Lady R: We need experts, not cadres

Issued by Kobus Marais MP – DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
29 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached Afrikaans and English sounbite by Kobus Marais MP.

The announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa regarding the three-member panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the docking of the Lady R in Simon’s Town has raised serious concerns within the DA.

While we appreciate the need for a thorough investigation into this matter, we question the inclusion of former deputy minister of basic education, Enver Surty, on the panel.

Mr. Surty’s affiliation with the ANC raises questions about the impartiality and independence of the investigation. It is imperative that such investigations be conducted by experts who are free from any political bias or influence. The inclusion of a prominent ANC cadre like Mr. Surty undermines the integrity of the process and creates the perception that this investigation is a mere attempt to protect the ANC’s interests.

We firmly believe that the investigation into the Lady R docking requires individuals with expertise and experience in maritime affairs, legal matters, and ethics. The panel should consist of impartial and independent experts who can objectively examine the events and provide credible findings. The appointment of Mr. Surty, who has a clear political affiliation, fails to meet this requirement. There must be a military/defence expert and someone with knowledge of the import and export of munitions, armament, weapons, etc. to include on the panel.

To ensure transparency and accountability, the Democratic Alliance calls on President Ramaphosa to clarify whether Mr. Surty’s appointment was made based on instructions from the ANC’s deployment committee.

The DA will address this matter by submitting a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request to President Ramaphosa, seeking clarity on the appointment process and the potential influence of the ANC’s deployment committee. We are committed to holding the government accountable and ensuring that investigations are conducted in a fair and unbiased manner.

It is crucial for South Africans to have confidence in the investigative process, especially when it involves matters that could potentially implicate the ruling party. The inclusion of ANC cadres on panels investigating ANC-related issues only serves to erode public trust and deepen the perception that this is yet another ANC mess.

The DA remains committed to upholding the principles of transparency, accountability, and good governance, and we will continue to fight for a South Africa where the interests of the people come first.