DA welcomes Zuma arrest warrant

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the decision by the Pietermaritzburg Division of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court to issue a warrant of arrest for former President Jacob Zuma following his absence from Court this morning.

The DA is pleased that the Court has put its foot down and shown Mr. Zuma that he can no longer continue wasting the Court’s time and public resources because he is too afraid to face the music.

We trust that this warrant sends a strong message to Mr. Zuma – that his tricks to evade accountability and justice will not be tolerated.

The reality is that he has gone above and beyond and tried every trick in the book to avoid being held accountable for his alleged hand in the Arms Deal.

The Court’s decision today is encouraging as it sends a message to Jacob Zuma and his buddies that no one is above the law and that all those who have had a hand in defrauding the State should have their day in Court.

Welbedacht has nothing to show for 25 years of ANC government

My fellow South Africans,

You should always demand accountability from your government, but even more so when they come round here asking you to re-elect them. That is when you must hold up what they promised you against what they delivered.

If a party has been in government for 25 years, and they ask you to entrust them with another five years in office, then you have every right to demand to see 25 years worth of progress.

That is the deal you entered with them. In return for your vote, they must keep the promises they made to you. If they told you about housing opportunities or service delivery improvements or access to jobs, then this is what you should judge them on. This is what you should base your decision on when it comes to voting.

I can assure you that here in Welbedacht, Chatsworth, you have not received a fair deal from your government.

These conditions here in Welbedacht, and particularly this transit camp, are not what you were promised. How long ago were you told that this was a temporary measure, and that proper housing would follow? It’s been ten years that you have been stranded here with no help from your government. And now they want your vote again?

The 400 families living here have been abandoned by this ANC government. And the only time you ever hear from them is right before an election. Is that good enough?

This will not happen under a DA government. Without even being in government here, we have already done more for this community than the ANC could manage with all the resources of government at its disposal.

From clearing up the surrounding bush and ensuring a closer taxi drop-off point, to fighting for the delivery of toilets and electricity, the DA in opposition has been more effective here than the ANC in government. So when they come begging for your vote once more, remind them of the promises they made to you – promises which they had no intention of ever keeping.

But as much as this election should be a referendum on the past 25 years of ANC government, it should also be about the next 25 years. What should Chatsworth look like? What should KZN look like? What should South Africa look like? And what kind of government can best realise this vision?

Let me start by saying what this government should not look like.

It can’t be a government that divides us into separate corners based on what we look like or the languages we speak. Here in KZN you have suffered for too long under racial and tribal politics. We need to reform our politics to speak of values, to speak of policies and to speak of big ideas, rather than of race. We need to build one united South Africa.

It can’t be a government that kills economic growth and chases away investment through destructive, outdated policies. We need a government that can reform our economy – a government that knows how to attract the kind of investment that creates work. A government that is able to put a job in every home.

It can’t be a government that uses its position to enrich itself. It can’t be a government that rewards its friends and families with jobs and tenders. It can’t be a government that does lucrative business with itself. We need a government whose only business is its service to the people.

It can’t be a government that sees municipalities as mere centres for tender adjudication, and who treat municipal budgets as their own ATMs. It can’t be a government like the ANC local government here in Ethekwini which is more interested in giving Jacob Zuma recording deals than delivering basic services to communities like yours.

When you go to your voting stations next month to make your mark, you need to think about the past 25 years, and what you got from your government during all this time. But you also need to think about the next 25 years, and the change you would like to see here in Welbedacht, in Chatsworth, in KZN and in South Africa.

If you’re unhappy with your government, you have every right to protest against them. But there is only one proven way to protest effectively, and that is with your vote. If they have lied to you or sold you empty promises year after year, then punish them with your vote. That’s the only protest that delivers results.

Use your vote to hire a government with a proven track record of delivery wherever it governs. Use your vote to hire a government that does not tolerate any form of corruption. Use your vote to hire a government that fights for the rights of all South Africans.

Fellow South Africans, there is only one party that can be this government, and that is the DA. There is only one party with both the policies and the track record to improve the lives of all South Africans.

If we should ever let you down, then use your vote to fire us too. But first give us a chance to show you what a South Africa could look like under a DA government. One united, prosperous South Africa for all.

DA calls on NPA to investigate Zuma for hiding millions belonging to Gaddafi

The Democratic Alliance notes reports in today’s papers indicating that there is evidence suggesting that former President Jacob Zuma had previously hidden millions of missing dollars belonging to the late Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, at his residence at Nkandla.

Reports state that Gaddafi’s money was hidden in Zuma’s homestead, before being moved secretly to the Kingdom of eSwatini earlier this year. The DA calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to take the nation into his confidence and come clean about his involvement in the case of the missing millions. In addition, the President needs to aid in recovering these millions and to ensure that the National Prosecuting Authority holds Zuma accountable for his actions. According to the reports, President Ramaphosa seems to have intimate knowledge of the dodgy dealings by his predecessor.

The relevant authorities are certain that this fortune, amounting to an estimated R420 million, was being hidden in the Nkandla bunker – which former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was denied access to when she conducted an in loco inspection at the homestead.

It is completely unacceptable that Zuma remains free after aiding the late North African dictator and the NPA must act swiftly on these reports to ascertain their accuracy.

This missing money is of keen interest to several bodies, including the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and the United States Authorities. There are possible violations of sanctions associated with the money, as well as the contravention of foreign exchange controls.

The DA finds it appalling that it has subsequently surfaced that Zuma wanted the money because President Ramaphosa refused to pay for his legal fees. It is astounding to find that there are no limits to Zuma’s greed, or the lengths to which he will go to satisfy his insatiable thirst for money that does not belong to him.

The DA will continue in its fight against all degrees of corruption and state capture – and maintains that under a DA government, anyone found guilty of corruption will be jailed for 15 years.

Parliament censors the DA to protect Ramaphosa and the ANC from criticism

Today, in the lead-up to the President’s State of the Nation speech in Parliament, the DA erected a banner outside a DA office in the parliamentary precinct that says: “Same State of No Action. Same WhatsApp group”.

We are angered that, about an hour after the banner was erected, we were instructed by the Secretary of Parliament to remove it.

We will seek to determine on what grounds we were instructed to do this. We believe that it is our constitutional right to express our views on the State of No Action and this instruction is simply pure censorship.

The reality is that despite the promises that President Ramaphosa will make tonight, there will be no action. The President is incapable of taking action as he works for the ANC and not for the people of South Africa. He is directed by Luthuli House and he is in the same WhatsApp group as Jacob Zuma.

We will continue undeterred to expose President Ramaphosa’s “New Dawn” for what it is – a scam. The lived experiences of ordinary people in our country remain unchanged at best and have indeed regressed over the past year.

How can the President provide “answers” to the tough challenges that our nation faces, while he is yet to answer about the R500 000 “donation” he received from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson?

Parliament must be impartial and not act in favour of any political party. We will not be silenced and will continue to spread our message loud and clear: The ANC of Rampahosa is no different than Zuma’s ANC. The organisation is merely the same broken bus being driven by a different driver.

South Africa needs change. Only the DA can build One South Africa for All.

Ramaphosa must cancel multimillion-rand deal to pay for Jacob Zuma’s legal fees

Reports yesterday suggest that ANC President, Cyril Ramaphosa, is set to meet face to face with his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, to address an array of matters which includes Zuma’s upcoming corruption court case. For over 10 years, the people of South Africa have been forced to pay for Zuma’s legal fees in his guileful bid to avoid jail for over 783 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering.

This proposed meeting presents Ramaphosa with an opportune moment to cancel the illegal deal struck between the Presidency and Jacob Zuma that forces the public to foot the bill for Jacob Zuma’s legal fees.

I have today written to President Ramaphosa, requesting that on behalf of the nation, he does the right thing and cancel the deal with immediate effect, and to communicate this with Mr Zuma when they meet face to face.

Cyril Ramaphosa’s forked tongue approach to corruption must come to an end. He cannot talk seriously about tackling corruption in his party and in his government, and at the same time continue to allow public money to be used to fund Jacob Zuma’s decade-long plan to escape accountability. He must choose. And he should choose to cancel this illegitimate agreement.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has always maintained it was wrong of President Thabo Mbeki to decide that the public should pay for Zuma’s legal fees, and we argued that President Ramaphosa should have cancelled this illegal deal immediately. Cancelling this deal would represent a clean break with South Africa’s damaging and frustrating past. It would send a clear message to the nation that public money will no longer be abused for personal ends, and that all South Africans – including public representatives – will be equal before the law going forward.

Last month, in a case brought by the Democratic Alliance, the North Gauteng High Court ruled that the state may not pay these fees, and that they are instead for Mr Zuma’s own account. Our lawyers have been informed that Zuma will seek leave to appeal this judgement which the DA will oppose. It is therefore urgent that this deal between Zuma and the Presidency be cancelled before the former President wastes anymore of public money to fund his antics.

President Ramaphosa’s administration has already increased VAT, sin tax, sugar tax and the price of fuel – all of which hit the poor hardest. It is grossly unfair to expect struggling South Africans to continue to pay for a former President’s attempts to avoid accountability.

As long as the ANC remain in power, their system of corruption will continue to steal from the pockets of all South Africans. We must reject this and elect a DA government that has zero tolerance for corruption – where politicians found guilty of corruption will spend a minimum of 15 years in jail.

DA to oppose Zuma’s latest attempt to appeal cost judgment

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) lawyers have been informed that former president Jacob Zuma will seek leave to appeal the North Gauteng High Court judgement which ordered him to pay back the money already incurred by his many court challenges.

We will be launching an application in terms of Section 18 of the Superior Courts Act, read with Uniform Rule 49 (11), to have the High Court judgment take immediate effect to prevent any more taxpayer money being squandered on Zuma’s frivolous legal appeals.

The DA is of the view that the High Court judgement must remain in effect irrespective of any appeals Zuma might launch.

This application for leave to appeal is clearly designed to delay and undermine the Court’s judgement and to once again have the State pay for Zuma’s legal fees.

This should and must not be allowed. While Zuma is free to seek leave to appeal any court judgement, he cannot do so using public funds.

Zuma must be stopped from evading accountability, especially since he is attempting to use state funds on endless appeals.

Jacob Zuma has been implicated in corruption and the looting of the State, and has essentially ransacked the public coffers to defend his role in the State Capture project.

South Africans are still suffering from the consequences of Zuma’s disastrous tenure in office and he is not entitled to any further financial support from the government or the people of South Africa.

It is also an indictment on the ANC government in general, on President Cyril Ramaphosa in particular, that there is no stronger stance against Zuma’s abuse of public money. It is clear that the ANC is expediently using Zuma for campaigning purposes and therefore hamstrung in taking a principled stand on protecting the South African tax payer from further looting.

Ramaphosa refuses to put South Africa first over Jacob Zuma

The State and former President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers have today agreed that his application for permanent stay of prosecution will be heard in May next year. It is inconceivable that yet again the people’s money will be wasted to fund another one of Jacob Zuma’s frivolous court battles.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) maintains that Zuma should have his day in court and should fund this on his own. This postponement will mean that once again, Zuma’s lifeline has been extended instead of facing the criminal charges against him.

It is our belief that President Cyril Ramaphosa should have made it clear and publicly endorsed the NPA’s bid to oppose this application. He would not be interfering with the process of the judiciary, however, would be making it clear that his government would want to see former President Zuma face prosecution.

However, we know that President Ramaphosa would be reluctant to support the NPA on this matter, because Zuma is the centre of the ANC’s campaign in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ramaphosa is quick to talk tough on corruption, yet when it comes to Zuma, he goes above and beyond to use the people’s money to pay for Zuma’s next lifeline. This is proof that Ramaphosa prioritises the interests of his party above the interests of the country.

Just recently, reports emerged that Ramaphosa has approved Zuma’s application for funding to the state attorney to defend himself at the Zondo Commission. This is a massive insult to the people of this country who still bear the brunt of the failing ANC’s legacy of the past 25 years.

The DA has, for over a decade, fought tooth and nail to ensure that Zuma not only has his rightful day in court, but also pays his own legal fees defending himself. These cases alone have already cost the public purse R15 million in legal fees while the ANC leadership- including Ramaphosa himself- propped him up and defended him for years.

The failing ANC’s dogged defence of Jacob Zuma is an insult to South Africans.

The DA is committed to building One South Africa for All where all those who are found guilty of corruption spends a minimum of 15 years behind bars.

DA Leader Maimane challenges the President to oppose Zuma’s permanent stay of prosecution

It is unconscionable, and unacceptable, that the Presidency has agreed to pay for Jacob Zuma’s legal costs for his participation in the Zondo Commission, on top of the costs for his criminal defence that the state already pays. How long will this government make the public pay for Jacob Zuma? President Ramaphosa should cut off this obscene funding immediately, and in fact the President should be opposing Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

If President Ramaphosa is serious about showing real commitment to fighting corruption, there is no way that he should be allowing the public to carry the cost of Zuma’s legal defence – this is a corruption tax on the public. Ramaphosa should be using the Zuma case as an opportunity to demonstrate that no one will be above the law in South Africa. He should instruct the state attorney to oppose Zuma’s application for a stay of prosecution. The DA calls on Ramaphosa to do so.

Regardless of whether the President rises to the occasion or not, the DA will not let Jacob Zuma get away with corruption. We have instructed our lawyers to begin the process of joining the case as an interested party to oppose Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Zuma has been running from charges of fraud, money laundering, racketeering and corruption for a decade. Every day justice is postponed is another day justice is denied for almost 60 million South Africans.

If Ramaphosa can be so quick to offer to pay back the R500 000 “donation” from corrupt facilities management company, Bosasa, to his ANC Presidency election campaign, he should have no problem in taking a stand against making the people of South Africa paying to keep Zuma out of prison. President Ramaphosa’s decision will serve as a litmus test for the “good” and “bad” ANC myth.

The state is not a bail out bank for corrupt politicians. The DA will ensure that that anyone found guilty of corruption spends a minimum of 15 years behind bars.

Whether it is President Ramaphosa and his family’s links to Bosasa or the almost 800 charges haunting Zuma, we simply cannot have double standards over bribery and corruption in South Africa.

We will never be able to build One SA for All so long so as we are governed by Presidents who think that they are above the law. President Ramaphosa must decide whether his fealty lies with Zuma or the people of South Africa.

Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach withdraws from consideration for NDPP

The following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a press conference in Parliament, Cape Town. Maimane was joined by DA Shadow Minister of Justice, Adv Glynnis Breytenbach.

After consulting widely with colleagues in the DA and the legal fraternity, and after thinking deeply over the last few days, Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach has decided to withdraw her name from the shortlist for next week’s interview for the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

Adv Breytenbach would have made an excellent NDPP. She is fearless, brave, utterly independent, and has for most of her life been a professional prosecutor.

Over the last fifteen years, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has had its credibility severely undermined by a succession of appointments in the position of NDPP who have failed to uphold the strict standards of independence and integrity that the office demands. Successive National Directors have used the position to influence politics, pursue factional battles, suppress certain prosecutions and unduly pursue others. In so doing, they have defeated the ends of justice and have undermined that sacred cornerstone of constitutional democracy, equality before the law.

The actions of these Directors have over time cemented in the public mind the perception that the justice system can be easily abused by the politically powerful and connected, and that the NPA answers to political masters, rather than making the corrupt answer to the law. Indeed, it was exactly this kind of abuse that led to Adv Breytenbach leaving the NPA and joining the Democratic Alliance.

The most obvious and egregious example of this abuse is the handling of the prosecution of Jacob Zuma, who has managed to evade trial for corruption for so long despite overwhelmingly strong evidence against him. We continue to this day in our fight to have him held accountable, and we will not give up in this fight until he faces trial.

Other examples include the persecution of Pravin Gordhan, Oupa Magashule and Ivan Pillay in the matter of Gordhan’s early retirement, a prosecution that was instituted solely for the purpose of discrediting, and possibly intimidating, Gordhan at a time that he was standing up against state capture. Similarly, names such as that of Johan Booysen, Robert McBride, Shadrack Sibiya, Anwa Dramat and others can be added to the list.

The politicisation of the NDPP and the NPA is not just an aberration of the Zuma presidency either. It started under the Mbeki Presidency, and is simply the natural consequence of the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment, which has as its explicit goal the capture of the state’s levers of power in order to concentrate power in the party.

This policy of cadre deployment has demoralised professional civil servants who are judged not on the quality of their work, but on their connections and loyalty to the party. It has severely undermined the professionalism of the civil service and has allowed the vast network of corrupt cadres to entrench themselves in every department and state owned entity. We have seen the pernicious effect of this cadre deployment at SARS, at Eskom, at SAA, at Denel, in the SAPS, and indeed at the NPA.

If public faith in the NPA it is to be rebuilt at all, the President must appoint someone who is seen to be totally above party politics. It is not enough to know that the person will act independently. They must also be seen to be independent. And it is this factor which has led to the decision that Adv. Breytenbach has made.

This is an opportunity for the President to demonstrate to the country that the criminal justice system will no longer be abused for political ends, and that every person is equal before the law, no matter their position or their power. This is an opportunity to reassert South Africa’s leadership role on the continent, where the abuse of legal process to protect the powerful is all too common.

The President should use this opportunity to admit that the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment has been disastrous for South Africa, and has led directly to state capture, and that cadre deployment should be stopped.

He must appoint a candidate who is fiercely independent, loyal only to the law and the Constitution, and with a proven track record of acting accordingly.

Over the years, the DA has been a consistent fighter to ensure the NDPP appointed is a fit and proper person, and that they act within the law.

We fought the appointment of Advocate Menzi Simelane to the position of NDPP in 2011 and won. This was a precedent-setting case, in which it was determined that the President, when appointing an NDPP, must choose a person who is fit and proper person, with due regard to his/her experience, conscientiousness and integrity. This case further determined that these qualities are jurisdictional facts that must be objectively assessed, therefore making it open to judicial review.

We have also proposed in the past that the appointment procedures for the NDPP be reformed to limit the power of the President to appoint whomever he or she likes, and to involve Parliament more directly in the process. Specifically, we have proposed a constitutional amendment that will check the President’s power to appoint an NDPP of his choice by requiring that he decides on an appointment only upon the recommendation of Parliament.

This model will be similar to that used for the appointment of heads of Chapter 9 institutions and encourages selection on objective grounds during a transparent multi-party process. The Private Member’s Bill to effect this amendment, proposed by the late DA MP Dene Smuts in 2013, was voted down by the ANC in a Motion of Desirability. The DA has stated before that we intend to re-introduce a Private Member’s Bill on this issue.

We are pleased that the process currently underway to appoint a new NDPP is a step in the right direction, and we support the interview process being public and open to the media.

Maimane requests access to secret contract between Ramaphosa Jr and controversial company Bosasa

The PAIA applications can be accessed here and here.

I have today submitted two separate applications in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) – one to the Presidency and one to the African Global Group, formerly Bosasa – to gain access to the contract for services rendered by the President’s son, Andile Ramaphosa, to the controversial facilities management company, Bosasa. This is to ensure that Andile Ramaphosa has not received any preferential treatment – including alleged kickbacks – by virtue of him being the son of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Earlier this week in Parliament, I asked President Ramaphosa whether he had any knowledge of an alleged R500 000 payment to Ramaphosa Jr from Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson. I presented both a proof of payment and sworn affidavit supporting this payment. President Ramaphosa responded by confirming the payment, but then said his son had explained it as a payment received for legitimate “consulting” services. He further said that there is a contract between his son and Bosasa for these services, and he had personally seen this contract.

However, someone is being economical with the truth, as Andile Ramaphosa has since gone on record denying that he had received any payment from Bosasa in relation to this allegation.

It now emerges that Andile Ramaphosa is directly involved in no less than 30 companies – any of which may have rendered services to Bosasa. In a country where almost 10 million of our people are unemployed and cannot find work, any shadow of doubt pertaining to the President’s immediate family must be thoroughly interrogated to ensure that no undue influence, malfeasance or corruption is present. If there is nothing to hide, both Andile Ramaphosa and African Global Group (Bosasa) should have no hesitation in releasing the contract that underpins their agreement and relationship.

Bosasa has secured several lucrative contracts with government departments and entities – including the Departments of Justice, Correctional Services and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) – worth over R10 billion. Moreover, this is the same company that allegedly funded former President Jacob Zuma’s birthday bashes in 2015 and 2016, to the estimated value of R3.5 million.

It is worth noting that while President Ramaphosa tried to speak tough in Parliament – insisting that he would personally ensure his son is held accountable if any irregularities exist – when pressed to take action and release the contract that exists between Ramaphosa Jr and Bosasa, he ignored such calls.

I asked the President to publicly:

  • Divulge the nature of the “consulting services” his son, Andile Ramaphosa, rendered to Bosasa;
  • Release the contract between his son and Bosasa, which he claims to have seen; and
  • Clarify why, if this payment was legitimate, it was made to a trust account and not to his son’s business account.

The President has since failed to do so.

For the ANC, rich and connected “insiders” continue to unfairly benefit at the expense of poor and unemployed “outsiders”. Jacob Zuma’s family and children benefited corruptly from his Presidency. We cannot continue down this path under the Ramaphosa Presidency. Full transparency and accountability is the least we can expect from President Ramaphosa.