DA calls for urgent investigation into Denel blast

Please find attached a soundbite in English by DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Natasha Mazzone MP.

The DA conveys its deepest condolences to the families of the eight people who died earlier today in the explosion at a Denel munitions depot near Somerset West and wish those who have been injured a speedy recovery.

It is vital that the relevant authorities urgently conduct a full and thorough investigation into the cause of the blast.

We commend the efforts of the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service and trust that they will continue working tirelessly to ensure that all the people reported missing are recovered.

The DA will continue to monitor the situation as well as the progress in the investigation into this tragic incident.

Child Protection Week: Minister Motshekga must launch investigation following video of learner’s sexual assault

Following the emergence of a shocking and explicit video on Facebook of a female learner, who appears to be dazed, being sexually assaulted by male learners, Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, must launch a full-scale investigation.

As the country marks Child Protection Week, it is shocking that so many of our learners are still not safe from sexual and physical violence at school.

Earlier this year, the DA embarked on its #SafeSchools campaign, urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to make our schools safe for children so that they can realise their full potential.

One aspect of the campaign is to ensure that the pandemic of sexual and physical violence at schools is addressed through a collaborative effort by the national Police, Basic Education, Social Development and Justice Departments, together with provincial departments of education.

We have also asked Minister Motshekga to support our call, but our plea has so far fallen on deaf ears. It is clear that Minister Motshekga is failing at her mandate to keep children safe at school.

This was confirmed again by the DA who revealed this weekend that SACE have failed to vet a single teacher against the Sex Offenders Register or the Child Protection Register for at least a decade. This means that the Minister and SACE have failed to keep our children safe by issuing licences to teachers who may be sexual predators.

The two registers are meant to protect children from predatory school staff and the fact that SACE has not checked them for at least 10 years shows that the government clearly has little regard for learners’ safety or their rights.

Minister Motshekga must now prove that she cares about the safety and well-being of learners by taking action to ensure that learners can go to school without fear of being sexually abused either by their fellow learners or by those teachers who are meant to educate and protect them.

DA requests an investigation into the auditors of Steinhoff International Holdings NV

The resignation of Markus Jooste, Chief Executive Officer of Steinhoff International Holdings NV, and the announcement that “accounting irregularities” would require investigation, may be one of the biggest corporate scandals ever in South Africa.
We therefore welcome the fact that the accounting irregularities at Steinhoff International Holdings NV will now be investigated by external and independent institutions, including the Financial Services Board and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa.
However, we are concerned that the auditing firm responsible for signing off the financial statements, which in this case is Deloitte DV in Germany, may have turned a blind eye to accounting irregularities at Steinhoff International Holdings NV.
I have, therefore, formally requested an investigation into whether Deloitte DV in Germany and/or Deloitte South Africa complied with international audit standards in its audits of Steinhoff International Holdings NV.
Because this matter traverses a number of jurisdictions, I have requested investigations by the following regulators:

  • the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (Netherlands);
  • the Auditor Oversight Body (Germany); and
  • the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors (South Africa).

We need to be tough on crime in the public sector, and tough on crime in the private sector, and that is why we will ensure that the scandal surrounding accounting irregularities at Steinhoff International Holdings NV, which have wiped out the savings of thousands of pensioners who invested in the company via the Government Employees Pension Fund, are fully investigated in South Africa.

DA to ask Inspector-General of Intelligence for update on Arthur Fraser investigation

The DA will be writing to the Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI), Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, to request a meeting and an update on the investigation into State Security Agency Director-General, Arthur Fraser.
The DA lodged a formal complaint with the IGI’s Office on 18 May 2017, in terms of section 7(cA) of the Intelligence Services Oversight Act (40 of 1994), requesting an investigation into Fraser’s involvement with the Principle Agent Network (PAN) programme which he, as the then-Deputy Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, initiated and oversaw from 2007 to 2009.
It has now been nearly six months since we approached the IGI and the public interest in the matter has never been greater, prompted largely by Jacques Pauw’s recently released book, The President’s Keepers.
The need for the IGI to expedite his investigation is all the more acute considering Fraser’s links to President Jacob Zuma and mounting evidence of State Capture in government and state entities.
Additionally, Pauw’s book mentions long-serving member of the IGI Office, Jay Govender, by name and implicates her in wrongdoing. Dr Dintwe must act with haste to ensure the integrity of his office.
The DA vehemently objected to Zuma’s outrageous appointment of Arthur Fraser in September 2016, pointing both to his involvement the PAN programme and the irregular government tenders, amounting to millions of rands, secured by Resurgent Risk Management, a company co-founded by Fraser after he was forced out of the intelligence services, disgraced and under investigation.
We will also be calling on the IGI to make his report on Fraser public, rather than referring it to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence which is a closed forum.
The allegations against Fraser are profoundly serious and needs to be prioritised by IGI. It can no longer be left to opposition parties, journalists and civil society to expose the rot in our intelligence community.

SANRAL poor culvert maintenance that cost 6 innocent lives

The fatal storm that killed six people on the N3 in November 2016 was exacerbated by a blockage at one of the culvert inlets. A culvert is a structure that allows water to flow under a road. It led to water overtopping the embankments and spilling onto the N3, costing innocent lives. This was revealed in reply to a written Parliamentary question.
This incident is an indictment on SANRAL who are responsible for the maintenance of the culverts and our highways. Despite the already poor condition of the culverts, some of them have become living quarters for vagrants and were partitioned off and divided into rooms.
It is totally unacceptable that the situation was allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that it led to lives being lost.
I am calling for an investigation into this matter and ensuring that the person(s) responsible for the maintenance of the culverts face criminal charges. I have written to the South African Human Rights Commission requesting that they do an investigation into the matter.
According to the Parliamentary reply, SANRAL commissioned an investigation into the deadly floods which looked into the meteorological, hydrological and hydraulic assessment of the R24/N12, Linksfield and Gillooly’s interchanges to understand the underlying causes of the flooding. A final report was tabled on 12 September 2017 by the Investigating Specialist.
Emanating form the report is that the R24/N12 culvert system is inadequate to handle the recommended design of one in eighty year flood (1:80). The questions that I will be asking in Parliament is how was this allowed to happen and why the culverts were not upgraded at the time of the highway network upgrades, ahead of the 2010 world cup?
The report reflects on the event of 9 November 2016 and explores reasons for the flooding which occurred at specifically three sites:
• R24/N12 interchange
• Linksfield Road interchange
• Gillooly’s Interchange
From the conducted hydrological and hydraulic analyses the following can be concluded:
• The Linksfield interchange flooding can be attributed to the excessive high rainfall resulting in peak floods exceeding the hydraulic capacity of the drainage systems. A blockage at one of the culvert inlets further exacerbated the problem resulting in water overtopping the embankments and spilling onto the N3.The flow phenomenon was interesting and unexpected. In cases where debris however blocks a hydraulic structure flooding can occur.
• The median barrier in the case of the N3 flooding probably prevented further loss of life as it prohibited water from crossing the N3 which would have washed vehicles into the Little Jukskei River. It further resulted in the N3 north bound being accessible during the event and providing an escape route.
• The R24/N12 culvert system is inadequate to handle the recommended design flood (1:80). The inlet configuration, changes in catchment area and proximity of the commercial developments all played a role in the problems experienced at this site.
• Various scenarios have been analysed to find a workable solution for conveyance of the floods downstream. The suggested solution would be to provide an additional four 3 X 1.8m culverts underneath the R24/N12 and create a retention/stilling pond upstream, linking the existing channel to the new culvert system. The existing structure underneath the N12 consists of two 1.2 x 3.1m culverts. The situation here is that if the capacity of the culverts under the N12 is increased the houses on the northern side of the N12 is flooded. A rough estimate of the cost of these works is R30 to R40 million.
• Increasing of the capacity of stormwater conduits and the inlets at the Gillooly’s interchange is required to drain water from the freeway. The existing pipe system is made of 600mm diameter pipes and it is proposed to supplement them with a 900mm pipe. This needs to be jacked and a rough estimate of the cost is R4 to R5 million.
The recommendations of this report need to be further detailed and the proposed improvements need to be further developed, including detailed designs before it can be implemented. These improvements should be able to handle a 1:80 year rainstorm.
SANRAL needs to explain why the maintenance of their infrastructure was not done as a matter of urgency and they must also explain their plans to implement the recommendations of this report.

PIC to consider launching an investigation into smear campaign

I wrote to the Deputy-Minister of Finance, Sfiso Buthelezi, on 01 October 2017 requesting him to launch an investigation to determine who was behind the smear campaign that did so much damage to the reputation of the Public Investment Corporation.
A month ago, a person using what appears to be a pseudonym, “James Nogu”, and using what appears to be a fake e-mail address, corruptionstop@webmail.co.za, is believed to have circulated an e-mail claiming to have “uncovered a corrupt relationship between Dr Dan Majila and his girlfriend Miss Pretty Louw”.
However, since then the allegations that were aimed at the Chief Executive Officer of the Public Investment Corporation, Dr Dan Majila, have been found to be baseless and he has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The deputy minister responded to my request, in a letter dated 02 October 2017, as follows:
“Your proposal about the PIC is appreciated and will be considered as we continue to ensure that the PIC continues with the execution of its mandate.”
We can only hope that the board does the right thing and agrees to launch an investigation and to protect the integrity of the Public Investment Corporation.

DA confirms Mugabe investigation is complete yet SAPS still refuse to arrest

The DA have confirmed that the investigation into the charges of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm against Zimbabwean First Lady, Grace Mugabe, is complete and the docket is ready for court.
Yet, the SAPS has delayed this matter and now claim that they will not arrest Ms Mugabe until they have word from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) on whether diplomatic immunity will be extended or not.
In order for diplomatic immunity to apply, Ms Mugabe should have applied before she entered South Africa. Further, the immunity extended to Heads of State does not extend to their wives.
Ms Mugabe therefore has no diplomatic immunity, at least not in terms of following proper procedure which requires conferment of immunities and privileges to a person by notice in the Government Gazette. This fact was also confirmed two days ago by DIRCO spokesperson, Clayson Monyela.
Therefore, she should be arrested and have her day in court to answer these serious allegations.
Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, must ensure Ms Mugabe does not leave South Africa. The fact that Omar Al-Bashir was previously allowed to flee makes this call all the more urgent.
The DA will keep a very close eye on this matter and, if necessary, we will not hesitate to go to court.
No one is above the law and the DA will ensure that Ms Mugabe is not given special treatment and that she will face up to the charges against her.

Public Protector agrees to DA’s request to investigate Minister Lynne Brown

The DA can confirm that the Public Protector’s office will be investigating Minister Lynne Brown for possibly violating the Executive Members’ Ethics Code, following a request by the DA.
The DA welcomes this investigation by the Public Protector, as it will go a long way towards holding the Minister to account.
Minister Brown seemingly failed to divulge if there had been contracts of engagement between Eskom and the Gupta-linked Trillian, in a written reply to a DA parliamentary question.
AmaBhungane has now, however, established that Eskom had, at the time of the reply, already been invoiced by the either Trillian or one of its subsidiaries for more than R250 million.
These findings were also confirmed in an explosive report released yesterday, which established that Eskom had indeed paid Trillian R260 million for work it never did. This report provides further proof of the Minister’s apparent breach of the Ethic’s Code.
The Public Protector’s investigation is an indictment of how the Guptas have completely captured Eskom.
The Minister’s failing leadership saw to this capture of Eskom. Our state-owned enterprises have become a haven for the Guptas to loot and plunder the public’s money.
The DA will continue to stand up and fight against the Guptas’ and ANC’s corruption so that it can be brought to an end.

DA reveals Gupta lawyer is under investigation

The Democratic Alliance can reveal a decision by the Law Society of the Northern Provinces to investigate the Gupta family lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, at the DA’s request.
Van der Merwe wants to be indemnified from prosecution in a R16-million corruption and money laundering case he is accused of being part of, yet Van der Merwe’s claim that he did not “knowingly, intentionally or actively participate in any criminal activities” contradicts what he submitted in the Section 204 affidavit.
We look forward to the findings of the investigation.
If the investigation should prove that van der Merwe has failed to meet the high ethical standards expected, the DA will push for him to be struck off the roll.