Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Mbeki blasts Zuma, Juju

July 27 2011 at 07:29am
By Michelle Pietersen

The ANC is not the future for South Africa, and President Jacob Zuma has neither the will nor the ability to change the situation the country finds itself in, says Moeletsi Mbeki, brother of former president Thabo Mbeki.

Mbeki pulled no punches on Tuesday as he spoke on the political and economic state of the country and his concerns over the direction it was taking.

“The ANC is not the future of the country. We should stop obsessing about the ANC. The ANC has ceased to be the future of South Africa if it continues (as it has been),” he told the Cape Town Press Club. “We have to ask ourselves now: who is the future of the country?”

He said there was a steep decline in the calibre of ANC leaders. The emergence of the “song-and-dance brigade, like Zuma and (ANC Youth League president) Julius Malema, who claim to be leaders”, indicated there was a lack of intellectual and visionary leaders but also leaders of sound morals and values.

He dismissed Malema as insignificant and spoke bluntly about Zuma’s reluctance to act on the recommendations of the public protector after investigations into the leases for two police headquarters.

“I don’t really think much of Julius. I don’t think he’s an important factor… Julius likes to compare himself with the (ANC leaders) of the ‘40s… there’s no comparison, absolutely no comparison,” said Mbeki.

“Up to now the ANC has been led by leaders from that time, they don’t have that – now we have the song-and-dance brigade like Zuma and Julius, who claim to be leaders.”

On Sunday, Afrikaner rights group AfriForum laid a charge of corruption against Malema after revelations of a secret trust, of which he is the sole trustee, which allegedly operated as a conduit for cash paid by business people in exchange for help from the ANC Youth League president in securing tenders and push political agendas.

Malema faces multiple probes into his financial dealings, and has to explain himself to the ANC.

Mbeki said that throughout his tenure Zuma had been criticised by commentators, opposition parties and from within the tripartite alliance as being soft on corruption and for his inability to take bold decisions.

“Zuma has neither the will nor the ability to change the situation… The report released by the public protector last week, Zuma hasn’t done anything yet.

“He says he’s studying it, but all of us know what’s in the report,” said Mbeki.

Politicians, he said, would not create competition for themselves and it was up to citizens to jolt them into action by using their vote to punish or reward them.

However, he said, citizens were “happily marching and dancing to the edge of the cliff with no one caring about where we are going”.

“Blatant corruption” was taking place at the ANC’s investment arm, Chancellor House, he said, with reference to the multibillion-rand deal with Hitachi Power Africa, which in 2007 jointly won a contract with its parent body to supply Eskom with boilers for its two new power stations, Kusile and Medupi.

He slammed the ANC’s model of racial preference, including black economic empowerment, as a tool which had been used to benefit an elite group.

“It (racial preference) was a disaster with the National Party and it’s a disaster now,” said Mbeki.

He said South Africans were living off mineral wealth, which was in decline and unsustainable.

Countries such as South Africa – middle-incomers – were the casualties of globalisation, while big players such as the US and poorer countries which had huge populations and markets were the biggest winners.

Old industrial practices and management systems like those of the mining industry, which still had same-sex hostels, were to the detriment of the economy.

“Cecil John Rhodes would be pleased,” he said. - Political Bureau


Monday, 22 February 2010

Gigaba: Stop blaming apartheid

2010-02-21 21:00

Johannesburg - Lax and corrupt public officials should stop blaming apartheid for their misdeeds, a senior government official reportedly has said in Umrabulo, the ANC's journal.

The report, by the Sunday Independent, quoted deputy home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba as saying: "Apartheid cannot be blamed every time some among them fail to discharge their responsibilities or get involved in corruption".

Gigaba, who is also a member of the ANC's  national executive committee, said laxity in executing public service duty constituted corruption, but this could not be blamed on apartheid.

"Most of the public servants employed in government today are not from the apartheid era, but were engaged during the democratic dispensation," he said.

Apartheid was inherently corrupt because it "was founded upon a corrupt value system that supported, spawned and was itself, in turn, sustained by corruption".

"Sure, the legacy of apartheid could be blamed, but for how long!" he said.


Gigaba also rejected the argument that poverty caused corruption. "Even where they participate in corrupt activities, the poor are often the victims rather than the propellers of corruption."

"Corruption is after all a conscious abuse of power for personal enrichment by those who have such power," he said.

"The largest incidents of corruption in the public service occur among the senior management services among those that earn satisfactory salaries; where large accounts and budgets are controlled, and decisions taken," Gigaba said.

"It is at this level that huge tenders and contracts are issued and where kickbacks are often demanded for contracts and offered."

Gigaba called for a new type of public servant who could manage the conflict between private and public interest. Public servants' private business projects should not interfere with their duties as public officials.

"We need to prevent and punish what is morally wrong and to encourage and reward all that is morally right," he said.

"There is a need for the establishment of a professional meritocratic public service that is able to uphold the values and principles of democracy, good governance, and Ubuntu; whilst sharing the ideology of development."

Gigaba's words come amidst a series of service delivery protests, the latest in Siyathemba township in Balfour in Mpumalanga since the beginning of February.


Monday, 07 December 2009

'Councillors lack accountability'

2009-08-18 07:40

Johannesburg - Problems in the organisational structure of the ANC have led to a lack of accountability by councillors, ANC veteran and former speaker of parliament Frene Ginwala said on Monday.

"When we returned [from exile], [the ANC] decided not to establish a parliamentary party, but decided to retain the branch as the basic unit of organisation, decision-making and choosing leadership.

"We did not consider adequately the link between the branch and local government," Ginwala told an audience at the annual Ruth First lecture in Johannesburg.

"Even today, many of the problems arise from the complicated governing structures we had."

Local govt not being held accountable

Ginwala said that while ANC branches were intended to hold local government accountable, the reality was very different.

She said this was because the organisational mechanisms for such accountability did not exist.

"Rarely has action been taken against councillors who are corrupt and ignore the ANC structures," said Ginwala.

Also speaking at the Ruth First lecture was columnist and academic Jacob Dlamini.

Dlamini had done a case study of a local branch in Katlehong and was careful to note that the distance between theory and reality could be great.

He argued that in the aftermath of President Jacob Zuma's election in Polokwane, political commentators had exalted the branch as having been responsible for that event.

Dlamini said the branch he examined, even at a size reduced from its original 22 000, was still too unwieldy.

"In 2008, it took the branch eight attempts to form a quorum for its AGM [Annual General Meeting]," he said.

Divided by loyalties

In addition to this, the branch was divided by its loyalties to different members, despite new members "making an oath to oppose factionalism".

Dlamini quoted one branch leader as saying: "We do not have members of the ANC branch, we have members of members."

Dlamini said that the debate around Mbeki and Zuma itself, and how it was remembered, revealed a great deal about the shifting alliances within branches.

"This is quite interesting... we think of white people who 'never supported apartheid'. You find in the ANC that no one supported Mbeki."


Ginwala: Zuma failing to lead by example

2009-12-06 14:32

Johannesburg - Failure to reign in ANCYL leader Julius Malema and accepting salary hikes are signs of the poor quality of leadership shown by President Jacob Zuma and his government, Frene Ginwala has told the Sunday Times.

Given the recession and high levels of unemployment, Zuma should not have granted salary increases to his officials, the former National Assembly speaker told the newspaper in an interview.

"Look at the level of political leadership in this country. It's not very good. How many of our leaders lead by example?"

In 1995 former president Nelson Mandela announced salary cuts in his administration, and, more recently Thabo Mbeki refused for years to take salary increases when he was head of state.

This lack of leadership manifested itself in allowing ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema to insult "older people", such as Mbeki, ANC veteran Zola Skweyiya, former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and former education minister Naledi Pandor.

"When he (Malema) was speaking the way he was, a number of people stopped me in the street and said: 'How do you allow that boy to speak to elders in this way?'

"If he was engaging in political debate in the national executive committee, no one expects him not to speak his mind. But publicly... you could still put the ideas across with some respect for your elders. Now that is where we are running ourselves down," the paper quoted her as saying.

Following the storm around the appointment of Menzi Simelane as national director of public prosecutions, she said she "fully" stood by her report which was critical of Simelane's handling of Vusi Pikoli's suspension.



Monday, 19 October 2009

Parties fume over 5-star stay

2009-10-18 21:55

Johannesburg - Opposition political parties on Sunday reacted with anger at the news that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has racked up another five-star hotel bill, this time of R570 000 in Durban.

The Sunday Independent reported that between December 19 and April 25, Mthethwa was intermittently booked into the luxurious Hilton Hotel along with members of his VIP Protection Unit at a cost of R578 499.

The Hilton bill was double what taxpayers coughed up for Mthethwa's 17-day stay in Cape Town's five-star Table Bay Hotel earlier this year. Mthethwa stayed at the hotel at a cost of R235 000 while his home was being renovated after flood damage.

The DA said the police department's long list of luxury indulgences did not only contradict President Jacob Zuma's calls for austerity and prudence, but flew in the face of common sense and commitment to put the public before personal gratification.

"If one adds up the hotel extravagance to the cars bought by Mthethwa and his deputy, Fikile Mbalula, it goes up to over R3.7m of public money being spent on person opulence," shadow minister of police Dianne Kohler Barnard said in a statement.

She asked how Mthethwa would justify his behaviour while police officers who often put their lives at risk earned next to nothing each month.


The Independent Democrats expressed its "disgust".

"In light of the fact that this is the second such revelation about Mthethwa in less than two weeks, words cannot describe how disgusted the ID is," the party's spokesperson for police Haniff Hoosen said in a statement.

The problem was that ministers were determining their own benefits, he said.

"The Cabinet's powers to approve the handbook must be taken away. Perks, privileges and allowances for ministers should be determined by a similar process to the Moseneke Commission, which was tasked with examining remuneration for public office bearers."

ANC leaders had lost touch with the people who voted them into their positions.

According to the Sunday Independent's copy of the Hilton bill, Mthethwa spent Christmas and New Year at the hotel. During an uninterrupted 17-day stay from December 19, he was not accompanied by any guards and the bill came to just over R86 000.

On the night before Valentine's Day, Mthethwa was booked into the same hotel, this time with four guards, at a cost of R38 516. From April 19 to 25, he stayed at the hotel with two guards. The bill amounted to R89 000.

His spokesperson, Zweli Mnisi, did not comment on the figure, saying only that Mthethwa was in KwaZulu-Natal around December on "official duties", partaking in roadshows aimed at reducing festive season crime. His April stay was due to the national elections.

"The province was identified as a potential hot spot. All these were official programmes aimed at engaging local stakeholders in the fight against crime, including consultation with local authorities as part of preparation for the elections," he said in a statement.



Monday, 27 July 2009

Cut ministers' car benefit - DA

2009-07-26 14:27

Cape Town - The DA is proposing a range of cost-cutting measures for the executive, including doing away with free trips on the luxurious Blue Train, removing the right to a state sponsored domestic worker and cutting car allowances to a meagre R660 000.
Party leader Helen Zille said in Cape Town on Sunday economic times were tough and that the executive, like everyone else, should have to tighten their belts.
"This year, our economy is likely to shrink by almost 2% and we are deep in recession," Zille said.
"In the midst of this economic crisis, the government must demonstrate that it is prepared to make sacrifices and demonstrate some frugality."
Zille said her colleague, MP Anchen Dreyer, had submitted a letter to the director general in the presidency, Vusi Mavimbela, asking for certain amendments to be made to the ministerial handbook.
Fund own travels
This was in order to "reflect a more sympathetic appreciation for the plight that South Africa finds itself in".
One of the proposals is to cancel the right of members of the executive to make use of the Blue Train.
"Members of the executive currently are entitled to travel by train for official purposes at the cost of the relevant department, including travelling on the Blue Train," Zille said.
"It is not necessary for carrying out executive duties to travel on the Blue Train, and should members want to travel on the Blue Train, we believe they should fund this from their own pockets."
Members were entitled to a state-purchased car of a value equivalent to 70% of their annual salary. This equated to roughly R929 000.
"The DA believes that this is excessive. We propose that the benefit be reduced from 70% to 50%.
"This would entitle them to a car worth R663 780, which we believe is more than adequate for the purposes that members of the executive use their cars for."
Cancelling VIP lounges benefits
Another of the party's proposals is to cancel the right for the executive to make use of VIP lounges at airports during domestic trips.
"The DA proposes instead that members should not be allowed to use VIP rooms when travelling domestically, as it is not necessary to their jobs."
Domestic workers for members of the executive were also paid for by the taxpayer.
"Where members of the executive stay in private accommodation, they are... entitled to a domestic worker funded by the state. The DA has requested that this right be removed, so that ministers staying in their own houses pay for their own cleaning service."
The party has proposed a further stipulation that members of the executive not be allowed to use blue lights or sirens when being driven around, except in cases of genuine and verifiable emergency.
Zille said the executive was riddled with examples of "profligate spending".
One example was the communications department, which recently purchased two new BMW 750i cars valued at R1.1m each, for Minister Siphiwe Nyanda.
Another was KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize's inauguration party two months ago, which cost the taxpayer R10.6m.
"Across the country, citizens are protesting because of the conditions in which they live.
"In the midst of this economic crisis, the government must demonstrate that it is prepared to make sacrifices and demonstrate some frugality.
Zille said the party's proposals were being put into place in the Western Cape, where she is premier.
"We will be putting these to the president's office, in the hope that the national government will give consideration to implementing them too."



Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Prisons' bosses suspended

2009-07-13 15:36

Johannesburg - Correctional services national commissioner, Xoliswa Sibeko, and the department's acting chief financial officer, Nandi Mareka, have been placed on precautionary suspension with immediate effect, the department said on Monday.

"The reason for placement on precautionary suspension is to ensure the investigation into the renting of accommodation for senior executives, amongst others, is not interfered with," said department spokesperson Manelisi Wolela.

"It is important to note that there is no finding on these matters and therefore there is no judgement," he added.

Wolela declined to elaborate on the investigation. He said both Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the commissioner regarded the investigation as "serious".
According to a statement, Mapisa-Nqakula announced the establishment of an investigative team at a special executive management committee meeting on Monday.

The Public Service Commission team would investigate Sibeko's conduct.

Recent media reports said that Sibeko and her Gauteng counterpart were renting properties costing the taxpayer around R35 000 per month.

Rapport newspaper said the rentals were in the exclusive Woodhill area of Pretoria, and were being used while the official residences stood empty.

Democratic Alliance shadow minister of correctional services, James Selfe, welcomed the pair's precautionary suspension, saying the fact that the minister had taken action was "encouraging" but was "only the beginning of what needed to be done".

"The DCS [department of correctional services] desperately needs a turnaround strategy to lift it out of the morass of mismanagement that has characterised the last five years," Selfe said in a statement.