Staggering state sponsorship in the amount of R13.9 million will have to be investigated

The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, has committed to holding the fiscal line in South Africa.
However, a series of parliamentary questions submitted to all national departments reveals that a staggering R 13 864 380 has been spent on “sponsorships” of various institutions between 2014 and 2017.
 
The latest reply to parliamentary questions reveals, for example, that various state-owned companies transferred R 74 563 to the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut, R3 725 624 to the South African Chamber of Commerce and R 1 151 393 to the Black Management Forum.
 
The total “sponsorship” so far is as follows: Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (R 74 563); South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (R 3 725 624), Black Management Forum (R1 151 393), Black Business Council (R 8 050 000), Business Unity South Africa (R 22 800) and the Progressive Business Forum (R 840 000).
 
And the biggest “sponsors” so far are as follows:  Department of Trade and Industry (R 7 000 000), Transnet (R 5 059 002), Eskom (R 1 501 763), and Denel (R 303 615).
 
It boggles the mind that cash strapped state-owned enterprises would be allowed to use public funds to sponsor private institutions, especially when some of these institutions blatantly pursue a political agenda and bite the hand that feeds them.
 
I will therefore be requesting the Auditor-General, Kimi  Makwetu, to investigate this matter when we have all the facts, based on all the replies to my parliamentary questions on this subject in Parliament.

DA request postponement of MONC pending outcome of Constitutional Court application

The DA has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to request a postponement of the Motion of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma, scheduled for 18 April 2017, until such time as the Constitutional Court decides on whether the vote will be done by secret ballot.
It is important to allow the Constitutional Court the time to determine whether the motion can be conducted by secret ballot, as we believe that this would materially affect the outcome of the vote itself.
As soon as a decision is taken, the motion must be debated before the Assembly as soon as possible.
While this means that we have to wait a little longer to vote on the motion, I urge all South Africans to march together to the Union Buildings tomorrow and make it clear that we will no longer tolerate a President who is willing to put his own self-interest above the best interests of South Africa.

Details of Eskom settlement with Gupta-owned Tegeta must be made public

The DA will write to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, to request that the details of the Eskom penalty settlement with the Gupta-owned Tegeta Resources be made public. If Eskom has nothing to hide on the settlement, there should be no problem with releasing the full details of the settlement.
Eskom has settled rather quickly and out of court on the initial R2.5 billion penalty it placed on Optimum Coal Mine which is run by Tegeta.
While it was controlled by Glencore, the initial penalty placed on Optimum by Eskom was R2.5 billion. With the agreement to purchase the mine finally finishing in April 2016, the financial running of Optimum was taken over by Tegeta on 1 January 2016.
Once the deal had closed, Eskom supplied the firm with prepayments of R586 million to help with covering the R2.15 billion purchase, which is smaller than the actual penalty.
The former CEO of Eskom, Brian Molefe, was adamant that he was not going to negotiate with Glencore on the penalty but once Optimum had been bought by the Guptas, Eskom changed its attitude and a settlement was then discussed.
There are seemingly contradictory standards and preferential treatment accorded to dealing with the Guptas.
If Eskom has nothing to hide, then it must discuss the settlement. Otherwise it would be fair, based on previous experience, to question if the Guptas benefitted.
The DA will continue to push for the details of the settlement to be made public in the interest of transparency and openness.

Social Grants Crisis: Magwaza and Dangor affidavits strengthen calls for parliamentary inquiry

The DA will today submit the affidavits of former director-general of the Department of Social Development (DSD), Zane Dangor, and SASSA CEO Thokozani Magwaza to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Ms Rosemary Capa, to strengthen the call for a Parliamentary inquiry into the Social Grants Crisis.
The testimonies by Magwaza and Dangor, supports the DA’s long held belief that Minister Bathabile Dlamini deliberately bungled the process of procuring an alternative service provider to distribute the R10 billion in social grants payments, because she and her network of cronies could possibly benefit from the extension of the invalid CPS contract.
Yesterday, Zane Dangor filed an affidavit with the Constitutional Court in which he revealed that Dlamini “bypassed” departmental officials in order to ensure that CPS would continue to distribute social grants.
In fact, he stated that “parallel decision-making structures in the form of the work streams may have been deliberate to ensure a continued relationship with CPS under conditions favourable to CPS, through a self-created emergency”.
Dangor’s affidavit supports the affidavit filed by Thokozani Magwaza in which he suggested that Dlamini was determined to ensure that the distribution of social grants would not be institutionalised by SASSA, and “that since July 2015, the Minister had knowledge of inadequacies in SASSA to fulfil the objectives of the [Constitutional] court order”.
Dlamini has continued to dodge every effort to hold her accountable for the crisis she seemingly purposefully created and even survived Zuma’a midnight reshuffle despite her apparent failures. She has also attempted to lay the blame entirely at the feet of Magwaza and hardworking SASSA officials.
The DA believes that these affidavits strengthen the call for a full parliamentary inquiry into the debacle, which should be instituted to ensure that the Minister is held accountable for her reckless behaviour that threatened the only source of income for millions of poor South Africans.
Seeing that the President has completely failed to hold Dlamini to account, it is now up to Parliament to do so.

Delay in signing of renewables contracts a massive blow to investor confidence

The DA will write to the new Minister of Energy, Mmamoloko Kubayi, to call on her to urgently set a new deadline for the signing of the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) and to stick to the new deadline.
This comes after the deadline for Eskom to sign the remaining 37 renewable Independent Power Producers (IPPs) contracts, from the fourth bid window, lapsed today.
This finalisation has been delayed for months after former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe, expressed concern about making this commitment due to costs to the utility and its power surplus amid weak demand.
These concerns have been addressed by Treasury, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and the Department of Energy.
Former Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, stated that the impasse had been broken in February this year and stated that Eskom would sign off on the IPPs today, 11 April 2017.
Now there are further delays as Minister Kubayi has claimed that she would like to discuss the IPPs with the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lynne Brown, and other interested parties.
We believe that the delay is a further blow to investor confidence which the country can ill afford in light of the recent cabinet reshuffle and sovereign downgrades.
It is also convenient timing given the push for nuclear with the request for proposals being issued in mid-June.
With 13 000 jobs and R58 billion worth of investment waiting for signature, urgency is required in this consultative process by Minister Kubayi.
Having resulted in inward investment of R200 billion over the past six years, the DA is worried that the delay will negatively affect the IPPs and the successful bidders for the 2015 procured projects.
Renewable energy is a vital part of our future energy mix and should not be side-lined by potential patronage-linked motives around nuclear.
This is a test of the new minister’s commitment to renewable energy and whether the renewables programme has a future beyond the already allocated bid windows.

FSB to investigate possible “insider trading” linked to the firing of Pravin Gordhan

The Financial Services Board (FSB) has confirmed it will investigate possible “insider trading” linked to the firing of former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, following the cabinet reshuffle triggered by President Jacob Zuma.
There is widespread concern there may have been “insider trading”, and there is some circumstantial evidence to suggest there was “insider trading”, which may have materially benefiting someone with prior knowledge of the former finance minister’s firing.
I, therefore, wrote to the FSB on 31 March 2017 requesting an investigation into possible “insider trading” linked to the firing of the former finance minister.
On 03 April 2017 Advocate Dube Tshidi, the Chief Executive Officer of the FSB, replied that he had instructed Head of Enforcement, Mr. Gerhard van Deventer, “to look into the matter”.
The FSB’s enforcement division, which inter alia investigates alleged market abuse under the Financial Markets Act (No. 19 of 2012), will be responsible for the actual investigation, following a review of various trades being conducted by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
We do not have all the facts but we do know senior ANC alliance officials had prior knowledge of the former finance minister’s firing, immediately prior to the event.
Whatever the case we welcome the fact that the FSB have launched the investigation because we have to get to the bottom of whether there was an “insider trading” and whether anybody benefited materially from prior knowledge of the former finance minister’s firing.

Zuma’s comments on mass marches confirms that he does not care about the people

Hundreds of thousands of South Africans of all races took to the streets on Friday to express, with a united voice, one clear and unassailable message: Zuma must go.
President Zuma’s comments today slamming these mass marches across the country and claiming that they were inspired by racism clearly shows that he is out of touch with the South African public’s very valid anger over his destructive leadership.
As a direct result of Zuma’s midnight reshuffle, our country has been downgraded by two ratings agencies to junk status.
His irrational actions will have a massively negative effect on the poorest in our country who are mostly black. The fact that he cannot or chooses not to see this only confirms that Zuma governs like black lives do not matter.
His comments also undermine legitimate protests and exposes how little he cares about South Africans and their concerns.
If Zuma refuses to hear the people’s cries, we must make sure he does. We have the power to do so and must march en masse so that he will have no choice but to hear us.
The DA will join other political party’s on Wednesday, 12 April, to march to the Union Buildings and we invite all South African’s to join us so we can, in one and united voice, make it clear that enough is enough, Zuma must go.

The Democratic Alliance looks forward to participating in the National Day of Action

The Democratic Alliance will participate in the National Day of Action on Wednesday 12 April 2017, along with other opposition parties.
We encourage South Africans to participate and join the peaceful march to the Union Buildings in another powerful demonstration of national unity against Jacob Zuma’s destructive presidency.
Jacob Zuma has united South Africa against corruption and economic destruction, and in defence of the Constitution. The whole of our society has come together in a way not before seen since the dawn of democracy.
This crisis has presented an historic opportunity for different political parties to explore a future of closer co-operation. We must now build on this momentum and make sure that Jacob Zuma and the ANC, which continues to protect him, get the message: South Africa will not accept corruption and the destruction of jobs and livelihoods.
The National Day of Action is just 6 days before the Motion of No Confidence is debated in Parliament on Tuesday 18 April. It is an opportunity to show ANC MPs in Parliament that South Africa supports this Motion, and so should they.
The ANC has instructed their MPs to vote against the motion. But with sufficient public pressure, they will have to carefully consider their own votes. For that reason, this campaign is important.
We continue to encourage South Africans to make contact with ANC MPs to ask them to do the right thing and vote Jacob Zuma out. We also ask members of the public to become citizen co-sponsors of the Motion of No Confidence by signing the petition at noconfidence.co.za.
This week we will ramp up our door-to-door efforts in communities across the country to make sure that every South African understands what Jacob Zuma’s destructive presidency means for their daily lives, and that they know that the ANC has protected him again.
There are only two institutions that can remove Jacob Zuma. One is the ANC, the other is Parliament. South Africa expects its elected Members of Parliament to vote with their consciences and vote Jacob Zuma out.

Who removed Gupta’s armoured vehicle under the cover of darkness?

Reports indicate that the armoured military vehicle that was parked inside the Gupta’s Saxonwold compound last week was removed on the back of a flatbed truck last night under cover of darkness.
The DA will write to the Chairperson of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), Minister Jeff Radebe, to establish whether the government or a private company removed the armoured vehicle, and if it was a private company, where has the vehicle been moved to.
While it is illegal for ordinary citizens to own military technology, the Gupta family lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, confirmed that the armoured vehicle does belong to the Gupta’s and it is being used for “safety purposes”.
The DA has already requested clarity from Minister Radebe on whether the Gupta’s have permission to own the armoured military vehicle as it is deeply concerning that such technology is stationed at a private residence.
Should the Minister confirm that the Gupta’s did not have permission, they must be held accountable and the Minister must make clear what action will be taken.

Nkandla: DA request Tax Ombud investigation into SARS foot dragging on tax payable by President Zuma

Reports this weekend revealed that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) began an investigation into whether President Zuma owed fringe benefits tax on improvements to his Nkandla homestead as far back as 2014.
While President Zuma was forced to pay a measly R7,8 million towards the full cost of turning his Nkandla home into the palace that it is, the Income Tax Act defined fringe benefit tax plus penalties and interest that President Zuma is liable to pay is estimated at R63.9 million.
The DA will therefore write to the Tax Ombud, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, to request that he investigate whether SARS have dragged their feet with regards to raising the tax, penalties and interest that are payable by President Zuma on Nkandla.
In response to my written question, President Zuma evaded a direct response on whether he had declared fringe benefits tax on Nkandla by hiding behind the confidentiality of taxpayer tax matters.
Whilst the DA fully supports the principle of the confidentiality of tax matters, this confidentiality must not be abused by Tom Moyane to hide SARS failure to apply the Income Tax Act in relation to his long-standing and close friend, President Zuma.
By doing so, Tom Moyane could be complicit in tax evasion which is a criminal offence.
We believe that the 2014 SARS investigation into fringe benefits on Nkandla accrued to President Zuma has not been professionally dealt with and after three years has made no progress. The DA will continue to ensure that the President is held to account for unduly benefitting from the exorbitant upgrades to his private residence in Nkandla.