Zondo: The hammer falls… and hits the ANC squarely between the eyes
Part one of the report into "allegations" of state capture by the Zondo Commission, which was released last week, reads like the scariest Stephen King novel you've ever got your hands on. It's more devious than Carrie and eviler than Pet Cemetery.
If you haven't yet done so, dear News24 subscriber, please read the report for yourself. Yes, our job as journalists is to source correct and accurate information and then to interpret it as logically as possible, with the necessary context and institutional knowledge that we possess. But this report should be read unvarnished. And in the cold light of day, this is what part one (of three) tells us: the ANC ran something akin to an organised crime organisation.
It was ANC cadres – hand-picked and deployed by the party – who were greasing the gears of extraction, diverting billions of rands of public funds for the benefit of the Guptas. State companies – Eskom, Transnet, SAA – were some of the main extraction sites, with the former ANC leader and head of state, Jacob Zuma, as the prime mover.
Zondo's report makes quite some findings and recommendations, including that criminal investigations be launched against, inter alia, Brian Molefe.
State capture was clearly a systematic, organised and efficient programme of resource extraction from the public purse by actors within and outside the state. This was executed by and done with the acquiescence of the top leadership in government and the ANC.
Part one of the report emphasises this fact repeatedly. The ANC's response seems to be to ignore it, to belittle the judiciary or attack Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. It not a winning strategy.
Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, analyst Ralph Matheka, and columnist Ebrahim Harvey have all read the report and write about the implications for the ANC.
Also, Karyn Maughan, News24's specialist legal writer, argues that not only was Zondo within his rights to defend the judiciary against the cynical attack on it by Lindiwe Sisulu, the minister of tourism, but it was also his duty to do so. (Sisulu going off the reservation is the third biggest storyline of the year thus far, and we're only two weeks in.)
Happy reading, and please write to us if you agree, and especially if you disagree. You can email us at email@example.com
Pieter du Toit
Assistant Editor: In-depth news
Until we read the last word of the last sentence of the final and third part of the Zondo report, we may not issue a definitive verdict on the value of this report, or this commission, for that matter, writes Tinyiko Maluleke.
Ebrahim Harvey writes that the severity of the findings, allegations and relevant recommendations made in the Zondo report into state capture, makes it very clear that it is bound to worsen and deepen the already existing factionalist war in the ANC.
Ralph Mathekga writes that it will be impossible to implement the recommendations of the Zondo Commission report meaningfully, while at the same time trying to protect the image and integrity of the ANC as an organisation.
Judges in South Africa routinely face baseless accusations from those they rule against. But, Karyn Maughan writes, Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's comparison of black judges to "house Negroes” crossed a democracy-threatening line – and demanded a response.
To receive the Friday Briefing, sign up for the newsletter here.