Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nkandla ad hoc committee: Mission Impossible, Day Two, Zuma off the hookNKANDLA

No fear No Favour No Prosecutions now..... or ever!

Rebecca Davis  South Africa  28 April 2014 10:39 (SOUTH AFRICA)

It’s official: nothing of any value will come out of the Parliamentary committee set up to consider the President’s response to the Public Protector’s report on upgrades to Nkandla before the elections. That dream, always faint, is now dead, seen to by an ANC majority on the committee. They insist that the committee can still be re-constituted after the elections, but we’re not holding our breath. Let’s all just take comfort that we’re not living in a democracy where people who question the President end up in body-bags – as one ANC MP on the committee reminded us. Comforting. By REBECCA DAVIS.

When the ad hoc Parliamentary committee on Nkandla met for the first time last week, chair Cedric Frolick (an ANC MP) warned that the committee should ready themselves to work late into the night on Monday if necessary.
It was not necessary. The committee needed less than four hours to dissolve things altogether. These were hours taken up in the main by statements from committee members lamenting how short the time available to them was to do the work that they were clearly not doing. It was farcical stuff. ANC MPs repeatedly denied that they were deliberately filibustering, but MP Llewellyn Landers, in particular, proved adept at the art of delivering rambling meta-commentary on proceedings in a painfully slow and drawn-out manner.
The major issue that chair Frolick had said he’d seek counsel on before Monday’s meeting was one which would cast a long shadow over proceedings: clarification as to the committee’s actual scope. What was it actually empowered to do? Could it look into the whole murky saga of Nkandla, or simply the president’s response to Thuli Madonsela’s report?
In terms of the specific mandate of the committee, Frolick indicated that the focus should be on President Zuma’s one-page response to Parliament regarding Nkandla, but that other documents – including the Public Protector’s report – could be considered within the context. Frolick acted quickly to dash the hopes of opposition politicians calling for Zuma to be summoned before them to explain himself. (Zuma had been at Parliament just an hour previously, unveiling the new bust of former president Nelson Mandela.) Frolick said that the committee should “confine itself to its mandate”, and that Zuma would not be subpoenaed.
For the next few hours, the committee verbally wrestled with procedural issues – even though it seems likely that the outcome was a foregone conclusion for the ruling party’s MPs. They tussled over the status of the Public Protector’s report, with the DA’s Lindiwe Mazibuko objecting to it being relegated to a “related document” in terms of the scope of the committee. ANC MP Buti Manamela reassured the opposition that it would be “absurd” to consider the president’s response without looking at Madonsela’s report, but went on to label it “incidental”.
Mazibuko called for the committee to hear in person from Madonsela, who had previously indicated her willingness to appear; from the author of the inter-ministerial task team report on Nkandla, which differed significantly from Madonsela’s report; from the head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), whose report on Nkandla Zuma said he was waiting for; from Defence Force bosses; and from CASAC, the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, which made a submission to the committee suggesting that the SIU was not the appropriate body to investigate Zuma.
The obvious question was: when would all this get done? The committee’s deadline was set to expire on Wednesday. Mazibuko wanted to see the committee work every day of the coming week, and extend the deadline until midnight before the elections, a proposal largely supported by opposition politicians on the committee with the exception of the IFP’s Narend Singh, who voiced hesitation about whether it would be practically possible to get the witnesses in front of the committee within this timeframe.
ANC MPs contended that an extension till next week would still not provide enough time for the committee to do its job properly. Mazibuko herself had said last week that the process should not be rushed, Landers argued; by necessity, the committee would have to perform a rushed job. Landers suggested smoothly that the committee should be looking for further civil society submissions, beyond that of CASAC, and that this too would require more time.
The ANC’s Cecil Burgess wanted to know what would happen if the committee did not complete its work in the allocated time. Chair Frolick put the question to the secretary of the National Assembly, who confirmed that the committee would cease to exist on midnight of the 6 May, but it could be resuscitated by the next Parliament. It was important to remember, Frolick later stressed, that “the institution of Parliament will continue to exist after 7 May”.
ANC MPs also hinted that the timing of the release of the Public Protector’s report was suspicious, coming just before elections. (Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi took this line of conspiracy a step further on the campaign trail this weekend, reportedly implying that TIME Magazine’s recognition of Madonsela’s work may be connected to attempts to destabilise the ANC by foreign elements.)
The Freedom Front Plus’s Corne Mulder hit back, saying the major reason for delays in the release of the report was that President Zuma delayed answering Madonsela’s questions for nine months, and still failed to answer a large number of the Public Protector’s questions. “You don’t want this discussed before 7 May,” Mulder charged the MPs from the ANC ranks.
Mulder also pointed out that the committee would have had more time to go about its work if the ANC had not taken eight days, of the allocated 10 set down in Parliamentary rules, to announce which MPs would join the committee.
Tempers flared as time passed. Mazibuko described the state of affairs as “shameful”, and said that the ANC’s clear desire to “kick for touch” was an attempt to shirk responsibility. Sporting metaphors were the order of the day, with Burgess saying in response that the committee was clearly in “injury time”, and that the committee was in a no-win situation time-wise. If they tried to do some work before the expiry of the deadline, Burgess said, they would be damned for not doing enough; if they did no work, they would be damned too. “Is it our fault that there is no time left?” asked Burgess.
“Yes,” replied opposition politicians, who repeatedly charged the ruling party’s representatives with filibustering and delaying to prevent the committee from dealing with any damaging Nkandla-related information on the eve of elections. “We’re in talks about talks!” Mulder cried in frustration at one point.
The issue at the heart of it all was the conceptual confusion about what the committee should actually be doing, a matter which failed to be clarified. The DA clearly had in mind a forum in which the upgrades to Nkandla would be pored over and scrutinised, and President Zuma’s misconduct further exposed and entrenched in the public consciousness on the eve of elections. Chair Frolick more than once instructed Mazibuko to stop referring to the committee’s duties as an “investigation”.
For their part, ANC MPs seemed determined to restrict the committee’s purview as much as possible to simply looking at the president’s response to Madonsela’s report – a report which, they hinted, would not be taken lying down. Manamela said that Madonsela should be questioned on why “certain investigations” were not concluded; why she exceeded her powers and authority; and why she gave conflicting indications of when she was willing to come to Parliament to discuss reports.
The prize for ‘most disturbing language use of the day’ went to Manamela, who said it was a sign of how “mature” South African democracy was that the president could be subjected to investigation without “people turning up in body-bags after”.
Given an opportunity to clarify this statement later by chair Frolick, Manamela repeated: “In many countries or democracies, when people ask questions…they re-appear later in body-bags”.
An end was brought to clearly pointless proceedings by ANC MP Doris Dlakude reading out a motion for the committee to adopt. It stated: “The time available for the committee to complete its work is clearly insufficient. Related investigations [the SIU report] are as yet incomplete and the matter before the ad hoc committee is of extreme importance and therefore requires sufficient time to consider thoroughly to do justice to it. Accordingly, the ANC proposes that this matter be referred to the fifth Parliament for consideration.”
Opposition MPs responded with anger, with the DA’s Wilmot James accusing the ANC representatives of having their minds “exercised on your behalf by Luthuli House”.
“I plead guilty,” Manamela responded easily. “I’m not here representing my jacket. I’m not here representing my kids, wife or relatives. I’m representing the ANC and I’m not ashamed of pleading guilty to that effect.”
ANC MPs made it clear that they believed opposition MPs had arrived at the committee hoping for some damaging anti-Zuma outcome to fuel the last days of election campaigning. Opposition MPs, meanwhile, made it clear that they believed the ANC MPs had arrived willing to do anything necessary to prevent the committee’s work taking place. “You came in to this meeting with every effort to shut it down and you are using whatever tactics possible to shut it down,” the DA’s James said.
But with the ANC majority on the committee, the motion easily passed.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Manamela went so far as to suggest that if the committee had gone ahead with its work in insufficient time, they would have essentially “colluded with white-washing” the Nkandla scandal. He conceded, however, that there was no actual guarantee that the incoming Speaker of the next Parliament would reconvene the ad-hoc committee to take up the task, but suggested that it would be hard for him or her to ignore the fact that it was still hanging over them.
Mazibuko explained to the Daily Maverick that the committee could be reconstituted in the next term if someone submits a motion to do so, and the House votes in favour.
But don’t bet on it. “It’s not gonna happen,” Mazibuko said grimly, predicting that the ANC would use its majority in the House to shut down the possibility of resuscitating the committee again.
So there we have it, folks. Optimists will be awaiting the moves of the next Parliament to get a re-formed committee busy working on the matter – though after the elections, of course, much of the momentum in either direction will have faded. (As one journalist pointed out, if the committeedoes get reconstituted, a delicious possibility would be the presence of the EFF’s Julius Malema on it.)
For now, however, one last opportunity to hold Zuma accountable for Nkandla before the elections has gone. But look on the bright side: at least we’re not all in body-bags. DM
Read more:
  • ANC shuts down Parliamentary Nkandla committee, in M&G
Photo: President Jacob Zuma's residence in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, 4 November 2012. Picture Giordano Stolley/SAPA











Monday, April 28, 2014

How is JZ Foundation funded?

No Fear No Favour No ANC Corruption.......

National 28.4.2014 08.00 am
Warren Mabona

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma. (Photo: GCIS)

ANC insiders in Gauteng want public scrutiny of the funding behind the Jacob Zuma Foundation (JZF).

The JZF builds houses for impoverished families in KwaZulu-Natal. But the source of the funds used for this appears to be shrouded in secrecy.
According to the organisation’s website, residents of Nkandla have benefited more than any others in the country.
Some party leaders in Gauteng are concerned about the “potential embarrassment” the ANC could face if the JZF has used public money.
“The organisation does not deserve another embarrassment [like] the Nkandla security upgrades,” said an ANC insider, who asked not to be identified. People in Gauteng also “deserved” free houses, the person added.
The foundation was scheduled to deliver houses to families in another area of KwaZulu-Natal over Easter but the ceremony was postponed due to rain.
JZF chairperson Dudu Myeni did not respond to a written inquiry about the source of the funds for the Nkandla houses.
KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Sizwe Mchunu suggested that Zuma might be hoping to “weather the storm” around the security upgrade debacle at his private residence in Nkandla by building houses for residents in the area. “Zuma owes the nation an explanation about the funding of JZF,” he said.
Zuma spokesperson Mac Maharaj said he was not aware of state involvement in JZF funding.
The removal of photographs, showing ANC T-shirts being carried in a Gauteng traffic police vehicle, from a reporter’s cellphone was condemned by the SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Sunday.
National 28.4.2014 09.57 am

Sanef condemns deletion of photos

“Sanef condemns the harassment of an eNCA journalist by a VIP policeman guarding President Jacob Zuma while he was pursuing his election campaign,” chairman Mpumelelo Mkhabela said in a statement.
He was reacting to an incident in Duduza, Ekurhuleni, on Friday where Zuma was conducting a house to house campaign.
“The bodyguard grabbed reporter Nikolaus Bauer’s cellphone camera and deleted pictures showing ANC T-shirts, which had been ferried to the event in a Gauteng traffic vehicle, being handed out to ANC officials and Zuma supporters.”
According to Mkhabela, the guard asked Bauer to delete the pictures but he refused.
“When he refused, the phone was forcibly taken out of his hands and the guard deleted the images.
“…Sanef regards the police conduct as outrageous and totally unacceptable.”
He said the deletion of the pictures amounted to censorship, which was contrary to the Constitution and Police Standing Orders.
Sanef would support Bauer in any further action he decided to take against the guards.
The Sunday Times quoted African National Congress spokesman Keith Khoza as saying that it was up to the Gauteng traffic department to investigate why the party T-shirts were carried to the event in a state vehicle.
Departmental spokesman Busaphi Nxumalo said that Premier Nomvula Mojonyane’s office had deployed the vehicle. A probe would be launched into the matter of a uniformed officer handing out political T-shirts, he said.

Comments by Sonny


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Director denies bribing police official.

Author: Reuters|
24 April 2014 13:09

PRETORIA - A South African court on Thursday postponed until July the case against a director of mid-cap technology firm Pinnacle Holdings who has been charged with attempting to bribe a senior police official to win a contract.

Takalani Tshivhase on Thursday appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Court on charges he offered a R5 million bribe to a lieutenant general in the South African Police Service to secure a multi-million contract for police equipment.

Tshivhase, who has denied the charges, was arrested by the police's anti-corruption unit in March and released on bail the same day. The case had then been postponed to allow his defence time for further investigation.

Magistrate Nina Setshogoe on Thursday granted the defence's request to extend the postponement until July 2 to allow Tshivhase's lawyers more time to prepare, adding there would be no more extensions. Both Tshivhase and his lawyer, Michael North, declined to comment.

The Pinnacle case has highlighted concerns about the use of corrupt practices to win state contracts inSouth Africa, and raised questions about the company's governance.

The charges against Tshivhase - together with filings that show Pinnacle's CEO and executives sold stakes in the company before announcing the allegations - wiped out as much as $135 million of shareholder value.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange told Reuters last month it was investigating whether the hardware distributor violated rules on timely disclosure by waiting 20 days after Tshivhase's arrest to make an announcement.

The JSE has declined to comment on whether it was investigating the timing of the share sales. Pinnacle has said that the executives had requested permission for their share sales before Tshivhase's arrest.

Pinnacle CEO Arnold Fourie told Reuters last month the charges against Tshivhase were a "huge misunderstanding". Pinnacle has said it had no reason to doubt the veracity of Tshivhase's denial.

Tshivhase has since been granted a leave of absence from Pinnacle and stepped down from the board of another company, Datacentrix Holdings.

Pinnacle lost 43% of its market value in the two days after the charges were announced but has since recouped some losses. Shares of the company were at R14.05 rand at 12h17, down 30% from the closing price on the day before the allegations were announced.

Pinnacle is not the first company to come under scrutiny over awards of government contracts in South Africa.

U.S. technology firm Net 1 UEPS Technologies has said it is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI over whether it made corrupt payments to South African government officials to win a contract with the national welfare agency.
Topics: Pinnacle, Arnold Fourie, Net 1 UEPS Technologies, Nina Setshogoe, Takalani Tshivhase

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

'Fired for being honest'

'Fired for being honest'
KATHARINE CHILD | 23 April, 2014 06:23

Johannesburg Labour Court Judge ordered that the police re-employ Colonel Kobus Roos as an auditor. File photo.
The auditor who revealed that the crime intelligence unit's secret slush fund had allegedly been plundered for years - and was ousted by suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli - has won his job back.

In a victory for whistleblowers, Johannesburg Labour Court Judge Robert la Grange yesterday ordered that the police re-employ Colonel Kobus Roos as an auditor.

Roos said he has spent the last three years at the "unproductive and meaningless post" to which Mdluli had transferred him.

The judge said Mdluli had been "vindictive" towards Roos and it was clear that Roos was persecuted by higher-ups for uncovering corruption.

Judge la Grange also awarded Roos R156250 as compensation.

"We have noted the judgment and we are studying it," said national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega's spokesman, Solomon Makgale.

Roos, who has worked for the police for 27 years, said the legal victory left him "happy and relieved". He said the fraud he uncovered was only the "tip of the iceberg" but that he had not found any evidence that specifically linked Mdluli to fraud.

But Roos did accuse Major-General Solly Lazarus, the service's chief financial officer, and several other police officers, of abusing the slush fund.

Major-General Lazarus is currently suspended on full pay and will appear in court in July on corruption charges. He is also expected to face internal disciplinary action within a fortnight.

DA shadow police minister Dianne Kohler Barnard said unless there was parliamentary oversight on how the slush fund was utilised , it would continue to be looted.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has been accused of using R200000 from the fund to build a wall around his private KwaZulu-Natal home

The Hawks are investigating Mdluli for allegedly using fund money to purchase luxury cars, as well as allegedly hiring relatives into his unit. The NPA dropped all fraud and corruption charges against Mdluli, but last week the Supreme Court of Appeal said the charges should be reinstated.

Institute for Security Studies senior researcher Johan Burger said: "Crime intelligence has been completely dysfunctional since Richard Mdluli was appointed in 2009. There is political interference ."

Monday, April 21, 2014

South Africa's Zuma obsession vs. the reality

No Fear No favour No Zuma........

Stephen Grootes South Africa 21 April 2014 10:52 (SOUTH AFRICA)

As a nation, it would seem hard to deny that we have become quite obsessed with President Jacob Zuma. He dominates all the non-Oscar headlines we have. Nkandla is now a word with special power in our politics; sometimes it seems he’s portrayed as the devil-incarnate, the person single-handedly responsible for the decline of our country, and of the ANC. But the other night, I was asked: “How different would these elections be if Zuma weren’t head of the ANC?” It’s a question that makes you think about the image of the ANC, President Jacob Zuma, and the difference between temporary electioneering antics and the longer term issues. It also makes you wonder if perhaps we are too obsessed with Number One. By STEPHEN GROOTES.

In South Africa, as in most democracies, symbols and personalities matter. The person who leads a party really matters. There is plenty of evidence that seems to show that even in constituency democracies like the UK, people tend to make their decisions not based on the person who would be the voter’s Member of Parliament, but on who the leader of the party is. So it’s obvious that Zuma matters to the ANC. If your symbol were not Zuma, who would it be?
If you try to place the ANC’s Number Two in the top spot, you would be going, as Dali Mpofu once put it, “from Nkandla man to Marikana man”. Most symbols, being human, have their issues, their political baggage. (Which could strengthen the case that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been deployed to the African Union to keep those issues to a minimum later on.)
But if, for arguments sake, we place a cipher in the position of leader of the ANC, where would that leave us? Would things be very different for the party?
No matter who was the leader, corruption would still be a major election issue. It was Kgalema Motlanthe, in his out-going speech as Secretary General of the ANC at Polokwane in 2007, who spoke about how corruption was eating the ANC. Even before then, he’d given an interview in which he’d spoken about how projects in municipalities were conceived around who would get the tender, rather than whether the project was needed. Corruption would be a defining issue no matter who was in charge of the ANC right now.
Nonetheless, there can be no doubt that Zuma, Nkandla, and Number One’s strange path to power (the corruption charges that disappeared, his focus on putting only allies without strong constituencies of their own in charge of the security cluster of ministries, etc.) made this issue all the more challenging for the ANC. A party can’t claim to fight corruption when its leader is one of the highest-profile accused in the court of public opinion - especially when he has appeared to deliberately weaken the National Prosecuting Authority with the appointment of advocate Menzi Simelane.
Yet this is part of a much bigger political dynamic. The last few months have seen the country’s biggest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, starting publicly to criticise Zuma in the strongest terms. This appears to mean that, even within the Alliance, Number One is a liability. There are, however, also other underlying tensions. Zuma is part of this dynamic in that he is the symbol of the ANC; and it is the ANC, and particularly its economic policies, that NUMSA is campaigning against. On one reading, the split within Cosatu has really been coming since 1996. It was then that Trevor Manuel, with what was surely the explicit support of Thabo Mbeki, presented his Gear Budget. And the economic policies, labelled as “neo-liberal” and the “1996 Class Project” have been the biggest bone of contention within the Alliance ever since.
It could even be argued here that it’s actually because of Zuma, and the way he has kept Blade Nzimande and the SACP on-side, that the Alliance is not splitting any further, and it’s only Cosatu that is facing this kind of turmoil. That is, the split within Cosatu would probably be happening no matter who was leader of the ANC, and Zuma may have been able to delay it longer than someone else.
Zuma’s detractors could argue, apparently convincingly, that one of the biggest threats the ANC faces in these elections is the Economic Freedom Fighters and the former young lion, Julius. Certainly, Zuma was the person in charge of the ANC when Malema was expelled, but no leader of the ANC would have been able to tolerate the open dissent that he fostered – and it was an ANC process that saw Malema leaving, not a Zuma process. The disciplinary committees that presided over it were technically independent, even though it was a party political process. Either way, Malema would have been thrown out. It could be argued that Zuma had a hand in creating Malema in the first place, but even that would be overdone. Malema broke the mould when he was produced, and Zuma acted against him when he could.
So the EFF and the threat it poses (which I think is still overdone) can’t really be put at Zuma’s door.
Then there is the apparent growth in support for the DA. This is a harder question for Zuma’s supporters to tackle, the threat to the urban, black, middle-class vote. It is of course true that the DA has won more support over the last five years, and will do better in these elections than it did in 2009. It is surely also true that the party has grown organically, its ranks are not stuffed with former ANC members angry at Zuma. The real question is whether its support has grown more quickly because of Zuma.
The answer to this could well be a qualified “yes”. Minorities had started to become politically apathetic during the Mbeki years, and then the 2011 Local Government Elections saw them coming out to vote. That surely helped the DA, and that could have been the result of its “Stop Zuma” campaign. As a message, it had about has much finesse as “Fight Back”, but it clearly worked. Nkandla, the NPA (and Mdluli and Guptas, etc etc.) will possibly push these voters to vote again this year. So Zuma may have to carry some of the can here.
Having said all of that, you have to ask if whoever was leading the ANC would have the campaigning attributes that Zuma has. The party’s grown in KZN dramatically over the last ten years, partly because of the IFP’s policy of being led by Mangosotho Bhutulezi until Jesus comes[Stephen, we realised you thought that was funny the last time you used it. It doesn’t mean you can run the same joke twice! – Ed] but also because of Zuma. On the trail, he is unbeatable, and should receive the credit for what he’s done for the party there. That means, then, that any loss of votes in urban areas to the DA could be balanced out by what Zuma brings in KwaZulu-Natal and in other rural areas. There are very few people who could keep a morning radio host in stitches for an hour while also being president, as Zuma did on Umhlobo Wenene FM last week.
No matter what your views on the South African president, whether you think he is a corrupt liability to the country and the future of your children, or whether you think he is the living embodiment of every man’s struggle to be human and have a place in the sun, there is one aspect of Zuma that simply cannot be denied. He does polarise opinion - pretty much all the time. In a divided country, that’s not surprising.
But perhaps we should step back a little and wonder if we should give more attention to the longer-term dynamics, rather just the easy headlines he produces. DM
Photo: South African school girls walk beneath an election poster for the ruling party African National Congress (ANC) in Cape Town, South Africa 28 March 2014.  EPA/NIC BOTHMA.






ANC Youth League marks Madiba speech with call to vote

No Fear No Favour No Communist prayers at Easter.......


The ANCYL has used the 50th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's Rivonia Trial speech to say that not voting in coming elections would be blasphemous.

"The calls for citizens to spoil their votes are blasphemous to the [cause] Madiba and other true struggle stalwarts stood for," the youth league said in a statement on Sunday.
"We call on young people to defend the democratic breakthrough of 1994 and safeguard the rule of South Africa by its majority citizens by voting ANC on May 7 2014."
It rejected former ANC activist and government minister Ronnie Kasrils' call to not vote for the ANC.
"To us as young people of the ANC, the Rivonia trial speech by Madiba is so powerful and does reflect the high-value our freedom and democracy cost our fore-fathers," said league spokesperson Bandile Masuku.
It recalled that on April 20 1964, Mandela, facing a possible death sentence with his co-defendents delivered his famous speech in which he said: "I have fought against white domination. I have fought against black domination.
"I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Lawyer and friend George Bizos said Mandela heeded his advice and added the words. "But if needs be", to this part of his speech.
The league felt that Mandela's use of the singular form when addressing the judge, indicated the value of self-sacrifice.
Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Denis Goldberg, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni and Elias Motsoaledi were convicted of sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory said Mandela signed the speech and dated it April 1964 and gave it to Sylvia Neame, a political activist and the partner, at the time, of Kathrada.
She was arrested in August 1964 and put on trial with advocate Bram Fischer and 10 others.
In April 1965 they were convicted and sentenced. Neame was sentenced to four years (two years to run concurrently). She was released from prison in 1967 and went into exile.
After he was released from prison she gave the signed copy of the speech to Kathrada who donated it to the centre.
Mandela died on December 5 2013 at the age of 95 at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg. – Sapa

Mail and Guardian

'Threats' led to huge Sassa security bill

2014-04-20 12:32

Johannesburg - Death threats and intimidation are some of the reasons behind why multimillions have been spent for security protection services for top personnel at the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa), the social development department said on Sunday.
"This aggressive attitude to fraud and corruption by the Minister and the CEO has led to the numerous incidents of death threats, intimidation and threats against them and their families and other staff," said departmental spokesperson Lumka Oliphant in a statement.
Oliphant was responding to a report in the Sunday Times about more than R10m spent on bodyguards for top personnel - with questions raised on how the contracts were awarded.
The newspaper reported that R2,9m was spent on "close protection services" for Sassa CEO Virginia Petersen and Renay Ogle, the agency's fraud management and compliance general manager.
An arrest was made in a case in which Petersen received death threats. Oliphant said Petersen was under threat as she had been focused on tackling corruption within the grant system and had ensured already more than 7 000 fraud cases had been uncovered.
According to the Sunday Times, a further R1.1m "for close protection services" for Oliphant and her family was also spent.
The newspaper reported that the contracts for protection were given to Vuco Security Solutions, based in KwaMashu in Durban and its report suggested that most of the contracts appeared to have bypassed normal procurement rules.

Investigation extended
In response, Oliphant said close protection services were only used "if an official is reportedly threatened".
She said that the department or Sassa would then investigate.
"This is followed by the use of an emergency delegation to procure the urgent service. Thereafter a bidding procurement process is used if the situation requires close protection for a longer period. The cost is from the CEO's budget as she is required to manage this responsibility."
The Sunday Times reported that Vuco had charged for a number of services and items which reportedly included R45 000 for erecting a fence, R17 000 for building a toilet as well as charges for buying rifles, pistols and night-vision binoculars.
Oliphant said that Sassa was extending its investigation into services procurements for the past financial year.
"This ranges from procurement of office accommodation, office upgrading to services."
She said Vuco was one of four companies who had been providing close protection since 2012.
Oliphant listed a number of personnel receiving security protection, apart from the CEO, including two head office managers, two provincial heads, one security head, four office heads and three families.





The ANC is capable of using "Dead Votes" during next months elections?
Especially is they use Mandela's MYTH to further Zuma's corrupt plight!