Vavi's march is a farce

2015-09-24 14:26

Zwelinzima Vavi has managed to reinvent himself as the strongest voice against corruption. He blames corruption at the door of ANC politicians and squarely at president Jacob Zuma.

After constructively resigning as Cosatu Secretary General, with some suggesting he was concerned about the state of Cosatu finances without the affiliate Numsa financial contributions after it was removed as an affiliate. The major concern was Vavi realizing that cash was evaporating fast and his own salary would likely not have been paid, instead he jumped ship to Numsa's Irvin Jim securing himself a monthly package as a Numsa consultant.

The biggest galvanizing factor is said to be the Nkandla Prestige Project which Vavi still holds is the responsibility of Zuma irrespective of the Public Protector and Special Investigating Unit reporting that there was no political corruption on the matter. Vavi has used the emotions and at times the misleading reporting on Nkandla to his benefit.

This week he tweeted that corruption has costed South Africa over R700 billion. Such outrageous statements are published as facts to enrage the public. Of course it is impossible that this could even be near a fact, R700 billion out of fiscus would be alarming and glaring. It would have collapsed the government a long time ago. It is not supported by facts. Even the total value of Black Owned Economy is a mere R300 billion in a R13 trillion economy. These alarmist corruption figures are banded about to seed fear and outrage.

Corruption is alive and is a serious cancer in South Africa. It is a cancer South Africa diagnosed much early and it is beatable. The laws passed by government are adequate to combat and identify corruption with biting minimum sentences for those found guilty. It is thought the minimum 15 years prison term is a good deterrent and a number of checks and balances in place keep the civil services in check. The Auditor General has also done a great service to the nation in this regard. The PFMA law also demands that no politician must be involved with money or tenders mangement. I have called for government to amend the act to introduce whistle blower compensation provisions law where whistle blowers would be compensated a set percentage of the recoverable assets.

The only sector that has not responded to the call of anti-corruption is the business sector. Business does not compel companies to do corruption audits and have anti-corruption policies. In the meantime, business is compelled to have environment policies. The JSE for instance encourages business to compile comprehensive sustainability reports annually. Corruption is not a key aspect of these reports.

Business contributes 70% into the economic activity and government contributes 30%. Much, if not all corruption emanates from business, either through collusion on tenders or bribing tender department officials or other bidding corruption. Vavi's march will shy away from any business organization and the JSE, pointing to its thrust and meaning. Politics of the ANC, threatening and fighting for the heart of the ANC in the guise of a civilian march.

Unfortunately the Public Protector, knowing fully well who the organizers of the march are and the inherent partisan politics involved, she has lended full support to this political march furthering her offices polarization. With key organizers being Irvin Jim and Zwelinzima Vavi, it has to be the worst form of naïveté for Advoctate Thulisile Madonsela not to realize she is endorsing a political action which is partisan and she is choosing a political side to potential unseat a democratic government.

Vavi has been challenged on the self promotional political posture of this march. In most of Vavi answers in this regard, he quotes Nelson Mandela or throw about slogans without validly dealing with serious and valid concerns that this is but an internal war within the ANC alliance and it aims for his Numsa grouping to test support for a new political party led by Numsa. With a number of NGOs having signed up including the known political competitors and ANC foes, it is yet to be clear how Vavi believes this will kick off a UDF like movement to unseat the ANC.

With many civil society organizations about to political taint themselves by aligning with Vavi partisan politics, the most tragic is the office of the Public Protector which may never again recover from the deep political polarization and mistrust the incumbent has mad it to be. It helps no citizen for this office to be seen by any political side as a target, where this occurs, it shows failure of the incumbent to be above the fray and apolitical.

As for Vavi and Numsa, this is their do or die moment of testing their political muscle through numbers, they lost the boardroom politics, they are now taking the fight to the streets and found just a juicy topic - corruption which all the rightful hate the public have for it. After this planned march, they will either talk with authority on all matters or not. It's all about winning political office for them, the strategy is to start a UDF like formation with the tactic being to dupe people and organizations on highly topical political/social matters. The loser will be the public.

Why not march to business? They are the key party in corruption and they do not fire their corrupt people but promote them. When a story about a civil servant alleged corruption is made, focus on the business involved in the allegations.

Although government has adequate laws to combat corruption and business does not - as seen in the Nkandla matter. Had business been part of the fight, there is no way the architect would have overcharged and side step laws he knew existed. Until such persons could lose their livelihood through being struck off business associations or professional associations, they will continue to steal and loot whilst Vavi marches to the wrong door of the Union Buildings bringing with him all groups that hated the transition to democracy. That is the politics Vavi is willing to risk for a jump start to his career.

Vavi will be welcoming even right wing groups and holding their arms straight to the door of black emancipation and will never be forgiven. Holding hands with EFF leader still accused of grand corruption to march against corruption just shows the political farce of the Vavi march.

Bo Mbindwane - twitter @mbindwane



it is assumed the figure of R700 billion is a miscalculation of the reported approximate amount once reported by AG that there is an average of R30 billion per annum (R30 b X 21 years) which covers unauthorized, wasteful, questionable expenses. These are technical terms that do not mean corruption. Unauthorized spending means not in budget or budgeted for, these could be dealing with social emergencies or unforeseen circumstances like floods, storms and the like. What civil society should worry about is why departments do not have unauthorized spending, could it be that government is heartless to the plight of the poor and rather throw budgeting bureaucracy book? Wasteful expenditure is also not corruption, it could occur on purpose (corruption) or by mistake (incapacity & ineptude). It is impossible that corruption has costed R700 billion which would be 4 times the amount of the entire foreign debt the country has. Perceptions led by politics and partisan contestantations and it is untrue.

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