For Mboweni's growth plan to succeed the ANC has to give up certain dogmatic positions that were formulated when 7% growth was the status quo, writes Adriaan Basson.
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Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. (Pic: Gallo Images)
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In the Netflix drama Bodyguard,
the series that's all the rage in Britain at the moment (and currently streaming in
South Africa), the protagonist investigates the use of "kompromat"
against political figures in a fictitious British government.
Not to give too much away for
those who still want to see it, but "kompromat" features strongly
throughout the six episodes and although not all of it is of a sexual nature,
the hero of the show is also targeted by "kompromat" which involves
sex that he shouldn't be having.
According to the Oxford English
dictionary the word "kompromat" is an abbreviation of a Russian word
that refers to "compromising information
collected for use in blackmailing, discrediting, or manipulating someone,
typically for political purposes".
During the Cold War "kompromat"
was often used to blackmail Western politicians, most notably in the United
Kingdom, where stories abound of MPs and Cabinet ministers ensnared in honey
traps and forced to bend to the will of those who held audio recordings or picture
negatives of secret meetings or illicit trysts.
Malusi Gigaba, minister of home
affairs, might not be the victim of a classic honey trap where the principal
target is felled by seduction, but there seems to be enough "kompromat"
going around to make him a liability to the nascent Ramaphosa government.
The fact that Gigaba made a sexual
video is not the issue. The fact that he made it and then let it fall into the
wrong hands though, is, because it has opened him up to extortion and
blackmail, as he admitted in his series of tweets on Sunday morning. His
spokesperson Vuyo Mkhize later explained that two people first wanted money
from Gigaba and later demanded that he use his influence to facilitate business
This all happened during his brief
tenure as Minister of Finance between April 2017 and February 2018, an
extremely turbulent period where then-president Jacob Zuma effected a clean-out
of the top leadership at National Treasury and a time when Gigaba was supposed
to try and stabilise the country's finances.
This is not to say that Gigaba
should have abstained from sex during that period, merely to illustrate that it
is enormously problematic to have a finance minister opening himself up to
being blackmailed in this way.
Mkhize said the minister paid no
heed to demands of money or influence, but how can the South African public be
sure? How can the public be certain that Gigaba, who has led a colourful
personal life, did not let the nature of the "kompromat" influence
access, policy or procurement, for example? Ministers of state, let alone the Minister
of Finance, need to ensure that they are never put in positions which could
threaten the integrity of government. And the Gigaba video has certainly done
The inspector-general of
intelligence has confirmed that it is investigating Gigaba's claim that his
phone was hacked. But investigations need to go wider, and the Cabinet
secretary at the very least needs to receive a full report from Gigaba into
events surrounding his blackmailing and extortion. Such a report must also
include clear details about demands made to Gigaba, specifically how the
blackmailers wanted the finance minister to use his position to their
Gigaba is not an asset to this
government. He is a liability. His name crops up 43 times in Betrayal of the
Promise, an academic report into state capture, in which he is cast as an
enabler of state capture.
His tenure as Minister of Public Enterprises is believed to
coincide with the Guptas' foray onto the boards of various state-owned
enterprises, which was the source of great wealth for the family. He was also
on friendly terms with the them, visiting their home in Saxonwold during
traditional Indian festivities, while the department of home affairs during his
previous stint there helped the Guptas obtain citizenship, visas and residency
permits. This is now the subject of a parliamentary investigation.
To crown it all the High Court has found that Gigaba is a
liar and that he deliberately told "untruths" under oath during a
matter before the court last year. Judge Neil Tuchten said of Gigaba: "The minister has committed a breach of
the Constitution so serious that I could characterise it as a violation."
(Gigaba lodged an appeal at the Constitutional Court after the Supreme Court of
Appeal rejected it.)
His historic and continued
proximity to the Guptas, his management of the departments of public
enterprises and home affairs, the crippling High Court judgment and the
blackmailing incident however makes him unfit to be a member of this country's
Gigaba must resign. But he won't,
of course. He is much too ambitious and self-involved to do that. "Kompromat"
- Pieter du Toit is News24's assistant editor for in-depth news.
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