How to stop SA derailing

2017-06-27 06:00

THE Zuma-Gupta-Bell Pottinger plan is still in place: ignore the deluge of proof of serious corruption and state capture, blindly deny all the evidence and deflect the focus towards so-called white monopoly capital.

While all this is going on, most of us citizens of South Africa are jumping up and down in anger and powerlessness as we witness the looting of our national resources and undermining of our democracy. Or to use another metaphor: we stand horrified as we witness how the train that is South Africa is in the process of derailing at high speed and we can’t do a thing about it.

Because, you see, the institutions that were supposed to intervene and stop these crimes have been captured or compromised a long time ago by the Jacob Zuma cabal: the Hawks, SARS, the National Prosecuting Authority, the asset forfeiture unit, the SAPS’s serious economic crimes unit, the special investigations unit and crime intelligence.

The national Treasury, our last bastion of state excellence and accountability, now also seems to be captured if any of the allegations against Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba prove to be true — and he’s not trying hard to counter them.

Our only champions in this saga are investigative journalists, civil society activists and the rather impotent politicians of the opposition parties and the anti-Zuma camp in the ANC itself.

We don’t have the kind of political culture in this society to take to the streets in our millions and sustain it until the government buckles, as happened recently in South Korea and Brazil.

The Latin phrase prima facie means evidence that appears to be true. With the series of Gupta e-mails, reluctant confessions and sworn statements, we are way beyond prima facie evidence that Zuma, the Guptas and their inner circle have compromised our sovereignty and stolen billions from the state. We have, thanks to the leaked e-mails and other investigations by journalists, detailed evidence of the blatant theft of billions from Eskom, Prasa, Transnet and Denel.

The list of proven — I say proven — Gupta pawns and beneficiaries in the government is long: ministers Mosebenzi Zwane, Des van Rooyen, Faith Muthambi, Fikile Mbalula and Nathi Mthethwa, and possibly even Ayanda Dlodlo and Lynne Brown, deputy ministers Sfiso Buthelezi and Kebby Maphatsoe, and premiers Ace Magashule and Supra Mahumapelo.

Many board members of most of the big state-owned companies are directly implicated, especially Zuma buddy Ben Ngubane, who served on several boards while some of these irregularities occurred. He’s now resigned from Eskom, but I suspect he’ll pop up elsewhere.

I think there are several smoking guns proving that the president’s son, Duduzane Zuma, has been acting as his father’s proxy while doing the Guptas’ dirty work for them.

South Africa cannot wait for a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture. It could take years and we have no guarantee that it won’t be as much of a whitewash as the Seriti commission into the arms scandal proved to be.

So far, investigations have focused on the Guptas. Evidence will soon be revealed of other corrupt businesspeople’s dealings with the Zuma family and friends. We have to lance this massive boil before the end of the year. It is not only important to prevent further theft and corruption, it is crucial that the ANC members who are going to vote at the December conference of the ANC realise fully what the consequence will be if they elect a Zuma candidate as the new leader and future president of SA.

It is not even contested that the Guptas influenced, if not determined, the appointment of several Cabinet ministers and senior public servants, even top police officers. There is no doubt that they offered Mcebisi Jonas R600 million and the job of Finance minister, and yet there are no consequences.

Several criminal charges have been laid against the Guptas and some of their pawns recently. I have no confidence that there are going to be any serious investigations into any of these. Perhaps I’m too cynical, but I don’t see the Hawks getting to the bottom of the wrongdoing by Zuma, some of his Cabinet colleagues, the Guptas or their pawns.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is missing in action. It’s been over seven months since Thuli Madonsela issued her State of Capture Report. The looting has continued unabated.

Despite the evidence that they are financed by the Guptas, public figures such as Andile Mngxitama and Mzwanele Manyi steam forth as if nothing has happened, and still figure regularly as opinion formers in the media. The same is true of the ANC Youth League’s Collen Maine. Despite evidence that the Gupta brothers have shown crass racist behaviour while playing the race card against white business, there is no real scandal or consequences.

I realise the dangers in involving the courts too often in the affairs of state, but often they are our last resort. With what we have learnt recently about Gigaba’s track record, shouldn’t the courts be asked to rule whether his was an irrational appointment?

Unless we can turn things around quickly, our economic recession will deepen. If this happens, instability, even large-scale violence, waits on the horizon. All the key role players who are upset about the state looting and corruption will have to work more strategically and with much more urgency to stop the rot. We cannot allow South Africa to derail.

Zuma and co can flee to Dubai, but the rest of us will pay the price for many years to come. — News24.


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