POLITICS

Watch you back, Mr President! – John Steenhuisen

DA Chief Whip tells Cyril Ramaphosa his clean-up efforts are a threat to deeply-rooted ANC kickback culture

We need concomitant action to combat crime and corruption”

12 February 2019

Madam Speaker,

While the President announced some laudable objectives in his SONA address last Thursday, perhaps the most glaring disappointment was the way in which he simply glossed over the crisis of crime sweeping our nation.

Every single day across South Africa, while the President tells us to watch this space, 57 of our citizens are brutally murdered, 137 women are sexually assaulted , 685 homes are violated. This is a national crisis on a grand scale, our citizens are not safe on their streets, in their homes, on their farms and in their workplaces.

Now the President exhorted communities to tackle crime, and yes, partnership policing is important, but communities cannot be expected carry the burden alone, they also cannot be expected to partner with a police service that is understaffed, under equipped, undertrained and unprofessional.

Last year during the SONA the President promised that the key focus for 2018 would be “the distribution of resources to police station level. This will include personnel and other resources, to restore capacity and experience at the level at which crime is most effectively combatted” The reality however is that the police to population ratio actually worsened to 1 police officer for every 375 citizens leaving communities even more vulnerable and unsafe.

But it’s little wonder this government doesn’t take policing seriously, and do you want to know why? It’s because they are frankly immune to the war zone of crime raging on our streets and suburbs. A reply to a DA parliamentary question in July last year revealed that there were 81 presidential protection officers for every one of the 17 politicians it protected.

Whilst our communities are locked in the brutal grip of a violent crime wave sweeping our nation this government is spending 1.5 Billion Rand on VIP protection for politicians. You cannot say you are serious about fighting crime and resourcing stations when you are misdirecting so much money and resources to protecting yourselves and keeping YOUR families safe while our citizens are being left to fend for themselves!, Without an honest and professional police service they don’t stand a chance!

Mr. President, know this, your critics may sit on these opposition benches, but your enemies sit on your government benches. So, while you tell us to “watch this space”, our message to you is “watch your back”.

Because the allies of growth and progress sit on these opposition benches, but your biggest obstacles sit on your own. There are people on that side of the House, who are willing you to fail.

The ANC is corrupt to the core, and too many people in your party have got used to the Louis Vuitton handbags, the kickbacks and the “chickens”

ANC MPs don’t really want a new Scorpions; they voted to have the Scorpions disbanded in 2008 so that the looting could resume.

ANC MPs don’t want really want to unbundle Eskom. It is much easier to capture and loot a single state entity.

Of course, those same people are rubbing their hands at the prospect of a tablet for every learner. Another big tender, another opportunity to enrich a few cronies.

And if it’s not the corrupt in your ranks who are going to stop you, it is the loony left in the tripartite alliance.

The truth Mr. President is simply this: you’re never going to be able to achieve many of the lofty goals you set out in your SONA because your party and alliance partners just won’t let you.

Your plans to restructure ESKOM will be scuttled, not by the opposition, but by your own COSATU alliance partners.

Your plans to fix schools will be undermined, not by the opposition, but your own SADTU alliance partners.

And your acceleration of the NDP as a path for growth will be blocked, not by the opposition but by your fellow travellers in the SACP.

And that is why Mr. President its time to deal decisively with the corrupt in your own party. You cannot really expect anybody to take what you said about combatting corruption seriously while the most corrupt still sit in your party benches and around your cabinet table. And they will get you in the end. Watch this space, and watch your back.

I noticed with great interest the other evening as you were announcing the relaunch of the Scorpions, which the ANC hastily shut down when they got to close to senior politicians, at who was clapping. How ironic that some of the most enthusiastic were the very undertakers of the Scorpions, people like the honourable Carrim. And clapping like seals besides him were the very people on those benches who should be the first in Mrs Batoi’s crosshairs.

Do they clap because they know that no matter what happens, no matter the evidence, no matter the charge, they will be protected?

Because the litmus test for this new directorate is not going to be which officials or underlings they arrest, the test for this directorate is going to be whether they start putting cuffs on the honourable members seated in this house, and YOUR test will come when your party tries to stop that. Watch that space and watch your back.

Because you see Mr. President,:

When a minister accepts a monthly retainer, braai packs, whisky and a car for their daughter, if I may quote a recent email of yours:

It is plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such, there needs to be concomitant action”

When a senior parliamentarian is kept sweet through cash payments, security upgrades and university fees for his daughter in order to prevent parliament from doing its job:

It is plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such, there needs to be concomitant action”

When a senior party official and government minister accepts security upgrades at his properties in exchange for peddling influence and tenders:

It is plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such, there needs to be concomitant action”

When ANC premiers, Mayors, MEC’s and Councillors loot at every opportunity they get.

It is plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such, there needs to be concomitant action”

And unless that concomitant action is taken, you will never root out corruption in this house, your cabinet or our country.

Issued by Emma Louise Powell, Chief of Staff to DA Chief Whip, 12 February 2019