19 November 2017

South Africa: From Whence Cometh the Last Straw?

Photo: GCIS
South African President Jacob Zuma

When your Olorioko (Headmaster) is the Oloriole (Headthief) it is almost impossible that anyone will be apprehended (i.e. arrested) for mago-mago, monafiki, barawo banza behaviour. In fact, by the time overwhelming evidence has been amassed to show that Oga na thiefman (apologies to Tunde Fatunde) the organisations arresting thieves and other lawbreakers would have been captured by Olorioko and his or her keepers. This is the situation today in South Africa.

It all began with the state capture report by the previous public protector which claimed that President Zuma and members of his family as well as his friends, associates, some members of his cabinet have created a state within the state to siphon money and resources to themselves. The public protector asked for a commission to inquire further into this frightful matter. President Zuma, being an accused in the matter said he would take the report on review. Nothing was done about it.

There was the Nkandla issue where the president benefitted from upgrades to his rambling property beyond the needs of security. He denied and denied until the Chief Justice upheld the public protector's position that he had to pay back to the national purse an amount over and above what was needed for security. He paid it back but not the tax consequence on the upgrade.

Then followed some 200,000 emails and communications leaked from the companies of the Gupta Brothers, the Indian South Africans that President Zuma has favoured with is presidential powers. Named #GuptaLeaks these have now been released to the rest of the world. President Zuma and his keepers insist that the emails and communications are fake. Or else they are the work of white monopoly capital.

There followed a report released by the South African Council of Churches about corruption in government. Their report came from members of their churches expressing frustration at the widespread corruption in public life. President Zuma is the centre of the report.

There followed a report by six professors from South Africa's leading universities documenting the activities of President Zuma, members of his family, some members of his cabinet and the Gupta brothers. Being academics their report is full of footnotes, op. cits and references.

There were books published, like Justice Malala's We have now Begun our Descent, tell all that the country has taken a nosedive into evil under President Zuma. The police services, the prosecution authority, the regular as well as the special crimes investigation organisations have not lifted a finger to look at these various revelations and accusations. Yet, the four major banks in South Africa found it necessary to close the accounts of Gupta companies on suspicion that these companies accounts were being used for corruption and money laundering purposes. International consulting companies such as KPMG, and public relations companies such as Bell Portiger have been destroyed by their relationship with Gupta companies.

In the House of Lords in London Lord Peter Hain made a presentation calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer (big name for the minister of Finance) to investigate British banks that have been involved in the suspected criminalities of the Gupta linked companies.

Peter Hain who was born in South Africa and forced into exile when his activist parents were expelled from the country by the apartheid government, campaigned for sports boycott of South Africa as a young man. He narrated the story of a Dairy Project involving 80 individuals and the Gupta brothers. The brothers were supposed to invest in this project to add value to the efforts of these 80 herders who had to sell their animals to make up their contribution to the project. The Gupta brothers withdrew the bulk of the money for the project made available by the provincial government. The money was spent on a lavish wedding in Sun City. Lord Hain wanted to draw attention to corruption and the creation of poverty in South Africa.

About two weeks ago Jacques Pauw released his new book The President's Keepers: Those keeping Zuma in power and out of prison. This is how the book is described on Amazon Kindle: "Investigative Journalist Jacques Pauw exposes the darkest secret at the heart of Jacob Zuma's compromised government: a cancerous cabal that eliminates the president's enemies and purges the law-enforcement agencies of good men and women. As Zuma fights for his political life following the 2017 Gupta emails leak, this cabal - the president's keepers - ensures that after years of ruinous rule, he remains in power and out of prison. But is Zuma the puppet master, or their puppet? Journey with Pauw as he explores the shadow mafia state. From KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape to the corridors of power in Pretoria and Johannesburg - and even to clandestine meetings in Russia. It's a trail of lies and spies, cronies, cash and kingmakers as Pauw prises open the web of deceit that surrounds the fourth president of the democratic era."

With this publication suddenly organisations that have remained silent in the face of previous revelations suddenly sprang to live competing with one another who should have the book banned first! Some issued "cease and desist" letters claiming that Pauw has revealed wrong information about state secrets and personal tax information of Citizen Jacob Zuma.

Pauw laughs and asks if his information is wrong they should not worry! Are they worried because he has revealed the truth? Is it true that JG Zuma was being paid a million rand months into his presidency by a private security company? Is it true that the president did not submit a tax account for the first five years of his presidency?

On the day that Governor Okorocha was unveiling Zuma's statue in Imo State, the courts insisted that 783 outstanding counts of corruption, bribery and money laundering must be re-instated against President Zuma.

As if these publications were not enough two other books came out: A Simple Man: Kasrils and the Zuma Enigma by Ronnie Kasrils and Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo by Redi Tlhabi, the first is by a former minister who knew Zuma from long ago and insists that he has always been a deceitful person. The second is the biography of a woman who, growing up, called Zuma Uncle and later accused him of raping her.

Speaking last week at the National Council of Provinces President Zuma accused opposition politicians of carrying fictitious books about and promising to write his own! Will that be finally the very last straw... ?


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