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President Cyril Ramaphosa suspends Dipuo Peters as Deputy Minister of Small Business Development for one month

On February 6, 2024, Zackie Achmat, along with Zukiswa Vuka Fokazi as part of #UniteBehind, urgently demanded that President Cyril Ramaphosa dismiss Deputy Minister for Small Business Development, Dipuo Peters for her complicity in state capture and corruption. 


Unassailable findings of complicity in state capture at PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) during her tenure as Minister of Transport (2013-2017) were made by the courts and the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector and Organs of State against Peters.


When Parliament and the President failed to take action against MPs or Ministers implicated in the Zondo Commission Report, #UniteBehind laid complaints against Peters and other MPs with the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests in September 2022.


Despite the gravity of the allegations, Parliament's initial response fell short of delivering meaningful accountability. In November 2023, Peters was suspended from parliamentary activities for one term but was allowed to retain her position as Deputy Minister on full pay, a move widely criticised for its inadequacy.


Undeterred, Peters sought legal recourse to challenge her suspension. However, her efforts were thwarted when the Western Cape High Court ruled against her in January 2024, affirming Parliament's authority in the matter.


#UniteBehind, Zackie Achmat and Zukiswa Fokazi then demanded that the President exercise his constitutional powers and responsibilities, under sections 91(2) and 92(3) of the Constitution, to ensure that accountability is upheld and justice is served. We demanded that President Ramaphosa dismiss Peters from Cabinet without delay and to ensure that she does not serve in government. 

A dismissal and recommendation that Peters should be investigated and charged for criminal offenses related to corruption would have sent a signal to all Ministers and MPs and the country that his administration would not tolerate corruption. Instead, President Ramaphosa has taken the softest and easiest option to try and appease us by suspending Peters without pay, effective on 28 February 2024 to 28 March 2024. 

President Ramaphosa is indirectly perpetuating criminality in the state with this small slap on the wrist for Peters. Billions of rands disappeared at PRASA under her watch as Executive Authority of the agency. In fact, the President has only acted because #UniteBehind and its leaders sent a letter of demand.

Corrupt Ministers, MPs, public service officials, SOE leaders, corrupt councils and councillors will find comfort in the mild rebuke of Peters.

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