Child Protection Week: DA lays criminal charges against SACE officials for failing to vet teachers

Today, my colleague, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi MP, and I laid criminal charges against the South African Council for Educators (SACE) CEO, Ella Mokgalane, its Chairperson, Mabutho Cele, and other SACE board members who may have known about SACE’s failure to adequately vet teachers in terms of section 47 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act.

SACE is required by law to vet teachers against the Sexual Offenders Register before issuing licences, but have failed to do so for at least 10 years, potentially exposing many children to convicted sex pests.

This follows the admission by SACE, in a reply to a DA Parliamentary question, that they had not vetted teachers against the Sexual Offenders Register or Child Protection Register before issuing licences, as is required by Section 47 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act.

SACE has failed our children and, as Child Protection Week draws to a close, it is imperative that the teacher vetting body’s leadership is held accountable.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) recently stated in a report that SACE did not, in fact, have to work through the DBE to gain access to the Register.

This does not absolve Minister Angie Motshekga from responsibility, as SACE is an entity of the DBE and her department should have ensured that they were not breaking the law.

Minister Motshekga should now prove that her department is committed to ensuring children are safe at schools and support the call the DA has repeatedly made for this through our #SafeSchools campaign.

We have also urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to end sexual and physical violence at schools through a collaborative effort by the national Police, Basic Education, Social Development and Justice Departments, together with provincial departments of education.

The DA trusts that the SAPS will investigate SACE’s failure to abide by the law. Those who have potentially put children at risk through this vetting failure must be accountable.

Our children cannot achieve their full potential when schools are unsafe. The government needs to take swift action to make sure our children are safe at school.

DA lays criminal charges against Ace Magashule

Note to Editors: Find attached pictures from the Vogelfontein RDP Housing Development are attached here, here, here and here.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today laid criminal charges against ANC Secretary General and former Free State Premier, Ace Magashule, following allegations that he meddled in a housing project in the Free State to ensure that a company allegedly linked to his daughter secured a lucrative contract worth R150 million.

The criminal charges were filed, in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, Act 12 of 2004, following an oversight visit by the DA to the Vogelfontein RDP Housing Development in Bethlehem where it is alleged that Magashule flouted tender procurement processes to ensure that a Chinese company, Unital Holdings, allegedly linked to his daughter, was paid R70 million by the Provincial Human Settlements Department to oversee the project.

Together with DA Shadow Minister of Human Settlements, Solly Malatsi MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Mbulelo Bara MP, DA Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature, Dr Roy Jankielsohn MPL, DA Free State Provincial Spokesperson on Human Settlements, Leona Kleynhans MPL and local DA Councillors who gathered initial information about the development, we uncovered poorly constructed houses that do not have electricity, water and proper toilets. This has led many residents to make use of pit toilets and open holes, exposing fecal matter.

These allegations must be fully investigated and if they prove true, Magashule must be held accountable in terms of the Act, which expressly prohibits the use of improper influence to secure a contract for a public body or private organization.

Poor residents in Vogelfontein have been left to live in sub-standard housing while Magashule enjoys political protection from the ANC, which rewarded him with a post as Secretary General.

The ANC has proven, time and again, that it is incapable of holding corrupt cadres within its ranks to account, and as such, law enforcement agencies are obligated to ensure that victims of corruption get justice from the ‘congress of the corrupt’.

The DA looks forward to a timely conclusion of the investigation into Ace Magashule and his accomplices in the Vogelfontein RDP Housing Development, who have robbed residents of their right to decent accommodation.

SAPS attempts to frustrate DA laying of criminal charges against Minister Motsoaledi and MEC Dhlomo

Today, my colleague, Dr Imran Keeka MPL, and I have been prevented from laying charges of culpable homicide against the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, for their apparent role in the deaths of more than 300 cancer patients in the province.
The officers on duty did everything in their power to delay and frustrate our efforts to lay these charges. After three hours of back and forth, it became apparent that the SAPS would only accept an inquiry into the matter and would not accept the DA laying charges.
The police are supposed to take charges and investigate them, not decide who can lay them.
In terms of Section 205 (3) of the Constitution, the “object of the SAPS is to prevent, combat and investigate crime…”. The SAPS cannot arbitrarily refuse to do their job. This constitutes a gross dereliction of duty. In addition, section 98 of the Criminal Procedures Act states that “it shall be sufficient in a charge of culpable homicide to allege that the accused unlawfully killed the deceased”.
The DA has a credible case that must be investigated. The assertion that we simply cannot lay charges because we are not in possession of the names of all those who died, is simply absurd.
Our affidavit clearly has some of the names of the victims and moreover, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), a Chapter Nine institution, has found that both the national and the provincial health departments failed to provide cancer patients in the province with access to proper oncology services.
The report states that this apparent negligence was a violation of “the rights to human dignity and life of the affected patients” as they “failed to take reasonable measures to progressively realise the right to have access to health care services in the KZN province”.
The truth is that the Minister and the MEC’s seeming negligence was nothing less than a death sentence for cancer patients who had no other alternative but the unnecessarily limited and appalling public health services available to them.
Despite the DA’s repeated calls for MEC Dhlomo to be removed from his position, the Minister and local officials have continued to protect him.
And now the very people who are at the front line of protecting South Africans have fundamentally failed the 300 cancer patients who died by purposefully refusing to do their duty and accept the laying of charges.
The DA will not stand by and watch as the failing ANC continues to put the needs of their cadres before the needs of the people. It is unacceptable, and frankly unethical, to play political games with the lives of sick and vulnerable citizens.
The DA will not be deterred from laying these charges. Both the Minister and the MEC must be held accountable for failing to protect South African citizens who have no other choice but to rely on the failing public health system.

DA to lay charges against Eskom CFO, Anoj Singh

The DA will lay criminal charges against Eskom’s Chief Financial Officer, Anoj Singh, as we have reason to believe that Singh may have played a pivotal role in the Guptas’ capture of Eskom.
The DA will lay charges against Singh for possible breaches of Section 50 (1) of the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA), which states that an accounting officer at a public entity must “ensure reasonable protection of the assets and records of the public entity” and “act with fidelity, honesty, integrity and in the best interests of the public entity in managing the financial affairs of the public entity”.
Furthermore, Section 50 (2) of the PMFA clearly states that an accounting officer at a state owned enterprise may not use their “position or privileges […] for personal gain or to improperly benefit another person”.
Under Section 86 (2) an accounting authority is “guilty of an offence […] or to imprisonment […] if that accounting authority willfully or in a grossly negligent way fails to comply with a provision of Section 50, 51” of the PMFA.
Singh has been linked to a range of corruption scandals and dodgy deals at Eskom which must be fully investigated.
These include but may not be limited to:

  • The Trillian contracts of R495 million, as a subcontractor of McKinsey;
  • The arbitration settlement of R577 million, reduced from R2.1 billion, for Tegeta;
  • Giving Tegeta a R1.6 billion guarantee to purchase Optimum even if it wasn’t used; and
  • The upfront coal contract payment to Tegeta.

Based on the absurd explanation Singh provided yesterday, as to why Eskom gave Gupta-linked Tegeta a 72% discount to acquire Optimum, it appears he may be one of a number of seemingly compromised individuals at Eskom who have sought to loot our public coffers.
The DA will also lay charges of false statements, reckless conduct and non-compliance against Singh, under Section 214 (1) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008, which states that a person is guilty of an offence if they “with fraudulent intention, knowingly provided false or misleading information” and if they were party to “an act or omission by a business calculated to defraud [the company] or with another fraudulent purpose”.
Under Section 216 of the Act, if a director of a company is convicted of an offence in terms of Section 214 (1), they are liable “to a fine or to imprisonment” of up to 10 years.
As CFO of Eskom, Singh would have been best placed to provide access to those intent on looting the entity for their own selfish gain. This possibility must be fully investigated and should the allegations prove true, the DA will ensure that Singh has his day in court and that he accounts for his hand in the capture of Eskom.

DA has laid criminal charges against the Guptas for allegedly using public funds to pay for a family wedding at Sun City in 2013

This morning, I laid criminal charges against Mosebenzi Zwane, Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta, Rajesh Gupta, Ronica Ragavan and Kamal Vasram with the South African Police Service.
The charges include:

  • racketeering, money laundering, assisting another to benefit from the proceeds of unlawful activities, and acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds of unlawful activities in terms of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (No. 121 of 1998); and
  • submitting false, or untrue, tax returns in terms of the Tax Administration Act (No. 28 of 2011).

This follows revelations that public funds, meant to assist the poor, were allegedly washed through a complex web of front companies, and used to pay for Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia’s wedding at Sun City in 2013.
I have also written to the South African Revenue Service requesting an investigation into tax evasion relating to allegations that wedding expenses were irregularly deducted as business expenses by Linkway Trading (Pty) Ltd, which is a South African based company controlled by the Guptas, consequently evading paying tax on an amount of about R30 million in 2014.
The fact that public funds, meant to assist the poor, were allegedly used to pay for President Jacob Zuma’s number one clients’, the Guptas’, family wedding is grotesque and must be investigated without fear or favour by the South African Police Service.

The DA will lay criminal charges against the Guptas for washing public funds through Dubai

I will lay charges against Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta, Rajesh Gupta, Ronica Ragavan and Kamal Vasram, in terms of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (No. 121 of 1998) and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (No. 12 of 2004), with the South African Police Service following revelations that public funds were used to pay for Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia’s wedding at Sun City in 2013.
Today it was revealed that a total of  US$  8 099 950 was transferred from “Estina”, a 4 400-hectare farm outside Vrede funded by the Free State government, and then washed through a complex web of Gupta front companies, including Gateway Limited, Global Corporation LLC and Accurate, using two banks -­ Standard Chartered and the State Bank of India -­ before being used inter alia to settle a US$ 3 333 400 account, through a South African registered Gupta company called Linkway Trading, for Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia’s wedding at Sun City in 2013.
We hope this matter will be properly investigated because the fact is that it is grotesque that President Jacob Zuma’s most important clients, the Guptas, used public funds, meant to assist the poor, to pay for Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia’s wedding at Sun City in 2013.

State Capture charges: The law must now take its course

Note to Editors: The full charge sheet can be accessed here
Today the Democratic Alliance (DA) laid an array of criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma, members of the Gupta family, several cabinet ministers and senior executives of State Owned Entities, and other individuals alleged to be key players in the criminal syndicate that has captured large elements of the South African state. These charges are based on new evidence that emerged last weekend, in the form of documentation and emails, forming a paper trail which implicate these individuals in serious criminal offences. This acts as a preliminary indictment, and as more information emerges, we reserve the right to supplement these charges.
It is clear from the evidence that, acting in concert with each other, President Jacob Zuma, Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta, Rajesh Gupta, Ashu Chawla (Chief Executive of Gupta-owned Sahara Computers), Nazeem Howa (Director of various Gupta-linked companies and former CEO of Oakbay Investments), Mosebenzi Zwane (alleged Gupta-appointed Minister of Mineral Resources), Malusi Gigaba (alleged Gupta-appointed Minister of Finance), Faith Muthambi (alleged Gupta-appointed Minister of Communications), Desmond van Rooyen (alleged Gupta-appointed former Minister of Finance and current Minister of COGTA), Duduzane Zuma (director of Gupta-linked companies and oldest son of President Zuma) and Matshela Koko (suspended Senior executive of Eskom) have committed the following offences:

  • Corruption – through unlawful conduct which contravenes the Prevention of Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act – 12 of 2004 (POCA), specifically offences in respect of corrupt activities relating to public officers, public officials, foreign public officials, agents, legislative authorities, contracts, procuring and withdrawal of tenders, inducing another person to commit offences, and relating to the duty to report corrupt transactions.
    • This specifically includes the specific corrupt offense of the “misuse or selling of information or material acquired in the course of the, exercise, carrying out or performance of any powers, duties or functions arising out of a constitutional, statutory, contractual or any other legal obligation” that amounts to “the abuse of a position of authority, breach of trust; or the violation of a legal duty or a set of rules” in section 3 of the POCA act.
  • Racketeering – through unlawful conduct which contravenes the Prevention of Organised Crime Act of 1998.
  • Treason – through unlawful conduct which violates, threatens or endangers the existence, independence and security of the Republic of South Africa or which has the effect of changing the constitutional structure of the Republic of South Africa.

The law must now take its course. Each of these individuals must be held accountable for their actions and must face the full force of the law. Nothing less will be acceptable to the Democratic Alliance, and nothing less will be fair to the people of South Africa, who are united in their condemnation of these heinous crimes.
The DA also welcomes the growing consensus regarding the desperate need to investigate the corrupt State Capture project headed by Zuma and the ANC. We maintain that the situation requires a truly broad-based investigation that includes all the departments and individuals named in the leaked emails and the State of Capture report. That process must start with a parliamentary Ad Hoc committee, and then through a Judicial Commission of Enquiry we will be able to uncover the truth as to how captured ministers and government officials have allowed the Guptas to control entire chunks of government.
Notwithstanding, criminal investigations and prosecution must follow where crimes have been committed.
The DA will pursue every available avenue until the corrupt State Capture project that has undermined and crippled key institutions of the state is stopped and the ANC is removed from power.
We will not allow Zuma Inc. to continue to steal from our people. We must earnestly focus South Africa towards building a prosperous nation, where jobs can be created for all.