A cursory assessment of the post-apartheid era in South Africa proves that the advent of democracy in April 1994 attracted all sorts of characters which in summation captured “The good, the bad and the ugly” within and outside the country.
At home, South Africa boasts of altruistic and well renowned characters like Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, a cornerstone of the rainbow nation, who is now vilified by demagogues and populists for the African National Congress’ (ANC) reconciliatory posture under his leadership. He is called a “sellout” by emotive sheepish followers and their political warlords.
Despite these naysayers and opportunists, the majority of South Africans know the honest truth that at the epicentre of Nelson Mandela’s leadership as the president of the ANC and the country was a big and selfless heart laced with the best interests of the country, especially the downtrodden, rather than selling the country to the highest bidder.
Imagine how far South Africa would have progressed had Mandela’s character multiplied itself, instead of the emergence of bad characters like the Guptas and their political mascots. The impact of their well-documented evil agendas and malfeasances which manifested through the grand-scale looting and diversion of state resources to their own pockets, did not only hamstring the state capacity to redistribute the resources of this country to its citizens, but also muzzled and squandered, with impunity, opportunities for poor people to become self-reliant.
Think of what government investments like the Estina Dairy Project in the Free State could have done to improve the socio-economic conditions of the sizeable number of aspirant farmers and their poor families had it not been used by Gupta lackeys in government, as a vehicle to siphon and channel taxpayers’ money to individuals with corrupt business interests.
Except to the idiots and sycophants of note, all of these misdemeanours pointed only to one thing, these fellows from India have no interests of South Africa at heart, other than accumulation of wealth at all costs, irrespective of the damage done to the progress of our developmental state.
In the wake of Cash Paymaster Services’ (CPS) apparent resistance to South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) long-awaited move of migrating beneficiaries from CPS to South African Post Office for the payment of their monthly social grants, which would save the taxpayers’ money, I could not help but observe the very same character, utter arrogance and insatiable desire to accumulate wealth at all costs, which was displayed by the Guptas during the Zuma administration.
Lest we forget, CPS also scored a lucrative tender for the payment of social grants roughly three years into the Zuma administration, in 2011 to be precise, only to be declared “procedurally flawed, inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid” in August 2012 by the Pretoria High Court. This was confirmed by the Constitutional Court in November 2013 after the appeal by AllPay, a losing bidder to CPS. The invalidity was suspended to avoid disruption of the social grant payment system which would have affected the most vulnerable section of our society. CPS did not only use these noble considerations from our judiciary system to benefit from the administrative costs of paying social grants, but also saw an opportunity to exploit the beneficiaries through providing them with loans and other shady commercial products, such as airtime.
To this end, this CPS system, which at the heart of it was promotion of its business model, did not only reduce the net amount received by individual beneficiaries, but also trapped them into debt and illegal deductions. Sassa is working tirelessly to free social grants beneficiaries from exploitation and the clutches of unscrupulous business interests, but CPS refuses as it is content with pillaging the livelihood of the poorest of the poor. It resorts to desperate measures which should remind us of Stratcom.
All the dirty tricks of peddling disinformation and smear campaigns feature dominantly in CPS’s character as it wages a campaign against the migration of social grant beneficiaries to a new payment. This company manipulates its poor employees to mislead beneficiaries at pay points across the country for them to remain trapped in a system which deliberately makes their social grants susceptible to exploitation. All of these manoeuvres and shady dealings are meant to sabotage government’s efforts to improve the social grants payment system and protect the vulnerable section of our society from abuse.
As CPS operates as a subsidiary of NET1, a United States based company, I shiver to note that like the fellows from India, these fellows from the US are hell-bent on frustrating the development of this country and its citizens. But unlike the Guptas, who had free rein to soil the development of our country, we should find solace from the maximum political will displayed by Minister of Social Development, Susan Shabangu, to deal decisively with CPS shenanigans.
The nation is behind the minister. We are tired of those who keep on soiling our hard-earned fledgling democracy, the state and its poor citizens. DM
David Vakalisa Ka-Ndyalvan is an ANC member at Akaso Branch and he writes in his personal capacity.