DA calls for Auditor-General to urgently investigate alleged corruption in Nelson Mandela Bay

September 21, 2018

Yesterday, 20 September 2018, I requested the Auditor-General (AG), Kimi Makwetu, to urgently investigate allegations of corruption levelled against me during my tenure as Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

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These allegations were made in a letter written by Mr Bantu Holomisa, president of the UDM, to the Auditor General on 24 October 2017. The same allegations were also levelled against Mr Johann Mettler, Nelson Mandela Bay City Manager.

Mr Holomisa requested the AG’s intervention in various matters regarding PWC’S forensic investigations into alleged irregular payments and the employment of litter pickers. Mr Holomisa also recently wrote an open public letter to the AG, making a range of sweeping allegations of corruption against myself and Mr Mettler.

I have written to the AG and implored him, as a matter of public importance, to urgently proceed with the requested investigation. I have also committed myself and my former employees in the mayoral office to cooperate fully in such an investigation.

If the AG goes ahead with this investigation, he will have to arrange access to the Public Health Standing Committee reports in relation to litter pickers and EPWP appointments, the MPAC report related to these matters as well as the final PWC reports. The other important report in this regard is the draft report compiled by Deloitte about the IPTS corruption saga.

I have undertaken to provide the AG with all the available correspondence, documentation and evidence that I have at my disposal.

Furthermore, I also advised Mr Makwetu that more evidence is coming to light with regard to corruption linked to some of the contracts that were stopped after my election as Mayor.
This evidence is crucial in linking certain individuals directly to corrupt dealings.

Athol Trollip

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Legal opinion confirms ‘removal’ of Mayor Trollip unlawful and invalid

August 28, 2018

A legal opinion obtained by Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) City Manager, Johan Mettler, on the removal of the Nelson Mandela Bay Speaker, Jonathan Lawack, and Mayor Athol Trollip has confirmed that it was “unlawful, invalid, and capable of being set aside”.

The DA has already committed to taking the council’s decision on review as we believe that the process to appoint the new Speaker was procedurally invalid and therefore, that the “removal” of Mayor Trollip was also invalid.

Section 36(3) of the Municipal Structures Act (117 of 1998) states that:

“The municipal manager of the municipality or, if the municipal manager is not available, a person designated by the MEC for local government in the province, presides over the election of a speaker”

After Speaker Jonathan Lawack was removed, the Municipal Manager, Johann Mettler, adjourned the council sitting as quorum had been broken. Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Fikile Xasa, then incorrectly invoked Section 36(3) and designated an individual to preside over two decisions:

1. The election of ANC Councillor, Buyelwa Mafaya, as Speaker; and
2. The Motion of No Confidence in Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip.

This was despite the Municipal Manager being both present and able to preside over the sitting. This is in clear contravention of the Municipal Structures Act. Therefore, the election of Buyelwa Mafaya as Speaker, and the subsequent Motion of No Confidence in Athol Trollip as invalid.

The legal opinion confirms our view. Specifically, it states that:

“Having regard to the factual circumstances that prevailed, it can never be said that the Municipal Manager was not available.”

The opinion goes on to state that the Municipal Manager was “physically available and accordingly, the appointment of such other person to chair the election of a Speaker was unlawful and invalid with the concomitant result that the appointment of a Speaker and the subsequent appointment of a new Mayor are similarly unlawful, invalid and capable of being reviewed and set aside”

14 year wait for title deeds finally over

August 21, 2018

90 Sea Vista (St Francis Bay) residents received the title deeds to their houses last Tuesday.

The programme was led by Mayoral Committee members Brenton Williams and Frances Baxter, who first visited three of the eldest beneficiaries at their homes to hand-deliver their title deeds before moving to the Sea Vista Community Hall to distribute the remainder.

“All these beneficiaries received their houses more than 10 years ago, but the previous regime withheld their title deeds. We are here to set that right,” said Williams.

He said the Sea Vista title deeds were among the almost 2 000 title deeds that the former Council had failed to hand over to housing beneficiaries.

“As a DA-led municipality, we believe that by giving people their title deeds, you give them rightful ownership and a means of becoming actively involved in the economy.

“Late Mayor Elza van Lingen started this process in Thornhill on Human Rights Day when she handed over 257 title deeds.

“Mayor Horatio Hendricks then took it further on Nelson Mandela Day when he handed over 631 title deeds in Kruisfontein.

“Today we are in Sea Vista doing the same and at the end of the month we will be in KwaNomzamo to hand over more title deeds.”

The beneficiaries were further encouraged to ensure that they have a will that specifies who should inherit the house in the event of their passing.

DA plans to fight hostile takeover of the Reserve Bank

August 20, 2018

The nationalising of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB)is a hostile move in a long game of EFF political maneuvers to influence the mandate and operations of the Reserve Bank and ultimately South Africa’s banking system as a whole.

This is also an electoral game for the EFF. Whether or not the Bill is passed, the EFF hopes to dominate the ANC’s radical agenda, and position itself as the authentic party of the left.

In a statement released on the 6th of March 2018, the EFF is unreserved about its ambitious plans for the SARB, including: influencing prudential oversight, deconcentrating bank ownership, expediting the licensing of state owned banks, and using the SARB to create a preferential environment for certain banks including state-owned development finance institutions.

At present, private shareholders are limited to holding 10 000 shares and to electing a minority of the non-executive Board members. The provision of a fixed dividend means that shareholders do not invest with the motive of making profits.

In addition, shareholders play no role in the formulation and implementation of monetary policy and are excluded from core functions.

There can be no meaningful public interest motive in nationalising the Reserve Bank, only the furtherance of private political interests.

Nationalisation will mean that Finance Minister will have the ability to appoint every board member from a list of nominees that are confirmed by a panel also largely appointed by the Minister.

The conflict of interests doesn’t stop there; this Bill has to be interpreted in conjunction with the EFF’s Bank’s Amendment Bill enabling the state to own banks.

Coupled with greater ministerial involvement in the Reserve Bank, this will give the government enhanced ability to influence the rules in a market in which it also competes.

As South Africa confronts the public losses due to state capture, another likely avenue for corruption should not be opened up.

Financial prudence and stability do not go in hand with the EFF’s tendency towards recklessness. The memorandum to the Bill is meant to provide detail about its financial implications.

In the relevant section Julius Malema has indicated ‘none’. This Bill has recklessly been submitted without the necessary due diligence. The shares cannot just be written out of existence.

The EFF will need to propose a mechanism of expropriation, compensation and determination of the shares’ value. In addition, the potential impact on investor sentiment must be considered.

The DA opposes threats to Reserve Bank independence and will ensure that the true costs of the Bill are tabled and debated.

Gwen Ngwenya MP – DA Member of the Finance Committee

Vandals target Weston water supply

August 17, 2018

The valve of the Weston reservoir at Hankey was smashed by vandals during Wednesday night.

This means the Weston community will now not have tap water at all, even during those hours when the water would have been turned on.

The municipality is delivering water with tankers and bottled water will also be available from the community hall.

The Kouga Dam which supplies water to the towns of Hankey and Patensie is below 7 % of capacity, leaving the Kouga Municipality no choice but to ration water.

DA municipalities celebrate two years in government

August 14, 2018

In 2016, South Africans entrusted the DA with governing more than 30 municipalities across the country.

The five DA local governments that are being highlighted shine a bright light on the extra-ordinary work that continues to happen in these many DA-led municipalities throughout the country.

The overwhelming record of DA governed local councils is that where we govern, service improves, corruption is rooted out, the economy grows, jobs are created, and basic delivery for poorer residents improves. This is the DA difference.

Drakenstein, Midvaal, Kouga, Modimolle-Mookgophong and Thabazimbi are five councils that provide a representative sample of the difference the DA is making in government wherever we are elected.

The DA does not take the trust placed in us by the residents of these five municipalities for granted.

We highly value every opportunity we are given to demonstrate the DA difference in action.

Local government responsibility is the closest link between a government and its people and after years of financial mismanagement, corruption and neglect by the ANC, the DA got hard to work repairing this broken bond.

Previous ANC administrations left behind a sea of debt. Drakenstein, Midvaal, Kouga, Modimolle-Mookgophong and Thabazimbi are an inspirational story of DA governments that turned financial wastelands into thriving local towns for all South Africans.

The DA currently governs for over 16 million South Africans and controls the majority of the country’s local government budget. We continue to work hard to deliver on our promises of clean, efficient governments which deliver to the people we serve.

Kouga

When the DA was voted into office in 2016, we found more than 1 700 title deeds for RDP houses lying around in store rooms and offices, some dating back more than 15 years.

The late Mayor, Elza van Lingen, distributed 202 of these title deeds at Thornhill on Human Rights Day.

Her successor, Mayor Horatio Hendricks, handed out a further 631 title deeds at Kruisfontein, Humansdorp, on Nelson Mandela Day, and the remainder will be distributed at Sea Vista, KwaNomzamo, Patensie, Hankey, Pellsrus and Thornhill over the next two months.

DA-led Kouga has strengthened its financial position and now has sufficient revenue to increase grant funding, boost capital delivery and drive a pro-poor budget.

By cutting corruption and waste, and restoring public faith in the local council, this municipality has almost tripled its cash on hand from R38 million to R94 million in the past two years.

The previous ANC-led municipality had failed to pay mandatory contributions to the Department of Labour for ten years which meant that staff were not covered for injuries on duty.

The DA-led government cleaned up this ANC mess and Kouga has since been issued with a letter of good standing from the Department of Labour.

The Municipality also paid off R 17 million that was owed to the Department of Transport.

New bakkies to boost service delivery in Kouga

August 12, 2018

The DA led Kouga Municipality has received another boost, with 11 new bakkies set to strengthen the institution’s service delivery departments.

The one-ton Nissan light delivery vehicles (LDVs) cost almost R 3,6 million.

Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said aging municipal vehicles impeded service delivery and that replacing the fleet was one of the priorities for the municipality’s leadership.

“We were shocked when the DA took over as the new Council in 2016 to learn that only 4% of the municipality’s vehicles were fully operational while the remainder were constantly breaking down and 58 were no longer working at all,” he said.

He said the DA immediately set out to replace the dysfunctional fleet systematically in order to meet the needs of communities.

Eight of the bakkies will be given to the Water and Sewerage teams.

Two will be used by the Electrical section while the Corporate Services directorate will, after many years, also have a new set of wheels to play their role as a support department effectively.

“We are confident that this will help curb unnecessary delays and improve our response time to service delivery complaints,” said Hendricks.

Poverty stricken Dimbaza a monument to economic mismanagement

August 10, 2018

Dimbaza, once an industrial hub near King Williams Town, has for decades been a prime example of how the ANC has failed to build the South African economy and create jobs.

This ghost town, filled with vacant factories, some of which have now been turned into rubble, once supplied work to thousands of poor Eastern Cape residents.

Dimbaza used to be the breadbasket of what was previously known as the Ciskei, with many factories sustaining the local economy before and shortly after 1994. It was a thriving community in the past.

After the ANC’s rise to power, incentives and tax rebates given to companies setting up shop in Dimbaza ceased and most industries moved elsewhere. The town was turned into an industrial graveyard with an estimated unemployment rate of 70%.

Fifteen years ago Damesh Daya was a director of a company that manufactured jeans in Dimbaza. He told us that in its heyday this company employed more than 3 000 local residents.

The recently released Quarterly Labour Force Survey indicates that the Eastern Cape has the highest expanded rate of unemployment in the country at 45,8%.

This means that 730 000 people are unemployed in this province and an additional 412 000 have given up looking for work. This has a devastating impact on families who are struggling to put food on the table.

The youth are most affected by the lack of employment opportunities available to them. In South Africa, the youth remain the hardest hit by joblessness, with 67,1% of the 15 – 24-year-old bracket, and 43,2% of the 25 – 34-year-old bracket still unemployed.

“The Eastern Cape needs change to build an inclusive economy that will give our people access to job opportunities,” said Andrew Whitfield, the Democratic Alliance Shadow MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

“To this end I will table a motion in the Eastern Cape Legislature to debate the dire unemployment situation in the province.

The debate will focus on creating a growing and reliable economic environment which will stimulate job creation in the Eastern Cape. Where the DA governs, we have a proven track record of reducing unemployment.

Over the last quarter, unemployment in the DA-led Nelson Mandela Bay Metro decreased by 1,3%, added Whitfield.

De Lille and the Democratic Alliance reach an agreement

July 27, 2018

The Democratic Alliance and Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, have reached an agreement about her ongoing issues with the Party.

Both parties have agreed to a speedy disciplinary process including a hearing that will take place over 3 days in August.

In line with the agreement, the Motion of No Confidence against Mayor De Lille that was scheduled to take place yesterday  in the City of Cape Town Council, was withdrawn.

In addition, the agreement makes space for the Mayor to be held accountable in a fair and reasonable manner for findings of independent Council led-investigations, such as the upcoming Bowman’s report into her conduct.

Upon Mayor De Lille’s insistence, the Party will appoint an FLC panel, and the prosecution will be led by an independent senior prosecutor and will be open to the media.

This agreement states that we will all strive to conclude the matter as soon as possible.

“We are working to ensure that the DA Caucus, the Mayoral Committee and functions of the City are focused on putting the people of Cape Town first,” said Natasha Mazzone, the DA Deputy Chairperson of Federal Council.

Its time to dismantle Eskom

July 25, 2018

Eskom’s latest financials once again reiterates the need for a complete turnaround strategy for South Africa’s energy sector.

The DA plans to introduce a Private Members Bill aimed at dismantling Eskom and creating a separate public entity which will govern and manage the country’s electricity grid and transmission lines.

The remaining part of Eskom, responsible for generation, will be privatised and compete on an equal footing with other entities, including renewable companies, for generation capacity.

This will ensure a more efficient, reliable and competitive energy sector which will not only prioritise service delivery to South African citizens but will also lead to much-needed job creation and foreign investment.

The reality is that Eskom is facing collapse and it will continue to stumble from one crisis to the next until such reforms are implemented. It’s clear that the new dawn has simply remained a slogan at the power utility as there has been very little change.

The DA will continue to fight for an efficient and transparent Eskom.

South Africans deserve a power utility that delivers reliable energy to the economy to empower it to grow and create jobs for the 9.5 million unemployed South Africans.”