DA welcomes commission of inquiry into the PIC

We welcome the news that President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a Commission of Inquiry, in terms of Section 84(2)(f) of the Constitution, into allegations of impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation.

However, the terms of reference limit the scope of the inquiry to the period between 01 January 2015 and 31 August 2018, which may have the effect of excluding a number of the questionable investments from scrutiny, including the investment in Independent Media, which was concluded on 16 August 2013, by the Public Investment Corporation.

We think there are few things that will terrify the governing party more than a full-scale independent inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation.

DA welcomes decision to establish Commission of Inquiry into the PIC

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the decision taken by President Cyril Ramaphosa to establish a Commission of Inquiry into ongoing corporate governance challenges and waning public trust in the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

However, there is a risk that one of the Inquiry’s terms of reference, which advocates for “possible changes to the PICs founding legislation”, may result in important legislation, aimed at strengthening governance and boosting transparency at the PIC, being delayed in Parliament.

I will request the Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim, that work on the Public Investment Corporation Amendment Bill [B1-2018] (Private Members Bill), or the Public Investment Corporation Amendment Bill (Committee Bill), should proceed and get passed before parliament rises.

The Commission of Inquiry must complement the work of Parliament in strengthening the PIC rather than weaken it.

DA welcomes SABC ‘Sex for Jobs’ Commission of Inquiry

The DA welcomes the announcement by Acting SABC CEO, Nomsa Philiso, that the public broadcaster will institute a Commission of Inquiry which will investigate the prevalence of sexual harassment at the SABC.

The initiative to investigate the “sex for jobs” scandal at the public broadcaster is long overdue. Vulnerable young people in the entertainment industry, particularly women, are often expected to perform sexual favours in exchange for jobs and opportunities.

The scourge of sexual abuse is exploitative and those who have been accused of initiating these acts must be suspended pending the Inquiry. This is a particularly insidious form of corruption, one which takes advantage of vulnerable job-seekers and violates their right to dignity irreparably.

Furthermore, the DA welcomes the SABC’s Commission of Inquiry into whether there was any external political and commercial influence affecting the SABC’s news agenda during the period of 2012 – 2018.

The DA calls on the SABC to ensure that these Inquires are transparent and independent and hopes that the outcomes will set the tone for a safer and more conducive working environment.

DA welcomes commission of inquiry into SARS

The DA welcomes the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into the South African Revenue Service (SARS), to be headed by Judge Robert Nugent with the assistance of Michael Katz, Mabongi Masilo and Vuyo Kahla.

SARS, under the disastrous tenure of ex-Commissioner Tom Moyane, had degenerated from a world class tax collection agency into a ‘captured’ institution beholden to Jacob Zuma and his band of corrupt cadres.

Moyane not only acted at variance with his responsibilities as SARS Commissioner, but also:

• Failed to act against taxpayers who were connected to the Jacob Zuma contingent;
• Consciously failed to ensure full and proper disciplinary processes against certain connected and senior SARS members, such as Jonas Makwakwa;
• Manipulated tax revenue figures;
• Caused enormous damage to the economy and the loss of jobs by delaying the refunds of taxes; and
• Played a predominant role in the revenue shortfall of R 50 billion in 2017/18

The DA urges the Commission of Inquiry to start its work without delay and to work swiftly and diligently to ensure that it produces a comprehensive and productive report.

The DA will monitor the progress of the Commission and will cooperate with it in order to ensure that swift progress can be made.

The appointment of the Commission, soon after Mark Kingon’s elevation to acting Commissioner, are essential steps towards the restoration of sanity at the tax revenue service.

DA requests to participate in State Capture Commission

The DA has written to the Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, to formally request that he grant us permission to participate and be legally represented at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

The DA has made this request on the basis that we have a direct interest in the proceedings of the Commission, as one of three complainants to the Public Protector on the matter of State Capture in 2016.  The Public Protector’s subsequent State of Capture Report was born from a complaint we laid.

The Deputy Chief Justice and his team have a mammoth task ahead of them as they begin the long overdue process of investigating the allegations of State Capture against President Jacob Zuma, the Guptas and their associates.

The DA is of the belief that we can make valuable contributions to the Commission, as we can share valuable evidence and shed more light on the extent of corruption within the ANC government.

We are aware and respect that there are major logistical and administrative considerations that come with a Commission of this magnitude. We trust that the Deputy Chief Justice will consider our request and we await his favourable response thereto.

DA welcomes confirmation of Commission of Inquiry into tax administration

The DA welcomes Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba’s, announcement today that a Commission of Inquiry will be established to look into issues at the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
These are not new issues, but have been plaguing the SARS for some time now, and include:
• The mass exodus of Senior and effective employees;
• Reports of unlawful (according to the Auditor-General) bonuses paid out to SARS executives;
• Undue delays and wrongful obstructions to tax refunds;
• As well as factually incorrect communication surrounding people’s tax returns.
The problems are clearly not new and have only worsened through the course of this year. The latest estimates, announced in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, pencil in a staggering revenue shortfall in excess of R50 billion for the current financial year.
In light of the continuing deterioration of the situation at SARS, the terms of reference that will guide the inquiry need to be defined and must be made public as soon as possible.
With the wide range of issues plaguing the SARS, the leadership of the institution must be thoroughly investigated, and the scope of the inquiry must extend at least as far back as when Tom Moyane was first appointed as the Commissioner of SARS.
This is imperative in ensuring transparency and openness over an issue that has to date been mired in a cloud of confidentiality.
The deterioration of the public’s trust in SARS must be halted to avoid further shortfalls in revenue collections.