Premier undermined the ANC-led alliance – COSATU NCape

Federation says it is the nature of Lucas to unilaterally take and implement decisions that have serious bearing on govt

COSATU Northern Cape statement on the alleged corruption that led to the provincial cabinet reshuffle on the eve of the provincial conference

18 May 2017  

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the Northern Cape noted the excuse made by the Premier of the Province for the unilateral cabinet reshuffling that was made on the eve of the 08thProvincial Conference that was held from 11 to 14 May 2017 as well as the hypocrisy of the national leadership of the ANC Women’s League in relation to this factional action by the Premier.

We further note the statement attributed to her in the DFA of Thursday, 18 May 2017 where she is alleged to be saying that she did not agree with the officials to reverse her unilateral cabinet reshuffling which, if true constitutes the misconduct of the highest order.

First of all we want to state it categorically clearly that COSATU supports all efforts to combat corruption and we will do everything in our power to help with the fight against corruption. In this instance we are dismayed by the way the Premier went about in her “so called” fight against corruption. She effected a cabinet reshuffling without following the necessary processes of consultation of the structures of the alliance and arrogantly claimed to be having a prerogative to do so.

This was the repetition of the mistake that was committed by the President which led him into apologising and undertaking not to do it again. This alone underlines the extent to which the Premier undermines the ANC led alliance that deployed her to that office. She further used corruption as a reason for removing Comrade Mac Jack but she cannot account for the removal of Comrade Pauline Williams.

This reminds us that it is in the nature of the Premier to take and implement decisions that have a serious bearing on the ANC led alliance and government unilaterally. Since the beginning of her desperate campaign to become the Provincial Chairperson of the ANC she has unilaterally appointed four Heads of Departments, renewed contracts of others and transferred others, all on her own.

The MEC for COGHSTA instituted Section 106 investigation in Phokwane in or around 2013/14 and the outcome of the investigation was presented to the MEC around March 2015 but he deliberately withheld it because it contains damning information on corruption about the former Municipal Manager, his friend who happens to be close to the Premier as well.  That report recommends that the former MM be charged criminally with gross financial misconduct for non-compliance with SCM processes in relation to the brick paving project in Tlhwahalang and non-compliance with the MFMA for failure to table the audit report.

The Premier together with the MEC for COGHSTA is keeping that report and instead the Premier compensated the former Municipal Manager with the most senior post of HOD for the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison. It is in this department that there are allegations of the illegal sale of taxi operating permits are rife and involve a relative of hers. We are left with no option but to conclude that the former MM of Phokwane Municipality was appointed to squash the investigations in order to save someone’s face.

When we marched on May Day to demand the Phokwane report and the intensification of the fight against corruption, no one was available to receive the memorandum despite having informed the Premier’s Office about the march. If the Premier was genuine about her claims for a fight against corruption she would not have appointed the former MM of Phokwane as the HOD and the MEC for COGHSTA would have long been dismissed.

Around November 2016 the Premier did an unprecedented thing and introduced two consulting companies to the Executive Council and wanted to lobby EXCO to endorse the appointment of those companies for a turnaround strategy for the Department of Health as well as proper management of RAF claims. The cabinet refused to endorse that irregularity but despite that those two companies were appointed without following the proper procurement procedures.

The opposition parties in the province have been raising the challenges of irregular payments and high levels of corruption in Department of Economic Development and Tourism since 2014, long before Comrade Mac Jack became the MEC in that department but the Premier in her commitment to fight corruption chose to ignore that. Now that Comrade Mac Jack was openly supporting the current leadership ahead of the Provincial Conference she chose to create a gigantic lie in order to get at him.

It is also a cause for concern to note that Comrade Mac Jack was removed from the Department of Health where he was on the right track in the fight against corruption which exposed a lot of irregularities that led to many corrupt officials being caught out. He came to the Provincial Treasury and exercised oversight on spending patterns of departments and ensured accountability, now he is alleged to be corrupt. In fact if the Premier was serious and honest about the fight against corruption she would have long instituted forensic audits in the provincial government, especially in the Departments of Health, COGHSTA and Public Works but she will never do that as she is protecting her own interests.

The fact of the matter is that the Premier micro-manages the departments and undermines the MECs to give direct instructions to officials and threaten them if they do not cooperate. If the hawks are to do a thorough job in the fight against corruption they must visit the departments and investigate all tenders that were awarded during this term of office and see where corruption is and who the mastermind behind these contracts is.

We still have unanswered questions as to what did she do with the money that she raised as the treasurer of the ANC as she allegedly approached many business people raising funds which never reached the coffers of the ANC. Instead she spreads a colossal lie that the stolen money was used to fund the provincial Conference. We are happy to have met with the leadership of the ANC and we were shown proof that the conference was funded legally and they can account for that. The ANC is on record that there is no department that paid money to fund the Provincial Conference and we are happy about that.

We have seen unruly crowds rented and bussed in to disrupt ANC meetings and insult and threaten leadership, all in the name of fighting for fair processes. The big question is: “Who funded the supporters of the Premier to disrupt ANC processes and insult leadership?”

The federation calls on the leadership of the ANC to act decisively in a manner that seeks to communicate a message that no one is above the organisation and no prerogative can be exploited without being canvassed with the ANC led alliance.

We call on all the workers who have been subjected to intimidation and forced to process irregular and corrupt transactions to come forward and expose those acts. We are committed to fighting corruption both in government and in the private sector without fear or favour. Corruption is theft of public funds that are meant to deliver services to the working class and the poor.

Issued by Anele Gxoyiya, Provincial Secretary, COSATU NCape, 18 May 2017