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SCOPA to investigate alleged maladministration, corruption at DBSA
1 June 2021, 4:01 PM

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) plans to start an enquiry to look into allegations of maladministration, mismanagement and corruption at the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

The allegations were brought to the committee by United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa. They are centred around the awarding and repaying of loans worth millions and the transparency of board appointments.

SCOPA invited the DBSA to clear the air around allegations made against the entity. According to information provided to the committee by Holomisa, they have among others, written off debt of more than R200-million.

The bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Patrick Dlamini says they treat these allegations very seriously and have embarked on an internal investigation.

“There is no evidence of conflict of interest, no collusion or fraud on all transactions. The transaction in question is due to economic recession in the aftermath of 2007/2008,” says Dlamini.

However, SCOPA says there are too many unanswered questions.

SCOPA Chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa says they have to hold an enquiry.

“I think in the main, DBSA not assisted themselves with what I can call theoretical outlook with a view to lecture and educate, devoid of necessary bias towards accountability. Some of the things that emanated have been unacceptable. So I think we had met in November and agreed would formulate a framework for enquiry, that stands especially after what we have heard today. That is justified,” says Hlengwa.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says they will fully cooperate.

“Thanks for giving DBSA an opportunity to say their piece, we must hold institutions accountable. I take criticism very seriously because we self criticise often, ” says Mboweni.

 

 

Government must do more to stimulate economy, create jobs: SAFTU
1 June 2021, 2:18 PM

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has reacted to the shocking unemployment figures by saying the government must do more to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

SAFTU says the manufacturing sector had at one time composed 20% of GDP but has declined to just 11%.

Stats SA data shows the number of discouraged job seekers jumped by 201 000 or nearly seven percent in the last quarter.

The latest figures take the official unemployment rate to 32.6%  in the first quarter – up from 32.5% in the last quarter of last year.

Unemployment increases to 32.6% in the first quarter of 2021: Johannes Khosa

SAFTU General-Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says the country has not started to deal with the economic crisis.

“We’re calling for a real stimulus package that will be above a trillion rand to make sure that the manufacturing sector is saved. To ensure that the jobs that are now at risk as we enter the third wave of the coronavirus are saved. To introduce a basic income grant to ensure that the number of women that are looking after our children are reduced by ensuring that we support them more directly and so that we can put the economy in a growth path,” says Vavi.

Reaction to Quarterly Labour Force figures: Zwelinzima Vavi

Fort Hare University students protest claiming they have not received NSFAS allowances
31 May 2021, 9:00 PM

Disgruntled students who still haven’t received their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allowances at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape have embarked on a protest.

They claim that they haven’t received their allowances since the beginning of this academic year. The protest took place during the launch of a multi-million rand student accommodation project at the institution.

The students asked Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande to intervene.

Funding remains a challenge for many students at higher learning institutions in the country. It has led to some dropping out of university. These students say they are in a desperate place and they accuse authorities of not taking their plight seriously.

“We have been waiting for our allowances since March, we haven’t eaten since. The reason why we are here is mainly because we have been trying for amends. We have been trying to reach out to all the people who are relevant who can help us to actually get our allowances but there is no answer,” says a student.

Blade Nzimande defends NSFAS

Meanwhile, Nzimande says the students who are protesting are a minority from programmes that NSFAS stopped funding.

“Many of them who are receiving the very same NSFAS funding that is making it possible for them to continue with their education, that there are instances where there may be challenges on when and how the allowances are received must not detract from the fact that these students are actually receiving allowances. Some of the students who are protesting I am made to understand are those who are in programs that are no longer supported by NSFAS as per our policy of government.”

The new student village is set to accommodate over 2 000 students. Minister Nzimande also committed to building a new library at the University of Fort Hare.

Student Protests | Fort Hare University students protest over the slow processing of allowances:

Tourism Department to oppose court application regarding Equity Fund
31 May 2021, 8:30 PM

The Department of Tourism has announced its intention to oppose a court application to have the government’s R1.2 billion Tourism Equity Fund scrapped.

Last month, trade union Solidarity and lobby group AfriForum were granted an interdict by the High Court in Pretoria, stopping the Fund from processing applications for bailout funding from black-owned tourism enterprises that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fund only allows tourism businesses that are 51% black-owned and managed to apply for assistance.

Court battle looms over SA Tourism Equity Fund criteria:

Solidarity and AfriForum say this discriminates against white-owned companies and is therefore illegal and unconstitutional.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane was speaking during a media briefing.

As our legal team prepares to represent us in another court battle on transformation of the tourism sector, we do so with our unwavering resolve that the Fund is a necessary intervention within the constitutional values and imperatives for the creation of an equal society, tangibly addressing the imbalance of our country’s past,” says Kubayi-Ngubane.

Launch of the Tourism Equity Fund: Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane

Majodina drops decision to open assault case against PAP member
31 May 2021, 7:52 PM

South African Member of Parliament Pemmy Majodina will no longer be opening a case of assault against a fellow Pan-African Parliament member.

A scuffle broke out in the Midrand chamber as PAP MPs argued over the voting system. The election debate turned physical as the male MP of the Pan-African Parliament allegedly tried to kick Majodina.

The man, whom Majodina identifies as a Senegalese member, can be seen on video lifting his leg towards her. Majodina says she was trying to stop a physical altercation when she was attacked.

The man later apologised to Majodina, thus the dropping of the legal action against him by the South African MP.

Pan-African Parliament chaos | Senegalese member apologises to MP Pemmy Majodina over the ‘kick’

The Southern Caucus of the PAP is leading the call to have the elections put on a rotational basis. The Northern and Southern caucuses have never held the Presidency of the PAP – which also has a Central, Western and Eastern caucus.

The Western and Eastern caucus say that rule changes need to ratified if there must be a change in voting structures. The presiding officers say they have no power to change the system on a whim.

Zimbabwe’s Pupurai Togarepi refused to move from the podium, declaring the vote would not go ahead.

Last week, the debate over the same issue resulted in serious threats being exchanged by MPs.

Pan-African Parliament | Proceedings adjourned due to leadership dispute

 

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