President suspends Dipuo Peters

Henry

Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa notified the deputy minister of small business development, Dipuo Peters, in writing of his decision to suspend her.

The suspension will be valid for one month and Peters is expected to resume her duties on March 28. She was also reportedly suspended without pay.

Vincent Magwenya, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, says the decision follows a sanction against Peters that was accepted by parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interests.

The committee found that Peters had breached the ethical code of conduct in her previous portfolio as transport minister.

Peters was punished in November last year together with the EFF’s deputy leader, Floyd Shivambu, after they were found to have breached the parliament’s code of ethical conduct and the declaration of members’ interests.

Peters was banned from all parliamentary sessions for a term because she did not put members of the public’s interests above her own.

The one complaint alleged that Peters was negligent in her previous portfolio by failing to appoint a chief executive for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa). It was also argued that she fired the board, chaired by Popo Molefe, apparently because members discovered R14 billion in irregular expenditure and launched investigations into corruption at Prasa.

In addition, Peters failed to investigate the allegation relating to the Prasa money of R79 million that Swifambo Rail paid to other people for alleged distribution to the ANC. Another allegation was that she used Prasa buses during 2014 and 2015 for ANC events without securing payment from the ANC.

After deliberation, the committee found that Peters did breach the code when she failed to appoint a chief executive after the Prasa board commissioned a recruitment process, resulting in a financial loss of R1 767 000.

The committee also found that Peters breached the code when she fired the Prasa board on the same day that Molefe wrote to the portfolio committee on transport. She also breached provisions of the code when she requested to use Prasa buses for the ANC, which was not paid for.