DA lays criminal charges against ANC officials over alleged Bosasa kickbacks

Please find attached a soundbite in English by the Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen MP.

Today, DA Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen MP, laid criminal charges against ANC MP, Vincent Smith; Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe; Minister of Communications, Nomvula Mokonyane; former SAA Chairperson, Dudu Myeni; Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla; and others in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Act 12 of 2004).

Also implicated are former procurement manager of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Mbulelo Gingcana, and former Head of Correctional Services, Linda Mti.

This follows reports that they received security upgrades and other benefits from Bosasa, also known as African Global Operations, the controversial facilities management that has secured contracts worth R10 billion from various government departments.

These allegedly included:

  • An alarm system, electric fencing and CCTV worth R250 000 for Myeni’s house in Richards Bay;
  • Recording systems, perimeter lighting and CCTV worth R300 000 at Mantashe’s Boksburg, Cala and Elliott houses;
  • An alarm system, CCTV system and electric fence valued at R350 000 for Makwetla’s house; and
  • A CCTV system and electric fencing valued at R200 000 for Smith’s house in Roodepoort. Smith also allegedly received over R671 000 over the past three years and R100 000 in cash from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson on a monthly basis.

Bosasa has throughout the years benefitted from being awarded several large contracts by various government departments and entities, reportedly worth more than R10 billion over the next five to ten years. These include the departments of Justice and Correctional Services and the Airports Company of South Africa.

Given the intersection of Bosasa securing large government contracts, and Bosasa’s provision of various and generous benefits to Smith, Mokonyane, Mantashe, Myeni and the others, all of whom were at one stage or another in a position to potentially help secure some of these contracts for Bosasa, we believe that an investigation into the stated allegations may reveal that criminal offences were indeed committed in terms of sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

The DA stands firmly against corruption and will always ensure that those who violate their oath of office are held accountable.  These serious allegations must be investigated without haste, so the public knows who paid for the upgrades.

The failing ANC has allowed corruption to flourish and compromise its governance of the country, and South Africans can put an end to this by voting DA in 2019.

SAA: R5 million on six-month contract for CFO excessive for failing airline

While the DA welcomes the disclosure of the remuneration packages of South Africa Airways (SAA) executives by the Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, to the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF), it is shocking to learn that the financially troubled airline is spending millions of rands on salaries for executives on short-term contracts.

Robert Head, who was appointed as CFO on 1 April 2018 on a six month contract, is set to earn R5 511 000, about R900 000 a month. The multi-million rand remuneration packages of his and other executives can be accessed here.

The latest disclosure, however, stops short of providing SCOF with the full executive pay structure at SAA, despite an undertaking by the CEO, Vuyani Jarana, to do so within seven days when he appeared before the committee on 7 June 2018.

It is unacceptable for SAA to be selective in releasing information on executive pay. Indeed, the CEO has failed to provide details of his own remuneration package by only providing the details of executives “appointed in recent months”. Jarana was appointed as SAA CEO and the state-owned entity’s chief accounting officer on 1 November 2017 and South Africans have a right to know how much he is being paid. The committee has waited 49 days for the answer.

The reluctance of SAA’s new board and executives to provide Parliament with information on SAA, an SOE that that has cost the taxpayer R15 billion in bailouts over the past 12 months, has serious implications for Parliamentary oversight. It is a regression which works against the removal of the culture of impunity that existed through the warlord regime of previous SAA Chair Dudu Myeni.

There is no doubt that if SAA is to be saved the executives employed must be very capable people who have the required skills and experience in order to “fix” SAA. However, the limited number of remuneration packages that have been disclosed seem to be excessive and the questions that need to be asked and which we will be asking are;

  • What process was followed to identify and recruit the best possible persons?
  • In the recruitment process, were all prescripts of law followed and if not, why not?
  • How were the very high remuneration packages such as the R5,51 million to be paid to Robert Head for a mere six months work determined?
  • What are the details of the targets set for each executive member?
  • What are details of all SAA executives, not just the so-called “appointed in recent months”?

Turning around SAA will never be achieved under a cloud of secrecy and excessive spending on activities that are unrelated to the business of flying. SAA must realise that they cannot continue to receive taxpayer bailout money without accountability and openness on the conduct of their operations.

Eskom Inquiry to approach Courts to force Guptas, Myeni to testify

Parliament’s Public Enterprises Committee, in a closed meeting today, have resolved to launch an application for an edictal citation with the High Court in order to force the Gupta brothers, Dudu Myeni and Duduzane Zuma to testify before the Eskom Inquiry.
The DA welcomes this decision by the Committee. It makes it clear that we will not condone the blatant disregard shown for Parliament’s authority.
Following numerous attempts by Parliament’s legal team to serve the Guptas, Myeni and Zuma with their summonses, they have used every trick in the book to evade accountability.
The Guptas, who are suspected to be outside of the borders of the Republic, have failed to provide the Inquiry with information on their whereabouts, leaving the Committee with no other choice but to approach the Court.
Myeni has also frustrated attempts efforts to serve her with a summons, by refusing to reveal her residential address. However, the Committee has the ID numbers of both Myeni and Duduzane Zuma and we will now proceed to inform the Courts that both are registered to vote and their residential addresses can, therefore, be requested from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Myeni is registered to vote at the AGS Lewende Waters in Richards Bay and Duduzane Zuma is registered to vote at the Saxonwold Primary School in Johannesburg.
The Gupta brothers, Myeni and Duduzane Zuma are currently scheduled to testify before the Committee on 11 April 2018. Should they fail to show up, the Committee will push for warrants of arrest to be issued.
The Public Enterprises Committee has once again proven that it will not back down on getting to the bottom of State Capture. The DA will continue to work with our colleagues across the political spectrum to ensure that all those responsible for State Capture are brought to book.

Guptas and Myeni can run but they cannot hide

It has now been confirmed that neither the Guptas nor Dudu Myeni will appear, as requested, before the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises’ Inquiry into State Capture tomorrow as previously arranged. The Guptas have apparently flown the coop and are not in South Africa. Myeni claims she is still sick, we have yet to see the original doctor’s note.
This is a flagrant abuse of the committee’s politeness and an unacceptable disregard for Parliament and the Constitution under which this inquiry has been established and cannot be allowed to continue.
Tomorrow, the DA will request that the Guptas and Myeni are formally summoned to appear. Should they then ignore the summons and fail to account to Parliament, Section 17(1) of the Powers, Privileges, and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, 2004 states that “witnesses who fail to adhere to a summons commits an offence and is liable to a fine or to imprisonment of up to 12 months”.
Portfolio Committees are empowered by the Constitution to call any person they see fit. The fact that the Guptas and Myeni have failed to show up, while not surprising, displays their utter contempt for the Parliament of South Africa.
Last week, the Minister of Home Affairs also declined to appear on the date requested as he claimed he needed more time to prepare. He is now set to appear tomorrow but given his track record of ducking and diving, we will believe it when we see it.
State Capture has hollowed out key public institutions and robbed South Africa of billions of the people’s money. Those who may have been involved or who may have vital information must account to Parliament. Those who attempted what is now known to be one of the greatest heists of all time must know this: there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. No one is above the law.
The DA will not rest until the Guptas, Duduzane Zuma, Myeni and Salim Essa, at the very least, have appeared before the Committee and are ultimately held accountable for their role in state capture.

Disgraced Dudu Myeni must keep away from SAA

The DA finds it incomprehensible that the hard-won steps towards saving SAA can be so recklessly undermined by the proposal to move the embattled airline from the Finance ministry to the Transport Ministry– a ministry that has so fouled up the e-toll saga.
What makes such a proposal even worse is the news that disgraced Dudu Myeni has been appointed as a “special” advisor to Transport Minister, Joe Maswanganyi, a close ally of President Jacob Zuma. Despite any rules that may preclude her from interfering in SAA affairs, Ms Myeni will likely ignore these and meddle in the affairs of the airline.
The DA will now write to all South African banks that are owed the R13.8 billion guaranteed by the poor people of South Africa. We will request that they immediately inform Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, that they will recall their loans to SAA with immediate effect should the proposal to move SAA away from National Treasury be effected and if there is any pressure put on the SAA board and CEO to run the airline as anything but a commercial enterprise.
Given the mess that SAA has become under the “rule” of Myeni, she surely must be ranked as the most unsuitable person to appoint as an aviation advisor.
The removal of Myeni from the SAA board, the appointment of a new board (including an aviation expert) and, most importantly, the appointment of experienced executives like Vuyani Jarana and Peter Davies signalled the start of a process to attempt to save SAA and most of the more than 10 000 jobs. This would be in vain if the airline is once again treated as a cadre enrichment vehicle and moved back under the influence of corporate warlord Dudu Myeni.
South African banks must ensure that SAA is run on purely commercial lines. They cannot allow SAA to once again become Myeni’s plaything as poor South Africans will suffer the effects of billions of rands in losses as vital services will be forfeited in order to fund the failing airline.

National Treasury hiding the true cost of SAAs renewed loans

The National Treasury appears to be attempting to hide the true cost of South African Airways’ (SAA) latest bailout with its response to the DA’s request for details of interest rates charged on renewed loans to SAA. A request which was supported by the Standing Committee on Finance.
Standard Bank, ABSA, Nedbank and other domestic lenders to SAA were due to be paid R5.0 billion on the 30th of September 2019. These lenders were convinced to roll over their loans provided that certain conditions were met by SAA. One of which was that Ms Dudu Myeni be removed from the SAA board, a condition which was reluctantly complied with on the 3rd of November 2017.
It is suspected that a further condition made by the domestic lenders was that the interest rates charged on the renewed loans would be increased. Consequently the DA requested that the Minister of Finance and National Treasury provide the Standing Committee on Finance with details of the interest rates charged by the domestic lenders.
National Treasury initially responded, on the 1st of November 2017, by saying that the interest rates were confidential. This response was clearly nonsensical as the Standing Committee on Finance had previously been provided with a full list of all lenders to SAA together with the amounts, maturity dates and interest rates.
The Standing Committee on Finance supported the DA’s request for details of the interest rates for SAA’s renewed loans and instructed the National Treasury to provide the details.
Today, Monday the 6th of November 2017, we received the following reply from National Treasury:
‘The interest rates charged by lenders on loans to SAA that were rolled over at the end of September 2017 have changed. The exact figures need to be requested from SAA.’
This is an unacceptable response from National Treasury, that attempts to frustrate its accountability to parliament. SAA falls under the oversight of National Treasury and we believe is obligated to provide the information required by the Standing Committee on Finance.

Gigaba only removed Myeni from the SAA Board because he was forced to do so

Please find the attached soundbites in IsiZulu and English.
It is clear that Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, only removed Dudu Myeni from the SAA Board because he was forced to do so by the people who have lent SAA money. Lenders to the airline would not extend their loans to SAA.
The airline is bankrupt and needs R10 billion in order to continue trading until the end of the current financial year. Gigaba is not a knight in shining armour.
The restructuring of the Board will not save SAA. The airline simply cannot be saved.

Myeni still SAA Board Chairperson until 3 November

The DA notes with concern the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba’s, statement which effectively means that Dudu Myeni shall remain as Chairperson of the South African Airways (SAA) board until his “special meeting with the new board” on the 3rd of November 2017, which also seems to have replaced the scheduled and vital AGM.
The 3rd of November is the date that the Minister told Parliament the SAA 2017 AGM would take place, not just a “special meeting” with the board.
This effectively means that the removal of Dudu Myeni and other changes to the SAA board will only be effective from the 3rd of November 2017 and that Myeni remains as the chair of the SAA board for another 14 days.
At Minister Gigaba’s post MTBPS briefing to the Standing Committee on Finance on Thursday the 26th of October 2017, I will ask for clarity on the following issues:
• Did the lenders to SAA make the removal of Dudu Myeni from the SAA board a condition before extending the repayment of their R5,0 billion loans to SAA;
• What were the other conditions imposed by the domestic lenders on their loans to SAA;
• Does Dudu Myeni remain on the SAA board as its chair until the 3rd of November 2017;
• If Dudu Myeni has been removed from the SAA board with immediate effect, who has been appointed to act as chair of the SAA board;
• Why the meeting of the board to be held on the 3rd of November 2017 is a special meeting and not the 2017 AGM;
• Why has the annual report still not been tabled in Parliament; and
• Who will present the 2017 annual report to the SAA AGM?
Minister Gigaba seems to think that by finally removing the toxic Myeni, that SAA will be saved. This is not the case.
The airline is bankrupt and requires R10 billion to continue to limp along. It is time to face up to the fact that SAA can only be saved if it is put into business rescue, stabilised and sold.

DA welcomes the long overdue removal of Myeni

The DA welcomes the reported removal of Dudu Myeni from the South African Airways (SAA) board. She has done untold damage to SAA and should not have been reappointed to the board, and certainly not as board chair, in September 2016.
The question remains as to where Malusi Gigaba is going to find the R 10 billion that is required to meet the R 5,2 billion already paid to SAA for loans and working capital as well as the R 4,8 billion required as working capital to keep the airline trading until the end of the 2017/18 financial year.
The crisis at SAA has now got so bad that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, was apparently finally forced to take action in an effort to stop the mismanagement at SAA.
The reported restructuring of the SAA board apparently includes an experienced aviation expert, after a year a calling for this since the current board was appointed on the 1st of September 2016.
Make no mistake, this reported restructuring of the SAA board and the removal of Myeni is far too little, too late to save the airline. There is no saving SAA.

BOKAMOSO | Does South Africa need SAA?

There is an ongoing debate about whether or not a country should own an airline. Many countries do so for national pride. Like many, I am proud of SAA as a national carrier. It is one of the oldest airlines in the world still operating. But it is simply wrong that poor South Africans are subsidizing rich people’s flights. The answer is to retain the SAA brand and lease it to private companies who can own and manage the airline. That way, it could soon be making a positive contribution to our tax revenue. The DA’s position is that SAA must be stabilized, professionalized, and sold off as soon as practically possible.
Perhaps this will be the week our government is finally forced to concede that SAA has reached the end of the road – or shall we say runway – as a state-owned entity. Loans of R6.9 billion are due tomorrow, 30 September. National Treasury has yet to reveal where this enormous amount of money will come from. And this is only the most immediate, not the greatest, of our SAA-inspired headaches. Treasury has already conceded that the airline will need another R13 billion in cash injections over the next two years – and that’s under an optimistic scenario in which the airline “turns around”.
SAA has become a bottomless pit into which government continues to pour precious public resources that should be spent on lifting 30 million South Africans out of poverty. It is hard to believe that any government hoping to be re-elected would take money from the poor to subsidize travel for the rich.
For almost two decades, the airline has relied on government bailouts and guarantees for its survival. The cumulative total of bailouts since 1999 is R14.4 billion, and National Treasury is currently trying to source another R10 billion for the airline in the next 24 hours. Government has already extended R19.1 billion in guarantees – meaning that nearly R35 billion of ordinary South Africans’ hard-earned money has been dedicated to keeping SAA in ‘business’. By 2019, that number will have risen to around R50 billion – an amount which could have given a million South Africans a decent home for the first time in their lives – think how life changing that would have been.
Over the past five years, under the control of Board Chairperson Dudu Myeni, SAA has made a cumulative loss of R15.7 billion rand. Yes, R15 700 000 000. It is important for South Africans to realise that government continues to retain and protect Myeni in her position, not in spite of this cash haemorrhage, but because of it. With politically affiliated Myeni at the helm, SAA is simply a massive straw through which the political elite can suck our fiscus dry. It is no more than a mechanism for large scale theft. The fact that SAA aeroplanes still fly is simply a necessary requirement to give the looting an outward show of legitimacy.
The reality is that SAA is insolvent and bankrupt. Its fortunes will not change if we continue down the current tried, tested and failed path. It could be a profitable company but it will never be so while it is beleaguered with political interference and corruption. SAA should be put into business rescue immediately. Myeni must be removed entirely. The board must comprise only independent individuals with suitable aviation and business experience. Once SAA is returned to a healthy financial position, it should be sold off. This ought to include an employee share scheme, making a portion of shares available to SAA employees in order to empower them and give them a real stake in the company’s future successes.
Unlike Eskom, SAA is not a strategic asset. South Africa does not need a national carrier any more than it needs a national supermarket or a national car wash enterprise. And it plays no role in the developmental agenda of government – on the contrary, over the last two decades it has cost our country dearly and delivered no tangible benefits to ordinary South Africans. Yet national government is hell-bent on hanging onto it – for the opportunities it opens up for corruption.
The Public Investment Corporation, which administers the pensions of teachers, nurses, police officers and other public servants, has confirmed that they were approached by Treasury for a R6 billion bailout for SAA. That our government would even consider risking the pension funds of public servants is deplorable.
Section 195 of the Constitution stipulates that: “Public Administration must be governed by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, including … Efficient, economic and effective use of resources … The above principles apply to … Public Enterprises.” The management of SAA has become the very antithesis of the requirements set out in the Constitution. Malusi Gigaba and Dudu Myeni, in their respective official capacities, have breached the Constitution by allowing such a staggering waste of public resources at SAA.
This week, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) suspended Eskom and Transnet, to put pressure on government for its flagrant looting of state owned enterprises. We must all join BLSA in rejecting and condemning government corruption, and the best way to do this is at the ballot box.