– Will the voters trust the new dawn brooms, who are really old feather-dusters full of spider webs? –
Capture the original DA campaign trilogy of cadre deployment, corruption and capture which matured at the hand of a Public Protector’s role into state capture has the ANC on trial and may just be sent to the gallows. There is little debate on what the intentions of state capture hearings and a commission meant for some in the ANC. It was going to be the final countdown of proving Jacob G Zuma and the Guptas guilty of crimes defined as state capture which really if true translates to gross corruption.
Senior ANC leaders who even shared Top 6 positions with Zuma attempted to redeem themselves as the ones who stood against state capture. I remember conversations with very senior ANC leaders in the aim of redeeming themselves when these sought to claim that Zuma sold the state to the Guptas. The claim was all this was going to come out in the State of Capture Commission sittings. Needless to say, as is common with the political elite they know when to jump ship and defend a new guy when self-interest dictates.
Well, the Commission went live on August 20, 2018, and is expected to sit until early 2020 with a final report to be tabled mid – 2020. Since its inception, a number of anomalies have manifested. While a big hullabaloo was made of Gupta state capture, the majority of those we have thus far heard who also attempted to confirm this claim proved to be engaging in ultra-labour disputes with a president who had prerogative as to whom he wanted to serve in his cabinet as permitted by the constitution. Despite the much-anticipated Jonas, Mentor, Maseko, Williams, Gordhan and Hogan testimonies which again I will also highlight for its own shibboleths, we have heard nothing substantial that corroborates the media invented crime of state capture as actualised in public claims attributed to the Guptas. All of the aforementioned witnesses may crumble under due cross-examination particularly on core facts, not speculation and assumptions that led to conclusions. They proved very vague low on evidence but high on a story.
While the SoCC sits an interesting development occurred, cases, as investigated by the NPA and brought against the Guptas immanent in asset forfeiture attempts, failed dismally and left the NPA despite its wild claims with more than egg on the face. In fact, we can now safely conclude that the NPA and Hawks were compelled to act literally at the insistence and hand of the caretaker president Ramaphosa and others like Trevor Manuel who expressed their dissatisfaction that the Hawks and NPA were too tardy to arrest state capture accused. Ramaphosa in 2017, addressing a COSATU gathering in Limpopo, spoke of his then emerging pet central theme of state capture as a means to summit Mt. ANC but really Tuynhuis. “The Hawks and NPA mustn’t sit on their laurels; they must do their work and investigate so those involved can be dealt with … there is no reason for the Hawks and NPA to wait for a commission of inquiry. Something should be done immediately about state capture.”
Shall we ever forget how in July 2018, a media-driven arrest was made when Duduzane Zuma came to attend his younger brother’s funeral? The NPA knowing that the merits of the case understood in the testimony of Jonas would never stand legal muster appeared pressurised to rush to arrest and parade Duduzane in shackles. Clearly, this was to appease Ramaphosa and his crew who wanted a big fish arrest and who exerted undue influence on the NPA.
Well, this last week we learnt as we always expected that the NPA who told us they were ready to prosecute provisionally withdrew the charges against Duduzane Zuma. With this latest setback in combination with the several failed Estina Dairy Asset forfeiture attempts the NPA appears more confused than to have any case on state capture against the Guptas. It becomes even more comical when we realise that Mcebisi Jonas cannot tell who wanted to bribe, threatened to kill or offered him R600m. You can imagine how this in cross-examination will go.
Despite Pravin Gordhan – ‘Mr State Capture connect the dots’ – testimony which is no different to his media campaign of LINKING THE DOTS, the Commission remains very thin on evidence that can stand legal scrutiny. Yes, the storyline sounds good the dots may link well, from a media vantage point, but it is not up to legal scrutiny in the final analysis. We watched how Vytjie Mentor’s testimony unravelled in jolts of mistaken identity until concessions on a confusion of identities defined the scope of her testimony. Do not ask how she will do in a cross-examination. We lived through Pumla Williams’ testimony which was later questioned by Mzwanele Manyi with documented evidence to prove the opposite. Then came Barbara Hogan, having an axe to grind with a cross-breed of ANC leaders for not respecting her enough in seniority she threatened to bring the house down when she tagged Mantashe and others who often are portrayed as the new -dawn clean brooms.
Let me also note there is an emerging tendency in our media that socially conditions the minds of South Africans, that every time an apartheid white identity defined testifies it is paraded as the gospel. We saw this when Hogan testified and we see it again with Bosasa’s Agrizzi.
State Capture has always been the primary base for Ramaphosa’s campaign to ANC and SA high office. It became a powerful tool for Ramaphosa and his crowd to show the red-card to Zuma as corrupt and them the opposite. He would lead the ANC to use state capture to settle scores and condemn his predecessor as cancerous, He just did not realise that we will from Mid-December and for the entire month of January 2019 not once hear about Guptas, but Watsons, people who gave him at least one R500,000 donation. This was not what the state capture case intention was, it was supposed to stay on the Guptas. The Gupta bad-name-economy hitherto worked well for Ramaphosa and his CR17 team who continues to run a campaign against others and placed the ANC’s unity in the critical care section of the proverbial hospital.
Well until end of last year the Guptas exclusively were the centrepiece of state capture claims, accusations and blame. It all augured well for those who wanted to accuse Zuma from within and without the ANC to have South Africans minds brow-beaten with this narrative. That was all okay until the Bosasa donation of R500k to Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign featured. Bosasa has always been a shady company for its linkages to political elites here we remember the vocal self-righteous member of parliament Vincent Smith, and deputy minister Thabang Makwetla to name a few.
Notice it was the DA who confronted Ramaphosa on the questionable donation, Ramaphosa walked right into that sounding all in control on a claimed contract his son Andile has with Bosasa. When pressed for the details of the contract as cited by Ramaphosa in parliament, he crumbled and made a second submission still denying any knowledge of how the money was paid over. He now would do a summersault and release a letter to the Speaker which was diametrically opposite to his first statement in parliament.
Meanwhile, on the SoCC side Angelo Agrizzi, senior Bosasa director, the one whom it is claimed created a new lexicon, would take the stand. Agrizzi would share loads of information and names from the angel’s side would pop up to.
Beyond the self-confessed racist he is he proved explosive in the sense of letting us into the Watson Family – Business corruption, one after the other names were dropped and all of a sudden, the SoCC for some is going pear-shaped. There is no mention of Guptas, the usual crowd instead we hear of the former Secretary-General Mantashe who is identified by the projects of work done at his three properties ala Bosasa. Mantashe is a key and instrumental Ramaphosa backer. Often considered the bully that gives Ramaphosa a backbone. With his name now firmly mentioned not for the first time, the new-dawn angels crowd looking more and more not so holy.
Outside the scope of the formal SoCC drama that has bearing continues to unfold. Amidst the Bosasa revelations, the PIC who for an extended period of time remained highly suspect and in the news for all the wrong reasons in questionable deals was back in the news. In the most recent explosive email sent by a “James Noko”, which also implicates Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele, it claims that PIC board member Zulu who is a niece of ANC NEC member and COGTA minister Zweli Mkhize approved transactions for her live-in partner Mr Lawrence Mulaudzi to the tune of R6 billion.
You will recall, Africanews24-7 last year on several occasions’ broke news on corruption at the PIC that places its former CEO Dr. Daniel Matjila front and centre. It again led this week that a whistle-blower has levelled allegations of corruption against PIC Board member, Sibusisiwe Zulu who is alleged to have approved transactions for her lover to the tune of R6 billion. According to the whistle-blower, these include a controversial TOTAL deal where Mulaudzi was paid R100m for facilitation of which R40m was paid to Zulu and her uncle Mkhize. “Mr Mulaudzi is the well-known PIC benefactor who was used by Dr Dan Matjila to pay R300k to the ex-CEO’s girlfriend. The proceeding of this deal was the start of Ms Zulu lavish lifestyle where she splurged her ill-gotten PIC money on a multi-million-rand mansion in the coastal Umhlanga Ridge suburb in Durban, including luxury vehicles,” read the anonymous tip-off.
Recently we learnt that Dudu Hlatswayo signed off on R4bn Karan Beef deal in which Paul Mashatile Treasurer General of the ANC is named as central
On Friday we learnt the entire PIC board has resigned or was fired? While the drama on many levels is unfolding, we cannot but see self-defined angels falling, angels who pointed fingers at Zuma and the Guptas as implicated in Bosasa corruption and PIC corruption.
Some who now have to explain themselves include among others, caretaker president of SA Cyril Ramaphosa, who is currently being probed by the public protector for his flip-flop on knowledge of the R500k donation made by Bosasa to his CR17 campaign. Thabang Makwetla who received upgrades and cash, the latter he claimed to have he returned a month later, Vincent Smith who received loans for his children’s education from Bosasa ’Bank’, Gwede Mantashe who is mentioned as having received security upgrades to his three properties (Boksburg, Elliot and Cala homesteads) as the Commission heard, Nomvula Mokonyane who also received upgrades to her Krugersdorp property, The PIC revelations have Mondli Gungubele, Zweli Mkhize and Paul Mashatile fingered in the unfolding PIC corruption billions.
By the look of things come election time in May there will not be anyone in the cabinet or in senior ANC leadership untainted. As a side issue, one also must sneeze at how cheap, a mere R300k, some of the ANC black elite can be bought for with a few cameras, an electric fence and meat. Cameras that may very well have been recording them in their private spaces.
What is emerging is that state capture, the useful tool for some in the ANC is backfiring for those who wanted to use Zuma and the Guptas as the accused. These now find themselves confronted to answer discomforting questions on flagrant corruption, mind you not by Gupta associated companies.
What is undeniable is that the ANC remains on trial and is increasingly struggling under the unbearable weight of the state capture Bosasa revelations and the unfolding PIC corruption revelations. Its core leadership as high as the top six stands accused as not clean if the aforementioned is the base. How then will the voters trust the new brooms, who are really old feather dusters full of spider webs?
Fallen angels, it reverberates, convenient media invented heroes who stood against Gupta state capture when they were already captured by the Watsons among others.
Political Commentator and Writer