The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday formally laid criminal charges against Deputy President Paul Mashatile, after allegations of corruption, spanning almost two decades, were levelled against him.
It has been reported that Mashatile's son-in-law Nceba Nonkwelo purchased a R28.9-million home in Constantia, Cape Town, last year through one of his companies, Bilcosat.
Between March and May 2023, Nonkwelo, through his business entities, funded the purchase of properties allegedly for Mashatile's benefit, worth R65.9-million.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said the integrity of the South African government was laughable when the country’s second in command had such a large cloud of dire corruption allegations hanging over his head.
“President [Cyril] Ramaphosa can no longer bury his head in the sand and hope it will somehow blow over. There now exists more than sufficient evidence to suggest that Paul Mashatile is, and has been, involved in egregious corruption during his tenure of various executive positions over the past two decades, and it is now time for him to face the consequences,” said Steenhuisen.
He said as South Africa approached a “'hinge of history' election later this year”, citizens could not allow the African National Congress (ANC) government to deflect from the fact that most State failure and every service collapse could be directly traced to State capture and severe corruption that had become endemic under the ANC.
Steenhuisen said the DA had also submitted a formal complaint against Mashatile to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests for a breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct, for failure to disclose registrable interests, or for wilfully or grossly negligently providing the Registrar with incorrect or misleading details.
“Mashatile also faces allegations for having misled Parliament by failing to properly declare his use of various properties, including a R37-million Waterfall house in Gauteng. In addition to this, Mashatile also breached the Code of Conduct by failing to act in all respects in a manner that is consistent with the integrity of their office or the government,” he said.
Given that the appointment of the Deputy President was made solely at the discretion of the President, last week the DA submitted a dossier of allegations levelled against Mashatile to the Union Buildings for the attention of Ramaphosa.
The DA gave Ramaphosa a week to act against Mashatile, urging him to use the 2024 State of the Nation Address (SoNA) to declare the removal of Mashatile from his executive, and to submit him for a full Special Investigating Unit investigation.
However, Steenhuisen said it came as no surprise that Ramaphosa had done nothing to act against the “corrupt cadres within his government” and within his own party.
Steenhuisen pointed out that had Ramaphosa instituted lifestyle audits for his Cabinet ministers, as promised in his first SoNA, all allegations levelled against Mashatile would have come to light for the requisite action to be taken.
Meanwhile, Steenhuisen said the work of journalists should not be ignored, explaining that in addition to laying criminal charges against Mashatile the DA was seeking an appointment with the Hawks, which were already involved in an investigation with other several matters related to Mashatile.
The DA will seek to supplement the Hawks’ case with matters outlined in the charge sheet.
“We believe that it is in the interest of South Africa for President Cyril Ramaphosa to break his silence about his deputy. He cannot continue to act as if nothing is wrong and everything is all right. This is a huge scandal that is enveloping the Presidency. You cannot stand before the nation at the State of the Nation Address and talk about combating corruption and getting at the bottom of graft and eliminating State capture in the country, when the very person occupying the office across from you at the Union Buildings has himself got this serious cloud over his head and that 97 of your colleagues remain without any consequence for the exposure and the credible work done at the Zondo Commission to get at the bottom of State capture,” said Steenhuisen.
He said if citizens wanted to root out corruption and maladministration in South Africa and wanted a clean government, then they must be committed to it.
He mentioned the DA’s 'Blueprint for Rescuing South Africa', announced last week, which proposed the introduction of a Scorpions 2.0 Bill, which he said would see a recreation of the multidisciplinary anti-corruption team, to tackle serious corruption and crime in the country.
He said that the original Scorpions were disbanded for no other reason that they were far too successful in their prosecution and their detection of serious corruption, particularly involving those in political office.
He said the DA’s Scorpions 2.0 Bill would see a chapter 9 status being given to them, which meant they would require a full two-thirds majority in Parliament to disband them.
He added that this meant that no matter how inconvenient they could be to any government in the country, they would be able to act without fear or favour.