Defense Minister must brief Parliament on Gupta access to classified military information

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Defence Committee to request that the Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, urgently brief the committee on how the Gupta family gained access to classified military information for their Sun City wedding in 2013.
The Minister must appear before Parliament without any delay when Parliament resumes its business.
According to reports today, classified information such as dissemination maps and aviation charts of the Waterkloof air force base were sent to the Gupta family over insecure email systems, ahead of the Sun City wedding.
If these allegations are true, the Gupta family and their associates were potentially in contravention of the Defence Act, South African Revenue Service Act and the Customs and Excise Act, as they failed to request or receive any approval from the South African Civil Aviation Authority, the defence force and SARS.
The extent of the Guptas’ web of corruption is becoming increasingly evident. Not only have they captured and corrupted the ANC, they have captured our entire government including our military services to serve their interests.
Minister Mapisa-Nqakula must come before Parliament to explain this outrageous access the Guptas has had to our country’s military services.
The DA will continue to explore every possible avenue to bring an end to the utter corruption of the Guptas and their stooges.

Minister Mbalula must update the nation about Hawks burglary and Kgamanyane allegations

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, to request that the Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, urgently provide the Committee with a detailed presentation regarding matters of national importance that have not been satisfactorily addressed by the Minister to date. This presentation must be prioritised as soon as Parliament resumes its business next month.
This presentation must specifically include the progress of the investigation into the break-in at the Hawks offices as well as allegations that former acting IPID Head, Israel Kgamanyane, has refused to produce a Handover Report on his tenure as Head of the Directorate, to IPID Executive Director, Robert McBride.
The Minister must give a full presentation on the progress of the investigation into the burglary at the Hawks offices in Pretoria. Thus far, the Minister has only promised to arrest the perpetrators, to no avail.
The Minister must also update the Committee on reports alleging Israel Kgamanyane’s refusal to submit to Robert McBride handover report in order to understand the “rationale for the numerous transfers, suspensions and disciplinary actions against IPID staff” during the period of McBride’s suspension.
The Police Portfolio Committee received direct testimonial in a recent meeting about this refusal by Kgamanyane to submit a handover report after he was swiftly and inexplicably transferred from the IPID to the Hawks by the highly compromised former Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko.
It is unacceptable that Kgamanyane has seemingly been allowed to get away with this blatant disregard for due process. The Minister must now update the Committee on what he plans to do about Kgamanyane refusing to hand over the report to McBride.
Minister Mbalula must provide clear and decisive leadership on this matter to foster competent management in the police services, which will promote more effective law enforcement to reduce crime and ensure that South Africans are safe.
The DA will not sit by and watch as the Minister grandstands on social media. He must update the nation on these important issues where he can be held to account, in Parliament.

DA welcomes tabling of SAHRC report into KZN oncology crisis before Parliament

The South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) damning report containing findings on the state of health services in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has been tabled in Parliament for the Portfolio Committee on Health to scrutinise. The DA will do everything possible during this process to ensure that justice is served for the gross failures which this report exposes.
In 2016, my colleague, Dr Imran Keeka MPL , the DA KZN Spokesperson on Health, lodged a formal complaint with the SAHRC based on allegations that the KZN Health Department was violating the rights of cancer patients, after it came to light that cancer patients did not have access to proper healthcare services; including severe shortages of staff and a lack of functional health technology machines for screening, diagnosing and treating cancer at KZN hospitals.
The lack of services to cancer patients in the province has potentially resulted in the deaths of no less than 300 cancer patients. The report notes that the “Department advised that the average waiting period for a patient to be seen by an oncologist is five months whereas those waiting to receive radiotherapy usually wait 8 months”. This is akin to a death sentence.
Health officials were also found to “have violated the rights of the patients with cancer at the Addington and IALC Hospitals to have access to health care services as a result of their failure to comply with applicable norms and standards set out in legislation and policies”.
Moreover, the SAHRC report found that there was a failure to:

  • evaluate and identify the need for functional equipment;
  • procure, maintain and put in place adequate functional equipment;
  • provide access to adequate oncology services also violate the rights to human dignity and life of the affected patients; and
  •  monitor and evaluate the health needs of oncology patients in the province.

The DA will now scrutinise this report in order to ensure that all those who are responsible for the KwaZulu-Natal oncology crisis is held to account. Their failures were a violation of the rights to human dignity and life of the affected patients.
To date, there has been very little justice for those who lost their lives as a result of the gross negligence of local health officials – despite the binding recommendations in the SAHRC report, and patients living with cancer in KZN continue to face an uncertain treatment future.
It is now up to Parliament to perform in its mandate and hold the MEC, Provincial Health Department and the National Health Department accountable for their utter failure.
The DA will not rest until SAHRC’s recommendations are fully implemented.
Tomorrow, Dr Keeka and I will conduct an oversight visit to the affected Hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal.
Details of the visit are as follows:
Date: Monday, 7 July 2017
Time: 10:00
Venue: Addington Hospital, later proceeding to the Inkosi Abert Luthuli Central Hospital at 12:30.

SAA is Robbing South Africans of Basic Services

South African Airways’ recent R2,2 billion bailout from National Treasury is just one of many, with the struggling airline having been given billions of rands in both bailouts and guarantees over the last number of years.
 

BOKAMOSO | The ANC shows once again that it has no idea how to create jobs

The part of my job I love the most is meeting hundreds and thousands of South Africans on my travels across the length and breadth of the country. Talking with voters in their homes and communities gives me a far better insight into what is really happening in South Africa, beyond what the headlines and statistics tell us. We are told that the economy has just slipped into recession, with a 0,7% contraction, but that we should still grow by around 1% this year. That is what we’re told. But the reality on the ground is plain to see: life is getting much, much harder for everyone. Jobs are even scarcer, many of those who have jobs are at risk of losing them, and groceries, transport, airtime and electricity are all getting much more expensive.

This is the human reality of the economic crisis we face. It is much more important than the statistics.

And the truth is: there is absolutely no good reason for us to be facing this crisis. It is entirely self-inflicted and avoidable.

It is caused by a governing party that is systematically dismantling the ability of the state to deliver to the poor and invest in the economy, for the purpose of funnelling resources to cronies and friends. Let’s not mince our words: the ANC has turned South Africa into a kleptocracy – the “purpose” of the state is theft, and theft on a colossal scale. Before the Gupta email leaks, we had only an inkling of how widespread and deeply entrenched the corruption was. Now we know a lot more – and it is staggering.

Under Jacob Zuma, the ANC has destroyed the prosecution services and the police, has tried to buy the free media, and has neutered Parliament. In the mould of Russia’s Putin or Turkey’s Erdogan, Zuma has been willing to manipulate any institution of state for his own ends, (most recently, the intelligence services) and deliberately sow division and stoke racial tension in a sick diversion. Those institutions that resist come under siege attack until they yield or break: the Public Protector, the Reserve Bank, and National Treasury. All the while the ANC has protected him, and still do so.

Knowing this, as we all now do, it was strange to see that anyone expected the ANC’s National Policy Conference, which ended this week, to focus on how to seriously resolve our economic crisis and get the economy growing again. Why would it? That is not the focus of the ANC. Far from a serious discussion about how to achieve real economic reform and build social consensus, the Conference discussed new ways of diverting the country’s attention away from the crisis.

There was not a single new policy idea discussed to improve consumer and business confidence, increase investment or savings, fix basic education to address the skills gap, or support entrepreneurship. No honest discussion about state capture and corruption and how to fight it. Restore investor confidence and avoid a credit rating downgrade? No, not that either.

In place of real reform, the “big ideas” from the Conference were two: destroy the independence of the Reserve Bank, and expropriate land without compensation. These two ideas are so profoundly destructive that their mere mention caused a market tremor. Any further action to implement them could only be described as suicide.

They are, however, a useful distraction for the ANC from the core issue: a failing economy, a government that is broken and captured, and 9 million unemployed South Africans. Every distraction that can be dreamt up to get our attention off the real crisis, will be used by the ANC in the months ahead. Their Bell Pottinger strategy was exposed and has backfired spectacularly. Don’t for a minute think they will give up there and concede.

The simple truth is this. The ANC does not have any plan to get our economy growing and create jobs. The do not have a plan to seriously tackle corruption and state capture. They do not have a plan to improve the quality of basic education. They do not have a plan for the country. The National Policy Conference was a proxy for the fight for resources and control of the money flow. That is the only plan the ANC cares about now.

There are two options for the ANC: it can either be a maturing political party which realises that losing elections is part of a proper democracy, or it can continue to be just a liberation movement, in perpetual enforcement of the struggle, demonizing any democratic advances as ‘regime change’. But it cannot be both.

South Africa is in a hole now. But we can get out of it. I believe in the incredible potential of our country and our people. We can dig ourselves out, like we’ve done before. It will take absolute unity of purpose and a national consensus on the need to grow the economy and create jobs. It will require taking difficult decisions.

The 2019 election will be a choice of alternative visions for the country. We will proudly present a positive and constructive manifesto to build a better South Africa for all. Our proposals are aimed at increasing the freedom that South Africans enjoy to achieve a life they value, at making South Africa a fairer society that addresses the injustices of our past, and one which extends equal opportunities to all.

 

 

ANC abusing Parliament to defend its indefensible Al Bashir actions

The DA is appalled by how official Parliament communication is being abused in an attempt to mitigate the negative publicity generated by the latest court ruling against the ANC-led government’s failure to uphold the Rule of Law and arrest Al Bashir in 2015.
Following the unanimous ruling by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that South Africa had failed in its duty to arrest Omar Al Bashir in June 2015, the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations took it upon himself to create the impression that Parliament supports the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute. It does not.
He states that “[i]f this ruling is insistent that South Africa ought to have arrested the president of Sudan, then that is justification enough for the South African government to leave the ICC as a matter of urgency.”
The Chairperson cannot purport to speak on behalf of his committee. It is a multi-party forum and such pronouncements can only be made once resolutions have actually been taken by the committee. The ICC court ruling has not been brought to Parliament and as such these statements are wholly false.
The government suffered an embarrassing defeat in March 2017 when the North Gauteng High Court found that Cabinet’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute was unconstitutional, irrational and procedurally flawed. The Court also found that government unlawfully bypassed Parliament who had ratified the treaty and passed it into law.
It is clear that the ANC has strayed completely from the human rights based foreign policy of Mandela. It is a party committed to the aiding and abetting of criminals, not one of justice and law.
This outrageous abuse of the Parliamentary Communication Services (PCS) is only the latest instance of how the politicisation and capture of the service is rendering it a mouthpiece of the ANC-led government and how Parliament is being undermined and misrepresented.
It is another illustration of why the appointment of Moloto Mothapo to head the PCS was a shameless attempt to capture Parliamentary communications and distort the work done by the Legislature.
With the ANC in terminal decline and battered by unending scandals, every attempt is being made to stem the tide of negative publicity. The ANC is now attempting to use Parliament to deflect and divert attention away from its rapid degeneration.

DA welcomes Bell Pottinger apology, but it is not enough


The DA welcomes Bell Pottinger’s apology issued in a statement this evening and the dismissal of key employees and partners who were at the forefront of the company’s racially divisive campaign in South Africa on behalf of the Guptas and President Zuma.
However, this is not enough.
This apology comes at the back of continued pressure from the DA by reporting the company to UK-based regulatory bodies for their role in initiating campaigns to stir racial tensions in South Africa.
If this apology was to be taken seriously, the company would fully disclose all the dealings with the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma.
More pertinently, they would commit to using all profits obtained from Gupta business deals to investing in building schools or any developmental non-government organizations in South Africa.
Until then, their apology is nothing but a PR-stunt brought on by the public pressure applied by the DA and the South African public.
We intend on still pursuing the matter with the PCRA and expect that Bell Pottinger reverts within 5 days as announced in our statement this morning

ICC Ruling an indictment on ANC Government

Today’s unanimous ruling by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that South Africa had the duty to arrest Omar Al Bashir in June 2015 and failed to adhere to the Rome Statute and the Court’s ruling by not arresting Al Bashir is an indictment on the ANC-led government.
This judgement reiterates what the DA has long held – that the actions of the ANC-led government in June 2015 showed a disregard for the Rule of Law and for the principle of justice.
The ICC ruled further in today’s judgement that:
• The South African government’s argument of “diplomatic immunity” of sitting heads of state was not valid;
• Al Bashir was NOT covered by diplomatic immunity in South Africa for the AU summit in June 2015;
• South Africa was not entitled to unilaterally not comply with the court’s decision to arrest and surrender him to the court; and
• South Africa had no right to dispense of its duties in terms of the Rome Statute.
This ruling upholds the ruling of our domestic courts on this matter and is thus to be welcomed whole-heartedly.
It is however of grave concern that the ANC remains committed to the stance of withdrawing from the ICC, having reiterated this sentiment at its policy conference.
The ANC seems intent on relegating South Africa to the status of a scumbag nation which protects the law-breakers and corruptors of this world.
Ironically, while South Africa tried to lead an African wide revolt against the ICC, only Burundi and Gambia followed in our footsteps, and even then, Gambia reversed their withdrawal earlier this year.
The DA will continue to do everything possible to ensure that our country remains a democracy where the Rule of Law is sovereign – the days of protection for those close to Zuma and the ANC, be they Al Bashir or the Gupta family, are numbered.
Today’s ruling is another nail in the ANC’s coffin and is another reason why people across South Africa are turning their support towards the DA in numbers.

DA welcomes Public Service Commission’s investigation into Mdluli

The DA welcomes the decision by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to investigate our complaint about the delay in the finalisation of the disciplinary process against suspended Head of Crime Intelligence, Richard Mdluli, and the reasons for the continued precautionary suspension.
Mduli’s suspension has been drawn out for more than six years now and Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, has not provided any meaningful updates on the progress of the disciplinary process to date. This is completely unacceptable and the decision by the PSC to investigate the DA’s complaint is therefore all the more imperative.
Worse yet, it was just last week that a reply to a DA Parliamentary Question revealed that ‘couch potato’ Mdluli netted R8.3 million between 8 May 2011 and 30 April 2017 for being homebound while on suspension and thus while in no way helping combat crime in South Africa. It is unconscionable that this lucrative amount included a “service bonus” of more than R400 000.
Mdluli’s disciplinary proceedings have dragged on for way too long and do not represent an efficient public service administration. The DA hopes the PSC investigation will assist the South African Police Service (SAPS) in urgently speeding up and finalising its disciplinary process so that no more public money is flagrantly squandered.
Ordinary police officers face a chronic lack of resources to fight crime on a daily basis yet millions of rands of the public purse have been wasted on paying one highly connected individual, who was not fit for his job from the outset, to do absolutely nothing. This is simply not good enough.
The DA looks forward to being kept abreast of developments by the PSC regarding its investigation into the matter.

Bell Pottinger now has 5 days to respond to international PR body, following DA’s complaint

The DA can confirm that Bell Pottinger has until Thursday, 13 July 2017, to respond to the complaint the DA lodged with the UK-based Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) regarding allegations that it stoked racial hatred in South Africa.
This was confirmed to the DA by the PRCA late yesterday afternoon.
Specifically, Bell Pottinger must submit written observations in light of the clauses of the PRCA’s Professional Charter and Code of Conduct which the DA alleges that the PR firm violated.
On the back of the leaked Gupta emails, which implicate a number of Bell Pottinger executives, the PR firm appears to have violated, among others, clause 4 of the PRCA’s Charter, which states that, “[a] member is required to take all reasonable care that professional duties are conducted without causing offence on the grounds of gender, race, religion, disability or any other form of discrimination or unacceptable reference”.
The DA welcomes the PRCA’s swift correspondence regarding this matter.
The ball is now in Bell Pottinger’s court to respond to our complaint before the 5-day deadline expires.
The work Bell Pottinger has done for the Guptas and Zumas has had a damaging effect on our country and they must face the consequences of their actions.