Coligny: Vigilantism is not justice

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply concerned by reports of groups of citizens arming themselves in Coligny. Vigilantism, no matter how angry and emotional people may be, is never an appropriate response in our Constitutional Democracy. We are a nation of laws, and the law will deliver justice to those who have been aggrieved.
As the DA, we call upon the community of Coligny to allow the criminal and legal systems to take their course in order to ensure justice for the late 16 year old Faki Mosweu. The loss of a young life under unexplained circumstances is never easy and will always elicit strong emotions. That said, the destruction of property, racism and physical attacks are not justice.
I have this morning spoken with Acting National Police Commissioner, General Khomotso Phahlane, and have asked him to ensure that the Police Officers deployed to the area conduct their duties within the parameters of the law to ensure the safety of life and property. Furthermore, those found to be acting unlawfully must be apprehended. General Phahlane has stressed that there is a separate criminal element that has taken advantage of the situation in Coligny.
This mobilization and counter mobilization of private citizens must stop. It is irresponsible and dangerous for residents of Coligny to attempt to arm themselves and encourage others to join them with their weapons. With just one spark, this course of action could lead to a major violent incident, which no democratic citizen wants to see.
The DA strongly condemns those on social media and in the community who use racism to register their anger. We cannot allow our humanity to be stripped in the pursuit of real justice.
At a time like this when leadership is desperately required, President Zuma’s silence is deafening. It is shameful that President Zuma has thus far failed to speak out or take any action in response to this unfolding crisis.
It is also reckless of some political leaders and community leaders to fuel tensions by supporting violent mobilization as an act of justice. The DA condemns such irresponsible and divisive behaviour by political leaders in the strongest possible terms.
As political leaders in a constitutional democracy, it is incumbent on us to call for calm and to ask all members of the Coligny community to come together and reject any idea of violent reprisal. This is not how we settle disputes and seek real justice.

Nkandla scandal: DA to request NPA record of decision to not prosecute Public Works officials

A reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed that National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) chose not to pursue criminal charges against three officials involved in the Nkandla scandal despite the fact that criminal action was recommended by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
The DA will therefore write to the NPA to ask for the record of decision not to criminally prosecute the three officials.
It appears that the NPA has let the three officials off the hook.
Aside from the fact that we believe that President Zuma holds ultimate responsibility for the exorbitant and unjustifiable upgrades to his Nkandla residence, which he personally benefitted from, the DA also believes that those officials who were involved must be held to account.
Interestingly, a similar reply revealed that during the period from 1 April 2012 to March 2017, six of the twelve officials facing disciplinary action as a result of the Nkandla project received performance bonuses collectively amounting to R222 743.35.
Corruption is the enemy of good governance that makes the elite wealthier at the expense of the poor and unemployed.
We will not rest until all those connected to corruption and any abuse of the public purse are held to the highest account.

Attacks on journalists at protests must end

The DA strongly condemns the recent acts of violence against journalists covering protests action across the country and calls on protestors to not resort to violent ends to voice their frustrations.
Yesterday, journalists were forced to flee from the protests in Vuwani, after six vehicles, including two SABC vans, were damaged after protestors pelted stones at them.
Today, another journalist was yet again caught in the crossfire, when he was attacked in Coligny, as he was filming a house that had been burned.
The DA urgently calls on the police to better protect journalists against acts of violence directed at them. Equally, protests must never include attacks on journalists, who are doing their jobs to cover protest actions.
South Africa is a democratic country where citizens may exercise their Constitutional right to protest, however, those who protest must do so peacefully.
The media play an important role in covering the events on the ground and reporting on these protests, and we urge protesters to not misplace their frustrations with the government on journalists.
Journalists have the unnerving task of often going into volatile conditions in order to educate and inform the rest of the country. The DA commends all the brave and fearless journalists who go out every day in pursuit of the truth.

Booing in Vuwani a further sign of no-confidence in ANC government

The fact that COGTA Minister, Des Van Rooyen, was booed by the crowd at Vuwani yesterday is yet another sign of the sheer lack of confidence, by the people of South Africa, in the ANC government.
The list of places in South Africa where ANC leaders and officials are no longer welcome to speak is growing rapidly. Continued booing highlights the waning legitimacy of Jacob Zuma’s ANC government.
President Zuma once again evaded accountability yesterday when he refused to answer the concerns of the Vuwani residents. His refusal to address a crowd that may have been hostile, is a serious failure of leadership and undermines accountable governance. The President of the Republic cannot pick and choose only the most receptive crowds to address.
The crisis in Vuwani has caused protracted and damaging protests and violence since a decision was taken in the Vhembe district before the 2016 municipal election for Malamulele and Vuwani to be amalgamated into a single municipality. The decision was taken without the people being consulted in a process that was described as flawed from the outset, and still to this day the people are not being taken into the confidence of government.
The ultimate sign of the failure of the amalgamation project is that the Vhembe district municipality has now been instructed to take over the delivery of services from the amalgamated local municipality. This is evidence of a failed and politically-motivated demarcation exercise.
There is no purpose of paying for local councillors and administrative officials in LIM345 Local Municipality, if all services are to be provided by Vhembe District Municipality.
Following from yesterday’s aborted public meeting in Vuwani, the DA will request that Minister Van Rooyen brief Parliament’s COGTA committee on this failed event, where we will question Van Rooyen on the announced plan for how Vhembe District Municipality will be able to provide services to the people of Vuwani. This appears to be an unprecedented action. A local government cannot simply be absolved of its duties to deliver services.
For this reason, the DA in Limpopo has requested access to the documents and the reasons for absolving the newly amalgamated LIM345 Local Municipality from its duties. I support this call by DA Limpopo Leader Jacques Smalle.
The DA will press the Minister in Parliament to ensure that proper services reach the people of Vuwani.
It is clear that people are fed up with the ANC in Vuwani.
It is time for the ANC, from Jacob Zuma and Des Van Rooyen, to the entire Executive, to admit that it is perpetuating the crisis in Vuwani, rather than solving it.
The people demand better than what the ANC government is doing in Vuwani.

DA submits PAIA application for new Vuwani service delivery plan

The DA has filed a Promotion of Access to Information (PAIA) application at the Department of Cooperative Governance for all documents that informed the decision that Vuwani will in the interim receive basic services from Vhembe District Municipality, instead of the LIM 345 local municipality.
We support all efforts to bring services to Vuwani, but it appears that Minister Des van Rooyen and President Jacob Zuma have circumvented the law and the constitution in making this decision.
The decision was taken after President Jacob Zuma , Vha Venda King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana and other stakeholders held multilateral engagements to ease the increased tension in the area. President Zuma then refused to address the residents of Vuwani, as he dodged accountability.
However, in terms of Schedule 4 A and 5 B of the Constitution and the roles and responsibilities of the three spheres of government, Minister van Rooyen cannot simply make an announcement that basic services to Vuwani will now be delivered by Vhembe District. This would require a stringent due process, and would necessitate major redesign of Vhembe District’s capacity and a very large injection of money.
Not only did Minister van Rooyen disregard The Constitution by being a law unto himself in making this announcemnet, his unprocedural actions may spark future violence and prolong the shutdown and instability in the area, because Vhembe is not ready to start delivering on his unlawful promise.
If a local municipality is incapable of delivering basic services, the only constitutional option is for the provincial executive to intervene by placing LIM 345 under a Section 139(2) administration or a Section 154 intervention requesting provincial or national assistance.
Vhembe District municipality received a disclaimer from the Auditor General in the previous financial year for maladministration, mismanagement and almost half a billion rand in irregular, fruitless and wasteful and unauthorised expenditure and we are concerned that the added responsibilities will compound the financial irregularities.
We urge the department to provide the documents that informed this decision and ensure that the Constitution and other regulations are respected before decisions are imposed on the residents of Vuwani without following due process.

Motsoaledi confirms that Gauteng kept Esidimeni details from National Government: A mortal failure of cooperative governance

In response to a DA parliamentary question Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi admitted that the Gauteng Department of Health failed to inform the National Health Department of their intentions to move mental health patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to alternative facilities.
According to the response, Minister Motsloaledi only learned about the Gauteng Department of Health’s plans when “section 27, on behalf of South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SAGAD), wrote to the national Department of Health, threatening to take the Gauteng department of Health to court”.
Minister Motsoaledi’s admission should now move him to support the DA’s call for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
It has been almost three months since DA Leader Mmusi Maimane wrote to President Jacob Zuma to launch a Judicial Commission of Inquiry in terms of Section 84 (2) (f) of the Constitution, and yet President Zuma has done nothing to start implementing any accountability measures for Esidimeni.
The Life Esidimeni victims deserve justice and Motsoaledi should use his position in government to motivate for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry. Motsoaledi must press the President for a full-scale Judicial Commission of Inquiry, as further details of gross negligence, misconduct and misleading actions emerge.
There are still too many unanswered questions, and the DA believes that the Gauteng government must be held to account for their reckless decision that cost more than 100 mental health patients their lives.

Baleka Mbete should publically apologise for funeral comments

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, should issue a public apology for comments made on 6 May at the funeral of the school pupils who were so tragically killed in a minibus taxi accident in Mpumalanga.
Mbete’s shameless politicking at the funeral of children is simply indefensible. Furthermore, doing so in the name of Parliament is opportunistic and reprehensible. As the NA Speaker and representative of Parliament, Mbete speaks on behalf of a multi-party institution, not just the ANC. As the Chairperson of the ANC, Mbete may speak her mind, but when she represents Parliament she is held to a far higher standard.
Mbete should be condemned for encouraging children to not speak out about “challenges at home”. In a country that experiences high levels of abuse against women and children, specifically, it is irresponsible for leaders to tell children to “not go outside and [complain]” but instead to “get inside the house and [resolve matters as a family]”.
It is perhaps unsurprising that Mbete would encourage people to not speak out at a time when South Africans are finding their voices and saying ‘enough’ to this government. These organic protests are not just “noise” as Mbete calls them.
The DA disagrees with Mbete and refuses to denigrate those who choose to exercise their democratic rights. South Africans should be encouraged to speak out. Children should not be told to stay silent. The price of silence in South Africa will be more abuse of power, corruption, unbridled state capture and selling out our children’s futures.

DA calls for calm and unity in Coligny after bail decision

The DA has confirmed that violence has once again erupted in Coligny following the news that the court granted bail to the two men arrested for the alleged killing of Matlhomola Moshoeu (16) in Coligny. A residential house has been set alight, and there is mass protest action on the streets of Coligny.
The DA urges the community of Coligny to remain calm and to refrain from violence. We understand that the death of Moshoeu has deeply hurt the community, but violence will never be the solution to solve our problems. We feel the pain of losing a child.
We ask the community not to take the law into their own hands and to allow the courts to dispense justice.
If the two men are found guilty of the killing of Moshoeu, they must face the full might of the law. The alleged circumstances around the death of this young child are horrifying.
But we cannot allow our society to divide along racial lines, in expressing anger for this crime. We must come together to solve our problems. We reject the hateful comments of Premier Supra Mahumapelo yesterday who tried to divide the people of the North West on racial lines. Mahumapelo must refrain from this type of politicking.
The DA will continue to closely monitor the situation in Coligny. We expect that the SAPS will properly prevent violence in the area, and will use commensurate measures to avoid damage and destruction.
As South Africans, we must condemn all actions and attitudes that divide us as a nation.

DA to report ANC MP to Ethics Committee for failure to declare consultancy agreement

The DA will be reporting ANC MP Mnyamezeli Booi to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests for failing to declare remuneration he received in terms of a consultancy agreement entered into with Lurco Coal (Pty) Ltd in November 2015.
In terms of this agreement, Booi was appointed as a “consultant” by Lurco Coal, to “consult with and advise the company, on a non-exclusive basis”; however, this is not reflected in his 2016 Register of Members’ Interests.
By not declaring this agreement, Booi has completely disregarded the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interest for Assembly and Permanent Council Members.
Clause 4.1.1 of the Code of Ethical Conduct requires members to abide by the principles, rules and obligations of the Code, while clause 7.1. forbids members to undertake remunerated employment outside of Parliament without obtaining the requisite permission in terms of clauses 7.2 and 7.3. Furthermore, clause 9.3.4 of the Code, specifically outlines that “consultancies” are considered interests that must be disclosed.
The failure to declare the consulting contract and any subsequent payments he received from Lurco Coal is, therefore, in contravention of clauses 4.1, 7.1 and 9.3.4 of the Code of Ethical Conduct.
The DA is also concerned what the effects of this consulting may have been. The DA will be submitting further questions about any contracts or tenders that Lurco Coal may have had with government or state-owned enterprises. The public should know whether any exist and whether they were obtained through Booi’s intervention.
Members of Parliament are public representatives and should be held to account, it is, therefore, imperative that the Ethics Committee investigate this matter in order to ensure that Booi is held accountable for failing to disclose his interests.

DA submits PAIA application for Zuma energy adviser’s R149m Eskom contract

The DA will today submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to gain access to tender documents which resulted in President Jacob Zuma’s energy adviser, Silas Zimu, receiving a R149 million contract from Eskom.
The DA is deeply concerned at media reports today that seven months after Silas Zimu’s appointment as Zuma’s adviser on energy, Cape Gate Marepha, a company at which he is a nonexecutive director, was awarded a contract to supply Eskom with wiring.
It is shocking that either Zimu, as a political adviser to the President, failed to declare his interests, or that President Zuma thought it acceptable to keep an advisor who simultaneously profits from public spending in the energy sector.
The DA will therefore also put in parliamentary questions to President Zuma on his knowledge of Zimu’s business interests, specifically which interests were declared to the President and which were not.
The DA believes that Eskom must answer about Zimu’s direct conflict of interests and must do so by supplying the full documentary record of the tender decision. We will especially be interested to see to what extent Zimu’s association with the President was documented.
Ultimately this is a further damning issue that Eskom must come clean on.  Recent scandals include Eskom CEO Matshela Koko and the alleged awarding of tenders worth R1 billion to Impulse International, a company of which his step-daughter is a Director.
The reputation of Eskom is under the most enormous cloud, causing investment uncertainty. Instead of growing jobs, SOEs like Eskom are frightening investment away.
Eskom is fast building on its reputation from national load-shedder, to national job-shedder.