Being uninformed is so last season
29 May 2017 07:47 (South Africa)
Opinionista Onkgopotse JJ Tabane

Dear Comrade Nxasana, let’s talk frankly…

  • Onkgopotse JJ Tabane
    OnkgeposteBW
    Onkgopotse JJ Tabane

    Onkgopotse JJ Tabane is one of South Africa’s leading media and communications specialists, as well as a community activist and a business executive. He is currently the Chief Executive of Oresego Holdings an International Advisory Company. His most recent roles were Head of Communications for COPE [2008], Political Advisor to the COPE parliamentary Leader as well as a Corporate Affairs Executive at the JSE listed Altron. He is a member of the University of the Western Cape Council, where he is an appointee of the Minister of Higher Education after serving two terms on the council of the Northwest University. He is an Associate of the prestigious international Institute of Independent Business (IIB). He is a regular columnist for The Sunday Independent and Pretoria News. In 2011 he rejoined the ANC as an ordinary member. Tabane is a PHD Candidate in Media and Journalism Studies at WITS University.

With his appointment as the national director of public prosecutions, Mxolisi Nxasana inherits a host of messy situations. With numerous commissions of inquiry ongoing – from Pule to the spy tapes – the incumbent will be faced with a number of delicate situations to navigate. His success in the position will depend on how well he can manage (or sidestep) the outcomes of these processes.

I thought before your inbox overflows I would get a comradely word in. You are inheriting a rather poisoned chalice. Frankly, you are coming into office where, since Bulelani left, it’s been a balls-up where your position is concerned. Left officially, at least. If the spy tapes are anything to go by, he may not have completely left. Let’s hope for your sake that Simelane has at least vacated your position entirely, even if he is still hanging around the public service for some inexplicable reason. One would have thought that if the courts declared someone completely dishonest they would not be allowed to advise the government on how public servants should behave. But as you know, we are a thoroughly forgiving people. Anyway, I suppose this is the least of your worries right now. As they say in township parlance, “leso la hao le a mphidisa” (loosely translated “thy death is my life”). You wouldn’t be here if Simelane didn’t manufacture facts in front of a full presidential commission of inquiry, as was found by the highest court of our land. But I digress.

Your inbox will contain several interesting matters.

Your predecessor, Mokotedi Mpshe, gave birth to the spy tapes affair. This is a matter that, if mishandled, could mean you have to decide whether to charge your boss again or not. You are advised to postpone the matter to postdate your term of office. Frankly, we do not need the drama right now. We all deserve a break from this political conspiracy.

Vavi has thrown down the gauntlet, alleging that someone from amongst your security colleagues illegally generated a fake intelligence report and illegally tapped his phone and so on. You are advised, once again, to leave it alone. With the elections looming large it is not wise to be part of any further finger pointing. The alliance must be allowed to clean up their house without your interference. After all was anyone prosecuted for the R500,000 that was found in a black bag some years ago?

Minister Thulas Nxesi has alleged there are people who have inflated prices and put egg on the face of our government, which is now wrongly seen as having spent too much money on security upgrades and the like. You are well advised to wait for the public protector, whose report can only appear after the next elections, before you launch your own investigation. After all, you need to do this thoroughly. If you have not already done so, you may well have to take a trip down to the village. Frankly, I don’t see how you will have time before the elections. After all, it is not as the media portrays it. Even Helen Zille has been down there (or at least the surrounds) and the opulence you see on the front page of newspapers is probably all in the imagination of the overzealous press. I know you may have grown up in those parts, but please don’t take anything for granted. Pay the place a visit.

Comrade Pansy has made a mess of things at the IEC. You may also have to examine the conduct of her alleged boyfriend in the process, who just happens to be the head honcho of the finance committee in Parliament. She may well need a workshop on small matters such as conflict of interest, for the sake of her next or continued deployment. As a learned colleague you would know, as she should, that conflict of interest is more of a perception than a linear confluence of logical hard facts. In this case, such conflicts seem to have been rather horizontal, as Public Protector Thuli Madonsela seem to have uncovered.

Comrade Pule has had all of us by our progressive balls for months on end and has told a blue lie to the nation, claiming she did not have a boyfriend but a comrade and that the whole saga was because Mzilikazi wa Afrika wanted to sell cheap cell phones from China at a discount. However, in case you don’t watch TV, Parliament found that she had called this comrade her spouse a number of times ahead of big international trips. Of course, this may just have been a slip of the pen. Nevertheless, this may all be dumped on your table to recoup the R6-million pocket money she donated to her comrade in arms. All in good faith. After all, there were all kinds of ululations when she was supposedly reprimanded by Parliament with what amounts to Chinese mathematics: steal R6-million and be punished by subtracting 100,000 from the loot as punishment.

Commissar Yengeni has been at it again. After escaping jail sooner than many could calculate his sentence, he has been in and out of jail for driving a Maserati while imbibed with pricey spirits. I am not sure whether someone who is been out on parole should be risking such things. Of course, this will land on your desk. Look, we can’t afford to carry the guy shoulder high again into Victor Verster. Spare the movement the trouble. After all, he is the head of our political school.

About 1,500 police, who are likely to be your key witnesses in key cases, are convicted murderers and rapists. Apparently we can’t be rid of them until sometime next year. All the best with successful prosecution of criminals when those who ought to apprehend them and testify against them are their big buddies.

The auditor general avers that about R1-billion has been stolen by civil servants in Limpopo. No one has been arrested. Need I say more?

I know that your appointment took some time, but as they say, nothing happens at the wrong time really, “the universe is unfolding exactly as it should” and all that. Yours is to embrace the likes of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC), who threatened to enforce a court order if you were not appointed. Now look at your inbox. You could be left wondering what your predecessors were busy with. Oh, aside from trying by all means to prosecute one of your allegedly outstanding prosecutors who was handling all manner of interesting cases.

Your appointment is by all accounts interesting. So many are wondering what woodwork you emerged from. But that is a good place to be. Look at Mogoeng Mogoeng. No one had ever heard of the guy, and now he’s chief justice. If a fellow like Ramatlhodi was appointed, no one would be wondering what shambles would follow. At least no one can write you off. So far, the only discomfort is geographical, and therefore should not be taken to heart, after all these borders amongst provinces are superficial – we are all South Africans!

Your work is cut out for you. Who knows whom you may have to prosecute after the numerous commissions of inquiry that are going on. With your 10-year term ahead of you, your inbox looks rather interesting. I wish you Godspeed as you try and spell the word “independent”. It’s a word that is in the ICU in this country, but if you look at Madonsela, who should truly be your inspiration, it’s a term in stable (if critical) condition. She has not been assassinated by anyone (yet) for pointing out wrongdoing. And our movement has supported her work, despite her pointing fingers at us numerous times. We expect nothing less from you, comrade. Aluta! Pick up the spear from whence your predecessors threw it.  Aim it, but watch your back. Sadly, the knives are already drawn for your comradely self.

Yours frankly,

Onkgopotse JJ Tabane DM

  • Onkgopotse JJ Tabane
    OnkgeposteBW
    Onkgopotse JJ Tabane

    Onkgopotse JJ Tabane is one of South Africa’s leading media and communications specialists, as well as a community activist and a business executive. He is currently the Chief Executive of Oresego Holdings an International Advisory Company. His most recent roles were Head of Communications for COPE [2008], Political Advisor to the COPE parliamentary Leader as well as a Corporate Affairs Executive at the JSE listed Altron. He is a member of the University of the Western Cape Council, where he is an appointee of the Minister of Higher Education after serving two terms on the council of the Northwest University. He is an Associate of the prestigious international Institute of Independent Business (IIB). He is a regular columnist for The Sunday Independent and Pretoria News. In 2011 he rejoined the ANC as an ordinary member. Tabane is a PHD Candidate in Media and Journalism Studies at WITS University.

Get overnight news and latest Daily Maverick articles






Do Not Miss