Archive for the ‘South African Politics’ Category

A better life for all – just invest in the ANC

January 28, 2013

Jacob Zuma has been accused of blatantly promoting corruption in South Africa.

In his words, ‘We’re not forcing people … you can support and be a supporter, but if you go beyond that and become a member, [and] if you`re a businessman, your business will multiply. Everything you touch will multiply. I`ve always said that a wise businessperson will support the ANC … because supporting the ANC means you`re investing very well in your business.’

This statement was made at a gala dinner celebrating the 101st anniversary of the African National Congress (ANC), attended by the political elite and some of the wealthiest and most powerful business people in South Africa. Business leaders paid hundreds of thousands of rands for tables at the event, which also served as a fund-raising vehicle. In total, R21,4 million was raised for the ANC’s coffers.

DA young leaders

Although ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu tried, unsuccessfully, to spin this statement as simply an expression of African culture, the President’s words raises a number of worrying questions. For example, how exactly does providing monetary support to the ANC result in a particular business ‘multiplying’? Why would investing in the ANC be a ‘wise’ business decision compared to for example, investing in skilled staff, better technology or additional marketing? At face value it sounds strange, but there are plenty of examples that provide context to President Zuma’s statement.

The Mail and Guardian reported on 18 January 2013 that Edison Power, a company owned by Durban-based businessman Vivian Reddy, had been awarded a contract to the tune of R1,25 billion for the supply of smart meters to the City of Johannesburg. The newspaper alleged that this company had won the contract irregularly because of evidence that Edison’s bid was not the lowest, it had no experience in this type of business, it would not source any components of the electricity meters from local businesses, and a letter informed Edison that it had won the bid before the decision was made.

Interestingly, Reddy is a long-standing benefactor of President Zuma, having generously contributed to the costs of expanding his private homestead in Nkandla. Reddy also ‘invests’ heavily in the ANC and paid R450 000 for a seat at the same table as President Zuma at the recent gala.

But what are the consequences for South Africa?

It means that the vast majority of South Africans who are not able to ‘invest’ in the ANC will not have the same influence over its decisions as those who can give generously. Essentially, the interests of the poor and marginalised will always play second fiddle to those of elites who can afford to give large amounts of money to the ANC and its officials. Businesses that cannot compete fairly can opt to purchase influence, as the Shaik trial demonstrated. This undermines the extent to which innovative, honest businesses can compete and can lock honest business people out of state contracts.

It is this state of affairs that starts to explain why South Africa fell 10 places to 64th on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index of 2012, the country’s lowest ranking since the index began in 1997.

President Zuma’s remarks were attacked by many, including Advocate Paul Hoffman of the Institute of Accountability in South Africa, who stated that, ‘This is no way to run a country … it is unethical and unsustainable’, and went on to say that President Zuma was essentially offering businesses a ‘get-rich-quick kind of arrangement’.

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said that, ‘With high levels of corruption already costing the economy billions of rand, hurting the poor and vulnerable the hardest, such a comment is deeply irresponsible’, and she indicated she would ask President Zuma to retract the statement.

The president’s statement certainly raises questions as to whether the political will exists to aggressively deal with corruption, which is at the heart of a number of governance-related challenges facing the country. However, if South Africa continues on a path where corrupt behaviour in government and the private sector is condoned at worst or ignored at best, the country will lose much-needed resources and the poor will continue to suffer. It will then be only a matter of time before it is increasingly realised that the ANC slogan of ‘a better life for all’ means very little to those in power.

Written by Hamadziripi Tamukamoyo, Researcher, Governance, Crime and Justice Division, ISS Pretoria office

South Africa needs an 8 % growth rate

June 27, 2012

Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, has said that government will be working towards maintaining the 2 to 3 percent economic growth rate of recent years.

This is unacceptable. We should be targeting much higher growth rates. That is the only way to create the jobs we need to lift hundreds of thousands of South Africans from poverty.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes we should be targeting a growth rate of 8 %. Next month we will be releasing our plan for South Africa to achieve 8% growth.

This is in line with growth potential in other developing economies. Growth rates between 2 and 3 percent are what the struggling Western economies are producing. Instead, we should be positioning ourselves to grow at rates similar to those of our peer countries.

A growth rate of between 2 and 3 percent will not be enough to pull people out of poverty. Such a rate will only maintain the status quo.

The ANC clearly does not have a plan to achieve faster growth. Instead of adopting the necessary measures to open up our country to more investment, growth and job creation – like the youth wage subsidy or labour market liberalisation – the ANC is intent on placing more shackles on growth. The “50% resource rent tax” that is being discussed at its policy conference this week is just the latest example.

The time has come to put high economic growth and job creation first. That is the only real way to improve people’s lives.

Zuma has it wrong on land reform

June 26, 2012

This morning during the opening of the ANC’s policy conference in Midrand President Jacob Zuma reiterated the misconception that the Constitutional property clause requires a willing seller and willing buyer for the purposes of agreeing compensation at expropriation. He said that this distorts the land market and makes land reform expensive and slow.

It is simply not true that a seller can frustrate expropriation and land reform in this way. It is fruitless to try to “review” a requirement that is not present in section 25 of the Bill of Rights.

The property clause says property may be expropriated under a law of general application in the public interest subject to compensation which has either been agreed between those affected or decided or approved by a court. The public interest includes land reform.

When a court sets the amount of compensation and the time and manner of payment, it must find a fair balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected. That equitable balance is not dictated by market value alone, but also by other factors including the purpose of the expropriation, the history of the acquisition and use of the property, and its current use.

The failure of land reform is the failure of government itself.

The first policy drafts for this conference included the proposition that the property clause was a sunset provision. President Zuma by and large expressed acceptance of the Constitution, including an independent judiciary, and exhorted the policy conference to tackle poverty, economic inequality and unemployment.

Those laudable goals can be successfully pursued within the constitutional framework – indeed they cannot be achieved outside it.

ANC is a pressure cooker waiting to explode

June 26, 2012

The ANC is not an organisation whose mission is to liberate ordinary South Africans from poverty.

It is a party that has been hijacked by people whose aim is to loot the state as quickly as possible before the taps are shut.

As it goes into its policy conference this week, the party’s provincial structures are in tatters and its leaders are at war with each other.

This extends to local government as well and the ANC in Kouga is unable to deliver and years of mismanaging the municipal coffers.

It is clear from the current budget that service delivery will not happen in 2012. It is time for change.

Read more here

71 paroled criminals have been re-arrested

June 25, 2012

Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele stated that it would have been optimistic to think that none of the offenders who received special remissions would re-offend. To date, 71 offenders have been rearrested. This is 71 too many.

As the Democratic Alliance has stated before, two offenders are rearrested on average every day. At this rate, a conservative estimate of 150 individuals will be rearrested before the process ends on 23 July.

Although Justice Minister Jeff Radebe called this number ‘very negligible’ today, we regard this number as a failure by Correctional Services to ensure that released offenders have been properly rehabilitated.

The Minister has also stated that only 17,556 out of 167,819 prisoners were actively involved in correctional programmes. This amounts to around 10% of the prison population and would go a long way toward explaining why 71 offenders are now back in prison. The Department of Correctional Services is clearly failing to ensure that there is an adequate rehabilitation and reintegration process.

The poor handling of the remissions process has put the safety of ordinary South Africans in jeopardy and this cannot be considered as ‘very negligible’.

Mangwashi Phiyega is new Police Commissioner

June 12, 2012

The Democratic Alliance welcomes President Zuma’s decision to relieve former National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele of his duties. Sacking Cele was the right thing to do.

However, singing the praises of Cele as the President did this afternoon is an insult to the remaining dedicated and law-abiding members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The President’s strong action against Cele was unfortunately watered down by the “personal gratitude” expressed to the fallen general.

Mangwashi Phiyega is the new Police Commissioner

The DA also cautiously welcomes the appointment of Mangwashi Phiyega as the new National Police Commissioner. Her qualifications and wealth of experience in management make a welcome addition to the top brass of the SAPS. The DA remains concerned, however, that she is not a career police officer and has no experience in fighting crime.

The fact that she is not a career politician is, however, a welcome departure from her predecessors and we trust that her tenure will not be marked by similar disgraceful conduct. We wish Phiyega well in her new position, where challenges abound. We will continue to closely monitor and scrutinise developments in the police under her watch.

The DA hopes that Phiyega’s appointment will usher in a new era for the SAPS marked by stability and effective management at the top level. We trust that this will translate into increased credibility and integrity for the service as well as renewed confidence and public trust in the work of the police.

Rural Education is in crisis

June 11, 2012

Rural areas bear the brunt of poverty, joblessness and gross inequality – particularly former homeland areas where more than a third of South Africans still live. Read more about South Africa’s education crisis here

FIRE CELE says the DA

Anything short of a dishonourable expulsion… would portray President Zuma as weak on acting against crime and corruption, and even weaker on acting against ANC cronies,” Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said in a statement

DA VERWELKOM moontlike regulering van staatswerkers

Dit wil voorkom asof die regering dit nou ernstig oorweeg om saketransaksies tussen die staat en sy werknemers te reguleer.

Lindiwe Mazibuko, DA-parlementêre leier, het Vrydag gesê sy is verheug oor Mildred Oliphant, waarnemende minister vir die staatsdiens en administrasie, se houding jeens die saak

Social grant fraud: Too many guilty officials stay in the system

April 24, 2012

The Special Investigating Unit has found 25 255 cases of abuse of the social grant system by public officials since the inception of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in 2005. An additional 183 SASSA officials have been implicated for social grant fraud.

This was revealed today by the Minister of Social Development, Bathobile Dlamini, in a reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary question.

Of the 183 cases relating to SASSA officials, 112 officials have been found guilty, representing 61% of the total cases. Outcomes of these cases include:

59 dismissals (53% of cases);
32 written warnings (28.5% of cases);
17 suspensions without pay for varying periods (15% of cases); and
in the Free State, an assistant manager was going to be demoted and suspended without pay, but the sanction was set aside by the MEC.

A written warning seems to be no more than a slap on the wrist. And suspensions mean that guilty parties return to the system. Approximately 45% of guilty officials stay in the system.

Given the high number of guilty findings, it is important to know what action, if any, has been taken in the 25 255 cases against other public servants implicated in social grant fraud.

SASSA CEO Virginia Peterson must explain what steps SASSA will be taking to ensure that all staff members are vetted as a matter of urgency. Vetting is the first line of defence against social grant fraud and corruption.

In addition, the DA will be asking Minister Dlamini to clarify how her department follows up on the cases referred to other national and provincial departments. At this stage, it is not clear whether due process is being followed with regard to the other 25 255 public servants who have been implicated in social grant fraud.

Social grants provide an indispensable safety net to the most vulnerable people in our country. For many, it is the only means through which they maintain even the most basic standard of living. It is time for the Minister to demonstrate her commitment to the poor by taking decisive action to ensure that the grants administration process is free of fraud and corruption.

Madonsela sê binnekort of Mdluli ondersoek sal word

April 23, 2012

Die openbare beskermer, Thuli Madonsela, sal Dinsdag bekendmaak of haar kantoor bewerings van korrupsie teen die hoof van die misdaadintelligensie-eenheid, Richard Mdluli, sal ondersoek.

Lees die storie hier

ANC has lost its moral compass: Zille

“The human rights fought for by the likes of former president Nelson Mandela and freedom fighter Walter Sisulu was now “a distant memory under the ANC of Jacob Zuma.”

Read more here

Cosatu reg vir aksie teen E-tol

Cosatu is gereed om met sy massa-protesoptrede te begin teen die omstrede e-tolstelsel wat oor ‘n week in werking tree.

Lees die storie hier

Who is Kgalema Motlanthe?

Deputy President Motlanthe’s supporters in the party argue that he should succeed Zuma because he is worthy to hold the highest office, given his history as a unifier and a strategist of note, and his being without equal in terms of his ability to resolve conflict among warring factions in the alliance.

Read more here

Corruption fighters have their hands tied

April 21, 2012

Mystery deepens around Hofmeyr’s removal as SIU head

At the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) briefing to the Parliament justice portfolio committee yesterday, acting SIU head Advocate Nomvula Mokhatla confirmed that she is serving as acting head of the SIU whilst still fulfilling her role as a Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions.

When will a new head be appointed for the SIU? Willem Heath started up the successful corruption busting unit in 1997.

This admission serves to compound the mystery around the removal of Willie Hofmeyr. The Democratic Alliance asked Adv Hofmeyr directly whether the president had given him reasons for his removal as SIU head.

He eventually replied that he had been spoken to and that it was discussed with him that he could not continue to do two jobs.

It is also unclear whether he was given a choice as to whether he would prefer to retain his post as SIU head or remain as the head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).

The question needs to be asked why, in principle, is Advocate Nomvula Mokhatla allowed to act as SIU head and continue her job in Public Prosecutions, but Willie Hofmeyr was not permitted to do “two jobs”, despite his excellent performance in both.

In terms of the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, the president may remove the head of the SIU “if there are sound reasons for doing so”. The president has supplied no reasons whatsoever.

On 5 December 2011, DA Leader Helen Zille addressed a letter to the president requesting such reasons. The only response from him has been an acknowledgement of receipt.

The SIU fulfills a vital role in combatting corruption in South Africa.

The chaos that has been wrought in the recent months by Hofmeyer’s removal, the appointment and resignation of Judge Willem Heath, the appointment and removal of Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba and now Advocate Mokhatla’s appointment is unforgivable.

It is equally unacceptable that the President continues to ignore his legislative responsibilities and requests for reasons for his actions from the official opposition.

A severe cash crisis is also hampering the Special Investigating Unit (SIU)’s capacity to probe corruption, acting chief financial officer Garth Elliot said at the same briefing.

The unit had been forced to terminate the contracts of part-time staff, he said in Cape Town after a briefing to Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice.

At present, the SIU had to make do without R 175 million that is due to it from state entities, leaving R 307 million that was directly allocated from National Treasury for this financial year.

Why is the war against corruption being hampered in South Africa?