MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 15
Article views: 2252
Latest Badges:

View all VaPunungwe's badges.

For the ANC, Jesus might just come too soon

03 May 2013, 15:17
South African President, Jacob Zuma, once said the ANC is going to rule until Jesus comes.

Well, I am an atheist and Jesus' coming does particularly concern me. However based on the above, I am convinced that Jesus is going to come within the next two decades.

It is unlikely that the ANC, four or five general elections from now, will be able to win election with a sufficient majority to dictate who the president of the country should be.

It is perhaps ironic the it is President Zuma's associations that have in recent years been leading to a decline in the faith that South Africans have in the ANC. COPE split away from the ANC as a result of the fallout from Zuma's fight with Mbeki for the presidency of the organisation.

The most recent expulsion of a high ranking official, that of Julius Malema, is linked by some to the President's fight to retain the ANC presidency he wrestled from Mbeki.

Unfortunately, another scandal that has just erupted, is linked to a family regularly described as close associates of President Jacob Zuma.

Already christened Guptagate, the saga involves a plane carrying some Indian government officials, and private citizens, that was allowed to land at a military airbase. The plane apparently was not subjected to normal customs procedures. Newspaper reports also claim that it was carrying five truckloads of gifts.

I am not sure what logic was used to allow this plane to land without being subjected to normal customs procedures but whatever that logic is, it has little, if any, relation to normal diplomatic conventions.

As far as I know, only an officially marked diplomatic pouch, sometimes accompanied by a diplomatic courier is not subject to search or seizure by customs officials. Also as far as I know a diplomatic pouch can only be send from a country to its embassy and vise versa. Note that the destination, an embassy, also has official diplomatic immunity. So a diplomatic bag is essentially in immune communication channel between two immune territories.

The goods on the Gupta plane were headed fro a private wedding venue which has absolutely no diplomatic immunity. In any case, there are no reports that they were marked by the Indian government as diplomatic pouch.

They should have been subject to normal customs procedures. If the Indian High Commision had a hand in organizing their importation it should have made sure they were clearly marked as a diplomatic bag and should have ferried these goods to its official premises. If it didn't it essentially aided and abated a smuggling operation.

Some countries allow goods intended for the personal use of diplomats or for charitable use to be exempt from duties. Although exempt from duties, such goods are subject to examination by customs officials - unlike the diplomatic pouch which is not.
Most countries require that such goods be re-exported when the user leaves the country, or be used only for charitable purposes for their useful life or for a set period of time.

If the user wishes to hand over the goods to a local resident, requisite duties and taxes such as VAT then need to be paid. As a result goods intended for duty exemption under diplomatic conventions are inventoried and valued in detail at the time they are imported.

Some goods such as cars may have notes attached to their registration papers clearly indicating that they can not be passed on to residents and other non-exempt entities. Some may have their serial numbers noted and kept in a register to aid later investigations if necessary.

Note that duty exempt goods are different from goods in the diplomatic pouch. The goods in the diplomatic pouch normally do not leave the diplomatically immune premises of the embassy.

It is important to note that goods not intended for personal or charitable use such as gifts, are normally required to have appropriate duties paid even if imported by a diplomatically duty exempt person or entity.

With goods intended for charity, normally the end use charitable organisation should be registered as such and applies for its own exemptions. You cannot donate a Breitling watch to the Ratanang Family Trust for Julius Malema's use and call it a charitable donation. Nor should anyone claiming to a be a diplomat be able to donate say a diamond encrusted, gold lined microwave oven to a Gupta maiden on her wedding.

I am not claiming that anything like that happened. However neither can anyone conclusively claim that it did not happen because, according to newspaper reports, SARS did not examine and inventory the goods carried on the Gupta plane.
As part of protocol, customs officers normally do not bother with trivial things such as examining the personal luggage of diplomats. However if the personal luggage is in the form of five truckloads, it is not a trivial quantity and will normally be examined and appropriate inventories made.

Some of these protocols are not based on any legally binding conventions but on the trust and good faith that diplomats are honest.

Needless to say the protocols and gentlemen's understandings have been abused. Last year 40kg of cocaine were found in an official diplomatic pouch sent from Ecuador to Italy. In the same year a shipment marked as a diplomatic pouch contained 16kg of cocaine. It was only discovered because the syndicate apparently failed to intercept it and it actually ended up in the mail room of the United Nations headquarters in New York.

During the Falklands war Argentina send limpet mines, by diplomatic bag, to their embassy in Spain intending to blow up British battle ships docked at Gibraltar. The plot was uncovered and once the limpet mines left the embassy they were seized by police because they were no longer on immune territory, nor in a diplomatic bag.

Some countries like Israel and Nigeria have used or attempted to use the diplomatic pouch to smuggle kidnapped people out of other countries.

In recent years, only the hard nosed Zimbabweans are known to have seized, opened and examined - without prior consent - the officially marked diplomatic pouch of the British embassy in Harare.

It appears to me that the behaviour of the Gupta family in this case is typical of kleptocracies where politically well connected generally behave as if they are exempt from the law, and normal bureaucratic channels.

In a country with a very vibrant and vocal press like South Africa, kleptocratic behaviour is always a magnet for negative attention. The negative attention, like a plague will affect the host organisation, as much as it does those parasitically feeding on it.

If such negative attention continues for the ANC, Jesus might just come too soon for their liking.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Tshepo Tshabalala
#GIJC: Africa's Global Investigat...

African investigative journalists face a slew of challenges, with physical danger topping the list.  Read more...

0 comments 76 views
Submitted by
Tshepo Tshabalala
#GIJC: The basics of web scraping...

Web scraping is a useful technique to assist investigative journalists to uncover truths and improve the overall quality of reporting.  Read more...

0 comments 64 views
Submitted by
Dinesh Balliah
#GIJC: The ABCs of hard-hitting j...

Persistence is the most crucial quality to investigative journalism according to investigative journalist for The Washington Post and academic, Cheryl W. Thompson. Read more...

0 comments 119 views
Submitted by
Dinesh Balliah
#GIJC: Information laws critical ...

Access to information laws has become a crucial tool for journalists all over the world because it helps them expose any wrongdoing by public and private entities across the world. But getting the information under those laws can be a slow process. Read more...

0 comments 45 views
Submitted by
Rodgers Buluma
Development in Kenya have citizen...

The partnership between Kenya and the US to provide subsidized rates of power connection enabled the residents to have safe, legal and reliable connections. The move has reduced the high levels of fire brake outs being reported in the slam. Read more...

0 comments 68 views
Submitted by
Peter Joffe
The ANC has always supported the ...

The ANC has always treated Mugabe as the best thing that ever happened to Southern Africa and Zuma has often sought the council of Mugabe on how to steal from the treasury and how to surpress the people. Read more...

0 comments 365 views


RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2017 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.