Picture the scene: a vehicle (let’s call it South Africa) has been running at full pace for a number of years, overloaded and missing many a vital service. The hard worked engine had been robbed of a number of parts and is sputtering on the brink of collapse. Its fuel tank is running dry. A newly appointed Chief Mechanic (let’s call him CR) stands over the engine compartment, ready for action, having fully diagnosed that the problem is far bigger than a minor service or a mere oil and filter change can fix. This is a serious matter and calls for an engine overhaul, due to the near-certainty of imminent engine failure. Broken components also require replacing, if this vehicle is to achieve the peak performance it is capable of.
For CR, the assessment of which parts are broken has largely been done. The main ‘Zumashaft’ has sheered and the once high performance oil which kept the parts lubricated and productive, has now turned to thick sludge, corrupting most moving elements within. The need for a deep flush is obvious. Fortunately the new parts are close at hand and the new Chief Mechanic at the helm requires a few additional tools, which he now has the power and authority to order, whilst also employing the best assistants in town to get the job done.
There is no need to reflect further on the decline of the state’s engine room during Zuma’s tenure. Even his die-hard (and partially blinded) assistants and cohorts cannot deny his hand in the sub-standard, and sometimes tragically bad, output from most Government departments and the state’s business entities, due to political meddling and poor leadership appointments that fostered his game plan.
As we enter 2018, profuse speculation and scenario planning abounds. The questions on many a mind is how and when will CR apply the necessary and meaningful action? Will Zuma’s recall take place and if so, when? Who else? There are some hurdles he needs to surmount before the meaningful corrective action plans can unfold, but CR doesn’t have the luxury of time.
Every job of this magnitude has its challenges and CR will have to be swift and precise in his dealing with the political barriers that will come into play. The job of repairing South Africa’s economy isn’t a matter that he can wait around in hope that various parts will self-correct. There is a sense of urgency required in setting his sights on the priorities and tasks at hand. Just as the incoming head of an organisation (or vehicle service centre) cannot ignore the rampant theft perpetuated by the previous leader, CR must now see that he has no the luxury of a drawn out Zuma ‘suspension’ whilst marking time in the nation’s driving seat.
CR is acutely aware that the country’s citizens, the investors, the ratings agencies and many other stakeholders are eager to hear the explanations of conduct by President Zuma and his cohorts, in a court of law. One simply cannot allow the extent of plundering this nation has witnessed, at the cost of the people and more so the poor, to go unaccounted for. The sooner the recall and accountability process begins, the sooner we can move forward.
Fortunately for CR, recent court judgements have given him the boost he needs in that; (a) he has been empowered to appoint the new credible NPA boss as soon as possible and; (b) Parliament has been instructed to compile the corrective action rules to deal with the ilk of our ‘man at the helm’. Then of course, the recent court rulings and many others have also provided CR with sufficient reason to hold another motion of no confidence (c) in President Zuma in Parliament, if indeed he insists on clinging to power.
Next on CR’s priority list, is setting in motion the sizable job of tackling corruption and gross maladministration. As challenging as this task appears to be, it is doable. Just as the highly skilled mechanic knows what is required to conduct an engine overhaul, to succeed he will need the right tools and qualified assistants.
Some of the tools and mechanisms that Cyril Ramaphosa will have to draw on, or introduce, to get SA back on track are:
We will no doubt have to ponder and debate the notion of a Truth and Repatriation process, but everything indicates that this is a necessary path. It’s a process worth considering because many people who got caught up in the cogs of corruption, did so not because they chose to do so, but because they happened to be in the way and not participating was not an option. Many will disagree, saying these ‘participants’ had the choice to step aside, but when faced with keeping their job or not, many opted to ‘go with the flow’ to remain employed. This is a matter for debate and will require serious input, rules and mechanisms to repatriate unlawful gains back to the state, and jail time for those who speak half-truths.
Finally, the journey that CR must embark on, whilst urgent, must be done with diligence and cannot happen overnight. The clean out and fixing of many components linked to the web of corruption, will take a few years to complete. Looking back, five years from now, we want to be able to say that our nation’s economic growth and improved performance was triggered by the swift and decisive leadership taken by Cyril Ramaphosa, when it mattered most. His legacy and our nation’s growth trajectory lies in the hands of what he does – now. DM
Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!
No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.
Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.
It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.
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By the time of his death in 1987, Hitler's deputy Rudolph Hess was the sole prisoner in Spandau prison, a facility designed for 600.