Ramaphosa expresses confidence in the integrity of Lady R report

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says he has no reason to doubt the integrity of the report of the panel he appointed to investigate the Lady R incident.

He pointed out that the panel was made up of a respected retired judge and advocates.

Ramaphosa was answering oral questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday, where he was asked about the measures government was taking to fight the scourge of the construction mafia.

Ramaphosa went on to defend the government spending on the recent BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.

The President says South Africa’s membership of the BRICS nations is beneficial to the country in that it exposes South Africa to investment opportunities from fellow members.

He says many of the areas in which the country’s economy has grown is because of its association with BRICS.

He added that the economic benefits to the country outweigh the money spent on the summit.

“The money that was spent, be it for having security making sure there is order and peace, be it the number of government officials is far less than the gains we are going to make.”

“Holding that summit in itself is a huge boost, be rest assured that the association with BRICS is one we are very proud of and that we intend to continue with,” adds Ramaphosa.

The President has given Parliament assurance that government has taken measures to fight the scourge of the hijacking of construction projects by so-called construction mafia.

He says the police has set up 20 multi-disciplinary economic infrastructure task teams around the country.

Her says 960 experienced people have been forwarded to the Task Team.

A budget of R20 million has been ring-fenced for this purpose.

“The teams integrate processes but they also integrate resources and intelligence across all operational environment of the SAPS under a single command. This is to allow them to enable them to combat essential infrastructure crimes.”

“But also to focus on illicit mining and extortion. These include the NPA, FIC, relevant government departments, the NICOC as well as SARS,” adds the President.

Responding to a question on whether he had been misled by the report of the panel he appointed to investigate the Lady R incident at the Simonstown Naval Base, Ramaphosa expressed his full confidence in the quality of the work the panel produced.

The President has refused to publicly release the full report, saying it will compromise the country’s security.

“I have no reason whatsoever to believe the finding of the panel were irrational. In fact, I believe they were completely rational as one went through the report.”

“The panel made no finding of clandestine parties or illegal transactions and no evidence to contradict [the panel’s] findings. The contents of shipment is kept secret so to not comprise the work or safety of our security forces,” adds Ramaphosa.

President Ramaphosa has also assured Parliament of government’s commitment to fighting climate change.

He says the exemption gives Eskom to run Kusile without technology that removes harmful Sulphur dioxide emissions, is a temporary measure to deal with rolling blackouts.

President Ramaphosa Q&A session at the NCOP: