President Jacob Zuma says South Africa’s is a “funny democracy”, citing calls for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to be fired before “anything has happened”.
“This is another kind of democracy that if you expect someone is going to make a mistake or is going to fail, that person must be punished before it happens. It’s a funny democracy,” he said during a question-and-answer session in Parliament.
“I thought the date we are talking about has not arrived? The 1st of April,” he said.
He was answering a question from DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who asked what Zuma planned to do to keep his appointed officials accountable to the rule of law.
Maimane followed up by asking if Zuma believed Dlamini should be removed from her position, given the current crisis around social grants.
“Why punish someone before anything happens?” Zuma said.
“Stick to democracy and the rule of law. That’s not the rule of law. It’s almost like the law of the jungle. No sir, I disagree, honourable Maimane.
“There’s no crisis.”
Zuma further explained that he did not say there was no problem, only that the April 1 date had not arrived yet.
Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance
The Democratic Alliance condemns, in the strongest terms, President Zuma’s unwillingness to hold the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, accountable for the social grants crisis that she has created. It is now clear that 17 million South Africans have been abandoned by the President and the ANC.
Today President Zuma told Parliament and the people of South Africa that there exists no social grants crisis. This indicates a President out of touch with reality.
He has no interest in making sure that Minister Dlamini is held to account for her astounding lack of action and utter contempt – not only for the Constitutional Court – but for the 17 million poor and vulnerable people who depend on social grants for their livelihood and survival. This is the very Minister who Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng yesterday called “incompetent” in discharging her responsibilities.
Zuma fails to see how Dlamini has sat on her hands for three years since the highest court in the land declared the CPS contract invalid and ordered that SASSA make alternative plans for the distribution of grants. Dlamini has been far too busy campaigning for the ANC to prioritise the payment of social grants.
Zuma fails to see how Dlamini wilfully misled Parliament when she claimed, in her budget vote speech on 5 May 2016, that SASSA will be ready to distribute grants come 1 April.
Zuma fails to see that Dlamini has failed in her responsibility as a Minister to answer 93% of Parliamentary questions relating to the crisis…
The Constitutional Court will rule Friday on the unlawful Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) tender of a contract to manage welfare benefits to 17 million people. In an affidavit submitted on Thursday, CPS proposed a fixed fee of R194 million per month (VAT inclusive) for a period of two years, equating to R4.6 billion in total (starting April 1 through to March 31 2019).
News24 – President Jacob Zuma denied any knowledge of allegations of the ANC’s reported involvement in the Swifambo tender for the procurement of locomotives by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).
Zuma was responding to questions in the National Assembly when DA leader Mmusi Maimane asked him in a follow-up question whether the ANC received a “bribe of R80m” to award the procurement of the controversial Afro4000 locomotive to Swifambo Rail Leasing.
News24 earlier reported that the Swifambo paid an amount of R14.3m into the account of a lawyer who had introduced himself as a fundraiser for the ANC.
This transaction by Auswell Mashaba, MD of the Swifambo Rail Leasing, would be the first of several payments totalling R80m that were made by Mashaba to George Sabelo, the ANC-linked lawyer, and Maria Gomes, an Angolan citizen who calls herself a friend of Zuma.
“As ANC president, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Zuma said in response to Maimane’s question.
“The allegations need to be investigated. I know Prasa has done its own internal investigations on the allegations, but I have no idea how far they are.”
Maimane put it to Zuma that Popo Molefe former chairperson of the now dissolved Prasa board, stated under oath that the ANC, as well as certain Prasa officials were the recipients of the said bribe.
The DA leader also wanted to know from Zuma if he instructed ANC MPs who are members of the portfolio committee on transport to make a U-turn on a promised inquiry into the disarray at Prasa.
Zuma said there are already a number of investigations involving Prasa and that he doubted it would be wise to conduct “an inquiry on top of investigations”.
“Would that be the correct thing to do before the outcome of the investigations?” Zuma asked. “We can only decide on the need for the inquiry once the investigations are completed. One of the things is the investigation could go to court. So you may not have the need for any inquiry.”
Prasa has been mired in controversy, following allegations of tender irregularities, wasteful expenditure and management problems at company and board level.
Collins Letsoalo, Prasa acting CEO was recently fired by the board, following allegations that he hiked his salary by more than 350%. Transport Minister Dipuo Peters dissolved the board shortly thereafter.
An interim board has since been established, chaired by former SA National Roads Agency boss Nazir Ali was an experienced manager and former General-Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers‚ Frans Baleni‚ and Xolile George from the SA Local Government Association (Salga).
Meanwhile the former board members have lodged an urgent application in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday to reverse their removal by Peters.
The former board argued that the disbandment could create the perception that the transport minister is seeking to prevent investigations into corruption‚ which is ongoing, and that she is “punishing the board” for its decision to axe Letsoalo.