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The DA welcomes the decision by the North Gauteng High Court to set aside Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s, remedial action which called for the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to amend its constitutional mandate.
Despite initially defending her recommendations, Mkhwebane later admitted that she had overstepped the boundaries of her power as Public Protector and withdrew her application against SARB.
The DA concurs with Judge John Murphy’s view that she could tarnish her already tattered reputation by adopting a procedurally flawed approach to matters presented to her. We have long held that Mkhwebane may not be the best candidate for Public Protector and she has already shown she does not understand her mandate.
New evidence has emerged today indicating that President Jacob Zuma initiated and fostered several relationships between cabinet ministers and his family members and relatives, in order to secure government contracts and other financial benefits for himself and his family.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, has in her possession a sworn affidavit by a former Chief Director in the Department of Public Service and Administration, Mr Brent Simons, claiming that Jacob Zuma lied about assisting family members in making contact with cabinet ministers and securing government contracts. Baleka Mbete must make public this affidavit, ensuring it appears in Parliament’s ATC.
I will therefore be writing to the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Makwabhane, requesting she launch an investigation into this matter. There now exists prima facie evidence of undue influence and unlawful enrichment, which must be probed. Section 4(a)(iv) of the Public Protector Act empowers her to investigate allegations of “improper or unlawful enrichment, or receipt of any improper advantage, or promise of such enrichment or advantage, by a person as a result of an act or omission in the public administration or in connection with the affairs of government at any level or of a person performing a public function”. This investigation should include a full audit of any dealings between government and members of the Zuma family – specifically Jacob Zuma’s children Duduzane, Khulubuse and Mqondisi.
Simons claims under oath that he was present when Zuma had sent relatives to meet with several cabinet ministers, with the intention to discuss and secure business deals with government. This included threats against government officials. Simons claims that these relationships afforded Zuma relatives a “direct, fraudulent and unfair business advantage for the benefit of the president, his family and friends at the expense of the public good.”
This new revelation adds to the long and growing list of serious transgressions by Jacob which necessitate his removal from office. In Jacob Zuma, we have a president who has no regard for the law. He is focused solely on enriching himself and those closest to him, while millions of South Africans are still trapped in poverty and unemployment.
This coming Tuesday, Parliament will have an opportunity to remove Jacob Zuma from office. We believe this is the first step to moving South Africa forward again. Secret ballot of no secret ballot, the DA will be voting to fire Jacob Zuma in Tuesday’s Motion of No Confidence.
The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a public meeting in Morokweng, North West Province, as part of the #Change19 Tour.
My fellow South Africans,
This morning I visited the homes of families here in Morokweng, and I was left saddened and angry at the conditions than many people here have to live in.
You have a government that no longer cares what happens to you here in this far-flung corner of the country. You simply don’t matter to them any longer, because they have become a government that looks after themselves and their friends first, and the people last.
A government that cares about the wealth of President Zuma and the Guptas instead of the welfare of ordinary men, women and children like you.
Every Rand that has been diverted towards the Guptas – and there have already been billions – is money that could have made a difference in your lives.
Last month the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, announced that she would be launching a new investigation into State Capture. But she didn’t give us any details of whom or what she intended to investigate. Of course we were skeptical, given her track record in office to date.
So I wrote to her and asked her to explain the scope of this new investigation. Since the previous Public Protector’s Report we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of Gupta emails leaked to the press, directly implicating the President and the three Gupta brothers in the looting of our resources. She has enough evidence to investigate this matter right to the very top.
A month later, on the 18th of July, I received a reply from her office in which she informed me that her investigation would focus on three things:
- Eskom complaints, including the appointment of Briand Molefe as CEO, the awarding of contracts to Matshela Koko’s daughter, the role of Minister Lynne Brown in the reappointment of Molefe, and allegations by former Minister Ramathlodi that Molefe and Ben Ngubane pressurised him into securing the Glencore mine for the Guptas.
- Transnet complaints, including allegations of a R5.3bn kickback on locomotive procurement, the role of Malusi Gigaba in the appointment of Iqbal Shama and Brian Molefe to the Transnet board, and the role of Regiments Capital and Trillian Capital in the procurement of freight locomotives.
- New State Capture allegations, including the leaking of confidential information to the Guptas by Faith Muthambi, and allegations of South African immigration officials positioned in India to assist Gupta associates and businesses.
Now, I welcome this investigation, as I am sure most South Africans would. But anyone can see what is missing here. Despite a mountain of evidence, she has deliberately avoided going after the four main players in this corrupt super-syndicate: Jacob Zuma, Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta and Rajesh Gupta.
Everyone else is just a minor player in this saga. They are just the foot soldiers who had to open the doors, grease the wheels and cover the tracks of the real criminals. Advocate Mkhwebane’s failure to even mention these people leads me to one conclusion only: She has no intention of doing her sworn duty because the independence of her office is severely compromised.
Fellow South Africans,
Until we rid our government of the parasites that suck our country dry, communities like this will always suffer. Because it is impossible to serve both the Guptas’ greed and the people’s needs.
This ANC government has proven, over and over again, that it does not have the will to kick a corrupt president and his corrupt cronies out. Our only hope lies in a fresh start under a new government. And this is where you come in. Because only through the power of your vote can we save our country.
In the 2019 election, you will have the opportunity to do just that. But for many of you it will mean doing something you’ve never done before. It will mean turning your back on the ANC, like they have already turned their back on you.
I assure you, if you lend the DA your vote in 2019, we will make your needs our priority. We will not forget this community.
The Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has taken exception to the statement released yesterday and accused the DA of spreading false information and leaking confidential information.
It is a fact that the Minister ordered the money to be repaid. However, we do not know if this has happened and indeed, the DA believes that the Public Protector must, in any event, investigate the circumstances in which the Eskom Board came to the decision to pay former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe, the R30 million ‘golden handshake’.
On the face of it, this constitutes an abuse of public power if not an attempt at the unlawful enrichment of Mr Molefe.
If indeed Mr Molefe has paid back the R30 million, then we will gladly retract the call for him to do so.
With respect to the allegations of leaking confidential correspondence, we would respectfully request the Public Protector to advise us which provisions of law she believes the DA have breached in relation to the correspondence released yesterday. We can find no infringement of the Public Protector Act.
The office of the Public Protector has a vitally important role to play in investigating serious abuses of public power and the DA is always willing to support the office in doing so.
The DA can confirm that the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has agreed to investigate the disgraced former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe, for the R30 million ‘golden handshake’ he received from the power utility.
The DA requested the investigation after it emerged that the Eskom board approved a R30 million pension payout to Molefe after only 18 months as CEO of Eskom.
Following the public outrage surrounding the irregular “golden handshake” which later became a “performance bonus”, and then a “pension payout” – this investigation is long overdue.
This outrageous payout is a gross abuse of public funds, especially after Molefe resigned “in the interests of good corporate governance” after his close ties to the Guptas were revealed in the damning State of Capture Report.
Molefe does not deserve the R30 million. In fact, he does not deserve a single cent. He must pay back every dime of the R30 million to Eskom.
Eskom is in deep financial trouble and the R30 million could go a long way in bringing much-needed stability at the power utility.
It is unacceptable that an individual such as Brian Molefe, who sits deeply in the pockets of the Guptas, is rewarded not for doing a good job for the people of our country, but is paid millions for serving the interests of one family.
The DA will continue to fight to root out the deeply entrenched corruption at Eskom.
South Africans deserve public servants who work to improve their lives, not individuals who are only interested in lining their own pockets.
We welcome the fact that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, has finally announced that he will institute review proceedings to set aside the findings, remedial action and report issued by the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane, following her investigation into the decades-old ABSA/Bankkorp Limited “lifeboat” loan by the South African Reserve Bank.
The fact is that for more than two weeks the Minister has dithered and zigzagged his way around the fallout from the remedial action and failed to take any concrete action to protect the constitutional mandate and independence of the South African Reserve Bank. This was a monumental dereliction of duty and left the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago, dangling in the fight to save the independence of the South African Reserve Bank.
The DA welcomes Parliament’s decision to take on review the Ciex report released by the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, on Monday.
The ‘remedial actions’ listed by Mkhwebane, which included amending parts of the Constitution in respect of the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), constitute a significant overreach of the Public Protector’s Constitutional mandate – only the National Assembly has the power to make changes to the Constitution.
The Public Protector’s remedial action has had a negative effect on the value of our currency and ratings agencies have expressed their deep concern over the proposed erosion of the independence of the SARB.
The DA has repeatedly expressed concern over Mkhwebane’s suitability for the position and her actions increasingly show that our concern was correct.
We thus support this vital step taken by Parliament and will continue to investigate avenues to ensure that the Public Protector fulfils her mandate and does not overreach to the detriment of South Africa.
The DA expresses serious disquiet at the ‘remedial action’ proposed by the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, in which she instructed Parliament’s Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development to amend the Constitution in relation to the powers of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).
Clearly, her recommendation goes beyond what she is legally empowered to do and is indicative of her long-term plan to render the Public Protectors office ineffective.
The effect of the ‘remedial action’ would be to instruct the Justice committee to promote the action, which in itself appears sinister and is a cause for great concern.
The DA will therefore seek a meeting with the Head of the Parliamentary Legal Services, requesting a confirmation that a Public Protector instruction for Parliament to amend the Constitution is illegal and to determine if Parliament will be taking this action on review, given the grave constitutional implications.
The SARB have received a legal opinion confirming that the ‘remedial action’ is both outside of Mkhwebane’s powers and illegal and has indicated their intention of having the matter reviewed.
The DA will be watching this process carefully and are currently exploring all possible actions to address the apparent difficulties with the remedial action in its current form, least of which is the fact that the Public Protector reports to the Justice Committee and is therefore not constitutionally empowered to instruct it to do anything.
The remedial actions announced yesterday are very disturbing and they mean that the new Public Protector has either failed to understand her role and powers as Public Protector, or she simply is prepared to break the law to drive political agendas.
Mkhwebane’s remedial action to amend the Constitution also undermines and usurps Parliamentary powers.
The National Assembly is the only institution empowered to amend the Constitution – once it has attained a two-thirds majority from MPs. Mkhwebane’s recommendation is also, therefore, a threat to Parliament’s legislative power.
When Mkhwebane was put forward as a possible replacement for Adv. Thuli Madonsela, the DA strongly opposed her appointment as we were of the belief that she was not the best candidate. We did this because we believed South Africa deserved better.
The DA will continue to investigate this matter fully with a view to taking further action as we cannot stand by as another key institution is hollowed out for the benefit of a few and at the expense of South Africa’s future.
Following reports today that Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has failed to release numerous reports, involving the Gutpas, the DA calls on her to release them at her press conference scheduled for tomorrow in the interest of transparency and the South African public.
Reports today detail how Mkhwebane has, for the last eight months, failed to release at least 4 separate investigation reports involving the Gupta family. These reports include, but may not be limited to:
- The report of the investigation, following a complaint laid by the DA, into the illegal landing of Gupta wedding guests at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013;
- Numerous reports following investigations into the relationship and funding of Gupta media, The New Age (TNA), and key state-owned companies such as the SABC, as well as the North West provincial government; and
- The relationship between certain ANC politicians and the Guptas.
It is telling that not one of the reports released by Mkhwebane during her tenure have involved any key political figures, despite there being numerous complaints against such individuals.
Given the flurry of reports uncovering just how far the ANC’s project of state capture has reached, it is more important than ever that the Public Protector investigate and report without fear or favour.
The DA were concerned at her appointment and specifically that she has always been employed in and around government and that she specifically indicated that she wanted to have a more “friendly relationship with government”, which now seems to be proving true.
However, Mkhwebane has an opportunity to act in the best interest of the South African public and release these reports at her press conference tomorrow and the DA strongly urge her to do so.
The DA will today be submitting a complaint to the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to request that she launches an investigation into the allegations of corruption by senior executives of the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA).
The MQA is a Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) under the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). SETAs are mandated to manage skills development, by managing grants and assuring the quality of training.
For months, MQA employees have lodged official complaints against their Acting CEO, Tegobo Mmotla, whom they accuse of misappropriating the entity’s funds. Despite the employees writing to the Director General at the DHET with these allegations, he remains in his positions.
A forensic report into previous corruption allegations against Mmotla resulted in MQA lawyers recommending he be dismissed – but an agreement was reached amongst executives which meant no action was taken against him.
Further allegations from employees and contractors of the MQA include:
- that Mmotla demanded a bribe from a skills training company after the company had not been paid, despite them meeting training targets;
- that Mmotla falsified his qualifications when he was appointed to the acting CEO position; and
- that bonuses were paid on a preferential basis despite those MQA employees not meeting targets.
The DA requests that the Public Prosecutor investigate this matter urgently. SETAs are given an extraordinary amount of money for the purpose of training South Africans to gain the skills that they so desperately need to gain sustainable employment.
Irregular expenditure at SETAs directly takes money away from developing skills for jobs, and intentionally increases the number of people who are Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEET) in South Africa.
The DA will not allow for corrupt individuals to milk state entities and loot public funds for their own personal gain, as this takes away from the Lost Generation’s opportunities to empower themselves.