DA gives Sihle Zikalala 24 hours to release information on the 200 construction mafia arrests

Issued by Sello Seitlholo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
11 Oct 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Sello Seitlholo MP

The 7-day ultimatum that the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Sihle Zikalala, gave the DA to withdraw and apologise for calling him out on his lies about 200 construction mafia arrests has come and gone.

While the DA refused to apologise and stood by its statement, Zikalala has not only failed to follow through on his ultimatum but he still has not released records of the 200 construction mafia arrests that he claims he has in his possession.

In the interests of accountability, we are now giving Zikalala 24 hours to release the records of construction mafia arrests which their statement, on 2 October 2023, categorically stated “The Department confirms that its information that there are over 200 arrests made by the police involving work of the construction mafia is correct and authenticated by official documents in its possession.”

Failure to release this information within the stipulated timeframe will leave the DA with no option but to approach Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interest and request that they investigate the potential violation of the Executive Members Ethics Act and Code of Conduct by the Minister. The charges will be based on the fact that he sought to deliberately mislead the public by releasing false information and falsely claiming that the records of arrest in his possession were corroborated by SAPS.

An investigation article by the organisation amaBhungane exposing the underhand dealings of the construction mafia, interviewed a senior SAPS officer who expressed scepticism about Zikalala’s arrest figure claims, stating that “I’d like to see the minister’s list…..It is nowhere near that number”. Evidently, SAPS is distancing itself from Zikalala’s outright fibs because they cannot be corroborated with what law enforcement agencies have on their records.

The DA is not surprised that SAPS is washing itself off from the stench of these wild claims because they have officially proved that they too have nothing on their docket system to support them. On 10 July 2023, the DA submitted a PAIA application to SAPS requesting that they provide us with a breakdown of the specific construction projects that were targeted and the related category of crimes for which the 200 individuals, who were alleged to be part of the construction mafia, were arrested for. In addition, SAPS had to provide clarity on the exact number of individuals – from the 200, who have either been granted bail, are still on trial or have been convicted.

Not only did SAPS fail to provide records on proofs of arrest to substantiate the 200 arrests claim, they wrote to the DA to ask for an extra 30 days to look for the information. As the 30 days has lapsed with no further communication from SAPS, it is clear that records of the 200 arrests are non-existent. Zikalala must now share with South Africans the information that he claims he has to support his claim of 200 construction mafia arrests.

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