DA commends NPA decision on SARS-rogue unit charges

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the withdrawal of charges against Mr Ivan Pillay, Mr Andries Janse Van Rensburg and Mr Johann van Loggerenberg by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

Having appointed a panel of senior and expert prosecutors to evaluate the case docket and the available and admissible evidence, according to the correct principles and practices to be applied in all cases by a NPA doing its job diligently, they reached the conclusion that there was no prima facie case to be made against the accused, and therefore no prospect of a successful prosecution.

The NDPP,  having appraised herself personally of the relevant facts, as she must,  agreed with the evaluation and instructed the charges to be withdrawn.

This is how a Prosecuting Authority must go about its business. Scrupulously fairly,  scrupulously diligently. It is not a game.  Shamila Batohi has made not only the correct decision, but a courageous one.  It indicates a NPA getting back on the tracks of the rule of law.

But it cannot end there.

Each of the accused is a person in their own right.  Each held positions of some authority in institutions involved in upholding the law, and the rule of law. Each lost their employment and  have been impoverished by the very high costs of litigation, while their (and our) tax rands were used to litigate against them. Each has suffered irreparable reputational damage and public and private humiliation with the concomitant effects on everyday life and the lives of their families. This at the hands of (some in) an institution and a system that, when applied diligently, fairly and with absolute integrity, is meant to protect all South Africans from such abuse.

This cannot be undone.

If Ms Batohi is serious about the  rule of law and the integrity of the NPA,  then we must now also see the most serious consequences being visited upon those senior officials in the NPA  who instituted and drove this, and the many other, prosecutions that had no legal basis.

DA calls for prosecution of Jiba and Mrwebi following Mokgoro Inquiry findings

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes reports on the outcome of the inquiry conducted by retired Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, finding Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi unfit for office.

If reports are accurate, it is indeed a great day for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the criminal justice system as a whole.

A finding that Jiba and Mwrebi effectively sold out to the highest bidder and in the process played a massive role in the state capture mechanism which allowed the scale of corruption we have witnessed to proceed with almost guaranteed impunity.

The Mokgoro Inquiry findings vindicates all those individuals who testified before it and demonstrates the levels to which they stooped to accommodate their political masters.

The almost total decimation of the entire criminal justice system was the result of these and other officials ignoring their constitutional duties and aligning themselves with whoever made the highest bid.

If the reports are correct, then President Cyril Ramaphosa can do nothing else but fire them both, and the NPA should give serious consideration to prosecuting them both.

NPA quick to act against Babes Wodumo but fails to act on Ace Magashule

ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule, has this past week been implicated in fresh allegations related to corruption and looting during his tenure as Free State Premier. Magashule also faces allegations of manipulating a tender process on a housing project worth R150 million in favor of a company linked to his daughter. However, he is yet to face any criminal prosecution from the National Prosecution Authority (NPA).

Contrary to how the Magashule case has been handled by the prosecuting authority, reports indicate that the NPA has applied for a warrant of arrest for musician Babes Wodumo, after she failed to appear at the Durban Magistrate’s Court.

While Babes Wodumo has a case to answer for, what is of greater concern is the fact that not a single case implicating Magashule, and other high-ranking ANC officials, has reached a point of a docket being referred to the NPA for criminal prosecution – despite the wide ranging evidence proving his involvement in criminal activities including a well-oiled state capture network –  receiving 10% share of every government contract in the Free State.

This is proof that, when it comes to the ANC, not everyone is equal before the law. Despite the evidence of corruption at hand, including many criminal cases being opened by the DA – not one implicated person, official, or organisation has been held accountable for the theft of public money. The Hawks have been in possession of evidence that is enough to arrest the Guptas, Ace Magashule, Mosebenzi Zwane and other ANC-connected individuals for more than a year.

If we are all equal before the law, why have these perpetrators of state capture not been prosecuted by the NPA?

The appointment of the new National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Shamila Bahoti, brought renewed hope for the NPA. However every moment that passes without those involved in pillaging the state coffers being held accountable cast an even darker cloud to an institution that was deeply infiltrated by former President Jacob Zuma’s adherents.

The DA still remains hopeful that the NPA under the custodianship of Adv Batohi will do what is right, encouraged by the principle of equality before the law and in accordance to the prescripts of the law, and criminally charge the ANC and all those implicated in criminal activities regardless of their status.

The DA will continue to fight to ensure that the NPA’s office is held to the highest standards. Only the DA can ensure One South Africa for All, where all enjoy fair and equal treatment and that those who steal from poor South Africans face the full wrath of the law.

New NDPP will have to tend to Ramaphosa’s Bosasagate without fear or favour

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken note of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of Advocate Shamila Batohi as the new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

The DA expects to see the new NDPP tackle state capture head-on as one of her first priorities. This means, among other things, reinstituting charges against the accused in the Estina dairy matter, ensuring that former president Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution is vigorously opposed, and taking urgent steps to secure the extradition of members of the Gupta family in order to face justice in South Africa.

Tackling state capture head-on also means making sure that the donation from controversial Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson, to the President’s campaign fund, is investigated and if necessary prosecuted without fear or favour

Less glamorous but of equal importance is the hard work that will be required to get the NPA back up and running. This involves increasing prosecutors’ court time, improving conviction rates, filling vacancies, and appointing men and women with the necessary independence, insight and single-minded fortitude into senior management positions. Only if the NPA is led with integrity will it be capable of attracting quality prosecutors and aspirant prosecutors.

Batohi has a momentous task ahead of her. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been systematically eviscerated under successive NDPPs, permanent as well as acting, and is currently a shadow of its former self. It will take years to restore what was lost under politically captured individuals such as Menzi Simelane, Nomgcobo Jiba and Shaun Abrahams.

The DA congratulates Advocate Shamila Batohi on her appointment.

Batohi is vastly experienced. In the first decade of democratic South Africa she served on a high-level task team investigating Apartheid-era hit squads, and lead the evidence against Hansie Cronje before the King Commission. She was also the Director of Public Prosecutions of KZN and is a proven good administrator.

We will hold the new NDPP to the high standards South Africans deserve. She can depend on our support when they do the job required by law and can also be sure that if they fail to do so, we will hold them to account. The DA wishes Batohi well in her new position, and we hope to see results very soon.

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.

DA lays perjury charges against Dodging Dlamini for allegedly lying to ConCourt

Please find attached English and isiZulu soundbites by the DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango MP.

Today the Democratic Alliance (DA) laid charges of perjury against Minister Bathabile Dlamini at the Johannesburg Central Police Station.


The charges follow the damning judgement in which the Constitutional Court requested that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) consider whether Dlamini should be prosecuted for lying under oath during her testimony at the Judge Bernard Ngoepe Inquiry into the social grants crisis.

While the NPA considers charging her, it is vital that all avenues to hold her to account are used to make sure she will not continue to dodge facing the consequences of putting the lives of millions at risk.

Retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe, who lead the Inquiry into her role in the 2017 social grants debacle, offered a scathing assessment of Dlamini’s testimony. Judge Ngoepe’s findings strongly suggested that “some of Minister Dlamini’s evidence under oath in the affidavits before this [Constitutional] Court and orally before the Inquiry was false” and that the Minister may have “misled the Court to protect herself from the consequences of her behaviour”.

Last week, the Constitutional Court branded the Minister as “reckless and grossly negligent”. Dlamini clearly has no place in government.

It is clear from her actions that she does not care for the millions of vulnerable South Africans who depend on social grants every month just to feed their loved ones.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is harbouring individuals in his Cabinet who are Constitutionally and morally bankrupt and have very little regard for the laws and people of the country. It is for this reason the DA has given President Ramaphosa until Friday, 5 October, to remove Dlamini from his Cabinet.

It is now in the hands of the South African Police Services to investigate these charges against Minister Dlamini and up to the NPA to ensure that she is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Dodging Dlamini can no longer run away from accountability. The DA will continue to explore all possible avenues to ensure that she has her day in court.

Please download pictures here and here.

Ramaphosa choice of Acting NDPP does not bode well for restoring the independence of the NPA

The DA has taken note of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr. Silas Ramaite, to the position of Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

Ramaite has in the past defended the decision of former NDPP Bulelani Ngcuka to not institute corruption charges against former President Jacob Zuma in the infamous “Spy Tapes” saga. He even went so far as to acknowledge his own co-responsibility on the issue, stating in 2004 that “We had made the decision as a collective in the NPA and we stand by it” and that “It was not as if Bulelani sat there in the office and took decisions alone.”

He has sat idly by while successive NDPP’s and Acting NDPP’s, including Mokotedi Mpshe, Menzi Simelane, Nomgcobo Jiba and Shaun Abrahams systematically destroyed the fabric of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and South Africa’s criminal justice system. His track record proves that, at best,  he is weak, vacillating and pliable.

President Ramaphosa must urgently appoint a new permanent NDPP, and it is our belief that he should involve Parliament in the selection process.

Under the ANC, the NPA and other key institutions who charged with combating priority crimes like corruption, have been reduced to mere puppets who serve at the pleasure of the ANC mafia. Over the past decade, they have often been tasked with carrying out political hits rather than being allowed to carry out investigations and prosecutions without fear or favour.

The DA has a plan to ensure that the appointment and removal of the NDPP is subject to proper oversight and accountability. Whereas section 179 of the Constitution currently provides for the NDPP to be appointed by the President, as head of the national executive, we will introduce a Private Member’s Bill that requires that the President’s decision be informed by a resolution of the National Assembly passed with a supporting vote of at least 60% of the members of the National Assembly, which resolution should be based on the recommendation of a committee of the National Assembly.

The NPA has been the plaything of the Executive for far too long. Dr Ramaite’s appointment does nothing to correct that.

DA calls on ANC government to act on delinquent Nkoana-Mashabane following damning Grace Mugabe judgement

The DA calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action against former Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane following the damning judgement by the Johannesburg High Court on Monday finding her decision to grant Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity unlawful and unconstitutional.

Ms Nkoana-Mashabane seems to have been acting on questionable legal advice in opposing the DA’s application, and clearly put expedience ahead of constitutionalism and international law.

The DA has always contended that Mugabe was granted immunity by the ANC-led government in order to shield her from being tried in a South African court of law for her alleged assault of Ms Gabriella Engels. Importantly, the Johannesburg High Court found that “Mugabe is not immune from the jurisdiction of our courts and the Minister’s decision to ‘recognise’ or ‘confer’ immunity upon her was unconstitutional and unlawful”.

The DA will now be writing to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to request that a warrant of arrest for Grace Mugabe be reissued and that the NPA proceed with charges against Zimbabwe’s former First Lady.

Grace Mugabe deserves her day in Court and it is essential that the ANC-led government engages with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that she returns to face the full extent of the law.

We cannot have a government which abuses and bends the law at the expense of justice for its own citizens.


DA welcomes dismissal of Brian Molefe “golden handshake” appeal

The DA welcomes the dismissal of former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe’s, appeal against the ruling in January 2018 that he pay back the part of theR11 million pension pay-out he had already received.

It was clear to the DA that Mr Molefe’s preposterous application had no chance of success and the court was entirely correct to dismiss it.

Molefe’s insistence that his return to Eskom was not a reinstatement but a continuation of his contract is completely fictional. He had clearly resigned at the end of 2016, a fact which was acknowledged by both Public Enterprises Minister, Lynne Brown, and the then Eskom Board. He himself said that he was “stepping down” and then took up a position in Parliament.

He is therefore not entitled to extravagant pension benefits, whether R11 million or more.

This ruling is not the end of Molefe’s worries however as the DA has laid criminal charges against Molefe and it is now time for the NPA to step up and prosecute him to the full extent of the law.

Rampant financial misconduct by Defence employees requires urgent action

The DA will write to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, as it is astonishing that her department accounts for more than a half of all financial misconduct proceedings reported by the national department.

The DA is also concerned about the slow rate which her department is handling the processing and completion of proceedings against the department’s employees implicated in financial misconduct.

Following a Public Service Commission Report that her department had only completed 18 disciplinary proceedings on 31 March 2016/7 with 175 proceedings incomplete, the DA submitted parliamentary questions to ascertain the progress made in this regard.

In her response, the Minister indicated that between 1 April 2017 and 28 February 2018, the department only managed to complete 21 disciplinary proceedings while initiating another 10. At this rate, it could potentially take the department almost a decade to clear the backlog.

This tardy response is inconsistent with a department committed to accountability and fiscal responsibility.

The DA is concerned about the department’s commitment to recovering the funds lost and we will therefore pose further questions to the Minister to ascertain the full extent of funds lost and funds recouped to date.

The Minister must also inform the public whether cases have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) where public servants have been found guilty.

The Minister must immediately take decisive action to resolve the backlog of these cases in order to ensure that there is accountability for financial misconduct in her department.