Opposition parties will today provide details of a National Day of Action planned for Wednesday. Mass action and a March to the Union Buildings are planned for Wednesday 12 April, President Zuma’s 75th birthday.
Kobus Marais MP
DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
The DA will write to the Chairperson of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), Minister Jeff Radebe, to seek confirmation on whether or not the Gupta family have permission to own the armoured military vehicle currently stationed at their Saxonwold residence.
It is illegal for ordinary citizens to own military technology and it is therefore deeply concerning that this armoured vehicle is currently stationed at a private residence.
The Gupta family lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, has confirmed that the armoured vehicle does indeed belong to the Gupta’s and it is being used for “safety purposes”.
Reports in the media indicate that the vehicle is manufactured by Scipio Technologies, a Boksburg-based company in which the Gupta family own a stake. Scipio Technologies is apparently registered with the NCACC and is therefore permitted to manufacture vehicles for military use but they are prohibited from selling them to private individuals.
Should Minister Radebe confirm that the Gupta’s do not have permission to own this vehicle, he must make public the actions that will be taken to ensure that the Gupta’s are held to account.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has filed papers in the Constitutional Court, seeking to ensure a secret ballot during Parliament’s vote of no confidence. Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete had previously turned down the UDM’s request. She says there’s no provision for a secret ballot in Parliament’s rules or the Constitution. Holomisa, however, disagrees. (eNCA)
David Maynier MP, DA Shadow Minister of Finance
The new Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba’s, attempts to restore confidence and engage ratings agencies failed to convince Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”) not to downgrade South Africa.
The fact is that the decision by Fitch to downgrade our long-term foreign currency debt and long-term local currency debt to “BB+”, or “junk status”, with a “stable outlook”, is a vote of no confidence in the minister’s ability to hold the fiscal line and stabilise debt.
This should come as no surprise given that the minister is trying to convince the ratings agencies that he can hold the fiscal line and implement “radical economic transformation”, which is simply not credible.
It’s not good enough for the minister to simply concede the ratings downgrade was a “setback”. The minister needs to roll up his sleeves and get into the fight to avoid further ratings downgrades.
The minister’s number one priority should be to avoid the nightmare scenario where massive forced selling of our debt triggers an economic meltdown that will spare nobody, rich or poor.
This could happen if Standard & Poors and Moody’s downgrade our long-term local currency debt, which makes up about 90% of our debt, to “junk status”.
However, the problem is that the ratings agencies do not trust the minister: they regarded him as a presidential minion, ready to carry out any instruction, no matter how damaging to the economy.
Media reports Sunday that the nuclear deal is going full-steam ahead is extremely concerning and will essentially guarantee that South Africa will be downgraded by further ratings agencies, and will make recovering from this status even more difficult.
According to a confidential document, in June Eskom will issue a formal request for proposals for the R1 trillion contract for the nuclear build programme. The winning bidder will be confirmed in March next year and the contract signed and sealed between December 2018 and March 2019.
Fitch stated in no uncertain terms that a key driver behind the decision was that “Eskom, has already issued a request for information for nuclear suppliers and is expected to issue a request for proposals for nuclear power stations later this year. The treasury under its previous leadership had said that Eskom could not absorb the nuclear programme with its current approved guarantees, so the treasury will likely have to substantially increase guarantees to Eskom”.
South Africa is not the property of one individual, one family or one party
– Mmusi Maimane