Those who looted VBS, Limpopo and South Africa belong in prison, not Parliament…Maimane

 

 

Fellow South Africans,

When the ANC released their lists of candidates for Parliament and provincial legislatures, they proudly said that these lists represent all South Africans. Which made no sense, as we all know they only represent the connected insiders.

But then I looked at these lists, and I think I know what they meant when they said this. “All South Africans”, to them, includes criminals, fraudsters and scammers. If you scroll through their national list, it reads like a who’s who of corrupt cadres involved in everything from the Gupta State Capture to the Arms Deal scandal and the Bosasa looting.

If there’s one thing the ANC does exceptionally well, it is to reward crooks with cushy jobs. They have a decades-old habit of sending people who belong in prison to Parliament instead.

And this province here is no exception. If anything, Limpopo leads the way. Because you cannot have a clearer case of corruption and looting than the massive theft that took place at VBS bank. None of those facts are up for dispute.

In Limpopo alone, 11 municipalities deposited around R2 billion that belonged to the people of these towns and villages with VBS Mutual Bank. This was done in clear violation of the MFMA and Treasury regulations and, as we later found out, involved kick-backs to ANC members. Seven of these municipalities have now lost more than R1.2 billion in the looting that took place at VBS.

That was money meant for housing, service delivery and infrastructure in these cash-strapped municipalities. And not one single ANC politician or official has yet been charged or prosecuted. In fact, they have once again been rewarded with the promise of election.

Two of the ANC Mayors accused in the VBS scandal have made it onto the provincial list – former Vhembe District Municipality Mayor Florence Radzilani at number 7 and former Lepelle Nkumpi Municipality Mayor, Nakedi Sibanda at number 24. Radzilani famously demanded more than R300,000 for “Christmas” in exchange for handing over her municipality’s money to be looted.

Anywhere else these criminals would not only lose their jobs, they would be immediately charged, prosecuted and put in jail. But in the ANC this is considered just another day’s work. In the ANC the worst that will ever happen is a sideways shift to another department or ministry.

Fellow South Africans, we are here today to say: enough is enough. These two disgraced Mayors cannot be allowed to tarnish our national and provincial legislatures. They, along with the 9 other Limpopo Mayors who gave up their people’s money for some grubby kickbacks, belong in a courtroom and then in jail. Prison, not Parliament!

And it is not only the VBS theft that has robbed the people of this province. Limpopo has a long history of corruption that spans several administrations. Who can forget the looting that took place here under Premier Cassel Mathale, back when he and his friend Julius Malema were cooking tenders and emptying out the Public Works budget?

Limpopo today is no better off, with Premier Mathabatha turning a blind eye to even the most clear and obvious theft and mismanagement of public funds. Not one single ANC politician or official has been charged here despite a string of scandals and around R15 billion in irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure since 2014.

During this same time we have seen the Limpopo government pay R116m for a piece of land valued at R8m. We have seen the R3bn Giyani water project grind to a halt due to mismanagement and corruption, leaving 55 villages without water. We have seen the Education MEC here receive R1.65m in kickbacks for awarding tenders for the construction of toilets. And despite numerous investigations by the Hawks and the Public Protector, there has been not one single arrest and prosecution for any of this.

The ANC lists and the ANC benches in legislatures across the country are full of people who belong in orange overalls. We have identified 46 people on the party’s national list who have no business being elected to any public position.

This includes Deputy President Mabuza, who reportedly stole millions from the Mpumalanga Education Department to pay for the Ramaphosa faction’s victory at the ANC’s elective conference in 2017, and paved his own way to the Deputy Presidency. He also has allegations of involvement in political assassinations hanging over his head.

It includes the blatantly corrupt like Malusi Gigaba, Fikile Mbalula and Faith Muthambi. It includes the criminally incompetent, like Bathabile Dlamini. It includes Bosasa beneficiaries like Nomvula Mokonyane and Gwede Mantashe. It includes travel voucher scammers, credit card scammers, tender fraudsters and looters of the Madiba funeral money. It includes Gupta stooges, rape accused and even murder accused. And it includes President Ramaphosa who took bribe money from Bosasa, and whose lofty position allowed his son to benefit to the tune of R2m from Bosasa.

It is a list of people who belong in prison, not parliament. And if the ANC can’t do the right thing themselves, then it will fall to a new government that can and will do so.

Fellow South Africans, the DA’s track record in government makes it clear that we will not tolerate any form of corruption or criminality in our ranks. Where we govern, we get clean audits because we spend the people’s money on the people. Where we govern, we take immediate action against anyone who acts outside of the party’s values and outside of the law.

Our manifesto makes it very clear: Any politician found guilty of corruption will be sent to jail for 15 years. Compare this with the ANC who send their corrupt members to Parliament for term after term after term.

But if you really want to see the DA difference, then hold up our lists against those of the ANC. Because there you will see the future compared to the past. When the DA selects candidates to represent the people in our country’s legislatures, we do so with the future of the country in mind. We do so in order to be able to assemble a best-person government from the most qualified, most committed people we can find.

Our lists are not a graveyard of disgraced politicians, like those of the ANC. Ours are packed with diverse skills, diverse races, diverse backgrounds and, importantly, diverse ages. Because the DA is not held captive by factions of criminals who have dug themselves in for life, we are able to constantly renew our ranks with people who bring in fresh ideas and new perspectives. Our lists are an ideal blend of youth and experience.

Throughout Africa, governments are losing touch with their people as the age gap between governments and the population average gets wider and wider, and the ANC is no exception. This is because most of their ageing ministers and MPs have nowhere else to go. Some of them have sat in our Parliament since 1994 and have hardly made a contribution. Someone like Bathabile Dlamini is completely unemployable outside of the governing party, and her position in the ANC government is little more than a comfortable, ongoing pension.

That cannot be the future of our country. If we want to take South Africa forward – if we want to unlock our potential, create opportunities for our youth and re-establish South Africa as the leading economy on the continent – then we will need a government geared for the future. And that government can only be led by the DA. It will be lean and efficient, with only 15 streamlined ministries, so that more money can be spent on improving people’s lives and keeping people safe in their communities.

When a DA-led government replaces this ANC corruption syndicate, the days of sheltered employment for hundreds of ageing criminals in government will be over for good. Then you will see our country take off.

The choice next month is clear. If you care about the future of our country, you must play your part in installing a clean and honest government both nationally and here in Limpopo province. You must use the power of your vote to kick the corrupt out of these offices and straight into a jail cell.

 

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