Days of Zondo

Presidency boss Kodwa stamps Ramaphosa’s authority on State Capture hearings

By Ferial Haffajee 10 September 2018

As the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture reveals how seismically State Capture cut through the ANC, President Cyril Ramaphosa moved to throw his weight behind its work.

ANC head of the Presidency, Zizi Kodwa, made a high-profile appearance at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture’s hearings on Monday where evidence was shown revealing that ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule was a key funder of the Gupta family’s media empire in his previous role as Free State premier.

The Free State premier’s office spent R53-million of the R79-million provincial splurge on the Gupta’s New Age newspaper and on Infinity Media, its broadcast holding company.

Previous reports revealed how Magashule’s son Tshepiso had worked for the Gupta family and had been treated to its infamous largesse on trips to Venice and New York.

Kodwa’s symbolic visit and press conference on the steps of the commission’s Johannesburg headquarters came as the Sunday Times reported that the fightback against Ramaphosa’s presidency has been put into fifth gear.

The newspaper’s photograph of former president Jacob Zuma meeting with Magashule and former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo at the Maharani hotel on Durban’s Golden Mile last week is read as evidence of a growing pushback against the war on corruption by an ANC faction associated with capture as both enablers and beneficiaries.

The commission must do its work without fear or favour and restore public confidence. Only this commission can get to the bottom of State Capture,” said Kodwa, who also warned the DA not to treat it as a political football.

The DA has started a campaign to get Ramaphosa to appear before the graft inquiry.

Since its start in August, the commission has revealed how capture and corruption cut through the ANC. On either side of crucial evidence sit people who wear the party’s colours.

The former deputy minister of finance, Mcebisi Jonas, who testified that the Gupta family offered him R600-million to take the job of Treasury top political boss, is an ANC man through and through. So is Fana Hlongwane, the fixer who took him along to the Guptas’ house where the offer was made.

Last week, the country was alarmed when former ANC activist and acting head of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Phumla Williams told Judge Zondo how she had been traumatised by then communications minister Faith Muthambi. Both Williams and Muthambi remain ANC supporters and members, illustrating again how State Capture has divided the party. Muthambi is an ANC MP.

The case of former GCIS CEO Themba Maseko also shows a similar division. Maseko is a liberation movement activist with clear ANC stripes and was eventually fired because he refused a direct instruction from Zuma to do favours for the Guptas.

Former ANC president Zuma still attends most of its national executive committee meetings.

The ANC is similarly divided on the Maharani Hotel meeting reported by the Sunday Times.

On Sunday, spokesman Pule Mabe issued a stinging denial while the party’s parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu said the meeting raised questions that should be answered.

Kodwa zigzagged the question about the Durban confab when asked on Monday, saying that it was not an ANC meeting even though the party’s most important official, its secretary-general Magashule, was front and centre of the images out of that meeting. DM

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South Africa is in a very real battle. A political fight where terms such as truth and democracy can seem more of a suggestion as opposed to a necessity.

On one side of the battle are those openly willing to undermine the sovereignty of a democratic society, completely disregarding the weight and power of the oaths declared when they took office. If their mission was to decrease society’s trust in government - mission accomplished.

And on the other side are those who believe in the ethos of a country whose constitution was once declared the most progressive in the world. The hope that truth, justice and accountability in politics, business and society is not simply fairy tale dust sprinkled in great electoral speeches; but rather a cause that needs to be intentionally acted upon every day.

However, it would be an offensive oversight not to acknowledge that right there on the front lines, alongside whistleblowers and civil society, stand the journalists. Armed with only their determination to inform society and defend the truth, caught in the crossfire of shots fired from both sides.

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