Defend Truth


Hawks vs Gordhan: Uncertainty and confusion serve an ulterior purpose


Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar was born in Cape Town and raised by his determined mother, grandparents, aunt and the rest of his maternal family. He is an admitted attorney (formerly of the corporate hue), with recent exposure in the public sector, and is currently working on transport and infrastructure projects. He is a Mandela Washington Fellow, a Mandela Rhodes Scholar, and a WEF Global Shaper. He had a brief stint in the contemporary party politic environment working for Mamphela Ramphele as Agang CEO and chief-of-staff; he found the experience a deeply educational one.

Power coupled and tied to accountability does not seem to exist happily in the presidency of Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma. Power and the use of authority are easily exercised by Zuma, who has shown us all that he is happy to wield his power with wild abandon. However, Zuma has elected to do nothing when South Africa requires actual leadership beyond his own very narrow agenda.

We are encouraged to believe that the law should take its course. It is convenient that Zuma dismisses any suggestion that there is an ulterior motive that is guiding the Hawks (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation). Yet, Zuma is still evading his own corruption charges while his friends in the SABC, Prasa and SAA act with such callous disregard for the law that we all look on in disbelief and shock.

A few may believe that Pravin Gordhan has a case to answer but on what we have seen, in the public domain, there appears to be no real case. The only conclusion we can draw is that Zuma, the man in charge, and those loyal to him have an agenda and motives that are not concerned with the truth, the law or even the facts. We must be vigilant when our prosecuting authorities are guided not by the law but instead by personal and political interest.

Zuma reminded us in May this year that he “controls all government departments including the National Treasury, as the head of government, and by virtue of the fact he appoints ministers and they report to him”. Zuma in that statement would go further and remind us all that he “actually controls the whole of government”. This is to be expected as Zuma displayed a heightened sense of hubris long before he assumed control of our government.

The events unfolding at the moment against our finance minister are not isolated but rather part of a focused attempt to achieve the goals of self-interest at the expense of our democracy. This is not accidental or simply misguided or foolish or nonsense. This is a carefully executed and planned approach by Zuma and his entourage. After all, they believe that they not only control the whole government but that they can do anything without any consequences.

Contrary to Zuma’s thinking, South Africans are not in the business of peddling misinformation but rather we are alarmed that Zuma and his entourage would be so brazen as to abuse their position as public servants. The Hawks are not only misguided in the application of the law (on what we have seen so far) but they are also hopelessly lost in their own maze of misinformation. The uncertainty and the confusion obviously serve the ulterior purpose.

South Africans are not looking for Zuma to stop an investigation but rather are expecting the type of leadership that demonstrates an appreciation for the Constitution and the risks that the current climate poses. After Nkandla, we should all know that is not possible. No one has suggested that Zuma should end a legitimate investigation into Gordhan but rather the suggestion is that Zuma as Head of State, and the man who “actually controls the whole of government”, should take the necessary steps, within the confines of the law, to resolve this issue expeditiously. That hope, however, is pointless because Zuma and the Hawks are not simply operating under a mistaken belief but we must remember that this is intentional and not accidental.

The manoeuvrings and threats, carried out with misinformation in the Press and in badly crafted letters, against Gordhan and the Treasury are certainly not just nonsense. This is also not just targeting Gordhan, what about Pillay, Dramat, Breytenbach, Van Loggerenberg and the countless others who have been targeted in a similar way? The conduct is not simply intended to pursue or protect the rule of the law. We have not been bold enough to call this for what it is. Instead, the activities and actions we are all witnessing are designed carefully for a particular outcome. The rule of law is being trampled on. The rule of law and South Africa’s best interest do not feature in the machinations of this crowd.

Disbelief is a difficult thing to shake off and so many of us are looking for signs that the African National Congress or our government and its leaders will shake off this oppressive yolk and somehow reset itself and the trajectory.

Cyril Ramaphosa, who has mostly been silent and absent on this issue, seems to suggest that we must avoid a situation where a “government … does not wage war with itself”. The truth is our government and organs of state have been corrupted to serve very narrow interests and so the war Ramaphosa speaks of is not against itself but rather against all South Africans. South Africans will need to confront these hard truths if we are ever going to arrest the decline into the abyss.

We cannot be forced to endure the consequences of selfish men and women who are wilfully sabotaging South Africa. After the tsunami in Polokwane nine years ago, we should all have expected the chaos and destruction that we are now seeing in the last days of Zuma’s Presidency. This is not simply “bloody nonsense” but rather the calculated conduct of a man who was never fit to conduct himself in accordance with our Constitution or acted in the interest of our republic. We cannot expect anything from him except the same dirty tricks. Ultimately, where our public servants are unable to safeguard and protect our Constitution and the very fabric of society then it is essential that we collectively stand up to such recalcitrant behaviour and conduct. DM


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