Tegeta Exploration & Resources will be the first big test of Malusi Gigaba’s political backbone

Note to Editors: Please find correspondence between National Treasury and Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd relevant to the report discovered as a result of a request for access to information, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (No. 2 of 2000), submitted by DA Shadow Minister of Finance David Maynier MP here.
The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba’s, first big test is going to be his handling of National Treasury’s final report on the review of coal contracts entered into by Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd and Eskom.
The draft report reportedly finds inter alia that there was no evidence that the advance payment was used for its mining operations and recommends that the R659 million be converted to a loan with interest payable by Tegeta Exploration and Resources (Pty) Ltd.
The controversy surrounding the report is not new and exploded last year when Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd threatened to apply for an urgent interdict to prevent National Treasury handing me a copy of the report, which I had requested in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (No. 2 of 2000).
In a letter, dated 23 June 2016, Tegeta Exploration & Resources accused National Treasury of trying to defame their business as follows: “…your efforts to obtain our feedback on the request of Mr Maynier must be seen as an unwarranted attempt to obtain approval to publish your report to a political party with the motive of defaming our business with facts not tested or commented on.”
And Tegeta Exploration & Resources went on to threaten National Treasury as follows: “We will consider obtaining further legal advice in launching an urgent application to interdict you from releasing the report until it has been subjected to scrutiny of all parties concerned.”
Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd and Eskom clearly have something to hide and have worked hard to frustrate and delay the review conducted by National Treasury.
This matter has gone on for too long and it is now imperative that the report be completed, made public and that action be taken against Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd and Eskom.
I have, despite numerous requests for access to the report, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, (No. 2 of 2000), been unable to obtain a copy of the report from National Treasury.
The reply is always the same: “Your request has been assessed and it has been established that the report is not yet finalised. Some technical information was received from Eskom and this necessitated the appointment of experts to assist in reviewing it. The report will be released once the experts have completed the review process.”
However, I have not given up and on 05 April 2017 I submitted a further request for access to the report, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (No. 2 of 2000), to National Treasury.
The handling of the final report will be the first test of the minister’s willingness to stand up to his political master, Jacob Zuma, and his most important clients, the Guptas, who control Tegeta Exploration & Resources (Pty) Ltd.

Motshekga’s Vuwani comments are reckless

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, to request an urgent joint meeting with the Portfolio Committees on Police and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, in terms of National Assembly rules 167(e) and 169.
This is after the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga’s, reckless utterances regarding the protests in Vuwani today. Motshekga was quoted saying that “If they continue to burn schools, let it be. Last year they really disrupted us – we didn’t get to other areas because we were all running to Vuwani. This time I am not going to Vuwani.”
The Minister’s sentiments are unacceptable, considering that, to date, approximately 30 schools have either been torched or severely damaged in violent protests in Vuwani. Renewed protest action has left almost 30 000 pupils out of school this week alone.
Instead of throwing her hands in the air, the Minister must find a durable solution to the grievances of Vuwani residents, and the injustice to these school children.
Last year the residents of Vuwani and neighbouring villages launched a protest against government plans to incorporate their villages under the new Malamulele municipality. When residents lost a high court bid to overturn the demarcation board decision, they resorted to violent protests.
The crisis in Vuwani has been left to fester for too long and Parliament must now intervene to assist in finding long-lasting solutions.
The DA does not condone any form of vandalism and violence, and we will explore every possible avenue to ensure that the education of these 30 000 students are prioritised. We cannot allow that the protests action of Vuwani residents to further infringe on learners’ Constitutional right to education, similarly we cannot allow the Minister to shirk her responsibility in this regard.

Spy Tapes: NPA and Zuma’s appeal hearing in SCA now consolidated

The DA is pleased that the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has acceded to our request to consolidate the arguments from both the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and President Jacob Zuma into a single hearing on their applications to appeal the 2016 North Gauteng High Court ruling that set aside the decision to drop the 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering against President Zuma.
This decision will ensure that not a single day further is wasted before the SCA can make a final judgement on this matter. Hearing the two appeals together will also minimise the waste of judicial resources.
In April 2009, the DA applied to review the decision taken by then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Mokotedi Mpshe, to drop the charges against President Zuma.
After numerous court cases in both the High Court and the SCA, we were successful in having the decision set aside on the grounds that the decision was borne from undue political considerations and was, therefore, irrational in the first place.
The North Gauteng High Court’s full bench found that “Mr Zuma should face the charges as outlined in the indictment.
While this legal battle to hold President Zuma accountable for the 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering against him has been ongoing for close to a decade now, it is still far from over.
However, the SCA’s agreement to the DA’s request brings us a step closer to ensuring justice can run its course and that Jacob Zuma will finally face up to the charges against him.

Mbalula should suspend Phahlane over allegations of non-cooperation with IPID

The DA will write to the new Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to strongly urge him to do what his predecessor, Nathi Nhleko, failed to do, and immediately suspend Acting National Police Commissioner, Khomotso Phahlane, pending the outcome of the current Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) investigations into numerous disturbing allegations against him.
Reports today indicate that Phahlane continues to frustrate attempts by IPID to carry out their investigation into allegations that he took money for awarding tenders while he was the head of SAPS forensic services.
Phahlane’s lawyers claim that he is not being investigated by an “independent investigatory body.”
However, the fact is that IPID is the body established by national legislation, to investigate alleged misconduct or offences committed by members of the police service.
Phahlane’s continued refusal to cooperate with IPID is therefore deeply concerning. If he has nothing to hide, he should have no issue with providing IPID with the information they require in a bid to clear his name.
As the head of the SAPS who are responsible for protecting South Africans, it is vital that he be beyond reproach. Therefore, he should give his full cooperation to the investigation and allow IPID to follow due and proper processes.
The SAPS cannot afford to be shaken by more uncertainty in its senior ranks and it is imperative that South Africans are able to trust that SAPS leadership is fit and proper.
It is high time that Mbalula shows he is serious about leading the fight against crime and protecting South Africans by suspending Phahlane pending the outcome of the investigations into him.

Eskom seeks exemption from nuke procurement regulations

The DA has been reliably informed that Eskom has applied to the National Treasury Chief Procurement Officer (CPO), Schalk Human, for an exemption from the Standard for Infrastructure Procurement and Delivery Management (SIPDM) – the prescribed procurement standard applicable to the nuclear acquisition.
This is an apparent bid to accelerate the nuclear new build programme. Rushing through the procurement process is simply unacceptable and the DA will oppose any attempt to do so.
The DA will, therefore, submit parliamentary questions to:

  • Obtain confirmation of Eskom’s application for an exemption;
  • Determine the exact nature of the exemption requested; and
  • Establish whether Eskom’s exemption application has or has not been granted and, if so, on what grounds.

We will also submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to gain access to copies of all relevant correspondence between Eskom and the CPO with regard to Eskom’s application.
At present, sources suggest that Eskom may be seeking an exemption from the requirement to provide a full feasibility assessment for its proposed nuclear new build programme.
This would be a significant exemption and would mean Eskom is embarking on the country’s single biggest public procurement – without fully assessing associated risks and consequences for South Africa’s economy.
All state entities are bound by specific procurement standards and requirements. These processes are vital to ensure the effective, efficient and transparent acquisition of goods and services by the State and its entities. If procurement standards cannot be met – procurement should not commence.
It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which an exemption of this nature might be justified. Therefore, given the sheer magnitude of the implications of pushing ahead with the nuclear deal, it is essential that the public, as a key stakeholder, is made aware of it.
The DA is strongly opposed to the nuclear deal and will continue to pursue all avenues to scrutinise every process involved and to ultimately put a stop to a deal that will enslave future generations of South Africans.

Robala ka kgotso Ntate Phillip Kgosana

The DA sends our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of the Pan Africanist Congress stalwart, Phillip Kgosana.
Ntate Kgosana was a brave and devoted freedom fighter, who dedicated his life to the emancipation of black South Africans.
An unsung hero of the liberation movement, a young Kgosana led a 30 000 strong march through the streets of Cape Town, in protest against the pass laws.
Ntate Kgosana was fearless in his struggle against apartheid and he continued to fight for equality and fairness in post-apartheid South Africa.
Your vibrancy and tenacity will never be forgotten and your leadership is a true example for the youth of today.
Robala ka kgotso Ntate Kgosana.

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.