The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will write to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula requesting a debate of public importance be scheduled, following the recent release of part one of the state capture commission’s report, and the ANC’s cadre deployment committee records.
DA deputy chief whip in Parliament Siviwe Gwarube said they would write to Mapisa-Nqakula on Wednesday afternoon, requesting that the National Assembly’s programming committee prioritises the debate.
Gwarube stressed that the debate was not a waste of time, saying that the business of Parliament could not be stalled by the fire that gutted the buildings of Parliament last week.
She said state capture and corruption had been going on for several years and Parliament should be seized with finding solutions to the country’s challenges.
“Parliament is best placed to do that [and] we have seen the hollowing out of Parliament over the past decade, and now we must make sure that we put Parliament at the centre of the people’s business.
“If the speaker can accede to our request, as the DA we will be putting proposals ahead to say how can we end this kind of practice in our public service and how we can have real tangible solutions to ending corruption in South Africa,” Gwarube said.
Gwarube was speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday held by the DA to announce the steps the party intended to take after obtaining minutes of the ANC’s cadre deployment committee, and the release of the state capture commission’s damning report.
The DA had been fighting to get access to the minutes of the ANC’s cadre deployment committee, which the party eventually got from the state capture commission last week.
The committee’s records, which date back to 2018, appear to show how the ANC ran a parallel deployment process to fill senior public service positions at least 96 different government departments, agencies and the boards of state-owned enterprises.
End Cadre Deployment Bill
Gwarube said the DA had already tabled before Parliament the End Cadre Deployment Bill for consideration, and they hoped the bill would soon head to the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The bill would make it illegal for any person who holds office in a political party to be employed as a civil servant in government, and directs the PSC to enforce the requirement that all appointments be based strictly on merit.
“We will be making sure that is prioritised so that we can make sure that Parliament is dealing with the matter as soon as possible.
“Our view is that if we can get legislation that can put an end to this practice, we can start to see the undoing of the kind of culture that we have seen taking root in South Africa in the public service,” she said.
DA MP and spokesperson on justice, Glynnis Breytenbach, bemoaned that the ANC’s cadre deployment committee had damaged law enforcement agencies like the South African Police Service (Saps) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
New Chapter 9 body
Breytenbach said the first report released by acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the chair of the state capture inquiry, was an interim report at this stage and that should not stop the NPA from pursuing prosecutions.
She said the ANC’s cadre deployment policy could be linked to the weakening of law enforcement agencies, and in this regard, the DA would introduce legislation for a new Chapter 9 Institution.
The party once again proposed an Anti-Corruption Commission that would investigate high-level graft cases like the now-defunct Scorpions.
“It would be formed along the lines of the Directorate of Special Operations, the Scorpions… which would give it complete independence and security of tenure taken out of the NPA and Saps, and be a stand-alone organisation that reports directly to Parliament,” Breytenbach said.
DA MP and spokesperson on public service and administration, Leon Schreiber, said contrary to popular belief, the ANC’s cadre deployment committee did not just make recommendations on appointments to the state.
He said the committee directly interfered in the appointment of senior public servants.
“In the past three years, it has influenced the appointments to 88 state entities involving 29 ministers and deputy ministers.
“It does not only recommend but directly influences and interferes in public sector appointments across a wide spectrum of state institutions including the courts, state-owned enterprises, Chapter 9 Institutions and government departments,” he said.
The DA said it would also approach the PSC to investigate and review deployments made by the ANC’s cadre deployment committee.