Dikeledi Molatoli | New Dawn: An era of white lies and white-collar crime

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President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC 10th Provincial Conference on June 5, 2022 in Polokwane, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC 10th Provincial Conference on June 5, 2022 in Polokwane, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images


The level of white lies and white-collar crimes committed by elites in this country has become destructive to the nation, particularly for ordinary, law-abiding citizens. Our psyche, morale, values and social fabric are at their weakest and lowest.

As a result, we see rising suicide rates among young and old; school children killing each other; teachers being murdered in schools; doctors and patients being shot and killed in hospitals. Horrific crime statistics are a mirror image of our traumatised nation.

READ: Crime spirals out of control

Society must rise to salvage what’s left of our country and its future by being honest with ourselves and seeing the ANC and all its leaders as the root cause of our problems, second to apartheid and colonialism.

Psychiatrist Morgan Scott Peck, in the book The Road Less Traveled, wrote a chapter called Withholding Truth:

Lying can be divided into two types: White lies and black lies. A black lie is a statement we make that we know is false. A white lie is a statement we make that is not in itself false, but that leaves out a significant part of the truth. The fact that a lie is white does not in itself make it any less of a lie or any more excusable. White lies may be as every bit as destructive as black ones. A government that withholds essential information from its citizens by censorship is no more democratic than one that speaks falsely.

“Indeed, because it may be less reprehensible, the withholding of essential information is the most common form of lying. And because it may be the more difficult to detect and confront, it is often even more pernicious than black lying.”

White-collar crime, a twin of white lies – stealing and syphoning off billions of rands from the fiscus by big corporates in cahoots with politicians and civil servants – is also not easy to detect, confront and prosecute.

READ: Watch | Malema blasts Ramaphosa, accuses him of defeating the ends of justice

Instead, expensive commissions of enquiry and special tribunals have had to be set up, resulting in further recommendations and investigations, rather than the mass arrests of thieves.

This is contrary to blue-collar and petty crimes committed by ordinary people, who get arrested every day and are prosecuted and thrown in jail for many years. They form huge populations in prisons while the politically connected elites prance around in suits and stilettos.

This injustice remains one of the ticking time bombs this country is facing.


When addressing the recent ANC Youth League task team political school, former president Thabo Mbeki told the gathering that they should be worried that the public see ANC members as liars and thieves.

Of course, we do. Citizens are waking up to the reality that they have been lied to and fooled for many years by the ANC.

On August 23 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote in his Monday newsletter a message addressed to ANC members, in which he declared that the ANC stands as accused number one for corruption, dishonesty, unethical conduct and lack of integrity.

He was correct.

READ: Ramaphosa must explain 'hoarding of millions', say opposition parties

It’s as if he was prophesying that, in June 2022, not only the party that he leads, but he, as the number one citizen of the country, would become accused number one by one of his comrades for criminal activities that took place on his property.

The allegations have brought Ramaphosa’s image to question for corruption, dishonesty, unethical behaviour and integrity.

Arthur Fraser, the former head of the State Security Agency, laid criminal charges of kidnapping and bribery against the president. This was in connection with the alleged concealing of a crime of theft of $4 million (R61.8 million) from the sale of game on his farm in Limpopo.

We have come to learn that the law prohibits keeping large sums of money in one’s home, let alone foreign currency.

READ: The man who stole Cyril's dollars

The president’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, in his interviews on a statement the presidency issued, confirmed that a robbery did take place on the president’s farm. However, he was quick to say that “the amount that Fraser mentioned in his charges was way too inflated”.

When asked what the actual amount stolen was, his response was “we are still to go back to the invoices to determine the amount. Also, the investigation is still to take place.”

The question left unanswered was: 

if he was aware that the amount stated by Fraser was inflated, how come he could not disclose what the actual amount was? Was truth being withheld? When they have checked the invoices, will he come back to tell the public what the actual amount was, or is this another white lie we can expect to be subjected to?

Magwenya also raised doubt about Fraser’s timing of these charges, as the ANC is preparing for its elective conference in December, suggesting that this should be seen as a ploy by opposing factions to discredit Ramaphosa.

Not so fast Mr Magwenya. What we will not fall for is being made to pick sides of any of the ANC factional battles. Our interest, as citizens, is for the law to take its course and for law enforcement agencies to investigate whether a crime was committed by the president or not. Not that one has full confidence in the very law enforcement agencies.


In October 2019, the president retrenched 22 of his 46 employees at his Ntaba Nyoni farm in Mpumalanga, citing foot and mouth disease as the reason for the decision.

One of the farm workers, a man identified as Aaron Mokoena, said he was left with nothing to bring to his family, who live in destitute conditions.

Mokoena said: 

The president came himself [and] he told us that we are going to be retrenched, and that was a shock as names were being called. For me, its hard because there are 11 people who depend on me. It was very hard to go home and tell my family that I am jobless.

These poor workers had to face a bleak festive season while their employer, it turns out, was robbed of an undisclosed substantial amount of dollars on his other farm in Limpopo – just four months after dismissing the workers.

This is a man who was once the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers.

READ: Dikeledi Molatoli | This flag thing is no laughing matter but a power game

Ramaphosa, in his speech when closing the Limpopo ANC regional conference, told the delegates that he never stole any taxpayers’ money. What we have read is that no one has accused him of stealing taxpayers’ money, but of hiding dollars under a mattress.

The more the president attempts to sanitise his image, the more questions he raises in our minds about his integrity.

Now we wait, as is always the case with the rich and elite, as another investigation ensues. Who will investigate this case without fear or favour? What will the outcome of that investigation be? No ordinary South African will hold their breath. I know I won’t.

This, sadly, is how injustice has taken root in the new dawn of our land.

Molatoli is a social justice activist and director at Bamboo Seeds Communications


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