DA calls on the Public Protector to set up an ‘own initiative investigation’ to probe abuse of state funds for electioneering purposes

Issued by Solly Malatsi MP – DA National Spokesperson
02 May 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Solly Malatsi MP.

Using the COVID-19 model of ‘own initiative investigation’ by the office of the Public Protector as a precedent, the DA is calling on Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka to set up a steering committee to investigate the growing incidences of state fund abuse for electioneering purposes by the ANC government.

In August 2020, the office of the Public Protector set up a steering committee for an ‘own initiative investigation’ into allegations of maladministration, improper conduct and the misappropriation of public funds by the Eastern Cape Department of Health in relation to the medical scooters project.

This investigation approach is urgently needed now as evidence grows that the ANC continues to use state funds to support its election campaign in violation of the electoral code of conduct. In just a week after DA Leader John Steenhuisen filed a complaint with the Public Protector following an unlawful instruction from Cyril Ramaphosa to senior public office bearers, reports show the public works budget has been targeted for ANC election purposes.

The ANC’s Mdumiseni Ntuli is reported to have issued an instruction, unlawfully, to government departments demanding that they submit that they were about to launch so that this could be seamlessly integrated with the ANC’s election campaign. The law is very clear, no political party has the authority to issue instructions to government departments or direct how they should conduct their business.

In another case, the Department of Public Works is said to have spent R5 million ‘launching’ phase 5 of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). For a similar ‘launch’ in the North West scheduled for 2 May, the Provinces’ Department of Public Works budgeted R38,1 million – an amount which is now under review after it was deemed excessive by some of the officials in the Province.

These excessive launch fees are only being used for bussing people to venues, printing T-shirts and providing pre-packaged food. For a programme that has been in existence for decades, why does the ANC government see the need to spend millions ‘launching’ it?

For the North West ‘launch’, where 10 000 people are expected to be bussed, it is clear that the ANC wants to use this seemingly government event to push its election messaging and create an impression in the minds of voters that EPWP jobs come from the ANC.

The ANC knows that it can continue with this brazen abuse of taxpayer money because the Public Protector investigation model is retrospective in nature. They have made the calculation that the Public Protector will only conclude her investigations long after the elections have ended, with no direct consequences for their illegal actions.

The Public Protector cannot afford to ignore this glaring abuse of state resources for election campaigning, which is a direct assault on our democracy. She needs to act now by setting up the steering committee that will investigate the impunity with which the ANC is capturing public funds to hang on to power at all costs.

On the 29th of May, South Africans need to vote for a party that delivers on its promises. The only party with a track record of delivery, and with the policies to Rescue South Africa, is the DA. In this election, South Africans must vote DA to Rescue South Africa from state collapse, and to Rescue South Africa once and for all from the ANC’s electoral manipulation.