Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Natasha Mazzone MP, during the Budget Vote on Public Enterprises.
House Chairperson, Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon.
Today I dedicate my 2017 budget vote speech to the brave men and women of South Africa, who, despite facing tremendous pressure, potential job loss and alienation from certain sectors, have boldly spoken out against and exposed corruption, state capture, nepotism, cronyism and mismanagement.
To you all, I say thank you on behalf of South Africa for your determination to look after the South African coffers, and for your relentless patriotism in the face of serious opposition from the highest echelons of power.
Your names will go down in history as true South African heroes.
Our state owned entities are not just in a state of chaos, they are in fact in a state of capture.
Every single morning, another scandal breaks in the media. If we are not dealing with Gupta associated businesses being given tenders, we are dealing with children of employees being given multi-million rand deals or, most recently, resignations … no wait, retirements … no wait … retrenchments … no wait … re-appointments of inept CEOs.
The Public Protector has certainly had her hands full with the DA requesting multiple investigations into issues within the SOEs.
We have asked the Public Protector to probe revelations in the unfolding nepotism scandal at Eskom involving the acting CEO, Matshela Koko, and his stepdaughter Koketso Choma, and a R1.7 million donation that was paid from Choma’s company to the ANC.
The DA has asked the Public Protector to include this new, shocking allegation of a massive donation to the ANC, into an already established investigation into Koko and Choma as requested by the DA in March 2017.
It now appears that, not only did Koko allegedly improperly award tenders worth R1 billion to Impulse International, a company of which his stepdaughter is a Director, when he was head of Eskom’s Generation Unit, but the arrangement was used as a conduit to siphon money to the ANC.
The Public Protector must now investigate and expose what the relationship between Koko, Choma, Impulse and the ANC really is.
It is totally unacceptable that so much public money was allegedly improperly directed toward a family member of the acting CEO of Eskom, only to land in the hands of the ANC!
This latest revelation, including the intimidation of journalists who have exposed this scandal, shows the lengths to which those with much to hide are willing to go to cover up.
Eskom has been reluctant to release the Denton Report that contains details of widespread corruption at the parastatal, and it seems that corruption scandals are only increasing under the current leadership.
The DA welcomed Public Enterprises Minister, Lynn Brown’s, rejection of an exorbitant and unjustified R30 million golden handshake “pension” payout to the disgraced Brian Molefe.
Indeed, after leaving Eskom under the most swirling clouds of state capture allegations, and close collusion with the Guptas, and then being rewarded with an ANC seat as a Member of Parliament, Mr. Molefe does not deserve one further cent from the public purse.
Our joy, however, was very short lived, as we soon learned of the return of Brian Molefe to Eskom.
This was a monumental disaster for the power utility, which is currently in a dire state of affairs and is surrounded by a wave of Gupta-linked corruption allegations as a result of Molefe’s tenure.
The return of Molefe to Eskom will see the Gupta hand return to the power utility, and most likely to the forthcoming nuclear procurement deal.
This South Africa cannot accept.
It was clear in the Public Protector’s damning State of Capture Report that Molefe was seriously compromised in his position at Eskom. He, himself, cited the interests of corporate good governance as the reason for him leaving Eskom.
The State of Capture Report details the close relationship between Molefe and the Guptas and how key decisions were taken by Molefe, as the head of Eskom, for the ultimate benefit of the Guptas and at the expense of the people of South Africa.
Specifically, Molefe called Ajay Gupta a total of 44 times and Ajay Gupta called Molefe a total of 14 times in 8 months. Molefe can further be placed in the Saxonwold area on 19 occasions between August 2015 and November 2015.
Importantly, the criminal charges that I laid against Molefe still stand and I trust are being actively investigated by the South African Police Service.
The ANC themselves came out and said that Molefe is unfit to return to Eskom as his name has not been cleared.
This is somewhat ironic given that he was, just the other day, on their own Parliamentary back benches.
South Africa deserves to know the truth behind the many scandals currently engulfing Eskom.
The damning allegations by the former Minister of Mineral Resources, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, that Eskom’s then CEO Brian Molefe and Chairperson Ben Ngubane tried to force him to withdraw Glencore’s Optimum mining licences in a bid to help the Gupta’s takeover Glencore’s coal mines, are astounding and deserve a full scale investigation as part of the Parliamentary inquiry into Eskom which the DA has requested.
I am most pleased that the Committee on Public Enterprises has stood firm and has agreed that a full parliamentary investigation begin into the shenanigans at Eskom.
Chairperson, I advised the Minister on Tuesday, and I will repeat myself today, suspend the Board of Eskom with immediate effect. Send a full team from Public Enterprises to Megawatt park and collect all the documents pertaining to the reappointment of Brian Molefe as well as all documents related to alleged corruption charges so that we know they are safe and are unable to be destroyed.
Denel has had their fair share of scandals involving of course, the family that is causing chaos in our state owned enterprises (SOEs) and our country, the Guptas.
To this end, Denel will be called to appear before the committee together with National Treasury so that once and for all, we can get to the bottom of capture allegations. Perhaps the next the time they appear, they will be better prepared to answer our many questions.
South Africa is NOT for sale. Our SOEs cannot be bought by the Gupta family with the help of Number One.
As the web of state capture starts to unravel, so will the stranglehold that this unwelcome family has over our country.
It is now the time to put a stop to this corruption and capture and the DA is the only party that can bring an end to the crisis the ANC-government has created at the SOEs.
When the DA comes into national government in 2019, we will ensure that our SOEs work for our people and bring an end to the scourge of corruption that has manifested under ANC governance.
South Africa is NOT for sale, NOT on our watch!