill, but was on sick leave, and The Presidency distancing itself from the matter. We will not rest until we get to the bottom of Mabuza’s protracted leave of absence and his failure to meet his responsibilities.

Assault on democracy as Parliamentary bouncers remove journalists from meeting

The DA has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, objecting to the draconian measures deployed by Parliament yesterday to close a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation.

Journalists gathering to hear a briefing into the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigation into the multi-billion rand corruption in the Department were escorted out of the venue by as many as ten Parliamentary bouncers, or “chamber support officers”.

The meeting was closed after the SIU, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) invoked the sub judice rule, arguing that the details of their briefing would compromise the successful prosecution of those involved in the massive graft.

The DA protested the decision to close the meeting and still contend that it amounts to media censorship and an assault on democracy. Indeed, the committee was presented with nothing new and nothing that justified the decision to close the meeting.

The enormous corruption at the Department of Water and Sanitation during the tenure of then-Minister Nomvula Mokonyane cannot be hidden from public view and certainly not from the People’s Parliament.

The Legislature has an important role to play in exercising oversight over the Executive. This cannot be done behind closed doors guarded by burly security guards.

DA Leader Maimane requests urgent Parliamentary debate on VBS heist

The blatant theft of almost R2 billion from VBS bank accounts by rich politicians, politically connected businesspersons, and their associates is crime against the poor, vulnerable and elderly in South Africa. It is a national disgrace, and the DA will not let this become another corruption scandal to be swept under the carpet. The VBS scandal has wreaked havoc on the lives countless poor South Africans who may very well have lost their life savings due to corruption by ANC politicians and their connected cronies.

It is for this reason that I will today write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting an urgent debate of national importance in Parliament on this matter. Parliament is the democratic institution tasked with holding executive power to account and must be afforded an urgent opportunity to carry out its mandate.

The DA had planned on using the President’s oral question session in Parliament tomorrow in order to pose an urgent question to him about this issue. Now that the session has been postponed due to the President’s ill-health, it is crucial that Parliament exercises its mandate and allows an urgent debate on this. The matter meets the criteria for an urgent, national debate as the implications of this scandal are wide-reaching considering that billions of public money has been stolen.

The DA believes those fingered in Advocate Terry Motau’s report ‘The Great Bank Heist’, must be criminally charged for fraud, money laundering, and corruption, and if found guilty, spend a minimum of 15 years behind bars. The DA has already laid criminal charges against the “VBS 50” – as recommended by Advocate Motau’s South African Reserve Bank (SARB) report.

While the report implicates a laundry list of ANC public office bearers and elected officials, the role of President Cyril Ramaphosa in the scandal needs Parliament’s urgent consideration. If it is true that the President had prior knowledge of the corruption and looting at VBS – and failed to act – he may be criminally liable in terms of section 34(1) of Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PACCA).

I therefore implore Speaker Mbete to grant this request and allow Parliament to get to the bottom of what really happened at the VBS bank. Those South Africans dispossessed by this crime deserve nothing less.

The VBS heist is yet another example of institutionalised corruption, cronyism and nepotism under the ANC – all which steals opportunity from South Africans.  Instead of governing in the interests of all South Africans, the ANC has chosen to create an ecosystem within the party and within government that only serves to makes themselves rich.

Only the DA can fix this broken system that locks South Africans out by creating an open, fair and transparent model of government that sees all politically connected individuals found guilty of corruption spending a minimum of 15 years in jail.

President Ramaphosa will need to tell the truth about prior VBS knowledge when he appears in Parliament on Thursday

Allegations that President Ramaphosa had prior knowledge of theft and looting at VBS bank is a matter of national importance and, if true, has serious legal ramifications for the President. Close to R2 billion was systematically stolen from VBS bank accounts of poor, vulnerable and elderly people and funnelled to rich politicians, politically connected businesspersons, and their associates. The people of South Africa deserve a full, candid explanation.

I have therefore today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting that an urgent oral question to the President be added to Thursday’s Order Paper, in terms of Rule 141 of the National Assembly Rules.

When President Ramaphosa appears in Parliament to answer questions on Thursday, I will look to ask him the following question:

On what date did he (a) first become aware of the involvement of executives in corruption and looting at the VBS Mutual Bank and (b) subsequently take action, if any, in this regard?

While the Presidency attempted to bury this matter yesterday via a press statement, the truth still remains elusive. We now sit with allegations and counter allegations, none of which provide full clarity on the President’s involvement.

As of yet, President Ramaphosa has failed to tell the nation the date on which he first became aware of the corruption and looting at VBS, and the date of when he first acted on this knowledge, if at all.

It is absolutely vital to ascertain this, as the President has a legislative duty to report corrupt transactions in terms of section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PACCA). If he failed to do so, he may well be criminally liable.

For the holder of the highest office in the Republic to have allegedly had prior knowledge of grand corruption and looting for almost two years is an incredibly serious allegation and cannot be left partially answered through a 170-word statement. It is of urgent public importance that the President is afforded an opportunity in Parliament to answer to this serious allegation.

The President needs to use his final oral questions session for the year to play an open hand with the people of South Africa and unequivocally state on which date he first became aware of the VBS heist, and on which date he first acted in this regard, if at all, to ensure those accused are held to account.

Sadly, the VBS heist is just one example of an almost daily occurrence of corruption, cronyism and nepotism under the ANC – all which steals opportunity from South Africans.

One thing the ANC has succeeded at is maintaining a sophisticated organisational model of corruption that serves to make themselves rich. While Mr Ramaphosa’s PR team has been hard at work portraying him as “Mr Squeaky Clean”, it appears the skeletons are falling out of the cupboard, one by one.

Only the DA can fix this broken system that locks South Africans out by creating an open, fair and transparent model of government that sees all politically connected individuals found guilty of corruption spending a minimum of 15 years in jail.

Guptas are running out of places to hide

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the signing of treaties on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This means the infamous Guptas are fast running out of places to hide as they can now face extradition to finally answer for state capture.

The Guptas, aided and abetted by the complacent and failing ANC, have been given unfettered access to billions in public money. When their time was running out, they skipped the country to yet again avoid accountability.

The DA will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to request an urgent sitting of the National Assembly so that these treaties can be ratified in terms of section 231(2) and 231(4) of the Constitution.

These sections hold that:

  • (2) “An international agreement binds the Republic only after it has been approved by resolution in both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, unless it is an agreement referred to in subsection(3)”
  • (4) “Any international agreement becomes law in the Republic when it is enacted into law by national legislation; but a self-executing provision of an agreement that has been approved by Parliament is law in the Republic unless it is inconsistent with the Constitution or an Act of Parliament.”

However, there is nothing that prevents South Africa from requesting the extradition of the Gupta brothers and their associates while still in process of incorporating the agreements into our domestic law.

For far too long, the Guptas have shown contempt for the law and dodged accountability for bleeding the country’s state-owned enterprises dry.

They should not be allowed to run and hide anymore. It is time they came back to South Africa and face the consequences of their actions.

Public Protector Mkhwebane shows disdain for Parliament and her role once again

Tomorrow is the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s deadline for her to file papers in her challenge of the personal cost order made against her by the North Gauteng High Court.

In July, the Constitutional Court granted her direct access to challenge the constitutionality of the personal cost order, but not the damning findings of the court that set aside her recommendations in the ABSA/CIEX matter.

Indeed, these findings are central to the DA’s call for Parliament to hold an inquiry into the fitness of the Public Protector to hold office.

The DA has reliably been informed that Mkhwebane has written to Parliament and, once again, shown disdain for the Legislature and its constitutional powers and responsibilities.

In June, the DA submitted a formal request to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to expedite these proceedings.

We now call for any and all correspondence between the Public Protector and Parliament to be immediately tabled in the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, once received.

The DA would like to remind Mkhwebane that Parliament has the duty and the right to hold her to account. Indeed, section 194 (1) of the Constitution details the conditions on which the Public Protector may be removed, which include:

(a) the ground of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence;

(b) a finding to that effect by a committee of the National Assembly; and

(c) the adoption by the Assembly of a resolution calling for that person’s removal from office.

Mkhwebane is set to appear before the Constitutional Court on 27 November 2018, but she will have to appear before Parliament long before that. No more delays can be tolerated.

Speaker approves Maimane’s request for Parliamentary debate on recession recovery

The DA welcomes Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete’s, approval of our request to urgently debate plans to revive the economy following this week’s confirmation that South Africa is officially in recession. The Speaker has confirmed that Parliament will debate the economic recession next week.

This is the second recession to hit the economy in two years with second quarter growth down 0.7% on the back of a 2.6% first quarter contraction. The recession is a vote of no confidence in the ANC government, its economic policy trajectory and ability to create jobs and opportunity for all South Africans.

We are in this recession, with 9.6 million unemployed South Africans, because President Ramaphosa is more dedicated to shoring up his political support in the ANC than sorting out the economics in South Africa. President Ramaphosa’s political consolidation comes at the cost of the country’s economy.

But while President Ramaphosa’s ANC may not have a plan to turn around this sinking ship, the DA have long been calling for a reform agenda which if executed, can turn around the economy.

The DA’s agenda for reform that will be presented in Parliament on Monday will include implementable ideas to reverse the persistent economic decline, ignite growth and create jobs.

I look forward to the Speaker’s confirmation of the date of next week’s debate.

Presidency confirms Zuma legal fees now stand at R17 million

A letter sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, reveals that the total cost to the people of South Africa for former President Jacob Zuma’s legal fees now stands at R16,788,781.14. It was previously confirmed to stand at R15,3 million.

The letter received today therefore reveals an increase of R1,4 million. The additional amount was discovered after investigations by the Department of Justice, enumerated in an affidavit by the Director-General in the Presidency, Dr Cassius Lubisi.

The DA has launched an application to review and set aside the agreements between the Presidency and Jacob Zuma to cover the legal costs incurred by him for his criminal prosecution. The case will be heard in the High Court in Pretoria on 6 and 7 November 2018.

Over the last decade, Zuma has exploited our justice system with numerous court proceedings that had the intention of avoiding or delaying criminal prosecutions against him. He has also misused the courts to maintain his grip on power.

The taxpayer has so far footed the bulk of the legal bill for this. The DA will not stand by and let this unjust situation continue. South Africans have already paid too dearly for Zuma’s term in office and should not be required to foot the costs of his legal proceedings.

Zuma should not be entitled to any further financial support from the government or the people of South Africa and the DA looks forward to arguing our case in court.

DA welcomes decision to subpoena Ben Le Grange of Steinhoff International Holdings N.V

The former Chief Financial Officer of Steinhoff International Holdings N.V., Ben Le Grange, gave an undertaking that, in a “spirit of cooperation and transparency”, he would appear before the finance committee in Parliament.

However, we have now been informed that he has refused to appear before the finance committee at a scheduled briefing on 29 August 2018 on the grounds that his lawyer is not available.

This creates the impression that Ben Le Grange has got cold feet and is trying his best to dodge a grilling on his role in what may turn out to be the biggest corporate scandal in the history of South Africa.

We, therefore, welcome the decision [attached here] by the finance committee to request the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to subpoena Ben Le Grange to appear before in Parliament.