Dismissal of Zuma appeal against Public Protector cost order a victory for South Africa

The DA welcomes the decision by the North Gauteng High Court to dismiss former president Jacob Zuma’s application for leave to appeal the cost order granted in his unsuccessful challenge of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.

Zuma’s motive in launching this litigation was to obfuscate the Public Protector’s findings and frustrate her remedial action, specifically to establish the State Capture Inquiry. He purposefully did not want this commission established because it would implicate him, his family and those who were politically connected to him. He subsequently and belatedly abandoned this contention, and appointed the Inquiry.

However, the Court found that he had litigated irresponsibly and awarded a personal and punitive cost order against Mr Zuma.

This is a victory for not only the DA but also for the South African taxpayer.  This sends out a very strong message to government officials and members of the Executive that they cannot use state resources to litigate frivolously.

It has become a popular trend among ANC leadership to appeal adverse court judgments to evade accountability where they have violated the Constitution or broken the law. Indeed, this application has just been another failed attempt to avoid accountability and delay justice.

This court judgment has consequences for another matter before the North Gauteng High Court, argued by ourselves this week, in which we ask for the agreement between the Presidency and Jacob Zuma to cover the legal costs incurred by him during his criminal prosecution to be set aside. We trust that the bench hearing this matter will take judicial notice of today’s judgment.

This also has grave implications for Constitutional delinquents like Malusi Gigaba and Bathabile Dlamini who continue to use public money to defend their failure to carry out their duties in accordance with the Constitution.

The DA has a long history of holding the government to account and we will continue to defend the Constitution against those who seek to violate it for personal benefit.

Ramaphosa must act on Public Protector findings and fire Gigaba

The DA welcomes the recommendation by the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, that President Cyril Ramaphosa take disciplinary action against Minister Malusi Gigaba for violating the Constitution and the Executive Ethics Code.

I lodged this complaint on 21 February 2018 not long after the Gauteng Division of the High Court found, in the matter of Fireblade Aviation (Pty) Ltd v Minister of Home Affairs, that “there is no escaping the conclusion that [Malusi Gigaba] has deliberately told untruths under oath.” The judgement further noted that he had “committed a breach of the Constitution so serious that I could characterise it as a violation.”

In finding that my allegations against Gigaba is substantiated, the Public Protector has instructed the President to take action within 14 days and has instructed the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to refer him to the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests within the same time period.

The DA has repeatedly called for Constitutional delinquent Gigaba to be sacked, yet inexplicably he has remained a fixture in the cabinets of both Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. This is why we are challenging the President’s decision to appoint Gigaba to his Cabinet in court.

Ramaphosa’s retention of errand ministers and his failure to take action against them is further proof that the fundamental nature of the ANC has not changed since the recall of Jacob Zuma. The party remains an organisation whose leaders act with impunity because there is no genuine accountability.

We would like to remind the President that the findings of the Public Protector are binding unless challenged in court, and encourage him to finally put an end to Gigaba’s scandal-prone and frequently dishonest tenure.

Gigaba’s sacking will not rub out all his mistakes, but will finally bring to an end one of the most inglorious careers of any Cabinet minister.

Let’s vote out job-killing corruption, and vote in change that builds one SA for all

The following remarks were delivered today by Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the Eastern Cape provincial launch of the party’s Team One SA campaign outside a failed public/private job-creating initiative in Chatty, Port Elizabeth. Maimane was joined by Eastern Cape Premier Candidate, Nqaba Bhanga, Team One South Africa Spokesperson for Women, Nomafrench Mbombo, and DA Federal Chairperson, Athol Trollip.

Fellow South Africans,

Today we kick off the DA’s 2019 election campaign in the Eastern Cape. A campaign in which, over the next seven months, we will take our message of “Change that Builds One South Africa for All” to every corner of this province.

And while our focus this morning is on bringing our vision of a better future to the people of South Africa, our attention tomorrow will be on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s first Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, where he will have the opportunity to show whether the ANC can finally put its own interests second and the people’s interests first.

Our people are suffering, and they are suffering as a direct result of ANC policy failure. Our recession, our falling currency, our tax increases and petrol price increases, our spiraling unemployment and our growing poverty aren’t because of global conditions. Our global peers are growing. Our African neighbours are growing. Our economic trauma is all self-inflicted.

Tomorrow Minister Mboweni has a chance to start correcting this. To disassociate himself from EFF-style rhetoric and to walk away from his damaging statements on state intervention in everything from mining and banking to land ownership. This is his chance to finally put poor, unemployed and mostly young South Africans first.

Minister Mboweni has an opportunity tomorrow to show that he can increase private sector investment, that he can stabilise national debt below 50%, that he can take rational decisions on our failed SOE’s, that he can bring stability to SARS and that he can provide clarity on the mega-loans being negotiated with China behind closed doors.

If he can’t do this, then it surely makes no sense to persist with this ANC government.

Fellow South Africans, there is a very good reason why we’re launching our election campaign in Chatty, and specifically here by this building behind me. We chose this site because this building stands as a testament to the corruption and neglect of the ANC in government here in NMB.

What you see here – the crumbling structure, the stripped out interior and the lack of any activity and enterprise – is a perfect metaphor for the legacy of the ANC. The very same ANC who, with the help of the EFF and the UDM, have now been allowed back in to government here so that they can pick up where they left off.

Back in 2003, this building was chosen to be the home of the Bethelsdorp Hand Weavers, a carpet factory started as part of a project to provide jobs, develop skills and eradicate poverty in this part of NMB. It was run by an NGO that received funding from the local ANC government, and it employed 200 women from the community.

In principle, this all sounds good. But in reality, this turned out to be just another looting scheme where the money ended up in the pockets of a few corrupt individuals, and government provided no oversight and no control over where its funds went.

And so, while the corrupt got rich, this enterprise failed. The women who worked here went for months without being paid. Today, a decade after the factory closed its doors, most of these women are still unemployed.

In a province like the Eastern Cape, and specifically a community like Bethelsdorp with its sky-high unemployment rate, it is shameful that there was no accountability in the ANC government for precious public money, and particularly money meant for job creation.

And yet this is the standard operating procedure for the ANC. Here in NMB, this kind of looting of public money happened in virtually every contract, tender and project undertaken by the ANC government over two decades. It was all just easy money, and no one bothered to think of the people affected by it.

When Jacob Zuma said, back in 2009, that charges against him should be dropped because corruption wasn’t a “real crime” and that there are no victims involved, he wasn’t just speaking for himself. He was speaking for every ANC minister, mayor and councillor who believed that all money was there to be taken.

Well, I’m here today to tell them they are wrong. Corruption has victims. Real people with families and dependents. Parents, siblings, breadwinners. Corruption’s victims are those who are left to deal with the unemployment and poverty, and all the crime, drugs and violence that follows.

The people of Bethelsdorp are victims of corruption. The hundreds of women who lost their jobs at this factory are victims of corruption. Their families who were counting on an income are victims of corruption. These factory doors may have closed ten years ago, but they remain victims today.

If you want to know why communities like these need change, just speak to the people affected by corruption-failed projects like these. Some of these women are here with us today. Ask them if they want to go back to the ANC way of doing things.

We cannot go back there. The Eastern Cape certainly can’t go back there. This is the province with the highest expanded unemployment rate in South Africa. Almost 46% of working-age men and women in this province cannot find a job. Young people leave this province in droves in search of opportunities elsewhere.

That is why we are gathered here today to launch our election campaign in this province. We are here to say: Our country needs change. We need a fresh start so we can rebuild our society and an economy that works for all.

Under the ANC government we ended up with a massively divided nation. There are those on the inside, people with jobs, education, opportunities, and there are those on the outside, millions of South Africans who live in poverty and who have no hope of finding employment. This must change.

Under a DA government we will bridge this divide. We will focus all our efforts on bringing the outsiders into the economy by supporting enterprise, attracting investment and helping businesses large and small to create jobs. We will unite South Africans around this goal instead of dividing, blaming and creating enemies.

The DA will bring change that builds one South Africa for all.

No other party is promising to do this. No other party even pretends to speak for all South Africans, or offers a plan that will grow the economy, create jobs, make our communities safe and speed up basic service delivery.

Under the leadership of our Premier candidate, Nqaba Bhanga, we will take this message to every city, town and village in the province. Because it is of the utmost importance that we bring clean, accountable DA government to the people of the Eastern Cape.

In two short years, the DA-led coalition government in NMB brought more progress to areas like Bethelsdorp than the ANC did in two decades. Not far from where we’re standing is the new depot for the new Integrated Public Transport Service. Also near us is the new station for the Metro Police. Roads were tarred, basic services were expanded.

Now all this progress is threatened once more by the reinstatement of the ANC/EFF coalition of corruption in this metro. This is a step backwards, towards neglect, towards poverty and towards unemployment.

Fellow South Africans, we need to move forward as a country, not backwards. And to do so we need a government that looks to the future, not the past. There is only one party that can be this government, and that party is the Democratic Alliance.

Only one ANC Minister confirms meeting with Guptas – DA Leader wants to know who else?

In 2016, following the revelations surrounding State Capture and the Gupta family’s influence over the ANC government, I submitted parliamentary questions to every Minister at the time asking whether he/she had met with any member, employee and/or close associate of the Gupta family and/or attended any meeting with these persons at the Gupta’s Saxonwold Estate in Johannesburg or anywhere else since taking office.

Answers to these written parliamentary questions revealed that only one Minister – Dr Rob Davies – officially met with the Guptas. Recent revelations, particularly Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s testimony at the Zondo Commission, shows this to simply not be true.

In addition to Minister Nene, Ministers currently in Ramaphosa’s Cabinet – including Malusi Gigaba, Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane, Zweli Mkhize, Lindiwe Zulu, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Gwede Mantashe all allegedly have questionable links to the Gupta family, and their companies and associates.

Therefore, I will today submit written Parliamentary Questions to all 35 ministers in Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet, asking them whether they have met with any member, employee and/or close associate of the Gupta family and/or attended any meeting with these persons at the Gupta’s Saxonwold Estate in Johannesburg or anywhere else since taking office. Moreover, whether they have any professional relationship with the above mentioned, and if so, what are the details of such.

The recent revelations surrounding Minister Nene shows that the rot of State Capture goes much deeper than former President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family. There is no “good ANC” and “bad ANC”. There is one ANC, united around corruption and self-enrichment. The “smallanyana skeletons” are beginning to fall out the closet.

The whole of the ANC is implicated in State Capture, and that is why the DA’s legal team has approached the Zondo Commission calling for a list of 12 individuals, including President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Deputy, David Mabuza, to appear before the Commission and account on behalf of the ANC. We await the Commission’s response in this regard.

It cannot be that the ANC continues to work to enrich and promote a small elite minority of connected cadres, while millions of South Africans are left in poverty and joblessness. The DA will continue the fight to build One South Africa For All, whereby those found guilty of corruption will spend 15 years in jail.

Ultimately, we must work together to remove the ANC at the ballot box in next year’s elections.

President Cyril Ramaphosa should accept Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s offer to resign

The Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, has reportedly offered his resignation to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

To be fair, the minister courageously stood up to former President Jacob Zuma by opposing the nuclear build programme, which eventually cost him his job when he was fired in a meeting that lasted just “two or three minutes” on 09 December 2015.

However, the minister:

  • exercised poor judgement meeting inter alia Ajay Gupta at Saxonwold, after becoming suspicious of the family’s intentions, most probably as a result of an investigation being conducted by National Treasury;
  • may have breached the executive code of ethics as a result of a Public Investment Corporation investment that may have benefited his son, Siyabonga Nene; and
  • failed to disclose any of this information, prior to his appointment as finance minister, to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

To his credit, the minister issued an apology expressing regret for his mistakes, which he conceded included poor judgement, and which he accepts casts a shadow over his conduct.

However, in the end, the minister’s conduct, taken together with the fact that he is likely to be the subject of at least two ongoing investigations, which will drag on for months, now risks compromising public confidence in National Treasury.

The minister himself pointed out in his evidence before the Zondo Commission that:

“…the optimal relationship is for the Minister of Finance to have the full support of the President at all times.”

We find it hard to believe that, under the circumstances, the minister has the “full support” of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who stated, in his State of the Nation Address on 16 February 2018, that:

“…this is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions.”

We believe, therefore, that President Cyril Ramaphosa should accept the minister’s offer to resign and act swiftly to replace him before the medium-term budget policy statement is presented in Parliament.

Zondo Commission: DA calls on SABC to broadcast on terrestrial platforms for Nene appearance

Please find attached a soundbite in English by Team One SA Spokesperson on State Capture, Natasha Mazzone MP.

The DA has received a request from the SABC Board Chairperson, Bongumusa Makhathini, that our call for the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture be broadcast on major television and radio platforms be directed to the SABC News Editor.

We are happy to comply and will write to Group Executive of News and Current Affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni, to reiterate our call and to request that broadcasting starts tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene will appear and over the next few weeks, we will hear Pravin Gordhan and Barbara Hogan on how the Guptas, together with Jacob Zuma, tried to capture and pillage state resources. These are crucial testimonies that every South African deserves to hear.

State Capture has stolen so much from South Africans. As the public broadcaster and given the consequences of State Capture for the people of this country, it is in the public interest that the SABC dedicate at least one of its terrestrial TV channels and one of its radio stations to broadcasting developments of the Commission.

The DA has already written to the Secretary of the Zondo Commission, Dr Khotso De Wee, to request confirmation that senior ANC members will testify before the Commission. Numerous high-ranking ANC officials have been implicated in giving the Guptas access to state resources and they have much to answer for. South Africans deserve to hear this testimony and only the SABC can ensure that as many South Africans as possible are able to tune in.

The DA will be happy to make this request to all relevant parties so that South Africans are given the opportunity to watch or listen to how state capture could happen, who had a hand in it and who will need to be held accountable for the prolific looting and corruption that occurred.

Implicated ANC members must appear before Zondo Commission, not hide behind limited “submissions”

Today, ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule, stated that the ANC will make submissions, in response to testimony given by several banks, to the Zondo Commission on State Capture. This is not good enough.

Ironically, Mr Magashula has been implicated in state capture during his tenure as Free State Premier and should be among the first ANC members to appear before the commission to answer key questions.

Numerous other high-ranking ANC officials have been implicated in State Capture. They must appear before the Commission and answer each and every allegation levelled against the party and its members.

The DA’s lawyers have written to the Secretary of the Commission into State Capture, Dr Khotso De Wee, to request confirmation that Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, Lynne Brown, Tom Moyane, Arthur Fraser, David Mahlobo, and David Mabuza be called to testify before the Commission. We await a reply and hope the Commission will consider our request favourably.

State capture stole from the people of South Africa and compromised their future as money that should have been spent on improving lives, was syphoned off to the ANC political elite.

There must be consequences for those who steal from the people South Africa. The DA will fight corruption to ensure that all money is spent on the people and if voted into government, will ensure that anyone found guilty of corruption will be sentenced to 15 years in jail.

We must face up to the fact that State capture did not begin with the election of former President Jacob Zuma in 2009. State capture and corruption is central to the ANC’s very nature and being, and there is much to answer for.

DA requests SABC to broadcast Zondo Commission of Inquiry on terrestrial platforms

The Democratic Alliance has written to the SABC Board Chairperson, Bongumusa Makhathini, to request that the public broadcaster flights the Zondo Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on its terrestrial platforms, including television and radio.

The majority of South Africans are currently only getting mediated coverage of this crucial Commission, and only those with access to satellite television and internet connections that allow for streaming are able to watch the Commission’s live feed on a continuous basis. This leaves most people relying on news agencies to keep them updated on developments throughout the day.

Over the next few weeks alone the Commission will hear testimonies from former and current ministers Nhlanhla Nene, Pravin Gordhan and Barbara Hogan on how the Guptas, in cahoots with Jacob Zuma, tried to capture and pillage state resources. These are crucial testimonies that every South African deserves to hear.

Last week, the DA’s legal representatives wrote to the Secretary of the Zondo Commission, Dr Khotso De Wee, to request confirmation that senior ANC members will testify before the Commission. There have been serious allegations levelled against the party and its members and when they testify all South Africans must have the opportunity to scrutinise their testimonies. Only the SABC has the reach to make sure this happens.

The Zondo Commission is of profound national importance and the SABC, as the public broadcaster, has a duty to dedicate at least one of its terrestrial TV channels and one of its radio stations to broadcasting developments.

Every South African will in some way pay the price for the damage State Capture has done to our state and our economy. It is therefore paramount that the SABC broadcasts the Commission on its terrestrial platforms as ordinary South Africans have the right to know what happened and who is responsible.

In the interests of justice, the ANC must appear before the Zondo Commission into State Capture

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a picket outside the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Parktown, Johannesburg. Maimane was joined by Team One South Africa member for Corruption, Phumzile van Damme, Team One South Africa member for State Capture, Natasha Mazzone, and Team One South Africa Campaign Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi

Today we are gathered outside the Zondo Commission into State Capture to make one thing clear: the ANC must be called before the Commission, to play open cards and to answer each and every allegation levelled against the party and its members so that South Africans can be assured no stone has been left unturned in the pursuit of justice. Corruption and state capture is an enemy of the poor, vulnerable and jobless, and steals opportunity from South Africans by making ANC-connected cadres rich.

Nine days ago, the DA’s lawyers wrote to the Secretary of the Commission into State Capture, Dr Khotso De Wee, to request confirmation that Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, Lynne Brown, Tom Moyane, Arthur Fraser, David Mahlobo, and David Mabuza be called to testify before the Commission.

Our lawyers have not yet received a response to our letter to Dr De Wee from 18 September. We reiterate this call and implore the Commission to consider this request in light of the sheer depth of corruption and capture, and its damaging effects on the livelihoods of ordinary South Africans. Nothing in the Commission’s Terms of Reference bar it from calling the above-mentioned individuals to appear and to account.

We applaud the great work already carried out by the Commission and look forward to observing today’s proceedings. The Commission has rightly focussed on inquiring into the truth behind state capture and have not permitted a trial of the losing ANC faction from last year’s ANC National Conference at Nasrec to take root. This is not about settling scores, it’s about ensuring those who stole the people’s money are held to account and are put behind bars.

While the ANC must account for their leading role in State Capture and their senior leadership must testify, the Commission cannot become a tool to settle ANC internal factionalism and navigate ANC cadre deployment. These 12 ANC members can mitigate this risk by telling the truth before the Commission.

State capture did not begin with the election of former President Jacob Zuma in 2009. Rather, state capture and corruption is central to the ANC’s very nature and being. Cadre deployment has been an ANC policy for the better part of 20 years, allowing corruption, nepotism, cronyism and ultimately state capture to ensue.

It defies reason for President Cyril Ramaphosa to have not known about ANC involvement in state capture as he was second in command of both the ANC and the country as Deputy President. He must appear before the Commission to explain whether he knew about state capture, and what he did about it once he found out.

The Minister for Woman in the Presidency, Bathabile Dlamini, has famously quipped that most within the ANC have their own ‘smallanyana skeletons.’ South Africa deserves a Commission that will call these ANC members to unearth the truth behind the ANC’s leading role in the capturing of the state.

State capture is a criminal system that continues to operate parallel to national government. Change that builds One South Africa for All hinges on South Africans knowing the truth behind this shadow state.

The DA’s plan to fighting corruption like this includes establishing an independent unit dedicated to identifying, fighting and prosecuting corruption. Our agenda for change also intends to bring in direct elections for all political office holders so that the South African people can hold their Mayors, Premiers and President directly accountable.

The DA will fight corruption to ensure that all money is spent on the people and if voted into government, will ensure that anyone found guilty of corruption will be sentenced to 15 years in jail. The ANC is the same old part full of empty promises and rewarding their failure to fight corruption won’t change anything.

Our Constitutional democracy will not survive another quarter century of state capture. Jacob Zuma’s continued denial of its mere existence drastically increases the risk of a circulation of ANC capture through different actors.

The ANC, as arch architects of corruption and state capture, must appear before this Commission and tell South Africans the truth.

DA lawyers request State Capture Commission confirm 12 ANC witnesses

Our lawyers have written to Secretary of the Commission into State Capture, Dr Khotso De Wee, requesting confirmation that Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, Lynne Brown, Tom Moyane, Arthur Fraser, David Mahlobo, and David Mabuza will be called to give testimony before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

The DA’s complaints against all 12 of these ANC members are a matter of public record and need to be thoroughly investigated. Considering information in the public domain and testimony already heard before the Commission, their testimony is material in allowing the Commission to fulfil its mandate.

Testimonies before the Commission have made it clear that the ANC knew full well that state capture was underway and did absolutely nothing to stop it from happening.

As recently as Tuesday, Mantashe and Duarte were implicated by the testimony given on behalf of Standard Bank at the hearing. While fellow ANC top 6 member and Deputy President, David Mabuza, is three years overdue coming clean about his 2015 trip to Moscow on a Gupta owned aircraft when Premier of Mpumalanga.

Former President Jacob Zuma has been directly implicated in allegations by testimony before the Commission, but while the Commission has requested he submit an affidavit to the Commission, it is not clear whether he will be called to testify in person.

The Gupta’s siphoning of hundreds of millions intended for farmers in the Estina Dairy Farm project has not yet led to any real accountability. Former Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, needs to attest to his involvement in this large-scale looting when Free State Agriculture MEC. It is also critical that former SSA Director General, Arthur Fraser, reveal whether he used the SSA as a bulwark against threats to state capture.

For eight years, the ANC’s Parliamentary majority have shielded the guilty from any real accountability, while state capture continued at Luthuli House, the Union Buildings, Mineral Resources, Home Affairs, Finance, SOEs, SARS, and the SSA. Because ANC capture is the protagonist of state capture.

The ANC must face the music for their leading role in state capture and its senior leadership must testify before the Commission.

An agenda for change to build One South Africa For All rests on South Africans knowing the truth. These 12 ANC members know the truth behind the state capture project and South Africa deserves a Commission that will call them as witnesses to shine light on the proceedings.