AFTER DAWN

Cyril Ramaphosa must get a move on – Mcebisi Jonas

By Ferial Haffajee 14 August 2019

Archive Photo: Mcebisi Jonas testifies at the state capture commission of inquiry on 24 August 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Former president Jacob Zuma is going to be dragged deeper into the centre of state capture rot as three witnesses who will appear before the Zondo commission will implicate him in lobbying for Gupta companies to receive government business. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk 24 / Deaan Vivier)

'The dilly-dallying is not sustainable,' said former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas at the launch of his book After Dawn in Johannesburg on Tuesday night. He was referring to the growing view that the reform project of President Cyril Ramaphosa is stalling.

Jonas said that while he understood the clamour in society for prosecutions to emerge from the evidence of State Capture that has been thrown up by four commissions of inquiry and numerous investigations, it was better to ensure watertight prosecutions that secured convictions rather than half-baked efforts which would dip trust levels even further.

The author, most famous for turning down a R600-million bribe offer from the Gupta family who marked him to become a pliant finance minister, also told the packed house that “the depth of the fightback (against reform) is underestimated”. He said it was likely that funds plundered during the era of State Capture were probably financing the fightback.

Dismantling business-political networks and shutting down wealth-creating opportunities of the patronage economy will trigger widespread resistance towards incumbent political leadership,” writes Jonas in his book which sets out his vision of what a new social compact for South Africa might look like.

Jonas also said that the governing ANC is at its lowest ebb. It is divided and weak and no longer rooted in its constituencies, said the author, who argues in his book for a new model of politics. One of the changes he argues is necessary is for a directly elected president, but also for a significant reduction in the powers of the president.

The former deputy minister who now chairs the board of telecom giant, MTN, says South Africa has developed a clientelist state where rent-seeking is acute. In his book, he argues that this pattern has been established because the economy has not been restructured from its apartheid-era patterns of monopolies and the lock-out of new black leaders.

It is (now) so severe that it is in existential in pattern,” Jonas told Redi Tlhabi,who anchored the launch. It was attended by Jonas’s former colleague Pravin Gordhan who was finance minister when he was deputy. Also present were Derek Hanekom and SA Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago, both of whom launched legal proceedings tthis week.

Hanekom is taking on former president Jacob Zuma, who called him a known enemy agent during his testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry into State Capture. Kganyago notified ANC Nelson Mandela Bay councillor (and convicted criminal) Andile Lungisa of a defamation suit against him for various online insults. DM

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