President Jacob Zuma is guilty of the pre-meditated murder of the economy in South Africa

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Minister of Finance, David Maynier MP, during the Budget Vote on National Treasury.
Madam Speaker,
The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, was at a fashion show, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, when the call came informing him that he had got the top job and would be the next Finance Minister.
It was not long before the new Minister and his sidekick, Mayihlome Tshwete, swooped down, rather like Batman and Robin, on National Treasury.
The Minister, to his credit, passed the first big test of any South African Finance Minister – he lasted the weekend.
This was the culmination of a shameful midnight Cabinet reshuffle. President Jacob Zuma had:

  • Recalled the former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, from an international investor roadshow on the basis of a bizarre “intelligence report” claiming he was part of a plot to mobilise people to overthrow the state; and
  • Then promptly fired him to, can you believe it, “improve efficiency and effectiveness”.

The truth is that, had the President been serious about improving efficiency and effectiveness, he would have fired Bathabile Dlamini and Faith Mthambi who, together, could barely run a bath.
The Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, condemned the Cabinet reshuffle, saying it was “unacceptable”.
Even, ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, condemned the Cabinet reshuffle, saying he was “very uncomfortable”.
But, the Minister defended the Cabinet reshuffle by condemning those who had condemned the Cabinet reshuffle.
He dismissed them as “a mixed bag of so-called ANC stalwarts and disillusioned ex-ANC leaders who were ill-disciplined”.
The fact is President Jacob Zuma’s midnight Cabinet reshuffle had nothing to do with improving efficiency and effectiveness and everything to do with the capture of National Treasury for his most important clients, the Guptas.
And the President had the perfect man for the job in his new Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, because in his own words, “I don’t ask questions, I simply comply with instructions.”
Things have been in absolute shambles since the Minister took over, as he somersaulted between “radical economic transformation” and “inclusive economic growth”, and between attacking orthodox and right-wing economists at National Treasury and supporting the skilled and experienced team at National Treasury.
However, things went from bad to worse when the Minister appointed Professor Chris Malikane, who seems to have been trained at the “Hugo Chavez School of Economics”, and who has some mad ideas on the economy, including nationalising the banks, mines and insurance companies, as his economic advisor at National Treasury.
Of course, when you have a Minister, who in his own words simply complies with instructions, who advises him is an important issue.
Things began to spin out of control as the Minister told his economic advisor to “keep quiet”, but the economic advisor told the Minister he would not “shut up”.
The Minister was forced into damage control mode, sending his economic advisor to the equivalent of the “re-education camp” to be “rehabilitated”.
Now, I have said before that the Minister was “Des van Rooyen in a designer suit”.
But, I was wrong.
Because, at least Des van Rooyen has a Master’s degree in finance, even if half his assignments were done by the Parliamentary Budget Office.
Whatever the case, the Minister has lost control and the message is now one part Bloomberg, one part ANN7, and one part The Real Housewives of New York.
The National Treasury’s legislative mandate, and the R30.79 billion budget for the 2017/18 financial year, are directed at ensuring transparency, accountability and sound fiscal controls in the management of our public finances.
But the question is: how long can this last?
Because, like all politicians accumulating power, the Minister has concealed his real political agenda, which he revealed, in an unguarded moment, during his maiden press conference, and which included:

  • A strong commitment to implementing “radical economic transformation”; and
  • An attack on National Treasury, which he believes is dominated by big business, international investors and orthodox economists.

The fact is, and let us not be naïve about this, the Minister has been appointed to “defang” National Treasury.
And he will do it with charm and cunning, and he will do it patiently and slowly:

  • By exerting political control and reducing the institutional independence of National Treasury;
  • By diluting the legislative mandate to reduce the institutional strength of National Treasury;
  • By controlling the procurement process;
  • By controlling the Public Investment Corporation; and
  • Most importantly, by approving the nuclear build programme.

If you look carefully, the work is already underway “below the line” with

  • The Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, “power-grabbing” the budget prioritisation process from National Treasury; and
  • The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masuta, “power-grabbing” control of the Financial Intelligence Centre from National Treasury.

The truth is that National Treasury is in danger of being “defanged” and reduced to a bunch of bookkeepers under the new Minister and his boss, President Jacob Zuma.
We cannot afford to surrender to the mafia state and so we are going to have to fight to maintain the institutional independence and institutional strength of National Treasury.
What this means is that the Finance Committee is going to require a reset from legislative mode to oversight mode and carefully scrutinise procurement, public investments, contingent liabilities and fiscal risks, including most importantly the nuclear build programme.
The fact is that, in the end, President Jacob Zuma must have known that the midnight Cabinet reshuffle would push the economy off the cliff.
We are now in deep trouble with the midnight Cabinet reshuffle and radical economic transformation delivering:

  • stagnant economic growth;
  • declining per capita incomes;
  • a collapse in investment;
  • a spike in disinvestment;
  • massive unemployment;
  • staggering national debt;
  • “zombie” state-owned enterprises;
  • junk status; and
  • ultimately, a loss of hope for the millions of South Africans who do not have jobs, or who have given up looking for jobs, and who live without dignity, without independence, and without freedom, in South Africa.

That is why it is not an exaggeration to say that President Jacob Zuma’s midnight Cabinet reshuffle, and his policy of radical economic transformation, amounts to the pre-meditated murder of the economy in South Africa.
So, if you do not have a job, or you have given up looking for a job, you need to know this: You do not have a job because the ANC-government has systematically mismanaged the economy; and

  • You do not have a job because the ANC-government has systematically mismanaged the economy; and
  • You will never get a job as long as the ANC-government is in power in South Africa.

That is why you will have a choice, in the 2019 National Election, between a strong know-how economy, which creates jobs for all, led by the DA, or a weak know-who economy, which creates jobs for the few.
We say: bring it on.

Esidimeni: Zuma’s refusal on commission of inquiry means no justice for victims

In a written reply to a DA parliamentary question, President Jacob Zuma has revealed that he will not institute a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Life Esidimeni tragedy which resulted in the death of more than 100 mental health patients in Gauteng.
The President’s response shows that he does not care about the deaths of over 100 patients at the hands of the Gauteng ANC government.
The President’s uncaring and callous decision comes three months after DA Leader Mmusi Maimane wrote to the President to request that he launch a Judicial Commission of Inquiry in terms of Section 84 (2) (f) of the Constitution, to get to the bottom of how the Gauteng ANC government sent over 100 patients to their death through multiple failures of government and accountability.
The victims and their family members deserve answers for the tragic deaths of their loved ones.
It must be established why the Gauteng government failed to inform the Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi of their intention to move mental health patients to alternative facilities, and why the Gauteng government continued to ignore warnings and queries about the risks that its patient transfer posed. It must also be established why the Gauteng government continued to transfer patients after initial neglect of patients was exposed.
In 2016 occupational therapy students from the University of the Witwatersrand wrote to the Premier of Gauteng, David Makhura and the former MEC for Health, Qedani Mahlangu, amongst others, making the Gauteng government aware of concerns regarding Life Esidimeni patients being moved to alternative facilities and the risks posed.
In a blatant example of how little the ANC cares for the most vulnerable, Premier Makhura and his health department proceeded to ignore these concerns. All of this pain and suffering could have been avoided had Makhura responded. The fact is that the Premier of Gauteng showed disdain and indifference to this crisis, and he cannot escape liability.
Given all the unanswered questions surrounding this tragedy, a Judicial Commission of Inquiry would have been essential to ensure justice for all of the victims and accountability for the loss of life.
Unlike President Zuma, the DA does not believe that “the Health Ombud [investigation] was comprehensive and sufficient”, especially now that more evidence has emerged of a complete breakdown in communications, oversight and cooperation between the National Department of Health and the Gauteng Health Department. There must be political accountability for what can be described as culpable ignorance.
The Life Esidimeni tragedy marks one of the most tragic failures in our democratic history and the ANC-government’s failure to adequately hold the Gauteng government to account is proof not only of their disdain for the mentally ill but for all vulnerable South Africans.

Let’s work together to give Nqutu the government it deserves

Note to Editors: The following remarks were delivered by the DA Federal Leader in the Nqutu CBD. The Federal  Leader was joined by the KwaZulu-Natal Leader, Zwakele Mncwango.
My fellow South Africans,
Thank you for welcoming me into your community here in Nqutu. You live in a truly beautiful part of our country, but I know that doesn’t mean life is always good and easy for you.
I know the challenges you face here in Nqutu. I know how hard it is to cope without the services that so many of us take for granted – without proper toilets, without school transport, and without enough taps to bring clean water.
But above all, I know what unemployment has done to communities like yours. It has robbed many generations of their future. It has forced people to give up on their dreams as they struggle to just get by from day to day.
Unemployment and poverty have left communities like yours broken and without hope.
Just a little way down the road you will find a place that is nothing like Nqutu at all. A place where there are more toilets, more taps and more lights than they could possibly use.
A place where the cattle and chickens live in kraals and runs that cost more than most people will see in their lifetime. A place that took R250 million of your money to build.
You know which place I’m talking about. Nkandla. The palace of President Jacob Zuma. The monument to his corruption that fills an entire hillside while the people around him, in communities like yours, must struggle to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.
Nkandla is big and fancy because a place like Nqutu is poor. That money was stolen from you.
And that’s not just my opinion. The Public Protector’s report on Nkandla found this to be true, which is why we laid charges and called for the President to face the law.
Almost two years ago, on 21 August 2015, the police handed over their completed investigation to the NPA, but we are still waiting on their decision whether to prosecute Jacob Zuma.
And when I wrote to the Acting Special Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv Govender, asking why there has been no action on this, his response was just: We need further investigation.
We all know what is going on here. The NPA are simply stalling to protect Jacob Zuma.
The NPA doesn’t need any more investigation. Two years down the line, all they need to do is make a decision and get on with the work of holding the president to account. Because the president must live by the same rules that we all do.
My fellow South Africans,
A court of law is one way to hold leaders to account, but there is another way too. I’m talking about using your vote, of course. On the 24th of this month you will get to vote in a by-election for a new municipal government.
It’s an important by-election because you will be voting for the entire municipality. Which means you have a chance to say: Hang on, this isn’t working. Let’s put a council in this municipality that can do the job.
But there’s another reason why your by-election is so important. The results for Nqutu in last year’s election were extremely close. So close, in fact, that it made it almost impossible to get anything done here.
The only way to resolve this issue is to give the combined opposition parties a proper majority, so that we can end corruption and start delivering basic services for you!
Your vote in this by-election can play a huge role in bringing stability to this municipality, and improved service delivery to your community.
Whether the DA is the majority party as we are in our metros, or whether we are a minority party like we would be here in Nqutu, a vote for the DA is a vote for good, clean governance.
It’s a vote for freedom and opportunities, and it’s a vote against corruption.
Please use this crucial chance to re-shape Nqutu the way you want it to be.
Siyabonga. I thank you.

Zuma misses deadline to supply reasons for cabinet reshuffle

President Jacob Zuma has failed to comply with the ruling, handed down last week Thursday by Judge Vally of the North Gauteng High Court, to hand over his reasons and record of decision for his disastrous midnight cabinet reshuffle, by 4 pm today.
Given that President Zuma has only filed an application to appeal handing over his record of decision, he should still have provided his reasons by close of business today, for the cataclysmic axing Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas
There is a material difference between a record of decision and the reasons for the decision. The record pertains to any and all documentation upon which he relied to make the decision.
The reasons for the decision goes to the heart of what lead to the decision, essentially the key information which then informed his decision, not all the information.
Moreover, the President’s legal team admitted in open court that the DA and South Africa are entitled to the reasons, if not the record.
It is therefore very strange that President Zuma now elects to produce nothing, not even the reasons to which his legal team conceded.
Although we are of the view that he should have complied with the ruling by Judge Vally last week, the fact remains that we have seen these tactics used ad nauseam by President Zuma, first in the Spy Tapes saga and now in his latest desperate attempt to dodge accountability.
We have already been in touch with Judge Vally’s registrar to request an urgent date to argue the application for leave to appeal.  We hope as early as next week.
The undeniable fact is that President Zuma does not believe he should be held to the same standard all other citizens are. He believes he is above the law.
That is why the DA will continue to employ all mechanisms necessary to ensure that he is held accountable for his actions. South Africa deserves nothing less.

Zuma files appeal to delay revealing his Cabinet Reshuffle record of decision

The President has this afternoon filed a court application to frustrate and delay the legal process to review his disastrous cabinet reshuffle and the firing of Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas.
President Zuma has served upon the DA a notice of application for leave to appeal against the order of Judge Vally, handed down last Thursday, which requires him to deliver the record of decision by the close of business tomorrow.
The President is clearly hell-bent on keeping these reasons from the people of South Africa and is using every possible court process to do so.
President Zuma has also filed a notice in terms of Rule 35(12) to bizarrely request that the DA should provide him with the so-called “intelligence report” upon which he allegedly relied in recalling Pravin Gordhan from his investor roadshow in London, and ultimately firing him from cabinet four days later.
The “intelligence report” has been widely communicated on and addressed by senior members of President Zuma’s own government and party, including the Deputy President and the Speaker of the National Assembly, and it is, therefore, dumbfounding that he would require the DA to supply him with this report. We are led to conclude that President Zuma is using this medium as another delaying tactic in avoiding accountability for his disastrous reshuffle that has severe consequences for all people of South Africa.
We have all seen this movie before. These tactics are substantially the very same tactics used by Jacob Zuma in the Spy Tapes matter to delay as long as possible the course of justice and to prevent 783 charges being reinstated against him.
The DA views these moves by Jacob Zuma as desperate attempts to frustrate the course of justice, wherein he must be held to account for the effects of his executive actions that we contend were irrational and should be set aside.
The DA does not believe that President Zuma’s application for leave to appeal has a likelihood of success, and we, therefore, will resist the President’s application with vigour.

DA recommends the appointment of Justice Leona Theron to Constitutional Court bench

In terms of his obligation under section 174(4) of the Constitution, President Jacob Zuma wrote to me requesting my views and input on who ought to fill the vacant seat on the Constitutional Court bench following Justice Johann van der Westhuizen’s retirement in January last year.
After a thorough selection process as per section 174(4)(a) of the Constitution, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) presented to the President a list of four candidates, of which the President must appoint one to the Constitutional Court. The four candidates are: Judge Leona Valerie Theron, Judge Stevan Arnold Majiedt, Judge Malcolm John David Wallis and, Judge Narandandram Jody Kollapen.
I have today responded in writing to his request, indicating our full support for the appointment of Madame Justice Leona Valerie Theron as our preferred candidate. The full response can be accessed here.
When considering candidates for judicial appointment, the concept of judicial independence is of utmost importance and is central to our assessment of any one candidate. To us, it is essential that appointees to the bench in South Africa observe, and demonstrate, a genuine strict independence from the Executive, from party politics, from corporate interests, from organised religion, and all other external interests.
In light of this, we believe Madame Justice Theron is the most suitable candidate. She offers significant experience, obvious legal expertise and heft, and demonstrable independence of thought and opinion. Furthermore, her appointment to the bench of the Constitutional Court will add to the gender diversity of the highest Court. We therefore have no hesitation in supporting her appointment.
Justice Theron holds BA, LLB and LLM degrees. She was admitted as an advocate in 1990 and has served various organisations, distinguishing herself as an outstanding lawyer committed to human rights. She has held academic positions at tertiary institutions and has attended the University of Georgetown in Washington DC, USA, to further her academic qualifications. She also worked at the International Labour Organisation.
She was appointed as a judge of the High Court in KwaZulu Natal in the Durban and Coast Local Division in October 1999 after acting in that position from April 1999.  She was elevated to the Supreme Court of Appeal in December 2010 in which court she presently serves. She has also acted in the Constitutional Court from February 2015 to May 2015 and therefore has relevant experience in that particular court.
During the approximately eleven years she served at the High Court and the approximate five years at the Supreme Court of Appeal, she has displayed her independence as a judge and has delivered various judgments showing her ability to take leadership in human rights issues and matters relating to women.
Judge Leona Theron will bring experience, independence and gender diversity to the Constitutional Court, and in light of the above, we are of the view that her appointment would best serve the requirements of section 174(2) of the Constitution.

Now nothing stands in the way of Mcebisi Jonas aiming a ‘political headshot’ at President Jacob Zuma

The former Deputy-Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas, may have resigned but he still has a vital role to play in public life in South Africa.
We cannot forget that on 16 March 2016 the former deputy-minister lobbed a “political grenade” into the Guptas’ camp when he alleged that they had offered him the position of finance minister prior to the firing of former Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, on 09 December 2015.
This was prima facie evidence of corruption in terms of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act (No. 12 of 2004), and the matter is now being investigated by the Hawks following my complaint laid at a Cape Town police station on 17 March 2016.
Now nothing stands in the way of the former deputy-minister cooperating with the investigation being carried out by the Hawks. He could be the star witness in what could amount to aiming a “political headshot” at President Jacob Zuma.
We can only hope the former deputy-minister will have the courage and energy to fight on against “state capture” in South Africa.

Parliament must defend our Constitutional Democracy and fire Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma’s decision to fire the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, and the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebesi Jonas, should be a rallying call for all South Africans to stand together and defend our hard-won Constitutional Democracy.
The President has once again shown that he has no interest in our beloved country’s future – or the 9 million South Africans who are unemployed. He has bowed to the whims of those who are determined to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and jobless. This is an act of complete state capture.
We cannot sit by and let this happen. It is time that all South Africans stand together to protect our democracy.
It is Parliament who hired Jacob Zuma and it is Parliament that can fire him. We therefore urge all political parties, including members of the ANC, to vote President Jacob Zuma out when the DA’s motion of no confidence is debated in the National Assembly.
The time is now. We must stand together and defend what so many fought and died for.
Visit and become a citizen co-sponsor of our Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma.

Fake “Operation Check Mate” intelligence report must be investigated by the IGI

Three days ago President Jacob Zuma announced he had instructed the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, to cancel his international investor roadshow and immediately return to South Africa.
There has been no reasonable explanation for the bizarre instruction, beyond the speculation that the minister is about to be fired in a cabinet reshuffle.
However, bizarre explanations for the bizarre instruction are now beginning to surface.
The most bizarre explanation by far is that President Jacob Zuma issued the instruction on the basis of an “intelligence report” claiming that the finance minister would be holding secret meetings with people in the United Kingdom and the United States to discuss “overthrowing the state”, as part of “Operation Check Mate”.
This is by far the most bizarre explanation for the bizarre instruction and is exactly the kind of rubbish that one would expect President Vladimir Putin to dream up and have published in “Pravda”.
The fact is that nobody in their right mind would believe the finance minister would participate in secret meetings with the intention of overthrowing the state.
However, President Jacob Zuma and his inner circle of securocrats are so prone to conspiracy and so clueless about international finance that we cannot be sure, mad as it may seem, that the bizarre instruction was not based on a fake intelligence report about a fake intelligence operation, comically called “Operation Check Mate”.
I will request the Inspector-General for Intelligence, Isaac Dintwe, to probe these allegations because we need to know whether a fake intelligence report about a fake intelligence operation played any role in the bizarre instruction for the finance minister to cancel his international investor roadshow and return to South Africa

Two years without an Inspector General of Intelligence as we celebrate the Constitution that created the position

The DA calls on President Jacob Zuma to stop dragging his heels and appoint Prof Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe as the new Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI).
This crucial position, created by section 210(b) of the Constitution, has now been vacant since March 2015. As a consequence, there has been no oversight of South Africa’s intelligence services for nearly two full years!
Prof Dintwe was found to be the most suitable candidate for the position and, on 29 November 2016, the National Assembly passed a resolution approving the recommendation for the appointment of Prof Dintwe to the vacant post.
The DA has been tireless in its efforts to finalise the appointment of a suitable IGI. In March 2016 the DA successfully blocked the nomination of Cecil Burgess, the architect of the “Secrecy Bill” and a “whitewashed” report on “Nkandlagate”, to the post of IGI. Six months later we wrote to the chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence demanding that the committee urgently reconvene and resume its search for an IGI.
At the time, the DA vehemently objected to the appointment of Arthur Fraser as the new Director-General of the State Security Agency. Fraser’s suitability for the position is highly questionable and the new IGI must make an investigation into this dubious appointment his first order of business.
Ultimately, the IGI must investigate the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, who has been proven to keep company with rhino horn traffickers, organised crime figures and criminally accused student “leaders”, among others.
Parliament today launched, to much fanfare, a campaign to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Constitution and the NCOP. Meanwhile, the IGI, a constitutional appointment, “celebrates” two years of being vacant. All the while, Minister Mahlobo and his cronies continue to have unbridled access to the security services without civilian oversight. Prof Dintwe has been tapped to fulfil this important function. He must be allowed to start his work.