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SA Political Diary – Wednesday 15 June

SA Political Diary – Wednesday 15 June

It was an eventful day in Gauteng yesterday as Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and the DA's Jack Bloom squared off. Two Free State municipalities have dodgy finances, and Cape Town will hand over 60 houses in Hangberg. Mbalula still wants some dosh for an Olympic bid and the public protector has finally begun investigating Sicelo Shiceka. By SIMON WILLIAMSON.

Opposition parties have hotly rejected a proposed idea by President Jacob Zuma for an election date that would encompass national, provincial and local votes in one go. He claimed this would “ensure the country has one financial year, a single public service and can plan better over a five-year period”. Zuma made this suggestion in the Presidency’s budget vote, which Cope’s Mosiuoa Lekota criticised by saying: “Three years ago the administration cost R200 million, today that cost has risen to R318.9 million.”

Read more: EWN

The auditor-general has reported “20 significant findings” about Gauteng’s road departments tenders. The particular contracts that are being reviewed could be worth over R1 billion, confessed Roads MEC Ismail Vadi. These include awarding a R49 million security contract to protect departmental buildings; paying a consultant R1.3 million for work on the intelligent number plate project; R35 million for a strategy to turn around the drivers licence testing centres; and R4 million for a biometric verification system. Stick your proposed toll fees up your rear.

In more Gauteng Roads bungling, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department could lose up to R1 billion due to non-compliance with Aarto regulations. Since June 2010, the JMPD has been sending infringement notices by post instead of registered mail, which automatically makes them invalid. If the JMPD was to use registered mail, it would cost about R120 million a year in postage fees. We suggest the department does the maths.

Julius Malema has a few drums which he bangs repeatedly, and again he spoke yesterday of land redistribution without compensation or, as he terms it “we take the land without paying”. Malema criticised the willing buyer, willing seller policy, claiming it would take 100 years to deliver 25% of the land. “They never bought the land, they stole the land. They did not only steal the land, they converted the owners of the land into slaves… now we must pay for that with the willing buyer, willing seller… .”

Malema also said yesterday that unprotected sex, alcohol abuse and illiteracy were destroying the youth of South Africa. Illiteracy kept blacks in menial jobs, excessive alcohol posed a threat to youths’ future and unprotected sex exposed people to Aids: “You must never be ashamed to carry a condom. You must never be ashamed to buy a condom… keep it close to you at the scene so you can use it at the right time,” Malema said.

In a heated exchange in the Gauteng legislature yesterday, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane denied that Gauteng needed to adopt the anti-corruption measures used in the Western Cape. These rules limit ownership by MECs and their families of companies that do business with government. This was in response to a question from the DA’s Jack Bloom. Mokonyane replied to him: “Why should we copy that small corner of the country… SA has sufficient rules and regulations enshrined in the Public Finance Municipal Act. We should give members the benefit of the doubt, but tighten up on mechanisms. We’re not going to be populists here.”

Bloom and Mokonyane weren’t done. The Premier reacted angrily when Bloom asked questions about ex-MEC for transport Sibusiso Buthelezi, which resulted in her calling him inhuman. Bloom maintains that Buthelezi should have been treated as a criminal after he was found to have awarded dodgy tenders.

Read more: Politicsweb, EWN

Piet Mulder criticised Julius Malema yesterday (huge surprise, that) and said the third generation of leaders (Mandela/Viljoen being the first and Mbeki/Zuma/Leon/Mulder being the second) is disturbing the work toward cohesion. “…there are more than enough examples in the world of how populist leaders had soured relations between groups through irresponsible comments that eventually lead to conflict, violence and even civil war,” Mulder said. He referenced Turkey and Lebanon as examples of countries which ended conflict, only to have it restart a few generations of leaders later. Malema is, in Mulder’s opinion, a severe threat to nation building.

Read more: Politicsweb

Two Free State municipalities are in trouble. The Matjhabeng municipality (centered in Welkom) has been instructed by senior politicians on the council to stop writing off debt and get its administration in order. Excuse us for not holding our breath, as the oversight committee has claimed it has heard of debt being written off every year since 2008. The other municipality in trouble is Mohokare which is flat broke – no money to pay salaries, official vehicles or any senior officials to run its affairs. New mayor Agnes Mokgoro-Shasha confirmed that the municipality was dry of cash, but said that it was being built anew. Mohokare is owed R48 million by residents and government departments.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille made a speech in Hangberg yesterday during whch she told residents that 60 row houses built in 1965 would be given to the occupants, many of whom have lived in them for generations. There is a bit of bureaucracy to go but plans are ahead to facilitate the handover.

Read more: Politicsweb

Minister of sport Fikile Mbalula still hopes to bid for the 2020 Olympics, in spite of cabinet deciding to spend the money on boring stuff like housing and electricity. Mbalula still thinks he can turn opinion around and secure the $50 million required. Bids must be submitted by 1 September.

Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini told the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union national congress that the police must stop treating protesters like criminals. “We fought for the right to strike and we fought for freedom of association and we will not have these rights taken away through the back door. These people reflect the frustrations confronted by your own communities.” Dlamini also condemned killing policemen, “I call on those responsible for these killings to understand that policemen and women are human beings too and have families like all of us.”

The public protector has begun investigating suspended minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Sicelo Shiceka. The public protector spokeswoman said that the investigation had been delayed because of repeated requests for extensions from Shiceka.


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