Hlaudi’s press conference is grounds for his immediate dismissal

Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s press conference today to address issues facing the SABC is grounds for him to be immediately fired from the public broadcaster as he has breached the SABC Code of Conduct.
The interim board must now promptly terminate his employment and rid the SABC of the man responsible for the deep institutional rot at the public broadcaster.
Although the Western Cape High Court ordered that Motsoeneng cannot hold a position at the SABC pending the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings and/or the Public Protector’s report being set aside, it did not dismiss him from the public broadcaster and he, therefore, remains an employee “without portfolio”, and draws a salary of R350 000 a month for sitting at home.
As such, Motsoeneng is still bound by its Code of Conduct and various rules and regulations while awaiting his disciplinary hearing.
The SABC’s disciplinary code the – Disciplinary, Code of Conduct & Grievance Procedures lists misconduct as grounds for summary dismissal if an employee of the public broadcaster deliberately causes negative reporting of SABC affairs in the media.
The SABC’s Personnel Regulations also state that an employee’s services may be terminated at any stage for misconduct.
Hosting a press conference, as an SABC employee, without permission from the SABC board, or its management, constitutes a deliberate effort to undermine the SABC and to cause negative reporting of the various efforts to steer the SABC to calm waters.
This cannot go unpunished.
Previous boards failed to take strong action against Motsoeneng. It is time for the SABC interim board to show its teeth and its commitment to fixing the public broadcaster by firing Motsoeneng.
The SABC interim board has a long road ahead of it and the unenviable task of fixing problems years in the making. It is time it publicly demonstrates its seriousness to fix the public broadcaster and rid it of those who violates its rules.

DA to ask Competition Commission to probe Aspen anti-competitive allegations

The DA will today write to the Competition Commission (CC) and the Medicines Control Council (MCC), as the body responsible for the regulation of the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa, to request that they investigate the market conduct of leading South African pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmacare.
Recent reports in the United Kingdom and South Africa detailed how staff at Aspen Pharmacare allegedly plotted to dispose of life-saving cancer medication in order to drive up their price across Europe.
According to the London-based Times, ‘The price rises meant that the cost of Busulfan, used by leukaemia patients, rose from £5.20 to £65.22 a pack in England and Wales during 2013, an increase of more than 1,100 per cent. The prices of chlorambucil, also used to treat blood cancer, rose from £8.36 to £40.51 a pack in the same year.
The World Bank has already highlighted that the South African pharmaceutical industry is controlled by cartels and operates in an uncompetitive manner, which would have the effect of increasing the cost of medication for South Africans.
Given the reports about how the cost of cancer drugs in Europe have been inflated, an investigation by the CC and the MCC must, therefore, look into whether the same tactics are being used in our own country. It appears to be an effort to manipulate the market for drugs that effectively will put them out of reach for many if not most.
The DA will also seek clarity from the CC as to whether they are currently investigating the South African pharmaceutical industry for uncompetitive behaviour and if so, to make public the findings thereof.
Access to medicines is a very important principle of health justice, and it is unacceptable that ill patients are exploited for financial gains by big companies.
These are serious allegations about the business ethics of a reputable and proudly South African company and must be investigated immediately.
The wellbeing and health of our people must be prioritised. The DA will not stand by if vulnerable South Africans are forced to pay more than they need to for medication.

Ntlemeza’s time is up as High Court ruling stands despite appeal

It is high time that Berning Ntlemeza accepts that he is no longer the head of South Africa’s crime busting unit, the Hawks.
Last week, the North Gauteng High Court set aside Ntlemeza’s appointment as head of the Hawks with immediate effect. This judgement stands, regardless of Ntlemeza’s intention to take the decision on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Indeed, the attorney for the Helen Suzman Foundation has stated that “Should he wish to petition the SCA [Supreme Court of Appeal] for further appeal process, they may do so but the effect of the enforcement order is that pending those appeal processes, Ntlemeza is not allowed to go back to office.”
Moreover, Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, has removed Ntlemeza as head of the Hawks and has already replaced him with the previous deputy head of the Hawks, Yolisa Matakata, until a permanent replacement can be found.
Ntlemeza should put the needs of South Africans first by allowing the Hawks to perform their role and investigate the many cases that were not looked into during his term in office.
Two previous North Gauteng High Court judgements found that Ntlemeza had failed to act in good faith and that he was dishonest and acted without integrity.
The DA has long held that Ntlemeza is not fit to hold office and cannot be trusted with leading South Africa’s crime-fighting division.
The uncertainty that results from his continued refusal to accept that he has been removed only serves to disrupt the effective functioning of the Hawks, which we cannot allow given the unacceptably high level of crime in our country.
The DA will not stand by while Ntlemeza further destabilises the Hawks and we will not hesitate to lay charges of defeating the ends of justice should he try return to his former office next week.

Motshekga rubbishes Dlamini-Zuma’s claims on school propaganda

The DA welcomes Minister Angie Motshekga’s repudiation of ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s claims that schools are waging a sustained anti-ANC propaganda campaign.
Speaking at Zamdela in the Free State on Thursday, Dlamini-Zuma was reported as saying:
“The kids are actually taught against the ANC…It’s not surprising that kids will think the ANC is corrupt‚ or that the ANC is useless, because this is what they are fed at school.”
But, in a statement released yesterday, Minister Motshekga said that:
“The department does not allow for a teaching and learning environment where individuals or organizations are misrepresented and/or ridiculed… It must be stressed that where such isolated incidents have taken place, these do not arise as a result of a defined norm or practice of a particular school, nor a dictate from the [curriculum].”
This is a polite way of saying that Dlamini-Zuma was talking rubbish.
The DA requested Minister Motshekga to set Dlamini-Zuma straight on what is being taught at public schools, and we are glad that she has done so.
One only has to listen to the ANC’s own leaders such as Ahmed Kathrada, Pravin Gordhan, Mcebisi Jonas, Thabo Mbeki, Barbara Hogan, Kgalema Motlanthe and many others to understand how corrupt the ANC has become.
If learners believe that the ANC is corrupt, it is not because of an anti-ANC propaganda campaign being waged in public schools. It is because evidence of ANC corruption is all around us.
Well done to Minister Motshekga for putting Dlamini-Zuma in her place.

Malusi Gigaba in full damage control mode following the appointment of Chris Malikane

The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, is in full damage control mode following the appointment of Professor Chris Malikane as his economic advisor ahead of an important international investor roadshow in the United States.
The fallout from the appointment has forced the minister to issue a media statement distancing himself from his own economic advisor’s mad ideas and reassuring investors that it is not government policy to nationalise the banks.
The fact that the minister is in damage control mode is proof enough that Professor Chris Malikane should never have been plucked out of the seminar room, where his mad ideas could do no damage to the economy, and appointed as an economic advisor, where his mad ideas can do damage to the economy.
The minister seems to think that it is possible to “firewall” himself from his own economic advisor’s mad ideas and that it is possible for his economic advisor to be left to “think aloud” as he takes on what he calls “right wing economists” at National Treasury.
This is simply impossible and will no doubt send a chill up most international investors’ spines and will ensure a hostile reception during the international investor roadshow in the United States.

Disciplinary proceedings against Hlaudi Motsoeneng now overdue

The DA notes Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s announcement that he will host a press conference tomorrow to “address all the pending matters with regards to the SABC”, such as its finances and the new interim board.
While Motsoeneng is entitled to address the media as a private individual, he has no mandate to speak on behalf of the SABC, and should in fact currently be in the middle of a disciplinary inquiry against him.
Tomorrow’s press conference should therefore not be on behalf of the SABC, conducted on its premises, or using its resources.
In December 2016, the Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of the DA, finding the appointment of Motsoeneng as the SABC’s group executive of corporate affairs unlawful and irrational. The court held that Motsoeneng may not hold any position at the SABC until he has faced a satisfactory disciplinary hearing and/or the findings and remedial action by the Public Protector have been reviewed and set aside by another court.
The Western Cape High Court further held that the SABC’s interim board, once appointed, should within two weeks, deliver a letter setting out the disciplinary charges against Motsoeneng and appoint a new chairperson to oversee the proceedings.
With the two week deadline having seemingly expired on 13 April 2017, the DA will write to Chairperson of the interim SABC board, Khanyisile Kweyama, to request that disciplinary proceedings against Motsoeneng commence immediately.
As COO of the SABC, Motsoeneng exerted a toxic influence on the public broadcaster which has brought the SABC to the brink of near collapse. He cannot be allowed to continue to draw a single cent from South Africa’s public broadcaster.
The new interim board now have an uphill battle on their hands but must not be deterred by Motsoeneng’s continued acts of defiance. They must act decisively to hold him to account for his role in weakening the SABC.
The damage that Motsoeneg has inflicted on the public broadcaster will take months, if not years to rectify, and the DA will continue to ensure that he is held to account.

DA to submit PAIA application for Molefe’s employment contract

The DA will today submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to gain access to the employment contract of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, for his 18-month tenure at the helm of Eskom.
The DA believes that the exorbitant R30 million Molefe received from Eskom may not have been a pension pay-out as he claims, but rather a golden handshake.
As CEO of Eskom, Molefe’s salary was close to R7 million per annum. According to Eskom’s website, total pension contributions amount to 20.8% of a salary. Therefore, Molefe should have received an estimated R2.2 million maximum as a pension pay-out for 18 months of work, instead of the reported R30 million.
If there is nothing irregular about this so-called pension payment, neither Eskom nor Molefe will have any issue with making his contract public.
It is unacceptable that Molefe received such a large pay-out, considering that he willingly resigned as CEO of Eskom after he was named in the former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s, State of Capture Report.
The DA has already written to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to request that she investigate this R30 million golden handshake and the basis for this pay-out.
This R30 million is nowhere near the R2.2 million he is entitled to, and should the Public Protector find that this pay-out was irregular, Molefe must pay back the money immediately.
In a country where millions of people struggle to put food on the table on a daily basis and infrastructure projects collect dust on shelves, the DA will not condone millions to be wasted on underperforming former executives. Public money should be spent on improving the lives of all South Africans, not just the connected few.

DA to get clarity on whether Ntlemeza continues to receive benefits

Following reports that former head of the Hawks, Berning Ntlemeza, apparently believes he is on leave and intends to return to work next week Monday, despite being removed from office, the DA will submit parliamentary questions to ascertain what benefits, if any, he received, or is to receive, from 12 April 2017 onwards.
Moreover, if Ntlemeza returns to his former office, he would be wilfully interfering with the smooth running of this most vital policing department, endangering the lives, property and livelihoods of millions of South Africans suffering high crime rates in our country.
Should Ntlemeza attempt to interfere with the running of the Hawks, the DA will not hesitate to lay charges against him for defeating the ends of justice.
Last week, the North Gauteng High Court denied Ntlemeza’s leave to appeal its previous judgement to set aside his appointment as irrational and further ordered that the judgement should have immediate effect.
This means that as of 12 April 2017, Ntlemeza is no longer the head of the Hawks nor is he employed by the SAPS.
As such, he is not entitled to leave – paid or otherwise – or any other benefits, and should not be allowed to access his old office at any point going forward.
Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, should not tolerate this behaviour and must make sure that Ntlemeza is not allowed access to the Hawks building.
It is up to Mbalula to ensure that the business of the Hawks is protected against any further disruption from Ntlemeza.

Our unity is our strength, our unity will topple Zuma

Fellow South Africans, the events of the last few weeks have seen South Africans put their differences aside in order to join a united and emergent movement for change.
This is a movement that has seen hundreds of thousands march to Parliament, the Union Buildings and fill the streets of Johannesburg. This movement has brought together business and labour; rich and poor; black and white, all saying the same thing: Zuma must go and South Africa must come first.
Bagaetso, the poet James T. Adair, reminds us that There Is Beauty In The Struggle. There is beauty in the tough times we are facing. This crisis has brought us together. We are united behind putting the country first. We are united in getting rid of those who only undermine the project of building a diverse and growing economy that creates jobs.
We cannot allow this moment of crisis to pass without also seizing the opportunity for unprecedented unity of purpose and action. Now is the time, and we may never see an opportunity like this again.
Jacob Zuma would never have guessed that he would unite the country like never before – in defense of the Constitution, against corruption, against the self-interested destruction of our economy, and against the private capture of our state. Jacob Zuma has united the country – against him.
For years South Africans have called for greater co-operation between opposition parties and civil society. While some progress has been made in the past, it has been halting and painstaking. But sometimes political change happens one step at a time, and sometimes it happens all together and quickly. We are in such a time.
We cannot be distracted by our own hang-ups and baggage, or differences in approach or in policy. By the time we have ironed out all of those differences, the country will be left in tatters. No, we must seize the moment and move forward now, together.
We must prepare ourselves for a post-Zuma, post-ANC future. And that future is brighter than ever! But we must cut out our current national cancer.
We are not saying Zuma must go because we merely oppose him politically, as he has said. We are making this important call because he does not have respect for the country, the Constitution and the people. Jacob Zuma only cares about himself and getting rich at your expense. We are making this call because for as long as Zuma occupies the Union Buildings, the poor and jobless will continue to suffer.
The other day, Zuma was asking for the church to pray for South Africa “so that the respect can come back”. Indeed, respect must come back.
Any president with respect for the responsibility of his Office, and for the sanctity of the Constitution, would have resigned a long time ago.
Any President with respect for the people he is elected to serve, would not steal money, build a palace, or sell the government to the Guptas.
Jacob Zuma has no respect. No respect for the suffering of the poor. No respect for the unemployed who need our country to succeed and grow.
Zuma has sabotaged the country’s economy – now reduced to “junk status” – all for his riches and his own agenda.
Respect for the Constitution must come back, because if there was respect for the highest law of the land, Zuma would have gone, or the ANC would have removed him.
Zuma is the most disrespectful citizen in the country. He has no respect for the country and the people. He is not fit to be called South Africa’s Head of State. Zuma must fall!
We are not backing down. We are determined to ensure that we build a better South Africa.
To the people in the ANC who continue to endorse Zuma, along with his deliberate programme of destroying the country, I want to ask you: How do you sleep at night? How do you look at your children and grandchildren, well knowing that you are personally playing a part in ensuring that there is no future for them?
You have sold their futures to Zuma and the Guptas. Now South Africa is rising up together to get those futures back!
Children do not hate the ANC because they are taught to do so at school. Children hate the ANC because of what the ANC does. Children see when the ANC-led government does not deliver text books and sabotages their futures.
Things are bad now but let me tell you this, Zuma and the ANC will not be around forever. Once the people have dealt with the Zuma problem, the people will deal with the ANC problem by teaching them a lesson at the ballot box in 2019.
The people of South Africa will rise up and punish the ANC for their continued support of Zuma. The people will punish the ANC for not listening, and for protecting and supporting this President.
Fellow South Africans, our work does not end when the marches and protests are over. By the time we are done, Zuma will know exactly what stress feels like. When we are done with Zuma and the ANC, hope for a better South Africa will be restored, and we will turn that hope into reality.
This united movement for change belongs to the people, and as the DA, along with the other Opposition Parties, we will always take up the people’s fight!
Ke a leboga. Baie dankie. I thank you.

DA to refer Molefe’s R30 million ‘golden handshake’ bonus to PP

The DA will be writing to the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to request that she probes the R30 million pension pay-out Brian Molefe received from Eskom last month, as this clearly points to yet another case of gross abuse of public funds.
It is outrageous that after only 18 months as CEO at the power utility, Molefe would be awarded such an exuberant bonus. Especially after he resigned out of his own accord, following his naming in the damning State of Capture Report by the former Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela.
The Public Protector must therefore investigate this highly irregular pay-out, in order to establish on what basis Molefe deserves to receive this amount of money.
It is unacceptable that taxpayer money is repeatedly used to benefit underperforming executives who do not deserve it, while vital infrastructure projects are left to gather dust.
This is clearly not just a pension pay-out as Molefe claims. It is a golden handshake and the DA strongly urges Molefe to immediately pay back the R30 million bonus.
The DA will not stand for the irregular use of taxpayer money – there are vital projects which need this money and which would benefit all South Africans.