Tag Archives: Economic Freedom Fighters

‘Nonsensical:’ EFF slams Ndabeni-Abrahams’ 2-month leave, calls for her removal

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has termed Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams’ two-month special leave for breaching lockdown regulations as “nonsensical.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the party also called for her removal from the Cabinet and for the SA Police Service to take action against her.

It said, “The two-month censure imposed on the Minister for breaching the lockdown is nonsensical and suggests that Ministers and Members of the Executive must be treated as if they are above the law.”

‘Slap on the wrist’

Ramaphosa announced the censure earlier on Wednesday after meeting Ndabeni-Abrahams on Tuesday.

He said he had accepted her apology but had been “unmoved by mitigating factors she tendered,” and directed her to issue a public apology.

The President also said the law must take its course regarding allegations that the Minister had violated the lockdown regulations. He added that one month of the special leave will be unpaid.

However, the EFF said, “To lose a month’s worth of salary and be put on leave is a slap on the wrist for a contravention that mocks our collective effort as a nation.”

‘SAPS should take action’

The party added, “We call on the Minister of Police and SAPS to take the same action they have done with ordinary citizens who have violated the regulations.”

The controversy stems from a picture former deputy minister Mduduzi Manana shared on social media on Saturday. It showed Ndabeni-Abrahams having lunch with him and his family at his residence.

In a statement on Tuesday, Manana said the Minister was at his residence to collect personal protective equipment for students working on COVID-19 digital services.

The EFF however called for an investigation into Manana’s claim, saying it was “concerning” that he had “summoned” a Minister to his home to collect donations while there are “structures and mechanism” to coordinate such donations.

The EFF added, “Ministers must never meet self-purported philanthropists in their homes, as these unofficial meetings lack transparency and are a dark road towards corruption.

“Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams must be removed from the Cabinet if the integrity of the national lockdown is to be maintained and the rule of law is to be taken seriously.”

The Minister has issued a public apology and appealed to Ramaphosa and South Africans to forgive her for her actions.

EFF: Rupert’s R1b COVID-19 pledge ‘a sophisticated loan shark scheme’

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has slammed billionaire Johann Rupert for reportedly administering his R1 billion COVID-19 donation in the form of loans for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs).

In a statement on Tuesday, the party said this would “entrap” the SMMEs applying for funding into “un-repayable loans.”

It said, “Rupert is using one of his subsidiaries, Business Partners, a risk finance company, to set up a sophisticated loan shark scheme that will indebt [sic] SMMEs and ensure he secures long-term profits from a national disaster.”

‘Government must administer all donations’

The EFF said the government must administer all donations made by private individuals and entities and that these donations “should not come with any conditions.”

It added, “We call on government to disclose the exact details of all the pledges and donations made by the private sector, indicating what they are for and how they are going to be used to combat the rapid spread of coronavirus and the economic devastation of our people.

“We call on our SMMEs to not apply for any loan from the Rupert-controlled Business Partners because it will leave them in huge debts.”

According to its website, Business Partners was established by Anton Rupert, Johann Rupert’s father, in 1981. It was known as the Small Business Development Corporation Ltd (SBDC) at the time.

Donation ‘will not go back to Rupert family’

In an interview with CNBC Africa on Tuesday, Business Partners managing director Ben Bierman reiterated that the R1 billion donation will not go back to the Rupert family.

“It’s important to note that the money made by the Rupert family is a donation. None of this capital will ever flow back to the Rupert family again,” he said.

Biernan added that Business Partners will establish an online platform by the end of this week. The platform will outline eligibility criteria for SMMEs in need of funding.

He said smaller businesses affected by COVID-19 will get grants, which means they will not be obligated to pay them back.

Biernan added, “There will also be a loan component for bigger businesses to try and see if that can be repaid in the future.

“The initial interest-free period [with] no repayment obligations for those businesses will be approximately for 12 months, after which we hope that the major impact of the virus would have subsided.”

Payment holidays, R3,500 grant and 200MB free data: EFF’s COVID-19 proposals

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has proposed a range of measures to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement on Monday, the party said banks must initiate a payment holiday on home loans; vehicle finance loans; credit card and overdraft repayments; and personal, student and business loans for a minimum of four months.

It added, “Government must pay all workers who earn below R15,000 a once-off grant of R3,500 for food and hygiene essentials.”

‘Free 200MB daily data’

The EFF also called on the government to “prohibit” all evictions, be they from occupied land or tenant residence, and to suspend all rental payments. Property owners should receive a subsidy in return, it said.

The party added, “All service providers such as MultiChoice, Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Cell C and others should suspend debit orders and service fees for 4 months.

“All municipalities should extend the period of payment of property rates, water and electricity by 30 additional working days, and no municipality or Eskom should be allowed to disconnect services.

“Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom and all other network service providers should give all customers (RICA SIM card) a daily free 200MB, 15 free talk minutes network to network and 15 minutes for all other networks.”

Price guidelines

The party also said the government must publish price guidelines for basic products such as maize meal, bread, milk, flour, vegetables and fruits, and soap and sanitisers.

Other measures it proposed include tax rebates for individuals and companies as well as grants for small and medium-sized businesses.

Last week, the government announced a number of similar measures, including regulations imposing controls on the prices of dozens of basic products.

At a media briefing, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said, “Price rises may not exceed the increase in the costs of raw materials or inputs and profit levels should not be hiked higher than the period prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.”

The Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, also announced a Support Intervention to help small businesses.

Ntshavheni said the Intervention will comprise a Debt Relief Fund and a Business Growth/Resilience Facility.

She added, “The Debt Relief Fund is aimed at providing relief on existing debts and repayments to assist SMMEs during the period of the COVID-19 State of Disaster.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to outline further measures in his address to the nation later on Monday.

EFF urges govt to arrest ‘lunatic’ religious leaders who defy gatherings ban

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has urged the government to arrest religious leaders who insist on defying the government’s ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the ban last Sunday as part of the government’s measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EFF said, “The government must not hesitate to arrest any reckless leader who encourages his or her congregants to continue to gather in numbers. Such lunatics must be arrested immediately.”

SA Zionist Church vows to defy ban

Ramaphosa met the country’s top religious leaders earlier this week. Most of them pledged to adhere to the ban.

However, the South African Zionist Church has remained defiant and has insisted that it will go ahead with its Easter services.

In an interview with SABC News on Thursday, its spokesperson Bishop Bheki Ngcobo said, “Why are companies still allowed to operate? They were given the precautions and those companies have more than a thousand workers in one building.

“But only the church must not go and worship the Lord. I am not disputing what the President is saying because it is his country, but I do understand that in South Africa God is there. In our congregation, we agreed that we are going to worship the Lord in numbers.”

Gauteng Health’s interdict against church

The EFF’s call came on the same day Gauteng’s Department of Health announced that it had obtained a court interdict against a defiant church in Katlehong, east of Johannesburg.

In a statement, the Department said, “The church has been interdicted and restrained with immediate effect from convening a church service that is not in accordance with the gazetted regulations.”

It said non-compliance with the regulations could result in fines or arrests because mass gatherings put people at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

As of Friday afternoon, South Africa had a total of 202 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with the number of local transmissions also rising.

During a media briefing in the Free State on Friday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the outbreak could affect as much as 60 percent of South Africa’s population.

He said, “When you deal with epidemics, you need to understand that the virus could affect many people, even up to about 60 percent.

“But it doesn’t mean that those people are going to die, it doesn’t mean that all of them are going to get it at the same time, and it doesn’t mean that we now have an apocalypse.”

COVID-19: EFF proposes R3,500 once-off grant for workers earning below R15,000

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has proposed a raft of measures to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in South Africa.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday, the party said the government must pay all workers earning below R15,000 a month a once-off R3,500 grant “for food and hygiene essentials.”

It urged the government to “engage” business, and the financial sector in particular, to offer financial relief to workers.

‘Suspend home loan repayments’

The EFF said, “All banks must suspend payments for home loans for four months and restructure terms of payments for home loans. All home loan payments that were made on the 15th and [the] ones scheduled for the 25th of March should be reversed.

“All banks must suspend repayment of personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts for a period of four months. All banks must suspend repayment of car loans for four months.

“Lastly, all service providers such as MultiChoice, Vodacom, MTN and others should suspend debit orders for four months.”

The party also said the government should use “surpluses” from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Compensation Fund and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to fund companies to enable them to pay salaries and liabilities.

Proposals mirror those by DA

Small businesses that employ one to 50 employees should also get funding from the government to avoid retrenchments, the EFF said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) made similar proposals in a statement issued by its shadow minister of finance, Geordin Hill-Lewis.

The DA called for “a nationwide four-month payment holiday on loans for small and medium businesses, in particular, property loans, business loans, and vehicle loans.”

Other proposals it made include a pause or reduction in rental payments and a rates relief for local businesses by local governments that can afford it.

The DA added, “The Department of Labour could pause payments for UIF and Worker’s Compensation Fund by small businesses for four months, without affecting workers’ cover under these funds.

“To protect businesses from bankruptcy, we propose that business rescue proceedings should receive an automatic three month extension beyond the three months provided for in S132 of the Companies Act.”

During his address to the nation on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the Cabinet is finalising a stimulus package for the economy to mitigate the impact of coronavirus.

At a media briefing after meeting political parties in Parliament on Wednesday, Ramaphosa also appealed to the government’s social partners, including business, labour and civil society groups, to be involved.

EFF: SA unable to institute effective travel bans because it lacks independence

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has adopted a lukewarm response to the extraordinary measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to contain the spread of coronavirus in South Africa.

In a statement on Monday, the party suggested that the travel bans announced by Ramaphosa on Sunday will not be effective.

It said, “It is apparent to us that the South African state under the leadership of the governing party is unable to institute effective travel bans due to its lack of independence.”

‘Slow response’

The EFF added, “It is because we are unable as a country to produce our own cars, washing rags, houses and clothes that we cannot institute bans on nations plagued by coronavirus.”

It also criticised the government’s “slow” response to the crisis, adding that although there is now a state of national disaster in place, “exposure to the virus within the country has already gained expression.”

However, other opposition parties largely welcomed the measures announced by Ramaphosa, which also included closure of dozens of land and sea ports. Gatherings of more than 100 people have also been prohibited.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen said, “Now, more than ever, we must put politics aside if we are going to succeed in the fight against COVID-19.”

Water and sanitation

GOOD Secretary General Brett Herron added, “Our country is called upon to act in solidarity with each other and in pursuit of the common purpose.”

Inaktha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa also said, “The IFP echoes the plea of President Ramaphosa for all South Africans to take urgent and extraordinary preventative efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to desist from spreading fake news and misinformation.”

Nevertheless, he said Ramphosa should have addressed the challenge of inadequate water and sanitation in many townships and rural areas.

This is because without water, South Africans living in these areas would be unable to maintain the level of hygiene that Ramaphosa encouraged in his address to the nation.

The President confirmed that there are now 61 cases of coronavirus in South Africa, most of them relating to people who had travelled abroad.

However, he said there are now new cases of internal transmission, a situation that required “extraordinary measures.”

EFF rejects ruling setting aside Mkhwebane’s CR17 report, vows to appeal

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has “categorically” rejected Pretoria high court’s ruling setting aside Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign donations.

In a statement on Tuesday, the party vowed to appeal the ruling at the Constitutional Court because it had “absolved Ramaphosa from accountability.”

The EFF applied to join the matter in support of Mkhwebane. However, the court dismissed their arguments and ruled that Ramaphosa had not deliberately misled Parliament when he answered a question about a donation by the late ex-Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson to his campaign.

‘Ruling renders MPs’ oath futile’

The court also ruled that Ramaphosa did not personally benefit from the donations financially and was not obliged to declare the donations. It also ruled that Mkhwebane had no jurisdiction to investigate the CR17 campaign.

The EFF rejected these findings, asking how MPs are expected to declare simple items while Ramaphosa does not have to declare the “billions” his campaign received.

The party said, “The North Gauteng High Court ruling has effectively rendered the oath of members of Parliament futile, uprooting the respect this important arm of the state has.

“Absolving him means there are laws for the rest of South Africans and laws for Ramaphosa. It is a direct violation of the foundation of our constitutional order: equality before the law.”

CR17 documents

The EFF also criticised the ruling’s “complete silence” on the decision, made by Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba in August last year, to seal CR17 documents obtained by Mkhwebane during the course of her investigation.

The documents include emails and bank statements, some of which were leaked to the media and social media.

“This silence must be read as the court effectively participating in the cover up of CR17 documents and thus inhibiting accountability, transparency and openness on the part of those who hold immense public power,” the EFF said.

The party said an appeal affords the Constitutional Court an opportunity to “either correct the unreasonableness of the North Gauteng High Court or join in obliterating the principles of equality before the law, transparency and accountability.”

It added, “Let the Constitutional Court participate in saying Ramaphosa does not have to declare funds he personally benefitted from in order to be President of the ruling party.

“On that day, it will be the end of our constitutional democracy as we know it.”

Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, earlier said she would “rally” her legal team to study the ruling before making a decision on the way forward.

EFF: We’ll launch #RamaphosaMustGo campaign if he sells Eskom’s old power stations

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has vowed to launch a #RamaphosaMustGo campaign if President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration sells Eskom’s old power stations.

In a statement on Friday evening, the party accused Ramaphosa of intending to “sell Eskom power generation to the people who gave him money to buy the African National Congress (ANC) conference.”

During a briefing with the South African National Editors’ Forum in Cape Town on Tuesday this week, Ramaphosa expressed interest in the idea of selling the power stations when they are due for decommissioning.

‘Decommissioning would cause job losses’

He said, “There are quite a number of power stations that will be decommissioned and there are a number of players who have come to the fore and have said, ‘We can run these power stations much more effectively and profitably than Eskom; when you get to a point of decommissioning them, sell them to us. We will generate electricity [and] pump it into the grid.’

“It is an option that we should look at. I’m most interested in us looking at that option. If we do, it would then give workers [and] communities in the area the transition that we’ve been talking about, because the towns where those power stations are located would die if those power stations are decommissioned.”

However, the EFF expressed its vehement opposition to the idea because it would mean selling Eskom’s generating capacity to the “greedy capitalist establishment.”

It said, “The day Ramaphosa announces the actual sale of Eskom power stations will be the day the EFF announces a campaign on #RamaphosaMustGo and the campaign will be more militant than the #ZumaMustGo campaign.”

‘Rolling mass action’

The EFF said it would counter the President’s intention by escalating its rolling mass action to all provinces. It recently held a march to Eskom to protest against privatisation and load shedding.

“The EFF also cautions the potential buyers of Eskom power stations that we will mobilise workers and communities to physically prevent any private company from operating Eskom power stations,” it added.

It called on “progressive forces” to join the “fight against the capitalist capture of South African government under Ramaphosa.”

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in February, Ramaphosa announced a series of measures to allow more private players in electricity generation while maintaining state control in transmission.

These include a new independent power producers (IPP) bid window, self-generation, and municipalities being able to purchase electricity from IPPs.

During his SANEF briefing on Tuesday, Ramaphosa defended these decisions, saying “even the most communistic countries” such as China have a number of private electricity producers.

However, he maintained that Eskom’s new power stations, Medupi and Kusile, will not be sold because they are the “Rolls-Royces that must continue to reside in Eskom’s asset base.”

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter to Malema: Provide evidence that I’m ‘corrupt’

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has challenged the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its leader Julius Malema to approach law enforcement agencies with evidence to back up their “insinuation of corruption on his part.”

The EFF issued a statement on Thursday claiming de Ruyter had “confessed to corruption, unethical and unlawful conduct” during the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) hearings in Parliament on Wednesday.

During the hearings, de Ruyter said he had identified four companies to be included in a pool of Eskom’s service providers because they had much-needed expertise and innovation, particularly in the maintenance of boiler tube ferrules.

‘Not corruption when done by white people’

He said, “This does not mean there is an instruction going from myself or from my office to appoint any contractor. It is an expansion of potential contractors to be considered when requests for work are issued to the supply team.”

However, addressing the Black Business Summit on Wednesday, Malema said introducing the companies to Eskom’s supply chain “without due process” amounted to corruption.

The EFF leader likened it to what the infamous Gupta brothers allegedly did during the alleged state capture period, adding that if former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe had done the same, it would have made news headlines.

“You do not know about this because this corruption is conducted by white people. It is not corruption when it is done by white people,” Malema said.

De Ruyter denies allegations

In a statement issued by the power utility late on Thursday, de Ruyter said he “emphatically” denied the EFF and Malema’s allegations.

The statement added, “Eskom invites anyone who has evidence of any wrongdoing and any form of corruption to approach the relevant law enforcement agencies.

“Eskom has already extended an invitation to Mr Malema and the EFF to approach the law enforcement agencies with any evidence that may be a their disposal.”

De Ruyter reiterated his denial during the Black Business Council gala dinner in Midrand on Thursday evening, adding, “No one is above the law.”

During the SCOPA hearings, de Ruyter also said, “I am very comfortable in my own mind that I have not acted unethically and I’m restraining myself at this point, because I don’t particularly appreciate the implication that I am behaving unethically.”

SCOPA chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the committee would seek legal advice on the matter.

Malema: There’s no way we can transform SA’s economy without disrupting it

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has said South Africa’s economy cannot be transformed without a disruption.

Speaking at the Black Business Summit hosted by the Black Business Council in Johannesburg on Thursday, Malema likened transforming the economy to renovating a house, something that involves a “disruption.”

He said, “There cannot be a reclaiming of the economy without a fundamental change. White people tell you that the way you go about it, you’re going to disrupt and collapse this economy.”

Land expropriation

The EFF leader added, “But the reality is [that] there is no way we can transform this economy without disrupting this economy.”

He said this “disruption” would involve expropriation of land without compensation because land was taken through “black genocide.”

Malema said state custodianship of land would be similar to the current state custodianship of South Africa’s mineral resources.

He claimed those saying land expropriation without compensation would cause a recession are racist because they don’t want black ownership of land.

‘Racist investors’

Malema said, “If we are in a recession because people can’t trust the ownership of land by black people, then let it be, because when the land is owned by white people, there is no recession, but when it is owned by black people, it would lead to a recession.

“We must never accept that. We are equally capable to own an economy, we are equally capable to own the land, and therefore there is no investor who must suspect us on the basis of the colour of our skin.

“If you use the colour of our skin to determine whether you’re going to invest or not, then you are a racist investor who’s got no place in South Africa. We’d rather be in a recession than benefit from the proceeds of a racist investor.”

Malema also urged the government to promote local manufacturing, including of uniform for the police, military, and prison warders and inmates.

According to its website, the Summit’s purpose is to “review and interrogate policy and legislative instruments that affect overall socio-economic transformation and inclusive growth in South Africa.”

African National Congress (ANC) national spokesperson Pule Mabe represented his party. Others present were Democratic Alliance’s (DA) head of policy Gwen Ngwenya and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Velenkosini Hlabisa.

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