Daily Archives: August 15, 2018

Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee Welcomes News on SA Express Flying Again Soon

Parliament� Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises welcomes the announcement today that SA Express will resume flights as soon as next week.

Committee Chairperson, Ms Lungi Mnganga-Gcabashe, said this undertaking was given today by Minister Pravin Gordhan during a briefing to update the committee on addressing governance challenges at state-owned companies (SOCs). This is exciting news, specifically in light of the comment made by the Minister, that certain individuals have given their expertise, either personally or through the industry, to assist in ensuring that SA Express is given its flying licence again.

The committee said those individuals involved in irregular contracts or underhand dealings at the airline, should not escape investigation.

The committee also heard that the benefits that executives are entitled to at the institutions are being assessed, as that they must be done in a transparent manner. Minister Gordhan said the benefits being given, short- and long-term � are concerning whilst the ordinary workers suffer.

The committee heard that the overall picture at SOCs is that they have a revenue of R284 billion, assets of R1.1 trillion and are at a profit/loss of R1.6 billion. The committee was informed that at Eskom, 10 senior executives who were implicated in wrongdoings have exited the entity before disciplinary hearings could be finalised. A total of 11 criminal cases were opened, of which nine involved senior managers. A total of 1 049 outstanding disciplinary cases have been instituted since April 2018, of which 628 have been finalised, resulting in 75 employees exiting.

The committee would like to get clarity on why the auditing firms that were involved were unable to pick up irregular expenses early on, and huge amounts are only being discovered now.

The economic and developmental role of SOCs also came under the spotlight. The committee was made aware that localisation was set aside and things were imported. The committee heard that manufacturing and localisation must be promoted.

The committee was given assurances as most boards are new, having been appointed this year, it is tasked with looking at the huge remuneration costs. Guidelines to this effect exist but are not being implemented and bonuses are demanded at times when it is not warranted to give out bonuses.

Ms Mnganga-Gcabashe said: The achievements at all entities thus far give us hope for the future. It gives us the assurance that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will certainly monitor the progress of SOCs to ensure that we remain on track.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

SABC, Multichoice sign new contract

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and MultiChoice have signed a new commercial channel supply agreement allowing the SABC News and SABC Encore channels to continue to be broadcast on DStv.

The SABC welcomes the new agreement with Multichoice, which will bring certainty to our viewers and our staff. The board and management of the SABC are satisfied that the agreement meets both the commercial and governance needs of the SABC, the public broadcaster’s CEO, Madoda Mxakwe, said in a statement.

The agreement follows extensive discussions between the parties, as the previous contract is set to expire.

SABC and Multichoice believe that this agreement will give their relationship a new start. DStv customers will continue to enjoy around the clock news coverage from SABC News on channel 404, while SABC Encore on channel 156 will allow viewers to indulge in nostalgia, airing old favourites and classics, said a statement released by both parties.

SABC archives, which the SABC uses to produce SABC Encore, remain the wholly-owned property of the SABC.

We are pleased to be able to continue to carry these channels on DStv. We have a long standing relationship with SABC and are happy that we have reached a mutually beneficial agreement. We look forward to continue working with the SABC to deliver great entertainment to our customers, Multichoice South Africa CEO Calvo Mawela said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

MEC Debbie Schafer launches anti-bullying campaign in Mitchells Plain, 16 Aug

Minister Schafer, Paxton Fielies and Carl Waistie to launch anti-bullying campaign in Mitchells Plain

Tomorrow, Provincial Education Minister, Debbie Schafer, Season 13 Idols South Africa winner, Paxton Fielies, and radio DJ and TV presenter, Carl Waistie will be launching an anti-bullying campaign in Mitchells Plain.

Given the prevalence of bullying in our schools, the WCED has embarked on a campaign to highlight the effects of bullying on learners, as well as, to draw attention to the fact that learners who film, post or distribute videos are also participating in the bullying.

The campaign also provides tips on what one can do to help victims that are being bullied, as well as, the types of support that is available for learners that are experiencing such abuse.

The campaign is called, Raise your voice, not your phone.

Here is a preview of one of the video’s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBOr46mWHQs

Learners don’t realise you don’t need to beat somebody up to be a bully. We needed a way to help learners realise it for themselves!

Time: 10h00

Venue: Beacon Hill Secondary, 1 Derby St, Beacon Valley, Mitchells Plain

Date: 16 August 2018

We chose Beacon Hill Secondary for this event, as it recently experienced its own incident of bullying � both in school and on social media.

It is our intention to use the toolkit that has been developed to educate learners and schools throughout the province, to Raise your voice. Not your phone. It is a message that should be heard all over the world.

Source: Government of South Africa

CRACKDOWN ON CORRUPTION AT SOUTH AFRICA OFFICE OF THE STATE ATTORNEY

PRETORIA– The South African government has initiated a nationwide investigation into allegations of corruption levelled against the Office of the State Attorney, says the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Michael Masutha.

Led by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the investigation comes following a presidential proclamation authorising the SIU to investigate the irregularities at the institution which is tasked with providing legal services to national and provincial departments.

This follows concerns raised against the institution for alleged malpractices, lack of professionalism, and suspicion of abuse of office towards unlawful ends, among others.

Briefing the media on the president’s proclamation, Masutha said the scams which have been uncovered include the non-timely filing of court papers in litigation matters, undue and particularly exorbitant unauthorised out of court settlements even in instances where such matters could have been defended on behalf of the state.

There are also allegations of apparent collusion between certain officials within the State Attorney’s Office, private legal practitioners and real or fictitious litigants to defraud and conduct other acts of irregular and corrupt activities against the State.

This corruption is estimated to have cost the State more than 80 billion Rand (about 5.6 billion US dollars), and the investigation is aimed at bringing to a halt these alleged practices in the provision of State legal services, particularly in conducting litigation for and against the State, Masutha said.

The investigation will help the Department of Justice to lay to rest concerns that have been raised by members of the public, the legal fraternity and other government departments regarding the functioning and conduct of some officials within the Office of the State Attorney, said Masutha, who was joined by Police Minister Bheki Cele, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and the SIU head, Andy Mothibi.

According to the proclamation signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa last month, the allegations to be investigated include serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the Office of the State Attorney and improper or unlawful conduct by some employees or officials.

They will also investigate the unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public funds or property; unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive act, transaction, measure or practice having a bearing upon state property and intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property.

In addition to these, the SIU will investigate whether there was a contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004, and the unlawful or improper conduct which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public.

Where appropriate and in addition to the investigation by the SIU, disciplinary action as well as the criminal investigation will be initiated against alleged perpetrators to ensure that firm action is taken to uproot corrupt activities.

We, therefore, encourage anyone who can assist by providing useful information to avail themselves to the SIU to assist in the investigation, Masutha added.

Mothibi anticipated that this investigation will cover all the offices of the State Attorney across the country.

This investigation is quite complex. We are giving the investigation teams no less than 12 months. But in the event where more cases emerge – we will not turn a blind eye. We will finalise the number of people who will make up the team in the next week or two, Mothibi said.

The Department of Health and the Police are the most affected by the alleged scams and corruption. Motsoaledi said corruption was so widespread that since 2013, his department alone had paid out 60 billion Rand in malpractice claims, some of which could turn out to be untrue.

Quoting medico claims figures from the last financial year alone, Motsoaledi said his department has close to 57 billion Rand in claims by people suing the department. However, some of these cases have raised eyebrows, including one for 70 million Rand for a supposedly botched circumcision.

Upon investigation, Motsoaledi said it turned out that the patient had never even been circumcised at all and the hospital had, in fact, saved him from illness.

Another 25-million-Rand claim by a patient supposedly suffering from cerebral palsy also turned out to be untrue. I am aggrieved and want people arrested. We must investigate the whole network,” the Minister said.

“Some doctors must also be arrested because they collude with private law firms in defrauding the state. I know there are private lawyers in the Eastern Cape where most fraudulent cases occurred.they need to be arrested. This is taking too long.

Cele said: We have to work hard to ensure that we arrest these perpetrators. While the SIU deals with its matter there are police matters that we will have to take over. For example, there might be criminal charges and elements going forward and the Hawks are the relevant body to take the matter forward.”

Measures to ensure that this thread doesn’t continue at the Office of the State Attorney, Masutha said a review of the policy and legislative framework governing the state legal services particularly the role of the Office of the State Attorney and other legal services in government is underway.

This is intended to develop a new comprehensive and more effective system for the provision of state legal services at all three spheres of government so as to enhance its efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

CRACKDOWN ON CORRUPTION AT SOUTH AFRICA OFFICE OF THE STATE ATTORNEY

PRETORIA– The South African government has initiated a nationwide investigation into allegations of corruption levelled against the Office of the State Attorney, says the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Michael Masutha.

Led by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the investigation comes following a presidential proclamation authorising the SIU to investigate the irregularities at the institution which is tasked with providing legal services to national and provincial departments.

This follows concerns raised against the institution for alleged malpractices, lack of professionalism, and suspicion of abuse of office towards unlawful ends, among others.

Briefing the media on the president’s proclamation, Masutha said the scams which have been uncovered include the non-timely filing of court papers in litigation matters, undue and particularly exorbitant unauthorised out of court settlements even in instances where such matters could have been defended on behalf of the state.

There are also allegations of apparent collusion between certain officials within the State Attorney’s Office, private legal practitioners and real or fictitious litigants to defraud and conduct other acts of irregular and corrupt activities against the State.

This corruption is estimated to have cost the State more than 80 billion Rand (about 5.6 billion US dollars), and the investigation is aimed at bringing to a halt these alleged practices in the provision of State legal services, particularly in conducting litigation for and against the State, Masutha said.

The investigation will help the Department of Justice to lay to rest concerns that have been raised by members of the public, the legal fraternity and other government departments regarding the functioning and conduct of some officials within the Office of the State Attorney, said Masutha, who was joined by Police Minister Bheki Cele, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and the SIU head, Andy Mothibi.

According to the proclamation signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa last month, the allegations to be investigated include serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the Office of the State Attorney and improper or unlawful conduct by some employees or officials.

They will also investigate the unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public funds or property; unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive act, transaction, measure or practice having a bearing upon state property and intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property.

In addition to these, the SIU will investigate whether there was a contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004, and the unlawful or improper conduct which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public.

Where appropriate and in addition to the investigation by the SIU, disciplinary action as well as the criminal investigation will be initiated against alleged perpetrators to ensure that firm action is taken to uproot corrupt activities.

We, therefore, encourage anyone who can assist by providing useful information to avail themselves to the SIU to assist in the investigation, Masutha added.

Mothibi anticipated that this investigation will cover all the offices of the State Attorney across the country.

This investigation is quite complex. We are giving the investigation teams no less than 12 months. But in the event where more cases emerge – we will not turn a blind eye. We will finalise the number of people who will make up the team in the next week or two, Mothibi said.

The Department of Health and the Police are the most affected by the alleged scams and corruption. Motsoaledi said corruption was so widespread that since 2013, his department alone had paid out 60 billion Rand in malpractice claims, some of which could turn out to be untrue.

Quoting medico claims figures from the last financial year alone, Motsoaledi said his department has close to 57 billion Rand in claims by people suing the department. However, some of these cases have raised eyebrows, including one for 70 million Rand for a supposedly botched circumcision.

Upon investigation, Motsoaledi said it turned out that the patient had never even been circumcised at all and the hospital had, in fact, saved him from illness.

Another 25-million-Rand claim by a patient supposedly suffering from cerebral palsy also turned out to be untrue. I am aggrieved and want people arrested. We must investigate the whole network,” the Minister said.

“Some doctors must also be arrested because they collude with private law firms in defrauding the state. I know there are private lawyers in the Eastern Cape where most fraudulent cases occurred.they need to be arrested. This is taking too long.

Cele said: We have to work hard to ensure that we arrest these perpetrators. While the SIU deals with its matter there are police matters that we will have to take over. For example, there might be criminal charges and elements going forward and the Hawks are the relevant body to take the matter forward.”

Measures to ensure that this thread doesn’t continue at the Office of the State Attorney, Masutha said a review of the policy and legislative framework governing the state legal services particularly the role of the Office of the State Attorney and other legal services in government is underway.

This is intended to develop a new comprehensive and more effective system for the provision of state legal services at all three spheres of government so as to enhance its efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK