Three big fish fry in a new political pond

2010-11-06 14:12

Three big guns this week learnt that there is no impunity.

The ANC’s head of policy, Tony Yengeni, resigned as director from six companies after City Press revealed that he, a ­convicted fraudster, had broken the law by taking up the directorships without seeking the permission of the High Court.

After telling reporter Julian Rademeyer that he doesn’t need the permission of the courts to run his life, Yengeni this week recanted when his lawyer said the high-ranking politician would resign the directorships.

In Kimberley, the big man of Northern Cape politics, finance MEC John Block, learnt he was not the untouchable he likes to believe he is.

Since 2004, Block has been stalked by allegations that he did not ­honour the public purse and was not above using public finances and public office for private gain.

What started as small infringements (he lost his first job as an MEC for attending the then North Sea Jazz Festival at the expense of the taxpayer) ended in the Kimberley Magistrates Court this week.

With his Uruguayan connection – businessman Gaston Savoi – Block was refused bail.

Together with a motley crew of alleged corruptees, the two are reported to have run a massive syndicate that sold equipment to Northern Cape hospitals at highly inflated prices.

National Prosecutor Menzi Simelane laid it bare when he argued against bail, saying the politician was under investigation for other alleged crimes.

“The state and the public are gatvol,” said Simelane. Amen!

General Siphiwe Nyanda was the third big fish who learnt that struggle valour was no longer the only guarantee for keeping your job.

While some analysts say that Nyanda met President Jacob Zuma’s reshuffling scythe because he began to align with ­forces that wanted to push for a different candidate for the country’s top job in 2012, we’d like to believe it was because he was a pretty hopeless minister.

The SABC is in a shambles; the mobile phone industry (a growth sector) did not get to meet him; communication costs did not come down as promised; Sentech, the signal distributor, is suffering delusions of grandeur; and then there is the issue of a long-running war with his DG.

We hope these three moves signal a new distaste for impunity across the political spectrum.

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