CadreGate: DA to launch contempt of court application against ANC

Issued by John Steenhuisen MP – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
23 Feb 2024 in News

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) announced additional and follow-up action we are taking as part of our ongoing campaign against African National Congress (ANC) cadre deployment corruption.

Using the precedent created in our recent victory in the Constitutional Court, the DA will launch a contempt of court application against the ANC to obtain copies of the emails and WhatsApps relevant to the period when the President, Cyril Ramaphosa, served as chairman of the ANC’s cadre deployment committee during the height of state capture between 2013 and 2018. We will also today file our application for leave to appeal the North Gauteng High Court judgement handed down on Tuesday.

The ANC failed to include Ramaphosa’s own emails and WhatsApps in the material it handed over to the DA, despite the fact that Ramaphosa was chairman of this committee during this period and was one of the recipients of the emails and WhatsApp messages in question. He ultimately bears responsibility for its operations but fails to depose to an affidavit confirming he has no documents or information for this period.

The DA has yesterday, issued a letter of demand to the ANC for it to fully comply with the Constitutional Court’s order with a deadline of tomorrow. If they do not adhere to the demand, we will seek an urgent contempt of court ruling that includes prison time aimed specifically at its Secretary-General, Fikile Mbalula, who acted on behalf of the ANC in this matter.

We will use the precedent created in the Jacob Zuma case, when he was sent to prison for similarly being in contempt of a Constitutional Court order. Finally, we will pursue criminal charges against ANC officials involved in the destruction of information as part of a blatant coverup campaign to try and wipe Ramaphosa’s fingerprints off of the cadre deployment records.

In our legal letter sent to the ANC yesterday, the DA points out that the ANC failed to comply with the court order in a number of respects:

  1. The ANC extensively redacted the documents despite not being entitled to do so by the court order;
  2. They have provided no information for as five-year period during which President Cyril Ramaphosa was the Cadre Deployment Committee Chairperson. The ANC also failed to mention this in their court papers;
  3. They failed to provide a list of all decisions taken by the cadre deployment committee, as ordered by the court;
  4. They impermissibly restricted communication disseminated during the year 2020;
  5. They furnished illegible documents;
  6. They destroyed documents whilst the matter was pending before the court;
  7. They failed to adequately explain the steps taken to locate the information, including all information from President Ramaphosa himself as Chairperson of the committee and thus recipient of any and all information and documents pertaining to it;
  8. They failed to provide minutes that were not formally adopted, even though the court order obliges the party to hand over all relevant information.

The ANC also failed to provide any information for the period between 2013 and 2018, despite the court ordering that it must include this period when Ramaphosa was cadre chairman. As we point out in our letter that the PAIA request “is not limited to minutes of committee meetings but extends to all information on the processes and decisions of the committee during the period 2013-2021…”.

It is not credible for the ANC to claim that there exists no documentary or digital trace at all of any communications on the committee’s processes during this five-year period.” It makes no mention of the steps it has taken to source documents or information from the members of the committee or recipients of cadre emails.

The failure to hand over the relevant information also flies in the face of Ramaphosa’s own testimony before the State Capture Commission, when he said: “I think those who are in charge will just take notes and just record a decision and it is then communicated.” The DA and the public are entitled to access these “notes” and “decisions” in terms of the court order.

Finally, the criminal charges the DA will lay against the ANC stem from the admission, made under oath, by ANC official Thapelo Masilela that he destroyed a number of the records that were the subject of the PAIA request after the Court order had been granted, while the ANC’s applications for leave to appeal were still pending.

This conduct constitutes an offence in terms of section 90(1) of PAIA which provides that:

“(1) A person who with intent to deny a right of access in terms of this Act—

(a) destroys, damages or alters a record;

(b) conceals a records; or

(c) falsifies a record or makes a false record, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.”

The DA will not relent in our battle against ANC cadre deployment corruption until we have outlawed and abolished this scourge from the face of South Africa. Our campaign now moves into its next phase, as we move to hold ANC leaders – including Ramaphosa and Mbalula – personally accountable for their roles in the system that caused state capture and collapsed service delivery.

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