‘State Protector’ Busisiwe Mkhwebane absolves David Mahlobo

The DA is disappointed but hardly surprised that the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has absolved former Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, for lying to Parliament despite overwhelming and irrefutable evidence to the contrary.
I had reported Mahlobo to the Public Protector on 18 November 2016 for violating the Executive Members Ethics Act by deliberately misleading Parliament about his relationship with #feesmustfall student leader, Mcebo Dlamini. Now, almost a year later and 11 months overdue, Adv. Mkhwebane has finally cleared Mahlobo.
In her final report, Mahlobo’s lie is laid bare. Section 5.1.3. states that:
“[Mahlobo’s] response [at a seminar organised by the Institute for Security Studies on 14 November 2016] was: “…and I happen to know Mcebo [Dlamini]. He has been to my house several times…’ ”
Yet, section 5.1.6. states that:
“[Mahlobo’s] response [to an oral question posed by DA MP Belinda Bozzoli in the National Assembly on 16 November 2016] was, ‘…Mcebo Dlamini has not been to my house.’ ”
Mahlobo’s lie is blatant and obvious for all to see.
Nevertheless, Adv. Mkhwebane has bent over backwards to absolve Mahlobo by noting that he “never intended to mislead Parliament” and that “[t]he context of the question asked by Prof Bozzoli and Minister Mahlobo’s response in the National Assembly favours an interpretation that it related specifically to whether Mr Dlamini met with him at his residence to discuss the student protests.”
The ‘State Protector’ is playing desperate word games to absolve Mahlobo from his clear violation the Executive Ethics Code. Parliament cannot fulfil its oversight mandate if members of the Executive are not held accountable.

We are ready to interdict the nuclear deal

The DA will not hesitate to interdict any attempt by Minister of Energy, David Mahlobo, to force through a nuclear deal despite the fact that South Africa does not need or afford the estimated R1 trillion deal.
Media reports today indicate that the Energy Department has been forced to work overtime to ensure the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is ready by 14 November, a full four months ahead of when it was due.
With each passing day, it becomes clear that Minister Mahlobo was appointed to make sure that the necessary nuclear deal would be pushed through.
We will not allow Mahlobo to appease his friends, the Russians, at the expense of millions of South Africans who are struggling to survive with no jobs in a flat economy.
The DA will use every legal and Parliamentary tool at our disposal to ensure that the generations to come will not be shackled to massive debt that will compromise South Africa’s future.

Mahlobo greases wheels for nuclear deal

Indications by the new Energy Minister, David Mahlobo, that the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will be moved forward and ready by the end of November are alarming and are yet another instance of government sending mixed signals on nuclear energy.
The IRP is a vital step for the controversial nuclear deal and is the most important piece of the nuclear puzzle. It has to be in place as the precursor for a “legal” nuclear process to start and once it has been completed, the deal will be fast-tracked.
The DA will interrogate the document to determine whether the document remains a substantive reflection of the original draft approved by Cabinet and reflective of public comment.
Should there be any suspicions of dodgy dealings, the DA will interdict any IRP that fails this test.
The previous Minister committed to deliver the IRP in February 2018 before the Budget Speech, yet there has been no progress made on it. It is therefore quite suspicious that such a large document will now be ready in one month.
Mahlobo is seemingly perfectly placed to secure the nuclear deal for his friends, the Russians, and this is but the first clear indication of this relationship.
The DA will not allow future generations of South Africans to be unnecessarily tied to a nuclear deal that we cannot afford and do not need.

DA to keep hawkish eye on any nuclear deal movements

The allegations in the media regarding the high-level Russian delegation who met with President Jacob Zuma shortly before the second cabinet reshuffle in seven months, which saw David Mahlobo appointed as Energy Minister, ostensibly to push through the nuclear deal in favour of the Russians, are startling, to say the least.
The previous Minister of Energy, Mmamoloko Kubayi, committed on record to abide by the Western Cape High Court’s ruling in April of this year, which declared that all Requests for Information (RFI) and potential RFP pursuant to the outdated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and Section 34 Ministerial Determinations are set aside with immediate effect. Mr Mahlobo is reminded that he too is bound by the court judgment and any deviation will be illegal.
In order for the nuclear deal to be approved, five key pieces of legislation/regulations will need to be updated and amended, which will require Parliament’s participation. These are:

  • The Integrated Resource Plan;
  • The Electricity pricing path;
  • The procurement regulations;
  • The framework agreements; and
  • Changes to the energy act – to allow for a different funding/ownership model.

In addition, the court ruling made clear the need for a substantial public participation process.
The fact is that we cannot afford nor do we need the nuclear deal. In any event, it is doubtful that we need nuclear in the energy mix bearing in mind that by the time reactors come online, green energy will be able to fill the gap sufficiently.
The DA will be keeping a very close eye out for any such amendments and will also push for the entire process to be open and competitive. Should the details of any progress on pushing through this costly and unnecessary nuclear build not be open to the public, the deal will be tainted and the DA will not hesitate to go to court to interdict it.

Cabinet reshuffle: Axing Blade escalates ANC war

The DA is not surprised by President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, the latest move in Zuma’s war against anyone who opposes his project of State Capture. The obvious target was SACP leader, Dr. Blade Nzimande, who follows Pravin Gordhan, Derek Hanekom, Mcebisi Jonas and others who have failed to toe the Zuma line and have found themselves out of office.
The SACP has been dealt an insulting blow, and they must now decide how long they will put up with this abuse, or if they will now do what they know is right, and begin to work outside the ANC.
Blade’s axing has also provided the pretext for yet another reshuffling of Zuma sycophants, none more pliant than new Minister of Energy, David Mahlobo. This smacks of an attempt to reignite the ANC’s efforts to chain our country to a multibillion rand nuclear deal with the Russians.
This reshuffle has nothing to do with effecting good governance, and ensuring the best people serve our country. On the contrary, Jacob Zuma appears to be firing his critics, and offering promotions in exchange for support ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December this year.
This just reaffirms what the DA has said all along – the ANC exists solely an organisation committed to self-enrichment and self-advancement – all at the expense of the South African people.
Come 2019, South Africans must use their power to vote out this self-serving ANC government at the ballot box, and choose a new beginning for our country.
The future of South lies in a post-ANC South Africa, free from corruption and State Capture, and focused on our nation’s new struggle – the struggle for access to jobs. Our fight is to ensure that all South Africans can enter the economy, find meaningful work, and create a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

SSA must act in the national interest, not fight ANC political battles

The DA will ask the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe, to urgently probe allegations that there is a covert unit operating within the State Security Agency (SSA). This unit is allegedly abusing state resources to target President Zuma’s political opponents and reporting directly to President Zuma and the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo.
The alarming media reports, further allege that the covert unit’s illegal operations were funded through the daylight theft of R17 million, in foreign currency, from the SSA’s headquarters in December 2015. This break-in appears to have been the beginning of a string of very serious and targeted break-ins at key democratic institutions, including:
• 50 Laptops, with sensitive information, stolen from the Department of Defence’s Intelligence headquarters in December 2015;
• 15 Computers, with confidential information on South Africa’s Judges, stolen from the Office of the Chief Justice in March 2017;
• Computers stolen from the Hawk’s headquarters in July 2017; and
• 2 laptops stolen from the NPA’s offices in July 2017.
These allegations only serve to highlight the free-reign the SSA has enjoyed for far too long and strengthens the need for increased oversight of the SSA.
It is high time that the Intelligence Services Oversight Act, Act No 40 of 1994 is reviewed and amended so that budgetary and financial accountability measures can be introduced as a sea of funds is clearly not regulated and is now likely being abused by the politically corrupt.
The SSA’s covert support unit exists to fight terrorism and organised crime, not to illegally conduct surveillance and intercept calls and emails of public officials. The SSA must be brought back into line and the loopholes through which Zuma and his cronies abuse these resources shut down by introducing the requisite measures through legislation.

Public Protector threatens DA instead of taking action against State Capture or lying ministers

It is with concern that I take note of the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, threatening to take action against me, the person who reported a minister for lying to Parliament, precisely as she declines to take action against the liar himself.
It is profoundly disappointing that the Office of the Public Protector has the time to threaten me with criminal proceedings when not a single person has been charged in connection with State Capture. This despite the extraordinary work done by Adv. Mkhwebane’s predecessor in exposing corruption at the highest level, as detailed in the State of Capture report. Instead, we are witness to near-daily revelations of corruption and looting by the political elite and their criminal associates who operate with complete impunity.
The Public Protector’s priorities are indeed skewed and I can only urge her to commit her time and resources to tackling the threat of State Capture. Indeed, if Adv. Mkhwebane insists on instituting criminal proceedings, she should consider following up with the relevant authorities on this observation from the State of Capture report:
12 (j) The Public Protector, in terms of section 6 (4) (c) (i) of the Public Protector Act, brings to the notice of the National Prosecuting Authority and the DPCI those matters identified in this report where it appears crimes have been committed.
I fear that Adv. Mkhwebane is taking aim at the DA because we were are essentially low-hanging fruit for her. She will not act against the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, but is happy to pursue frivolous charges against an MP trying to hold the Executive to account.
The DA reported Mahlobo for lying to Parliament because there is a developing trend of members of the Executive misleading the Legislature, as well as concomitant efforts to shield the perpetrators. This was illustrated dramatically in recent months when a report identifying those who misled or lied to the SABC Ad Hoc Committee, completed by Parliament’s Legal Services Unit, was kept under wraps by the Speaker to the National Assembly for months.
We cannot allow Parliament’s oversight mandate to be undermined by an Executive that simply lies or obfuscates when confronted with difficult questions, seemingly without consequence. We had hoped the Public Protector would recognise the important role her Office could play in combating this trend. Sadly, we have been left disappointed. The DA will not be deterred. No amount of scaremongering will distract us from our core function.

Public Protector gives David Mahlobo a pass for lying to Parliament

The DA is deeply disappointed that the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has chosen to absolve the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, despite unequivocal evidence that he lied to Parliament.
We do not accept this attempt to explain away Mahlobo’s blatant lies and his deliberate attempt to mislead the Legislature. We look forward to pursuing this matter further in the Powers and Privileges Committee to which this matter has also been referred.
I had reported Mahlobo to the Public Protector on 18 November 2016 for violating the Executive Members Ethics Act by deliberately misleading Parliament about his relationship with #feesmustfall student leader, Mcebo Dlamini. It has taken a staggering nine and a half months for the Public Protector’s Office to complete its report, despite the Executive Members Ethics Act stating it must do so “within 30 days of receipt of the complaint”.
On 16 November 2016, Mahlobo told a bald-faced lie in the National Assembly when, responding to an oral question from DA MP, Prof Belinda Bozzoli, he stated that “Mcebo Dlamini has not been to my house”. Yet only two days prior he himself revealed his relationship with Dlamini when, participating in a panel discussion hosted by the Institute for Security Studies, he declared: “[A]nd I happen to know Mcebo [Dlamini]. He has been to my house several times.”
The Public Protector has unthinkingly accepted Mahlobo’s excuse that the “context” and the “gist” of Prof Bozzoli’s question “sought to suggest that Mr Mcebo Dlamini met with him at his residence to discuss the student protests”. The question was clear. The lie was clear. The intention to mislead Parliament was clear.
It is disturbing how disposed the Public Protector is to accepting Mahlobo’s vapid explanation. We can only hope that this is not a portent of things to come.
Mkhwebane’s predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, was instrumental in holding the Executive to account and would not have accepted Mahlobo’s nonsense defence. Sadly, it seems the incumbent Public Protector does not have the same appetite for holding errand ministers accountable and is all too willing to let liars off the hook.
The DA will not allow Mahlobo or any other minister to escape censure for misleading the legislature.

Mahlobo must be summoned to explain State Security’s inaction on Vuwani

The DA has written to the Basic Education Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Nomalungelo Gina, to summon State Security Minister, David Mahlobo, to explain how his department knew about the protests in Vuwani a year before they happened, but opted not to act on the intelligence to try and prevent the subsequent crisis.
Children in Vuwani were denied access to education from the first half of May last year and most could not return to schools until the beginning of August as a result of the protests and were thus deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Learners were prevented from going to school again in April this year, when more schools were burned and nearly 30 000 pupils were affected by the shutdown. The least Minister Mahlobo could have done was to brief Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, on any developments that were projected to affect learning in the area and posed threats to learners in order to minimise the damage caused by the protests. It is imperative that the Minister be summoned before the Education committee so that we can get to the bottom of this situation.
In reply to DA Parliamentary Questions from June 2016 it was revealed that 20 schools were damaged during the violent protests, with a total of 79 classrooms burnt and a further 13 vandalised. There were 1 805 desks destroyed, along with surplus textbooks, stationery and school records.
Minister Mahlobo must appear before Portfolio Committee on Education which is open to the public and not the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence which is a closed committee. The Vuwani protests had a major impact on people in the community and an open committee sitting, to which the committees on Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs and Police should also be invited to attend, will ensure that the Minister is held accountable.
Access to education, especially for the poor, is something the DA takes seriously as it is necessary for entry into the job market as such, we cannot accept any hindrance to learning. Mahlobo’s utterances paint a grim picture of the state of national security and he must account to the people for his failings.

Inspector General of Intelligence must investigate Chief Justice office robbery

Media reports today, quoting sources close to the investigation of the break-in at the Office of the Chief Justice on 18 March, claim that the leading suspect in the case, Nkosinathi Msimango, has links to the State Security Agency (SSA).
I will be writing to the newly appointed Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI), Dr Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe, requesting that his office also investigate the incident and the alleged link with the SSA.
The DA is on record saying that the burglary is highly suspicious, and can only be viewed as an act of intimidation targeting our judiciary.
We are also on record calling on Dintwe to investigate the growing dysfunction in the intelligence services and address suspicions of the intelligence services involving itself in political intrigue.
We believe it is incumbent on the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, to address claims of SSA involvement in this outrageous crime and to clarify Msimango relationship with the SSA, if any.
The significance of the break-in at the office of the Chief Justice cannot be downplayed and nothing short of a complete and thorough investigation is required, including an investigation into state involvement.