Tag Archive | nkandla

Debate on Nkandla to intensify

Facts on Nkandla with MPs…..

effIn an internal parliamentary question paper, M Khawula, an MP of the IFP-KZN, asked for a reply in writing from the minister of police to his question, “Which structures, buildings and/or areas have been declared national key points and, secondly, what qualifies such to be declared national key points.”

He was not to know that minister of police, Nkosinathi Nhleko, would be forced out of blustering and show that president Zuma’s country homestead in the hills of KwaZulu-Natal, Nkandla, was indeed a national key point whereas, as illustrated by a newspaper in the parliamentary recess, nuclear experimental station, Pelindaba, north of Johannesburg, was not.

The reply in writing from the minister in the parliamentary replies of 19 September, in response to Nhleko’s question, was as follows, “To publish or to make known a list of all national key points would to a large extent defeat the purpose of the National Key Points Act 102 of 1980, namely the protection of such NKP’s. It is therefore not policy to provide such a list for public knowledge.”

When is a key point not one?

The minister added to the written note, “In terms of the National Key Points Act, section 2 deals with the declaration by the Minister of Police and I quote; “Declaration of any place or area as a National Key Point.

(1)  If it appears to the Minister at any time that any place or area is so important that its loss, damage, disruption or immobilization may prejudice the Republic, or whenever he considers it necessary or expedient for the safety of the Republic or in the public interest, he may declare that place or area a national key point.

(2)The owner of any place or area so declared a national key point shall forthwith be notified by written notice of such declaration.

That was the full extent of the reply from the minister.      Meanwhile in the recess, the opposition has written to the Speaker of the House, requesting that President Zuma be forced to respect the Constitution and answer questions from MPs in the National Assembly orally on a regular basis.

Weight of the law

settlement_law_justice_In the meanwhile during the recess, Judge Roland Sutherland in the Johannesburg high court  ordered the minister to hand over the list of national key points and national key point complexes in “the next thirty days” to the parties complaining, who were the Right2Know Campaign and the South African History Archive. Such was finally acceded to.

It is now understood from a statement made at the proceedings by the Mail and Guardian, who joined the action as a friend of the court and who were represented by advocate Matseleng Lekoane, that according to the Act, security guards are allowed to search and seize peoples’ belongings if the people were in a national key point. “They were also allowed to use guns to do this”, she said.

Adv. Lekoane argued that if this was the type of reaction that people, including journalists, might face, then they had the right to be prepared for it. “You need to know the status of a place so you can inform your conduct,” she argued.

Just so we know

The advocate representing Right2Know campaigners, Steven Budlender, had earlier complained that his client was only asking for the names of the places not the addresses.

In any case, he added, it would not make a difference to the country’s security if places like OR Tambo International Airport were publicly known as national key points.  This is because, Budlender said, the “dark forces” that the minister’s counsel feared would inflict harm on the country do not need to be told that a place is important. They would already know.

He was responding to argument made by counsel for the minister of police who said that revealing which buildings and places were NKPs would place national security at risk. “This does not stand up to logical scrutiny”, said Budlender.

Judge Sutherland said minister Nhleko’s refusal to release the list was unlawful and unconstitutional, and ordered the ministry to pay the legal costs.   The matter will no doubt be tabled for discussion in the next parliamentary session by which time it will be even clearer what the realtionship  between President Zuma and Parliament will be after his State of Nation Address.

Maybe appeal

However, debate at parliamentary committee working level will now be at a different level in the new session . The facts are there and what was fog in a bucket is now in the open for proper debate.

Other articles in this category or as background
http://parlyreportsa.co.za/cabinetpresidential/nkandla-debate-rekindled-da/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za/cabinetpresidential/nkandla-ndp-argument-rages-go/

Posted in cabinet, Cabinet,Presidential, earlier editorials, Facebook and Twitter, Justice, constitutional, LinkedIn, Public utilities, Security,police,defence0 Comments

Minister Nene maps survival route

Not so merry Christmas….

Editorial……

candlesWithout wishing to put a dampener on festive arrangements, the last few weeks of the closing parliamentary session, which included the medium term budget from minister Nene, have seen a difficult period, not in the least caused by fiascos in the National Assembly with the EFF. Baiting President Zuma, whatever the reason, has nothing to do with running a country.

Such hooligan behaviour completely demeans the status of Parliament but worse, it also denigrates all the real work that is going on the engine room of Parliament, the working committees.  Some observers are quietly happy that the ANC Alliance is being called to account on certain matters but the overall effect has been to take South Africa perceptually into dangerous waters.

Nkandla unpleasant diversion

The Nkandla issue has clearly damaged the political standing of Parliament as well as giving the media a field day, or a field month as the case turned out to be.  But in the parliamentary portfolio, ad hoc, finance standing and NCOP select committees, the work has gone on and it has been a busy and difficult period as a result of the necessity to approve finance minister Nene’s medium term budget.

Difficult because some fifty utilities, government departments and section nine companies had to declare their objectives, say how things were going and reflect upon the auditor general’s findings on each of them.   Difficult because cabinet statements are really giving no true direction on questions being asked every day in Parliament.   Difficult because it is still the first year of a new Parliament and everything is running late with new MPs.

Whilst the auditor general (AG) may have declared that government departments only received 15% unqualified reports, the balance of 85% are qualified to some degree by the AG.  A learning process. This means the working committees have seen it, everyone knows about it and the system works. This is the difference between weekend newspaper reporting and monitoring. It is not just a question of putting a positive spin on things but recognising that there is, indeed, a force working for morality and financial correctness.

Focus is on medium term budget

Nevertheless, minister Nene’s budget speech was still the key issue of the last month, not Nkandla as the perception might be.  Nene’s remarks that “business is a key area in fostering the ideal that the NDP becomes a reality” had the all too familiar ring of what Alec Erwin had to say twenty years ago when the ANC promised private and public partnerships on energy matters. Nothing happened of course, the ANC embarking upon ten years of infrastructure inactivity.

In fact major private sector participation in the country’s development was totally halted at that point and has since never really got going.

When is when?

Now the question is being asked once again as to whether the government will actually ever embark upon real hard core private/public investments, other than dishing out a few solar and wind power projects. This is the question being asked by opposition MPs in Parliament at working committee level, ignoring for the moment the embarrassing fracas upstairs in the National Assembly.

It is difficult to imagine in parliamentary terms that minister Rob Davies, minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, minister Jeff Radebe, minister Lindiwe Sisulu and minister Lynne Brown will ever truly understand the tenets, motivations and passion that drive businesses, even perhaps the President himself.  South Africa suffers from bad politicians, not necessarily bad government.

Circus with no ringmaster

What the presidential national planning commission is actually saying to the cabinet is an issue that cannot be guessed at by anybody at this stage, such private messages certainly not being conveyed in Parliamentary papers. In fact nobody seems to be talking, the DA having as little knowledge as half the SA cabinet, it appears.

Consequently minister Nene’s hopes appear somewhat lame at this stage. To be positive however, it may be that as next year’s parliamentary oversight programme on service delivery targets gains momentum, as it has already, accompanied with all the political pain that will occur if voters remain dissatisfied, political reality may force the governing party to at last start walking the talk that minister Nene espouses.

Posted in cabinet, Cabinet,Presidential, Energy, Facebook and Twitter, Finance, economic, Land,Agriculture, LinkedIn, Public utilities, Trade & Industry0 Comments

Zuma

Nkandla vs NDP: the argument rages

Editorial…

Has the emperor got clothes on?….

Whilst the nation focuses on the Nkandla issue, which has now involved to a lesser or greater extent the parliamentary process on the subject of who reports to who in terms of the Constitution, the largest elephant in the room still remains. This, of course,is how far the ANC will go to protect President Zuma in terms of the law, aside from the Constitution.

Accordingly, we have not monitored the issue further until the subject once again reaches the level of parliamentary committee debate.

Nevertheless, there still remains a smaller elephant in the room. Whilst this issue does not reach the media in the same way, it concerns business, manufacturing and industry to a far greater extent than the Nkandla issue.

Reality check

This smaller elephant concerns the ever-present issue of how to create more jobs in South Africa.  It also concerns the manner in which South Africa goes about achieving the noble aspirations of the National Development Plan (NDP).    Meanwhile, unemployment has now reached a record 45%.

MPs across party lines are of two minds on this. There are two distinct camps of thought developing on these subjects and attitudes are hardening on which approach should be taken.  Firstly, to put it in question form, are the state utilities really the controllers of our destiny and will a massive infrastructure spend by state institutions alone, with emphasis on black procurement, turn the economic corner as far as jobs are concerned?

Or, is the answer to create a very much more enlightened environment for investors on the basis that we need their money and is this sufficient excuse to play down some more investor-unfriendly legislation and regulatory red tape and a place less emphasis on BEE with its sad and long history of black non-empowerment?

Problems, problems

In every parliamentary committee meeting one can sense this philosophical and ideological problem.   Indeed, if this is not the commercial and industrial elephant in the room, it is the dichotomy that ANC whips have to handle on a daily basis and work hard with every party MP involving strong messages coming down from Lithuli House.

Witness the confusion of the power of African traditional leaders, which clearly emanates from the President himself; the necessity to bulldoze through certain unworkable legislation on transformation which then gets returned to Parliament on good legal advice; and the fight between finance minister Nene to suck in more for the fiscus to finance social welfare and health budgets with ridiculous customs and excise tariffs at the expense of the national deficit.

Stay positive

mantasheWe cannot comment, only observe, but somehow we believe that many of Gwede Mantashe’s more obtuse observations do not represent all of ANC parliamentary thought patterns.   We sincerely believe that within the governing party machine and with added well-tuned opposition, there will follow a sensible compromise in order to survive.

We also believe that it may be discovered by adherents that the emperor may not have clothes on, despite what the praise singers say, and that also, and more importantly, a good investment climate can be balanced with social imperatives.

Hof Communications

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Nkandla debate rekindled by DA

ANC played for time on Nkandla issue….

The ANC used its hefty majority in the last Parliament to filibuster any full debate on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on Nkandla by calling for such debate to be after the election and thus by a new ad hoc committee when and if the next Parliament formed such a body.

The DA has already called upon the new Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to enable a fresh ad mbetehoc committee to be formed and the debate re-started.

The committee was originally established by the now past Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, to debate the R246m upgrade to President Zuma’s homestead in Kwa-Zulu Natal.   The Nkandla issue is at present an inconclusive subject relying purely upon Thuli Madonsela’s findings and not that of Parliament.

Delaying by inaction

The ad hoc committee was established in terms of ATC notice 45 of 2014, dated 9 April, and a delaying tactic was used by the ANC whilst it took eight days of the allocated ten day mandate for the sitting just to name its seven representatives on the ad-hoc committee.

Eventually, only two days of debate took place, the first to elect a chairperson who turned out to be Cedric Frolick of the ANC, with seven MPs from the ANC, two from the Democratic Alliance and one each from the IFP and FF+.    The ANC maintained at the first meeting that they had received insufficient time to study the report.

They referred to the fact that the then Speaker’s notice called for the ad hoc committee to make its findings known by April 30, the date already then being late April.   Again much time was wasted in the first meeting around the decision to allow a COPE party MP to attend the meeting, participate in the debate but have no vote. The COPE member appointed had a legal and constitutional background.

Give money back

The IFP said it wanted the President to be called to expand on why, when the Public Protector had “castigated government officials in the way they handled the Nkandla development” and called on him to refund large sums of money, “it was necessary to wait for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to report before he responded”.   The IFP thought that the SIU should be called to Parliament as well to explain their findings.

The IFP questioned whether the committee would be able to give adequate attention to the matter by 30 April, time for input also being required from the Parliamentary legal advisors in summation. The DA also called for the Public Protector herself to give evidence, since she had already declared her willingness to do this.

President wanted by DA to appear

On the second day of debate, the DA, again represented by Lindiwe Mazibuko and James Selfe, called for the President himself to appear before the committee.   The IFP added the point that surely the President must have been aware of “things taking place in his back yard and… should not shy away from responsibility”.   The DA presented in writing a full programme for the committee to undertake urgently.

buti manamelaThe ANC, led by ANC  Buti Manamela, national secretary of the Young Communist League, then argued that the ANC also wanted to call certain parties to give evidence and as there was insufficient time left to handle all such visits, the DA’s suggestions were therefore impractical given the mandate of ten days.

To this the DA argued that they were only short of time because the ANC had taken eight days to nominate and co-opt members of the committee whereas all opposition parties had taken one day.   The ANC did not respond to this.

Mazibuko’s last appearance

In response to the ANC’s point that Thuli Madonsela, as Public Protector, had finished reporting and it was not for parliamentarians to query her findings,  DA’s Mazibuko said her party was outraged because the Public Protector herself admitted in her report there were a number of unanswered questions on which she was unable to get clarity. The DA said they would like her to articulate on this to Parliament.

Also, Mazibuko said, the President in his letter of response to the Speaker, Max Sisulu, had referred to “stark differences” between the findings of the Public Protector and the inter-Ministerial committee, which was also set up to investigate the issue.   Both therefore should also give evidence if the committee were to highlight what the President referred to as “differences”.

No time

At this point chair Cedric Frolick said there was indeed insufficient time left, whatever the reason, to undertake such a programme as envisaged by the DA.

After caucusing, the ANC members tabled a proposal for a vote that the matter should be closed for the present and left over for the fifth Parliament of South Africa to further, choosing not to vote on a DA proposal asking for the President to attend.    They said there was insufficient time before the elections took place and that opposition parties were “playing to the gallery” as part of electioneering.

Motion that President misled Parliament

The DA then asked that a further motion be adopted, if the debate was to be ended, demanding that the fifth Parliament investigate whether the President deliberately misled Parliament; whether he had violated the Constitution; whether he had benefited improperly from the work at his residence; any remedial steps to be taken and whether the President should be removed from office in terms of section 89 of the Constitution.

This motion was defeated by an overwhelming majority, the ANC arguing that the fifth Parliament could not be bound by such questions from outgoing members and the ANC motion instead was adopted….. “that although the ANC considered the matter as serious, there was insufficient time left and the matter be simply deferred for the fifth Government to decide on future action.”    This quashed any chance of further debate at the time.

Other articles in this category or as background
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//cabinetpresidential/business-interests-bill-to-control-corruption-with-tenders/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//cabinetpresidential/public-service-corruption-and-misconduct-could-hit-1bn-mark/

Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn0 Comments

DA’s Crucial Infrastructure Bill tabled on security

Crucial infrastructure points re-interpreted….

Lindiwe Mazibuko A draft Bill known as the Protection of Crucial Infrastructure Bill, has been tabled by DA opposition leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, and presented to the Speaker of the House for debate.   It deals with the issue of key points, which emerged during the Nkandla scandal.

Whilst the Bill lists some ten issues it wishes to set as objectives, including the establishment of an independent crucial infrastructure board to create a register of areas declared as “crucial infrastructure”, the main point of the Bill becomes amplified by the final objective which states “to repeal of the National Key Points Act, no 102 of 1980 and related legislation.”

It is this legislation which the minister of public works and the minister of police both quoted when asked questions on the construction of the state president’s private home in Nkandla, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

A Private Members Bill may be introduced by any bona fide MP after submission to the Speaker for permission without reference to cabinet, Nedlac or any government department and may be tabled without a minister being involved.

Such a Bill would be subject to public hearings called for by Parliament before being debated by the relevant parliamentary portfolio committee.
Previous articles in this subject
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//uncategorized/more-tightening-up-in-security-industry/

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