Johannesburg – Retired MPs could get up to 24 free flights a year for 10 years, according to a proposal currently before Parliament, the Sunday Times reports.
Parliament’s oversight authority recently recommended that retired MPs and their spouses get free plane tickets, at taxpayer’s expense, based on how many years they had served as MPs.
An MP who had served one term (five years) would get eight economy-class tickets a year for 10 years, 16 economy-class tickets a year for 10 years for two terms, and 24 business-class tickets a year for 10 years after serving three terms.
Democratic Alliance deputy Chief Whip Sandy Kalyan said the idea was to “level the playing field” between benefits granted to former MPs and those for former ministers and deputy ministers.
Kalyan served on the task team that reviewed the travel policy.
The proposal is contained in the oversight authority’s 2013 annual report, tabled recently.
The authority is the highest policy-making authority for parliamentarians and includes National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu and National Council of Provinces chairman Mninwa Mahlangu.
Sisulu was expected to discuss the proposal with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. – Sapa
Pistorius murder trial has resumed at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria with the prosecution calling Anette Stipp to the stand. Stipp is the wife of Dr Johan Stipp who testified earlier in the trial. Stipp has requested that her image, as a private person, not be broadcast for the duration of the trial.Last week, the court heard from police forensic experts that Reeva Steenkamp had been in a defensive posture in the toilet when she was shot by Pistorius through the toilet door.
State Prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, has questioned witness, Anette Stipp, about the screams she heard apparently coming from Oscar Pistorius’s house on Valentine’s morning in 2013, when Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead. Pistorius murder trial has resumed at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria with the prosecution calling Anette Stipp to the stand.Stipp is the wife of Dr Johan Stipp who testified earlier in the trial.
THIS BATTLE IS WON:) After 7 long years of protest, negotiations and lobbies, the City of Cape Town finally and no Princess Vlei land will be sold for shopping malls. This matter started about 15 years ago when a developer became interested in the area.
For locals Princess Vlei is a Lung and a recreational area. For the First Nations, the Khoisan, it is an historic and holy place.
Cape Town – Oscar Pistorius advocate Barry Roux has found unexpected “fame” in a hilarious rap parody featuring his signature phrase: “I put it to you”.
Unwittingly following the trend of celebrity cross-overs, Roux transitioned from the courtroom to rap super-stardom when a local radio station aired the Barry Roux rap song, which quickly garnered a cult following with more than 30 000 people listening to it on SoundCloud, and more than 17 000 views on YouTube. The song will be accompanied by a music video in the coming weeks.
The parody, created by Johannesburg’s Highveld Stereo Xpress show producer Brad O’Regan, has Roux rapping about his habit of repeating questions, his “lady voice” and, of course, putting it to witnesses.
Just under two-and-a-half minutes long, it starts with a reporter asking Roux for an interview. The advocate sheepishly asks: “You want to know a little about me?”, before asking the DJ to drop a beat and start a rap rendition that would make stars such as Eminem and Snoop Dog envious… or cringe with embarrassment.
“I put it to you, everything you say I will misconstrue. I’m Barry Roux I put it to you 10 times to confuse you. Check it out y’all it’s no mystery, I will repeat things in the court’s history. I ask you the same thing 10 times because the only thing worse than my memory is my rhymes.”
Not even Roux’s colleagues are safe from the parody, as he raps about his “bad-ass crew” and the “hot blonde on the Bench”, referring to candidate attorney for the defence, Roxanne Adams.
Eskom and President Jacob Zuma also take a few hits in the lyrics: “You may think I’m a chop and I’m dom (dumb), but at least I don’t work at Eskom”, and “After Nkandla and e-tolls JZ is loving this stuff double-fold”.
The rap goes on about Roux’s insecurity about sounding like a “lady”, and asking for people to stop hating him because he “only makes 100k a day”.
Twitters users are in hysterics, with user Faith_hope_love posting: “Barry roux song! …needing relief from trial, the Barry Roux parody song.”
Cebisa wrote: “What if I put it to you that this is hilarious.”
O’Regan said he was very happy with the reaction from the public and was working on a music video to accompany the song.
An alleged romance between Pansy Tlakula and a businessman is at the heart of the public protector’s finding that the lease was secured irregularly.
The process followed by Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chair Pansy Tlakula in securing a R320-millon lease for the IEC’s head office in Centurion was “irregular … and violated procurement rules”.
That was the ruling made by public protector Thuli Madonsela on Monday morning at the offices in question, where she released a report on an investigation into allegations of maladministration and corruption in the procurement of the Riverside Office Park in Centurion to accommodate the head offices of the IEC.
Madonsela has been criticised by opposition parties, which have suggested the investigation was dragging out and asked whether Madonsela was being selective in probing her close friend, Tlakula, City Press reported on Sunday.
But Madonsela came down firmly on Tlakula on Monday, much to the latter’s dismay, and found Tlakula had not followed “her own commissions procurement policy”, by running the procurement process herself instead of leaving it to the relevant departments. A ruling of maladministration for failing to follow treasury regulations was also levelled against Tlakula. The advertisement requesting a proposal was found to be irregular, and Madonsela said the tender process could have prejudiced other bidders.
“Tlakula’s actions risk a loss of public confidence in the IEC and also threaten the IEC’s reputation as an impartial constitutional body,” said Madonsela. “Tlakula’s actions foster a perception from potential service providers that they can’t expect fair, equal treatment from the IEC.”
The problem in the lease came down to an “undisclosed conflict of interest” between Tlakula and businessperson Thaba Mufamadi, who has an ownership stake in the property through his company.
Theirs was possibly a romantic as well as a business relationship, it has emerged.
Improper romantic relationship
Mufamadi’s company, Manaka Property Investments, owns a 20% stake in the trust that owns the Riverside Office Park, City Press has previously reported.
Allegations of an improper relationship emerged when a group, referred to as “concerned IEC employees”, came forward claiming a romantic relationship between Mufamadi and Tlakula, Madonsela said on Monday.
Meanwhile, City Press reported in April last year that Tlakula was Mufamadi’s business partner in a mining logistics company called Lehotsa Investment since 2006.
Tlakula and the IEC denied to the newspaper at the time that the relationship constituted a conflict of interest.
IEC head Pansy Tlakula should be held responsible for a process that was not fair, equitable, transparent, or competitive, says a treasury report.
The long-awaited forensic report into the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) botched leasing deal was made available to the public on the body’s website, and it’s not a pretty picture for those involved in the deal – particularly IEC head Pansy Tlakula.
“[Advocate] Tlakula, as the [then] chief electoral officer and accounting officer, Mr [Norman] Du Plessis as the deputy chief electoral officer corporate services and Mr [Stephen] Langtry as the manager in the office of the [chief electoral officer] should each be held responsible for the roles they played that resulted in a procurement process being followed that was not fair, equitable, transparent, competitive or cost effective,” reads the report’s findings.
Mosotho Moepya, who was Tlakula’s deputy at the time, is currently the IEC’s chief electoral officer (CEO), and his deputy is Du Plessis.
The report blasted the bidding process for numerous irregularities, saying it would not stand up in litigation that “could arise by anyone of the unsuccessful bidders”.
One of the report’s findings is that Langtry, Tlakula’s then manager in the office of CEO, provided incorrect information to the bid committee, which resulted in a company that should have been considered for the bid, Khwela City, being excluded. Abland eventually won the bid, and Tlakula’s business partner in a separate company – Thaba Mufamadi – owns a stake in that company.
The forensic report said the rental being charged by Abland was not fair market rental. Too much space is allegedly being leased, resulting in an extra R110-million being spent on the unnecessary space over the 10 years of the lease, while a high rate of rent and operating costs incurs them a further R20.8-million above market norms over the 10-year period.
Madonsela released her report “Inappropriate Moves” in August 2013, finding that the deal was “irregular … and violated procurement rules”. Madonsela took particular aim at Tlakula in the report, saying she played a “grossly irregular” role in procuring the Riverside Office Park building in Centurion, Pretoria.
Langtry is also mentioned in Madonsela’s report as partly responsible for the botched lease, along with Moepya and Du Plessis. The report caused a sensation at the time for the historically stable and widely respected IEC, with tensions among the five commissioners coming to the fore.
But Madonsela’s recommendations have been less than easy to follow for those wanting to bring the matter to a close. Jurisdiction over who can adjudicate the matter has presented a further headache for all involved.
?IEC deputy chair Terry Tselane, who was appointed to speak on the matter, emphasised in February that the commissioners may take action to address issues in the organisation as raised by the public protector’s report, but that they were not empowered to judge where Tlakula is concerned. This has left the long-serving Tlakula in something of a legislative blind spot.
A parliamentary ad-hoc committee decided against advising on the matter in October 2014, saying Madonsela overstepped her authority in referring the IEC matter to them.
Madonsela also recommended the IEC’s own court, the electoral court, deal with the findings of her report.
But the electoral court is legislated to adjudicate matters relating to commissioners. Because Tlakula was chief electoral officer during the events detailed in the public protector’s report, her conduct falls outside the ambit of the electoral court.
The matter is further complicated by the fact that Tlakula has taken the public protector’s report on judicial review. The matter is pending at the high court in Pretoria and Tlakula has refused to comment further after vehemently protesting her innocence when the report was first released.
IEC protected by the Constitution
Several commissioners as well as those political party representatives closely involved with the IEC say the public protector’s recommendations are difficult to follow, given the legal conundrum it represents. The IEC is a chapter nine institution, a body whose independence is strongly protected by the Constitution.
A further problem with the report is the action it recommends against a the officials in Tlakula’s office at the time of the leasing deal, who are still at the IEC and integral to the smooth running of the upcoming election.
Senior respected bureaucrats in the IEC are in the firing line. The report recommended that Du Plessis and Moepya two face disciplinary action and treasury’s report seems to reiterate this line of action.
Du Plessis reached retirement age last month and was due to leave the organisation. This was despite the fact that he represented invaluable experience to the IEC, according to two sources. A request to extend his contract by six months in order to help with elections on May 7 was turned down.
Moepya came under enormous pressure since the report’s release but was not able to comment until other processes related to the report were concluded. He told the Mail & Guardian he would focus on the smooth running of the general election.
Tselane has echoed the same sentiment, as the body strives to maintain a stable front ahead of elections.
“Our focus largely is delivering the elections,” he previously told the M&G.
Verashni Pillay is an associate editor at the Mail & Guardian.