Tuesday, April 30, 2013

'Culture of secrecy' still a threat to state transparency

No Fear No Favour No Secrecy please.....................


The Protection of State Information Bill, or the secrecy Bill has been drafted to replace the Protection of Information Act of 1982. 

Despite positive changes to the Protection of State Information Bill, a "culture of secrecy" in the South African public service still poses a threat.

The ease with which government departments at national and provincial level have used apartheid-era hangover laws, like the Protection of Information Act of 1982, to stop the free flow of information remains a bug bear to media freedom protagonists.
The Protection of State Information Bill (Posib), also known as the secrecy Bill, passed by Parliament last week, was drafted to replace the Protection of Information Act (PIA) of 1982. Government does not deny that PIA was open to abuse by the apartheid regime, which used it to hide state information at will and jail those who disseminated classified information. This is why it needed to be replaced.
But the draconian nature of the PIA has not stopped post-democratic state agencies from treating it as if it were legitimate and constitutional, by bending its provisions to conceal potentially damning information.
Government's numerous refusals to requests for information under the Promotion of Information Act of 2000 (Paia) are also littered with references to thePIA classifications, in spite of the fact that the PIA will certainly be repealed as soon as the secrecy Bill is enacted. Most recently, attempts to access information about Nkandlagate were blocked by the department of public works using this law.
Paia was enacted in mitigation of the previous regime's "culture of secrecy": its provisions are intended to enforce transparency and access to information in the public interest. This is one of the improvements to the secrecy Bill, in that it no longer directly clashes with the provisions of Paia.
But while the secrecy Bill debate raged on in Parliament, government went ahead using other laws to block access to information.
Nongovernmental organisations have long equated the arbitrary application of the PIA and other apartheid-era leftovers, either by incompetence or conspiracy, with the proliferation of a "culture of secrecy" in the public sector.
'Against the grain'
In a piece written in 2003 for the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation independent researcher Dr Dale McKinley described the PIA: "As could be expected, the approach to the protection and dissemination of information contained in the PIA is informed by the demands of an authoritarian and secretive apartheid state. As such, the provisions of the PIA for classification and de-classification of government information run completely against the grain of the openness and transparency of such information that informs Paia," McKinley said. 
As the South African History Archive recently told a court, this culture has prevented it from accessing information, for example, from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings. 
The Right2Know campaign, a civil society coalition that campaigns against the Protection of State Information Bill, in a recent statement about the state of secrecy in South Africa, said: "Secrecy robs us all equally of the opportunity for real social justice. Some secrets might be necessary – the criminal justice system and the state-security cluster do indeed keep secrets that save lives. However, far too much information is withheld from public view by individuals who, with increased frequency, fail to live up to the values enshrined in our Constitution."
​A lesser known example of the use of PIA involved a case of alleged corruption in the Northern Cape in 2011. At the height of the debate about the secrecy Bill, the Northern Cape provincial legislature purchased a Mercedes Benz worth R590 000.
Documents in the Mail & Guardian's possession show the car was initially registered in the name of the ANC's provincial secretary, Zamani Saul, who was not a member of the provincial parliament.
Saul claimed his signature was "forged" on the vehicle registration document, although he publicly admitted to being the only one who used the car, for his personal and political needs.
In response to the allegations, the legislature fashioned a task team whose work it was to uncover what went wrong, while police investigated charges of fraud.
Members of the task team were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, preventing them from talking about, or leaking information that emerged from the task team's closed-doors hearings – even after the task team had completed its work.
According to the contract, members of the task team would:
  • "have taken note of the provisions of the Protection of Information Act (Act 84 of 1982) and in particular the provisions of section 4 of the Act.
  • "I understand that I shall be guilty of an offence if I reveal any information which I have at my disposal, by virtue of my office, and concerning which I know or should reasonable know that the security or other interests of the republic required that it be kept secret …"
Closed off to the public
An investigation into an allegation of fraud and the misuse of public funds, allegedly to benefit an ordinary citizen, also a high-ranking member of the ANC, was summarily closed off to the public forever.
Indeed, that task team was faced with the prospect of lengthy jail terms in terms of the PIA if they so much as talked about the investigation:
  • The PIA of 1982, particularly section 4, threatens minimum jail sentences of 10 years or fines of R10 000 for those who disclose classified information.
  • Section 4, often quoted by state agencies when justifying why information cannot be disclosed, is wide-reaching and vague:
Under the old law, the state can jail for up to 10 years or fine up to R10 000:
  • anyone who is possession of "any secret official code or password or;
  • any document, model, article or information – which he knows or reasonably should know is kept, used, made or obtained in a prohibited place or relates to a prohibited place,
  • any thing in a prohibited place, armaments, the defense of the Republic, a military matter, a security matter or the prevention or combating of terrorism…"
In July last year, amaBhungane, the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, launched its Paia bid to access the documents pertaining to the multimillion rand upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla compound.
The department of public works opposed the application on state security grounds, as well as the PIA, despite the fact that amaBhungane specifically said it did not want the security sensitive information, but only the information pertaining to the financial implications.
AmaBhungane is currently taking the department to court after it missed the deadline to respond to the Paia application.
The department of public works also said the information was classified because Nkandla is a national key point – another apartheid relic which government readily uses.
Permeating culture of secrecy
In April this year, the South African History Archive applied to the North Gauteng High Court to join amaBhungane's application as friends of the court. In this application, it noted: "The present matter has the potential to impact substantially on the effective implementation of the Paia where disclosure is resisted on grounds relating to alleged national security concerns."
It used examples to illustrate: "The culture of secrecy pervading public bodies, which is one of the primary limitations on the right of access to information; and the nature and extent on apartheid era legislation such as the National Key Points Act, the Protection of Information Act, and the misapplication of Paia's security exemptions to withhold information from the general public."
The South African History Archive noted several examples, on which it did not expect the court to pass judgment.
On the permeating culture of secrecy, it said the state's refusal to grant Paia applications unless there is a threat of litigation on the applicant's part.
It also noted a "knee-jerk" and "unreflective" refusal by state bodies to grant these applications: The state frequently refuses to give reasons for refusal, as it is required to do, or it refuses access to all records, without severing these from classified documents as required by aection 28 of Paia.
The South African History Archive also said the state often does not consider that certain records may be released in the public interest, as set out of section 46 of Paia.
In 2012, of the 159 Paia requests submitted by the South African History Archive to various organs of state and private bodies, 102 were outright refused or blatantly ignored. Ten out of the 11 Paia requests submitted to the presidency were also refused.
Real test of Zuma's government
But the fight for transparency, especially with regards to the presidency, is far from lost. 
On Monday night, the presidency confirmed that it had not yet received the Protection of State Information Bill. So it remains unclear if he will refer the Bill to the Constitutional Court, or sign it as is. 
The Right2Know campaign believes this decision will be the real test of Jacob Zuma's government's commitment to openness. 
"Should he choose to exercise his powers to refer the Bill to the Constitutional Court, the president would affirm to the nation his commitment to building a progressive society characterised by openness, and to tackling the creeping culture of secrecy currently facing South Africa.
Should he choose to pass this Bill into law, however, he will strengthen the growing public resolve to stop the unjustifiable secrecy, to stop the grab for power by securocrats and their cronies, to stop the lies," the organisation said.

Mail and Guardian


Civilians and Whistle Blowers today - PRESS TOMORROW!




Monday, April 29, 2013

Mayday! Mayday! Turbulence Ahead!

No fear No Favour No Despots here.........

RANJENI MUNUSAMY                    south africa      30 april 2013  01:35

On Wednesday, at 25 Workers Day rallies across the country, leaders of Cosatu and its affiliate unions will fan out to enthuse and regroup workers in light of dwindling confidence in union representation. Strike season looms and worker militancy means the economy could be in for a pounding. Last year’s unprotected strike action and extraordinarily high settlements in the mining sector set a dangerous precedent that could cause trouble for unions and employers in wage talks starting in May. Politically, tensions within the alliance are set to mount further as Cosatu fights to retain the confidence of its members. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

The warning signs are flashing and dangers of the coming crippling strike season are evident. While teachers union Sadtu is threatening a full-blown strike and transport union Satawu kicked off the strike season with the bus drivers’ strike last week, wage talks in the mining, motor manufacturing, construction and chemical industries could make this a winter of discontent to remember.
Wildcat strike action in the mining sector in 2012 took a deadly turn at the Lonmin platinum mine at Marikana, and set off a domino effect in the industry, affecting platinum, gold and coal mines. While the sector is still in recovery and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is still licking its wounds from losing thousands of members to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), they have to contend with the start of wage talks in May and a new round of demands.
In an effort to pacify their members in the face of lingering disgruntlement, the NUM announced on Sunday after a national executive committee meeting that it would demand from the Chamber of Mines a “double digit” pay increase as well as significant improvement in conditions of service.
“The National Executive Committee noted the number of companies that have issued section 189 notices and those that had made their intentions to retrench public in the wake of impending negotiations. Whilst the union appreciates the difficult economic conditions they may be faced with, these should not be used as an excuse or bargaining chip to award workers lower pay or threaten them with dismissals,” the NUM said.
The double-digit pay demand is likely to set a trend mirrored in other sectors, which could lead to protracted and adverse negotiations in the bargaining councils. Employers are sure to use shrinking profit margins and revenue losses to defend marginal offers and this will, in turn, likely spur further militancy. Last year’s unusually high pay settlements in mining following illegal strike action have now raised the bar and scuppered normal collective bargaining procedures. This means a recurrence of worker militancy could send wage negotiations into a veritable no man’s land, with unions unable to control strike action or settlement.
Still, in order to retain membership, NUM and AMCU will have no choice but to tap into the militancy and keep demands high. Research done by Cosatu ahead of its national congress last year showed significant discontent among workers with union representation during wage negotiations, which organised labour is now desperate to rectify.
Apart from the threatened teachers’ strike, there will be minimum butting of heads with the state as the three-year wage agreement sealed last year means there will be no public sector wage negotiations this year. But while the alliance is spared the stress of another public sector strike, conditions are far from rosy.
ANC and SACP leaders will share the stage with Cosatu officials at Workers Day rallies in the context of severe tensions within the federation and the alliance. Once again, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi will not be at the main Workers Day event, but has chosen to be at a secondary rally in the Free State. Cosatu President S’dumo Dlamini will address the main Workers Day rally in Galeshewe, Kimberley, alongside President Jacob Zuma and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.
Vavi has been in the firing line from Zuma loyalists within Cosatu and in the alliance for his critical stance against government, and has thus avoided sharing platforms with Zuma and Nzimande in recent years. Their joint presence at the memorial on the 20th anniversary of Chris Hani’s death recently was clearly uncomfortable, with Nzimande in particular using the platform to retort Vavi’s criticism in his presence.
But even though Dlamini is trying his utmost to keep Cosatu onside with the ANC leadership, he will not be able to camouflage the growing discontent among workers who bear the brunt of the rising cost of living and delivery failures. He will also not be able to get around the federation’s rejection of major aspects of the National Development Plan (NDP), now the centrepiece of ANC policy and planning. Although Vavi is a handy target for the Zuma brigade, unhappiness with the NDP, e-tolling and labour brokers is not just through his instigation and is likely to be sustained even if his detractors within Cosatu manage to dislodge him.
This is why the Cosatu Central Committee meeting scheduled for the end of May, which is set to lay open the battles besetting the federation, is likely to emerge with a rejection of the NDP. This means that despite efforts to paper over the cracks in the alliance, tensions will boil over once the whole of Cosatu has to line up behind the decision and challenge the ANC’s full adoption of the plan. The SACP’s ardent defence of the NDP has expanded the chasm between the party and Cosatu, both of which still purport to be the voice of the working class.
Cosatu is also not letting up on its rejection of e-tolling and labour brokers, all of which keeps pressure building within the alliance. The ANC is unlikely to budge on e-tolling, as government is determined to go ahead with implementation. The ruling party seems to think that the issue of labour brokers should no longer be on the agenda after resolving that there should be greater regulation of the sector.
Therefore, despite keeping up appearances on Workers Day, the ANC, SACP and Cosatu are trapped in loveless relationship, which can only sink further into the abyss over irreconcilable issues. But they continue to be in denial that the alliance is no longer sustainable or functional.
IFP President Mangosuthu Buthelezi told a Freedom Day celebration in KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend that the ANC was “hijacked” by its alliance partners.
Buthelezi said the ANC under former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki was willing to listen and compromise where necessary.
“But somewhere along the line, the ANC began to be held to ransom by its alliance partners, Cosatu and the South African Communist Party. Not wanting to risk (losing) their support, the ANC started making poor choices and bad policy. It tried to please everyone, instead of doing what was necessary and right,” Buthelezi said, according to Business Day.
He used the go-slow by teachers to demonstrate the point, saying the ANC government was being held to ransom by Sadtu.
The ANC denied the criticism, saying it was “utterly untrue” that the ANC would allow itself to be hijacked by any interest group. However there were examples of policies that had made its alliance partners “feel aggrieved”, ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu told the paper.
The denial is only true in so far that it is not only the ANC that is hijacked, but that all the alliance partners are held hostage by each other. On Workers Day, like any other day when they have to appear on joint platforms, the ANC, SACP and Cosatu end up in an unwieldy dance to pretend they are in synch.
The fractious unity can only last for so long and sustain only so much pressure before it implodes. This winter might just force matters to a head.
But for now, it’s Happy Workers Day and Amandla! DM
Photo: South African state workers seeking higher wages take part in a strike in Johannesburg August 26, 2010. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

For better, for worse: SA 1994-2013

No Fear No Favour No Warlords.........


The statistics don’t lie – South Africa is undoubtedly a world away from the place it was 19 years ago when the ANC took power in the first democratic elections. Millions of people who were shut out of the government system now have access to basic services and the state machinery. But with all the rights guaranteed in the Constitution and the freedoms previously denied, why is South Africa such an unhappy, angry place in 2013? It is lacking two fundamental things it had in 1994 – qualities that separate an average country from an exceptional nation that South Africa has every right to be. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

A current refrain this past Freedom Day, as has been the case on previous anniversaries of South Africa’s first democratic elections, is that the country is a much better place than it was in 1994. Well, of course it would, and should, be. The year 1994 was by no means a measure of a normal country or even “ground zero”. It was the start of a journey to reverse the legacy of statutory discrimination and to construct a new country based on democratic principles. But in order to assess the gains of the democratic order, 1994 is the generally accepted baseline to work from.
In its Freedom Day statement, the African National Congress said the following:
“South Africa is a better place today than it was in 1994. Our society has been transformed in every sphere with increased education levels, greater access to water, electricity, sanitation and housing. Moving from an extremely low base, the senior certificate rate is at its highest at 73.9% in an inclusive education system. The number of graduates has doubled since 1994, more than 3.1 million houses have been built and more than 15.1 million people have benefited as a result of our comprehensive anti-poverty initiatives which have sought to expand the social security network through amongst others grants and labour-intensive public works programmes. We have turned the corner in the fight against HIV and Aids. Our fight against joblessness and unemployment continues.”
This was echoed by President Jacob Zuma in his address at the official Freedom Day celebrations in Pretoria on Saturday.
“As we look back at the road travelled since 1994, we recall that it has not been easy. It was never going to be easy. But we have made tremendous progress.
“We are a very humble nation. We do not boast about our achievements. We also tend to be highly critical of ourselves.”
He went on to cite statistics of water, electricity and housing provision, which show how government delivery has changed the face of South Africa.
“While income inequality remains high, the expansion of our social grants system from 2.7 million people in 1994 to 16 million currently has contributed to a significant reduction in the proportion of households living in poverty,” Zuma said.
Though 16 million people dependent on the social security system for survival is a burden on the state and therefore hardly something to boast about, this has dramatically reduced the rate of extreme poverty in the country. Yet until the economy starts consistently producing high numbers of sustainable jobs, the reliance on the social safety net will remain disproportionately high.
But according to the president, South Africa continues to “perform well” on the economic front. The economy has expanded by 83% over the past 19 years, and national income per capita has increased from R27,500 in 1993 to R38,500 in 2012 - an increase of 40%, Zuma said. Disposable income per capita of households has increased by 43% and total employment has increased by more than 3.5 million since 1994.
So why then are we not celebrating our tremendous success story and trumpeting these achievements, instead of the perpetual moaning about the state of the country?
The ANC’s alliance partner Cosatu, although acknowledging the discernible progress since 1994 in its Freedom Day message, gave some indication as to why the nation is restless.
“There is little doubt that there are valuable achievements that have been recorded by the ANC in the past 19 years, in the light of a negotiated settlement…
“However, it is also true to say that these social concessions have been to a large extent undermined by the rising cost of living, the rising unemployment rate and the widening wage gap. This has caused some of the biggest protests, with over 1.3 million workers going on strike yearly and over 40% of municipalities witnessing service deliver protests.
“The fact is, even though many have won access to these essential utilities, many cannot afford them, hence almost five million people have been experiencing water cut-offs due to continuous price-hikes. Despite the great wealth underneath the soil of South Africa, the country is placed in the top ten of the most unequal societies in the world. Almost half the population survives on less than 8% of national income. On the other side, in 2009, on average, each of the top 20 paid directors in the JSE-listed companies earned 1,728 times the average income of a South African worker,” Cosatu said.
But this is only part of the narrative as to why the delivery achievements since 1994 are being undermined. The past decade has seen the ruling ANC become completely consumed by internal battles and less concerned about the state of governance and delivery. Parallel to this has been the stark disconnect between the ANC leadership at various levels from the people they purport to serve.
This disconnect has manifested in flamboyant lifestyles of those in leadership positions, corruption and enrichment schemes to benefit the politically connected, abuses of power and neglect of responsibilities in the state. Scandal upon scandal in government has fed the perception that elected representatives have abandoned their election promises and operate in total disregard of those they promised to serve. The culture of impunity and lack of accountability when gross expenditure and failings in the state are exposed has cast South Africa in the mould of other African countries, which surrendered their hard-won freedoms for the benefit of a coterie of the political elite.
Adding to the gloom has been the extraordinary displays of public violence, from police brutality to sexual crimes, which have weighed heavily on the public psyche. During all these horrific incidents, the country needed exceptional leadership to soothe a worried nation and guide us to rediscovering our humanity. What we got was the bare minimum, acknowledgment after a time lapse that something bad had happened and expressions of sympathy.
Despite the remarkable progress that has been made in reversing the legacy of Apartheid, South Africa is more restless than ever before. In 1994, there was plenty of uncertainty and fear but there was also tremendous hope that the future would be better and brighter. That hope existed mainly because there was a brigade of outstanding leaders charting the course and coaxing the nation forward. There was a common covenant between the leaders and the people of South Africa that we could make the country great.
Hope and good leadership is missing from the current lexicon and this distorts perceptions about whether we were in a better place then or now, no matter what the statistics say. There was a hint of irritation from President Zuma on Saturday when he remarked on people being jaded and critical, saying they should instead be making suggestions about what could be done to improve the country.
But it is difficult to inspire a restless nation to co-operate, particularly one that feels neglected and disrespected. No amount of delivery figures can change that, only strong leadership can. The hope that propelled us forward in 1994 is long gone. And while in many ways we are so much better, the pervasive hopelessness makes us a whole lot worse. DM
Photo: President Jacob Zuma. (REUTERS/Noor Khamis)

Is SA now Big Brother in Africa?

No fear No Favours No Illusions of Grandeur.........

April 26 2013 at 08:00pm   South Africa
By Peter Fabricius

Is President Jacob Zuma flexing South Africa s muscles in Africa as his predecessors dared not? asks Peter Fabricius.


Johannesburg - Is President Jacob Zuma Big Brother, flexing South Africa’s muscles in Africa as his predecessors dared not? Or is he David, slinging stones at the might of the West? Or both?
If you look at two major themes now topping South Africa’s foreign policy agenda – Brics and pacifying Africa – the West figures as the antagonist in both.
South Africa joined the Brics bloc (Brazil Russia, India and China) in part to counteract the dominance of Western countries in the world.
And Zuma’s new assertiveness in Africa is also driven in part by his need to thwart what he sees as Western – mainly French – ambitions on the continent.
It is for that reason that he has shrugged off the qualms about South Africa being labelled the Big Brother of Africa, which checked his predecessors.
The first clear sign of his greater assertiveness in Africa was South Africa’s robust campaign to get Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma elected as chairwoman of the AU Commission last year.
That was an enterprise fraught with the risk of branding South Africa a Big Brother since the ANC ditched the unspoken rule that none of Africa’s big powers should occupy that seat.
Yet Zuma justified that ultimately successful initiative to any doubters by saying it was necessary to put a strong former liberation struggler at the helm of African affairs to replace someone who Pretoria believed was essentially just a puppet of France.
The next important sign of Zuma’s greater assertiveness in Africa has been his readiness to use South Africa’s military on the continent in a more robust way.
This is a still-unfolding chapter of what one might call the Zuma doctrine.
The lethal firefight that our parabats had with Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR) last month seemed to exemplify the new approach.
And certainly International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane seems to want it to be understood as such, at least implicitly presenting it as an expression of Zuma’s strong conviction that it is time to put a stop to the epidemic of mutinies and coups that have so bedevilled Africa’s development.
Zuma himself, though, appears to be sticking to a far narrower explanation, that our parabats were, after all, just there to protect our military trainers, and accidentally got caught up in a coup.
But that may just be because that is how he originally justified the mission to Parliament. Or maybe he does not want to contaminate the wider doctrine by association with a mission that failed.
And our troops might yet return to the CAR more explicitly in a wider role, as part of a regional military peacekeeping force tasked to ensure that the Seleka rebels, now in government, keep their promise to restore democratic civilian government soon.
CAR Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye, formerly a member of the civilian political opposition to deposed president Francois Bozize and not a member of Seleka, is due in South Africa soon to discuss this and other proposals.
Zuma’s decision to contribute a battalion of troops to the Southern African Development Community force that is about to be deployed to try to purge the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of rebel groups like M23 is much more clearly part of “the Zuma doctrine”.
Interwoven through all of these manoeuvres is also Zuma’s sense that he is countering French and possibly wider Western designs in central Africa, though what exactly they are is not spelt out.
The Zuma doctrine is, rather oddly, both a drama of Big Brother awakening and, conversely, also of David and Goliath.
In the first sense, Africa’s biggest power might be said to be assuming at last its manifest destiny, to save the continent from itself.
But in the second sense, is the ANC also attempting the vastly more ambitious mission of trying to turn the tide of the history of the world over the past two decades – which have essentially been 22 years of unchallenged Western pre-eminence since the collapse of the Soviet Union?
The Star


Illusions of Grandeur......
This player has become an instant dictator - void of any truth.
The ANC government under Zuma cannot control corruption nor crime in South Africa.
Now he wants to dictate to Africa and the Rest of the World?
Is this how to acquire a permanent seat on the UN?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ten arrested for attempted Emperors Palace robbery

No fear No Favours no survivors..............

Sapa | 28 April, 2013 10:24

Ten people were arrested after they attempted to rob Emperors Palace casino, on the East Rand, on Sunday morning, Gauteng police said.

Lt-Col Lungelo Dlamini police at the casino received a tip-off that 19 men were going to rob the casino.
Police confronted a group of men at the entrance and a shootout ensued. Two of the men were shot and wounded, while three others were arrested. The two were under police guard at a local hospital.
Dlamini said a stray bullet grazed the head of five-year-old girl inside the casino's hotel. She was also rushed to a nearby hospital.
Police then followed another group of five men in a car down the road from the casino. All were arrested.
Three AK-47 assault rifles, four pistols and one revolver were recovered from the 10 men.
Dlamini said police were still searching for nine men around the hotel and casino.
Netcare 911 paramedics confirmed that three people were injured.

Times Live


It is going to be interesting to see who these "alleged robbers" are.
07:00 on a Sunday morning is an unusual time to hit a 'CASINO IN SA'.
Time will reveal when they get to Court and are given bail........
Were 'Weapons of War' used by these thugs?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

New breakaway party to be launched - SA First

No fear No Favour No further Corruption........................

Sapa | 27 April, 2013 12:24

Mokhoanatse as part of a group which took MKMVA leaders to court after they allegedly turned the organisation's investment holdings into their own personal piggy bank.
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Expelled and former Umkhonto weSizwe members, activists and civil society organisations launched a new political party called SA First in Johannesburg.


It would be run by expelled MK member Eddie Mokhoanatse and former member Lucky Twala.
"We are not angry with the ANC, we are not disgruntled," Mokhoanatse said.
"When we joined the ANC, essentially we were joining the liberation struggle and the ANC as an agent of change.
"When it veers away from the core values we don't see any value in staying in the organisation."
Mokhoanatse said he did not believe the ANC was motivated by a desire to help people - it had become an organisation of individuals.
Mokhoanatse joined MK and the ANC in 1976, Twala joined in 1978.
Mokhoanatse had been expelled from the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association last year for casting aspersions on the reputation of the ANC.
He was part of a group which took MKMVA leaders to court after they allegedly turned the organisation's investment holdings into their own personal piggy bank.
Last year, the group reportedly laid criminal charges against former treasurer general Dumisani Khoza, former chairperson Deacon Mathe, treasurer at the time Johannes Motseki, current chairman Kebby Maphatsoe and Deputy Public Service Minister and current secretary of the association, Ayanda Dlodlo, who received a R40,000 cash payout from the association in December 2008.
Maphatsoe said MKMVA members were very disappointed with those who were forming the new party.
"They are a disappointment to the nation... outside the MKMVA they are nothing," said Maphatsoe.
"It's a non-starter because outside Umkhonto weSizwe [and the ANC] they are nothing, they must ask Julius [Malema]. The ANC made Julius."
He said these former MKMVA members who were joining the party were sell outs.
MKMVA was part of the ANC and by starting another political party these members had automatically expelled themselves from the ruling party.
SA First would not be a threat to the ANC, said Maphatsoe.
"If comrades are unhappy [they] can't go out and form a new party," he said.
"There is no difference between this group and the Terror [Mosiuoa] Lekota's of Cope."
Mokhoanatse said SA First intended on contesting the 2014 elections and would register the party with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) after the launch.
However, the party did not have official leadership.
"Where there are prominent people there are problems."
Mokhoanatse said he and Twala would be running with the initiative making sure it was grounded and structured.
The party was also not focused on membership.
"We are not membership driven, we are a coalition of independent citizens and civil society organisations.
"We are not looking for people to join, we are looking for South Africans to support us," said Mokhoanatse.
The party said it wanted community leaders, independent candidates, to come forward and join the coalition.
The aim of SA First was to reclaim the space for private citizens and enable them to participate in influencing public discourse and shape the future of the country.
According to a statement by SA First the ANC had dismally failed to deliver credible and lasting socio-economic and political solutions that was consistent with the expectations of South Africans and the Constitution.
"The spectre of the ruling party continuing to misgovern our country for the next five years, can only yield one result - another failed state in the southern most tip of the African continent," it said.
All opposition parties had also failed to deliver a credible alternative to the ruling party.
"Our country has reached a tipping point. It cannot be business as usual. The time to act is now," the party said.

By splitting the vote this new party will not bring the ANC to its knees.
This is ANC tactics - Divide and Conquer..........
WINNER TAKES ALL............

Friday, April 26, 2013

Oilgate 2: R1bn scandal rocks PetroSA

No fear No Favours No corruption......


Whistleblowers and investigations reveal how bosses and well-connected service providers allegedly conspired to loot from the national oil company.

Top managers at PetroSA ordered irregular payments of R200-million during a feeding frenzy at the national oil company that involved a well-connected lawyer and a fund manager, detailed evidence suggests. 
They also appear to have risked another R800-million in potential liabilities, raising the total in questionable spending decisions to a ballpark R1-billion.
Allegations that some of the ­payments involved kickbacks remain unproven, but a former director has told the police he believes anti-corruption laws were broken, and ama­Bhungane has found evidence of a large, unexplained payout to an unidentified third party.
AmaBhungane has reconstructed the events, which focus on the 10-month tenure of acting chief executive Yekani Tenza, from interviews with well-placed individuals, copies of documentary evidence and the former director's affidavits to the police.

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Police specialist unit the Hawks confirmed this week that it was investigating PetroSA, and a probe by the Central Energy Fund, PetroSA's holding company, is said to be complete. 
Implicated alongside Tenza, whose term at PetroSA ended last May, are Everton September, the company's head of new oil and gas ventures; George Sabelo, a Johannesburg ­lawyer tied to some Zuma family members; and Tshepo Mahloele, a fund manager who featured in a Mail & Guardian exposé last year about the ANC benefiting from a bank empowerment deal.
Mega deals
The bulk of the allegations involve two mega deals: PetroSA's trumpeted acquisition last year of a company with crude oil acreage in Ghana, and PetroSA's confidential plan to buy petrol stations across South Africa.
In the Ghana acquisition, Tenza and new oil and gas ventures head September negotiated "in reverse", agreeing among other things to pay an extra $20-million (R162-million then) for the target company.
On conclusion of the deal, Tenza had an R11.4-million "success fee" paid to Sabelo, the lawyer, who had accompanied him to final negotiations in London. Much of the success fee appears to have flowed onwards to an unidentified third party, raising corruption red flags.
In the petrol stations deal, transaction advisers HSBC were fired, incurring a R19-million cancellation fee; then Tenza replaced them with Mahloele's Harith Fund Managers, a much smaller local firm. On completion, Harith was to earn a success fee of R371-million or more - 10 times the R35-million HSBC apparently would have earned had it stayed on.
This was renegotiated to R187-million following Tenza's departure, but still dwarfed HSBC's fee.

Graphic: John McCann
Also on the petrol stations deal, Tenza signed off on another invoice from lawyer Sabelo the day before leaving office, this time for R3-million. Bizarrely, Sabelo's claim for payment was simply dropped after PetroSA staff queried it.
'Empty goalposts'
Protests by PetroSA staff and board members, including its internal tax specialist, chief internal auditor, board audit committee chair and then-chief financial officer, culminated in November with Rain Zihlangu, then a director, laying a complaint with the police. He eventually submitted three affidavits.
Zihlangu said in the affidavits, two of which amaBhungane has obtained, that he felt compelled to request an investigation as he suspected corruption. He declined to comment this week.
One affidavit said: "Having been a board member of PetroSA since 2006, I had never encountered such blatant abuse of public funds and the flagrant flouting of all procurement policies as was done by Mr Tenza whilst he was the acting … CEO of PetroSA."
Zihlangu likened Harith's appointment to placing a player "to simply kick the ball [through] empty goalposts", as HSBC had already identified a target company to acquire and done much preparatory work.
The same is alleged about Sabelo's appointment to advise on the Ghana deal - the bulk of the work had allegedly been done by PetroSA's legal department and a large firm of attorneys. The little work that remained Sabelo largely outsourced to another firm for a fraction of his fee.
Both appointments bypassed PetroSA's procurement rules, which appears to have been one of the matters that sparked the interest of the Central Energy Fund, as its holding company. In a statement last month, it said a preliminary investigation ordered by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters had "unearthed inappropriate executive override of internal control systems at PetroSA" and that it "makes serious allegations against certain ­current and former senior officials". On Thursday, Hawks spokes­person Captain Paul Ramaloko said: "I can confirm we are busy with an investigation that involves PetroSA, but cannot reveal the contents of that investigation."
PetroSA said this week that in its environment "swift decision-making and quick turnaround times are critical" but, "unfortunately, some deviations from our normal procurement processes have occurred".
It defended the terms of the Ghana acquisition, but said that the results of a board-commissioned review into the procurement deviations would be communicated to Peters, who as minister is the government's representative as shareholder. "To the extent that any impropriety has taken place, the board and, where applicable, the shareholder will take appropriate action."
At the time of going to press, Sabelo had not responded to detailed questions. Tenza defended his decisions at PetroSA, dismissing all claims of corruption or bribery. He said Sabelo's appointment was justified by reasons of urgency and the need for confidentiality, and that Harith's appointment had been approved by a board subcommittee on which other government stakeholders served.
Harith said in a statement that i was bound by confidentiality. "We are, however, confident that our appointment was concluded following a rigorous process ... As an entity, we operate our business within accepted ethical standards and are confident of our skills set and experience within the investment space not only in South Africa but also internationally."
* Got a tip-off for us about this story? Email amabhungane@mg.co.za The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit initiative to develop investigative journalism in the public interest, produced this story. All views are ours. Seewww.amabhungane.co.za for our stories, activities and funding sources.

Mail and Guardian


You get cut out of a shady deal and when you expose facts you become a dreaded "Whistle Blower!"

Then you get placed on an assassination list or get locked up for divulging "State Secrets!"

If you are politically connected it becomes "Political Suicide!"