Defend Truth


Zuma’s Mafiosi are putting South Africa at risk


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.

After these past few months, South Africans have heard all the possible clichés. However, this is not simply political mischief – this is the aggression that Khwezi knew and experienced. This is like the aggression that killed the miners at Marikana. This is like the violence that we have seen and that the students are experiencing. This is purposeful and designed to cripple.

This is the aggression by Jacob Zuma, the Gupta family and all those who enable (and have enabled) this Mafioso-like operation.

Zuma’s Mafiosi have not simply captured the State but it now threatens the very fragile fabric of our society and the viability of our developmental agenda. It is not possible for any of the machinations or the proxy wars and battles to originate from any other place but at Number 1’s door. South Africa has been put at risk by the Zuma Mafiosi.

I agree wholeheartedly with the Daily Maverick’s editorial this week that this conduct by the various performers is tantamount to treason – this is wilful sabotage. The conduct of the Mafiosi does not simply amount to wilful sabotage or treason but it is putting the livelihoods of millions in jeopardy to serve very narrow interests. The costs are just far too high and the consequences, if left unchecked, will be devastating and unimaginable.

Despondency, shock and despair have taken hold of our body politic – South Africa is not simply at a crossroads but rather we are paralysed. We are trapped in a vicious stasis. We may have been able to transition from the apartheid-regime to our constitutional democracy but we seem unable to move the levers sufficiently or even in a co-ordinated manner to shut down the Mafiosi or to correct course from this disastrous path we are being forced down.

The proxy war for the control of the life, soul and power of the African National Congress is being waged publicly and on the highest level. We must all carefully interrogate the State President’s power to appoint, especially when those appointments have given us the recklessness of people like Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the SABC.

The proxy war between the ANC in Parliament, which has found its own voice evidenced in its call for the removal of the SABC board and the Motsoeneng camp, is telling. Sadly, again, the costs and consequences of these skirmishes are not reaching a sensible conclusion. Instead, those skirmishes are compromising the institutions that were designed to strengthen and support our democracy.

We all know that the assault and act of aggression against Pravin Gordhan, Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashula is without merit. There is a very fine balancing act at play. We must respect the impartiality and fairness of the law, which must be allowed to play out and to take its course. Even if the actions by Shaun Abrahams and the National Prosecuting Authority to prosecute is most certainly with favour, fear and prejudice.

All of this is very puzzling, especially when Zuma is able to avoid 783 charges of racketeering, corruption and fraud and Jonas Makwakwa is able to evade justice and remain in office despite the exceptionally worrying number of suspicious payments he and Kelly-Ann Elskie have been involved in. Critically, our courts, the last barrier to complete inertia and capture, must expeditiously consider the trumped-up attempt to remove Mr Gordhan from office and to undermine the fiscal prudency and responsibility his National Treasury are able to exert.

Yet, in all this muck, we collectively seem unable to stop it decisively. The prayers have been made and our outrage has been registered, but this will not move us beyond the inertia. The calls of support for Gordhan from people like David Makhura and Jackson Mthembu may be reassuring. It is also reassuring that Kgalema Motlanthe, Ahmed Kathrada, Derek Hanekom, Laloo Ciba, Barbara Hogan, Prema Naidoo and Max Sisulu have also indicated that they will be present on November 2 when Gordhan, Pillay and Magashula appear in court on fraud charges. But it is just not enough.

The statements of support and prayers have not calmed the markets. It has not stabilised the currency depreciation nor has it sent any meaningful reassurance to the global markets, rating agencies or to South Africans at large. The only real option is that South Africans must be reminded about their ability to affect change and to confront the unjust, unfair and unlawful. This is the only plausible solution to take down this Mafioso.

The country is unravelling not simply because of the compromises of the transition, the crippling poverty and inequality but because one man and his crew of misfits are aggressively attacking the foundations of our constitutional democracy. Zuma’s Mafiosi are not simply concerned with state capture, incoherence and abuse of power but are now purposefully destroying our fragile democracy. In the wake of this destruction, it will never be enough simply to speak out against the lawlessness and violent conduct. Violence is being meted out while we stand on the sidelines. The time for talking has come to an end. We must remember our own power to effect change. The time for patience and endurance has come to an end.

We were unable to stand up or act when on April 7, 2009, the NPA withdrew the fraud, racketeering and corruption charges against Zuma. We were unable to confront the vile conduct meted out against Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo. We were unable to seek justice for the victims and survivors of the Marikana massacre. We have failed to confront the Mafiosi.

Today’s South Africans, like every generation, have their own challenge to overcome. In order to do so, we must be mindful that we are no longer galvanised around one symbol, one agenda or one outcome and in that vacuum we must focus our energies on acting against the rot and decay. Our intention must not simply be to speak out or to reject the decay and aggression of the Zuma years. We must work very hard to pull down this Mafiosi that threatens our collective future. Everything will be lost if we fail. We dare not fail. DM


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

[%% img-description %%]

The Spy Bill: An autocratic roadmap to State Capture 2.0

Join Heidi Swart in conversation with Anton Harber and Marianne Merten as they discuss a concerning push to pass a controversial “Spy Bill” into law by May 2024. Tues 5 Dec at 12pm, live, online and free of charge.