Defend Truth


Civil activism has much to celebrate, with more to come


Wayne Duvenage is a businessman and entrepreneur turned civil activist. Following former positions as CEO of AVIS and President of SA Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association, Duvenage has headed the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse since its inception in 2012.

I am often asked what difference the work and activities of civil action generate? How does collective civil activism measure its effectiveness? And are we really getting somewhere in changing SA for the better, today?

The short and direct answer is: yes! It may not appear that way, because we keep getting distracted with the happenings of the here and now. But stepping back and taking stock of recent developments is extremely uplifting. South African citizens, and their civil interventionist organisations that work hard for them, can be proud of a number of telling achievements.

Let’s face it, we still have long way to go, but the sheer gravity of the cesspool that Zuma and his cronies have been made to wade through of late is thicker than treacle and their conduct is unsustainable, with the tide rapidly turning against them. The cord of support that keeps him in power has worn close to breaking point.

One cannot ignore the achievements over the recent past such as:

  • The removal from office of the arrogant and previously little known deputy provincial police commissioner from Limpopo, Berning Ntlemeza, whom Zuma placed in charge of the Hawks to protect himself. Gone.
  • In addition, the National Prosecuting Authority’s deputy national director, Nomgcobo Jiba, was removed from office due to pressure from civil society organisations. Gone.
  • The Nuclear deal was halted after a two-year long legal challenge.
  • Then there’s Eskom’s Board recently being turned on its head after the Brian Molefe saga. His eventual removal was only due to the pressure brought to bear by society, followed shortly thereafter by the Eskom Chairman Ben Ngubane, who is also facing criminal charges.
  • Hlaudi Motsoeneng has eventually been dealt with and is facing criminal charges.
  • The SABC is now undergoing intensive care by the cancellation of many dubious contracts such as Lorna Vision and their linked company, Prichard and Associates, who have been harassing the public with threatening messages to pay their TV licences.
  • SAAs Dudu Myeni has been sanctioned by the CIPC Tribunal and is facing charges of Delinquent Directorship, the extent of which will clip her wings for years to come.
  • Eskom’s tariff hikes and operational costs are now under the microscope and their past abusive conduct for exorbitant price hikes and connected crony coal contracts can no longer continue unabated.
  • At IPID, we still have Robert McBride.
  • Then comes the work that flows from the #GuptaLeaks, which has culminated in stronger cases being built against those implicated.
  • Bell Pottinger has apologised to South Africa and will still face the heat for some time to come and, who knows, may soon no longer exist.
  • Billions of rand of corrupt contracts at Prasa have been cancelled.

And there are more successes but let’s stop there for now and reflect on the bigger and more important turning point, being that the ANC themselves can no longer ignore the fact that State Capture is a reality and their leader is its pivotal kingpin.

Every time a new opportunity arises to tackle the elephant in the room – Jacob Zuma’s continued presidency – the internal ANC numbers against him keep climbing.

Serve yourselves a Bell’s, folks, and reflect on the great work you are doing. But celebrate not too long, as the bigger parties at the end of many stages in the journey are still to come. This country’s healing is not limited to the removal of their corrupt president, but more so in the rebuilding of the nation by tackling corruption and restoring the compliance and oversight bodies to do the good work intended of them.

There is reason to feel upbeat. Not complacently so, though, but just enough to watch and reflect on the tide that is rapidly turning against evil.

Thereafter, the hard work of rebuilding and strengthening a weakened education system, health structures and so much more can begin. This is where the real excitement of nation building lies. DM


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