Minister Mbalula confirms that 39% of PRASA managers’ qualifications could not be verified

In response to a question by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Parliament this week, the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula confirmed that the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) could not verify the qualifications of as many as 39% of all managers at the Passenger Railway Association of South Africa (PRASA).

This is a shocking statistic, especially given the dire straits the entity finds itself in. Furthermore, it only exposes PRASA to all manner of risks and the entity simply cannot afford any more blunders, especially not ones as costly as the 13 ill-fitting Afro-4000 locomotives.

The fact that SAQA cannot verify the qualifications of 39% of PRASA’s managers, is further evidence that corporate governance at the entity has been systematically eroded to such an extent that seemingly every Tom, Dick and Harry can be hired to perform very critical technical work that requires special artisan skills.

This also means that the Minister cannot guarantee the safety of our commuters who desperately rely on trains. We have seen constant delays in trains, constant breakdowns and passengers getting stuck on railways which in some cases have resulted in major accidents. This comes at the backdrop of thousands of graduates who are struggling to find work, yet their jobs and opportunities are essentially are occupied by unqualified personnel at PRASA.

The DA calls on Mbalula to expedite the skills audit process at PRASA and ensure that all posts are filled by qualified individuals who are fit for purpose.

Minister Mbalula confirms that the Moloto Railway Corridor is a pipe dream

In response to a question by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Parliament on Tuesday, the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula finally confirmed that the Moloto Rail Corridor project was nothing but an election gimmick and a pipe dream.

In his response to the DA, the Minister said “the National Treasury declined a Public-Private Partnership TA1 application by PRASA on the 3rd of December 2015 on the basis that the project was mainly unaffordable, and the unlikelihood of the project yielding the social economic and developmental benefits as envisaged in the feasibility study”.

This essentially confirms a long held view of the DA that the project was nothing but a scheme to solicit votes for the past decade. For the past 12 years, the ANC has promised the Moloto Rail Corridor in what is clearly an attempt to dupe voters and play on the emotions of the people of Siyabuswa, KwaMhlanga, Moloto and surrounding areas in Mpumalanga. The DA will continue to seek accountability for this project, given the fact that in the 2013/14 financial year the Department of Transport (DoT) had already spent more than R10 million on the project and a further R7.6 million in the 2014/15 financial year on undertaking a detailed feasibility study that was concluded in October 2014. This will constitute a R18 million in taxpayers money that has gone down the drain for this “pie in the sky” project.

Mayor Mashaba confirms ANC behind violent protests

The emergence of pictures of an ANC-branded vehicle loaded with tyres in the Johannesburg inner city once again proves that the failing ANC sits behind the violent protests which has rocked the city and other DA-led municipalities across the country.

On Tuesday, a Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) search operation discovered an “ANC branded vehicle which was loaded with old tires […] ANC paraphernalia, branded material as well as delegate accreditation cards of 2 ANC members for the ANC Gauteng List Conference in December 2018”.

So brazen is the ANC that it openly parades the materials of which the intended destination is no doubt another ANC-orchestrated violent protest.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes City of Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba’s decision to seek a meeting with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Public Protector in regard to the ongoing political protests in his city.

For more than 25 years, the ANC has failed to deliver in its promises to the people of Alexandra and other poor communities. Instead of addressing the grievances of the people, they incite violence and anarchy on the eve an election.

The dirty tricks employed the ANC is not just carried out by a few rogue elements, it’s clearly a campaigning directive issued and orchestrated by its Top Six and Campaigns Head, Fikile Mbalula. The ANC does not care about the plight of the people on the ground. They only care about holding onto their declining electoral prospects and looting the public coffers.

The governing party, emboldened by its president, Cyril Ramaphosa, shamelessly hijacked the genuine concerns of residents across the country to orchestrate violent and anarchic protests in DA-led municipalities.

The DA will not quiver in the wake of the ANC’s destruction, in the absence of any leadership from the ANC and their president, the DA Leader Mmusi Maimane has requested an urgent meeting with both the National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, and the IEC Chairperson, Mr Glen Mashinini.

Further to this, Maimane has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to request an urgent establishment of an Ad Hoc Joint Committee on consisting of the Portfolio Committees on Police, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and Home Affairs to get to the bottom of these violent protests.

Our sole objective remains to uplift and empower the people of Alexandra and other poor communities. Unlike the ANC, the DA is committed to building One South Africa for All, not destroying the country through violence and devastation.

57 members of FCS unit, trusted to help victims of family violence, are convicted criminals

The DA is deeply disturbed by a reply to our parliamentary question which reveals that 57 South African Police Service (SAPS) members working at Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses (FCS) units have criminal records themselves.
We call on Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to urgently brief Parliament’s Police Portfolio Committee on how he intends to root out these members whose crimes include at least 3 cases of culpable homicide, 7 of common assault, 2 of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, and 1 instance of pointing a firearm.
Other crimes include driving under the influence, reckless or negligent driving, fraud, loss of firearms and defeating the ends of justice and theft.
These are patently not the kind of people who should be working with children or the victims of domestic or sexual violence.
It is quite clear from the questionable conduct of these members that they cannot be entrusted with the responsibility of addressing the extremely high levels of violence against women and children.
This is an indictment on both the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula and the entire SAPS leadership.
It is totally unacceptable that the FCS units has compromised members.
The DA will hold Minister Mbalula to account to root out these officers and to replace them with untainted individuals who will diligently bring justice to the victims and survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

DA welcomes investigation into Phahlane and his wife, yet more needs to be done to clean up SAPS leadership

The DA welcomes media reports that former Acting National Police Commissioner, Khomotso Phahlane, his wife will hand themselves over to authorities in the morning.

The couple, along with a businessman, face corruption and money laundering charges in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

Phahlane will finally face the music for charges relating to cars the couple received – allegedly as part of a corrupt scheme as well as allegations that Crimetech Laboratories paid for his stereo system worth R80 000.

DA repeatedly called for investigations into Phahlane and called him to submit himself to a voluntary lifestyle audit which he diligently dodged.

This bodes well for holding Phahlane to account but the fact remains that those chosen to lead the South African Police Service (SAPS) leadership need to be above reproach so that the public can trust that they will be committed to fighting the unacceptably high levels of crime in our country – not contribute to it.

It is high time that Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, prioritises keeping the people of South African safe by ensuring that those entrusted to bring down crime rates have the skills and experience to do so.

Minister Mbalula must come clean on allegations to defraud Crime Intelligence of R50 million

The DA welcomes the investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s (Ipid) into allegations involving Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, and the South African Police Services (SAPS) top brass in a failed bid to defraud Crime Intelligence of R50 million.

Mbalula was allegedly the mastermind behind this failed plot to secure funds to buy votes at the ANC’s elective conference in December last year.

The public deserves to know the full truth about the Minister and Police Commissioner Khehla Sithole’s possible involvement in this alleged act of criminality.

The DA will not sit back and allow for any member of the SAPS to involve themselves in the internal politics of a political party.

The SAPS is mandated in terms of the Constitution “to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, to uphold and enforce the law.”

If these allegations prove to be indeed true, that General Sithole was present at this meeting, serious questions have to be asked as to his ability to carry out the mandate of his job without fear or favour.

This speaks to the leadership crisis at SAPS, a matter that the DA has constantly asked to be resolved with the urgency it deserves.

It cannot be that in a country with such high levels of crime, the leaders entrusted with the sole responsibility of ensuring the safety of South Africans and guarding against corruption, involve themselves in such underhanded dealings.

Minister Mbalula should also know better than to use the SAPS to further his own political ends or the political ends of any other person for that matter.

Bribery is a serious criminal offence and the guardians of our law and order can’t be the very people breaking it. Heads must roll as our people deserve better than potentially compromised individuals at the helm of taking this country forward.

The DA urges Minister Mbalula to take the public into full confidence and inform South Africans about the truth surrounding his alleged involvement in the matter immediately.

Hawks must now prioritise an investigation into the Guptas R70 million tax refund

The DA notes the move by the Hawks and the South African Revenue Services (SARS) on arresting nine suspects linked to a VAT scam that has cost the economy R90 million.

We are encouraged by this move and hopeful that more similar arrests will take place soon.

The Hawks must do everything that is within their power in order to investigate and prosecute with equal diligence the Gupta proceeds, implicating them in a suspicious R70 million tax pay-out from SARS last year.

This includes obtaining the necessary court orders to gain access to information that is with SARS.

The DA urges Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to ensure that the Hawks have all the necessary support that they need in this regard.

SARS paid this money into the bank account of Oakbay Investments. Normally, pay-outs are only paid into the account of the taxpayer and not into the account of the third party or proxy.

This was after South Africa’s major banks closed Gupta-linked accounts.

The DA finds the personal involvement by SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane, in intervening and securing the payment into the Gupta account far from regular.

SARS cannot be used to advance certain agendas for politicians and those who are politically connected such as the Gupta family.

The extent of corruption and State Capture by the Guptas has collapsed institutions and State-Owned-Enterprises, which has adversely impacted on the country’s economy and jobs.

That is why the Guptas must fully account for every cent that they have unduly benefitted by stealing the fruits of the hard labour of innocent South Africans.

Mbalula must show decisive leadership and offer both the Hawks and SARS all the necessary support needed to establish and expedite the investigation into R70 million Gupta tax refund.

Mbalula must come clean about Mdluli’s golden handshake

The DA welcomes the announcement by Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, that suspended Head of Crime Intelligence Richard Mdluli has finally been fired after he has been on a long seven-year suspension.

The national Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sithole confirmed that Mdluli was granted early termination of service and is therefore entitled to the usual benefits associated with. The DA finds it unacceptable that Mdluli has already received R8.3 million over the past 7 years for sitting at home and contributing nothing to the fight against crime in South Africa.

The Minister must fully inform the public of the exact financial benefits that will accrue to Mdluli. The DA believes that the public has a right to know these details. If Mdluli’s disciplinary proceedings had been speedily concluded and he had been axed, he would not have been entitled to the benefits that Mbalula has now agreed to grant him.

It is totally unacceptable that people who are ill-equipped and compromised to fight crime receive such benefits while our people continue to live under siege because of the high levels of crime in their communities.

The Public Service Commission must expeditiously complete their investigation into the seven-year suspension and delay in concluding the disciplinary process against him which they started at the DA’s request in July 2017.

South Africans deserve to live in a safe and crime-free society and this can only be ensured by dedicated police who are committed to fighting crime and upholding the rule of law.

Shortlist of candidates for Head of Hawks must be made public

The DA will write to Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to urge him to make public the shortlist of candidates for a new permanent Head of the Hawks.
If Mbalula has not done so by 1 December 2017, we will write to the Police Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Francois Beukman, to urge him to request that Mbalula makes the shortlist available to the Committee. The Committee has the rightful powers and Constitutional duty to exercise oversight over this appointment process and therefore has the right to receive this information.
President Zuma’s surprise appointment late yesterday of the new permanent National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Kehla John Sithole, who provided Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma with the blue-light brigades for her ANC campaign, has continued his lamentable record of failing to elevate uncompromised candidates for the job.
Mbalula is on record that he is finalising the appointment process for the Hawks Head. The lack of a transparent and independent process to date warrants a serious cause for concern that the decision will once again be taken behind closed doors against unknown criteria.
If the appointment is as imminent as Mbalula has indicated, the shortlist must already have been drawn up.
Ordinary South Africans do not feel safe in our country and rightly so, as 52 people are murdered and 109 raped every day on average in our country. The scourge of organised violent crime continues to terrorise our country and citizens no longer trust the police.
This is ultimately because of the chronic failure of the Hawks, and more broadly the SAPS, to reduce organised crime. This crisis is the combination of leadership instability owing to several senior management positions being filled by personnel in acting capacities and tragically poor leadership with skewed priorities who fail to get the basics right.
The only hope for tackling crime effectively is having fit-for-purpose police management and the appointment of a competent and experienced senior career police officer as the Hawks Head will be vital to turning the tide against organised crime.
But Mbalula seems more concerned about promoting as many as 600 former MK and APLA personal ahead of the ANC’s elective conference next month. He needs to prioritise efficient and effective top brass in the police over internal party politics.
This leadership should be charged with fixing the fundamentals and turning the Hawks around to pursue more swift and quality investigations and increase its detection and conviction rates.

Mbalula must protect witnesses in Koko disciplinary hearing

As former Eskom Acting CEO, Matsela Koko’s disciplinary hearing resumes on Thursday this week, the DA will write to the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, to ensure that the protection of key witnesses is guaranteed.
Two key witnesses, France Hlakudi and Abram Masango, were issued letters of suspension for allegations of misconduct, which are seeming attempts to prevent them from appearing before the hearing.
This has led to the subsequent resignation of Hlakudi.
This unprofessional treatment of witnesses should not be allowed to stand and it seems that this is a ploy to intimidate and frustrate them into silence.
There is a thin line between these actions and threatening the physical safety of witnesses and whistle blowers, and the Minister should be equally concerned as this could potentially compromise the outcomes of the hearing.
This disciplinary hearing has been set up to  get to the bottom of serious matters concerning the power utility and the extent of corruption and flouting of procurement processes under Koko.
If witnesses are victimised or threaten, the hearing will not be able to fully investigate the serious allegations.
For Koko to account for his questionable conduct while at the helm of Eskom, Minister Mbalula must provide an undertaking to Parliament that he will ensure the safety of the witnesses who believe that their safety is being threatened.