Terry Crawford-Browne referred to South Africa’s infamous arms deal as the country’s “golden calf”, a reference stemming from the biblical construction of the Israelites whilst Moses hiked Mount Sinai. It also serves as an ironic metaphor to the phrase “...the road to hell is paved with good intentions...”
The now famous Crawford –Browne is best known for his efforts in campaigning against the arms deal from its inception in 1999, citing its wastefulness and true purpose as the origin of large scale corruption in the country. According to many, me included, the arms deal was nothing more than a veil to mask money laundering in an effort to raise funds for the impoverished cadres of the ANC.
It was obvious that 1990’s S.A did not have a place in the sun for every ANC member who took part in the “struggle”, and that these people needed to be thanked for their support during the opposition of apartheid, hence the need to purchase expensive and unnecessary military equipment at inflated prices.
Some of the funds were raised by selling off South Africa’s massive stockpile of semi-crude oil stored in Langebaan by the previous National Party government; a product of the need for total independence during the sanction years, and a commodity deemed unnecessary by the ANC as economic barriers evaporated after the 1994 elections.
The problem with the arms deal is simply that it is the origin of most of what is wrong with present day South Africa, as pretty much all of the major issues at hand at the moment is either directly or indirectly linked to the cover-up of one of the biggest instances of white collar crime in the history of the country.
When one considers issues like the Protection of State Information Bill (‘the Info Bill’), E-Tolling, the sacking of Thabo Mbeki, the shroud of corruption and fraud charges surrounding Jacob Zuma, wasteful spending of public funds, tender fraud and the concept of “cadre deployment”, then the common thread becomes alarmingly evident.
The info Bill is designed to lock away inconvenient details of the arms deal, E-Tolling is installed and operated by the Austrian based Kapsch TrafficCom, part of a consortium of firms with their majority shareholding vesting with the Swedish weapons manufacturers involved in the arms deal.
In a logic baffling move, Thabo Mbeki was forced to step down as president only months before his second term ended, simply because he fired Zuma for his apparent involvement in the arms deal via Shabir Shaik.
The concept of money making the rounds to the benefit of ANC ‘cadres’ established a culture of wastefulness in government, and anyone caught with their hands in the cookie jar since the arms deal, only received a gentle slap on the wrists due to their intimate knowledge of the grand plan; just ask Tony Yengeni.
The simple fact of the matter is that Zuma can ill afford not to be president, for the sake of his own liberty as well as most of the current top brass in the ANC. It was as clear as day that Mbeki wouldn’t protect them when he sacked Zuma without consultation.
This brings us to the latest scandal to hit the country... Nkandla!
As the literate part of South Africa is surely aware by now, Zuma’s publicists have been enduring a hellish nightmare during the past months over the Nkandla saga, and the apparent miss-appropriation of public funds on the president’s private residence to the tune of R 250 mil.
Various government officials made the effort to shower the media with explanations and threats, none of which makes any sense, simply re-enforcing the suspicion that something is amiss.
However, I recently received an article via e-mail by Mybroadband, where the freeway running through Nkandla was placed under scrutiny. One needs to remember that the only reason this freeway was built, was so the president could access the compound quickly and easily... at a cool R 1.5 Billion... (Yes, with a B)
The department of Public Works claims that a private company by the name of Korong Capital Partners is building the freeway at its own cost, and will donate the road to the government on completion.
Public works goes further in their explanation by stating that Korong is what is referred to as an “Angel Investor” and simply feels the need to contribute to the government, and Zuma in particular, at a loss of R 1.5 Billion to itself. It also appears that the freeway funding originated from the U.S.A, via an American attorney.
However, the startling portion of the story only starts to unravel from here...
It appears that the only director of Korong Capital is an S.A resident who failed to qualify for a R 1 mil loan, yet succeeded in securing R 1.5 Billion to build to freeway so it can be donated thereafter. It also appears that the registered address of Korong is a 60 square metre flat in Sunning Hill, Johannesburg... not the type of place a Billion rand company operates from...
Then, the kicker... the Sunning Hill flat is owned by none other than the manager of the Housing Development Agency of South Africa, bringing the trail of suspicion to full circle.
So... what is the link to the arms deal?
Well, Korong Capital was a shelf company registered in 1999, and remained dormant in South Africa until the freeway construction through Nkandla.
The arms deal was initiated in 1999, marking the dawn of a new era in South Africa. It thus appears that Korong is simply a vessel created with the sole purpose of laundering money, making it appear as if the funds originated from a third party.
Where the money came from initially remains a mystery, but one can only speculate as to the probability. My submission is that these funds formed part of the initial arms deal, paid by the government all those years ago.
It was a simple case of inflated invoicing so the money could leave the country, just to end up in a suspense account in a foreign bank and earning interest, under the beneficiary name of Korong Capital Investments.
The worst of it is that this may only be the tip of the iceberg, as many dormant shelf companies could exist with the same purpose... no one would know, unless the full details of the arms deal is exposed.
The further suspicion arises that billions in arms deal money was laundered in the same manner, finding its way into accounts held in the names of shelf companies in various banks across the world, from Zurich to the Cayman Islands.
In return, many of the weapons contractors were paid in the Freeway Improvement Project, loosely referred to as the E-Tolling saga. From a business perspective, it makes sense to settle for less if you’re operating a lucrative contract such as E-Tolling, which also explains the inflated rates initially advertised.
It seems then that the road the country and the ANC followed with the arms deal is leading through many supplementary problems, forcing the guilty to cover their tracks. It could snowball the cover-up to such a point where the inevitable flight or fight point will force the bad apples out, or rot the entire country to its core.
So... going full circle and getting back to the road to hell being paved with good intentions... it seems the phrase could also read that bad intentions will most certainly lead down the same path... either to hell, or Nkandla!