Yes, the ANC is on trial, and teetering on annihilation at the hand of a political campaign of state capture!
Is the State of capture Commission, backfiring for those who called for it?
Two months since the first sitting of the State of Capture Commission led by DCJ Zondo on the 20th August, the nagging question as to who is on trial is becoming increasingly more pronounced. Is the ANC on trial with this commission is the question?
We will recall when the idea of the ANC on trial was first mooted, how ANC presidential spokesman Zizi Kodwa questioned the assertion. It increasingly appears the ANC may just become the biggest loser. The ANC and its tripartite alliance members are the core focus for this conveniently structured term of reference, that has nothing but the Guptas as the core focus. The divisions of the ANC are no more camps but jagged edge gaping cliffs where there are no winners and certainly losers.
There was a hush in the atmosphere when Nhlanhla Nene became the first pressured victim of the Gupta obsession for state capture claims to cave in. Extending Ramaphosa an opportunity to gain some brownie points, Nene was not what you would call the natural guilty one, he was not mentioned as one of those who has been tarnished in SA discourse with a Gupta association. Nene for all intents and purposes was originally identified as one of the ‘angels’, a victim and hence marked for those who are apparently against capture.
Nene was fired this week, not because any court or even the very commission found him guilty, Nene was fired because the rule of the media has supplanted the rule of the law. Nene is today jobless and he was sent away by a caretaker president who was at pains to tell SA from one corner of his mouth Nene did nothing wrong while the other corner of his mouth belaboured the firing as in the interest of clean governance. We must tell Ramaphosa you cannot have it both ways, what shall it be? This while the ANC’s official statement sings Nene’s praises for offering to resign.
South Africa’s last ballot-elected president, Jacob Zuma, warned SA, ‘beware those who shout state capture, they will regret it.’ How prophetic these words have become? From the start, some of us who have never bought into the media-created crime of state capture argued this is a political campaign where some have identified a political relevance and means to secure power. When we raised this fact, it was never to condone or deny any form of corruption anywhere or by anyone, corruption which we know is rife across the three tiers of government in cahoots with private sector entities is endemic in SA.
The sexy well-publicised term of state capture offered many who are trapped in factional mindsets a golden opportunity to settle personal and camp scores with those whom they have been at loggerheads.
It is here that the greater spotlight on the commission confirms glaring contradictions with the commission. Firstly, the commission is entertaining witnesses and accounts of people who were fired from a cabinet, these are naturally aggrieved and, in this season, seek to settle a score with whoever fired them. We saw this with Vytjie Mentor, Mcebisi Jonas, James Maseko, Nhlanhla Nene; we will see it with Barbara Hogan and Pravin Gordhan, possibly even Ben Martins etc. Meaning an ordinary hiring and firing of cabinet members or senior officials as the constitutional prerogative of an SA president in this season has found accidental (or is its orchestrated) relief in this commission as a belated arbitration on labour disputes.
An interesting development no sooner has Nene been fired, and a chorus of scripted unified voices began to bay for the blood of a hand-selected group of cabinet ministers to be fired too. One can appreciate how thick the boundaries in ANC factionalism are drawn when you read Tony Yengeni’s tweet, ‘I suspect all WMC pawns must have been summoned to Skelmbosch on Sunday and the ganja that were given to smoke was mixed with a very strong and dangerous cocktail. All of them are parroting the names if Malusi, Nomvula and Bathabile without fail.” [sic]
A second emerging problem with the commission is that it lends itself to be an institutional space that is open for anyone to use and by extension abuse for their own cynical purposes. It thus becomes a space that naturally accommodates ANC factional fights to be played out in real time of soap opera drama against the backdrop of a judicial commission. It legitimises the ever-entrenched factional frames of the ANC where the contest is for control of an ANC that at the same time is ravaged by the very contest.
It may be that the chairperson’s begging for the public to participate inspired many of these testimonies. While the commission is yet to prove state capture, the damage has been done at least for some because the media drives this commission.
The commission by design and default affords space, time and place where individuals in the frame of a media crafted angels and demons of ANC leaders can be eternally tarnished. Regardless of how the commission may accommodate an opportunity for cross-examination, the damage in a very biased SA discourse despite the opportunity for cross-examination remains. In South Africa a week is a very long time for the jolts of incidents that daily loads our national discourse. In a drama-filled and event loaded week, we saw, Nene firing, a VBS Bank Heist report, and now a Blade Nzimande fired plausible implicated in Gupta meetings and loans. The VBS Bank heist that implicates the EFF member Brian Shivambu none other than the younger brother of the EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu. Whom it is claimed have benefitted to the extent of R16-million from the VBS scandal. Shivambu is loud on the Guptas and yet it looks he too will be made to hang in due season. We also learnt that Floyd Shivambu received R10 million of the R16million his brother is said to have received.
As if the VBS bank heist story was not enough, news broke yesterday of a set of leaked questions raised by an independent journalist directed at a very vocal and anti-Gupta protagonist. We not sure who has leaked this. There are those who argue, the questions were leaked by the Nzimande cohort and supporters as a means of counterattack and to garner sympathy. The questions are categorical for it asks poignant crystal clear questions that easily should be answered for anyone who has nothing to hide. Instead of Nzimande responding to the questions he opted to repeat what Ramaphosa did in 2017 when the same newspaper’s editor sent a set of questions on a slew of infidelities. Nzimande threatens with court procedures. Nene for offering to resign has become a standard demanded from all those implicated in corruption with the Guptas as centrifugal force. As the campaign to have targeted individuals like Malusi Gigaba, Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane removed, the tide is turning where known protagonists defined in SA discourse of angels are becoming the real casualties. It will be very difficult for Nzimande to make the case to stay on in this cabinet if the questions can be corroborated as fact. State capture the campaign then appears to have the reverse effect.
We also learned that the Barbara Hogan testimony necessarily slanted to prove Zuma guilty, has been postponed because Hogan has submitted two separate accounts. She was at pains to inform the media that they must wait to see who all are implicated. Earlier we saw how ANC DSG Jessie Duarte spared no imagination when she came out guns blazing in categorically naming Pravin Gordhan as the one behind a personal attack on her seeking to smear her. We also have heard that the ANC SG Ace Magashule, when pushed to venture an opportunity on the commission categorically state he will be happy to appear before the commission since he has much to share on those who are captured by white monopoly capital and its non-gratifying desire to control the ANC.
Ramaphosa is under enormous pressure from his CR 17 hardliner constituency base and even those whom he seeks to win over to relieve the earlier mentioned cabinet ministers. Yet Ramaphosa’s work in this regard is made less easy when he had to relieve Nene. Thabang Makwetla for his BOSASA corruption allegations, possibly a Nzimande and who knows else. Will there be any member of cabinet left when the files on individuals in this regard are made known?
The puppet masters for the propagated claim of state capture as directed itself to the media-made ‘demons’ of ANC leaders, simply did not factor in that anchor witness Mcebisi Jonas will be unsure of who offered him the R600-million bribe, they did not budget that Mentor would prove this unreliable a witness with her being challenged by Mantashe, Kaunda and Duarte. Those who shouted state capture thought it would be easy to prove their enemies guilty, and did not prove cognisant that a Nene an ‘angel’ will admit his many meetings with the Guptas. They simply didn’t factor in the SACP’S Blade Nzimande facing accusations of having benefited from Gupta relations and associations. The proponents for an undeniable presence of state capture didn’t budget that Thabang Makwetla, Vincent Smith and others would be accused of corruption at the hand of lusty Bosasa, a company which has gained billions in contract value from the state purse. Is the state of capture backfiring on those who prognosticated it as the unfettered gospel?
The commission is earmarked to sit and conclude with a report by March 2020, this gives ample time for more factional fights, self-interest, denigrating others which defines the ANC firstly on trial with this state of capture investigation and secondly teetering on obliteration by the very testimonies of individuals, even political parties and tripartite alliance partners, that confirm an organisation torn to smithereens from within, aided by this commission. It is not cynical to surmise that this commission may just become the single process that annihilates the ANC. We know it continues to divide the now endemic factional groups where ANC unity is a forlorn mirage.
Clyde N.S. Ramalaine