DA welcomes Hawks action against Gupta acolyte Bongani Bongo

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken note of the arrest of former State Security Minister and ANC MP, Bongani Bongo, by the Hawks on Thursday morning. Reports indicate that his arrest is in relation to his alleged attempts to bribe the evidence leader in Parliament’s Eskom Inquiry, Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara.

The DA welcomes this action by the Hawks as we have always maintained that Bongo had a case to answer for. In fact, on 22 November 2017, the DA Interim Leader, John Steenhuisen, laid criminal charges against Bongo in terms of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act. These charges related directly to the allegations that Bongo offered Advocate Vanara a bribe in exchange for stepping down as evidence leader in the Inquiry.

We have always held the view that the then Minister’s actions were a gross violation of the law and his oath as a Member of the Executive.

It is no secret that Bongo was a critical acolyte in the Guptas’ and Jacob Zuma’s State Capture mafia. And yet, despite this, the ANC outrageously awarded him, and the likes of Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane, and Supra Mahumapelo, with Parliamentary Chairpersonships.

Bongo is but one of many State Capture foot soldiers who actively participated in the selling off of our country and we can only hope that his arrest will be the first of many.

EFF confirms that money was exchanged between the Shivambu brothers – Hawks must investigate

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ press conference on the VBS looting was all sound and fury and fell short on clarifying Floyd Shivambu’s involvement in the VBS scandal. Instead, it was a flimsy attempt to divert attention by launching veiled attacks on the National Treasury, the South Africa Reserve Bank (SARB) and journalists on unverified allegations.

The Democratic Alliance calls on the Hawks to launch an official investigation into allegations against Shivambu on the role that he, and his brother, may have played in the VBS heist.

The SARB’s report implicates Brian Shivambu as a major beneficiary of the VBS heist to the tune of R 16 million. Julius Malema confirmed that as brothers, there were numerous transactions between Floyd and Brian. He could not rule out the possibility that proceeds of crime may have funded functions of the organisation. As such a full forensic investigation is necessary.

It is simply not enough for the EFF to claim they have satisfied themselves by looking at Floyd’s bank statements. The Hawks must now conduct a full investigation to establish definitively whether the money that was sent from Brian to Floyd was through the proceeds of the VBS Heist.

The EFF has not been forthcoming about whether they have as a party received any funding from any proceeds of the VBS Heist. We have, for months, challenged them to come clean about this. When asked, they simply obfuscate and detract from the question as they did during today’s press conference.

If they truly have nothing to hide, Shivambu and the party should submit their books for forensic investigation by the Hawks with immediate effect.

The DA has already submitted a complaint to the Parliamentary Ethics committee to probe Floyd Shivambu on his possible conflict of interest with his brother Brian. During today’s press conference Malema admitted that money was transferred between Brian and Floyd Shivambu. Clause 5.2 of the Parliamentary Code of Conduct “makes provision for a member, or their immediate family member to not accept any reward, benefit or gift from any person or body that creates a direct conflict or business interest for such Member”. This is evidence that Floyd Shivambu failed to disclose his conflict of interest in Parliament when the VBS matter was discussed.

The VBS heist has cost poor South Africans and struggling municipalities millions of rands and it is incumbent upon on the Hawks to ensure that those implicated are held to account.

This scandal proves that the ANC and the EFF are in the same coalition of corruption. The South African people deserve better than this.

DA calls for ANC Cash-Heist involvement to be fully probed by the Hawks

Yesterday’s revelations that ANC Luthuli House staff have been planning and running Cash-in-Transit heists, demand immediate investigation of all criminal activity being run out of Luthuli House.

Once more the ANC at its highest levels is revealed as a criminal organization, and a party that has abandoned the values of Nelson Mandela to become little more than a front for crime and corruption. The ANC continues to leave the people of South Africa behind, as it focuses on self-enrichment.

The DA has today requested a full and thorough investigation into all crime being planned out of Luthuli House be conducted by the Hawks. We call on the Head of the Hawks to prioritize this investigation, without fear or favour, and to move on Luthuli House as early as today.

It is highly unbelievable that Mr Present could run intricate Cash-in-Transit heists only in his spare time. According to ANC NEC member and Police Minister, Bheki Cele, Mr Present, is linked to three heists.

The DA also calls on the ANC to immediately hand over all computer and electronic equipment of the cash-heist suspect employee, Mr. Present, to the Police for investigation. In order to expose the rot of crime at Luthuli House, the ANC must hand over Mr. Present’s:

  • Computers
  • E-mails
  • Telephones
  • Telephone records
  • Hard-drives

The DA calls on the ANC to hand these over today, without any delay, if the party is at all committed to dealing with this serious crime in its own ranks, and crime in general.

We further call on the ANC to open its books to public scrutiny so as satisfy the people of South Africa, that the Party does not run its day-to-day an campaign operations with the proceeds of cash-transit-heists and crime in general.

Recently the depth of criminality in the ANC has been widely exposed, from alleged involvement in the illegal cigarette trade, to collaboration with violent gangsters and state capture suspects, to Mr. Mduduzi Manana’s conviction for assault, Cllr. Andile Lungisa’s conviction for assault, Cllr. Sipho Maselane’s conviction for rape and robbery, among many other cases.

Convicted fraudster, Tony Yengeni’s elevation as head of the ANC’s crime and corruption working group, is clear sign that the ANC does not take matters of crime and corruption seriously – acts that rob communities of opportunities and lives. The ANC may have a new leader but it continues with its old ways.

While the ANC lurches from criminal incident to incident, the people of South Africa suffer under failing service delivery and increasing crime on our streets. South Africa desperately needs to see order restored, and crime effectively policed.

Maimane calls on Hawks to deepen probe into ANC corruption at Vrede Dairy Farm

I have today written to the new National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks), Adv Godfrey Lebeya, requesting a formal meeting to discuss the ongoing investigation into the Free State Government’s now infamous Estina Dairy Farm project in Vrede.

Yesterday, the Minister of Police confirmed in a written parliamentary question that the investigation into the Estina Dairy Farm Project is still on-going, and that the investigation would be submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) once finalised. I would like to therefore seek clarity on a number of matters from the Hawks, most importantly the progress on investigating the political appointees who were involved in the project. This includes the former Free State Premier and now Secretary-General of the ANC, Ace Magashule, and former Free State MEC for Agriculture, Mosebenzi Zwane.

These individuals abused their roles as public servants, and instead served the interests of ANC-connected crooks. To this point, it appears that the political masterminds behind the fraudulent scam have been let off the hook. This cannot be tolerated.

In August last year, I hand delivered a legal indictment to the Hawks Office, containing over 200 pages of prima facie evidence showing that Mosebenzi Zwane and members of the Gupta family, through an intricate web of companies and actors, stole almost R200 million of public funds which ended up paying for a Gupta family wedding at Sun City in 2013.

This indictment provides concrete evidence which outlines in detail how money was stolen from the intended beneficiaries and provides sufficient evidence to support the criminal charges laid against several members of the Gupta family, their associates, and Zwane in July 2017 by DA Shadow Minister of Finance, David Maynier MP. These charges include money laundering, racketeering, 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 121 of 1998.

I would therefore like to discuss this matter with Adv. Lebeya, in order to understand the current status of the investigation, its projected timeline, the inclusion of the political principals, and the contents of the legal indictment I provided to the Hawks last year.

What makes the matter of utmost importance is that to date, none of the political principals involved have been held to account. The Public Protector’s report into this matter absolves the very individuals who designed and orchestrated this R220 million scandal. The DA has taken the report on legal review on this very point, as we believe it to be a “whitewash”.

South Africans need to be assured that those politicians who orchestrate the theft of public money are investigated and held to account, and the Hawks is the very body tasked with combatting, investigating and preventing grand scale corruption such as what we’ve seen unfold in Vrede.

Hawks must investigate senior ANC official implicated in VBS scandal

The DA notes with concern media reports that a senior ANC official in Limpopo allegedly advised some municipalities in the province to invest a total of R1.5 billion in the controversial VBS Mutual Bank.

The DA will now call on the Hawks to urgently launch an investigation into these allegations and identify the implicated person who is said to be a member of the provincial executive committee (PEC). We also call on the ANC to come clean on the matter and, in the interest of transparency, name the implicated official.

In Limpopo, the Vhembe District Municipality, for example, is exposed to the amount of R311 million, or 34.57% of their annual operating revenue. The Greater Giyani Local Municipality is exposed to the amount of R158 million, or 52.27% of their annual operating revenue.

This is totally unacceptable and it is why the DA cannot allow our local governments, which have a clear mandate of service delivery, to fail. Other municipalities which invested their funds into VBS include Fetakgomo (R210 million), Lepelle Nkumpi (R151 million), Ellias Motsoaledi (R20 million) and Dr Ruth Segomotse Mompati (R100 million).

What is more shameful is the fact that this member specifically targeted financially stressed municipalities, with weak internal controls and poor municipal governance to attract their deposits.

This member definitely has a case to answer for as this unethical conduct is in contravention of Section 7(3) of the Municipal Financial Management Act.

The DA has previously expressed grave concern about business practices at VBS for and the allegations of fraudulent activity could have serious consequences for these municipalities which have investments with the bank.

The DA trusts that the Hawks will prioritise this matter and ensure that a thorough investigation is speedily concluded.

It is unconscionable that ANC officials play fast and loose with municipal funds, intended for service delivery and the upliftment of residents.

 

 

#SupraMustGo: Your move, Ramaphosa

The Democratic Alliance in North West calls upon ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene and save what is left of the North West.

Premier Supra Mahumapelo is no longer governing with a mandate from the people but is rather ruling like a dictator. He is being propped up by a self-interested cabal, which is working to loot the people’s money until there is nothing left to steal.

The reality is that this is a mess of Ramaphosa, who has accommodated Mahumaphelo’s lies and arrogance. If he had acted swiftly, we would not be here today.

The people in North West have spoken and they took to the streets as they want the Premier to step down.

Mahumapelo’s clinging to power has resulted in strikes in the province severely affecting businesses, teaching time and the safety of all communities.

Healthcare at most hospitals and clinics has come to a complete standstill. There is no medicine available – not even for child immunisations.

His mention of political conspiracies and agendas against him is just another way of passing the buck.  This is the same tactic deployed by Jacob Zuma during times of pressure. The people are not fooled.

His sudden outburst against corruption and poor contractors during a media briefing was amusing – especially taking into consideration that his offices were raided by the Hawks and there are outstanding investigations into corruption against him.

As long as Ramaphosa drags his feet and does not recall Mahumapelo, the more the people of North West will suffer. Keeping Supra as the ANC Chairperson in North West will also be an opportunity to still rule from behind the scenes.

The ANC and Mahumaphelo have again ignored the voices of the people and we will hold them accountable for any further destruction and losses due to the Supra Power Trip.

It is therefore up to the people of the North West to bring Total Change to the North West by voting for the Democratic Alliance, which has a proud track record of putting the people first by stopping corruption, creating jobs and delivering services.

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries fueling illegal abalone trade

The DA notes the investigation by the Hawks into an alleged R1 million bribe paid to President Jacob Zuma by an abalone dealer. It is not only the latest evidence of a corrupt enterprise that Zuma presided over but exposes the murky world of abalone poaching which has reached crisis levels, especially in the Western Cape.
The blame lies squarely at the feet of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) which currently presides over an opaque process of disposing confiscated abalone. The sale of confiscated abalone remains hidden from public scrutiny, creating opportunities for illegal trade in the sector.
The DA will write to the Minister of DAFF, Senzeni Zokwana, asking that he commits to firm plan on how his Department will open the sale of confiscated abalone to public and Parliament scrutiny.
It is clear that proceeds of the sale of confiscated Abalone is subsidizing the day to day running of the department hence its reluctance to do anything. In doing so, the Department is going against established best practice which dictates that the proceeds of crime should be ring-fenced to fight that crime.
A first step in stopping the illegal trade in abalone will be to bring back green courts. This will ensure that criminal cases are dealt with swiftly and offenders are stopped from further fueling criminality in the sector.
The DA believes that in order to stop criminality in the abalone sector, it is vital that an open and transparent system is instituted as a matter of urgency, starting with the sale of confiscated abalone.

Hawks raids cannot end with Guptas and must be extended to implicated Ministers

The DA welcomes the ongoing reports that the Hawks are swooping in on the Gupta brothers, beginning with an early morning raid on the family compound in Saxonwold.
However, this is 6 months overdue and if any incriminating evidence has been found at the residence, it would be by accident as the compound would likely have been cleared out months ago.
The Gupta brothers must face up to the allegations of corruption and their involvement in the State Capture.
The investigations and action simply cannot end here and must continue to all those implicated, including key Ministers, such as Mosebenzi Zwane, Des van Rooyen, Lynn Brown, David Mahlobo. Theytoo must answer the allegations and be arrested and prosecuted if needs be.
The Hawks must also ensure that ANC Secretary General, Ace Magushule is thoroughly investigated for his alleged role in relation to the Vrede dairy farm project,in which R10m allegedly went directly to Atul Gupta.
Although the wheels of justice have moved slowly until recently, the raids this morning are a step in the right direction. We cannot however lose momentum. The country’s crime-fighting bodies must push ahead to ensure all those implicated in stealing from the people of South Africa are investigated and held accountable.

Minister Brown may have lied under oath about documents being destroyed at Eskom

The DA notes reports today that Eskom has been subpoenaed by the Hawks, in order to force the utility to hand over crucial documents pertaining to the Judicial Commission into State Capture. However, the power utility has today admitted that certain documents, that contain crucial evidence, have been shredded.

Early last year the DA warned the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, that Eskom was in the process of destroying key documents and correspondence, when the DA called on the Minister to investigate and confirm these allegations she dodged and avoided her responsibility.

The DA has reason to believe that the Minister avoided telling the truth, perhaps deliberately, when she appeared before the Public Enterprises Committee as well as the Parliamentary Inquiry into State Owned Entities, that Eskom was allegedly destroying key documentation.

The Minister has a responsibility to investigate allegations brought forward by Members of Parliament. If she failed to investigate these warnings, she failed in her duty.

The DA will now explore possible charges of perjury against the Minister, if she was indeed aware of any wrongdoing and kept it quite or lied under oath before Parliament.

The DA also calls on Eskom to identify which documents have been destroyed and to cooperate with the Hawks in identifying whoever is responsible for the destruction of the documents.

The wheels are now finally turning for all those who had a hand in the capture of our government. Whether it was looting from our state coffers or destroying key evidence, the DA will ensure that they all have their day in court.

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.