Opinion

  • If Hillary wins, she will make history but will she advance women’s empowerment?

    Pinky Khoabane asks if women leaders advance the women’s agenda? Will Hillary Clinton be any different from an Obama or husband Bill, Bush or any of the litany of men who rule the world?

    hilary-clinton

    If Hillary Clinton wins the US presidency, she will make history as the first woman US president. She’s a former first lady and she voted this morning with her husband, former president, Bill, standing behind her.

    If she wins she will join a group of other women as heads of state. She joins Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as Theresa May who just recently found herself thrust into the role of prime minister of Britain following the Brexit saga.

    Closer to home, it is rumoured that Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will be leaving the African Union in January to campaign as presidential candidate.

    Other women leaders are Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Doris Leuthard, Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania, Simonetta Sommaruga of Switzerland, Park Geun-hye of South Korea, Michelle Blachelet of Chile, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca of Malta, Kolinda Graba-Kitarovich of Croatia, Ameena Gurib of Mauritius, Bidhya Devi Bhandari of Nepal, Hilda Heine of Marshall Islands, Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, and Doris Bures of Austria.

    These women have managed to crack the glass ceiling and as much as progress has been made in advancing women’s participation in development and democratic processes, they represent a fraction of the percentage of women around the world.

    The UN says the number of women in Parliament globally has doubled in the last 20 years. This translates to 22% of parliamentary seats going to women. Twenty years after the Beijing Declaration, women participation in leadership has only increased by 10%.

    The former first lady, senator and secretary of state told the cheering crowds when she was nominated as the Democrat presidential candidate that she may have been the first but she’s paved the way for young girls. “If there are any young girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say I may become the first woman president. But one of you is next.”

    Her message is one that goes to the heart of the impact the ascension of women into previously male-dominated fields has on young girls. In today’s society, careers are still seen in gender terms and the young girls of today who are mapping their careers will have these women as role models. Unlike in the past, when girls aspired to be nurses and teachers only, they have greater opportunities today.

    Women are encouragingly finding a voice simply from seeing women like Clinton.

    The rise in the leadership of women comes at a time when the global feminism movement is on the decline while on the other hand, there’s a rise in fundamentalism such as seen in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan where girls are denied an education.

    It is this fundamentalism that has brought the world’s attention to advocates for education such as Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai.

    It has been argued that the decline of feminism may be attributed to the fact that many of the issues for which gender activists fought have now been included in the laws and policies of many countries.

    But do women who come into an environment of partriarchal hegemony manage to advance the women’s agenda or are they just tokens placed in these positions to advance numbers?

    These women come into a political environment where there are set global agendas and find themselves having to fit into the mould of men and implement the specific agenda.

    They also find themselves facing patriarchal dominance which they struggle to break and most find they have to fit in with the crowd or be left out.

    When Clinton took the office of secretary of state, for example, she inherited the war on terror as US foreign policy. Although research has found women are socialised to be more caring and generally averse to war, she has been intrinsically involved in some of the US’ wars including the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Nato’s attack on Lybia in 2011.

    Margaret Thatcher is another example of how women get into leadership positions and mould themselves in the image of men. She was not called the Iron Lady for nothing. She took the reins during the cold war and had to be seen as tough and able to be a warmonger like men.

    Women are often vilified for being their own worst enemies. They are often accused of advancing the “pull her down” syndrome whereby they sabotage the other women around them.

    This is an unfair criticism as this applies to any minority who join a hegemony. Black men who find themselves in the white corporate field where they are in the minority are also accused of this phenomenon. They too find they have to join the white boys club and subvert transformation if they want to be accepted as part of the white leadership.

    Unless women get into these positions supported by women’s groups, they will always find themselves pushing the agenda of patriarchy and fighting to break the barriers and factors that promote inequality.

    The only way to ensure greater opportunities for women is for women to lead and become role models for the broader pool of girls and young women, but that alone is not the answer.

    They need to rise to the top with the support of women and men who advocate for equality for the betterment of humanity.

  • Radical Policy Reset Only Way To Reverse Social and Economic Catastrophe

    A warning by Redge Nkosi: Reform macro-economic policy or face a revolution of an unprecedented scale….He’s the Executive Director and Research Head at Firstsource Money. Twitter Handle @redgenkosi

    The national narrative around South Africa’s poor growth and low growth trajectory is that it is ordained by some confluence of forces of globalisation alongside the lack of domestic microeconomic reforms. Circumscribed by such forces, the nation state is thus incapable of any real policy space to grow the economy, save for the deployment of monetary policy and structural reforms, supported by a thin base of fiscal space.

    As a consequence of such circumscription, most people, including government through the Presidency, have opined that slow growth is the new normal for South Africa, citing secular stagnation: a reference to long-term future of low growth and elevated levels of unemployment. As our economy requires to grow at a clip of 6% or more to cut into the developmental challenges, this then suggests that our economy’s intractable quintuple challenges of unemployment, poverty, inequality, high cost of living and high cost of doing business are on a permanent growth trajectory.

    If this narrative is indeed true, then doubtlessly, the country should also accept that it is headed for a revolution of an unprecedented scale, unless saved by an act of God.

    I proffer a contrarian view to this well received but false narrative. The notion of secular stagnation is not only misguided but stale and sterile, at least from the perspective of monetary system in which we operate in. And ascribing the curtailment of policy space to forces of globalisation is to conflate globalisation with what is commonly referred to as economic neo-liberalism, which sadly is the culprit we have ignoramusly embraced, overtly or covertly..

    What has brought South Africa to this current economic frailty is nothing but a flawed national development model. It is based on a quaint macroeconomic regime that not only promotes the financialisation and de-industrialisation of the economy, but is inherently anti-developmental, highly incompatible and permanently at tension with the need for sustained industrial and social development at a mass scale. It is further inconsistent with the need to create a viable, progressive and more egalitarian society that can underwrite social stability, hence the unprecedented citizen disquiet and ever increasing economic hopelessness in the country. It is itself a source of macroeconomic instability, thus eroding the very prerequisite for investment and inclusive growth.

    Had our fiscal and monetary authorities understood the flawed nature of our macroeconomic framework and how to redesign it, which clearly they don’t, they should have used the financial crisis of 2007/8 as a provocation to redesign it instead of waiting for national calamitous events sufficiently threatening to produce consensus on the need for deep policy changes. Aren’t they there on the horizons already anyway: fees must fall, dangerous levels of poverty and unemployment, e-tolls and broad societal disquiet. The cost of inaction, vacuity and confusion has been humongous and continues to escalate.

    The reasons for the deliberate silence on the flawed macroeconomic regime are two fold. Firstly, most economists including our fiscal and monetary authorities, let alone the wider public, show scant understanding of the intricacies surrounding macroeconomic policies. The interaction between monetary and fiscal policies to produce growth is equally least understood.

    Secondly, by deliberately deviating attention away from macro policies to structural reforms, it serves the original policy designers well, for any such discussion would unravel their design objective of these policies. It may well be appropriate to indicate that our macroeconomic policy framework was the work of the IMF, World Bank and their supporting institutions.

    Inherent in any design of a robust macroeconomic framework is the deep but clear understanding of money and banking and how these interact and can be engineered to produce a durable productive growth model for a nation. Unfortunately, these two do not form part of our models both at Treasury and Reserve Bank and are perhaps the worst understood and known elements of macroeconomics globally, yet so central to any policy design if we are to reap sustainable economic growth, easy inflation management, macroeconomic stability and a competitive economy.

    Therefore talks about low growth as the new normal, murmurs about secular stagnation and similar sweeping fads are a reflection of our national deficiency in grasping profoundly critical elements of macroeconomics.

    Our macroeconomic framework is so colonially weaved that it even fails to recognise that we operate in a fiat monetary system, with all its macroeconomic freedoms. As succinctly observed by Her Majesty’s former Treasury official, Professor Wynne Godley “The power to issue its own money, to make drafts on its central bank, is the main thing which defines national independence. If a country gives up or loses this power, it acquires the status of a local authority or a colony”. Just like a colony, we don’t draw on our Reserve Bank.

    South Africa stands at a crossroads. It either resets its macroeconomic policy so as to positively respond to the ever threatening social and economic situation, or remains wedded to the ill-conceived macroeconomic regime and thus reap the rewards of the rather ominous clouds gathering on the nation’s horizon.

  • Why did Madonsela water-down Ciex Investigation?

    By Pinky Khoabane

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    Advocate Paul Hoffman, complainant in Ciex matter, argued there was a “long litany of improper and irregular conduct in the affairs of state” regarding Ciex. He also pointed out “that a considerable amount of public money stands to be recovered, which will well serve the common weal in these times of austerity.” Madonsela’s report focused only on conduct of the democratic SA’s presidents and not the recoverability of the money – R26bn which in today’s financial terms could be R60bn with interest. 

    After six years of investigating the conduct of former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, in respect of the R26 billion stolen by white capitalists, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was unable to complete the work and present the findings by the time she left office. The information is contained in the Ciex report details of which are covered elsewhere in UnCensored.

    The complaint was lodged by Advocate Paul Hoffman of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa (Ifiasa) on 10 November 2010 in which he requested the public protector to look into reasons why the democratic government, despite commissioning the report into apartheid economic plunder and its recovery, didn’t collect the money.

    The Office of the Public Protector (OPP) said it wasn’t able to release the findings as it “only had a provisional report by Friday (Madonsela’s last day in office). It was finalised that week. Affected parties must still comment on it”.

    This contradicts an earlier response on 16 September 2016 when the office responded thus: “The investigation is completed.  The Public Protector is finalising the report with a view to release it before she leaves office in October.”

    The office also confirmed newspaper reports that the PP had not completed interviews by the time she left office.

    Implicated in the Ciex report among others, are Madonsela’s future boss, Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, Johann Rupert and his father, Anton, former Reserve Bank Governor Chris Stals, ABSA’s Danie Cronje and several politicians and businessmen who were part of grand-scale apartheid economic looting ahead of the ANC’s takeover of power.

    Ciex was commissioned by the South African government in 1997 to expose and recover these monies.

    The report exposed how the apartheid government looted the state through various schemes including lifeboats given to financial institutions by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). The report identified R26bn that could be recovered and this included the R3.2bn lifeboat to Bankorp which later became ABSA, R3 – R6bn from Sanlam and Rembrandt (Rupert’s Remgro) and upto R5.5bn from Aerospatiale/Daimler Chrysler.

    Hoffman in his letter to the public protector says:

    “The report (CIEX) contains a long litany of improper and irregular conduct in the affairs of state. It is not clear why the contract between Ciex and the government was suspended, nor is it in the public domain whether the matters raised in the attached document have ever been addressed by government either in the manner foreshadowed or at all”.

    He further adds the very important aspect that the investigation by Madonsela could yield the recovery of a lot of public money.

    “It is perhaps superfluous to point out that a considerable amount of public money stands to be recovered, which will well serve the common weal in these times of austerity.”

    The complaint by Hoffman not only dealt with the conduct of the democratic government but also the recovery of the money. But Madonsela’s investigation was on “only ABSA Lifeboat and failure to recover money given as a loan to Bankcorp”. Public Protector spokesperson, Kgalalelo Masibi, was emphatic that the investigation didn’t go into the recovery of the money. “No,” to the question of whether Madonsela was still investigating the recoverability of the money.

     

    Here’s Hoffman’s full letter

    “10 November 2010

    FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE PUBLIC PROTECTOR:

     

    Dear Advocate,

     

    Re investigation by the Office of the Public Protector of CIEX report:

     

    The attached report by Ciex, apparently written pursuant to a purported suspension on 31 December 1998 of its contract with the government dated 6 October 1997, has recently come into the possession of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa (Ifiasa). It appears to us to be a genuine document and there is indeed an entity known as Ciex in London.

     

    The report contains a long litany of improper and irregular conduct in the affairs of state. It is not clear why the contract between Ciex and the government was suspended, nor is it in the public domain whether the matters raised in the attached document have ever been addressed by government either in the manner foreshadowed or at all.

     

    Of particular concern to Ifaisa is the part of the document that deals with the “lifeboat” afforded, by way of an illegal gift, by the Reserve Bank to banks which now form part of ABSA during the time of the apartheid regime.  There is even an allegation that ABSA made contingent provision for the repayment of the funds utilised as a lifeboat in the reasonable expectation that the post-apartheid government would seek a proper accounting, and repayment with interest, from ABSA.  This would appear not to have happened for reasons that are both unclear and potentially sinister.

     

    In the circumstances it seems to us that it would be both appropriate and propitious if your office were to take a pro-active interest in the content of the attachment to this email if it has not already done so in the past.  We do not presume to prescribe to you any particular modus operandi as it is obvious that your starting point will be CIEX itself and those functionaries within the state who are alleged to have interacted with CIEX. Billy Masetlha, who signed the contract on behalf of the government, is now a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.  The investigation will no doubt unfold depending on the current state of play between CIEX and the government.

     

    It is perhaps superfluous to point out that a considerable amount of public money stands to be recovered, which will well serve the common weal in these times of austerity.  It is no doubt also superfluous for us to pass on to you our deduction that the person referred to in the report as “the Gnome” is the former Minister of Finance, Barend Du Plessis.

     

    Please acknowledge receipt of this communication and kindly keep us abreast of your investigations as they progress.

     

    Yours sincerely

     

    Paul Hoffman SC”

  • State Capture: Mcebisi Jonas’s testimony

    By Pinky Khoabane

    mcebisijonas Mcebisi Jonas

    A press statement (attached) released by Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas on 16 March 2016 sparked the investigation into allegations of the Gupta family’s state capture.

    There are discrepancies between the statement and the interview to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Here’s an excerpt from the State Capture report.

    • Jonas makes no mention of the R600 000 or R6m offer in both his press statement and media reports carried on the story.
    • His statement to the PP doesnt really go into details on his relationship with Hlongwane, contents of which were carried in a letter which was carried here a few weeks back
    • His version of events is of course very different to that of Hlongwane. But this is to be expected
    • Jonas has now confirmed that he met the Guptas/D Zuma through Hlongwane. The DA had wanted him to explain why he had had a relationship with “shady character” Hlongwane. Will they still hold him to account?
    • Why would a “shady comrade” ask you to go and meet “shady D Zuma” who has links with “shady Guptas” and you go”?
    • The Sunday Times broke the job offer in March but the details of “millions offered” came a couple of weeks ago clearly based on Mcebisi’s leaked affidavit to the PP
    • Jonas told both Nene and Gordhan of the job offer; Nene immediately after the offer and Gordhan, when appointed as finance minister. In their interview to the PP, both finance ministers never mentioned it to the President at the time of being fired and hired, respectively
    • The Sunday Times said the meeting between Guptas & Jonas happened on the last Friday of November, two weeks before Nene was sacked. Jonas in his testimony to PP doesnt pin himself to any date except that he accepted an invitation to meet D Zuma on 23 October 2015
    • The ST reported that Jonas met with Ajay & Atul & the President’s son. In his interview with PP, Jonas says he only met Ajay. It must also be said that in his statement to the PP Jonas didnt rectify this point.
    • Jonas, in his testimony to the PP doesnt mention the conditions to the finance minister job which included “pushing for the nuclear deal”
    • The PP in her report mentions that such offers should have been lodged at a police station and it seemingly and apparently didnt happen.

    An interesting point the PP makes somewhere else in the report is that there was no investigation by the Executive, into the allegations by Jonas and I contend that not even the media provided evidence. Jonas has never had to provide evidence and it seemingly and apparently (words all over the PP’s report on state capture) it didnt really matter.

    Interview with Mr Jonas (Excerpt from State Capture Report)

    I interviewed the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Mcebisi Jonas (Mr Jonas) to establish facts regarding allegations that he was offered a Cabinet post my members of the Gupta family. He informed me of the following:

    a) Mr Hlongwane, whom Mr Jonas knew very well as a comrade, initiated discussions with him about a meeting with Mr D. Zuma;

     b) He agreed to the meeting although with reservations as he was aware that Mr D. Zuma was working with members of the Gupta family for financial gain;

    c) He gave permission to Mr Hlongwane to provide his mobile number to Mr D. Zuma;

     d) On 17 October 2015, he received several text messages from Mr D. Zuma;

     e) The initial messages were about the invitation to attend the South African Awards Ceremony hosted by the Gupta family;

     f) The event was scheduled for 18 October 2015 and Mr Jonas declined the invite due to his busy schedule;

     g) On 23 October 2015, Mr Jonas agreed to meet with Mr D. Zuma;

     h) The meeting started at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Rosebank;

     i) Mr Jonas arrived early and waited for Mr D. Zuma;

     j) Mr D. Zuma later arrived and a short while into the meeting, indicated that the place was crowded and he needed to move to a more private place for a discussion with a third party to which he agreed. The location was not disclosed to him;

     k) Using Mr D. Zuma’s vehicle, they travelled together to what later Mr Jonas found to be the Gupta family residence in Saxonwold;

     l) He was unfamiliar with the area and had never been to the Gupta family residence before;

    m) They arrived at a “compound like residence” with security guards;

     n) As they arrived, Mr Hlongwane alighted from his car to join them;

     o) Once inside the residence, they were joined by Mr Ajay Gupta, whom Mr Jonas had never met before and recognised him from articles in the press);

     p) During the meeting, there was no exchange of pleasantries. Mr Ajay Gupta informed him that they had been gathering intelligence on him and those close to him;

     q) He apparently indicated that they were well aware of his activities and his connections to Mr Mantashe and the Treasurer of the ANC, Dr Zweli Mkhize (Dr Mkhize), alleging that he was part of a faction or process towards undermining President Zuma;

     r) Mr Ajay Gupta informed Mr Jonas that they were going to make him Minister of Finance. Mr Jonas reported that he was shocked and irritated by the statement;

     s) He declined the position and informed Mr Ajay Gupta that only the President of the Republic can make such decisions;

     t) He informed Mr Ajay Gupta that he was leaving. At no stage did Mr D. Zuma and At no stage did Mr D. Zuma and Mr Hlongwane speak during the meeting. They were told to sit down when I indicated that I was leaving;

    u) Mr Ajay Gupta continued to speak. He disclosed names of “Comrades” they were working with and providing protection to. He mentioned that collectively as a family, they “made a lot of money from the State” and they wanted to increase the amount from R6 billion to R8 billion and that a bulk of their funds were held in Dubai;

     v) According to Mr Jonas, Mr A. Gupta further indicated that National Treasury were a stumbling block to the family’s business ambitions. As part of the offer to become a Finance Minister, Mr Jonas would be expected to remove the current Director General of National Treasury and other key members of Executive Management;

     w) Mr A. Gupta apparently mentioned that his family has made Mr D. Zuma a Billionnaire and that he has a house in Dubai;

     x) As Mr Jonas was walking towards the door, Mr A. Gupta made a further offer of R600 million to be deposited in an account of his choice. He asked if Mr Jonas had a bag which he could use to receive and carry R600,000 in cash immediately, which he declined;

     

    y) He then asked Mr D. Zuma and Mr Hlongwane to transport him to the airport. On the way to the airport, Mr Jonas apparently asked both Mr D. Zuma and Mr Hlongwane to explain why he was not informed that he would be meeting with members of the Gupta family. They all agreed to meet the following Tuesday to discuss the issue and the meeting never took place;

     z) He later contacted Mr Hlongwane to inform him of his unhappiness about the meeting;

     a) Immediately after the meeting, he informed former Minister of Finance Mr Nhlanhla Nene. I later also informed current Minister of Finance Mr Pravin Gordan and Mr Zweli Mkhize of the ANC about the offer; and

     b) On 16 March 2016, he released a statement after the media started reporting on the matter.

     

  • The State Capture Report: Madonsela v Zuma

    By Pinky Khoabane

    PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 14: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela announcing her findings on scandalous lease dealings at the National Press Club on July 14, 2011 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Liza van Deventer)

    If The state capture report wasnt a document to be taken seriously, in terms of its impact on the way in which business is done and how narrow an investigation can be undertaken to suit the interests of those with influence, it would read like fiction.

    The document is over 300 pages and I know there will be many who wont even bother reading it. I have therefore decided to pick excerpts of it so that you, our reader, can glance somewhat into it. Bear in mind that we will give excerpts that you wont read in commercial media.

    I was fascinated by the exchanges between President Jacob Zuma and former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, regarding his right to question Madonsela’s interviewees. This became a stumbling block which led to the case to interdict and withdrawal thereof.

    If there are lawyers out there, kindly let us know what the law states in terms of some of the issues raised by both the former PP and the president.

    Legal interactions between myself and persons implicated in the investigation President Zuma

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    • On 22 March 2016 I wrote to President Zuma advising that I had received a request from the Democratic Alliance to conduct an investigation into the alleged breach of the Executive Member’s Code of Ethics by President Zuma for his alleged role in the offering of Ministerial positions by members of the Gupta family.
    • I quoted relevant extracts from the complaint and the Executive Member’s Ethics Act. I attached the complaint itself.
    • I asked the President “if you have any comments on the allegations levelled against you, I will appreciate a letter indicating such comments from you.”
    • In the same letter I advised President Zuma that I had received a request from the Dominican Order to conduct a systemic investigation into undue influence in Minister’s and Deputy Minister’s appointments, possible corruption, undue enrichment and undue influence in the award of tenders, mining licences and government advertisements. I attached the complaint itself. I again asked the President “should you have a comment thereon or information that can assist, kindly forward the same to me as soon as possible.”
    • On 22 April 2016 I forwarded a copy of my letter dated 22 March 2016 to President Zuma (which had apparently not reached the President). I advised that I was required to submit a report on the alleged breach of the Executive Member’s Code of Ethics within 30 days of receipt of the complaint. I reported to the President that the investigation had not been completed due to inadequate resources.
    • I received no response from the President.
    • By early September 2016 my office had received additional funds in order to proceed with the investigation.
    • By early September 2016 my office had received additional funds in order to proceed with the investigation. (My clarification: Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas at Treasury had paid for the investigation)
    • On 13 September 2016 I sent another letter to the President asking for a meeting with him in order to brief him on the investigation and affording him a further opportunity to comment on the allegations, which were summarised to the effect that the President ought to have known and/or allowed his son Duduzane Zuma to exercise enormous undue influence in strategic ministerial appointments as well as board appointments at SOEs.
    • On 1 October 2016 I sent President Zuma a Notice in terms of Section 7 (9) of the Public Protector Act. The notice restated the complaints and added the third complaint. I advised that my investigation was now being conducted in terms of “State of Capture” A Report of the Public Protector 14 October 2016 41 section 182 of the Constitution read with sections 6 and 7 of the Public Protector Act. I provided a full description of the issues investigated and how President Zuma was implicated therein. I detailed the evidence implicating President Zuma before describing his responsibility under law. I ended off the notice by advising the President that if I do not get his version which contradicts the said evidence, there would be a possibility that I could find that the above allegations are sustained by the evidence. I detailed the various conclusions that I would make in that case.
    • In the meantime, a meeting was scheduled with the President for 6 October 2016.
    • On 5 October 2016 I received a letter from the Office of the Presidency referring to a media article and asking, in preparation for the meeting, for urgent advice on the findings I had made as well as a report on whether the veracity of the allegations by Jonas had been fully ventilated and investigated.
    • On 6 October 2016 I met with the President, whose legal team raised various legal objections and refused to discuss the merits of the investigation or the allegations against the President. The Presidency requested that the meeting be postponed to allow the President to study the documents provided and obtain legal advice. The Presidency raised an objection that they had not been provided with the relevant documents and records, and argued that they should be allowed to question witnesses who had already testified before me. I disagreed with this request and instead offered to provide the President with written questions to which the President would be required to respond by affidavit.
    • The President’s legal advisor argued emphatically that the matter should be deferred to the incoming Public Protector for conclusion. There was a lengthy discussion with the President and his advisor on this matter, after which the President expressed his willingness to answer the questions posed by the Public Protector, at a future date, after having had an opportunity to scrutinize the documents and consult with his legal advisor. I advised the President that as head of state, he is accountable to the people of the Republic, and that it is in his interest that he do so. In an attempt to demonstrate to the President that my questions to him were questions of fact, not requiring legal assistance, I posed said questions to him. This discussion is captured in the transcript of this meeting, which is attached hereto as Annexure 11. The President undertook to meet with me again on 10 October 2016 and provide me with an affidavit in response to the questions posed.
    • On 10 October 2016 I received a letter from the Presidency, in which he took exception to having been given two days before the meeting of 6 October 2016 to prepare for and give evidence on a range of matters which exceeded the ambit of the stated request for the meeting. This was as a result of the Notice in terms of Section 7(9) having only been received on 2 October 2016.
    • The letter continued to raise issues of objection. Firstly, the Presidency advised that Section 7(9) required that he or his legal representative should be entitled to question other witnesses, determined by me, who have appeared before me.
    • Secondly, the audi alteram partem rule required that, as an implicated person, the President is entitled to the documents and records gathered in the course of the investigation, to enable him to prepare his evidence.
    • Thirdly, the Presidency required a full opportunity to be heard in order to avoid remedial actions – that would be binding on him – based on evidence not tested by the President as an implicated person.
    • After providing the written questions to the Presidency, he made somewhat of an about-turn by deciding that in fact before deposing to an affidavit, he still required a list of witnesses, statements, affidavits and transcripts of any oral testimony and wanted to question witnesses.
    • The Presidency accordingly declined to provide answers to my written questions and cancelled the meeting for 10 October 2016.
    • The Presidency concluded by objecting to my statement at the 6 October 2016 meeting that I was in a hurry to complete the investigation, which was not ‘part heard’. The Presidency suggested that the investigation could just as well be completed after my term as the current Public Protector expired, as with other pending investigations. The President’s diary was determined well in advance and did not allow him to attend to the matter within the truncated period.
    • The Presidency requested an undertaking by the following day, 11 October 2016, that I would not conclude the investigation and issue any report until he had received the aforesaid.
    • On 11 October 2016 I wrote a letter to the President in response. I reassured him that I had, to date, not concluded my investigations into this matter and had made no adverse finding against the President.
    • I undertook that this office would comply with its duties under the Constitution, the Public Protector Act, Executive Members Ethics Act and all other relevant laws in conducting this investigation and submitting the report.
    • I noted that I had, since my first letter to him dated 22 March 2016, gone to great lengths to provide him with sufficient detail regarding evidence implicating him and the response required from him. (My intepretation: Was there evidence given since March 2016? Much has been said about the president getting questions since March, is that really the truth?)
    • I had, in compliance with the Public Protector Act and the law on administrative justice, provided him with ample opportunity to respond in connection therewith
    • The Notice in terms of section 7(9) of the Public Protector Act was merely one in a succession of letters to him canvassing substantially similar issues regarding this matter.
    • I noted my concern that he had, on two occasions, undertaken to provide a response to questions put to him in writing; when the time arose, he changed his mind and refused to provide responses.
    • I advised that it was incumbent upon him to provide responses within a period that I decide is both convenient and practical to me, given that firstly the Constitution requires him to assist and protect this office. Secondly the Constitution prohibited him from interfering with the functioning of this office. Thirdly, the Public Protector Act vests in me the discretion to require him to provide me with an expedited response. Finally, the spirit of the Constitution and the Public Protector Act requires him to cooperate fully in the investigation process; conversely, recalcitrant witnesses, particularly high-ranking members of the Executive such as him, should be regarded as violating both the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the Public Protector Act.
    • I advised that I had provided him with the evidence of the witnesses implicating him. He was not entitled to the full record of investigations as a condition precedent to answering the questions I had put to him.
    • I requested the questions he wished to pose to witnesses who had appeared before me. I undertook to make a determination on such questions in accordance with the Public Protector Act. (Gatekeeping or legal?)
    • I advised that he was not entitled to refuse to answer the questions I had put to him prior to questioning other witnesses who had appeared before me. His right to question witnesses was not a sine qua non for his response to my questions.
    • I concluded by stating that it was in the President’s interests, and that of the people of South Africa, to account fully and honestly regarding the allegations against him.
    • I afforded the President a further extension to answer the questions put to him by no later than 11 am, Thursday, 13 October 2016 to enable this office to conclude the investigation and issue its report on the outcome thereof as soon as possible.

     

     

  • President Zuma needs a fresh team of lawyers to advise him honestly

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    By Pinky Khoabane

    President Jacob Zuma will need a better legal team than the one that showed-up in court today if he’s to stave-off the unrelenting pressure for regime change.

    In a last minute U–turn, the President today, withdrew his move to interdict the release of the report into State Capture. I’m not a law expert but it was clear that he was within his right to demand that he be afforded the right to cross-examine witnesses interviewed in the investigations into State Capture and was not granted by the right by the former public protector, Thuli Madonsela.

    So why go to court to interdict the report instead of approaching the new public protector to appeal for more time to do what is his constitutional right and interview the witnesses?

    If the court decides as is now being demanded by the opposition parties, that the report be released within 24 hours, where does it leave his right to challenge the report? Again, Im no lawyer but the intention to interdict and then withdraw leaves him in a position of weakness and a suggestion, he may have had no case at all.

    Then we have the Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane’s case to interdict the State Capture report, which is to be heard next week. What happens now that the president has withdrawn his case?

    The Nkandla issue for which the president finally conceded after putting the country through one of the most painful time, should have ended when Madonsela first recommended that he pays a portion of the costs that went towards non-security items on his home.

    We are at a time in our history where we have little faith in some of the institutions that are supposed to uphold the law and deliver justice. The rush of the state capture report by the previous public protector together with the charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan which were instituted by National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and swiftly withdraw ahead of massive marches, many funded by white capitalists, leave us with little faith in these institutions.

  • When did Thulisile Madonsela become an advocate?

    PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 14: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela announcing her findings on scandalous lease dealings at the National Press Club on July 14, 2011 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Liza van Deventer)
    By Pinky Khoabane

    A month before she was admitted as an advocate, the Public Protector’s website and some in our media had already pronounced her as such. One esteemed analyst even pronounced she was one of those advocates who had been around for a while….Pinky Khoabane asks if the Advocates roll omitted to capture Madonsela’s appointment as Advocate before the current one in November 2009

    A profile of Advocate Thulisile (Thuli) Madonsela on the Public Protector’s website dated October 15 2009 refers to Madonsela as an advocate.

    A report by EWN’s Stephen Grootes in the Daily Maverick of 19 October 2009, the online publication, refers to her as an advocate. “President Jacob Zuma has officially appointed Advocate Thuli Madonsela to take over (as Public Protector). Zuma’s appointment is a rubber stamp of the National Assembly’s decision, but it’s also one of the biggest indications yet that in some cases, he really does want to strengthen the institutions of democracy”.

    The publication goes on to say: “Madonsela has been around for ages, one of the advocates known for having serious brains”.

    thuli-adv-before-nov-2009

    But a register of the advocates roll as at 2016/08/04 indicates that Thulisile Nomkhosi Madonsela, an African Female, Case Number: 53583/2009 was appointed an advocate on 2 November 2009. The register is attached for easy reference and Thuli’s date of appointment is on page 40.

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    “A report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Nominate a Person for Appointment as Public Protector on the short-listing of candidates to be interviewed for appointment as Public Protector, dated 8 September 2009” lists among many candidates who are advocates, one Ms Thulisile Nomkhosi Madonsela.

    The discrepancy raises the question: When exactly did Madonsela become an advocate? In September 2009, Parliament referred to her as simply Ms. A month later she was declared an advocate by Public Protector’s website and several media articles and in November of the same year, she was appointed an advocate in the high court.

    Two advocates who spoke to UnCensored on condition of anonymity confirmed that “one isn’t an Advocate until you are admitted in the High Court as such. You cannot refer to yourself as Advocate until your admission is completed”.

    The other said: “As an admitted advocate myself I could not use the title until it was conferred jointly by at least Two High Court Judges”. The advocates said it would be incumbent on the person whose status was incorrectly stated as “Advocate” to rectify the mistake, if one existed, as it was an offence to allow a perception to exist that you were an advocate when you’re not.

    Such an act would be an offence under the Admission of Advocates Act:

    “No person who has not been or is not deemed to have been admitted to practise as an advocate in terms of any provision of this Act or whose name has been removed from the roll of advocates or who is subject to any order suspending him from practice as an advocate, shall in any manner, directly or indirectly, practise as an advocate or hold himself out as, or pretend to be, or make use of any name, title, addition or description implying or tending to induce the belief that he is, an advocate or is recognized by law as such”.

    The bigger question is whether Madonsela was aware of these reports or whether there’s a discrepancy in the roll itself. The Advocates roll comprises of everyone appointed as an advocate and although a representative of the General Council of the Bar said the Department of Justice, who is the custodian of this roll, didn’t update it timeously, the roll was generally accurate. The roll indicates among others, advocates who have been removed from the roll. Madonsela’s name appears only once, on November 2, 2009.

    The Department of Justice could not respond to the questions UnCensored posed. It couldnt answer  whether the roll was accurate in reflecting Madonsela’s appointment as an advocate on November 2, 2009 and whether she perhaps previously registered as an advocate and deregistered and maybe re-registered again.

    The Law Society, despite several calls, didnt pick-up calls from UnCensored. We wanted to clarify if Madonsela had previously registered and subsequently deregistered as an advocate. The guidelines would not allow her to hold both titles (of attorney & advocate) at the same time. The Law Society would have been able to tell if she had switched from attorney to advocate, then to attorney and back to advocate again in 2009.

  • Thuli’s shady conduct in state capture probe

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    The Maytrix questions the conduct of former public protector, Thuli Madonsela in the state capture probe.

    Did Thuli Madonsela act outside of the spirit of her office when she failed to summon Fana Hlongwane to testify?

    Fana Hlongwane wrote to the public protector offering a different version of the meeting that is said to have taken place between Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and the Gupta family members. He denied claims made by Jonas that he had been offered the job of heading up Treasury. He also cautioned against the use of the office of the public protector in the factional politics within the ANC.

    Instead of interrogating Hlongwane’s submissions, Madonsela elected to attack his character by making remarks whose apparent intentions were aimed at discrediting him as a potential key witness. Madonsela said she didn’t know who Hlongwane was and that the only time she had heard of him was over his alleged involvement in the arms deal. She went further to state that if he wanted to provide input into the investigation he had to testify under oath so that he could be charged with perjury if he was lying. Such remarks are not reflective of a law enforcement official operating in good faith and it is extremely troubling when one considers the context within which these were made.

    Did Thuli Madonsela act outside of the spirit of her office and profession when she chose to attack Fana Hlongwane after he wrote to her office contradicting the version given by Mcebisi Jonas that he had been offered the job of finance minister by a member of the Gupta family?

    In the case against Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi, an excerpt from the judgement reads:

    “The following are listed as the least of qualities a lawyer should possess:

    • Integrity– meaning impeccable honesty or an antipathy to doing anything dishonest or irregular for the sake of personal gain
    • Dignity– practitioners should conduct themselves in a dignified manner and should also maintain the dignity of the court
    • The possession of knowledge and technical skills
    •  A capacity for hard work
    • Respect for legal order and – A sense of equality or fairness                                                     We have to consider how Thuli Madonsela conducted herself when she elected to attack Fana Hlongwane’s integrity instead of considering his version? This does not appear to have been dignified, and congruent with the least of qualities that a lawyer should possess. How do you protect members of the public when you expressly treat some of them with this level of disdain?

    Did Thuli Madonsela’s failure to afford the implicated an opportunity to question witnesses whose testimony she used to conduct her investigation amount to improper conduct and breach of section 7(9) of the Public Protector Act?

    Both the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma complained that they had not been given an opportunity to question witnesses that Thuli Madonsela relied on in her investigation despite the PP Act affording them such entitlement. Did this alleged failure on Madonsela’s part constitute a breach of the Act? Can we say that her conduct in this regard was proper for an individual leading an office whose incumbent ought to demonstrate a sense of legal order? And we know that this could not have been oversight on her part given that the President, through his lawyers, was at pains to point out the section of the PP Act that entitles him this right to question witnesses.

    Did Thuli Madonsela’s failure to subpoena the implicated constitute a deliberate disregard of conducting investigations in an honest and fair manner?

    The Gupta family complained through their attorney of record on the matter, that they had never been subpoenaed by Thuli Madonsela at any stage during the investigation. One would expect that people implicated in a matter ought to be interviewed at least, if not cross-examined before an investigation can reach a meaningful and objective conclusion. Without even looking at the law, anyone entrusted with the duty of conducting investigations in a fair manner should at least possess a sense of equality and fairness.

    Ajay Gupta met with Madonsela only after he had enquired about the family’s exclusion from the list of people to be interviewed. He met Madonsela on his own volition.

    Did the Treasury act improperly when granting the office of the Public Protector an additional R1.5 million to investigate claims made by Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas that formed part of the so-called state capture investigations

    The allegations that the Gupta’s influenced the appointment of cabinet ministers started with Jonas.

    Did the act of requesting the office of the Public Protector to redirect funds from others cases to the so-called state capture put pressure on the incumbent to act with fear or favour? Treasury’s number two, Mcebisi Jonas, is a key complainant in the investigations into alleged state capture. Treasury made R1.5 million available to the investigation when the office of the public protector had over 4000 cases, most of which could not be concluded owing to a lack of funds. The money was availed to enable this investigation to take priority over the other 4000+ cases. Intuitively, a potential conflict of interest has been introduced in the matter. By extension, the probability of investigations being conducted with favour was likely increased by this abnormal act. One may say that it is to be expected that Treasury provides funding for all arms of the state. This case is concerning in that the funds were accompanied by a prioritisation of a case in which a deputy finance minister is the complainant. The president’s statement made reference to a comment that Madonsela allegedly made when she spoke of being in a “hurry” to complete the report. The act of rushing to complete a report having heard Mcebisi Jonas’s side of the story without having entertained versions that opposed it, would ordinarily have the effect of favouring this side over others. Is this not a situation where Thuli Madonsela is acting with favour towards a complainant whose department made funds available so that this investigation could be speeded up?

  • Lefties hypocrisy in frozen bank accounts laid bare

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    Whether it’s the Gupta’s or Russia Today’s bank accounts that have been frozen, the lefties’ bias and hypocrisy is showing….by Pinky Khoabane

    There are parallels to be drawn between the response by so-called liberals and commercial media here in South Africa and that of British lefties to news that the bank accounts of Oakbay Investments and Russia Today had been frozen. The responses lay bare the hypocrisy of lefties but perhaps as importantly, their intolerance to that with which they disagree.

    As in South Africa where, instead of questioning and highlighting the dangers of corporate power and the affront on free press, the so called liberals cheered news that NatWest had frozen the British bank accounts of RT and have judged both RT & Oakbay in the courts of public opinion.

    Oakbay has among its stable of companies, TheNewAge and ANN7, both of which are media institutions. Russia Today’s crime, according to our dear liberals, is that it is a propaganda machine for the Kremlin.

    But this self righteous group forgets, conveniently so, that the commercial media they so cherish is not independent at all but rather protects its shareholders and advertisers.

    The same could be said here. Oakbay is owned by the ‘dreaded’ Guptas who will fortunately see a day in court following Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s affidavit that there were “suspicious” transactions in their bank accounts over the past four years. That the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) didn’t detect this when it was able to do so in the case of SARS officer, Jonas Makwakwa, is another case in the long saga between the Guptas and Gordhan and the bigger narrative that has been carved that the family have captured the state.

    But back to the hypocrisy of lefties.

    Early this year, four of South Africa’s leading banks decided to close Oakbay’s bank accounts and to this day, have given no explanation. In many statements issued by the now former CEO of Oakbay, Nazeem Howa, he has been at pains requesting an explanation from the banks which was not forthcoming.

    There isn’t a single commercial media group in this country that has demanded questions from the financial institutions. When a commission into the conduct of banks was set up, the banks demanded they would only attend if Gordhan attended. Gordhan, not surprisingly, has refused to attend.  The South African Reserve Bank has also said it could not intervene. So who exactly regulates the banks? Gordhan has  pointed to the Banking Ombudsman. Does he understand how useless that institution is?

    The point really is that these are the kinds of questions a free, critical and independent media ought to be asking. But Alas! What can this fallacious 4th estate do when its owners, who include multi-billionaire Johann Rupert, also own banks? They have no option but to protect their masters.

     

  • Battle for the soul of SA’s economy at all time high

    By Pinky Khoabane

    Ruperts et al

    The battle for the soul of South Africa’s economy has reached such a crescendo that it is literally palpable. In the battle to sway readers and audiences the message and words are being used selectively revealing glaring double standards.
    In a week in which the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced it would summon Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to appear in court, the questions weren’t around the shock that Gordhan had allegedly committed a crime followed by the usual media probes into the nature of the alleged crime. Instead it was around the timing of the announcement and the trivial nature of the charges.
    It is simply unbelievable that the same pundits who are constantly in court to uphold the Constitution of the Republic and the Rule of law would dismiss an alleged crime on the basis of triviality.
    In some way the media has taken the correct stance in allowing the courts to decide and to abide by the sacred principle of law; of presumption of innocence until proven guilty. It is admirable from a part of our community which rarely gives those they deem enemies the same right.
    A narrative has been carved around Gordhan. Until the Sunday Times retracted its two-year series of stories around the unlawful intelligence unit at SARS, better known as the Rogue Unit, the finance minister was found guilty in the court of public opinion and although there was muted public response, it was assumed the Sunday Times was correct.
    It was only after the paper retracted parts of its story that the image of Gordhan as an untouchable emerged, largely developed through a campaign by a cabal of white journalists who among other tactics, publicly discredited one of the journalists involved in the story.
    Such is the extent of the narrative of a “squeaky clean” Gordhan that his supporters have praised him for disregarding the law when asked to appear before the HAWKS to answer more questions on the Rogue Unit. They have used the threat of an economic crash if he were to be arrested. It was therefore not surprising to see the Rand drop in the aftermath of the announcement.
    But the sincerity of the pundits falls away when double standards creep-in and reveal a sinister agenda.
    The finance minister was hailed when he refused to respond to the HAWKS citing the preparation of the budget ahead of the Budget Speech which he was to table in Parliament and trips abroad to appease rating agencies.
    Headlines roared: “Leave me to do my job, Gordhan” and yet he was in sheer breach of the law. If an enemy of the media were to do same, he would be castigated and described as “evasive”.
    The Public Protector was to present findings into the State Capture, which only focuses on the alleged Gupta family’s influence on the appointment of ministers in President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet. That the economy and state capture of white monopoly capitalists is well documented puts into question the narrow and selective approach to the probe and therefore reveals a sinister agenda behind it.
    Madonsela, when the probe was lodged by the Democratic Alliance (DA) earlier this year, pleaded poverty. Strangely, Treasury, from where the allegations emanated in the first place, was quick to offer her the money to probe. The allegations were sparked by Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas’s claims that the Gupta family had offered him a cabinet post.
    This rush to start a probe when Madonsela had no money and a backlog of untouched cases, would have been met with many questions were it not that she was investigating Zuma and the Guptas.
    The timing of Madonsela and her rush to deal with the state capture, which she was to present before she left office, is sinister. Minister of Co-porative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen interdicted the public protector from publishing the report on the basis that he had not had time to appropriately respond to it.
    The incoming Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkwebane confirmed there was a backlog of “life and death” cases which Madonsela had not probed but she has been in a hurry to complete the state capture investigation and confirmed in court that it had been completed. The question that must be asked is WHY she has been in such a rush at the expense of other complaints.

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