State capture not unique to SA - former GCIS boss

2016-11-11 11:10
Themba Maseko. (Twitter)

Themba Maseko. (Twitter)

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Pretoria – Former GCIS CEO Themba Maseko says the problem of state capture is not unique to South Africa, because there are businesspeople pulling strings of politicians around the globe.

"There is a generation or group of people that exists around the world whose sole purpose in life is to steal from public resources. They take over state institutions, they run politicians and their primary objective is to basically loot from [your] and my pocket," Maseko said.

"These people exist all over the world, it’s not just something that is unique to South Africa but it happens all over the world."

Maseko was giving a talk during the launch of a book titled Rogue: The inside story of SARS’s elite crime-busting unit by former employees Johan van Loggerenberg and Adrian Lackay. During his speech, he spoke of the state capture taking place in India and Russia, before turning to South Africa.

He said that during his visit to India he got the opportunity to meet a lot of politicians and ordinary people who told him of the corruption taking place in the country.

"Corrupt businesspeople basically own and run politicians. When I was there I read a lot of stories in the newspapers, almost on a daily basis, about how this minister, these senior civil servants were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

Essentially policies, projects, tenders are issued to benefit a certain family, company or individuals in that country," he said.

He spoke of one state in the country where the majority of the public servants were in the pockets of businesspeople.

"I started to get a case study in one of the states that is known to be the most corrupt state. It was unbelievable. They owned members of parliament, civil servants, ministers. Even the prime minister of that state was owned by corrupt businesspeople. Meaning they get told what to do, how to do their jobs, which tenders get issued by which office and when they get issued," he said.

'A family that I call the G-Force'

Following his narrative about India and Russia, Maseko reverted back to South Africa and shared how he was kicked out of government when he took a stand against a "family that had power" over the government. He was referring to the Gupta family, which was fingered in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report.

"I get a call from a family that I call the G-Force. They tell me to award work worth R600m to one of their media companies. They say '[there is] R600m, you’re going to place adverts here and you don’t have a choice'. I say 'no, things don’t work like that in government' and they say 'you don’t understand, we are not asking you, but we are telling you'," he said.

Maseko added that after some time of being pestered by the family, he decided to have a meeting with them to understand and explain to them how things worked. He however received a call from higher up in government, informing him to "assist" the family.

"What upset me the most was that when I was going to have a meeting with them, as I’m driving to the famous 'Saxonwold shebeen', I get a call from someone higher up to say 'there are these kinds of individuals who want to talk to you, please help them out'. Essentially the picture they created in my head was that they are in charge," he said.

'Days are numbered'

Maseko said he was ordered to do as he was told or face the family’s wrath for going against their orders.

"[They said] 'you are going to place these adverts, you are going to get this budget and you don’t have a say in this matter'. When I showed them my foot, they told me my days are numbered in government, in not so many words, and my days were indeed numbered, and I ended up leaving government.

"This was a family that is not in government that was demonstrating power to me that they can get anything they want," he said.

Maseko further added that the revelations by former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas that the family had offered them Cabinet positions further cemented the theory that the Gupta family was pulling the strings of government, while sitting at their house.

"You start to get a picture of people outside of government feeling like they own politicians in this country," he said.

Read more on:    themba maseko  |  gupta family  |  state capture report  |  politics

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