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Dipuo Peters, corrupt ANC MP, loses case against Parliament

Updated: Feb 14

Judge Mushahida Adhikari dismisses Dipuo Peters’ urgent application for an interdict to overturn Parliament’s sanction.

Dipuo Peters served as Minister of Transport between 2013 and 2017, during Jacob Zuma’s presidency. She was the executive authority responsible for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). During her time as minister, Peters failed to ensure that PRASA provided a safe, reliable, affordable and quality commuter rail service. She also failed to hold the PRASA Board and executive management accountable for corruption.

In relation to PRASA, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector and Organs of State (Zondo Commission) made damning findings against Peters and others. When Parliament failed to take action #UniteBehind, Zukiswa Vuka and I laid complaints against Peters and other MPs with the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests on 12 September 2022. As we stated in our complaint:

In her executive, oversight and governance roles regarding the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Ms Dipuo Peters has through her acts and omissions failed to prevent injury, loss of life, the destruction of infrastructure, the loss and persecution of competent, qualified, skilled and ethical professionals, the wholesale theft of assets, corruption worth billions of Rands and state capture. In fact, she has facilitated and enabled state capture and corruption through a failure of her ethical and legal duties of care.  

On 28 November 2023, Parliament suspended Dipuo Peters, the Deputy Minister of Small Business Development for her role in state capture, maladministration, corruption and mismanagement at PRASA.  

Parliament’s sanction of Peters fell short of real justice. As punishment she was suspended from Parliament for a single term but Peters was allowed to continue her work as a Deputy Minister on full pay. Instead of hanging her head in shame and resigning, Peters waited a full six weeks before bringing an urgent court application to have these sanctions overturned.

One of the reasons Peters gave for trying to overturn her suspension was that only President Cyril Ramaphosa could discipline her, not Parliament, despite the Constitution and rules of Parliament being clear on this score. Parliament has the duty to oversee the Executive and to hold it to account. The President has the power to appoint and hold his Cabinet members to account including sanctioning them. Therefore, the Court refused to indict Parliament and dismissed her application to overturn its decision. 

In her judgment handed down on 29 January 20023, Judge Adhikari found that Parliament had exercised its Constitutional and statutory powers in a lawful manner and that the court should not undermine the separation of powers.

Every working-class person who has suffered because of the destruction of the rail system has cause to celebrate this judgment. Similarly, every person in our country who endures the pain of loadshedding because of state capture, mismanagement and maladministration at Eskom must see this as one of the routes to accountability.

Since the advent of democracy in 1994, I have worked in movements and organisations that actively engage Parliament. In its heyday, Parliament was a home to working-class people, its members sought out people who suffered injustice and inequality to hear their voices. Portfolio Committee members also encouraged progressive experts and professionals to assist them in the complex work of Parliament.

During the period of HIV denialism and the Arms Deal corruption the ANC in Parliament was silenced by President Thabo Mbeki and his henchman Essop Pahad. Instead of oversight, Parliament defended the indefensible and under Zuma, the ANC caucus protected and promoted corrupt MPs and Ministers. The destruction of Parliament by the ANC is one of the reasons that I am standing as an independent for Parliament. In all the movements that I have worked in, such as #UniteBehind, we worked to hold Parliament and the Executive to account. 

Based on the court’s decision, and as part of #UniteBehind leadership, I will recommend that our lawyers send a letter to demand that President Ramaphosa immediately dismiss Dipuo Peters for her role in state capture, corruption, fraud, maladministration and mismanagement at PRASA.

As movements we have shown over 30 years what can be done without the assistance of MPs, and, when I am elected I will continue this work and assist progressive movements to #ReclaimParliament.

On behalf of Zackie2024, I wish to thank our counsel, Mr Greg Solik whose dedication and passion to the cause of accountability ensured that #UniteBehind received justice in this matter. Mr Solik was ably assisted by Rui Lopes, Mandla Mogola, Mfihlakalo Kubeka, Jabu Khumalo, Jaimin Patel and others from Lopes Attorneys.

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