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Spring Newsletter 2019

Welcoming Spring, and Welcoming New Team Members!

Bring on springtime!

On the staff front, we welcome Renee Caprari as a new director. Renee is an advocate with a background in corporate and insurance work. Renee intends to beef up the presence of Accountability Now in the commentariat. Her first work is already up on the home page of the website.

We have also acquired the volunteer services of Cynthia Stimpel as our COO in place of Gail Washkansky. Cynthia is the whistle blower from the treasury department of SAA. She featured as a witness in the Zondo Commission hearings and lives in Gauteng.

Welcome aboard to both of the new recruits.
Renee’s First Piece
Litigation over the BAe arms deal
The action instituted by the Quaker Peace Centre (now renamed the Cape Town Peace Centre) seeking invalidation or cancellation of the BAe arms deal of 1999 has been delayed by the taking of a technical point by the Government. It contends that it was irregular to proceed by way of action and that the QPC ought to have taken decision making on review. Until there is legal  finality on this point, the action naturally cannot proceed. The point was argued in the Pretoria High Court during August 2018 and judgment has been reserved. The possibility of settling the matter on a commercially sensible basis has been raised with counsel for the Government. Keeping a lot of aircraft that are in mothballs, have no fuel, no pilots and no mechanics to service them is not effective and efficient governance, especially when each idle aircraft cost R585 million. An attempt to get the matter transferred to the commercial claims court was unsuccessful, so it is in the queue for hearing in Pretoria.

The taxpayer will benefit considerably if the litigation is a success or if a sensible settlement is negotiated.
Litigating the Public Protector’s fitness for office
After the complaint by Accountability Now concerning the failure of the SSA to follow up on suggested ways of recovering the loot of the end of Apartheid, the Public Protector produced a report that was overturned with costs, including a partial de bonis propriis order against her.

Long before the litigation, Accountability Now complained to the Justice Portfolio Committee that the Public Protector was showing symptoms of dishonesty and incompetence. The complaint was and has been ignored despite its renewal upon the commencement of the sixth parliament. After the Constitutional Court upheld the de bonis propriis costs award on 22 July 2019 Accountability Now decided to become pro-active about the fitness for office of the Public Protector. The Legal Practice Council has been asked to investigate her misconduct with a view to striking her off the roll of advocates, which will render her ineligible for office; the criminal justice administration has been asked to investigate a charge of perjury against her arising out of the Court findings; the President has been asked to suspend her; the JPC has again been asked to investigate her and the courts will be approached to afford declaratory and mandatory relief in respect of her misconduct and incompetence.

The public obviously benefits from having a good Public Protector, not one who lies, cheats and costs the country billions.
 
Book Projects
Confronting the Corrupt
This book about the activities of Accountability Now has sold out. Its successor, the story about the litigation concerning the safety of rail commuters, is under preparation. Confronting the Corrupt has served a useful purpose in educating the public about the evils of corruption, the workings of the courts and the importance of public interest litigation as a tool for exacting accountability.

Under the Swinging Arch
This book about the Glenister litigation is all but complete. Bob Glenister is in the course of writing the narrative that links the chapters produced by various persons involved in the litigation. The benefit of this book is a concentrated and multi-author reprise of Confronting the Corrupt. Its focus on the ins and outs of the litigation that has given us the Hawks instead of the Scorpions is an insight into state capture.

The Second Edition of Know Your Rights, Claim Your Rights.
This handbook on the constitution has been published in electronic format with Gail Washkansky and Nic Van Zyl as its new editors. It is available for free download from the website of  Accountability Now, which is the campaigning name of IFAISA. If funding is made available it will be possible to publish in hard copy for distribution in schools, universities and civil society  organisations. With the necessary funding translations can also be considered.

The benefit of the handbook is that it affords access to the functionally literate to the workings of the constitution and is thus an educational tool in the hands of the general public.
If funding is made available it will be possible to publish in hard copy for distribution in schools, universities and civil society organisations. The handbook serves as a powerful tool for the empowerment of all South Africa citizens.
Donate Towards The Second Edition
State Capture
The focus of IFAISA’s work on state capture has shifted now that the Zondo Commission is  appointed and active. We have interacted with Adv Pretorius SC with a view to being supportive of the activities of the Commission and will, if invited to do so, make submissions:
(a) regarding the prevention of state capture through the appointment of an Integrity  Commission,
(b) the need to end the illegal practice of cadre deployment in the public administration and state owned enterprises;
(c) The advisability of urgently following up on recovery of the funds misappropriated in the course of state capture whether they are now in foreign jurisdictions or still within the Republic.

The benefit of participating in the state capture Commission’s deliberations is that the recommendations of the Commission can serve to reform the weaknesses in the system that led to the attempted capture of the state.
Read More
The ramifications of the Nxasana matter and the termination of the services of the NDPP Abrahams.

The outcome of the appeals to the Constitutional Court in the civil litigation launched in the wake of the dis-appointment of Mxolisi Nxasana has reinforced the position taken by IFAISA that he was corruptly removed from office by former President Zuma and the Minister of Justice, who has constitutional final responsibility for the NPA. We continue to bring pressure to bear to get the NPA to institute a criminal case for corruption and defeating the ends of justice arising from this abuse of power by former President Zuma whose fear of prosecution drove him to replace the NDPP with a more pliable successor in a corrupt manner. We continue to bring pressure to bear on the criminal justice administration to do the necessary to charge those in the wrong.

The benefit of such a prosecution will be that the rule of law will be upheld and the need for reform of the process according to which the NPDD is appointed will be highlighted.
SASSA and CPS
We continue to liaise with the court appointed Panel of Experts in order to ensure that accountability is exacted from CPS in relation to interest earned on public funds in the possession of Grindrod Bank as part of the system of rolling out of grants to beneficiaries and recipients. We have provided a memorandum and have warned that the liquidation of CPS upon termination of the contract with SASSA could lead to the loss of funds by the state.

The benefit of this activity is to ensure that the court order that CPS cannot benefit from its provision of services in terms of an invalid contract is properly implemented in the termination process. A proper accounting is required.
Human Rights Infringements in Masiphumelele
Our engagement in the land, housing and sanitation questions in Masiphumelele as itemised in our report in 2017 continues. The sub-council responsible and the city of Cape Town have flouted the agreement they made with the Public Protector and the Masi Community by failing timeously to produce the “Greater Masiphumelele Development Plan” which is supposed to address the infringments of and threats to human rights as they occur daily in the informal parts of the settlement due to neglect and failure of service delivery for which the city is responsible. The Public Protector has been asked to  either enforce or cancel the agreement with the city due to the failure to produce the plan as promised in June 2018.

The benefits of this intervention remain the same as they were last year: in short a better life for informal settlers is sought.
Read more
Integrity Commission
Our work on advocating the establishment of an Integrity Commission via an amendment to Chapter Nine of the Constitution continues. Public advocacy, presentations to interested parties and submissions to parliament have been tried without tangible progress. It is now envisaged that there will be a follow-up litigation to enforce the gains made in the Glenister and HSF litigation over the creating of an effective and efficient anti-corruption entity of state to prevent, combat, investigate, prosecute and punish serious corruption in an adequately independent manner.

The benefit of this work is to promote constitutionalism, respect for orders of court and to deal with corruption in a way that puts an end to the culture of impunity abroad in the land.
Criminal complaint against the corrupt Seth Nthai
In September 2019 we laid charges of corruption, fraud and defeating the ends of justice against Seth Nthai arising out of his admitted attempts to bribe a group of Italian miners who were in litigation with his client, the Government of SA. It is hoped that the Investigative Directorate of the NPA will take charge of the matter and bring it to a speedy conclusion.

The benefit of the charges is that a corrupt individual will not enjoy impunity, will not lightly be re-admitted to practice and that the public purse will benefit from the re-imbursement to it of the fees paid to Nthai for work done in the matter that became irrecoverable due to his malfeasance.
General Media Work
Our directors continue to give comment on current affairs as they affect accountability on radio, television and in the press both printed and electronic. Our written output is collected on the website at www.accountabilitynow.org.za. The benefit of these activities is that the foundational value of accountability as expressed in Section 1 of the Constitution is constantly brought to the fore in the SA public imagination.
Advice line to the public
Our work on queries we receive via our website continues with a view to addressing maladministration and other issues in an accountable manner. Often it is possible to refer applications to the correct channels in the public service and Chapter Nine Institutions so that they learn how to help themselves with their queries.

The benefit of this work is that constitutionalism is inculcated; self-help is discouraged and real life problems are addressed constructively.
Accountability Now
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