Bosasagate: Ramaphosa’s election slush-fund linked to former Trillian Capital director

The slush-fund used to raise money for Cyril Ramaphosa’s election campaign to become ANC President – which included the R500 000 “donation” from Bosasa – was administered by a law firm whose director appears to have links to the Guptas and their State Capture project.

A trust account named “efg2” – administered by law firm Edelstein, Farber and Grobler (EFG) – was the account into which the R500 000 Bosasa “donation” was funnelled through (and possibly many others), as admitted by the President in his letter to the Speaker of Parliament. This follows his about-turn to my question in Parliament about this R500 000 payment – which Ramaphosa initially stated was a payment to his son, Andile, for consultancy work done for Bosasa.

We can today confirm that Mr Jeffrey Afriat, a director at EFG – the law firm which administered this trust account – served as one of three directors of Trillian Capital, a primary vehicle used by the Guptas to capture the state and loot billions of rands of public money.

Afriat served as director during 2016 alongside Mr Eric Wood – at the apex of State Capture and theft of public money by the Guptas and the ANC. Afriat is also cited twice by name in Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report. Afriat resigned as Trillian director shortly before the Budlender Inquiry into Trillian was launched.

President Ramaphosa is now left with little choice but to heed my call and immediately appoint a full-scale independent inquiry – headed by a retired judge to be selected by the Chief Justice – to fully investigate the Bosasa scandal, which now involves the President and his family. I will today formally write to President Ramaphosa, calling for this inquiry to be established without delay.

We cannot have double standards when it comes to bribery and corruption – particularly not when it involves the highest office of the country. The President’s links to Bosasa – including all payments made to him, to the ANC and to his son, whether directly or through shell companies, third parties or trust accounts – must be investigated in detail.

Today’s reports that Bosasa’s deal with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) was found to be irregular by the Auditor-General is yet another example of how this dodgy company operates. This is a company embroiled in allegations of fraud and corruption, having paid for security upgrades for ANC politicians; birthday bashes for Jacob Zuma; and scoring over R10 billion in government tenders and contracts.

The people of South Africa must know that this system of corruption has become part of the very fabric of the ANC – regardless of who leads the organisation. It is the entire ANC that is corrupt, not just Jacob Zuma, the Guptas and his associates. It operates as a system of corruption that locks out the poor and the unemployed – to the benefit of the politically connected few.

The reality is that the ANC cannot be reformed, it must be removed from government come 2019.

SARS must ensure that tax is paid on Zuma legal fees donations

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will write to Mark Kingon, Acting Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS), to request that SARS ensure that donations tax be collected on all donations made towards the legal fees of former president Jacob Zuma.

According to media reports, a group of Zuma supporters have pledged to pay his R10 million cost order after the North Gauteng High Court dismissed his leave to appeal last week.

Millions in legal costs were incurred during Zuma’s fruitless attempts to have former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report reviewed and to set aside her remedial action, notably the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry into State Capture.

The court’s decision was a victory for vulnerable South Africans who have been suffering poor service delivery precisely as public funds were being diverted to pay for legal fees incurred by Zuma in his self-serving attempts to sanitize his leading role in the State Capture project.

It would be a miscarriage of justice if Zuma’s personal cost order is financed, much like his lifestyle, by a band of sympathizers. It would be even worse if these individuals avoid their tax obligations, too.

Zuma’s ruinous presidency has cost South Africa too much already.

Dismissal of Zuma appeal against Public Protector cost order a victory for South Africa

The DA welcomes the decision by the North Gauteng High Court to dismiss former president Jacob Zuma’s application for leave to appeal the cost order granted in his unsuccessful challenge of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.

Zuma’s motive in launching this litigation was to obfuscate the Public Protector’s findings and frustrate her remedial action, specifically to establish the State Capture Inquiry. He purposefully did not want this commission established because it would implicate him, his family and those who were politically connected to him. He subsequently and belatedly abandoned this contention, and appointed the Inquiry.

However, the Court found that he had litigated irresponsibly and awarded a personal and punitive cost order against Mr Zuma.

This is a victory for not only the DA but also for the South African taxpayer.  This sends out a very strong message to government officials and members of the Executive that they cannot use state resources to litigate frivolously.

It has become a popular trend among ANC leadership to appeal adverse court judgments to evade accountability where they have violated the Constitution or broken the law. Indeed, this application has just been another failed attempt to avoid accountability and delay justice.

This court judgment has consequences for another matter before the North Gauteng High Court, argued by ourselves this week, in which we ask for the agreement between the Presidency and Jacob Zuma to cover the legal costs incurred by him during his criminal prosecution to be set aside. We trust that the bench hearing this matter will take judicial notice of today’s judgment.

This also has grave implications for Constitutional delinquents like Malusi Gigaba and Bathabile Dlamini who continue to use public money to defend their failure to carry out their duties in accordance with the Constitution.

The DA has a long history of holding the government to account and we will continue to defend the Constitution against those who seek to violate it for personal benefit.

DA to submit urgent request to subpoena Gigaba phone records

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will write to the Chairperson of the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee urgently requesting that the phone records of Minister Gigaba be subpoenaed.

The DA has no reason to believe that the Minister has been truthful in his characterization of the nature of his engagements with the Gupta family, or the number of times he met with them.

In his testimony before the committee, the Minister failed to disclose the number of occasions on which he attended functions at the invitation of the Gupta’s. He vacillated between ‘five or six’ and ‘more than once but less than five’ over the last ten years.

Minister Gigaba has been found by North Gauteng High Court to have lied under oath. His appeal in this regard was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

In a reply to a parliamentary question in April 2016 the Minister said neither he nor the Deputy Minister had “knowingly held any official meetings with persons who are, or who are associates of or employees of any persons whose surname or family name is Gupta.”

This statement needs to be interrogated in light of the Minister’s testimony in the inquiry last night that invitations to events were extended to him through his office rather than personally, which he claims he attended for reasons of “social cohesion”. He claimed that he had no personal relationship with the Gupta’s.

If the Minister claims to have no personal relationship with the Gupta’s and that he has not held any official meetings with them, what exactly is the nature of his engagement with the Gupta family? The Minister was defensive and evasive in his responses when these questions were put to him in the inquiry last night, fueling doubts about his commitment to full disclosure of the truth.

In the past, captured individuals have been exposed by the forensic examination of the phones, allowing the truth to be ventilated.

An example of this was the exposure of Brian Molefe by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her State of Capture report. It was the Public Protector’s examination of his records that finally gave South Africans assurance of the truth.

We encourage Minister Gigaba to fast-track this process by submitting his mobile devices for forensic examination of his own volition. This is the most credible method of refreshing the Minster’s memory, and of corroborating his account to the satisfaction of the committee and the nation.

South Africans must know the whole truth if we are to close the chapter of State Capture in our history. The DA will spare no effort in ensuring that justice takes its full course, and that the truth is uncovered in its entirety.

DA delighted that Zondo Commission can begin its work

The DA welcomes the release of the Terms of Reference for the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, as gazetted today.

We are pleased that the Terms of Reference are based on the recommendations of the State of Capture report, completed by the former Public Protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela, and that the President has resisted the temptation to meddle with them.

While it is hoped that the Zondo Commission will be able to shed light on the influence that the Gupta family has wielded over the appointment of Ministers, state officials, and members of the boards of state-owned enterprises, as well as on the endemic corruption in our state institutions. In particular, we are pleased that the commission will specifically look into the President’s alleged role in State Capture and egregious violations of the Constitution.  However, we urge the Deputy Chief Justice to release interim reports to enable the relevant institutions of the criminal justice system to deal with matters as soon as prima facie evidence of criminal activity has been established.

For too long, the Gupta family has had a stranglehold over the South African government, and particularly over President Zuma.

Deputy Chief Justice Zondo must now immediately assemble his team so that it may begin its work without any delays. The Commission has a mammoth task ahead of it, which we trust it will be able to carry out without any interference and with systematic back-up from all relevant institutions. This also means that the Terms of Reference should not be amended or augmented except in extraordinary and clearly justifiable circumstances.

For years, President Zuma has been trying to frustrate efforts to hold him accountable. In addition to members of the Gupta family, we expect to see President Zuma and his son Mr. Duduzane Zuma summoned to testify before the Commission as they too have been directly implicated in the public protector’s report, along with all others implicated including Cabinet members. The DA will follow the progress of the Commission diligently.

Zuma and NPA continue to waste public funds with more frivolous appeals

The decision by President Jacob Zuma – and now the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) – to appeal the court judgment that declared him too conflicted to appoint an NPA head to replace Shaun Abrahams is a shocking waste of money. This confirms that President Zuma is willing to use all methods possible to avoid facing charges.

It also proves that Shaun Abrahams is a Zuma lackey, planted in the NPA to serve at President Zuma’s pleasure, no matter the cost to the public.

When Zuma allowed Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to appoint a judge to lead the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture as per former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s, “State of Capture” report recommendations, he conceded that his executive function can be fulfilled by someone else if he is too conflicted.

It therefore makes no sense for him to oppose the court ruling that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should make the appointment within 60 days.

Zuma’s actions continue to prove that he remains in charge and that very little has changed since the ANC elective Congress. It shows that the ANC has not self-corrected and that Zuma is still trying to run away from the law at the taxpayers’ expense.

Zuma is certainly no stranger to wasting public money. He did exactly this when, for example, he withdrew his court bid to interdict the release of the State of Capture report in 2016, dropped large parts of his review application of the same report in 2017, and then opposed the appointment of a Judge to head the Inquiry by the Chief Justice only to give in in the end and allow Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to make the appointment after all.

The President has also defended numerous court cases in the past two years which he lost – including the Nkandla matter, which he fought all the way to the Constitutional Court only to have his counsel make key concessions in their arguments on the day of the hearing.

In the Spy Tapes matter alone, he has squandered R10 million to avoid being charged with 783 counts of fraud, racketeering and corruption.

If Ramaphosa to truly serious about combatting corruption and really in charge of the ANC hold Zuma accountable for wasting public funds.

DA welcomes Parliament’s decision to proceed with Public Protector’s removal proceedings

The DA welcomes the decision by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services to hold an inquiry into the Public Protector’s fitness to hold office. Removal proceedings against Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane were initiated by ourselves on 20 September 2017.
We now call on the committee to proceed with the inquiry with the urgency and seriousness it demands.
Today’s decision by the committee adds credence to the DA’s contention that Adv. Mkhwebane is not fit to occupy the position of Public Protector. In less than a year since her appointment, Adv. Mkhwebane has demonstrated what the DA knew already: that she is unsuitable for the position of Public Protector and only undermines the important work done by the Office.
The work of her predecessor, Adv. Thuli Madonsela, greatly strengthened our democracy and provided a bulwark against state corruption. However, the inept and discredited work done by Adv. Mkhwebane threatens to undermine public confidence in the Public Protector’s Office, precisely at a time when South Africa needs it most.
The DA opposed Mkhwebane’s appointment as Public Protector. Yet South Africa does not need to tolerate a compromised figure seeking to undermine the Public Protector’s Office. Adv. Mkhwebane can and will be removed, in terms of Section 194 of the Constitution, and we look forward to making our case for her removal in committee.

BOKAMOSO | State capture: SA must build a culture of individual accountability

Strong institutions require individual accountability, and they require strong individuals who can effect accountability. Ask KPMG, which is now under heavy fire for enabling and benefitting from state capture. They’ve learnt this lesson, but it may be too late. Their formal systems were slow to hold individual decision makers responsible, and now the entire organisation is at risk. At best it will suffer major reputational damage. At worst, an outraged (and accountability-hungry) public will mete out an inappropriately severe punishment, forcing clients to dump KPMG, causing the entire organisation to collapse like the Gupta’s PR firm, Bell Pottinger, did last week.
Without doubt, all those decision makers at KPMG who were responsible for enabling or turning a blind eye to Zupta state capture must be held to account and criminal charges should be pursued against them. And KPMG must accede to Gordhan’s request for full disclosure of KPMG’s role. But to shut down the whole company is to wield a blunt instrument that is unlikely to achieve real justice. The fact is, when leaders are able to evade accountability, it puts their whole organisation or institution at risk. And this is exactly what is playing out in our democracy. We have failed to hold individual political leaders responsible.
All evidence – and there is plenty to go by in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report State of Capture and in the 200 000 GuptaLeaks emails – points to Zuma, his son Duduzane, the Guptas and cabinet ministers Malusi Gigaba, Mosebenzi Zwane, and Lynne Brown as the main state capture players. And yet not a single prosecution has been launched.
The DA has laid criminal charges against all the main state capture players, but SAPS, the Hawks, and the NPA have done nothing at all. If the DA were in power, a Special Investigating Unit would have been launched. Above all others, the duty to bring these perpetrators to book rests with NPA head Shaun Abrahams, who is nowhere to be seen. He has failed us immeasurably.
And the National Assembly has failed in its constitutional duty to hold these individuals to account. The ANC rejected the DA’s request for an ad hoc committee to investigate all the allegations. Instead, in June 2017, four Parliamentary Portfolio Committees – Public Enterprises, Home Affairs, Public Service and Administration and Mineral Resources – were tasked with “urgently” probing allegations. These have proceeded at a snail’s pace. Only the Public Enterprises Committee has begun to hold hearings. Lynne Brown stated in that committee that there was nothing untoward between Trillian and Eskom. And yet since then, much incriminating evidence has come to light. We have referred Brown to the Ethics Committee for misleading the public.
Three months have passed, yet the other three committees have failed to summon a single minister. Not even Malusi Gigaba who, as Minister of Home Affairs, used his personal discretion to grant naturalised citizenship to the Guptas, enabling them to classify as BEE recipients and access tenders. Bizarrely, the Director General has been suspended for this decision, even though he opposed it.
This is a massive indictment on Parliament, and an indication of just how weak the institution has become – because the ANC believes it is untouchable electorally. Section 92 of the Constitution states that: Members of the Cabinet are accountable collectively and individually to Parliament for the exercise of their powers and the performance of their functions. Parliament needs to find and use its teeth. It must establish a properly resourced ad hoc committee to undertake a thorough, holistic investigation. And then it must advise the President that these ministers are unfit to hold office.
Last week, the DA was in court to try to force the President to abide by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s instruction to him to establish a judicial inquiry into state capture, led by a judge appointed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. The DA was also in court last week to try to force the NPA to prosecute the President on 783 counts of corruption. We await rulings on both these cases. Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is failing South Africa too. Her investigation of these ministers should be an urgent priority for her office.
The DA believes strongly in individual accountability. (We have just fired a councillor in Johannesburg, for wrongdoing.) The ANC eschews individual responsibility in favour of the collective. They have consistently protected guilty individuals and so they, as a collective, must take responsibility. The entire organisation deserves to be rejected by the electorate. Whereas the majority of KPMG’s employees played no part whatsoever in enabling Zupta state capture, the same cannot be said of the ANC. Dr Makhosi Khoza, who resigned from the ANC yesterday, said in her resignation speech:
If we were to prosecute all known corrupt cases including those implicated in the Gupta e-mails‚ almost 80–90% of the ANC leadership at all levels of government would have to replace their shiny tailored suites and pretty dresses with orange overalls.
Corruption is not a victimless crime as our President would have us believe. On the contrary, it is a crime against every single South African, and we are all very much the poorer for it. Many will be poorer still if the Zuptas succeed in capturing their next target for corruption: the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages the Government Employees’ Pension Fund. This week, Zupta cronies tried unsuccessfully to remove PIC chief executive, Dan Matjila. They will not give up easily. And nor should South Africans. As the KPMG affair has shown: ultimately, the power lies with the people. We must use it wisely.

DA to begin removal proceedings against Public Protector

The revelations that Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, first consulted President Jacob Zuma’s legal advisors and discussed further recommendations not included in her initial report into the ABSA/Bankorp bailout, casts serious doubt as to her independence.
This information has been revealed in annexures to the supplementary affidavit filed by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and clearly demonstrates that Mkhwebane does not operate in an impartial manner but rather seems to take her orders from the Union Buildings.
The DA will, therefore, write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to request that this matter is dealt with by the relevant Portfolio Committee, in terms of Rule 337 and 338 of the National Assembly Rules.
Specifically, the DA in the Committee will call for removal proceedings to be initiated urgently. In terms of Section 194 of the Constitution, the Portfolio Committee has the power to make a finding of “misconduct, incapacity, or incompetence” against the Public Protector. Thereafter, the National Assembly must adopt a resolution calling for removal, which requires a two-thirds majority.
The DA has, from the get go, had serious doubts as to Mkhwebane’s suitability for the vital role of Public Protector. She has confirmed these doubts numerous times, including:

  • When she failed to act when President Jacob Zuma was trying to interdict the release of the State Capture report last year, which gave the first inkling of her bias;
  • When she jumped to the defence of the President by laying criminal charges against former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, for releasing the transcript of her interview with the President;
  • When she has been sitting on key Gupta-related investigations for months; and
  • When she admitted to stepping outside of her mandate by recommending changing the Constitution regarding the mandate of the SARB, showing that she has very poor understanding of her own powers and the limits thereof.

The Public Protector is Constitutionally mandated to investigate misconduct by government departments and entities and to protect the public’s interest. Clearly, Mkhwebane is acting in the interest of the already captured Number 1 and must be removed before she is allowed to compromise the once proud office any further.