South Africa, Politics

Say what? The State Capture Quotathon

By Marelise Van Der Merwe 3 November 2016

Some developments in the political landscape are beyond words. We’ve done our best, but suffice to say in a matter that couldn’t be summed up in 355 pages, this is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.

Well, that’s one way of looking at it

Many companies [have been capturing the government] for a long time. Big companies didn’t want small emerging companies to grow; immediately when you occupy that space, there’s a problem.

  • SABC’s Hlaudi Motsoeneng on state capture, October 2016

Bet you feel like a bit of Atul now

Cabinet appears to have taken an extraordinary and unprecedented step regarding intervention into what appears to be a dispute between a private company co-owned by the president’s friends and his son.

  • Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, November 2016

[This process] appears not to make commercial sense.

  • Madonsela’s assessment of the somewhat labour-intensive and costly processes followed by Eskom in its dealings with Tegeta and Optimum: firstly to forward the money ahead of deadline for Tegeta to purchase coal supplier Optimum, and at least once, needlessly including Tegeta as a middleman in the purchase of coal.

The Gupta family has no shareholding or other interest whatsoever in Trillian Holdings. It has no link to Trillian Holdings or to any of the other constituent members of the Trillian group of companies.

  • A statement issued by the Gupta family in October. It has emerged that several Trillian-affiliated companies coughed up some R235-million to the Guptas for the purchase of the above-mentioned Optimum.

We’re Thuli sorry for your troubles

It is worrying that the Gupta family was aware or may have been aware that Minister Nene was removed six weeks after Deputy Minister Jonas advised him that he had been allegedly offered a job by the Gupta family in exchange for extending favours to their family business.

  • Madonsela, Nov 2016

Another worrying coincidence is that Minister Nene was removed after Mr Jonas advised him that he was going to be removed.

  • Madonsela, Nov 2016

(The report is chock-full of clangers, delivered in Madonsela’s trademark style, and there are simply too many to quote individually. But choice phrases dotted throughout include “this looks anomalous”, “this is equally worrying”, “violation”, “infringement”, “source of great concern”, “failure to verify” and so forth. The most notable, of course, are those three little words that could spell doom for those they apply to: “backed by evidence”.)

It is the minister’s submission that the report was hastily prepared without due regard to his constitutional rights.

– The Public Protector’s restrained statement on Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who joined Co-operative Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen in saying he had not been given sufficient time to respond to the preliminary report on state capture.

I was lulled into a false sense of security by the assurances given to me by the previous Public Protector and her apparent acceptance of the principle of audi alteram partem.

  • Van Rooyen, having applied to halt the state capture report, then withdrawn his application, then applied again for the same thing.

There will be no Mickey Mouse that is going to stop the report.

  • EFF Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema

Don’t look at me, I just work here

I am still consulting before I prepare my affidavit for filing in court tomorrow.

  • New Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, late in October, explaining that she had not taken a position in the application to interdict the release of ‘State of Capture’. She had, however, reportedly asked staff to change the news channels in their offices from eNCA to the Gupta-owned ANN7 to offer a “broader perspective” on current affairs during her first week in office.

#Fail

The rules are clear: the President should have acted on the claims from senior government officials, taken them seriously, investigated them and helped safeguard the Constitution. The report shows he failed to do so.

Section27 statement, Nov 2016

Public office bearers ignore their constitutional obligations at their peril. This is so because constitutionalism‚ accountability and the rule of law constitute the sharp and mighty sword that stands ready to chop the ugly head of impunity off its stiffened neck.

  • Mogoeng Mogoeng, at the time of the Constitutional Court ruling on Nkandla in March 2016

It is high time that the ANC-run government stop wasting state funds defending the indefensible.

  • The DA’s James Selfe, Nov 2016

The current board [of Eskom] should be dissolved and each member subjected to the provisions of the Company Act. They carry personal liability in this regard. A new board should be appropriately constituted and … put in place.

  • Economist Iraj Abedian, Nov 2016

How can it be that a country so rich in human resources can be so poor in leadership? How is it possible that a people with such deep and diverse cultures can have become so barbarous to each other? … How did a country that threw off one form of inequality end up so quickly in another?

  • Activist Mark Heywood, Oct 2016

If you don’t have anything nice to say… say it to the media

The Public Protector’s report into State Capture confirms what so many South Africans already know: our country is governed by a mafia – a criminal syndicate so deeply interlinked with private crony interests that it is no longer possible to distinguish between the two.

  • DA leader Mmusi Maimane, Nov 2016

A leader with a conscience, committed to his oath of office and the Constitution, would not have to think twice about what to do following the release of the report. There should have been only one official statement from the Presidency yesterday evening: a full and unconditional apology and an announcement of his resignation, effective immediately. But this will not come, because this is not a man of integrity. This is a man who is prepared to sell his country to the highest bidder. This is a puppet of cronyism and corruption.

Maimane, Nov 2016. Maimane also confirmed, provisionally, that a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma would be debated in the National Assembly on 10 November.

It has always been clear that Jacob Zuma wanted to continue his so-called Stalingrad strategy to misuse and abuse court processes to avoid accountability for his misdemeanours. This time he was going to have none of that because he has been cornered. It’s game up for his shenanigans. The legal proceedings of yesterday clearly exposed the frivolous and baseless arguments of Zuma’s cronies to attempt to delay the release of the report. Lies have short legs.

  • COPE’s Dennis Bloem, Nov 2016

My dear Number 783.

  • Sipho Pityana on Zuma, referring to the number of charges the president faced and which were dropped in 2009. ‘Number One’ was not the right name for the President, he opined.

3 hundred and 5 thousand and 55 pages.

  • Nandos advert following the release of the report.

A two-minute noodle.

– DA member of Parliament Kevin Mileham on Des van Rooyen.

I quite like two-minute noodles.

Mileham, upon being challenged by Presiding Officer Thoko Didiza. (Some of your best friends are two-minute noodles…?)

Well, this is awkward

It’s okay, girl… take care of yourself.

Allegedly Zuma’s words, according to Vytjie Mentor, as he escorted her out after the Guptas allegedly tried to offer her the job of minister of public enterprises.

The African National Congress (ANC) welcomes the release of the Public Protector’s report … into allegations of improper and unethical conduct by the President and other state functionaries on matters relating to the removal and appointment of Ministers and Executives of State-Owned Enterprises. Following intervention the ANC would have sought to make on allegations of interference in the removal and appointment of Ministers, this report provides a concrete basis for the ANC and society in general to discuss the allegations contained therein and deal with its outcomes.

The African National Congress has long considered allegations of state capture as an attack on our democratic architecture and an antithesis of the values held dear by the ANC… [T]he ANC would have brought this matter to the public domain, established our own mechanism to seek a resolution, as we considered the matter as acknowledged by the Public Protector, “worthy of examination or scrutiny” […]

Based on the investigations conducted by the Public Protector, South Africans have greater clarity of the concerning relationships that those in government and state-owned enterprises interacting with capital and private interests should be wary of. We are further pleased by the activism that civil society in general has shown in joining the fight against graft and we trust that the same vigour and commitment will be harnessed and directed to the very important project of fundamental socio-economic transformation, deracialising our economy and the creation of a justice and equitable society which needs all of us, including captains of industry, to pull towards.

  • Statement issued by ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, 3 Nov 2016

With friends like these…

We are glad to see you still in one piece… We need each other now more than ever.

  • Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe to President Jacob Zuma, Nov 2016

The president is going nowhere. We will never allow instability. There will be no meeting of the ANC that will take a decision to remove Zuma in the presence of the Youth League… All the ANC members will never vote to remove the president. We will never donate the president to monopoly capital.

  • ANC Youth League Provincial Secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo, Nov 2016

It has always been our view that such calls [for regime change] are not new. People are desperate to renew the call, but we know these things were a fabrication of propaganda against the president.

  • Free State ANC provincial spokesperson Thabo Meeko, Nov 2016

The report was not rebutted and therefore can’t be a gospel truth. Our view is that the little we read about does not justify that the president must go.

  • ANC KZN spokesman, Mdumiseni Ntuli, Nov 2016

One of her (Madonsela’s) remedial actions is that the judge for the commission not be appointed by the president. There is something wrong in that approach. It is clear that she has concluded that the man is guilty as charged.

  • Ntuli, Nov 2016

The ANCWL will study this specific report and comment accordingly. The ANCWL has taken into account that any person or institution implicated in PP report has a right to take the report for judicial review if deem [sic] necessary. Those right [sic] must be respected by the law-abiding citizens of South Africa. PP reports have a legal standing and are binding, unless set aside through a proper judicial process.

The ANCWL is holding a firm view that there is a need for a full investigation on state capture in SA. Any investigation which excludes white monopoly capital is an advancement of white supremacy and serves a racial political agenda that hinders the building of a non-racial society.

The ANCWL appeals to ANC-led government to avail resources to the PP’s Office to be able to conduct full investigation of state capture as a matter of urgency. The ANCWL has confidence in the democratically elected ANC leadership and the ANC led government under President Jacob Zuma and the collective.

The ANC Women’s League, Nov 2016

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who will be the first to fall?

This report is going to be severely damaging on two fronts: First, it is going to be a serious political embarrassment, laying bare the Zuma crony empire in all its glory, exposing his family’s business interests and their entanglement with the Gupta family’s empire and revealing the network of ministers and underlings who abuse their stations to effectively steal from the public purse. Second, it is going to lead to further institutional action. Madonsela is said to be calling for a full judicial inquiry (appointed by the Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng as Zuma will have to recuse himself for obvious reasons). Such an inquiry is likely to turn into a slow and painful public execution of Zuma which will drag on perhaps until the 2019 election, shredding the ANC’s credibility to such an extent that it is hard to see how it will hang on to a majority.

Ray Hartley, Nov 2016

There are also some fun diagrams that show who spoke to whom and when. Eskom CEO Brian Molefe comes out of this very badly. He made dozens of calls to the Gupta family; they made some back. Tells you who held the power in that relationship, doesn’t it? He went to their place 19 times. Did these people never travel themselves? Was everything at their place? Why?

Stephen Grootes, Nov 2016

Okay, see you, ne?

We call on the governing party to take the steps necessary to ensure that the vehicle of state be protected and placed in safe and capable hands. And we join the call for a national convention of stakeholders to begin to reimagine South Africa’s future beyond the unsustainable stresses of the moment.

Statement by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Nov 2016

It is not possible for a leader to sit with a finding of the Constitutional Court that is so damning about his leadership and about his allowing… state resources to be used for his personal gain, for the benefit of his family and breaching the oath of office. It is going to happen: At the heart of the problem, you have a leader without integrity, who is without honour, who is not committed in serving the interests of this country. We have asked the president that we should have that discussion, and we believe that as citizens of this country, he should hear us and explain to us why he shouldn’t resign.

  • Pityana, Nov 2016

Today we look forward to the report. It’s a turning point in South Africa and Zuma must account… Our simple request is that Zuma must go.

– EFF Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema, Nov 2016

At last, the Gupta family can begin to formally clear their names

I will talk to your seniors in government and you will be sorted out.

  • Ajay Gupta’s alleged threat, according to Themba Maseko, when Maseko would not immediately attend a meeting in connection with the launch of The New Age. He was also allegedly told he would be replaced with somebody co-operative.

We welcome Madonsela’s report. She did good work. It is a body of evidence she collected. It makes no findings against my clients, for good reason. She rightly steered away from making findings against my clients, she did not hear our version.

Gupta family lawyer Gert van der Merwe, Nov 2016

I’ve seen Vytjie Mentor’s affidavit. It is questionable. There are pieces scratched out, pieces rewritten, and some scratched out again. I’m looking forward to questioning it. And so we will question every detail, Mcebisi Jonas’ version, the Eskom deals, everything.

Van der Merwe, Nov 2016

amaBhungane’s Susan Comrie […] adopted her usual routine of sending questions laced with innuendo and speculation, but no evidence. [Comrie] did not seem to even understand basic facts… The repetition of this same strategy can only be interpreted as an attack on the Family and we have to question the motivation and financial incentives behind it.

  • Gupta family statement on investigative journalist Susan Comrie, Oct 2016

Van der Merwe Attorneys (VDMA)’s letter noted that the Minister of Finance’s affidavit implicated its clients in inappropriate and unlawful conduct. The affidavit also insinuated that VDMA’s clients would “expose the fiscus not only to loss of tax revenue but also put the burden of mining rehabilitation on the fiscus” which VDMA noted was “uncalled for, malicious and nothing but vexatious.”

  • Statement from Gupta family lawyers, Oct 2016

[Our communication stated that] “[i]n order that we do not expose the fiscus unnecessarily to costs we propose that the application be withdrawn” – that the Minister of Finance’s application is withdrawn and that the Minister of Finance’s tenders VDMA’s client’s costs, before close of business on 19 October 2016.

  • Statement from Gupta family lawyers, Oct 2016. Attorneys for the Minister of Finance declined the offer to withdraw the application and tender costs.

The Gupta Family has become accustomed to the “shoot from the hip” approach from David Maynier and his DA colleagues. We are surprised that Maynier has not acknowledged the impact of his decision and ongoing campaign against the Family on foreign direct investment in our country as we believe many potential investors will be concerned about the treatment meted out to the family through a media narrative without any basis of wrongdoing… we appeal to Maynier to not use us as a football in his party-political battles.

  • Gupta family statement, Aug 2016

It is regrettable that some media persist in trying to create a narrative that Oakbay’s mining activities represent a conflict between the Company’s majority shareholders and the Treasury. The Gupta Family … and Oakbay Investments are delighted to have been cited as respondents to the application from the Finance Minister. At last, the Gupta Family and Oakbay can begin to formally clear their names. They thank him for this opportunity…. The application’s detail is fundamentally flawed. The truth always comes out in the end and we look forward to clearing our name in court.

  • Gupta family statement, Oct 2016

A fresh, wonderful wind

[This report is] a fresh, wonderful wind blowing in… I’m sorry, I’m so emotional over this. We must all go down on our knees.

  • A 702 caller, known only as Jenny, bursts into tears over the contents of the State of Capture report. DM

Photo: South African President Jacob Zuma holds his head during an inaugural session at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, 03 November 2016. Zuma and his Zimbabwean counterpart President Robert Mugabe were the co -chairs at the official opening of the inaugural session of the Bi-National Commission.The commission will help see the two countries political and economic relations boosted. EPA/AARON UFUMELI

Read more:

  • Thuli Madonsela on the State of Capture report on EWN
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