DA to lay charges against Supra over dodgy R1m Denel bursary for his son

The DA will lay criminal charges of fraud and corruption against North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, and Denel CEO, Zwelakhe Ntshepe, following reports at the weekend that Denel gave Mahumapelo’s son a R1.1 million bursary without following due process.

On Sunday, reports emerged that Ntshepe signed off on a bursary of more than R1 million for Mahumapelo’s son to study at a prestigious Port Alfred aviation school. This, despite the school not being part of a list of accredited schools that Denel funding covers and that Denel bursaries have historically been allocated to the fields of IT, engineering, finances, and business management.

These allegations may point to a clear violation of the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA). And the DA will lay criminal charges against Mahumapelo and Ntshepe in terms of Sections 50 and 51 of the PMFA.

Section 50 states that the accounting authority may not “ (b)use the position or privileges of… for personal gain or to improperly benefit another person” and Section 51 states that the accounting authority must “take effective and appropriate steps to … prevent expenditure not complying with the operational policies of the public entity.”

The DA welcomes Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan’s, request for the Denel board to institute an internal investigation into this matter. However, an internal probe is not enough. There must be a criminal investigation into this possible abuse public money.

The reality is that these monies could have benefitted underprivileged students who dream of obtaining tertiary qualifications.

Tomorrow, Mahumapelo will face a motion of no confidence as the Premier of the North West province, a motion which the DA supports. He has a long track record of allegations of fraud and corruption against him and has been identified as one of the individuals in the Guptas’ pockets. It is high time he is removed as he does not serve the people.

The DA will not sit by and watch as corrupt officials steal the public’s money at the expense of the poor. We urge the SAPS investigate these allegations thoroughly and should they prove true,  to ensure that Mahumapelo and Ntshepe are brought to book.

Ramaphosa's new cabinet will serve the ANC, not South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of his new cabinet this evening illustrates that the problem in our nation lies with the ANC itself. The ministers who make up Ramaphosa’s compromised and partially captured cabinet show what we’ve known all along – it’s about the ANC and connected cadres first, and the interests of South Africa second. The cabinet remains filled with compromised ministers, Gupta loyalists, and corruption accused. The quicker we remove the ANC from government, the quicker our nation will reach its true potential.
The decision to retain the bloated, oversized cabinet means Ramaphosa has failed to seize this first opportunity to cut the size of cabinet. We should not have to wait for a review study to cut the waste. If Ramaphosa cut the cabinet to 15 ministries, we could have saved billions of rands and avoided a VAT hike altogether.
Tonight we saw the fatal compromise Cyril Ramaphosa made at Nasrec exposed for all to see, as David Mabuza will be sworn in as the Deputy President of South Africa. Ramaphosa’s decision to side with scandal-ridden Mabuza undermines the integrity of his stated commitment to fight corruption and rebuild from the tatters of the Zuma decade.
There is no doubt that David Mabuza is unfit to be the Deputy President of South Africa. During his two decades in office, he has been at the centre of a string of controversies – ranging from blatant corruption to violent thuggery.
It is terrifying that Mabuza has been accused of creating his own personal fiefdom in Mpumalanga, where he ruled with terror and intimidation. He has been accused of having his own personal “military” which have allegedly been responsible for numerous political killings in Mpumalanga. The victims of the killings have for the most part been those who have spoken out against the vast corruption in Mpumalanga, or have posed a threat to his business interests. Mabuza is a serious threat to the political stability of our country and seems to have very little tolerance for opposition.
His appointment as Deputy President is a danger to our country, and flies in the face of Ramaphosa’s commitment to “turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions”.
It was expected that Ramaphosa would fire Zuma loyalists who fall within the opposing faction of the ANC. It would have been strange if he didn’t. These include Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane, Des van Rooyen, David Mahlobo, Lynne Brown and Bongani Bongo. We welcome the decision to fire these ministers, who all lent a helping hand in selling our country to the Guptas.
The appointment of Malusi Gigaba as Home Affairs Minister means there remains a Gupta-friendly, captured Minister in the cabinet, who has been found to have lied under oath by a court of law. Cyril Ramphosa ought to have fired Gigaba, who back when he was Public Enterprises Minister, began the project of state capture at our SOEs.
The retention of Bathabile Dlamini in cabinet as Minister of Women in the President is an insult to the 17 million South Africans whose livelihood was, and still is, at risk due to her bungling of the SASSA social grants crisis. It is also an insult to the women of South Africa.
And lastly, the appointment of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as a Minister in the Presidency rewards an individual who was prepared to continue  and advance Jacob Zuma’s state capture project if elected ANC President.
Amid these concerning appointments, there are a few positive inclusions. The appointment of Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Public Enterprises is a sound one, and we do hope he will lead the charge in rooting out the rot within our State-Owned Entities (SOEs).
Nhlanhla Nene’s return as Finance Minister must be welcomed. Nene’s first action as finance minister must be to reverse the increase in VAT and transport levies, and introduce a range of spending cuts to plug the deficit in our public finances.
South Africans will quickly begin to see the wood from the trees, and that Cyril Ramaphosa is beholden to the very ANC factions that protected Jacob Zuma for a decade, and brought our country and the economy to its knees. Cyril Ramaphosa cannot bring total change and a new beginning to South Africa, as it is the ANC who he answers to, not the people.
In the ANC, it is not about who is best suited and qualified for the job. The primary criteria is always the   maintenance of patronage networks and power pacts. That is why our nation will never reach its full potential for as long as the ANC is in power.
We need real change, and this change will only come by removing the ANC from national government in 2019.

Ramaphosa’s new cabinet will serve the ANC, not South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of his new cabinet this evening illustrates that the problem in our nation lies with the ANC itself. The ministers who make up Ramaphosa’s compromised and partially captured cabinet show what we’ve known all along – it’s about the ANC and connected cadres first, and the interests of South Africa second. The cabinet remains filled with compromised ministers, Gupta loyalists, and corruption accused. The quicker we remove the ANC from government, the quicker our nation will reach its true potential.

The decision to retain the bloated, oversized cabinet means Ramaphosa has failed to seize this first opportunity to cut the size of cabinet. We should not have to wait for a review study to cut the waste. If Ramaphosa cut the cabinet to 15 ministries, we could have saved billions of rands and avoided a VAT hike altogether.

Tonight we saw the fatal compromise Cyril Ramaphosa made at Nasrec exposed for all to see, as David Mabuza will be sworn in as the Deputy President of South Africa. Ramaphosa’s decision to side with scandal-ridden Mabuza undermines the integrity of his stated commitment to fight corruption and rebuild from the tatters of the Zuma decade.

There is no doubt that David Mabuza is unfit to be the Deputy President of South Africa. During his two decades in office, he has been at the centre of a string of controversies – ranging from blatant corruption to violent thuggery.

It is terrifying that Mabuza has been accused of creating his own personal fiefdom in Mpumalanga, where he ruled with terror and intimidation. He has been accused of having his own personal “military” which have allegedly been responsible for numerous political killings in Mpumalanga. The victims of the killings have for the most part been those who have spoken out against the vast corruption in Mpumalanga, or have posed a threat to his business interests. Mabuza is a serious threat to the political stability of our country and seems to have very little tolerance for opposition.

His appointment as Deputy President is a danger to our country, and flies in the face of Ramaphosa’s commitment to “turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions”.

It was expected that Ramaphosa would fire Zuma loyalists who fall within the opposing faction of the ANC. It would have been strange if he didn’t. These include Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane, Des van Rooyen, David Mahlobo, Lynne Brown and Bongani Bongo. We welcome the decision to fire these ministers, who all lent a helping hand in selling our country to the Guptas.

The appointment of Malusi Gigaba as Home Affairs Minister means there remains a Gupta-friendly, captured Minister in the cabinet, who has been found to have lied under oath by a court of law. Cyril Ramphosa ought to have fired Gigaba, who back when he was Public Enterprises Minister, began the project of state capture at our SOEs.

The retention of Bathabile Dlamini in cabinet as Minister of Women in the President is an insult to the 17 million South Africans whose livelihood was, and still is, at risk due to her bungling of the SASSA social grants crisis. It is also an insult to the women of South Africa.

And lastly, the appointment of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as a Minister in the Presidency rewards an individual who was prepared to continue  and advance Jacob Zuma’s state capture project if elected ANC President.

Amid these concerning appointments, there are a few positive inclusions. The appointment of Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Public Enterprises is a sound one, and we do hope he will lead the charge in rooting out the rot within our State-Owned Entities (SOEs).

Nhlanhla Nene’s return as Finance Minister must be welcomed. Nene’s first action as finance minister must be to reverse the increase in VAT and transport levies, and introduce a range of spending cuts to plug the deficit in our public finances.

South Africans will quickly begin to see the wood from the trees, and that Cyril Ramaphosa is beholden to the very ANC factions that protected Jacob Zuma for a decade, and brought our country and the economy to its knees. Cyril Ramaphosa cannot bring total change and a new beginning to South Africa, as it is the ANC who he answers to, not the people.

In the ANC, it is not about who is best suited and qualified for the job. The primary criteria is always the   maintenance of patronage networks and power pacts. That is why our nation will never reach its full potential for as long as the ANC is in power.

We need real change, and this change will only come by removing the ANC from national government in 2019.

“Oilgate”: DA requests Mahlobo to halt R2.1 million gratuity to Joemat-Pettersson

The DA has today written to Energy Minister, David Mahlobo, requesting him to suspend his Department’s R2.1 million “once-off-gratuity” to former Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
[Details of the R2.1 million payout in the adjusted budget of the Department of Energy can be found here]
We believe that this R2.1 million payment should not proceed at least until such a time that Ms. Joemat-Pettersson is cleared of wrongdoing for the sale of South Africa’s strategic oil reserves in December 2015.
It would be wrong to give former Minister Joemat-Pettersson a R2.1 million golden handshake when she personally authorised the unlawful sale of our oil stocks at bargain basement prices.
The cost of this dodgy deal is estimated to have cost the public purse in the region of R2 billion.
Joemat-Pettersson authorised the sale of the oil reserves without the concurrence of then Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, as required by the Central Energy Fund Act.
What is more, Minister Joemat-Pettersson appeared to have lied to Parliament about the sale in 2016, claiming it was a mere “rotation of stock”.
Minister Mahlobo recently admitted that the sale of our oil stocks is going to cost the government a great deal of money, and appears committed to investigating the illegality of the sale by the end of December this year.
There is a chance that Joemat-Pettersson will be criminally and financially liable for this unlawful deal. It would therefore be prudent for Minister Mahlobo to place a moratorium on any gratuity to Joemat-Pettersson until the investigation is concluded.

BOKAMOSO | Ramaphosa policy is DA-lite

Cyril Ramaphosa gave a lengthy speech recently, setting out the DA’s economic policy. To be fair, he didn’t call it that. He called it A New Deal for Jobs, Growth and Transformation. But there is nothing new about it. The DA has consistently called for economic policy that has jobs and growth at its centre, because that is the only way to lift 30 million South Africans out of poverty. We have consistently held that growth and transformation are mutually reinforcing, rather than conflicting, objectives. So even though Ramaphosa’s new deal is somewhat secondhand, we welcome it heartily.
It is wonderful that there is a growing consensus at the centre of SA’s politics around the DA’s approach to economic policy and growth. This is the unity of purpose we have been pursuing. We want South Africans to come together around the values of Constitutionalism and an open economy that delivers for all and not just the elite. We want South Africans to unite behind economic policy that focuses on the 30 million poorest South Africans rather than on enriching a small number of black industrialists.
So this public endorsement from a leading ANC presidential candidate is gratifying. At the Daily Maverick’s The Gathering last week, Pravin Gordhan emphatically denied any common ground with DA policy, but was unable to point out major differences. From our side, we’re certainly happy to be in the “same Whatsapp Group” as anyone in SA who understands that job creation through an unrelenting focus on inclusive growth and investment is the only way to sustainably transform our economy and society.
As Ramaphosa acknowledges, this requires us to commit to stable, investor-friendly policies, to invest heavily in infrastructure and skills, and to put small and medium enterprises at the centre of our policies, since they have the highest potential to create jobs. These are policies that have led to growth and employment where we govern. This is why the Western Cape has achieved faster job creation in the past decade than has the rest of the country. Our policy approach has been tried and tested and shown to work. We believe strongly in it, and we want to see it implemented as widely as possible.
As Ramaphosa conceded, rather ironically, we need to move from looking to create a small number of super elite to an economy in which the state’s role is to create an enabling environment so that entrepreneurial activity can flourish, creating sustainable, private-sector jobs on a massive scale.
He recognizes that this means aggressive support for SME’s by massively reducing their cost of doing business, through policy and regulatory reform. It means prioritizing sectors with the greatest potential for job creation, such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and mining. It means promoting renewable energy. It means harnessing ongoing urbanization to improve access to land and housing ownership, services and economic opportunities. It means land reform that includes systems to improve land productivity, and greater support for small-scale black farmers.
So much music to our ears: He says we must maintain fiscal discipline and reject populist projects. We must promote export-oriented businesses, and local procurement from a wider variety of smaller businesses. SOE’s must be properly governed and operated for the benefit of the public, and private capital must be considered.
Sound familiar?
The DA has been consistent in this policy approach for years. Ramaphosa is getting to the table somewhat late, but better late than never. It is unfortunate, though, that he and Gordhan and their faction within the ANC have been legitimizing policies that serve to enrich a connected elite at the expense of the many, for many years now. This has taken South Africa backwards, increasing poverty and enabling corruption and state capture to take root and become deeply entrenched.
And herein lies the most important difference between the DA and the ANC. The DA will be able to actually implement these policies. We already do so where we govern, which is why DA governments have lower unemployment and higher growth. Effective implementation requires a capable state. The DA seeks to recruit the best people for public service, who will actually implement policy. Appointments are not a reward for comradeship.
The ANC is so deeply infested with corruption, patronage and factionalism, that it is literally paralysed. Ramaphosa has been the second most powerful person in the country for some years now and under his watch South Africa has gone backwards.
Point number 10 in Ramaphosa’s 10-point plan is to confront corruption and state capture. He states unequivocally that it is “necessary to take immediate steps to remove from positions of responsibility those individuals who have facilitated state capture”. I couldn’t agree more. Roll on 2019.

SABC board’s preferred candidate for CEO is wholly unsuitable

Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP
The DA has been reliably informed by several whistle-blowers that the SABC board’s preferred choice for Group CEO is Alan Mukoki, a candidate wholly unsuitable for the position.
Despite evidence presented of Mukoki’s unsuitability, almost all members of the board allegedly supported his appointment.
The DA strongly encourages the SABC board to reconsider and save the public broadcaster a likely long-drawn-out battle for Mukoki’s removal as GCEO.
While eminently qualified, Mukoki’s history in the public sector makes him an inappropriate choice.
A 2007 Deloitte & Touche forensic audit commissioned by the then Minister of Agriculture, Lulu Xingwana found that Mukoki and his executives had without board approval, diverted almost R2 billion meant for emerging farmers towards projects that had nothing to do with agriculture, including luxury golf estates, a sugar mill, equestrian estates and residential developments. Some of the beneficiaries of irregular loans were Mukoki’s business associates; and high ranking ANC politicians and benefactors.
Mukoki resigned and was given a R4.5 million golden hand-shake. A few months later the Land Bank was placed under administration and transferred to the National Treasury.  The then Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan described it as being “in ICU”.
Given this history, it is absolutely unfathomable why anyone in their right mind would think Mukoki suitable to be the GCEO of the SABC.
The SABC simply cannot afford to give a high-risk candidate with a chequered past in the public sector the reins of leadership at the SABC.
The SABC needs steady hands. It requires innovative leadership to ensure it can stay afloat without requiring a bailout. It requires a person with a demonstrated commitment to clean governance. Mukoki is quite simply, not that person.

Cabinet reshuffle: Axing Blade escalates ANC war

The DA is not surprised by President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, the latest move in Zuma’s war against anyone who opposes his project of State Capture. The obvious target was SACP leader, Dr. Blade Nzimande, who follows Pravin Gordhan, Derek Hanekom, Mcebisi Jonas and others who have failed to toe the Zuma line and have found themselves out of office.
The SACP has been dealt an insulting blow, and they must now decide how long they will put up with this abuse, or if they will now do what they know is right, and begin to work outside the ANC.
Blade’s axing has also provided the pretext for yet another reshuffling of Zuma sycophants, none more pliant than new Minister of Energy, David Mahlobo. This smacks of an attempt to reignite the ANC’s efforts to chain our country to a multibillion rand nuclear deal with the Russians.
This reshuffle has nothing to do with effecting good governance, and ensuring the best people serve our country. On the contrary, Jacob Zuma appears to be firing his critics, and offering promotions in exchange for support ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December this year.
This just reaffirms what the DA has said all along – the ANC exists solely an organisation committed to self-enrichment and self-advancement – all at the expense of the South African people.
Come 2019, South Africans must use their power to vote out this self-serving ANC government at the ballot box, and choose a new beginning for our country.
The future of South lies in a post-ANC South Africa, free from corruption and State Capture, and focused on our nation’s new struggle – the struggle for access to jobs. Our fight is to ensure that all South Africans can enter the economy, find meaningful work, and create a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

All DA governments to review KPMG contracts

The DA currently governs, either directly or in coalition, in more than 30 municipalities across the country and have now taken the decision to review all KPMG contracts to ensure that none of the work has been compromised by unethical practices.
It has emerged that KPMG’s integrity has been compromised by numerous dodgy dealings with the Gupta family. The organisation and its senior management have seemingly been actively involved in the project of state capture and were implicated in the axing of then Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, off the back of the so-called SARS rogue report.
Now that National Treasury has announced that government departments and entities will review all KPMG contracts, it is imperative that they now take the lead and empower the structures below to do so.
All DA-led administrations prioritise clean and efficient governance that allows us to deliver services to the people who entrusted us with their vote.
Therefore all work done by KPMG must be reviewed thoroughly, so as to ensure the highest standards of good governance have been met.
The DA is committed to fighting corruption in both the public and private sectors and will continue to do so in the interests of corruption-free government that works to deliver services to the people of South Africa.

IGI must take steps to gain access to the “intelligence report” allegedly used to fire Pravin Gordhan

Several months ago, I requested the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Isaac Dintwe, investigate the allegations surrounding the bizarre “intelligence report”, which was allegedly used as a pretext by President Jacob Zuma to fire the former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, during the “midnight cabinet reshuffle”, on 31 March 2017.
Today, I received a letter from him informing me that:
“the investigation is on-going in that we are currently consulting persons named in the so-called “intelligence report”.”
The fact that the investigation into the allegation surrounding the bizarre “intelligence report” is ongoing is good news.
However, he goes on to state that:
“we are still not in possession of the said report and are hopeful that the current High Court case regarding the mentioned ‘records’ brought by yourselves will assist in the investigation and await that process”.
What this suggests is that the Office of Inspector-General for Intelligence is relying on the case, contending that President Jacob Zuma’s decision to dismiss Pravin Gordhan was unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid, which is being pursued by the Democratic Alliance [Democratic Alliance versus President of the Republic of South Africa (Case No. 24396/2017)], and which is currently the subject of an appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal, to gain access to the “intelligence report”.
We cannot allow the Inspector-General of Intelligence, Dr Isaac Dintwe, to abdicate his responsibility to try and independently gain access to the “intelligence report”, and I will therefore be writing him to clarify what steps he is taking, or he has taken, to independently gain access to the “intelligence report”, which is vital to the investigation.

Tax Ombud confirms DA’s view that SARS deliberately delays tax refunds

The Tax Ombud report on SARS’ delays in tax refunds confirms the DA’s long-held view that SARS has deliberately delayed tax refunds such as VAT. This investigation by the Tax Ombud flows from and vindicates our request on the 7th of February 2017 to former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, that he call for the Tax Ombud to conduct an investigation into any systemic problems that result in the delayed refunds to taxpayers.
The DA will now propose that the mandate given to SARS is reviewed and where it is required, we shall introduce amendments to relevant legislation that will ensure that refunds are paid out without delay in line with the Tax Ombud’s report.
The report highlights that SARS have abused the system to delay the refunds of taxes and that these delays would unduly increase the reported tax amounts such as the record tax collections of R1.144 trillion “achieved” in the 2016 tax year.
The report states that ‘the residual (non-paid) taxpayers may be of very high value, as indicated in the Report, whose payments, once made, would reduce the amount of tax collected over that particular period. It is therefore imperative that they be paid out timeously.’
This contradicts the assurances given by Tom Moyane, the SARS Commissioner, who has stated there were no undue delays in the payment of refunds. When Tom Moyane, the SARS Commissioner next appears before the Standing Committee on Finance on the 13th of September 2017, the DA will ask Tom Moyane to explain why the Tax Ombud has now contradicted his statements that there were no delays in refunds.
The undue emphasis given to SARS rather than taxpayers in the Tax Administration Act No. 28 of 2011 is because SARS employees and not National Treasury officials have previously driven the drafting and adoption of the provisions of and amendments to the act.
The report by the Tax Ombud, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, states that ‘It is clear that the system allows for SARS to unduly delay the payment of verified refunds to taxpayers in certain circumstances. This has become a systemic issue. The system does not sufficiently protect taxpayers. The removal of the obstacles discussed in the Report, as well as any others, would go a long way towards addressing the problem.’
I have written to Yunus Carrim, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance, to request that he invite the Tax Ombud to attend the meeting of the Finance committee on the 13th of September 2017 to present his report of the delays in tax refunds.
As the body responsible for collecting money from the public, citizens must be able to trust SARS. Unfortunately, this trust has now been damaged.