Tag Archive | ANC

ANC MPs face to face with reality

….SA on world stage for Parliamentary opening

….editorial 27 January…

Who is going to be doing what in the ANC as Parliament re-opens for the first session of 2018 is far from clear as the party cogitates over leadership factors.    However, the vessel, the SS Rainbow Nation, may have righted itself and could commence the long and difficult voyage to economic recovery, although the vessel could well be said to be currently in damage control mode.   But at last the glass is half full, not half empty.

For the next few weeks, all eyes will be on Parliament.  The Bard could not have put it better.   “All the world’s a stage: all have their exits and their entrances…”, to paraphrase a little.

Patience called for

Those who feel that injustices have taken place and people must go to jail will just simply have to wait and learn to control the anger and frustration in the coming weeks as we learn of further exposés indicating the real depth of the corruption and mismanagement during the Zuma era.  The wound has been lanced but it took far too long for the doctor to arrive and apply a dressing.

In the meanwhile, somehow, South Africans are going to have to put this ten year period of atrocious governance behind and just simply get on with the job.. The endless denials of who did what to whom and whose hands are clean will go on for a very long time.  Replays of past speeches which are totally contrary to current statements will be the order of the day and prepare for brazen lies about how so many people all miraculously got to stay at the Oberoi Hotel in Dubai, for example.

They told us so

AmaBhungane and Daily Maverick told us about the Vrede Dairy Project theft of R220m as long ago as June 2017, the scam set up by still current Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule, then Free State Premier, and contemptuously planned as a siphon for personal financial gain.   It was almost tiring to see the whole story splurged again in the weekend press. The “I am innocent until proven guilty” answers from Minister Zwana were equally as absurd.

Consequently, for the last six months, it has also been most difficult to watch Zwane strutting about in parliamentary portfolio committee meetings in the confident manner that is his hallmark busily destroying half of the mining industry on behalf of the Guptas knowing that all around him knew what he was up to.

Fortunately, partner Ace Magashule appears rarely Parliament. His time may come, however, once his position at Luthuli House is clarified.

Failure of disciplines

Under Jacob Zuma, the habit of state “fruitless and wasteful” expenditure has become endemic ever since the example had been set by the top with Nkandla. This was probably the first awful display of arrogance in the face of overwhelming knowledge of the truth. Now with Eskom debacle included, we know that that the total of money stolen in the Zuma era is around R700bn. This is according to the Institute of Internal Auditors.

If the “fruitless and wasteful” aspect of bad governance are added to this already frightful figure, then whomsoever said “Every nation gets the Government they deserve” is right, meaning of course that if Parliament and the Auditor General fail in oversight of government expenditure then all are poorer for not having applied consequences.  A private member’s Bill, recently tabled in Parliament to give the AG more teeth, is most welcome.

How low can it get?

If the Sunday press coverage of the Vrede dairy swindle was not enough,  once again we had to watch, with no satisfaction we might add, this same sickening story of corruption and greed repeated by a TV announcer standing outside a sliding gate and a wall located in the back and beyond of the Free State with a few building structures in the distance.  The total sum of assets still technically belonging to the Department of Agriculture from their project from which the R220m had been blatantly diverted.

As had been told to us six months before by Amabhungane and by Jacques Pauw,  Minister Zwane’s son who works for the Gupta family, was the recipient of a good slice of this money.   Even the President’s son is deeply involved as a beneficiary.   One turns one’s head away in shame. All in the name of a few cows and a group of hapless indigent farmers. A line which should not have been crossed.

Parliament is the people

What has been learnt is that Parliament is the people’s place of refuge. That is all we have, however ineffectual it may seem at times.  The proof of this is in the pudding. That creaky old system invented centuries ago won the day and in the end the people spoke. Parliamentary enquiries, whilst not courts of law and cannot judge, have produced the questions which leave the ordinary person, “the people”, to judge for themselves.

It seems pretty common cause, therefore, that  “people say”  that President Jacob Zuma should no longer be allowed to occupy Tuinhuis with a whopping salary and a rather large home and family.  The “people” were supported, brilliantly, by a strong civic voice and whistleblowers who have not benefited.

The stage is set and the play will end where it started.  In  the people’s Parliament.

Fresh start

Time now to forget the past. We must start again. It would be good to rise above the obsession to see these partners in crime and state capture go to jail. The systems, it appears, are back in place to ensure whether this happens or not.

Revenge is not the issue, however. The job in hand is to get on speedily repairing the damage. One remembers with warmth the leadership style, vision and courage endowed to us all by Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who asked us to rise above the sins of apartheid and focus only upon building a country. Many feel the time has come for the ANC to repeat the exercise.

A long road

Africa is indeed rising again and for the first time, in a long time, we can look forward to newscasts that don’t leave one feeling helpless, as has been the case ever since the Gupta e-mails emerged. In the few days after Cyril Ramaphosa returns from Davos (with whatever title he may have assumed by then) parliamentary business can return to normal.

All eyes in the next few weeks will focus upon the State of Nation Address and the Budget. Why exactly is the glass half full and not half empty? Because the governing party has been given a chance to put things right. Their endeavours to do so will be for all to see on the stage called Parliament.

Previous editorials
Parliamentary start to 2018 will be stormy – ParlyReportSA
Parliament SA: the top half of the iceberg.. – ParlyReportSA

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Madonsela: state capture and corruption…

says, Zuma involved in state capture.. 

editorial.. To those who know, the silence after a bomb goes off is quite uncanny. Like the state capture bomb. Even birdsongthuli-madonsela-2 ceases and the world seems to halt for a few seconds.  Then as things start up again, people seem to gabble. Everybody is rushing about. Life starts up but the noise seems incredible, if you can hear at all that is.   Following this comes the sickening realization that there might be a second bomb.   One seems helpless.

So it was when the Public Protector’s Report on State Capture was released.   Most had the feeling that to see in writing upon the frontispiece the words “state capture” was quite surreal.   Up until then it was rumour; an “alleged” idea; something that was always “strongly denied”; certainly, shady but in any case, difficult to prove… but it certainly shouldn’t happen in our backyard anyway.

Truth must out

thuli-encaThen the bombshell report was released.  The world seemed to halt in silence whilst its 355 pages were digested. Then came the voices, mostly loud and some quite vociferous.  Some demanded more proof; some demanded immediate retribution. Many asked for the President to step down, following which was a festival of interviews on e-NCA.    Meanwhile, in Parliament the corridors went quiet.   Like a phoney war.


Whether there is a second bomb in the form of the Hawks and the NPA again charging Minister Pravin Gordhan is purely conjecture at this stage.   It is part of a process that Parliament is not privy to.   Parliamentarians must just watch these parties go about their business, unfortunately at the expense of a jittery investment market.

What we do know is that all judicial and parliamentary processes are painfully slow and this iscropped-sa-parliament-2.jpg as it must be.   Witness the complaints if a Bill is rushed or “hammered” through Parliament.  It rarely works when carried out at speed and the process is exposed for its faults.

The law may be an ass at times and very laborious but it is there to fight corruption.  To eventually win a case against such a difficult-to-prove crime may take time but it is devastatingly successful when achieved.

However, the name Gupta is not responsible for everything.   Some of unpleasant exposures, especially in the energy field, are the result of massive incompetence rather than a temptation of financial gain.

Taking time

In ParlyReportSA, now with clients, we detail four painfully long processes which eventually will result in what may not be liked by some but have been correctly subjected to the slow but democratic procedure of Parliament – the MPRDA Bill; the investigation into the tina-joemattIkwhezi R14.5bn loss; the sale of South Africa’s strategic oil reserves; and how the mini-budget of Minister Pravin Gordhan has evaded the claws of state capture.

Our constitutional, and therefore our parliamentary system which is integrated into it, is subject to a clause which states that the president of the country is the person who is elected as the president of the ruling party’s National Executive.    This outcome only changes if that person is found guilty of breaking the law or his and her oath of office. For this outcome to be proven can take much time.

Patience a virtue

Gratifyingly also, amongst many outstanding court procedures underway, the arduous parliamentary and legislative process to ensure a recalcitrant President gets around to signing the FICA Bill, is underway.

His signature is needed in order that the countrzuma1y can meet international banking obligations and comply with money-laundering disclosure requirements. The fact that the President has not signed it, as was put before him by Parliament and has provided no reason for the apparent lack of inertia to do so, speaks volumes.  Probably a case for personal privacy will be tabled by his defence team, if he gets to need one.

Delaying tactics

Either the President in this instance will waste taxpayer’s money with a long drawn out case or be advised to withdraw, as has been his practice up until now, by acceding at the last minute and will have signed or be told to.

zwaneHe and his associates know that this Bill is a critical tool in the fight against illegal transfers of funds by “prominent persons”.  Minister Zwane’s fight with the banking sector is an unnecessary sideshow connected to this process. More becomes evident in the media , day by day, of this gentleman’s shady dealings.

Dark forces

Another fight calling for patience and now being unearthed is the level of corruption within intelligence services, Hawks and the NPA.  Hopefully, this is not as deep as the relationship that Robert Mugabe had with Nicolae Ceaușescu of Hungary, based on which he built his CIO and followed the advice gained from his training with Nangking Military Academy.

hawks logoHopefully also, with the NPA, Hawks and other major undercover government departments, only such matters as  graft involving as rhino trade and state capture bribes are the tools of trade involved and the aim remains simply self-enrichment.

Hope springs

The “goodies” in South Africa have much to undertake in order to beat the “baddies”, not helped by senior ANC officials not getting off the fence for fear of being demoted on the party list and losing their pensions.    All the same, there are so many good men and women speaking out at the moment from all spheres of political and business life,  the ANC in particular,  that “the force” would appear unstoppable.

Getting Parliament back into control and equal to the Cabinet will be a long process andparliament mandela statue calling for extreme patience, as manifested by our greatest President who demonstrated such incredible patience over many years in his long walk to freedom.

Previous articles on category subject

FIC Bill hold up goes to roots of corruption – ParlyReportSA

Parliament: National Assembly traffic jam – ParlyReportSA

Red tape worries with FIC Bill – ParlyReportSA

Anti-Corruption Unit overwhelmed – ParlyReportSA


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Zuma vs Parliament

This weeks editorial comment……

ANC internal problems dominate…

zuma-Sonanational assemblyWhilst the task of  a parliamentary monitoring function such as ParlyReportSA is to observe impartially the workings of Parliamentary portfolio committees as they affect the business and the industrial scenario, it would be absurd to go to a concert and ignore the music.

The problem with Parliament at the moment is an unpleasant background sound which affects to a great extent not only the focus of any business to hand but which also points to a disconnect between the conductor and the orchestra within the governing party.

Most things that happen in the precincts of Parliament will affect the commercial world to some degree or in one way or another but currently, if our observations are correct, there is an overriding obsession within the Presidency to convey to voters an image that “all is well”.  In Parliament it is all too evident that things at times are not that well.

Watching their backs

The top priority with the presidency appears not to be with the commercial and industrial body corporate and dealing with the country’s economic issues but to battle on with the image problem the ANC Alliance’s relationship has with its own historical audience.  It was minister Jeff Radebe who had to make the statement on country’s most important issue, the energy crisis.

Raymond Suttner, a former ANC underground operative, political prisoner and leader, who rarely misses an opportunity for sanguine comment, said recently, “The ANC has become an organisation in which only one man can be acknowledged as a leader.”

He continued, “Before local government elections, the ANC is burdened with a president who is literally running away from Parliament, the country’s main democratic institution. In subordinating democracy to the needs of “uBaba”, fundamental democratic principles are being jettisoned.”

Pulling the donkey’s tail

The legislative and government departmental policy issues that involve our watchful eye rarely involve the EFF circus but it is interesting to note that at parliamentary working portfolio and select committee level, the few EFF members and not so many but nevertheless much emboldened DA MPs, are tending to ask better and more direct questions.

However, a lot of this is designed to get under the “ANC’s skin”, as distinct from informed, serious and challenging commercial questioning.   Much will play out in the coming months, particularly once the municipal elections are over and the posturing in that direction ceases.  All the same, President Jacob Zuma’s relationship with Parliament is not currently a happy one. Inordinate delays are common.

Slow moving policy decisions

In regard to the analogy of the irritating background sound caused by this disconnect, for the moment then the music will just play on.   Fortunately, it does not affect to any great extent the work of the more dedicated chairpersons of committees but it still seems that in order to get policy decisions out of cabinet, nobody seems to move without the assent of President Zuma and no convoy is faster than its slowest ship.

This irritating factor will also not affect parliamentary oversight to any great extent as better systems are now in place for checking departmental financial performances and the reporting of departments and utilities to reach their service targets.

Unless of course, as happened with Eskom, material facts are withheld.  In this regard, the maintenance of freedom of speech and an unencumbered media remain vital.

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Parliament: Final days of Zuma’s second term

The last session of the present parliament……

The die is cast. Every member, particularly each parliament member of the majority party knows as a result of the ANC conference that unless the National Development Plan is speeded up; mess-ups stopped, corruption reduced and diligence applied, South Africa’s economic growth plan cannot possibly move from its present miserable 1.8% to the targeted 5% or even 6%.

The NDP, issued in 2012, was widely endorsed by all. Now a defining period has started and it’s not just a question of rating agencies looking for change but, worryingly for the ANC and all South Africans, the poor. Who knows what sort of parliamentarians we might have after the elections if non-delivery continues.

The last session of an existing government is always a defining period.

Off the backfoot

The signs are not good with miners still in strike mode and the PICC not yet empowered to try and unlock some of the eighteen SIPS, or special projects that go to make up the surge that will unlock growth and employment. In all this, political rhetoric and vote-catching will have to be ignored and ParlyReport will be watching the public service as it reports, rather than MPs as they speak.
The only lobby discussion that will influence any parliamentarian right now is one that adds votes and the only issue that affects a public servant is to show parliamentarians that targets are being met, since the axe will fall surely. If submissions are made to Parliament requesting change in policy, they will have to be a lot more convincing.

Facing parliamentarians is a long list of legislation and a critical budget only a month or so away. For us these are exciting times and any indication that South Africa is turning the corner will bring immense satisfaction to report upon.

Previous editorial   http://parlyreportsa.co.za//cabinetpresidential/parliament-gears-elections-south-africa/


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Parliament gears for elections in South Africa

The last of the old order

national assemblyIt is a time of change in South Africa when its Parliament has to consider elections and when politics tends to take over the tiller on the ship and the various captains of the political parties call their followers together to make up their minds on their future; how to compete in the next election and what the pecking order will be in each party.

It is also a period of much posturing and dangerous economic rhetoric and, as a result, a whole lot of cliff hanging goes on in the area of foreign relations and the banking world. Hopefully countries outside our borders will ignore most of what is said on the basis of the fact that this is exactly the same that happens in their own countries at election time, should they be democratic institutions of course.

So, for a while over the Christmas period and leading up to it, Parliament is forgotten.

Party conferences all set to chose

At this moment, parliamentarians are now thinking only of the part they will play in various political conferences and the newspapers now take with extraordinary headlines as the various new personalities emerge, say vote catching things and personality issues emerge, such as the Thuli Madonasela matter, which involve in-fighting and posturing.

Meanwhile, minister’s lose interest in governing and government departments just soldier on, trying to meet their third quarter budget targets for the last budget of the old government. Watching minister Joemat Petersen address Parliament just recently, one realizes that ministers do not really care if people read newspapers or not.

One more hurdle

In South Africa, we shall see little change in January/February 2014 in Parliament with the same 400 parliamentarians easing their way back into the seats of the National Assembly and the 90 into their seats in the National Council of Provinces, in the knowledge that they know at least where they stand with their own parties but not with the electorate.

The last parliamentary session of the expiring government which gets going for earnest in early February is always an odd one, as the parliamentary machine tries to clear all legislation through Parliament, bearing in mind that the governing party will put fast-tracking emphasis any legislation that gets votes and debate endlessly that which does not.

It is the new government after April that will have the thorny job of sorting out some of the most contentious issues issues, mostly on energy, environment and black empowerment, introducing themselves to the existing government departments working on the last mandates provided.

Hot issues

Sadly some of the most serious issues such as the mess in home affairs; the lack of getting anywhere on education; the inactivity of human settlements and the vacuum in health will take much longer that even one more four-year period of government to sort out, so much of this will be put on the side burner, as it were, in a political sense.

Nobody will want to discuss these subjects before the elections much other than answer embarrassing questions put the ministers in the question and answer system, which again we shall monitor.

Overwhelming backlog of legislation

Meanwhile there is an overwhelming backlog of promised legislation on all issues in the pipeline as South Africa heads towards the most important budget statement it has ever had in the light of global economic tensions.

Tracking and monitoring the last session in Parliament will be a mighty challenge – that period being from the end of January until whenever the election is declared – and establishing what is stormed through and on what basis, and what issues are carried forward for possible new chairpersons of parliamentary portfolio committees to tackle in a new government.

Working on the unlikely basis that not all chairpersons of the parliamentary portfolio committees will necessarily be ANC but that there will be a considerable number of changes in what members serve on what committees in the future, their exit statements from the committees will be interesting.

Furthermore, what global financial situation faces the last parliamentary situation in January/February before the budget provides much food for thought.

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Parliament and the ANC at odds

Two messages in Parliament from the ANC….

sacp logoTo say that the African National Congress, or even the cabinet, is at odds with Parliament is not infer that the ANC as a party is trying to undermine the parliamentary process (although there are some that insist that this is the case) but rather to point out that with an election coming, the ANC Alliance is trying to speak to two audiences at the same time and not doing a particularly good job at either. In the governing alliance there is the extreme left represented by members of the South African Communist Party, represented by such parties as Dr Rob Davies, minister of trade and industry, responsible for BEE and the country’s contentious swing in trade relations to BRICS from the EU and the USA. Then there is Yunus Carrim, a member of the SACP politburo, who just assumed the communications mess; Jeff Radebe, SACP central committee, who is strongly involved in matters regarding the independence of the judiciary, countered it seems by stalwart DA member Dene Smuts at every step; Ben Martins, SACP central committee, who has just taken over the energy portfolio and appears not to be pushing any buttons at present.

SACP “heavies”

Then there is Jeremy Cronin, first deputy general secretary, SACP in transport, and in all this, Gwede Mantashe, on the right hand of president Jacob Zuma as secretary general of the ANC, also chairman of the SACP. One would therefore be correct in assuming that South Africa is way beyond just being on the left when it comes to being an ordinary socialist party, leaving such hard workers as Dr Aaron Motsoaledi in health, Collins Chabane and Trevor Manuel in the presidency structure; and others such as Edna Molewa looking almost “middle of the road”.

Certainly well left of centre

Consequently the messages coming out to business and industry as South Africa totters towards elections are many and varied in the public domain and one can sense that with press statements issued to the media on various subjects, politicians are hardening up on their adjectives and appearing consequently more “left” every moment. It would be wise to discount much that is said by politicians at this stage and rather listen to departmental heads in Parliament as they struggle to report the demands of the politicians and answer on service delivery. In the next few months what is said in the working portfolio committees will be of greater value in the period leading up to the moment when the ballot box concludes the situation.

Who pays in the end

Whilst many departmental officials may not be up to their jobs or meeting their targets contributing to the immense vacuum in service delivery that is taking placing in SA mainly because of its unskilled three-tier government, there is also an unfortunate chasm also developing in government policy and business on such issues as BEE, investment incentives and the degree of welfare support to the poorer section of the community and who should pay for this and how. How far government will go in regulatory controls, creating endless state advisory and control boards coupled with endless red-tape leading to a ‘nanny state” of supreme proportions, is not the only issue facing business.    Immigration, foreign relations, labour and land reform are all taking on hardened political profiles for a while.

Land of honey and state control

In Australia, where regulatory controls are endless, the mechanisms behind this monotonous life style are of first order and work well.   In South Africa they are not and don’t work well, hence the problem. How much of this is being driven by SACP–type thinking insofar as centralist, proletariat and state control principles are concerned is critical. There seems to be a division between those in the ANC who believe that BEE driven at a hard pace and is the answer to growth and those who believe that overseas investment is the key growth and jobs. Both avenues of thinking appear to be clashing within the ANC Alliance at the moment as political platforms are developed.

Elections looming

As the country discusses resources, growth and job creation with elections looming, means that what is said in Parliament at portfolio committee level remains where reality will remain, in order to monitor what is actually going on technically and from the viewpoint of truth. The prejudice that is built up in the mind by reading, in the media, of constant corruption amongst high officials; the statements by electioneering politicians preaching to the masses and the vacillation of  an unsure cabinet at these times can lead to a feeling of foreboding, perhaps that Parliament that is not working. The fact is that with an election coming, much will be said in the public arena will not be of a useful nature and much of the electioneering will have to be discarded as far as establishing what is actually going on in government.

Leaning to port

But there is, without doubt, as far as government policy is concerned a strong leaning to the left.   With a trade and industry minister and justice minister indicating that growth is directly related to the enforcement legally of black empowerment, new labour rules and adding criminalisation to the process, many of the Bills so hotly contested in Parliament will be blasted through by simple majority. This is bearing in mind that Parliament is currently engaged in the last two sessions of a five year government and there is a mighty backlog of Bills affecting those policies.

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