OUTA’s ANNUAL REPORT: CATCH UP ON A YEAR OF ACTIVISM, DUDU MYENI'S LEGAL BILL AND THE ONGOING BATTLE FOR GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY
In the year from 1 March 2021 to 28 February 2022, you helped us work on 23 projects, win five legal actions, protest on the Gauteng bridges, make 15 formal submissions, provided information to the State Capture Commission and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and set up our new Social Innovation Division.
Our report includes a lengthy chronology of OUTA Actions (page 16) and updates on our current projects (page 46).
Here’s some of what we did:
• We finished the legal battle to declare former SAA chair Dudu Myeni a delinquent director for life, with a victory in the Supreme Court of Appeal. She lost, we won. The court also awarded us costs, which we expect to collect during 2022. The bill must still be costed by the court, but the total before taxation is R7.7 million. See page 51.
• We won our high court action to declare the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) and its amendment unconstitutional. This now goes to the Constitutional Court during 2022. See AARTO on page 47.
• We published our first book, documenting how Parliament was captured and thus failed to defend South Africa against organised looting. See Permitted Plundering on page 52, or find out how to buy our book here.
• We produced our third annual oversight report on Parliament, which again found that Parliament is failing to hold the Executive to account. See Watching over Parliament on page 51.
• We kept watch on our e-tolls legal case in which we are defending 2 028 cases against SANRAL summonses – this is still waiting on SANRAL and no further summonses have been issued in the last three years – and exposed what we believe was a kickback paid by the main e-tolls contractor to get the original contract. See Gauteng e-tolls on page 48.
• We won a high court order against SANRAL, which was ordered to provide OUTA with information on its toll concession contract with TRAC. SANRAL is now trying to get this overturned. See Toll concessionaires on page 49.
• We won a high court order against the Public Protector, who was ordered to provide OUTA with the records she used to exonerate former Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza of procurement irregularities, but the Public Protector then had to tell the court she couldn’t find the records. See Accessing information: Vehicles for the Premier on page 55.
• We won a high court order against the Services Sector Education and Training Authority, which was ordered to provide OUTA with records on a R163 million contract and finally complied. See Accessing information: The Services SETA contract on page 55.
• We sent detailed information to the NPA on sophisticated money laundering schemes linked to state capture.
• We engaged throughout the year with the City of Cape Town, provincial and national authorities to push for the City to resolve the pollution of Milnerton Lagoon or be held to account. See Milnerton Lagoon pollution on page 56.
• We went through budgets and found that represented political parties had received R13.882 billion in public funds in the past 13 years, and wrote a report about Parliament’s failure to watch over how the parties spent our money. See Political party funding on page 54.
• We pushed for a civil society representative on the National Nuclear Regulator board and pointed out the governance failure when the board and Minister removed him. See National Nuclear Regulator on page 57.
• We made formal submissions to the State Capture Commission (on the failure to prosecute), to Parliament on the Electoral Amendment Bill (we think it doesn’t go far enough) and the Budget (calling for more funds for investigating and prosecuting state capture, corruption and tax evasion), on the RTMC fees (the plan for a new R250 charge for online bookings was then quietly dropped), on the SABC Bill (calling for better state support for the public broadcaster), on the City of Johannesburg budget (opposing new charges on prepaid electricity and a new refuse removal tariff, both of which were subsequently dropped), opposing a nuclear site licence for Thyspunt (decision awaited), opposing the decision to go ahead with procuring 2 500 MW of new nuclear power (NERSA approved the Minister’s plan), and opposing generation licences for Karpowerships (NERSA approved the licences). See OUTA Actions on page 16 and OUTA Projects on page 46.
• We held 80 protests, calling for e-tolls to end, for fuel levies to be capped, for whistleblowers to be protected, in defence of democracy, opposing state capture, opposing AARTO and for an end to wasteful government spending. See OUTA Actions: Bridge Brigade Protests on page 38.
• We answered 12 579 phone calls, mostly from the supporters who help fund us, produced 45 OUTA Hour interactive broadcasts for our supporters and tweeted to 85 000 Twitter followers.
• Our new Social Innovation Division got our Link app, our Community Action Network (CAN) and our citizen science network WaterCAN started. See The new OUTA Social Innovation Division on page 60.
Read Advocate Stefanie Fick’s overview of our year on page 42, our chairperson Wyna Modisapodi’s report on page 6 and our CEO Wayne Duvenage’s report on page 8.
The full annual report is here.