DA leader Mmusi Maimane and premier candidate Solly Msimanga will on Saturday 9 March launch the party’s Gauteng manifesto in Atteridgeville, where they will emphasise alleged ANC corruption and outline their plans to tackle graft.
The provincial manifesto, which Daily Maverick has seen, says the country’s economic powerhouse and most populated province has been held back by corruption, incompetence and successive ANC governments.
While the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture continues to interrogate allegations of corruption and cast doubt on the ANC’s integrity, the DA says it plans to establish its own version in Gauteng, if elected.
The Constitution allows premiers to appoint commissions of inquiry. The DA’s manifesto does not explain the scope of the proposed inquiry.
“Under Premier [David] Makhura, the Auditor-General has identified over R20-billion of irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure!” reads the provincial manifesto. It claims the inquiry will uncover those who have stolen funds and send them to jail.
“If this had been spent on health, education, and housing it could have built five new hospitals, 20 clinics, 30 schools, and 70,000 houses. ANC corruption also ensures that cadres are deployed to critical positions instead of qualified, professional individuals,” it continues.
The DA’s figure of R20-billion in irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in Gauteng covers Makhura’s term in office to date. The Auditor-General often points out that such figures do not necessarily equate to wastage or fraud.
“Encouragingly, the Gauteng provincial government improved its audit outcomes over the past four years,” said the Auditor-General’s 2017-18 audit outcomes report.
The DA also proposes establishing a “high-powered anti-corruption unit” in the Gauteng premier’s office, which appears to follow the party’s moves in the City of Johannesburg.
After his election, the DA’s Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba appointed former provincial Hawks boss Shadrack Sibiya to lead the City’s newly established Group Forensic and Investigation Services Unit.
The DA’s Gauteng manifesto boasts the unit “has uncovered 5,335 cases of fraud, corruption, theft and maladministration totalling R23.6-billion to date”. The unit relies on authorities to act and Mashaba has decried “the failure of our criminal justice system to ensure that the rampant corruption uncovered in the City of Johannesburg results in criminal convictions”.
The DA is quick to point to corruption under former ANC administrations in the Gauteng municipalities it took over in 2016, such as the millions the ANC’s Johannesburg chair Geoff Makhubo allegedly scored from the City, but allegations have also emerged involving tender irregularities in the DA-led Johannesburg coalition government and Msimanga’s Tshwane administration.
Gauteng will be tightly contested in the 8 May vote and on Wednesday the Institute for Race Relations (IRR) released a poll that found no party would have won a majority in the province if the vote had happened at the time of polling.
Based on a 70% turnout rate, the ANC in Gauteng came in at 47% with the DA on 36% and EFF on 12%. The IRR poll’s margin of error in Gauteng was 3.8%.
In his recent State of the Province Address, Makhura said the ANC government had taken steps to combat fraud. It launched an open tender system, established a civil society-led ethics council as well as integrity management units, and collaborated with authorities such as the Public Protector to combat corruption and maladministration.
“We remain unshaken in our quest to make Gauteng a corruption-free zone where integrity and ethics reign supreme,” said the ANC’s provincial chairperson.
The DA argues that Makhura hasn’t followed his talk with action. In 2018, he committed to subjecting his executive to lifestyle audits, but later said he was waiting for guidance from a presidential team on how to proceed. The DA manifesto says the party will finally conduct the audits.
The ANC also dragged its feet in acting against provincial chief whip Brian Hlongwa after he was linked to alleged corruption amounting to more than R1-billion. Hlongwa resigned in October.
The DA’s pitch on jobs in the province also touches on combating corruption. It says the party will reduce fraud in Gauteng’s economic development agencies to improve support for small businesses and reduce patronage in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) by allocating jobs through a lottery system, which the party has already implemented in Tshwane.
The DA also plans to cut red tape for entrepreneurs, expand industrial parks, pay suppliers within 30 days and support the development of new CBDs in Soweto, Tembisa and Mamelodi.
“Where the DA governs, government jobs are allocated fairly to those who deserve them, money is used efficiently to maximise investment in small businesses and we build constructive partnerships with the private sector to deliver real growth in an inclusive economy,” claims the manifesto. DM
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