Nothing could have been worse than this. Our national independence was stolen in front of our eyes, and we were turned into neo-colonial vassals of a foreign business empire.
The State Capture inquiry under Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is proving to be a mirror image of the shenanigans inside the South Africa government, the state and the ANC. The picture is as gloomy as ever.
The presentation by the former deputy minister of finance, Mcebisi Jonas, that he was summoned to the palace in Saxonwold and offered the minister of finance job for R600-million by the Gupta brothers and Duduzane Zuma, the son of the former president, is a shocking confirmation of what we suspected.
Then came the turn of Themba Maseko, the former director of Government Communication Institute Services (GCIS). Maseko was instructed by president Zuma to help the Guptas, and was ordered to give GCIS budget money to the Guptas to fund their New Age newspaper and ANN7 television channel. Maseko’s conscience could not allow him to take such orders, so he was swiftly replaced by Mzwandile Manyi who was more than willing to help per Zuma’s instructions. Manyi facilitated the Guptas’ takeover of the GCIS budget, and after his departure from GCIS the Guptas felt he deserved more rewards and gave him New Age newspaper and ANN7 on loan to run and own, after the South African banks decided to close the Guptas’ accounts.
Then came Vytjie Mentor, who was interviewed at Saxonwold for the public enterprise ministry while Zuma was relaxing in an adjacent room. Mentor was told her key assignment would be to scrap the South African Airways flight from Johannesburg to Delhi. Important to note that all these shenanigans were perpetrated by ANC members under ANC watch with Luthuli House keeping silent and the former secretary general, Gwede Mantashe – the chief executive of ANC – appearing not to have been aware of this. Or did he think this is how the ANC should run the government? Or was he just scared to death to tell president Zuma it was unacceptable to allow a merchant family from India to run the SA government and state?
Meanwhile there is the Home Affairs Inquiry into the naturalisation of the Guptas under Malusi Gigaba. The former director general of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni, could not give a coherent explanation why the Guptas were given citizenship before the minimum five years required by legislation. What is required is for the public to know about all documents that were used to process this early naturalisation, not this present mumbo jumbo.
Running parallel there is the SARS commission of inquiry featuring Tom Moyane, who has dismantled the unit which used to collect more taxes from the tobacco smugglers and all sorts of crooked business people. It is exposing also the dirty role of KPMG in colluding with rogue characters to drain the SA fiscus, not to mention the exposure of Trillian milking Eskom to bankruptcy without doing any work.
This is the state of the SA government under the ANC of Jacob Zuma. It is under such a cloud that we have to think, how can we save our precious ANC?
Seven months before the general elections, let us repeat the question: can the ANC self-correct? What happens to these skeletons all over the floor? Can we clean the floor in time? Can we clean ourselves?
The ANC of Cyril Ramaphosa must first acknowledge that the ANC itself was responsible for this mess and show the voters it has a plausible programme for self-cleaning and cleaning the floor. The litter of scandals under Zuma cannot be wished away, especially because the perpetrators of these scandals are still in power surrounding Ramaphosa, so that he can hardly breathe.
ANC must take responsibility, or face the consequences.
The public will be watching with bated breath to see if the ANC’s list of candidates includes the current crop in Parliament who passively endorsed all Zuma’s crimes. Without clear evidence of self-accountability and democratic reform, the vote for ANC is likely to be low.
The State Capture inquiry is a mirror of ANC over the past 10 years. What we see in the mirror is an elephant – ANC – being attacked by a pride of lions: the Guptas, Trillian, KPMG, tobacco smugglers, tenderpreneurs and all sorts of crooks. It is only a matter of time before the elephant falls to the ground.
To save the ANC we need an election programme that promises the voters democratic electoral reform, so that voters will be empowered to protect themselves in future to ensure this shameful and massively destructive scandal can never happen again. We need MPs who are accountable to the people first, not to party headquarters.
We also need a candidate list compiled in a different manner from that of the last five general elections. As a minimum, ahead of elections we need each ANC region to nominate seven candidates, five for the national Parliament and two for provincial parliament. Every region should be represented by local candidates known by the local community. Every community in the form of a constituency should be directly represented by a trustworthy candidate they know. These candidates will be consolidated in a list and communities will know who represents them in Parliament.
If the ANC party list includes known rotten tomatoes, the voters are not stupid. They will just vote for a different party.
The ball is in the court of ANC members. They should make this clear to Luthuli House, right away. DM
Omry Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views