SA Political Diary – Thursday 28 July 2011

By Simon Williamson 28 July 2011

General Bheki Cele announced he's been investigating corruption in the police department for quite some time now, and responded to the DA's criticism of the R1.5 million SAPS jet bill. The UDM has uncovered some nonsensical goings-on in an Eastern Cape municipality which its mayor can't even figure out. The ANC Youth League laid into Maria Ramos, the Ruperts, Naspers and others in a fiasco of a press statement and Sandile Ngcobo turned down the post of Chief Justice. Cape Town didn't spend all of its capital budget and that chap who spilled a drink on the president is found guilty of assault. By SIMON WILLIAMSON.

Police commissioner General Bheki Cele told The Star he questioned the extraordinarily high cost of police stations before he arrived. Cele said he had asked Special Investigations Unit head Willie Hofmeyr to investigate 33 police contracts which included procurement, building of police stations, leases, manufacturing and supply of uniforms and information management systems. These investigations had gone on for 11 months and probed three former top cops – lieutenant-general Hamilton Hlela, lieutenant-general Matthews Siwundla and major-General Stefanus Terblanche. An example of the amounts of money being thrown around: “The SAPS has nothing to show for the more than R900m that has already been spent on a contract to provide radio communication services in Eastern Cape, yet more money was being allocated to this contract despite the fact that no one could tell me, as the accounting officer, why this service was needed in the SAPS in the first place.” The article doesn’t make mention of how the investigation is going, when results will be released or the fact that Cele is embroiled in his own investigation by the Public Protector. Strangely enough, on the same day the FF+ released a statement saying that the Public Protector should review pre-Cele police leases.

Read more: The Star, Politicsweb

Staying with Cele: yesterday we reported the DA’s shadow minister of police Diane Kohler Barnard had criticised the use of the SAPS jet by Cele and the cost with which it burdened the taxpayer. The SAPS responded to the statement, clarifying a few facts. Firstly, Cele doesn’t use the police jet if he is flying on his own, which means there are usually eight people in the plane (which means the price differential we gave you yesterday isn’t quite as intense, but still applies). The statement also said Cele often had to travel at short notice and commercial airlines weren’t always available, and much of the plane’s activity in the period mentioned was during the 2010 Fifa World Cup where Cele had to be everywhere all the time. During this time Cele also inspected 126 police stations around the country.

Read more: Politicsweb

The United Democratic Movement has demanded answers from the ANC in the Mbizana municipality (which is in Eastern Cape, on the coast, against the border with KZN) about which councillor is serving. Sikhumbuzo Faku seems to be doing the work, but the UDM claims that Zandile Nohiya was sworn in. The New Age has seen documents that Faku is a ward councillor and Nohiya a PR councillor, but the UDM refutes this saying Faku was not on the list of councillors before the local government elections on 18 May. Not even the mayor is aware of who the correct councillor is. The ANC’s regional secretary condescendingly said it was mischievous for a “small, failing party like the UDM” to interfere in ANC matters. Unfortunately for the secretary, it is not an ANC matter. It is a government matter.

Read more: The New Age


Justice minister Jeff Radebe said on Wednesday that Judge Sandile Ngcobo had withdrawn his decision to extend his term of office, which expires on 14 August. This means President Jacob Zuma has just two weeks to find someone willing to be Chief Justice. The DA, IFP and ACDP all released statements lamenting the departure of the widely respected Ngcobo and the process which led to him removing himself from selection.

Read more: Daily Maverick, M&G, Politicsweb, Politicsweb, Politicsweb, Politicsweb

The ANC Women’s League in Limpopo pledged support for embattled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, which isn’t the greatest surprise in the world. The only record we can find of Limpopo’s ANCWL and ANCYL disagreeing is an implication in WikiLeaks statements that the WL, pre-Polokwane, was slightly more reluctant to throw its support behind Zuma than the outward “kill for Zuma” enthusiasm of the Youth League.

Read more: Sowetan, WikiLeaks

The ANC Youth League hosted another colourful press conference yesterday. This time it was Naspers (owners of City Press) who were pushing an apartheid ideology, and white supremacy; City Press was a puppet of the master and so on. Mario (sic) Ramos, the Ruperts, AfriForum and Wilmot James were all included too.

Read more: Daily Maverick, IOL
The chairman of Parliament’s health portfolio committee, Bevan Goqwana, is lobbying for a watchdog to oversee private healthcare institutions. This came after a grilling of the Hospital Association of South Africa by the committee. Private hospitals have faced criticism from health minister Aaron Motsoaledi recently. No specifics for the plan have been decided, but we’ll keep you informed if or when they are.

Read more: Business Day

The IFP accused the ANC in the Msunduzi municipality (where you will find Pietermaritzburg) of abusing its majority on the council by only sending its own members to a local government conference in Durban from 2 to 4 August. An ANC councillor said, in what we assume was a response: “We are not here to carry out tasks for the opposition. If anyone wants to make a contribution they can join the ruling party.”

Read more: Sapa, via IOL 
Opposition parties have heavily criticised the mayor of the Madibeng municipality (where you will find Brits), Poppy Magongwa, for purchasing a R650,000 car even though the municipality’s finances are not in a healthy state. DA councillor Leon Basson said R500,000 had also been allocated for the mayor’s inauguration. “The municipality is still struggling to pay its suppliers because of insufficient funds… We can’t afford to pay for gas or electricity and we are constantly running out of purification chemicals to clean our water and sewage.” What makes it worse is the previous mayor’s car was sold for R420,000 when it had cost the municipality more than R1 million. A municipal spokesman denied that, saying it cost R900,000 (which makes all the difference in the world).

Read more: The New Age

Minister of trade and industry Rob Davies has noted the backlog of registrations at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and has resolved to have them worked out by the end of August. The DA’s shadow minister of trade and industry Tim Harris welcomed the goal-setting and hoped it would be backed up by action.

Read more: Business Day, Politicsweb

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille admitted in a speech yesterday that the City of Cape Town had failed, for the first time in six years, to spend at least 80% of its capital budget. Instead it spent only 71.5%. The ANC called for a reshuffle on the mayoral council and said the underspending was due to the attitude of the DA towards the poor.

Read more: Business Day, Politicsweb

Daryl Peense has been found guilty of assault after spilling his drink on President Jacob Zuma at the Durban July in 2010. Peense did, however, claim he did not know who had charged him and that testimony used to convict him contradicted itself. The presidency did not comment on the matter. Sentencing will take place on 7 September.

Read more: News24

Yesterday we reported Stanley Dladla, former executive mayor of uThukela, had been arrested and charged with possessing an illegal firearm and ammunition. Those charges have since been dropped.
The DA has blamed the government’s mixed messages about foreign direct investment for the drop in inflows to South Africa last year. This was in response to a UN Conference on Trade and Development World Investment Report 2011 which said foreign money flow into SA had dropped 70% to $1.6 billion. The DA’s Tim Harris said: “We will not always be the largest economy in Africa so we need to attract capital to our shores to grow the productive base of our economy and ensure we remain competitive when our size advantage lapses.” He also said Algeria, DRC, Congo, Ghana and Sudan had overtaken South Africa in FDI.

Read more: Businesslive, Politicsweb

Photo: the Daily Maverick


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