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DA: Mmusi Maimane: Address by DA Leader, during a press briefing, Parliament, Cape Town (22/09/2017)

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DA: Mmusi Maimane: Address by DA Leader, during a press briefing, Parliament, Cape Town (22/09/2017)

DA Leader Mmusi Maimane

22nd September 2017

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I want to begin by welcoming yesterday’s decision by ANC Member of Parliament, Dr Makhosi Khoza, to quit the ANC. For many, it is not an easy decision to leave the party of liberation in South Africa. She must be congratulated for her bravery and integrity, and we hope the many like her within the ANC come to the same realisation she did: that the ANC is dead, and beyond the point of no return. Dr Khoza summed this up yesterday, when she said:

“If we were to prosecute all known corrupt cases including those implicated in the Gupta e-mails‚ almost 80–90% of the ANC leadership at all levels of government would have to replace their shiny tailored suites and pretty dresses with orange overalls”

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It’s time for a new beginning for our nation, and that new beginning lies in a post-ANC South Africa.

Corruption is an oppressive system that operates to destroy work opportunities, and operates against ordinary South Africans at the expense of a few. Whether it is a councillor who accepts a bribe for an EPWP job, or a senior executive at a large corporate firm who unduly wins government contracts – South Africans suffer because of this. Our challenge is to dismantle corruption is all its forms.

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Ever since the infamous “Gupta leaks” some months ago, our nation has been knocked with daily revelations and new information pertaining to the intricate web of corruption, extortion, and undue influence exercised by the President, numerous ministers in his cabinet, and the infamous Gupta family.

The emails, and the information uncovered subsequent to that, provides a surfeit of evidence showing that our country has been captured by the President and his ANC government to make themselves and their friends rich – while ordinary South Africans suffer in the plight of unemployment and poverty. It is this state capture and corruption the ANC continues to condone and protect.

However, over the past weeks, the extent of the rot of state capture and grand corruption in our nation has become chillingly apparent. The recent revelations that private sector companies, such as KPMG and McKinsey, allegedly aided Gupta-aligned companies to profit from government contracts drove home the uncomfortable reality that our country has truly been captured in its entirety – and our young democracy is under siege.

As the Democratic Alliance (DA), we maintain that anyone implicated in any form of corruption, collusion or State Capture – in either the public and private sector – must be held accountable and face the consequences of their actions. As such, we have begun tackling this issue head on, in order to ensure those who engage in corruption are brought to book for their actions.

Private Sector

International auditing firm, KPMG, has become embroiled in the state capture saga by allegedly providing technical international tax advice to Gupta-aligned companies and by helping facilitate funds being moved from South Africa to Dubai. The firm assisted with tax avoidance advice as well as the setting up of shell companies, which assisted Gupta-owned Linkway Trading in laundering R30-million in public funds to pay for the family’s 2013 Sun City wedding.

Since these revelations, the wheels of accountability have begun to turn at KPMG, with the forced resignation of at least 7 of its top executives– including the firm’s CEO and COO. Moreover, KPMG has signalled its intention to donate the profits earned to charity, and KPMG International has launched an internal investigation into this matter.

We welcome the fact that those who carried out corrupt work for Gupta-aligned companies are being held accountable for wrongdoing. However, there is still more to do. As such, we call on KPMG to take the following steps:

  • To offer a public explanation as to the details surrounding the KPMG report into the so-called “rogue unit” at SARS, which was used to undermine the South African Revenue Service (SARS). KPMG must clarify how the end product came about, why they failed their own internal quality controls, and whether anyone from SARS interfered in the process;
  • To open its books and make public all its dealings with those involved in state capture, including all Gupta-aligned companies and any government entities;
  • To ensure every individual implicated in any underhand work done for Gupta aligned interests be removed from the firm; and
  • To make public any bonuses or severage packages handed to senior executives following their removal or forced resignation.
  • I will also be writing to the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), Lesetja Kganyago, requesting that he confirm whether senior management at KPMG, or anyone else employed by them, reported any suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), as they would be obliged to do in terms of Section 29(1)(b) of the FIC Act 38 of 2001.

In addition to KPMG, international consultancy firm, McKinsey, appears to have paved the way for Gupta-linked firm Trillian to make hundreds of millions of rands from Eskom as it sub-contracted 30% of its Eskom work to the Trillian under the guise of ‘supplier development”.

Earlier this week, the DA laid criminal charges of fraud, racketeering and collusion in terms of Section 21 of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act (PACCA) against McKinsey. We believe there are other avenues that ought to be pursued in addition to these charges. Therefore, I will be writing to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in London – where McKinsey’s Headquarters are located – requesting an investigation into the dealings in terms of the UK’s Bribery Act.

The DA will not back down in our pursuit of full accountability in these matters. As was evident in the Bell Pottinger case, those in the private sector who are caught in dodgy dealings with the powerful and the corrupt will be brought to book and face full accountability.

Public Sector

While the private sector has been responsive to these allegations and initiated accountability, when it comes to government, those at the top have thus far gotten away with corruption, collusion and aiding State Capture. In particular, cabinet ministers – including Malusi Gigaba, Lynne Brown, Des Van Rooyen, Mosebenzi Zwane and Faith Muthambi among others – face a litany of  State Capture allegations. Yet to date, not one minister has been held to account.

Section 92 of the constitution is clear: Ministers are accountable collectively and individually to Parliament for the exercise of their powers and performance of their functions. Moreover, section 237 of the constitution provides that constitutional obligations must be performed diligently and without delay.

However, this has not occured and it appears Parliament is in the process of breaching its constitutional obligations again – as the Constitutional Court found it to have done in the infamous Nkandla matter.

I had previously written to the Speaker on 29 May 2017 requesting that a draft resolution be placed on the Order Paper to establish an ad hoc committee to investigate these matters, as this would be the most appropriate way to holistically pursue accountability. This ad hoc committee was never established. Instead, on 20 June 2017, House Chairperson, Mr Frolick tasked the Portfolio Committees of Mineral Resources, Public Enterprises, Transport and Home Affairs with the responsibility of “urgently” probing the allegations of state capture insofar as they concerned those Ministers or departments.

Despite the mandate to probe “urgently”, these committees have proceeded with their work at a snail’s pace. Only the Public Enterprises Committee has appointed an evidence leader and has begun to hold hearings, however their probe is focused solely on Eskom, and excludes other players such as Transnet and Denel. The remaining three committees have achieved nothing in this regard.

Therefore, we are of the view that both the appointment of the four separate committees, instead of a single ad hoc committee, as well as the obfuscation and delays that have characterised the work of these committees constitute a deliberate attempt to undermine the responsibility of the National Assembly to hold the Executive to account. Even if not deliberate, the mere lack of urgency by the committees frustrates the National Assembly’s constitutional mandate.

It is for this reason that I have today written to Ms Baleka Mbete, the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly, requesting that our draft resolution be placed on the Order Paper to establish an ad hoc committee into State Capture by no later than 31 October 2017. The Speaker has now been put on notice and must act without delay. Given this and the seriousness and importance of these matters, we must place on record that if the Speaker does not issue the instruction concerned, we reserve our right to approach a Court for appropriate relief.

Furthermore, we request that the Speaker sees to it that a Disciplinary Committee is established – in terms of Rule 216 of the National Assembly Rules – to consider whether any of the following Ministers have acted in breach of their constitutional duties:

  • Malusi Gigaba
  • Faith Muthambi
  • Des Van Rooyen
  • Lynne Brown
  • Mosebenzi Zwane

Conclusion

We maintain that everyone involved in State Capture – ministers, companies, and any other individuals - be summoned to Parliament to be interrogated and held accountable if found guilty. We need to urgently get to the bottom of State Capture and its corrosive effect on our nation and its people.

As the official opposition, we will continue fighting corruption and State Capture with every possible instrument, because without defeating it, we cannot address our stubborn unemployment rate and we will never achieve economic freedom and equality for all South Africans. Only when we have defeated corruption, can we defeat the social ills prevalent in South Africa.

Ultimately, South Africans have the power to vote out State Capture and corruption at the ballot box in 2019, and choose a new beginning for our country.

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