Tag Archives: Glynnis Breytenbach

South Africa – DA demands Public Protector release Guptas report


Public Protector must release Gupta reports – DA

2017-06-19 07:32

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Netwerk24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Netwerk24)


Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to release four reports involving the Gupta family on Monday “in the interest of transparency and the South African public”.

Mkhwebane gave very little away when she announced she would hold a media briefing at her office on Monday morning “to release formal investigation reports”.

The Sunday Times reported that she had sat on at least four separate investigative reports involving the Gupta family since she took up office eight months ago.

Her office told the newspaper that the reports were pending, not buried.

They include:
– the landing of Gupta wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013;
– the relationship and funding of The New Age, key state-owned companies such as the SABC and the North West provincial government;
– The relationship between certain ANC politicians and the Guptas.

Without fear or favour

On Sunday, DA MP and justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach said that with the flurry of reports uncovering state capture, it was more important than ever for the public protector to investigate and report without fear or favour.

“It is telling that not one of the reports released by Mkhwebane during her tenure have involved any key political figures, despite there being numerous complaints against such individuals,” she said.

“The DA were concerned at her appointment and specifically that she has always been employed in and around government and that she specifically indicated that she wanted to have a more ‘friendly relationship with government’, which now seems to be proving true.”

Mkhwebane announced on Wednesday that she would conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the merits of some of the allegations that have been published as part of the #GuptaLeaks saga that point to issues at Eskom, Prasa and Transnet.

These allegations point to improper or dishonest acts or offences with respect to public funds at the state-owned enterprises as well as well as improper or unlawful enrichment by certain public officials at these institutions.

Aside from the #GuptaLeaks, the investigation will also look at the controversial re-appointment of Brian Molefe as head of Eskom.

South Africa – DA’s Zille won’t go quietly into the night

Huffington Post

It’s Zille against Maimane, which means it’s her against the rest of the DA over those colonialism tweets.


Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Helen Zille

Helen Zille, the embattled premier of the Western Cape and former leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), will not go quietly into the night and is preparing a comprehensive defence of her controversial tweets about colonialism.

She will apparently argue that she did not defend colonialism or apartheid in any form, that her sentiments were twisted and misconstrued and that her vilification is driven by “mob justice”. Her arguments also centre around respect for the rule of law and due process and a contention that she must be awarded the opportunity to be judged on her actual words and not just the “national calamity” which it caused.

Zille was last week criticised after she sent out a series of tweets that were widely interpreted as defending aspects of colonialism. The DA’s federal legal commission (FLC) will this weekend decide whether or not she should be disciplined.

According to seven senior sources in the party, including close associates, long-time supporters and active opponents of Zille, in and outside of the parliamentary caucus and national leadership:

  • Party leader Mmusi Maimane, who was mentored by Zille before she stood down in favour of him, is said to be “genuinely angered” at his predecessor’s tweets;
  • An opinion piece, in which she tries to contextualise her tweets and seemingly berates the DA’s leadership, seriously exacerbated the situation;
  • A proposal that she steps down, with the party undertaking to defend her legacy, is being discussed and will be made to her; and
  • There is broad agreement that her tweets and the subsequent fallout did serious damage to the party and that she must be subjected to a “harsh” penalty.

Zille’s supporters in the party’s top echelons seem distraught at the fallout her tweets caused and accept she might not survive a disciplinary process. Her enemies however believe she has served her purpose and that Maimane must be seen to distance himself from her in order to mould the party in his image.

“Emotions are raw at the moment. She’s a great figure and to see it come to this is very painful for many who have worked closely with her,” an experienced and senior MP, who supports Zille, told Huffington Post South Africa.

The MP added that Zille “can in no way be branded a racist, but the party has no choice but to mete out a heavy penalty”.

“She understands the bigger picture, she knows what’s at stake, but she will fight this. The best possible outcome is for her to pre-empt what could become a messy fight and stand down,” the MP said. “But she won’t.”

Another senior DA leader, who was involved in the debate around Maimane’s accession to the leadership position and is sympathetic to Zille, said it is possible that a deal might be cut which would prevent a “nasty” fight, but that it is not yet on the table.

According to this source the storm around the initial tweets could have been weathered, but the subsequent opinion piece in which she defended them was perceived as an attack on Maimane. “Nobody in the party took kindly to that,” the source said. Zille, in a piece published on The Daily Maverick, warned the DA should beware not to “swallow every tenet, myth . . . of African racial nationalism”.

There is also agreement — among friend and foe alike — that it will be very difficult to convince Zille that her comments in themselves are damaging because she firmly believes they were taken out of context. Zille will “mount a powerful and persuasive” argument, according to sources. She feels hung out to dry by the party’s leadership. According to her it was the DA’s reaction, fuelled by a social media “lynch mob”, that caused the real damage, not her tweets.

“It’s just a tweet,” one ally said. “There’s no way you can construe Zille to be a racist. It’s just patently and empirically untrue.”

Another MP, who has been a long-time opponent of Zille, told HuffPost SA even though her actions are “a waste”, a calamity like this was “almost inevitable”.

This MP says Zille is incapable of understanding that the conflict is not between her and a faction in the party, but that it’s her against Maimane, which means it is her against the rest of the DA. Zille was supposed to adhere to an implicit understanding that she should stay out of national politics and focus on the Western Cape. “This was always going to happen. She has to go.”

Zille will meet the FLC chaired by MP Glynnis Breytenbach on the weekend. The FLC will forward a report to the federal executive, which will meet on April 22 and 23, where a decision about whether to charge the former leader will be taken.

According to this source she has forced the party to choose between the past and the future “and nobody will choose the former”.



DA caucus about Zille tweets ‘tense and emotional’

2017-03-24 08:06

Helen Zille. (File, Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

Helen Zille. (File, Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

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WATCH: Helen Zille’s history of Twitter upsets

2017-03-17 21:56

Helen Zille has faced a backlash from Twitter users following her latest posts which appeared to argue for, in her opinion, the positive aspects of colonialism. This is not the first time the Western Cape Premier has been controversial on social media. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town – Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s tweets on colonialism were in the spotlight for more than four hours on Thursday during a “tense and emotional” DA caucus meeting.

Zille addressed the 30-odd strong members at her own request, and the “robust and open” discussions which followed were apparently “tense” at times, Netwerk24 reported.

Her political career is in the balance because of her tweets that not all aspects of colonialism were bad.

The DA distanced itself from the tweets and immediately ordered an inquiry. Zille apologised.

Members of political parties are not supposed to discuss what is said in caucus, because it is confidential.

However, one source told Netwerk24 that the meeting had been necessary and the DA MPs were very outspoken. “Everyone took part. It was an open, honest  and robust discussion which, at times, was characterised by raw emotion.

“It was a serious meeting in which members emphasised the dangers of social media, as well as the impact the Zille tweets had on the DA because of the perceptions it created. People are concerned about what the fall-out will be for the party”

‘We know Helen isn’t a racist’

Another source described the meeting as “tense, emotional and sad”. One Member of the Provincial Parliament was apparently in tears.

“People could air their opinions openly and say how they felt. We are sad because we know Helen isn’t a racist. We do, however, know that there are people with other agendas.”

Zille was “calm and open for the criticism which came her way”, the source said. At the end, there was no bad blood.

Neither Zille, not her spokesperson, Michel Mpofu answered their cellphones on Thursday.

The chair of the DA’s legal commission, Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, will be holding talks with Zille on Friday, after which she will make recommendations to the DA federal council about whether disciplinary action should be taken and what the charges should be.


South Africa – Scathing judgment against Jiba and Mrwebi over Mdluli case; more heads roll in a Zuma-related case


Nomgcobo Jiba (Picture: Supplied)

Nomgcobo Jiba (Picture: Supplied)

Cape Town – Two of South Africa’s most senior prosecutions officials, Nomgcobo Jiba and her colleague Lawrence Mrwebi, were struck off the roll of advocates of the General Council of the Bar of SA on Thursday over their handling of the Richard Mdluli matter.

“The names of Ms Nomgcobo Jiba (first respondent) and Mr Lawrence Sithembiso Mrwebi (second respondent) are hereby struck from the roll of advocates,” ordered Judge Frans Legodi with Judge W Hughes in agreement in the High Court in Pretoria.

In a scathing 109-page judgment Legodi wrote: “I cannot believe that two officers of the court (advocates) who hold such high positions in the prosecuting authority will stoop so low for the protection and defence of one individual who had been implicated in serious offences.”

They should have stood “firm and vigorous” and persisted with their prosecution of Mdluli on fraud and corruption charges.

“By their conduct, they did not only bring the prosecuting authority and the legal profession into disrepute, but have also brought the good office of the President of the Republic of South Africa into disrepute by failing to prosecute Mdluli who inappropriately suggested that he was capable of assisting the President of the country to win the party presidential election in Mangaung during 2011 should the charges be dropped against him.”

The application by the General Council of the Bar of SA for the duo and South Gauteng head of prosecutions Sibongile Mzinyathi to be struck off the roll was made at the request of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

SA’s image diminished

According to court papers, the State paid 75% of the NPA’s costs to defend the matter, but Legodi said he decided to block out the “substantial” amount.

He said: “It is this kind of behaviour that diminishes the image of our country and its institutions which are meant to be impartial, independent and transparent in the exercise of their legislative powers.”

He did not find a reason to strike Mzinyathi off the roll.

Legodi said Mrwebi was supposed to be part of a system that effectively investigated and prosecuted the surge of corruption and fraud and Jiba was the “commander in chief”.

He said Mzinyathi and former prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, who is now a Democratic Alliance MP, were “foot soldiers” in this war. Jiba was supposed to “lead by example”.

“But instead, she flouted every rule in the fight against crime. Her failure to intervene when she was required to do so has failed the citizens of this country and in the process, brought the image of the legal profession and prosecuting authority into disrepute. Both Mrwebi and Jiba should be found to have ceased to be fit and proper persons to remain on a roll of advocates.”

The main issues of the application were:

– Jiba’s authorising the charging of Cato Manor top cop Johan Booysen, allegedly without having seen the information needed to make that decision. The judge did not find against her on this and noted that there were other affidavits available, apart from the one Booysen pointed out did not exist at the time she said her decision was made.

– Jiba’s handling of the DA’s successful application to get a part of the record of the decision to drop charges of corruption against Zuma and Thint.

The DA fought tooth and nail to get the “spy tapes” while Jiba said she was checking to see what she could release and whether Zuma would allow it or not.

Jiba had explained that she was being very cautious to avoid handing over something she was not supposed to hand over. The court did not find there was enough cause to have her struck off on this.

The Mdluli case was her and Mrwebi’s unravelling.

Jiba ‘passing the buck’

Mdluli had been accused of murdering a love rival and also of fraud and corruption for allegedly abusing crime intelligence slush fund money.

The NPA however decided to withdraw the corruption charges against him. Lobby group Freedom Under Law (FUL) wanted the record that led to this decision, but delays and conduct over this appeared to be Jiba and Mrwebi’s undoing.

The judge accused Jiba of dishonesty and of passing the buck in her handling of the FUL application.

She went through three sets of lawyers who withdrew from representing her, and a fourth said they could not support her decision because in their view there was allegedly a prima facie case against Mdluli.

The judge was startled by explanations from Jiba that she never received emails that she was supposed to have replied to, that she missed deadlines that she should have known about, and found that she “passed the buck” on having to explain why the charges against Mdluli were withdrawn.

As for Mrwebi, the judge found that he had not been honest in his handling of the withdrawal of the charges against Mdluli because there were discrepancies with dates of meetings; he had already made the decision to withdraw charges against Mdluli before consulting Mzinyathi and had already told Mdluli’s lawyers about his decision.

He also attempted to claim that it was not a matter for the police but for the inspector general of intelligence to handle. He and Jiba also ignored the reservations Breytenbach and Mzinyathi had about withdrawing the charges.

Breytenbach was put through a disciplinary process over the Mdluli case and won on most of the points contested, but she resigned and went into politics.

Comment from the NPA and Jiba was not immediately available, but Jiba’s lawyer Zola Majavu said she would appeal.