Mabuza denies claims that intervention in North West was 'political armed robbery'

2018-05-29 20:42
Deputy President David Mabuza. (Presidency via Twitter)

Deputy President David Mabuza. (Presidency via Twitter)

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Deputy President David Mabuza has vehemently denied that the national government put the North West under administration as a political ploy to get rid of former premier Supra Mahumapelo, as opposition MPs charged.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen asked what reasons the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) had given for putting the province under administration, and which national department would lead the administration in the pursuit of social cohesion initiatives, as Mabuza answered questions in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

"The issues of North West province have been sharply raised through various voices in that province, resulting in protests that were accompanied by the destruction of property," said Mabuza.

"The national government had to intervene to bring an end to this untenable situation.

"In cases where incidents of instability manifest themselves, any responsible state must quickly make interventions that respond to the plight of affected communities and restore stability in a manner that promotes democratic governance."

READ: Mahumapelo stays as ANC North West chair… for now

He said President Cyril Ramaphosa had sent the IMTT, whose work led to invoking Section 100(1) of the Constitution to put the entire province under administration.

"The IMTT is implementing the necessary interventions intended to resolve issues and restore normalcy in the North West province."

Mabuza also said the security cluster must still conduct further investigations where cases of maladministration and corruption are suspected. 

"Once the final report by IMTT has been presented to Cabinet, remedial action will be taken and implemented," Mabuza said.

"The bottom line is that services must be delivered to the people of North West in a prompt, effective and efficient manner as expected by citizens from their government."

'We must have an early warning system'

In his follow-up question, Steenhuisen welcomed his "honourable friend" back from Russia. He said that the Auditor General's recent report suggested that governance failure was far more prevalent in the Free State than in the North West. He said he hoped Mabuza was not encouraging violence to get a response from government.

"It is clear that the new dawn brought the sunset of a factional enemy," Steenhuisen said, eliciting scoffs from some ANC MPs.

He asked what assurance Mabuza could give that the North West wasn't put under administration as part of a political battle.

Mabuza said Cabinet had discussed the situation in the province and that the national government should come closer to provincial government.

"We must have an early warning system," he said.

"Like the AG report," grumbled a DA MP.

National government should look at all hospitals in each province, including the Western Cape, Mabuza said.

"The Free State will fall in that category," he said. "We're not going to go on a witch hunt."

He said when there were problems, national government must get involved, and in the North West some systems had collapsed.

"It’s not a speculation, it's evidence collected by the team that investigated there."

He said he was "quite satisfied" with government's investigation.

'I'm not going to say shut up'

He said Ramaphosa, as president of the ANC and of the country, had a discussion it with Mahumapelo.

"The premier accepted [to resign]. We want to thank the premier for recognising the will of the people."

He said, when people showed dissatisfaction with a leader, that leader should make way.

At this point Steenhuisen made some interjections, as he did when Ramaphosa told him to "shut up, you, Steenhuisen" when he last answered questions in the National Assembly.

"I'm going to be patient with you, and I'm going to say, please don’t disturb me. I'm not going to say shut up," a smiling Mabuza said to Steenhuisen.

"SHUT UP!" a choir of ANC MPs said.

Steenhuisen complained that Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu had screamed "shut up little boy". She denied it.

Mabuza continued and said the "progressive intervention by government was informed by the material conditions prevailing on the ground and the very fact that service delivery was hugely affected".

Then Agang MP Andries Tlouamma followed on from Steenhuisen.

"Honourable Deputy President, what is happening in North West is political armed robbery," he said.

"What guarantees do we have that North West will not be handed over to another faction of thieves?" 

"By the way, did you excuse yourself when the Cabinet took the decision to place North West under administration? Because Mahumapelo is you own twin bandit. Otherwise, this process will be like thieves chasing thieves."

'Honourable member, there is a door right next to you'

An ANC MP objected to and Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli agreed that Tlouamma's "language crossed the boundary of acceptability". 

"Honourable Tlouamma, just rise to the occasion," Tsenoli said.

"This is National Assembly, not an occasion," Tlouamma replied.

Tlouamma refused to withdraw his question.

"Honourable member, there is a door right next to you, just use it, quickly," Tsenoli said, chasing Tlouammo out of the chamber.

"Keep your COOL, honourable members!" Tsenoli thundered as MPs from both sides of the aisle laughed or made remarks.

Tsenoli then argued with Steenhuisen about his impartiality, before IFP MP Xolani Ngwezi asked his follow-up question.

Ngwezi said there were early warning signs, in the form of political parties and whistleblowers, who had warned about the situation in the North West.

They were again warning about the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, he said.

"Are you still going to wait for people to damage property before you intervene?"

Mabuza said he wanted to take the warning seriously, but wanted an explicit warning.

"Tell me this and this and this thing is going to happen. Put it in writing. This is a warning I will take."

Ngwezi wanted to point out that there was a written Auditor General's report, but Tsenoli didn't allow it.

Read more on:    anc  |  david mabuza

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