Public Protector’s Vrede Report: Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane must face prosecution

Today’s decision by the North Gauteng High Court to set aside Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report into the Vrede Dairy Project is a victory in the fight against corruption, and we are now one step closer in seeking justice for the more than 100 intended beneficiaries of this sham empowerment scheme.

When I met with these intended beneficiaries in Vrede almost two years ago, I undertook to fight this matter on all fronts. The DA laid the initial complaint with the Public Protector, and following the release of her report we held the view that the report was a “whitewash” as it failed to hold to account those responsible for the theft of almost R200 million of public money. Today, the North Gauteng High Court has vindicated our view, as it held this report to be unconstitutional and invalid.

Instead of empowering those who are left out of the economy, over 100 black South Africans were used as a front for a calculated scheme of grand corruption and money laundering to benefit the Guptas and their friends in the ANC. Between the Guptas and the ANC, economic opportunity was stolen from black South Africans. This is a crime of the most reprehensible nature, and those responsible must face the full might of the law.

In July 2017, the DA laid criminal charges against those implicated in this act of corruption. 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. A month later I hand delivered a legal indictment containing over 200 pages of prima facie evidence of these crimes to the Hawks.

I will now urgently seek an update from National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Adv Shamila Batohi, as to progress on this investigation. It is high time that the criminal justice system does its job. It’s been almost one and a half years since Cyril Ramaphosa became President and vowed to fight corruption. Yet today, not a single person implicated in corruption has been held accountable and put behind bars. Instead, the chief architects of corruption – like Ace Magashule, Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane and Mosebenzi Zwane – remain in charge and occupy ANC benches in Parliament.

We believe that this is a clear-cut example of money laundering and corruption. The charges have been laid, the evidence is clear and overwhelming, and now all that’s left to do is move forward with prosecution. It is unacceptable that the perpetrators of this crime have yet to be charged, and as such, this indictment serves to speed up the wheels of justice to ensure that those who stole the people’s money are prosecuted, and if found guilty by a court of law – are put behind bars.

The Public Protector seems hellbent on wasting precious funds on spurious litigation. In fact, a disproportionate amount of Adv Mkhwebane’s budget has been wasted on unsuccessful litigation when this money ought to be spent on protecting the interests the people of South Africa and holding the powerful to account. We urge her to accept this judgment and to go back to the drawing board. Her job is to protect the public, which includes the over 100 victims of the Vrede Dairy Project.

Later this week the 6th Democratic Parliament of South Africa will be sworn in. The DA – as the official opposition – will work harder than ever before to hold government to account, and to expose corruption wherever it rears its ugly head.

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.

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.

 

ANC covers up State Capture in Mineral Resources

The long-delayed inquiry into State Capture in the Department of Mineral Resources is being sabotaged by the ANC. Months after being instructed by House Chairperson Cedric Frolick to conduct an inquiry into the behaviour of previous Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Parliament supplied an evidence leader and the process appeared, at last, to be on track.

However, at today’s meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, the evidence leader Ms Fatima Ebrahim reported that her plans to travel to interview witnesses had to be cancelled at the last minute when Parliament refused to supply a budget.

This action amounts to nothing less than an attempt to shut down an inquiry which is sure to be embarrassing to the ANC and those deployed to senior positions in the Department.

Some ANC Members on the Portfolio Committee have suggested that the inquiry be shut down due to lack of budget.

The committee has resolved to write to Mr Frolick to ask for clarity and further instructions. To us it seems the decision has already been taken. That decision is unacceptable.

The Ramaphosa administration has sought to portray itself as a new broom that will sweep away the abuses of the Zuma years. But by trying to sweep abuses under the carpet, it is clear that the reputation of the ANC is being put above the need to hold people accountable for criminal and ethically unacceptable acts that have ruined the reputation of South Africa’s mining industry and rendered it all but uninvestable.

One of the consequences of this, is the loss of fifty thousand mining jobs over the past year. The reputation of South Africa as a worthwhile investment destination will only be restored if the abuses of the past are dealt with. The quashing of this inquiry means state capture will go unexplored and unaddressed by Parliament, which will have failed again in its oversight function.

Jobs will once again be on the line and Parliament will be shown again to have failed in its duty.

Mineral Resources Committee agrees to full-scale State Capture Inquiry after another Zwane no-show

The DA is pleased that the Mineral Resources Portfolio Committee has agreed to its suggestion of a full-fledged Inquiry into State Capture in the Mineral Resources Department.
Committee members agreed unanimously on the step after Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane once again failed to appear before the committee.
Zwane’s one previous appearance before the committee to answer allegations of State Capture was marked by evasion and defensiveness. It is quite clear that he has much to hide. This has been underlined by the feeble excuses he has given for missing two subsequent appointments with the committee.
The Minister has been one of the key figures implicated in state capture allegations and he must be held accountable. The committee also agreed that if Zwane is unwilling to show up to the committee inquiry freely, that he will be forced to appear by means of a summons.
Evidence of State Capture has been hugely damaging to the credibility of South Africa’s mining jurisdiction. It is vital to preserve the industry and the jobs it creates that we have a department and a Minister who are above reproach.

Renewal requires a leaner, capable Cabinet

I congratulate President Ramaphosa on his commitment to a smaller and more capable Executive. I welcome reports that the President has heeded our calls for a smaller, less wasteful Cabinet. We believe it is entirely possible for the Executive to function even more effectively with a Cabinet of around 15 Ministers.
Now is also the time to make the Cabinet more capable by removing those Ministers who have failed the country over the past few years. President Ramaphosa should use the imminent reshuffle of the Zuma Cabinet as an opportunity to effect deep cuts to the profligacy and waste of the bloated Cabinet, and to rid the Cabinet of many of the people who propped up Zuma for so long.
A new era of hopefulness and renewal cannot be achieved with the same people who were at the centre of nearly every Jacob Zuma scandal. The following Zupta Ministers should be relieved of office:

  • Malusi Gigaba has, after Zuma himself, done the most damage to the economy. Whether naturalising the Guptas whilst Home Affairs Minister or facilitating the capture of state owned entities as Public Enterprises Minister and putting them in the hands of the Guptas, he is long overdue for being fired. More immediately, to have him present the Main Budget on Wednesday would undermine President Ramphosa’s ‘new broom’ spirit and the credibility of his turnaround plan;
  • Mosebenzi Zwane brought the mining industry to its knees with policy designed to maximise looting. Whether as the Mining Minister who oversaw the sale of Optimum Coal Mine to the Guptas, or as the MEC for Agriculture in the Free State who conceived and enabled the Vrede Dairy Farm heist of R200 million of public money;
  • Lynne Brown has presided over the near death of Eskom. As someone who protected Gupta appointees on boards, did the Gupta’s will, helped them loot millions from the public purse and lied in her testimony during the Eskom inquiry about having met the Guptas;
  • David Mahlobo allowed Zuma’s parallel mafia state to flourish. He is the Minister who did his best to rush through Zuma’s nuclear deal with the Russians, the Minister of State Security who was closely associated with rhino horn trade, oversaw the signal jamming in the 2015 SONA and is close to convicts and gangsters;
  • Bathabile Dhlamini is responsible for the ongoing social grants crisis that continues to put millions of recipients and the country at severe risk and another key Zuma lackey and cheerleader;
  • Nomvula Mokonyane has cleaned out the Department which is now practically crippled under the weight of corruption, incompetence and maladministration. Minister Mokonyane has deployed corporate warlord, Dudu Myeni, to head up the Umgeni and Mhlathuze waterboards, and showed disdain for the true state of the economy in her flippant comment about “picking up” the Rand;
  • Faith Muthambi oversaw the near-destruction of the SABC as Communications Minister. Minister Muthambi allowed Hlaudi Motsoeneng to run the SABC like his personal fiefdom and was found to be incompetent and guilty of misleading Parliament, which is a criminal offence; and
  • Des van Rooyen is another Gupta stooge who deliberately misled Parliament about his meetings with the Guptas. Minister van Rooyen was prepared to be the mechanism through which the keys to Treasury could be handed to the Guptas.

President Ramaphosa has an opportunity to demonstrate his true commitment to what he said on Friday night by ridding the Executive of those Ministers whose presence in the government has only ever been a source of scandal and failure.
The promise of ‘renewal’ requires that Malusi Gigaba, Mosebenzi Zwane, Lynne Brown, David Mahlobo, Bathabile Dhlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane, Faith Muthambi and Des van Rooyen be relieved of office as soon as possible.

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.

DA prepares to make submissions to the State Capture Inquiry

The DA welcomes the release of the Regulations for the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, as gazetted this afternoon.
The wheels are now finally in motion to begin the process of holding those responsible for state capture accountable.
President Jacob Zuma has for years frustrated the efforts to hold him to account for his seemingly corrupt relationship with the Guptas. Seeing that his schedule might soon become lighter, there is no excuse for Zuma to be not the first witness to appear before the Commission.
In addition to President Zuma, the Gupta family, Duduzane Zuma, Ace Magashule, and Mosebenzi Zwane must all be summoned to testify before the Commission as they were among the leading figures in the capture of our state.
We are hopeful that Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and his team will now kick into gear without further delay, as all those implicated in State Capture have gone far too long without being held accountable for their crimes.
The DA also looks forward to making our submissions to the Commission of Inquiry.

Ace Magashule and his friends must be arrested for stealing R200 million from poor black farmers

I welcome the decision by the Hawks to finally take action against those responsible for stealing approximately R200 million from poor black farmers in Vrede, Free State.

Reports today confirm that the Hawks have begun a “search and seizure operation” relating to the Estina Dairy Farm project in Vrede – beginning with the office of Free State Premier, Ace Magashule. This is in order to find documents and information which would prove that Ace Magashule was involved in the siphoning of money away from the Vrede Dairy Farm project and into the pockets of ANC linked cadres, most notably the Guptas.

The question is – why haven’t the perpetrators been arrested? Comprehensive evidence proving wrongdoing already exists, and has been in the Hawks possession for over 6 months. Moreover, this evidence is enough to arrest the Guptas, Ace Magashule, Mosebenzi Zwane and other ANC-connected individuals.

In August last year I went to the Hawks Head Office in Tshwane to hand over a legal indictment containing over 200 pages of concrete prima facie evidence outlining in detail how this money was stolen from the poor black farmers, and provides sufficient evidence to support the criminal charges laid by the DA in this regard. DA Shadow Minister of Finance, David Maynier MP, laid criminal charges against several members of the Gupta family, their associates, and Minister Zwane. 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.

We now call on the Hawks to immediately seek warrants of arrest against the Guptas, Ace Magashule, Mosebenzi Zwane and all other implicated in this scandal.

It should make us all angry that instead of empowering those who are left out of the economy, the ANC government used black South Africans as a front for a calculated scheme of grand corruption and money laundering to benefit the Guptas and their friends in the ANC. Between the Guptas and the ANC government, economic opportunity was stolen from black South Africans.

The Vrede Dairy Farm project is a textbook case study of money laundering, collusion and corruption. We will not relent until those who stole money and opportunity from South Africans are brought to book.