IN 2011 the SACP’s Jeremy Cronin accused then President Thabo Mbeki of embarking on the “Zanufication of the ANC”. Cronin was referring to what he believed were authoritarian tendencies manifesting under Mbeki.
Cronin and Co then tied themselves – and this country – to someone who has done precisely what Cronin sought to avoid – and some.
The blunting of democracy by both the ANC and the state’s security and law order apparatus is now a norm. Just this week the nation heard the populist Police Minister Fikile Mbalula fire a warning shot at ANC MPs ahead of the vote of no-confidence against President Jacob Zuma. Any ANC MP who stepped out of line would “blow themselves up”, he said.
That ANC MPs have, to this point, been the compliant lackeys of a giggling president has delivered a triple whammy. It has stripped parliament of its oversight function, relocated the battle for righteous government to the courts and in turn our proudly independent judiciary has found itself under such pressure that the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng recently urged judges to be “willing to die for the rule of law”.
Unfortunately the parallels between authoritarian abuses in Zanufied Zimbabwe and South Africa in 2017 do not end here. Recent features include:
l Attempts by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane to orchestrate the heist of the entire mining industry with a secret redraft of the mining charter. His version will funnel massive wealth (R50-billion) to a tiny elite, put at risk 100000 direct jobs (20% of the mining workforce), set credible investors to flight and very likely ensure that the deeper deposits of the world’s most mineral rich country remain where there are – untapped underground;
l Then there is the bizarre display of official over-reach by the public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who visibly unbidden, departed from her domain of the law and launched herself into the realm of economics by trying to open the way for the Reserve Bank to print money. Meanwhile she been stubbornly resistant to fulfilling the responsibilities of her office, which should include investigating a slew of evidence of gross corruption involving President Jacob Zuma’s cronies, the Guptas.
According to Guptaleaks, they have, as middlemen in a deal between Transnet and China South Rail (one of many deals involving the state) acquired R5-billion in kickbacks.
Worse is that this deal was granted on the basis of a fraudulent R30-billion loan application which their associate concocted;
l Move on to what is invariably a last resort of bankrupted governments – land expropriation without compensation. The pitfalls of this policy have been so well demonstrated that there should be no repeating. Yet this very week at the ANC’s policy conference this is what is being advocated by the Zuma bloc;
l Last but not least are attacks on the independent media which escalated to shocking proportions last week. A young SABC journalist, so traumatised by intimidation, died because her heart gave in. On the same day thugs descended on the home of editor, Peter Bruce, threatening him and punching his colleague, Business Day editor Tim Cohen, in the face.
Sadly none of these features are novel. Zanufied Zimbabwe has perfected them. This is the lens of reality through which ANC delegates meeting in Soweto should be looking.
One of the things fire can signify is God’s judgment. Come to think of it, I think this ties up with something else I saw at the Angus Buchan event- the symbol of Freemasonry being knocked flat and with that the scales of Justice which had been badly uneven suddenly swinging back to an even balance. That told me justice was being restored in SA. We have already seen at least three very significant court judgments against wrongs by the state – Concourt against Zuma on Nkandla; Concourt against the Minister of Soc Development, Bathabile Dlamini on the disgraceful attempt to hijack Sassa’s social grant payment system; and the Western Cape High Court against the unprocedural procurement process that was underway for Zuma’s nuclear deal (which basically sought to bypass parliament). In all of these cases our courts have held the line against unrighteousness.
But these are not by any means the sum total of the cases pending against Zuma and his cronies. With state Capture and Guptaleaks It is difficult to keep track of all the cases being brought by opposition parties and justice NGOs against those implicated in treason, gross corruption, money laundering and other appalling abuses of state resources.
In most democracies Guptaleaks would have brought down the government. But in SA we have seen paralysis and a continuation of flagrant abuses by people who have seemed to be untouchable.
Yesterday that suddenly changed with the firing of the SABC’s Hlaudi Motsoeneng. He hasbbeen sailing around like a crown prince causing havoc even though Thuli Madonsela in 2014, found he had lied about his qualifications and was unfit to hold office.
I believe that ruling is just the beginning of a rash of judgments that are about to take place that will remove wicked people from office. I’d urge Christians to pray seriously for our courts – they have been holding the line for this nation against a tide of wickedness despite much intimidation, harassment and accusations of “judicial over-reach” by zupta footsoldiers. But the truth is that justice has not reached far enough. However I think that’s about to change and we are about to see the fire of God fall using the vehicle of our court system to deal with wickedness at a speed and extent that is unprecedented.
THERE was an invisible but direct line between two very different reports in a leading newspaper yesterday.
The one was about President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, acquiring an ultra-luxury apartment at Dubai’s most prestigious address, the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the tallest building in the world.
The other was about riot over a lack of housing and other appalling services suffered by residents of Breidbach. They were so desperate they set up burning barricades along the N2 and 70 public order policing officers had to be sent in to try to restore order.
How do these two stories tie up?
In a nutshell, Duduzane Zuma was able to buy his luxurious eye in Dubai’s skyline because he and his business partners, the Gupta brothers, specialise in massively bleeding off state resources through deals with state-owned enterprises.
Chief among these is Eskom which, 17 years ago was in the top five low cost energy generators in the world. Since then it has sunk to the bottom quartile in the world, with electricity costs escalating by over 500% in the last 10 years.
There are various reasons for the massive rise in electricity costs, says the Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse, but key among them is the questionable coal supplier contracts Eskom has struck.
Enter the Gupta-Zuma owned companies.
Around two years ago a process began which resulted in the hijack of the Optimum coal mine from Glencore by the Gupta-Zuma’s Tegeta.
Brian Molefe was Eskom CEO at the time.
Thereafter the price of coal supplied from the same mine by Tegeta to Eskom rocketed – up from the R161 per ton paid to Glencore/Exarro to R550 per ton (R700 per ton with transport) paid to the Gupta-Zuma company.
This hyper-inflation of the coal price did not stop with one mine. Eskom uses over 90 million tons of coal per annum. Not all of it comes from Gupta-Zuma owned companies, but a lot does.
The academic study on state capture released last week notes “this massive expansion of contracts” was also evident for other Tegeta and Oakbay mines, including and particularly Koornfontein, during 2016.
The Office of the Chief Procurement Officer’s website sheds further light: in the second quarter of the year, a Tegeta contract with Eskom to supply the Majuba power station was increased from R3794748750 by an additional R2.9-billion. Another Tegeta contract to supply coal to the Arnot power station rose by R854955000, in addition to the original contract value of R235021150.
Koornfontein mine, owned by Tegeta, with a contract to provision the Komati power station, had its contract increased by a further R341544200.
In the third quarter of 2016, the Koornfontein mine saw the value of its contract increase by a further R6955200000, in addition to the original amount of R341544200 – a 2000% escalation.
This makes it clear, says the academic study, “Eskom has been paying massive rents for the same coal it had previously bought cheaply”.
Eskom has used taxpayer money to pay these massively inflated prices to the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma. This tax money should rather have gone to provide services for people, in Breidbach for example.
FIFTY-FOUR members of the ANC national executive committee, who this weekend prioritised their short-term comfort over the sovereignty of this country, are now endeavouring to cover their tracks. Unfortunately the whitewash is so thin it’s useless.
Speaking on their behalf the ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe attempted to sell the idea of the ANC being under siege by an array of forces. He also tossed out, as a token bone, Brian Molefe’s future at Eskom.
The NEC had agreed, Mantashe said, that the continued upheavals over the presidency of Jacob Zuma, were “not so much about removing the president but rather dislodging the ANC itself from power”.
One has to pity men and women who are so blinded by deception that they cannot see that a Cabinet reshuffle taking place without the ANC’s blessing means the ANC has already been dislodged from power.
The National Democratic Revolution is null and void, the once mighty people’s liberation organization is now merely an instrument in the hands of other people and its members are in fact, in defeat.
Pity these blind 54 NEC members even more because they fail to grasp that they have not a shred of human value in the disgusting and exploitative leadership charade taking place at the helm of government.
Their value is simply in being marionettes, with no traction, dangling to dance or sing “amen” to the prompting of Zuma and those outsiders who scrutinise the CVs of our prospective Cabinet ministers.
Were this not the case these same 54 individuals would long ago have connected their past to their children’s futures and put every foot down to insist Zuma comply with the recommendations made in October last year by the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, on releasing her report on state capture.
She recommended that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng appoint a single judge to preside over a commission of inquiry into state capture.
She did so with good reason. Zuma’s previous judicial commission – the Seriti commission into the whether kickbacks were paid on R70-billion’s worth of arms procurement – ended last April, making neither recommendation nor finding.
This was after dragging on for four years, during which time a commissioner quit, as did researchers and evidence leaders because of the “distinct impression of an alternative agenda” being in place and the bizarrely narrow limitations that excluded crucial evidence.
Predictably Zume has resisted Mandonsela’s recommendation. He says it undermines his constitutional entitlement to appoint inquiries.
He has gone to court, not to fight the idea of a commission but so that he can appoint the judge who will preside over the probe in which he himself is the most deeply implicated figure out of a constellation of raiders of the lost state of South Africa.
It is so ludicrous that it would be laughable if it was not deadly serious.
For seven months after Madonsela’s clear recommendation the NEC has been mute. But suddenly the president lands in yet another bind and flicks the NEC’s on switch.
If Zuma has things his way the bankrupted citizens of a bankrupted country will likely wake up one day to find the president on permanent holiday in a R18-million Dubai apartment.
Our hope lies, not in the marionettes of a captured organisation, but in the only remnant of independent South Africa – the courts – to ensure this is not the case.
25 May 2017
WHY is Brian Molefe so important that he has been allowed to do a gravity defying backflip, provoke a national uproar and roll back into the saddle at Eskom, possibly R30-million richer? Not since President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla scandal and to a lesser extent the SABC’s Hlaudi Motsoeneng drama has there been such high-level defence of the obviously unacceptable doings of an obviously compromised individual.
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has demeaned herself by babbling nonsense about Molefe’s return to Eskom making “financial sense”. While board chair Ben Ngubane has sought to appropriate for Molefe successes he had little to do with. In reality, analysts say, Molefe was lucky the demand for power declined, thereby ending power cuts, while he was at Eskom. The financial ratios also improved because government injected funding in 2015. Very few people are likely to have swallowed the tripe being trotted out in the current charade. Parliament hasn’t – it has launched its own inquiry, evidently with no faith in the one initiated by Brown. And opposition parties have gone to court to try to have Molefe’s reappointment revoked. The question is why even send him back to Eskom when the uproar was so predictable?
There are two possibilities.
One is to allow Molefe’s R30-million gratuity to go through the books and so afford him retirement in unending luxury. The second is to ensure the acquisition of even more luxury through the process of waving tenders from the country’s biggest state-owned enterprise into specific hands. Select mine owners for instance. Some coal mine owners will be in line for an immediate windfall if the call already made by Ngubane for Eskom to shore up its coal reserves is actioned.
Then there is uranium. In the longer term Zuma’s nuclear programme will put a premium on uranium. President Zuma’s son Duduzane is already positioned to deliver both. He is the largest single shareholder of the Gupta family’s Optimum coal mine, hijacked two years ago from Glencore with the help of Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane. The same Gupta-Zuma combo operating as Tegeta Exploration and Resources also owns South Africa’s only fully dedicated uranium mine – Shiva.
Then, going beyond the mineral aspect, is nuclear build itself. These are prime targets for corruption because of their scale and longevity, says environmental researcher Dr Neil Overy.
Considered megaprojects they are highly costly and highly complex organisationally, with the potential to create thousands of contractual links. They tend to be centrally managed by governments and, by necessity, afford senior public officials discretionary powers over projects, he says.
A further factor is secrecy – often national security laws, such as the National Key Points Act, are used to restrict public and even parliamentary oversight. Considering Molefe’s track record as set out in the State of Capture report, it is feasible to suggest that Molefe has been redeployed to an environment where his sponsors believe he will thrive.
17 May 2017
This week, as the Constitutional Court listened to argument over whether the vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma in parliament could be by secret ballot, the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng made, almost as an aside, a highly alarming comment.
There were more serious dangers for judges than being removed from their positions, he said, “believe you me”.
Even more worrying is that this came on the back of a similar but more emphatic comment a few weeks ago when he opened the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa in Cape Town.
Governments could pose a threat to the judiciary, and judges should even be willing to die for the ideal of an independent judiciary and rule of law, Mogoeng told judges from across Africa.
When a judge of the weight and stature of Mogoeng Mogoeng starts making such chillingly grave remarks out loud in public, South Africans need to sit up and take serious note.
Such words by such a chief justice are not being said lightly. They are a distress flare sent up on behalf of a judiciary that recognizes itself as increasingly under siege.
For evidence look no further than Monday’s march in KwaZulu-Natal by the ANC which positioned itself in open opposition to a respected independent judiciary.
Apart from the case unfolding in the Constitutional Court another reason cited by the KZN ANC for their “disgust” over “judicial over-reach” was the order last week by the North Gauteng High Court Judge Bashier Vally that Zuma give reasons for sacking a performing finance minister.
Provincial ANC chairman Sihle Zikalala said the party was “saddened and disgusted” by Vally’s determination that presidential prerogative in the context of a constitutional democracy must be exercised in the same spirit.
He demanded that the ruling be reversed.
Zikalala would appear to believe that Zuma should be elevated beyond all accountability and be allowed to rule like a king of old.
Whether Zikalala actually believes what he is saying is irrelevant. He is what communists would call “a useful idiot”, a lackey who serves the purposes of a ruthless and avaricious leadership- and in this case one that is at odds with the judiciary because of its flagrant and frequent disregard for the rule of law.
Indeed, the judiciary that so “disgusts” Zikalala is the one that rose to defend the poor against Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s brazen attempt to hijack the social grants disbursement system.
It also stopped the government from bypassing procurement requirements and so fast-track Zuma’s nuclear agenda.
In fact, had the Western Cape High Court not insisted a few weeks ago that proper procurement processes be followed, this country would now in all likelihood be locked into an unbreakable deal with Russia for the roll out of far too many nuclear power stations and at a suicidally high price.
This same judiciary also resisted backdoor attempts by the government to terminate South Africa’s membership of the International Criminal Court, as well as it did this government’s appalling embrace of the genocidal leader of Sudan, Omar al Bashir.
And then of course this same judiciary also reined in the president for his personal enrichment bonanza at Nkandla.
There is no question here of who is doing their job and in whose interest – it is South Africa’s judges who are upholding their constitutional duty as an arm of the state to defend and protect the people. As a result they now apparently fear for their lives while what they actually deserve is much gratitude and all support.
24 April 2017
CAN A NATION BE BORN IN A DAY When Angus Buchan, the man who called Christians together to pray for South Africa, walked onto the stage in the middle of the Free State veld on Saturday afternoon he stopped, gasped and almost burst into tears.
The size of the crowd was unlike anything the 69-year-old KwaZulu-Natal farmer and founder of the Mighty Men crusades had ever seen.
At 9am police had estimated that around 350 000 people were already congregated on mown farmland owned by the rugby player Ollie le Roux.
By 3pm the crowd covered an area four times larger, stretching back over four kilometres and reaching the horizon line. The offical estimated number of people was one-million-plus.
The Christians had rolled in on buses, trains, taxis, cars, aeroplanes and choppers from across southern Africa and beyond for what seemed like a bizarre proposition: travel long distances through the night, get up at sunrise to trek into the veld, schlepp food and water by foot from the parking lot over several kilometres, and then sit for hours in the heat and dust, waiting for a prayer meeting to start.
But the timing of Buchan’s call – made about three weeks before the March Cabinet reshuffle – was arguably a factor in galvanising so many Christians from across the divides of domination, race, class, age and gender to respond.
Cape Town engineer David Price who put his entire family into his car and drove to Bloemfontein, explained it this way: “The timing of the call, which obviously came from Angus Buchan’s heart, resonnated with so many who care deeply about our country and its future.
“The problems in the nation seemed to have reached a point where resolving them was beyond human capability. The only remaining option was to pray – to get onto our knees and take it to the highest level. It was an act of desperation and duty.”
Saturday afternoon’s programme was remarkable in its simplicity: repent and pray for peace and justice, the restoration of law and order, responsible government, and an end to murder, rape and corruption.
Finished and klaar. Turn around, schlepp back across the veld to the car park, sit in a montrous vehicle jam for four hours and drive home through the dark.
No collection was taken. Nor were the names of the politicians present – including the DA and ACDP leaders, Mmusi Maimane and Kenneth Meshoe – mentioned.
Yet for East Londoner Ruth Cocks, who travelled to Bloemfontein with her husband and children, the gathering was profoundly important.
“It was historic. I believe South Africa will never be the same again,” she said.
Buchan was astonished by the way in which the logistical demands of preparing for such an enormous event had been resolved within just six weeks, as opposed to the full year required for his far smaller stadium crusades.
“Today I have witnessed a miracle,” he told the crowd. “Can a nation be born within a day… I will never again doubt that there is anything God cannot do.”
12 April 2017
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has finally overplayed his hand. He may still be hanging on at the Union Buildings but it is only by a thread.
The profusion of voices speaking out against him has reached a crescendo.
Yesterday former president Thabo Mbeki’s added his own.
It was a supersonic boom that reverberated through the political stratosphere.
Mbeki raised a matter that has long been chronically overdue – the need to put one’s country first. Patriotic duty versus party loyalty.
The difficulty of elevating the role of citizen of a democratic country above that of being a member of a blood-bonded family of freedom fighters has possibly been the ANC’s biggest stumbling block since it became a governing party in 1994.
The challenge of making that leap has been not only been difficult but painful for many.
But the need for ANC members to do this could not be more acute.
This failure is why we are still saddled with the hopelessly inappropriate system of cadre deployment.
It is why almost all of our state owned enterprises have been driven into the ground.
It it is why we have witnessed a procession of dubious ANC figures being cosseted and covered up for when they should long have had to face the law.
This of course, includes the current president of the ANC.
Mbeki was still to learn the value of prioritising nation in the aftermath of Polokwane. Back then he set his obligation as head of state aside and acceded to a recall from an ANC newly under the leadership of the group infamously known as the “Polokwane lynch mob”.
That group predictably turned on itself.
Today it is barely distinguishable with its members reduced to limp, maimed, self-contradicting, apologising, ranting or threatening half politicians who are scattered across the landscape in a variety of forms.
One would have thought that the mistakes made in 20007 would have been so obvious and so potentially devastating that they would be easily avoided:
- Do not align yourself with people whose reputations are so tarnished that they have 783 charges of corruption hanging over their heads;
- Do not put the entire government of an entire country into such a person’s hands; and
- Do not forsake your country for the sake of narrow selfish gain.
Fifty-five million people are now more out of pocket than ever as a result of people who have done exactly this.
In raising the issue of patriotism Mbeki has struck a broadside for the anti-Zuma lobby in the run-up to the vote of no confidence against Zuma on April 18.
But more than that, he has brought into the open a critically important matter, which if apprehended and taken to heart by the wider population could prove to be the missing building block on the road to a better future for all South Africans.
Mbeki’s voice at this moment and the profound importance of advancing these simple basics in order to turn the ANC and all of South Africans into a league of patriots may just be his greatest service to this country.
It is worthy of welcome and applause.
30 March 2017
The funeral yesterday of ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada was yet another signal that a changing of the guard is under way in South Africa. Prior to his death Kathrada was one of three Rivonia trialists still alive. His generation has exemplified self-sacrifice, humility, honour and servant leadership. The refusal by Kathrada’s family to grant President Jacob Zuma a place in the spotlight at the former Robben Islander’s funeral has sent a clear message: Zuma is not regarded as a fit successor to this line of liberation heroes.
In fact, one year ago Kathrada expressed this very sentiment when he wrote to Zuma imploring him to step down after the Constitutional Court found the president had violated his constitutional duties. Yesterday Kathrada’s appeal was repeated and amplified to an almost deafening degree when former President Kgalema Mothlanthe read out parts of Kathrada’s letter to Zuma at Kathrada’s funeral. This should not have come as a surprise. Only a few days earlier Zuma so thoroughly erased any defence of his right to leadership that a response to his recent actions was demanded.
Reading between lines of reports on the Gupta’s ANN7 news channel, it is evident that the reckless manoeuvre by Zuma on the night of Kathrada’s death to unnecessarily bring back the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas from an international investment roadshow was for one reason only: the removal of principled hands from the controls of the Treasury. Once more, as he intended in 2015 with the deceitful removal of Nhlanhla Nene and the economically ruinous appointment of Dawid Des van Rooyen as finance minister, Zuma is trying to put the nation’s purse strings into the hands of a Gupta crony.
This will facilitate the final and most devastating assault by the state capture project and almost inevitably set South Africa on course to failed state status. In acting as he has Zuma has not only dragged the country to a precipice, but is ruthlessly dangling its people over the edge. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said as much yesterday, noting that the country was at crisis point. Something has to give. South Africa it seems, is no longer big enough to contain both Zuma in his capacity as president and the rest of the nation. But a shift is not only underway within the ANC. The DA too, is experiencing ructions in its upper leadership levels. There is no need here to rehash the Helen Zille tweeting saga, save to say that in persistently choosing to behave in a highhanded and superior fashion, Zille too has disqualified herself from the league of true leadership.
As Kathrada and his generation have shown us, real leadership is never about oneself – it is about the service of others and the pursuit of the greater good. Its requirements are invariably hardship and great personal sacrifice, and the mark of greatness is stamped with a humble heart. A changing of the guard is taking place in South Africa. Guards are meant to do exactly what the word implies – defend and protect, not destroy or inflame. The time of the Sauls and the other pretenders is over. Both Zuma and Zille must move aside and allow real leaders full entry. The question actually being asked is not whether they should go, but how. And who will follow in their stead.