Zuma’s oily move

2011-10-25 00:00

WE all agree that the truth is right. The truth must be spoken, even though we don't all agree that it must be, depending on who will lose out when it is. It always wants to come out, no matter how well hidden it is. It shies away from being locked up.

It knows that its place is in the sun and it does not care who it makes uncomfortable. It does not discriminate. The former sinner who has now become a saint cannot run from the truth. The truth is naked. In politics, people try to dress it up, but all it wants is to be on a spread in Playboy magazine.

Where does this all fit in when it comes to the Oilgate scandal? President Jacob Zuma has decided to release the report of the Donen Commission of Inquiry into the involvement of South Africans in the Iraq oil-for-food programme. In 2006, then president Thabo Mbeki commissioned an investigation into illegal transactions by South African individuals and companies in the United Nations oil-for-food programme.

The programme was set up in 1995 to allow the Saddam Hussein regime to sell oil in exchange for food, medicine and other humanitarian aid without building up funds for military purposes. It was a way of helping Iraq trade but not enough to make it a military threat.

It is alleged that the Iraqi regime demanded kickbacks to approve these oil contracts. It is also alleged that Kgalema Motlanthe and Tokyo Sexwale were involved in these kickbacks with businessman Sandi Majali to benefit the ANC through private and government contracts. One of Sexwale's companies is alleged to have paid kickbacks to Hussein's regime.

Mbeki refused to release the Donen Commission of Inquiry's findings, and so did Motlanthe when he became president after Mbeki was recalled. In October 2010, the Cape Argus also applied to have access to the report under the Promotion of Access to Information Act. Zuma turned down the application. This is why many find it strange that he decided to have the findings released all of a sudden.

There are whispers that many are lining up behind Motlanthe to take over the presidency of the ANC during the ANC's elective conference next year. Sexwale is being spoken about as a possible deputy president. Zuma sees this as a threat to his own ambitions of having a second term. This is why many question Zuma's sudden Damascus decision regarding the report.

Yes, releasing the report is the right thing, but is the motive? The truth is always right. But the motives of the truth teller are not always right.

Releasing this report won't work in Zuma's favour. He should know. The ANC loves victims. Motlanthe is beloved in the ANC. This move will be seen for the stupid move it is. When Zuma was a victim, he claimed that there was a conspiracy against him. The timing of the release of the report appears to be a conspiracy against people he sees as competition. It's a case of, "Do unto others as it was done unto me".

Maybe Zuma is sincere in this. Many he is a changed man. Maybe he is reformed. Unfortunately, the general public will find it hard to believe that he has done this purely because he believes the truth needs to come out. Many believe this is an act of self-preservation.

In the final scene of the movie The Town, Ben Affleck's reformed bank robber character narrates these lines: "No matter how much you change, you still got to pay the price for the things you've done."

In politics, someone else makes things happen so that you pay the price for the things you've done. If the allegations contained in the report are true, Zuma wants them to pay — not for what the report accuses them of, but for moving against him. This, of course, is under the guise of noble intentions.

Zuma was in far greater legal trouble when he ascended to the throne. This will not prevent the implicated from ascending to the throne either. He, better than anyone else, should know this. — News24.

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