POLITICS

Credibility of SARS can't be restored by unfair hearings - EFF

Julius Malema says Pravin Gordhan led neoliberal grouping wants to make the Revenue Service theirs

EFF MEDIA STATEMENT 05 JULY 2018

Thursday, 05 July, 2018

We are proud to announce that we shall mark our Fifth Year Anniversary at Sisa Dukashe Stadium, in Mdantsane, Buffalo City, in the Eastern Cape. We invite all South Africans to yet another festival of the poor, as we mark five years of unbroken commitment to the economic freedom struggle. Nothing indicates organisational seriousness than passing the test of time, in both our staying power and constant massive growth. The EFF is proving to be a reliable force that many of our landless, unemployed and poor people can pin their hopes on for a better future.

This is despite the reality that our country continues to be on a downward slope, with the centre not holding, and bankruptcy of ideas on how to make the economy work.

The government of the day is failing to regain the moral high ground following the years of the Zurna-Gupta corruption. It is also failing to provide an inspiring vision about economic development, particularly for the poor and landless majority. Since his inauguration as president of the Republic, Ramaphosa has not said anything new, anything novel, or given any brilliant plan on how he is going to change the lives of South Africans. There is no single sign that under this government, the country will escape the long years of stagnation, high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Land Expropriation Public Hearings

Due to the EFF motion on the amendment of the Constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation, thousands of our people are having their say in the subsequent parliament public hearings. These hearings have seen hundreds of people filling public halls to make their contribution to this historic debate on the land question. Every town, village and city in South Africa is engaged in this question. We as the EFF are proud that for the first time ever since the dawn of democracy, South Africans are speaking about the land question in open, peaceful and democratic hearings, engaging directly with their parliament.

We must immediately note that this process of democratic and peaceful consultation never happened under apartheid when land was dispossessed from black people.

Apartheid and colonisation were essentially characterised by a violent and murderous dispossession of land and dignity of the indigenous people. In addition, we must note that such a process never occurred in Zimbabwe where land was also expropriated largely using violent methods. This must demonstrate to the world and to ourselves that we are committed to use democratic methods to resolve a question capable of causing wars and bloodshed in other societies. As a result, this process must be embraced by all freedom, democracy and peace loving people of the world.

We reiterate our call to all South Africans to participate in these hearings which are still to happen in all other provinces.

Those who enter this debate promising violence and war, must be isolated so that they dwindle into insignificance. We must immediately dispel the notion that putting all South Africa's land under the custodianship of the state will weaken the institution of traditional leadership because it is not true and in fact will have the opposite effect.

What we are advocating for is actually what is happening under many rural communities where land is never privately owned, but remains a de-commodified entity in the benefit of all people. Traditional leaders must consider themselves as part of the state which at a local level will mean they continue sharing in the custodianship of the land. What we must therefore debate are the modalities of how families in rural South Africa never suffer the arbitrary abuse of being dispossessed of land to the benefit of private capital interests. In addition, how do we empower rural women, who are denied access to the land under many customary practices, as to access land in their own right not because of marriage or because they have a son.

Troubles of the Revenue Collector: SARS

South Africans ought to know that the revenue collector, SARS, remains the centre of power for continuation of neoliberal market driven agenda. This agenda was destabilised by the kleptocracy and parasitic agenda of the Zuptas. The war of these two groupings has resulted in the weakening of this institution which always uses the power of SARS to suppress critical voices in society and fight political battles. What is therefore occurring at the moment is a dangerous regrouping of the neoliberal market driven grouping, mainly led by Pravin Gordan. It is seeking to purge all individuals who carried, protected and sustained the kleptocratic Zupta agenda not for the benefit of a broader society, workers, women, children and people with disability but champions of neoliberal market driven beneficiaries.

Society must defend itself from both groupings as they are prepared to use any means to marginalise the emergence of a truly people driven fiscal policy at National Treasury with an independent, credible and trusted revenue collector. The Pravin Gordan led grouping is at the moment conducting public hearings, fact finding missions, whose main pursuit is to consolidate SARS as theirs, and they even boast publicly without fear or shame to those that they are purging. We will never support Tom Moyane and any of his cronies, we were at the frontline of his fall and the Zupta kleptocrats. In the Standing Committee on Finance, we were the first to call for Tom Moyane to fall.

However, we shall never support any process of reaching punishment without due course. The credibility of SARS cannot be restored by using unfair hearings, instead it will only be consolidated as a gangster domain feared by all, not because of its high moral ground, but because of Stalinist judicial measurers.

New Cabal across government and SOEs

In fact, what we are seeing happening at SARS is happening at other state-owned entities or has already happened whereby people are arbitrarily removed from positions and boards without any due process. Pravin Gordan appoints people in positions and boards without following any necessary consultation even of the cabinet, or any robust transparent process. Instead we all just wake up with boards turned from acting into permanent, the same thing that we cried about when it was done by Zuptas. The removal of people at Eskom and appointment of the new board and the CEO Phakhamani Hadebe was done in the same way. This was also the case with the appointment of a new board at Transnet and Denel.; they were all arbitrary.

TO celebrate this as being decisive is not only misguided but shortsighted, when unfair processes are reaching punishment and people are removed without due course. Most importantly, the reality is that majority are removed without taking responsibility, we will never know the true extent Of deterioration in these SOEs and other state owned institutions. In addition, it will be almost impossible to rebuild them with proper foundation in a sustainable manner.

MPRDA and Mining Charter

The most evident feature of the new cabal is the manner in which the new Minister of Mineral Resources has approached the MPRDA and the new mining charter on the issue of once empowered always empowered. We want to reiterate our position that the only way South African can resuscitate the mining sector in such a way that it contributes to the country's economy in a much more meaningful way is through nationalisation of all mineral resources with the state at the centre of control in the actual mining. That is why it is not surprising when the Minister is dragging his feet to take the order of once empowered always empowered ruling in appeal despite its potential impact in the ability transformation in the mining sector and the economy broadly.

Petrol Prices and SASSA

The raising of petrol prices and the crisis of SASSA payment of social grants are the biggest sign yet of how the Ramaphosa government is consistent with all successive governments of the ANC before him who never cared for the poor.

After raising taxes, both tax VAT and personal Income Tax, as well as interest rates, this regime has for the second time in two months, raised petrol prices. In a desperate attempt to raise revenue, they choose to place the burden on individuals, majority of which are poor and vulnerable people, instead of raising Corporate Income Tax that continue to decline, contributing less and less to the national revenue fund. They avoid this route, because they care more about big businesses than the majority of people in South Africa. By raising petrol prices after all other taxes on individuals, the Ramaphosa government is doing everything in its power to milk the poor of their last cent. We call on the people Of South Africa to reject Ramaphosa and the ANC by voting them out Of power in 2019.

The raising of petrol prices has undermined the already futile minimum wage, as well as the increases on social grants and pensions. Over 17 million fellow South Africans depend on social grants for their livelihoods. Since Sunday, thousands of destitute old men and women, the disabled, the orphaned and all those who depend on social grants for their livelihoods have been struggling to access their grants through their designated pay points. We call on government to find a quick solution to the worker's problems who are on strike, ensure they are properly paid and bring stability at SASSA.

EFF Elections Workshop and RPAs

We are therefore hard at work to prepare for the removal of these incompetent, uncaring, selfish and corrupt kleptocrats in the 2019 general elections. We shall host our Election Workshop on the week of the 12th - 15th July 2018. This workshop will be constituted by delegations from regional, provincial and national structures. It will discuss the elections strategy for 2019 and begin the process of drafting our Manifesto.

We are eternally proud that 43 out Of 53 regions in South Africa have 90% ward based EFF branches, and are either already launched or will be launched in this weekend. By Monday the 9th July, we will effectively be sitting on 43 launched regions across the country with duly elected leadership by constitutionally recognised branches in good standing. This means our Election's Workshop will be attended by a leadership with renewed mandate from branches.

Public Healthcare Campaign

We continue to pursue our public healthcare campaign in all public medical facilities.

TO this end, we have demonstrated in more than 300 public healthcare facilities across the country demanding better facilities and treatment. In Our view, the state of public healthcare is in crisis, as majority of hospitals function without adequate facilities. Majority Of the patients die because they are not receiving care due mainly to overcrowding. Our demonstrations and subsequent meetings with hospital management has resulted in progress, whilst majority of the time, they are faced with problems that are way beyond their reach.

Insourcing of Workers

We want to place it on the record that the insourcing of 1600 workers in the City of Johannesburg was due to the EFF motion tabled in council over two years ago. The EFF went on an electoral platform in 2016 campaigning that all municipal workers, particularly the security, cleaning and catering staff must be insourced on credible contracts and wages. The EFF was criticised and portrayed as ignorant of municipal government processes and planning. Our camping was part of the seven non-negotiable cardinal pillars which founded the EFF that tenders must be eliminated through the building of internal government capacity to deliver its own services and functions.

This has been our national campaign and everywhere in the country our councillors have tabled similar motions in city and municipal councils. We have further worked with outsourced workers, demonstrated with them in demand for insourcing in places like Ethekwini and Tshwane to mention a few. We shall consolidate this process through a proposed legislation in parliament that all outsourced workers must be insourced. This will secure our people sustainable jobs, restore their dignity and save municipalities millions of rands that are wasted each year by giving tenders, most of which end up in the hands of politicians.

SABC Internal Inquiry

We welcome the processes the SABC has embraced on to consolidate the parliament commission of inquiry recommendations on the SABC. The internal commissions investigating editorial interference and sexual harassment are a welcome development. We urge the SABC management to be undeterred in rooting out corruption and incompetence from both top-level management and lower level supervision. Many women who have interacted with the SABC at many levels have spoken of how they are asked for sex in exchange of contracts, jobs and other opportunities. We call on all who have information to this effect to present it to the commission and help restore the credibility of the public broadcaster. In addition, we call on the commissions to put measures in place to protect the identity of all who will report such information to them.

As victims of a politically motivated burn at the SABC, the EFF will make its submission to the internal inquiry on editorial interference on the 17 July 2018. We call on all who have any other useful information regarding editorial interference, by both big business and political personnel, to bring it to our attention so we can include it as part of our submission.

We are worried as the EFF that we have seen the emergence of embedded journalism in South Africa, particularly after the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as both the ANC President and President Of the Republic. We have witnessed a high level of degeneration amongst highly respected journalists in South Africa. We call upon our media to always report objectively without any fear or biasness. We call upon the Senior Journalists to avoid descending into the arena because that will create a crisis between ourselves and such journalists. We see this conduct as threatening to Media Freedom in our young democracy.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 5 July 2018