ID leader Patricia De Lille has thankfully gone back to doing what she does best, raising a stink about our multi-billion Rand arms deal.
The allegation that the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund was on the receiving end of dirty cash of course has everyone’s moral indignation meter turned up to eleven. Minister of Defence (and ANC Chairman) Mosiuoa Lekota was suitably outraged:
I can now confirm that on the 29th of January 1999 the following organisations each received R500 000 from [German arms manufacturer] Thyssen-Krupp – African National Congress, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Community Development Foundation.
Is [she] saying… that Comrade Nelson Mandela, the former president of this country, was a crook that wanted to steal money through the strategic defence package? Because if that is what she is saying, she must get out of this House and say it there.
I’m just wondering if donating to various charities has become a ‘tribute’ that is needed to be paid to prove that you’re willing to spend the big bucks later on. For instance wasn’t the “anonymous” donors behind the statue of Nelson Mandela in the (appropriately titled) Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton revealed (in Noseweek if I remember correctly) to be the consortium behind the Gripen fighters?
Well that didn’t take too long. The National People’s Party has already descended into infighting and expulsions.
The NPP was formed by a number of Western Cape councilors with much bluster and hype who hoped to break the DA alliance on the Cape Town City Council and set themselves up to be king makers in the region. For those of you who can remember back to the most recent municipal elections this was the same tactic the ID tried and just like for the ID it failed miserably, with the DA still retaining control of Cape Town. The ID had to change track when it’s voters went into open revolt over it’s decision to ally with the ANC and is now a partner to the DA.
The NPP, having no voters, instead now has to turn in on itself. Come the next municipal elections I predict they’ll be all but wiped out.
The media is all abuzz with stories that Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille is feuding with DA Western Cape Leader Theuns Botha. What makes the story all the more juicy is that Botha is supposedly in cahoots with ID Leader Patricia De Lille. According to reports Botha is not keen to have Zille become national DA leader as that would make him her subordinate. Tony Leon was quick to jump in and declare any stories about feuds and plots to be little more than media ‘distortion’. Despite proclaiming in his last weekly e-mail newsletter that the DA is proud of it’s transparent leadership selection process it seems when things get nasty it’s time to take things behind closed doors.
If this is all true it’s unclear to me why Botha would be conspiring with the ID. Sure he may not like Zille but why does Patricia De Lille not want Zille to become national DA leader? Perhaps in becoming DA leader Zille would dethrone De Lilla as first lady of opposition politics? Or does De Lille believe it would strengthen the DA in the Western Cape and perhaps thwart any plans the ID had of swapping alleigances (again) when floor crossing occurs again in September?
To tell you the truth I’ve never really liked Theuns Botha. To me he is a leftover from the highly unsuccessful DP/NNP merger and every time I see him I get the feeling the only reason he didn’t follow the rest of his NNP pals to the ANC was because of his still lingering dislike for ‘die kommuniste’. Although I could have the man all wrong.
Despite repeated claims by government that the arms deal was “not affected by any corruption”, the German government has now asked the National Prosecuting Authority for assistance in their own investigation. That kind of adds a bit more weight to the accusations. Independent Democrat leader Patricia De Lille is also getting back to her old corruption busting roots that everyone initially loved her for, as opposed to her suicidal political strategies in the Cape Town local government, by personally going to both Germany and the UK to meet with investigators there.
The German investigation is focusing on Chippy Shaik (brother of already convicted bribery middle man Schabir Shaik, fancy that) and his alleged $3 million bribe he solicited from German firm ThyssenKrupp, who were awarded the contract to build the SA Navy’s Valour class frigates. At the time Chippy was the head of aquisitions for the arms deal so of course he would be the guy to bribe if you had to, not to mention the guy to throw a few juicy contracts his brothers way. The eye opening thing to me was that up until 1999 bribery wasn’t even illegal in Germany, you just filed it under ‘other expenses’ on your balance sheet.
To me it seems the pressure is building on Thabo Mbeki at an increasing rate. It’s one thing to brush off accusations of bribery from the “jealous opposition”, it’s a lot harder when the governments of Germany and the UK start making the same rumbling noises. This coupled with the whole FNB pulled ad fiasco is going to make the upcoming State of the Nation address very interesting.
A deal has been reached between Mayor Zille and MEC for Local Government Richard Diyanti that will see the DA coalition retain control of the executive mayoral committee. In return two new subcouncils are to be created with extra ward committees. I assume those new subcouncils will be ANC controlled.
This seems to be quite a PR victory for the DA who managed to successfully go toe to toe with the ANC.The biggest losers though are the ID. If the DA and ANC start working more closely together they will be completely left out in the cold. When (if?) the floor crossing period opens again I expect them to take a serious hit. Which is why they’re trying to take credit for the ANC backing down, as can be seen in this quote from ID caucus leader Simon Grindrod:
“We are glad that the ANC heeded our call to ‘immediately halt this power grab’,” says Grindrod.
The Independent Democrats(ID) continues to have issues with their own councillors in the Western Cape. After the resignation (and re-election as a DA member) by Sheval Arendse the also expelled Achmat Williams but he has now won an interdict allowing him to return to his seat. I’m not sure if he will return officially as part of the ID (but certainly not listening to ID leadership) or as an independent member.However it seems the ID has even more troubles to worry about:
But Grindrod has said that at least five councillors have been reprimanded by the party’s leadership for not doing their work in their communities and who were siding with those who face party disciplinary action.
ID councillor David Sasman, a former party whip, failed to turn up at his disciplinary hearing on Friday on charges that include criticising the party’s leadership, not attending caucus meetings and failing to do his work.
If new elections were to be hypothetically held tomorrow I wonder how the ID would do?
With the seasons slowly turning to summer I guess it’s about time the ID changes their political direction in Cape Town for , I think, the fourth time this year. They will now oppose any attempts by Local Government MEC Richard Diyanti to dissolve the executive mayoral system in Cape Town in favor of an system based on an executive committee, despite having been committed to an executive committee system since before the local elections.
I’m guessing the ID did this because if (when?) Diyanti changes the structure of the council the ID will probably be the biggest losers. They had a near uprising after they voted for the ANC mayoral electoral candidate and should the ANC get more power in the current council they probably foresaw a voter backlash (such as what happened in the Tafelsig by-election) hitting them again.
Let’s chronicle the ID’s history of flip flopping:
1. Before the local election it is widely assumed (by most of their voters judging by the letters to the press after point 2 occurs) the ID and DA would form some alliance.
2. The ID decides to vote for the ANC mayoral candidate.
3. Following the media beat down the ID states they will never vote in such a way that Helen Zille is taken out of power.
4. ID sticks to idea of executive committee system (although it would potentially remove any power from Zille) and state they will support it in court should the DA fight Diyanti in that arena.
5. ID decide to abandon that idea and now apologise for ever supporting the ANC in the mayoral elections in the first place.
It looks like Richard Diyanti’s move to grab the Cape Town council from the DA might be hitting a few snags. Firstly it seems that there are some in the ANC who are suffering from a bit of ‘democratic remorse’ and are thinking maybe you know they should just respect the outcome of the municipal election.
The second reason why it might hit a snag is oh so ironic. Back in 2002 when the ANC took control of the Cape Town municipality via floor crossing the DA took the ANC to court to try and get seats on the new created executive mayoral committee. If seats were to be given out according to proportion of votes received the DA would have received 4 of the 10 mayoral council seats. Except that the ANC successfully argues that the DA only had to be ‘broadly represented’ and not ‘directly represented’ and they were only given two seats on council and denied any portfolio positions.
And now this same ruling could come back and bite the ANC. According to this ruling the ANC may only be entitled to one or two seats with the ID also receiving a single seat and the DA the rest.
- Western Cape ID leader Simon Grindrod gets into a shouting match with AMP councillor Badih Chaaban. As they are both mature politicians, cooler heads prevail… and they both lay criminal charges against each other.
- IEC chairperson Brigalia Bam possibly disqualifies herself from overseeing national elections by stating she hopes the next president of SA is a woman.
- Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad remembers that maybe he did meet with French arms company Thomson CSF prior to Thomson (now Thint) winning a large chunk of change in the multi billion dollar arms deal, although he remembers nothing about the meeting.
The ID have stated that from now on they will abstain from any council vote that could give the ANC control of the Cape Town council. No doubt the PR beatdown and (still simmering) supporter backlash the ID suffered after voting with the ANC against Helen Zille was a factor in this decision but there’s also the fact that the ID could potentially already lose a seat to the DA in a by election after an ID councillor resigned.
Now if the ID sticks to this decision it does make the chance of the ANC getting the position of mayor back pretty slim. Even if the ANC could get the AMP and the minor parties on it’s side it would have 90 votes while the DA and ACDP (who I don’t think will ever leave the coalition) will have 97. I’m not sure if the mayoral vote requires an outright majority (+51%) for a decision but if not then the DA can breathe a bit easier.
Update: According to the comments, Sheval Arendse, who was the ID councillor who resigned, will be running for vacant seat as a DA candidate.
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