Did Ramaphosa play Russian roulette offering Treasury to Jonas, others and finally Mboweni

 

South Africa has a new Finance Minister, no it is not Barbara Creecy, Paul Mashatile or Mcebisi Jonas. It is none other than the old hand Tito Titus Mboweni, democracy’s first Labour Minister, later the first black Governor of the Reserve Bank. Mboweni told the media that he only received the call from SA caretaker president, Ramaphosa at around 9 pm on Monday night October 8. “In the wake of Mr Nene’s resignation, I have decided to appoint Mr Tito Mboweni as the Minister of Finance with immediate effect. As the former governor of the South African Reserve Bank and, before that, Minister of Labour, Mr Mboweni brings to this position vast experience in the areas of finance, economic policy and governance” [sic]. These are the exact words Ramaphosa used in making his announcement of the next finance minister.

It must then mean that the President by finally calling on Mboweni and getting a yes, ended his Russian roulette expedition. We learn from the SACP and COSATU, that they were consulted in the choices of the President to arrive at the final choice for a Mboweni. We must, therefore, surmise that the names bandied around were also consulted by the Tripartite Alliance. What does that mean, did the SACP and Cosatu disapprove of the touted Creecy, and the Mashatile bandied names?

It did not take long after Nene appeared before the State of Capture Commission, for the media, opposition parties and a section in the ANC to bid for his head. The dust did not settle on his confessions when names were bandied around. Leading the preferred nominations were Gauteng ANC MEC of Finance, Barbara Creecy who was touted as the next minister.

While we may not know who exactly introduced her as a candidate it caught on quickly and by the time the weekend papers hit the shelves, Creecy looked a concluded choice. The possibilities for her candidacy may have been the work of strong campaigners that define the economic interest with white as the dominant theme. It may also have come about from the presidency’s very active public relations as a means to test the public on a possible woman and white future finance minister. We also learnt about the veiled candidacy of ANC Treasurer General Paul Mashatile where the apparent rationale led that other liberation struggle movements fused their treasury general positions with that of their country finance ministers.

We know that Ramaphosa did not have Mboweni as his first choice he apparently offered the same post to the controversial former deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas. Jonas by his own admission claims to have declined the offer. Jonas with this decline must have made history, not only was he as he questionably claimed offered this position firstly by a Gupta brother whom he is not sure, the same who threatened him with murder. The second time in this season by a caretaker president Ramaphosa. This coveted job, Jonas declined now twice.

What then does it mean, or how then can we interpret the President’s finance ministry offer to Jonas? Does it mean the post of finance minister, became a trading mechanism where several people may have been approached as offered to a number of people among others Jonas and on Monday night to Mboweni who accepted the offer? While we not privy to how the actual secret meetings for choices of this nature are arrived at, one may deduce that the president applies his mind, as advised by those whom he trusts most. Ultimately the president takes a decision to approach candidates who have the option to either accept or decline.

What we can accept is that since Nene’s confessions and awaiting his offer to resign, Ramaphosa compelled by his constituency base was looking at individuals that may fill this post. We also know Ramaphosa stands accused of not having done any due diligence on Nhlanhla Nene, the appointment of the latter to Ramaphosa’s maiden cabinet confirms the intention was to restore SA’s economy to the first Nene Moment of November 2015 less driven by sensitivity or the abundance of caution to be endorsing Gupta corruption. Had Ramaphosa done his due diligence on Nene he may not have arrived at his first finance minister decision.

Ramaphosa either was misled or made a conscious popular choice that would define him as the opposite of his predecessor thus fixing the November 2015 Nene Moment. It may have been a purely political choice definitely not with state capture as a focus to be dealt with. Therefore, when Ramaphosa tells us today his choice to accept Nene’s resignation is in the interest of clean governance we know we must take that with a teaspoon of salt. SA’s caretaker president must tell us where his moral conscience on the specific Gupta corruption was back in February when he made his maiden cabinet choice for a Finance Minister in Nhanhla Nene.

What do we make of his Ramaphosa’s consideration of Mcebisi Jonas? Why then would Ramaphosa have offered this post to the controversial Jonas? His decision to make the offer to Mcebisi Jonas may have been fuelled by the very same group that makes up a very significant Pravin Gordhan and other others who are connected to the hip to the former deputy minister, Jonas. What form of diligence did the President consider in his choice to make this offer? Why would the president against publicly known information, the tagging of alleged ECDC corruption, and later the Mandela Funeral scandal on Jonas still be that obnoxious to offer him the control of the South African purse? Maybe the fact that Jonas is a member of the SACP, the former worker’s vanguard, but increasingly a cabinet guard of democratic ANC led presidencies.

What then do we make of Mboweni’s acceptance of the offer? Is the choice for him an authentic Ramaphosa choice? We know the president must own his decisions but we have seen how a starchy, strained and unhappy Ramaphosa in February announced a cabinet that appeared not his. Looking at all the candidates we must ask were any of these be it Creecy, Mashatile, Jonas and finally Mboweni authentic Ramaphosa choices? Those who claim to know argues Ramaphosa does not make the decision of his own he goes with the dominant advise or lobbying group.

Tito Mboweni is a very active member of the social media fraternity and has over time made many social comments, as is his right, that may posit him more controversial than what meets the eye. Mboweni is considered by some an affable character, yet others consider him somewhat attention seeking, one not shy to tell you where he is hanging out and one that does not shy away from advancing his views often in a claim of seniority with claimed ‘professorial’ attire.

We remember how he came to defend the SARB in its current status and how he vociferously defended the present ownership of the SARB. Often these spirited defences come meshed in a conflation of institutional and personal legacy threat. Mboweni also dared his public views on the ANC presidential contests between Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Zuma. For the record, Mboweni was more in support of having Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for the position. Mboweni in February made it categorically clear that he was not available for the post of Finance Minister with the following posting, “Against the wisdom of my Team, please don’t tell them this. It’s between us, I am not available for Minister of Finance. You cannot recycle the same people all over again. It is time for young people. We are available for advisory roles. Not cabinet. We have done that”

When he is today announced as SA next finance minister, it may speak of a sense of pragmatism on the part of the SA caretaker president, for appointing someone who did not support his candidacy.

We know he is considered a market-friendly appointment. In a space where this latter part of the fifth administration as led by Ramaphosa is obsessed with foreign investment drives, it becomes imperative to inspire confidence for the rest of the world that South Africa a stable investment destination. Mboweni becomes that neutralising figure to assist global investment communities that SA is a safe destination. The announcement of his appointment saw the highly sensitive SA currency somewhat stabilising, meaning the markets were not too shaken by this appointment, neither were they extending and overall confidence.

His past experiences in particular as South Africa Reserve Bank Governor for the period since 1999 to 2009, coupled with his private sector identity as one who is chairing several boards among other Nampak, He serves as a non-executive director for South Africa at the New Development Bank (BRICS Development Bank. Mboweni’s also serves as international advisor of  Goldman Sachs International.

Mboweni naturally is a safe choice for those who prognosticate the doctrine of an SA that must submit to a globe where it needs to toe the line if it desires foreign investment to be made. This means he is not any threat to the prevailing status quo of a known racialised economic disparity that 25 years in democracy continues to militate liberation and true emancipation of the black masses. Mboweni will, therefore, do little to change the status quo.

On the 28th of April Mboweni shared with the social media world his analysis of what he termed three urgent tasks for the National Democratic Revolution in South Africa. His views as captured, “1. The State must own 40% of all mining companies. This is easy to do. 2. The State Must create a Sovereign Wealth Fund for future generations from mining dividends. 3 A State Bank must be created URGENTLY” [sic]. Since his views as uttered here are not yet publicly altered since it first appeared, the questions South Africans want to know is, how will he actualise the above, or was its mere political banter?  Will he also betray the poor who share these sentiments?

On another score, in a season where Nene was pressurised to resign, ostensibly not for any wrongdoing in either of his two stints but for admitting to meetings with the Guptas, can we accept that Mboweni never met the Guptas or anyone in capital active in state capture on both sides of the racial economic divide? Are we to surmise that he visited no secret bosberaad, no golf weekend or a cruise ship or some powerful economic persona’s house? He also may not have, in the words of Minister in the Office of the SA president Bathabile Dlamini, any ‘smallanyanskeletons’ in his closet as to whom he met.

Don’t forget Ramaphosa was at pains to tell SA that Nene did nothing wrong, this begs the question so why he was then offloaded by the one who told us he did nothing wrong?? Yet you hear Ramaphosa say he made this Mboweni appointment, “in the interest of good governance…” Shall we allow Ramaphosa to get away with his usual doublespeak? I am no Nene fan since his dealings at the PIC and that of his son’s role in a Mozambican questionable oil refinery transaction, whom Weekly Xpose in May 2017 was the first to raise when the entire mainstream media had no interest in leaves much to be desired. However, we are told by Ramaphosa he has done nothing wrong at treasury according to the SA caretaker President but is offloaded for having had meetings with SA’s at the now leprous colony of the Gupta family hence treasury must be quarantined and Nene is leprous now.

In this regard we must say congratulations to the new SA finance minister, Tito Mboweni, he is finally in the post he in another season felt aggrieved and hard done by when he was overlooked by Mandela who opted for Trevor Manuel who was considered less educated for the job. At the time he was reduced to a Labour Minister position. Let us hope his radical social media posts on a need for nationalisation, an EFF – initiated fund, the establishment of a state bank will not also make him a weekend minister in this post when the media turns against him. We will now see if you were merely showboating with your running commentary when capital long ago declared that controversial and pure populist rhetoric. Will you now toe the line? Or will you dare to use treasury for the toolbox it can be to assist if not lead in transforming the economy from its racialised reality that depicts the binaries of white wealth and black poverty?

On a personal note, Tito, remember your boss makes decisions heavily influenced by public relations. He saw the touted Creecy and more veiled Mashatile options and was fortunate to have Mcebisi Jonas decline because he was convinced neither of these would have worked. You also know you were not his first choice for the post, he approached others who declined it, he reconsidered others and became swayed they were not good choices based on unsolicited and solicited advice he received.

Did Ramaphosa with his many offerings to others before Mboweni play Russian roulette with the post of Finance Minister? Your guess is as good as mine. Wishing you all the best but we will keep your feet to the fire

In closing what has become of this position, that many do not want it? What has happened in the political and economic environments of a South Africa that this highly coveted job of Minister of Finance appears not wanted by many in this season? Since even the one that finally accepted it made public his views that he was not available for the position. When did this position become such a poisoned chalice? It appears no one really wanted the job. Is it fair to conclude that Mboweni became the last choice of desperation? Mboweni therefore in the tradition of the octogenarian Job Mokgoro‘s appointment to the office of the premier. Mboweni becomes the retired player, one who declared himself not young and if appointed a definitive recycled one, who in the twilight of his career is brought to fulfil a reserve player role. What is clear if nothing defined Mboweni’s true legacy this chalice he accepted will do so.

What did Ramaphosa have to offer Mboweni whom we all know was a reluctant one for the job?

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

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ANC is on trial and faces annihilation at hand of state capture political campaign

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

Who’s the boss?

JUST LIKE THE SITCOM MADE FAMOUS BY TONY DANZA 30 YEARS AGO, IN SA’S UPPER ECHELONS IT ISN’T QUITE CLEAR WHO’S THE BOSS

 

Boone Pickens as far back as 1928, on leadership, told us “be willing to make decisions, That’s the most important quality of a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome, you must be willing to fire.” SA may for the first time have a president who despite appearing the avuncular and affable ever-smiling guy, is yet to convince us that he is making his own decisions and leads from the front.

It does not look like SA’s caretaker president enjoys making his own decisions or that he is willing to make his own decisions.  It appears he prefers to have others make the decisions and he is comfortable to be led by those.  It seems we have in the words of Pickens a ready-aim-aim-aim president that allows others to lead through my office – syndrome.

I have consciously decided to refer to the current SA president as a caretaker president for two primary reasons. One, while SA may have a president finishing off the last months of a fifth Administration, the last ballot-elected and trusted the president of South Africa, remains Jacob Zuma. It is for the same reason I have never regarded Kgalema Motlanthe as an elected president of SA despite a constitutional frame. Secondly, it increasingly looks like the current SA president does not take his own decisions regardless of how unpopular these may be.

I am still waiting to hear what singular authentic decision SA’s caretaker president has taken in the last nine months. It does not have to be a correct decision, it just needs to be an authentic Cyril Ramaphosa decision for which he stands up and can irrevocably claims was his alone.

Tracing back a litany of critical decisions since and before the ANC’s 54th Conference followed by the current SA caretaker presidency one quickly sees an emerging trend. Herewith some – definitely not an exhaustive list of – core decisions that have come to define the last nine months of this caretaker presidency of SA.

  1.  When his alleged infidelity scandal broke last year, Ramaphosa after his failed attempt to use the courts to block the INL publication and his midnight confession to the Sunday Times, vowed to speak to SA on the subject matter. Shortly thereafter, he abandoned his own word and commitment, when he in a twist of events told South Africa after engaging a crossbreed of Northern Cape ANC leadership and COSATU among others he was advised not speak to SA anymore on the matter. Clearly, this was not an authentic Ramaphosa decision but that of others.
  1.  The idea of a new deal, as an economic solution for SA, while promoted by Ramaphosa was claimed emanated from the Democratic Alliance philosophy of economic solutions. Ramaphosa stood accused by both the opposition parties, the DA and EFF, as having stolen without acknowledging the DA’ s input. On the other hand, he was equally accused to articulate economic solutions from the mind of Stephen Koseff.  His economic solution thus in the height of his campaign for ANC high office, came accused as not his at all.
  1.  Abandoning the agreed transition in February was not his decision. We know this since Ramaphosa in the week leading to that repeat of a 2008 wrong decision of the NEC informed SA how smooth the transition was going between him and his predecessor former president Zuma. We know that he met with Zuma on Thursday of that week and they were still on track. By Sunday he, led by the CR 17 hardliners, now came with a demand of an immediate resignation as the only means to navigate SA’s future. I leave it up to you to figure whose decision that was. Clearly not Ramaphosa’s.
  1. Delivering SONA 2018 therefore by extension was not his choice or decision, he was told he will and must deliver it and with this solidify his position as leading both the ANC and SA. Again, the CR 17 hardliners led the decision-making on this score.
  1. His maiden cabinet, which he must own up also was not his, his starchy face on that night confirmed it. It showed and we know he, hours before announcing it, attempted to change some names since he after consultation beyond the ANC top six was advised by another group of constituencies to offload Malusi Gigaba, Nomvula Mokonyane and Bathabile Dlamini. Ramaphosa’s face in that 10 o’clock at night address, said it all. He was delivering a decision that was not his.
  1. Returning twice from foreign missions to attend to local “crisis” moments were not his decisions either but that of his now known overdrive PR outfit led by Steyn Speed.  How can we forget how Ramaphosa abandoned his Davos trip, seeing him flying back as a crafted fire-extinguisher to deal with a protracted North West ANC and premier crisis?  The latter was resolved weeks later.
  1. Attempting to wrestle the subject of a land debate from those who had controlled it in the ANC was not his. In a break with ANC practice his unconventional midnight show post-Lekgotla was also a PR action, less his personal mind but that of those who have been telling him, you need to take this space from those who control it in the ANC.
  1. The rushed and ill-advised decision of tying up a struggling Eskom into the alternate energy contracts: that it is claimed that this, while it may benefit Ramaphosa’s Shanduka Holdings business that has an interest in this sector, may not have been his decision either.
  1. Hitherto failing to engage a set of detailed questions sent to him on his role or absence thereof on the ‘Coloured boys of Bird Island’ saga, which dates back to an era when he served as the ANC Secretary General of ANC.  He has remained silent. Is he silent because the president was told he must be silent? Despite TMoSA Foundation’s official communique to the president and his office acknowledging receiving the request, Ramaphosa hitherto has given no reply. Is it again a case of the advisers deciding, when perhaps Ramaphosa’s moral conscience may have attempted to prevail in the necessity of response? Is his confirmed lack to even utter one word in support of the victims a political decision? Who decided on that, if so?
  1. Going to Marikana which is a long overdue imperative for Ramaphosa, who for some despite Farlam’s hashed job of a commission remains directly linked to the massacre of 44 lives in that dreadful week in August 2012, is yet to be actualised. Despite the many opportunities Ramaphosa were presented with, he has been delaying, in what some claim is him dancing around the issue. Ramaphosa at some stage was going to go with the late Mother of the Nation Winnie Mandela, yet it never materialised. When the EFF leader Malema accosted him in parliament on this subject matter he as always said he will go and even invited Malema to go along with him. It is as if Ramaphosa is waiting for a perfect moment to show up to claim a hero status instead of prioritising the agony and plight of the families of the 44 victims. He had many opportunities – he occupied the second highest office in the last five years, now nine months as SA caretaker president he is still not showing up. It appears his stage-played attendance must come with some ‘Christmas lucky packet’ that will immortalise him as the hero and not the humble servant who is prepared to face the insults and abuse of those who keep him directly responsible for the darkest hour in our democratic sojourn

This nagging indecisiveness fueled by perpetual political climate assessments                       saturated in public relations intended exercises say more of how Ramaphosa lacks             the grit to make his own decision and act them out regardless of the consequences.

Marikana’s victims need not a president to visit them with an entourage but the                 man who was a director of Lonmin at the time, the same one whose emails                           demanded concomitant action. Marikana needs an ordinary human being to come             and say unreservedly sorry, not a veiled apology that seeks to benefit politically                   from his eventual visit when the ballot is the target. Exactly whose decision is                     Ramaphosa’s absenteeism at Marikana and its victims?

  1. Those who know claim the current temporal so-called financial rescue package relief was not Ramaphosa’s either. We know this since we were told that some high-powered Treasury-based individuals were occupied in an attempt of developing a response. Yes, Ramaphosa announced it, but it was not his leadership, ingenuity or foresight, it was as always, an advised response.
  1. Appointing the new Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, was equally not his decision. We know he offered the first job to the very controversial Mcebisi Jonas. The most recent appointment of SA’s latest finance minister,  Tito Mboweni, for all intents and purposes, remains a last-ditch decision when Ramaphosa appeared to have played Russian roulette in offering among others Mcebisi Jonas, who declined, as is claimed, the offer. Mboweni by his own admission received the call at 9 pm on Monday night.  We may, therefore, conclude that Mboweni was not Ramaphosa’ s first or outright choice and not Ramaphosa’s decision. Ramaphosa appears to have settled for Mboweni who was recommended by an advisory group.
  2. It can be argued the idea of an economic summit of consultation was not his idea either. The African National Congress under its subcommittee chairperson of Enoch Godongwana has over the last decade dismally failed to present a coherent economic plan for South Africa. The 2018 SONA address became what some of us as commentators defined a ‘kick for touch’ address on the critical matters of economic solutions and sustainable jobs. Ramaphosa outlined and told us of a litany of summits; to be delivered among those is an economic summit. The problem with the SA economy is not just its paltry growth statistics but its structural challenges. It goes without saying that finding an economic solution for the man who was marketed by white monopoly capital as the SA economic messiah, ought to be a priority, and the easiest way to approach it is to grasp for consultation as a means to find such solutions.
  3. Those who know argue that the idea of a job summit recently entertained was not his but that of his advisers. Given SA’s many conflictual and competing challenges, it goes without saying that key among the issues SA is dealing with and has to deliver on remains sustainable jobs. A job summit was therefore proposed as a means to this end. That job summit is and remains the playing ground of a colloquium of role players made up of government, business and organised labour as main players. The summit took place a week ago and we have yet to see what this will deliver because a comprehensive and coordinated strategy that harvests definite results is yet not a reality.
  4. Engaging the SARS commissioner debacle, Ramaphosa, as advised, opted to have two processes i.e. the Nugent SARS governance and tax administration inquiry and the disciplinary investigation. Both these processes have the fundamental aim to find against the SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane to have him relieved of his duty. This strategy and tactic with the aforementioned central aim is critiqued by some as a political strategy of ambivalence. Is it again the fancy footwork of the advisers
  5. The media created ‘secret meetings’ among ANC present and former leaders that claimed a plot to oust Ramaphosa despite its many challenges, became a useful political tool for Ramaphosa to test the balance of forces in the ANC. He was silent on it because he, having stood accused in another season as a plotter against Mbeki, knew this was a crafted exercise bereft of true content. Yet Ramaphosa, buoyed by his erstwhile constituency of historic organised labour and more recently the SACP went to the Cosatu elections and dared to share an opinion on secret meetings and plots. Clearly, this constituency and its leaders demanded a response from Ramaphosa of that nature and he yielded to that. In that sense Ramaphosa’s response to the media-fabricated ‘secret meetings’  was not his but what his constituency wanted.
  6. The latest lack of decision-making on the part of Ramaphosa follows that he has extended an invitation to a number of legal organisations and other independent public institutions to assist him in identifying and selecting individuals for consideration as possible candidates for the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP). This panel is to chaired by Minister Jeff Radebe who will be tasked to identify, screen and shortlist three candidates for final consideration. In typical Ramaphosa style, he seeks to make the appointment a collective decision and therefore lacks the grit to make his own decision as with so many other things. Clearly, the outcome will be a person that was recommended – hardly a Ramaphosa decision.

Leadership, as Pickens taught us, means take your own decision, stand and fall by it regardless of how unpopular it may be for some. Leadership means leading from the front, not constantly asking for the views of others, as a means of claiming transparency, when all this indicates is the adopting of others’ views as your own. Providing you with an option to, later on, claim “I was advised on my choice” meaning “it was not really my choice”.

Of course, I get it that consultation and perceived transparency constitutes core parts of leadership. I also get it that the SA’s caretaker president is at pains to be perceived as a consulting and transparent president, yet that cannot become an excuse for failure to lead in making core decisions of your own. This fuels the crisis of legitimacy and trust Ramaphosa consistently finds himself in en-route to a May 2019 national ballot.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator and Writer

Why do we have the ‘Pastor’ Omotoso, Cheryl Zondi and other similar cases?

The unfolding court proceedings of the alleged atrocious crimes of a pastor Timothy Omotoso of the Jesus Dominion International based in Port Elizabeth who stands accused of having over a protracted period of time abused his privilege and office of pastor in preying on the most vulnerable, some of those merely 14 years old, leaves many of us as parents, members of SA society convulsed in anger, and sick to the point of vomiting. The mere thought of Pastor and abuser in reference to the same person is such a contradiction.

The term pastor or as the Grecians referred to as ‘poimenon’ speaks of a shepherd, someone who cares for protects and defends while providing for the sheep. When the shepherd begins to turn on his own sheep as a means to an end, we have reached another level in our societal definition of what faith, church, the order of pastor’s office means to be a member of the Christian faith. We have seen this across denominational lines where the RCC among others remains plagued to defrock many more priests who have been fingered in the crimes of sodomising, in particular, boys.

Yet it would be gravely unfair to pretend what plays out before our eyes in the testimony of these brave souls that it is a first in SA, or anywhere in the space where humans dwell. It is equally not right to necessarily want to frame this with an upper-African pastor problem that has invaded SA in particular since the advent of democracy.  It is too easy to make it off in that sense, allowing South African pastors to escape due to scrutiny.

I am known strong campaigner for proper visa regulations for SA, I don’t agree with the notion of open borders for justifiable and sensible reasons that protects a citizenry and their legitimate rights as unique to the land of their birth. I am against the idea and practice where anyone can enter South Africa or anywhere else on a visitor’s visa and end up overstaying his/her visit and tomorrow claim being a pastor of a flock in SA. I don’t care how anointed you may claim to be or how called you may feel, you are not legal in SA you must be arrested and deported yesterday. It is also a fact that the church of the 21st century has become a hideout for failed business people, failed careers etc, where someone decides church is good business and has an interest purely anchored in monetary gain.

South Africans are trying to make sense of the supporters of Omotoso who show up in defence of their leader. They are also questioning the defence attorney Daubermann whom we have learnt was assaulted by those who think him callous and insensitive in how he presented his questions. They simultaneously want to know why a Cheryl Zondi, the brave young lady who is a victim Omotoso’s alleged abuse, is rendered an accused.

The spokesman of the Competition Commission, a dear friend, Bra Sipho Ngwema also perturbed by the unfolding saga of this court case, its brutality and callousness of reality supported by detailed in victim evidence, asked me why we have these situations in the life of the church. I do not pretend to know the totality of the answer to this very real question, yet as a social scientist and pastor, I have thought of this too. I herewith venture to respond with the following hardly exhaustive reasons for us having to hear the evidence we are exposed to in this pastor and member sex slave scandal.

  • The institution defined as church constitutes the gathering of people in the fellowship of the Saint’s set-up takes place in the ambit of a constitutionally recognised privilege and right of freedom of association. Meaning no one is forced to attend, any gathering, you do so of your own accord. By that same token, it was your choice to be a member.
  • In accordance with SA being a constitutional democracy where the bill of rights protects individuals to live meaningful self-determined lives. That meaning full life includes the right to belong and practice a faith as sacrosanct to those who made that choice for the particular faith.
  • Church then existentially and innately from a known history of its genesis of association with a Divinity understood in the description of GOD purports a safe place. That safety is extrapolated from the accepted tenets of the subscribed Faith in which two Commandments that encapsulates the original ten defined the life of the member who is also a believer. These two commandments are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself”. This by extension for some could be interpreted as to suggest the safety of the community as often more important than that of the member. This while there is no community without the individual. The risk of anyone trusted who it is claimed threatens the livelihood of the community of faith or the church, is often frowned upon. Meaning you are likely not going to be believed if you ever break your silence. When we hear this brave young lady lead her evidence it must be juxtaposed to the crowd outside who accuse her and the others of threatening the livelihood of their faith community.
  • Those who practice these ungodly things are masters of deception and experts of manipulation, they often exploit the most vulnerable who have turned to the church and faith for help. We must not be confused about the role of a pastor and the designation of pastor is a hallowed designation/position that imbibes trust and influence which translates to power. People confide and trust their pastors with their deepest of secrets. They relate to the office with implicit trust and a firm persuasion that the pastor has their best interest since as God’s representative in the earth he in a sense exudes the closest figment to actualise Deity in the purity of a faith defined by a moral conscience.
  • Another reason we are witnessing what we do today stems from the relatively modern VIP status and trend where pastors have come to be celebrities, either superstars and demigods with a claim to possess supreme powers often considered magical to bless but more so to curse dissidents.  If people ask why she was silent all the time, we must be cognisant of the presence of fear, we do not know what she was threatened with. Abusers usually threaten their victims and by so doing keep them bound in fear to be silent and subservient.
  • This situation prevails today in the 2st Century church because fear has supplanted faith. Where faith use to define the essence of church-life today fear has come to define that. Fear that affords, charlatans of pastors to threaten members with invoked ‘curses’ if they don’t obey and submit to their authorities. We know from the Biblical Text that fear is not from God as 2Timothy 1:7 leads “for God did not give us a spirit of fear but of love power and a sound mind.” Why then are church people so afraid of their pastors? Why then are the pastors so prone to threaten God’s children with curses if they don’t obey? Perhaps the devil has come to church and rules from the pulpit.
  • Another reason why these situations may prevail emanates from the known central teaching of the Christian Church that imbibes the practice of forgiveness. The Christian is one who is a product of forgiveness and a benefactor of both graces – the unmerited favour and mercy its twin that spared a deserving sinner the necessary punishment. The Christian Faith, therefore, dictates that those who are products of forgiveness naturally and daily extends that forgiveness as taught by Jesus Christ in an immeasurable sense of 70 times seven a day.

Thus, people forgive and are taught to always forgive as the Christian Didache leads.  In that context, it’s easy for some to abuse the grace of forgiveness until they render others objects of their pleasure.

  • There is another emerging tendency in the 21st Century Church as experienced in SA, Africa, UK and USA. The false doctrines of “father” and “son” or “daughter” teachings which finds expression in very challenging definitions as a lived experience renders adult members mere children of the church pastor. Meaning they must obey him as they would obey their biological parents, in some instances even more than their physical parents. These teach and advance a questionable doctrine of “sonship” as a non-negotiable belief and practice. In that space, they can manipulate, lure and abuse whom they target. Pastors and their spouses who are often not seminary trained and qualified pastors are referred to as ‘Daddy’’ and “Mommy”. This practice is common in the upper-African nations and in some sense imported from there.
  • Unfortunately, the church of today accommodates “pastors’’ who have sold their souls to Satan. Many have entered into dark covenants in pursuit of success defined in a big church, status, prestige money and fame. We seldom want to admit this but some have made covenants where they must sacrifice to Satan when the latter it is claimed guarantees them success understood in a following, so-called big church, fame and of course money.  This is not new, we know according to the Biblical Text found in Matthew 4- that Jesus Christ was tempted after he completed 40 days of prayer and fasting when Satan offered a cocktail of things including, power, fame, wealth and prestige. Anyone who reads the text will realise Jesus never told Satan he lied about his offers at what, I have termed ‘An offer at a prime time.’ in one of my sermons. It’s time we admit the Devil goes to church, he does not have the horns but is often at the Pulpit, draped in designer Gucci suits and Kenneth Cole shoes because some very famous SA and International preacher, have private shrines in their homes where not even their spouses can enter. It is here they receive “prophecies” and magical powers to do what appears to be miracles. Many of them have to sleep with a said number of ladies even man to maintain their abilities to “prophecy and perform miracles” which is their mainstay.
  • Another challenge is the new obsession with ‘deliverance events and services”. The belief here is that members need deliverance from curses, past experiences, ancestral connections etc. The challenge with this is people get delivered weekly, meaning why would one need it today if you had been delivered yesterday? Well, it’s a means to earn money, spent private time with congregants where you literally direct their lives through sophisticated control mechanisms. This deliverance ministry has become an economic spin for the prying eye, the lustful heart and the depraved soul. Often the aforementioned is the very pastor who must nurture God values.
  • Lastly, the church is obsessed with miracles, faith today is defined in magical powers. One of the famous preachers of this era in SA, that has become famous in SA while not born here, answered why he was so famous in SA, with the following exclamation, “South Africans are very gullible and just want miracles.” Listening closely tells you the pastor has determined his market and he lives off that market generously.

It is safe to conclude that the church is in a precarious state that seldom we want to admit as believers and members. It is here the words of Christ Jesus in Luke 18:8 confronts the professing Christian with the sobering truth when he paused and asked: “when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Pastor McCauley’s ghost-writing passes him off as the self-appointed authority of the SA Christian Church”

  

– Its perhaps time McCauley learns to submit to black religious leadership first. –

The unfolding Pastor Omotoso scandal and trial has its own sideshows, earlier this week we learnt of a prominent Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane who in veiled sense threatened Pastor Omotoso with the following words, “they must release you we waiting for you outside.” These words despite Omotoso’s charge sheet is simply not in the spirit of democracy and is less to be expected from a cabinet member. By Tuesday, we read of an opinion piece with Pastor Ray McCauley as the author.

The Star of this Tuesday carries an opinion piece by the controversial Pastor Ray McCauley of Rhema Church. McCauley regularly shares opinions in the Star, often these are framed as of someone who claims a right to be the self-appointed leader of Independent Churches in South Africa. McCauley’s claim to fame in a public political presence is not without question given the protracted and challenging history of an apartheid South Africa. The physical church edifice and infrastructure is often identified as that which thrust him into a socio and political landscape when many key personality funerals and events were hosted at such.

It is my conscious intention to engage McCauley and the known ghost-writers who penned this note. This response must not remotely be misconstrued as a defence of Omotoso whom I already in an earlier piece condemned on the strength of the led evidence as submitted by Cheryl Zondi. It is my submission that Omotoso is merely used by McCauley to exert himself into space he long has claimed for himself.

McCauley naturally like all of us have a right to an opinion which is not herewith questioned. He like all of us is entitled to be angry with the revelations of a Pastor Omotoso church scandal, which involves as we are learning more than 30 witnesses lined up to testify. In what was a very eventful and painful week of evidence led by a brave Cheryl Zondi who intermittently waved away a tear, as she took us all into confidence on what she lived through under the leadership and abuse of the foreign-born Omotoso, McCauley ventured his mind as his right but also made some interesting claims which warrant engaging.

At first glance, the undiscerning eye will want to make this very controversial opinion piece, that I postulate uses Omotoso for its own end, out as a pastoral comment, yet it is an opinion piece and hence must be engaged for what it is. In this conflation of self-appointed claimed authority, accusations, deductions and oblivious of any appreciation of a recognised recorded trajectory of church-history mixed with CRL plagiarised proposals the mind of South Africa’s self-appointed faith leader is laid bare. McCauley takes the title co-chairperson more serious than anything else because the former bodybuilder turned pastor does not submit to any leadership and particularly not apartheid classified black leadership.

It is an open secret that Pastor Ray McCauley has never penned any of his own books including his autobiography, or any of the many articles that have appeared under his name. He has thus, for the duration of his ministry, social and public political commentary life been depending on what is considered ghost-writers, one of the benefits of being wealthy of having access to resources. Unfortunately, the ghost-writers in McCauley’s case are nowhere ever acknowledged. We also know that many of these after a while left Rhema when relations soured. Let us also accept that Pastor McCauley was never a friend of the SACC, he by default during the Zuma presidency given the association with Vusi Mona claimed to be a Zuma supporter moved to support President Zuma. Zuma’s presidency did not afford the SACC the celestial identity it held in Mandela and half the tenure of Mbeki.  This inadvertently was during a time when parliamentarian and former chief whip of the ANC Dr Mathole Motshekga oversaw the formation of a National Religious Leadership chaired by Bishop Daniel Matebesi the same Pastor McCauley always claim as his co-chair designation ad-in-finitum.

The article is his attempt to lend his voice in authority to the much-publicised yet mooted regulation notion essentially aimed at the Christian faith expression at the hand of a minuscule and insignificant few independent church leaders who have made themselves guilty of unorthodox and discomforting extraordinary practices as advanced by the interim CRL research report. I had the privilege of studying and engaging the CRL report on the day of its release and participated along with its Chairperson Xaluva in a panel interview on the then ANN7 platform. McCauley’s ghost-writing let him claim the moral and acclaimed leadership high ground to argue his justification for what the CRL presented in a questionable a hardly conclusive sense of a PEER Review structure. http://weeklyxpose.co.za/2017/07/11/reflections-discomfort-crl-commercialisation-religion-report/

It is important to engage McCauley known for having led the now-defunct IFCC (Independent Federation of Christian Churches) which was really the brainchild of the late Pastor Ed Roebert, and for which McCauley stood accused by some as having hijacked the vision. It was also claimed that the IFCC was formed at the time as a counterforce to the then powerful SACC, apparently with apartheid resources.

He may not want to recall that at one of these IFCC gatherings in the early 90’s proved categorically clear in asserting that he will not submit to any African, Coloured or Indian church leader because ‘they have no track record of having led anything successfully.’ McCauley is known for not submitting to any leader that is not sharing a denotation of apartheid classified white. Hence he continues to refer to himself joint-chairperson of the NRLC. He later joined the SACC the same he never had anything good to comment on, over an elongated period, even in this setting McCauley sees himself as a co-leader, not as one submitting to SACC leadership.

McCauley in his own words, “There are many dubious characters calling themselves prophets, bishops, and apostles among other titles, but whose claim to these titles cannot be backed up by credible deeds in ministry”.

The problem with McCauley’s conclusive views on religion in 2018 lays perhaps in its own dubious character. I as an educated Pentecostal Faith believer first ordained by the oldest Pentecostal Church in SA, namely the AFM-SA, (Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa) in 1992, readily admits and know that from the birth of the AFM-SA in 1908 to deep in the 1950’s the criteria for anyone to be a pastor was the presence of the gift of speaking in tongues. I also which to put it on record that the AFM-SA in its racial composition of an apartheid past and beyond its 1996 unification, struggled for many years to be accepted as a mainline church, meaning recognised by those who are of the denominational settings who have come to define the panoply of religious life in SA both at theology as science and practical faith life.

The Charismatic Church of which McCauley and others make up its SA presence essentially share the Pentecostal Theology and doctrinal stance of the oldest SA Pentecostal church, they may have modernised liturgy, dress code and opened the pulpits in charismatic worship but the theology is still the same.

I am saying this to remind a seeming selective amnesia suffering McCauley or his pen-person that the Pentecostal church from inception, the world over was considered a sect at first, they were given no respect space or dignity by the religious fraternities of the day and it took a very long time to be accepted in these religious fraternities.

No different to the followers of Jesus’ who were castigated and denigrated as indolent, deceived, backwards and gullible by the stoic Sadducees and Pharisees. The general critique against this church formation was its unorthodox expression of faith, its lack of education and an absent footprint of researched theological doctrinal foothold. McCauley’s RHEMA while an American imported church formation with its name appropriated equally so from the late Kenneth Hagin Ministries, was always considered a sect bereft of respectable education and one where the ‘intelligible’ thought theology was always an absent ingredient for this very stream. McCauley today speaks as a self-ordained authority in the false claim of an original solid theology structured, ethos and Didache when all of us who sojourned the last 30 years know different

We must then conclude that a McCauley being vocal confirms it is easy for all of us when we seemingly have ‘arrived’ in whatever shape size or form of acceptance to condemn others as charlatans when we ourselves were considered at some stage “kansvatters” fake and definitely uneducated a bunch of self-appointed pastors. I, therefore, plead with McCauley to remain conscious of firstly the documented history of the Pentecostal Church Movement and its later development of varied Charismatic expressions, not forgetting his own past when others declared him uninformed and uneducated as a self-made pastor.

Hence the accusations of ‘charlatans’ the claims of ‘clowns’ and labelling people ‘gullible’, that his article invokes, in accusing people who practice their constitutional rights of freedom of association purports to have questionable dimensions to it. Let us remember, the entire Pentecostal Movement born in Los Angeles, California under the unction of the Holy Spirit when a one-eyed African American William Seymour Holiness preacher who initiated the Azusa Street Revival, broke the racial barriers as God began to use him in birthing the Pentecostal Church. So slow down Ray, pause and reflect, our Pentecostal Faith was considered a fake church and bereft of any theologically astute prisms and thought life for a long period.

Another challenge I have with McCauley is his opportunistic use of the New Testament Scholar, theologian and gifted writer, Paul. He remonstrates, “Paul could lay claim to the title of apostle given the many letters he wrote and the churches he established, And the man was learned too”

Saul, who became Paul, the one who was a Zealot, Pharisee, and a Roman soldier, who also sat at the feet of the scholar Gamaliel was a fanatical persecutor of the early Church of Jesus Chris in its infancy until his Damascus experience and encounter with God. It is interesting that McCauley in this season seeks to make Paul’s volume of work the criteria, may I remind McCauley more than half of the original apostles wrote nothing. Peter had a writer called Mark who penned the Gospel of Mark as Peter’s account and Mark possibly also wrote the epistles for Peter. The apostleship had nothing to do with volumes of either written work or planted churches as some like McCauley in an armchair comment today seek to advance.

For McCauley to use the criteria of education when tons of pastors in the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches never went to any formal seminary but attended local non-accredited “Word-Schools” is rather convenient if not mischievous. Let us again remind McCauley that Paul despite his intellect and powerful ministry was not accepted by the church of Jerusalem under Simon Peter’s leadership. He had to go and defend himself to the church who spared him no grace, never trusted him until he in Acts 10, eclipsed the appointed leader of the church Peter, who placed his Jewish cultural preferences as sacrosanct after God instructed him to eat what was in the lowered from heaven sheet. Paul then becomes the evidence that God always had the so-called Heathen in mind.

When McCauley label some today for not being able to put together an intelligible paragraph we must surprisingly admit we have come full circle because we know how McCauley’s own lack of education was used against him. He, therefore, emulates today the same ones who accused and rejected the Pentecostal Movement at the hand of that very same education diaphragm. If he from his glass-tower today calls them ‘clowns’, may he pause to know Jesus was called worse by a so-called intelligent religious bunch of hypocrites whom he retorted in the description of being white-washed tombstones, who were not ready to embrace his challenging teaching that exposed their hypocrisy?

The historical Jesus, whom I profess as my Saviour and Lord, was hardly considered a success for ministry if the 21ST Century monied church economy is the dictate. We know he never had a huge church, building or a consistent following he till his death battled to keep the 12 on the straight and the narrow. If Jesus had to be assessed by the 21st-Century capitalist driven minds of church expressions they would have said of him he ran a ‘tuckshop’ because they are ‘megachurch’ inebriated to claim success and impact Jesus never planted any churches for that to become the measurement for His impact. They would never have invited him because he was too controversial, and had no credentials they could vet to afford him their palatial pulpits. It is, therefore, the false capitalistic mind of those who advance a false notion of a ‘mega-church’ as the maximum symbol to confirm impact. It is from the bedrock of this very false notion that McCauley’s writer pens this note that renders him inadvertently a modern ‘papacy- status’ of the SA independent Christian Church community.

Glaringly present throughout McCauley’s shout is a person who inserts himself as above reproach, seldom admitting his own flawed reality that we all share, one who can claim moral high ground and is naturally as they in the Charismatic movement lexicon rank themselves as “Generals”. We must hear McCauley because he tells us he has earned the inalienable right to speak authoritatively on the subject matter of who can be a pastor and who not. He wants to tell us pastors must be vetted; may we ask who vetted him and many others when they announced their calls?

Not only does McCauley claim this right but he equally proves instructive we not sure by what authority, his instructive dictate seeks to browbeat us into an acceptance of a CRL proposal of an adopted Peer Review Mechanism which really has at aim the establishment of a superior organisation that will control accreditation and vetting of pastors and churches. Unfortunately, those bidding for this super State endorsed structure of the organisation are not exempted from their own political and self-interests agendas.

McCauley laments those who join churches, when he says, “The sad thing is there will always be a gullible audience ready to be the followers of these religious con artists. And let us disabuse ourselves of the notion that only the poor and uneducated are the followers of these dubious religious leaders.” I penned an article a few years ago in the TNA publications in which I argue all Faiths imbibes gullibility, to pretend gullibility was not the cause for the establishment of RHEMA is to be sophistic, to say the least. The believer believes less on what he has scientifically observed, intellectually understood, or the vastness of research comprehended. The act and life of faith suggest gullibility and that has been the story of all faith formations and their respective footprints. When McCauley reads followers of other church expressions the riot act, as being gullible, he cannot remotely attempt to claim Rhema members from inception were astute and not gullible in joining his vision as borrowed from the USA. To, therefore, advance gullibility is a none argument. Regardless of education to believe in a God you have never seen takes faith and faith is informed by assumptions made and predicated on that which you seldom can defend or explain in a rational sense.

He uses the Omotoso case to now become a final authority to give the CRL report legs where he highlights what the report sets out almost in a form of plagiarism sense. I had expected McCauley to cite the CRL report for its conclusions and what it presents as solutions. It is not Ray McCauley who first thought of a Code of Practice or a Peer Review structure it was not even the CRL but submissions made to the CRL that was captured in its 39-page report of which its first 25 pages constitute sheer background information. It is important that McCauley desists acting like it was his brainchild of a peer review and a code and what that code must entail. That is rather opportunistic on his part, something McCauley often stands accused of.

He back in the day used his historic association with ANC MK veteran Carl Niehaus to facilitate an opportunity to be on the programme of the late Oom Beyers Naude’s funeral as one of those who prayed. We also know Ray McCauley before a Mandela release did not share the same sentiments he has since Mandela was released. McCauley must learn to embrace being someone’s deputy because he submits to no one and particularly not any apartheid defined black person.

His writing seems to want to dictate today how religious organisations must be formed, when the CRL stands naked for its one-sided and convenient condemnation of doom insecticide-spraying pastors, when it failed in its report to give SA a didactic attempt in explaining as to how faith traditions evolve and as to why it is correct to accept the mainline churches and not others in their faith practice life.

I agree with the writer of McCauley’s article on the subject matter that no one is above the law and we must draw a distinction between the moral and the criminal. When he says that we must also be red-carding the very church who have pleaded silence on the abuse of young boys, girls and nuns as the Roman Catholic Church currently is dealing with. Let us also not forget when we today condemn Omotoso and his need for this blind loyalty how churches like Rhema under McCauley require nothing less than a fierce loyalty to a supreme mortal that rules by decree that easily can see a cup of coffee emptied at an individual in a fit of rage in a board meeting. We must condemn this abuse with the same verve we are encouraged to do of Omotoso.

He raises a pertinent issue if society has an issue with the conduct or integrity of a religious leader what are the governance structures that can be approached? And here I make a distinction between the ethical and the criminal. Again, this issue is not answered by the proposed “Umbrella organisation’ philosophy of the CRL. Off course moral and criminal matters have different premises and whatever entails the criminal is answered by a functional judicial system. The moral as he advances is assumed to be that where for example a pastor divorces, is overtaken with habits that bring the Christian Faith in disrepute etc. These are and should be dealt with by the body the pastor and church subscribe to not an external superimposed structure of a CRL umbrella organisation who acts as final arbiter. The invoking of how society must deal with that is also in a sense flawed because society is bigger than the local church and society at large may not want for example a McCauley anymore as a pastor when his local church would argue the opposite. It is convenient to invoke this society notion when it suits us and to be oblivious to it when it would affect us. Let pastors be governed by their local assemblies no different to how Rhema and all others are governed.

McCauley’s final point on self-regulation was uttered long before and is not new, the right to freedom of association in faith expression is a constitutional right. The pressure of regulation is borne from those who seek to encroach on this right. Self-regulation then becomes Faith’s answer to the fabricated need to regulate in this season. There is no unison voice or any voice regardless of name or size that can claim it speaks in total authority on behalf of the church, in particular, the independent churches in SA. There is no record that the church by enlarge ever agreed to adopt regulation and by extension the pseudo form of it under the guise of lusty organisations whose fantasy is to control the church of Jesus Christ under their political loaded and self-serving interest blankets.

The debate on regulation and self- regulation is very far from being fully ventilated and concluded and we will not allow the CRL, a McCauley or any formation with its own interests to instruct the church on peer review structures etc. Govern the expression of which you were endowed, leave the rest of the Body of Christ to be led by those God have ordained whom you often don’t respect because they according to you are too insignificant and not famous.

Omotoso and every other real or fake pastor must be condemned where the truth of claims can stand legal muster. Let the courts pronounce on Omotoso, he can’t be denied his constitutional rights to a fair trial because the ANCWL is caught in a conundrum of doublespeak as to when it wants to defend victims of abuse when it supports one and rejects the other. Neither can Omotoso be used by the McCauley machinery in his crusade to become SA’s pastor as a means to a political end. The Mokonyane and McCauley rants are sideshows and must be treated for what it is.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Is Ramaphosa’s maiden cabinet falling apart, paralysed by corruption and ‘state capture’ claims?

The Ramaphosa caretaker presidency era faces not just complexities and contradictions inherited from apartheid but also new anomalies produced by the democratic dispensation. It is more than nine months since Ramaphosa delivered the 2018 SONA and subsequently appointed his maiden cabinet. Ramaphosa’s campaign to ANC and SA’s high offices was framed around morality understood singularly in being anti-corruption. His orchestrated public relations campaign for both offices sought to cast him as Mr Clean, leading a campaign of cleaning up SA government from its portrayed bad name. Notwithstanding the fact that Ramaphosa was a deputy president and in charge of Government Business of an administration that is today communicated off as belligerent and down-right corrupt.

Before Ramaphosa announced his cabinet and after he had consulted with the Top 6, he still wanted to make more changes. We not sure who he consulted but hours before he announced his cabinet, he wanted to offload some he already approved and presented to the ANC top leadership as a means of consultation. Three names were singled out as necessarily contaminated and his new team warranted being quarantined from these names since they were associated with the now leprous family of Gupta name. Those names were among others that of Cabinet members, Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane and Malusi Gigaba. Mainstream media pioneered a campaign of Gupta association for these names, baying the political blood of the aforementioned and demanded that Ramaphosa gets rid of them if he was to show himself as serious with cleaning up the SA government. The problem with our discourse is the media led “angels and demons” frame it adopted for particularly ANC politicians.

Well, eight months later the much celebrated Nhlanhla Nene, Ramaphosa’s first choice for a finance minister recently was forced to resign after he admitted to the State Capture Commission that he had several meetings with the Guptas. With this, one of those framed as a natural angel became the first casualty of the State Capture claims. He is crafted as an angel despite the bleating of the PIC alleged corruption claims first unveiled by Weekly Xposé in May 2017 and later picked up by UDM Leader Bantu Holomisa when he drafted a set of letters demanding Nene to explain himself in the PIC frame.

It is, however, anticipated that many more will fall before May 2019. In a sense the words of former president Jacob Zuma are ringing true when he in prophetic sense warned beware those who shout state capture, they will regret it when they get exposed. President Ramaphosa’s deputy DD Mabuza recently faced a barrage of corruption claims carried in the New York Times portraying him as corrupt and a criminal. According to the NYT, Ramaphosa’s deputy is not clean at all and therefore, this detracts from the claims of a clean administration

Yesterday eNCA carried an interview with the ANC Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile who publicly confessed and admitted that the ANC received among others R2 million in donations from a company named as Vele Investments (PTY) LTD, Vele Investments (PTY) LTD incidentally owns VBS. The South African Reserve Bank launched a forensic investigation into VBS Mutual Bank’s affairs and found that almost R2bn was lost by the bank in what is referred to as the great bank heist.

Mashatile while not in the post at the time of the donations was categorically clear that there is evidence that the ANC received money from the compromised company of Vele Investments (PTY) LTD. He made it also clear the ANC does not engage in vetting any organisation that contributes to its coffers. His admission came with an offer of commitment to repay the money. This may rightly be considered a positive move in being accountable and transparent, yet this admission exposes the ambiguous conviction of what defines morality on another score. We will have to wait and see how forgiving the SA masses are towards the ANC come election time.

Let us not forget that earlier this week former Treasurer-General Dr Zweli Mkhize, who now is the Minister of Cooperative Governance was at pains to deny that the ANC was ever a recipient of any donations and also that he asked for an R2million donation from VBS during the year 2016 for its elections war chest. It was reported that Mkhize had asked for R2million from the bank’s seniors and allegedly promised to assist the bank in securing investments from municipalities.

On Wednesday Mkhize’s office distanced him from the claims that he solicited the funds with the promise of extending VBS’ favourable access to the Municipalities and their budgets. He categorically denied this as he attempted to distance the ANC from these vile acts of parasitic corruption and crass materialism. Yet the donations were made in a time when Mkhize was in office. The released statement from Mkhize’s office said he, “never assisted the VBS in securing any funding from municipalities or any other state institution”.

In January the Parliamentary inquiry on PRASA learnt from its former CEO Lucky Montana the role of Dr Zweli Mkhize with the following words, “However, the most powerful force that won the day and changed the course of PRASA forever, was driven by none other than the former minister of transport, Honourable Dipuo Peters, working with the ANC Treasurer-General, Dr Zweli Mkhize. He contended the aforementioned two were key with the aid of PRASA officials in the appointment of the new PRASA board that served their interests.

Montana was more scathing and directly accused Mkhize when he claimed that Mkhize in his capacity as ANC Treasurer-General, wanted PRASA to pay him 10% of the R465million that was due to Swifambo Rail Leasing in terms of the contract.

So, while, Mashatile admitted that the ANC received money from Vele, where Mkhize in the same week denied, more drama around another minister unfolded. Gigaba suffered more than a few cuts and bruises, he knows this dare to be the week of his political and career death. Gigaba’s woes have driven him to the proverbial ropes as he in proverbial sense dropped punch-drunk to the canvas when he was forced to flood the social media space with a litany of apologies after an unsavoury personal ‘home-affairs’ tape started doing the rounds. Gigaba threw himself at the mercy of those who would buy into his victimhood.  Yet, it didn’t work so well when the Public Protector released her statement and corroborated the earlier findings that Malusi Gigaba lied under oath on the Oppenheimer Fireblade OR Tambo saga. The Public Protector’s report which the President must respond to in action, hands Ramaphosa an easy task, yet that choice may have wider ramifications.

As if that was not enough, the Constitutional Court also ruled against his intention to appeal the verdict that found he lied. With this week not even done yet, it is surmised that Gigaba may not survive the next two weeks. It goes without saying that when Ramaphosa fires Gigaba it will not be for his personal indiscretions, too many of the political, religious, academic organised labour and civil society elites have been found guilty of the same sin. He, thus, can only be fired for the undeniable fact that he lied under oath and was convicted for that. Firing Gigaba alleviates Ramaphosa from one of his three Gupta associated demons as the mainstream media have come to dub the troika of Dlamini, Mokonyane and Gigaba. Yet, Ramaphosa is not out of trouble when he fires Gigaba because he will have to explain why he continues to have Mkhize who also lied.

Mkhize’s glaring exposure for having lied as shared by Mashatile puts him in the same space as Gigaba, because Mashatile yesterday confirmed that Mkhize had lied about the Vele Investments (PTY) LTD donation. Ramaphosa, therefore, cannot get away to fire Gigaba for lying when his colleague in the cabinet Dr Zweli Mkhize is today proven a liar too. How can Mkhize who lied about not knowing of this controversial donation be trusted to serve and lead in the cabinet? More so in view of him being accused of having promised deals for VBS in access of Municipalities budget when he is now in charge of the Municipalities, what does that mean?

If Gigaba and Mkhize present headaches for Ramaphosa, do not forget that recently the Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande also faced questions that he until now has not answered. These questions include allegations of loans and favours, Nzimande was a benefactor of the same trough of the now leprous Gupta family. Nzimande threatened to sue the Independent journalist Ayanda Mdluli, yet he never responded to the questions. It may just be a matter of time before the bubble burst on this one and that would mean Ramaphosa would have to deal with Nzimande too. Having lived through that before with Zuma when he wanted to off-load Nzimande, we saw what was love turned into scorn and hate. Will Ramaphosa face the same from one of his trusted kingmakers and lieutenants, Blade Nzimande? Watch this space.

It is argued as the weeks unfold more ‘angels’ with skeletons will fall, as contaminated by the leprous Gupta family, a VBS scandal, Bosasa deals and who knows what else. We also know that Barbara Hogan will soon appear before the State Capture Commission and she has threatened to bring the house down when she fingers Nzimande and ANC Chairperson formerly Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe. While we may not know the full details of Hogan’s statement, we can comfortably accept that it is laced with accusing the aforementioned as part of those who were captured as is claimed by the Gupta. Mantashe was accused by Vytjie Mentor, for his non-interest in her claims that she was offered a job. Mantashe’s name was also linked with the BOSASA tenders, the same company that is alleged to have extended loans and paid for a prominent Member of Parliament Vincent Smith’s children education. While the evidence against Mantashe may be hard to come by, the challenge is all this does not augur well for the so-called clean administration Ramaphosa is claiming to lead.

We not sure how much longer Ramaphosa will be able to entertain a very nonchalant Tito Mboweni who appears off on his own tangent. With all this unfolding another comical setting is developing. We all know that Mboweni was not Ramaphosa’s first choice or that of COSATU for the position. Mboweni knows this too and appears to push the envelope on that, he has since his advent been acting like a chief in charge. He read Ramaphosa the riot act on double-speaking with the words ‘’We must…Mr. President, stop to speak in contradictory turns.” Mboweni is stirring the ire with his running controversial commentary utterances on the SARB, the Gauteng e-Toll saga and his latest SAA shutting down statements. How long will the apparent jest-jabs last? Will Mboweni overplay his hand and find himself at odds with the ANC and its president? Will we see another Finance Minister when Ramaphosa is forced to assert himself?

Not only are these cabinet members a challenge as the SA discourse leads if you listen closely you hear more names bandied around that will fall when the evidence against them is being led. It must be noted that many of these are considered the media crafted ‘angels’ who have been feeding of the crafted demonising of others. They are portrayed as the last frontier against an ANC implosion.

I guess you see where this is going with just over seven months left before South Africans will go to the national ballots again. How many more “angels” will fall at the association of corruption and the media invented crime of state capture. Will there even be a cabinet by then? What is clear is the cabinet does not invoke any trust of a clean government. Maybe the same conclusion is drawn of the church, to find a church without sin, shut everyone including the priest out and you will have a clean church. Maybe if SA is to work for a clean government from Ramaphosa to the most angelic must exit the cabinet before a claim of a clean government can be entertained.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

IPP saga: plausible grounds for Ramaphosa to be impeached

A tale of illegal IPPs, ignored or stage-delayed ConCourt orders on Section 89 and plausible grounds of impeachment of SA caretaker president.

The eighteenth-century cleric and writer, Charles C. Colton long ago told us, “Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away.”

This musing in a sense makes up some of the interesting moments of an epoch, spanning time that is often forgotten when we want to make sense of what confronts us in the present-day sense. This musing is by no means an exhaustive blow-for-blow account of a history of events understood in moments of alternate energy and its ultimate manifested jolts of obscured realities.

On Friday, 9 March 2018, the Department of Energy (DOE) under the stewardship of Minister Jeff Radebe announced that Eskom was to enter into Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with 27 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) on Tuesday 13 March 2018, in what is known as REIPPPP Bid-windows 3.5 and 4. It is interestingly curious that by Friday when the DOE apprised the SA public of this decision, the preceding Thursday 8 March, the Competition Commission announced its decision to recommend to the Competition Tribunal to approve without conditions, the merger whereby Thebe Renewable Energy Holdings Ltd acquired Phembani Solar Energy 1 (Pty) Ltd, Phembani Renewables (Pty) Ltd and Shanduka Black Umbrellas Energy (Pty) Ltd as well as Pulida Energy (RF) (Pty) Ltd. It is reasonable that the application to the Competition Commission for this merger/acquisition would have been made at a time when former Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene was Resident Advisor at Thebe Investment Corporation. It is alleged that Nene’s job at Thebe is what led to him not being appointed Chairman of the Board of Eskom in January this year as it would have created a definitive conflict of interest with Thebe having PPA(s) with Eskom.

Astonishingly, the current Chairman of Eskom Jabu Mabuza, on the other hand, seems to have had no qualms in accepting this plum job despite the apparent conflict of interest brought about by his 10% ownership of Sphere Holdings which in turn owns 30% shares in Babcock, the latter is on a multibillion-rand a year “evergreen” contract for services to Eskom.

An even more glaring conflict of interest can be said to be that of one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s companies, Aggreko-Shanduka having signed a 20-year PPA for 92.5 megawatts at R2.70 per kilowatt hour with Eskom, allegedly on Ramaphosa’s instruction whilst he was chair of the patently unlawfully established Eskom War Room in 2015.

On the Monday prior to the Tuesday of contemplated signing with the 27 IPPs, NUMSA and TransformRSA instituted an urgent High Court action to interdict the said signing of PPAs between Eskom and the 27 IPPs pending hearing and ruling on the application launched in July 2017 by Coal Transporters Forum (CTF) to set aside the signing of PPAs by Eskom with IPPs. The CTF application is now set for hearing in March 2019.

The litigants NUMSA & TransformRSA have a claim in this regard, that the presiding Judge Fourie’s ruling on 29 March 2018 was legally misdirected as the case before him was that of an interdict on the signing of the 27 IPPs pending hearing and ruling on the CTF application. Judge Fourie instead ruled on urgency, which was moot as Honourable Madam Judge Pretorius had already ruled on 12 March 2018 that the NUMSA-TransformRSA urgent application was indeed urgent. To understand the actions and mind of Judge Fourie a good analogy used by the legal advisers of the litigants hold that, what Fourie suggested with his ruling is tantamount to a person seeking protection from a court of law for being threatened with beating and assault that is sure to cause grievous bodily harm by another, and bizarrely the court (Judge Fourie in this instance) arguing that when you are assaulted you can visit this or that surgeon to fix your injuries. It is the mind of the litigants that the intention was never to fall prey to grievously bodily harm injuries in the first place. Fourie’s ruling when looked at from the reality of South African electricity consumers suggests that they can be financially assaulted with exorbitant electricity tariffs on a weird reasoning they could visit a surgeon (the courts) for surgery afterwards without guarantee of full restoration.

It is an evidently established fact that South Africa has been financially assaulted with exorbitant electricity prices emanating largely from the illegally signed IPPs which currently cost just over R93-million per day with inflation-linked escalations. It is argued that Judge Fourie effectively failed to protect the electricity consumers from a further financial assault of exorbitant electricity prices whereby current prices/tariffs range from R1.58 per kilowatt hour to as high as R4.00 per kilowatt hour for prepaid electricity consumers. It is also an established fact from Eskom’s audited financial statements that its average cost of electricity production, excluding transmission and distribution, is R0.42 per kilowatt hour. Shockingly, IPPs currently cost an average R2.26 per kilowatt hour. This average cost of Eskom’s electricity production of R0.42 per kilowatt hour effectively dispels the false claims about cost overruns and delays in completion of the Kusile and Medupi power stations, for they are included in this average cost of R0.42 per kilowatt hour.

It can thus be argued that energy poverty increased due to the ruling of Judge Fourie by not acting in accordance with conscripts of the law. In a strange twist of events, the NUMSA-TransformRSA case file went missing on the eve of the hearing of the application and subsequently the record transcript of the matter before the court has also gone missing. This begs the question how did the case file or docket go missing? In addition, how did the transcript vanish and who was responsible for the missing docket and subsequently vanished transcript.

Perhaps we may be helped by the commentary and statements of Judge President Dunston Mlambo that he made at an Africa Prosecutors Association three-day session held in Pretoria on September 30, 2016. Mlambo is on record to have said while he can’t say there is no corruption in the judiciary, he is promising to fight tooth and nail to makes sure courts do not ignore graft. Mlambo went further to say, “there are colleagues who are doing (corruption) this, when you look at the evidence I’ve presented to you, I see these things and say I can’t keep quiet”. “I have warned my judges that one of you will be caught up in an investigation that could become disastrous for your careers and your lives”.

On another score, the National Assembly that represents the legislative component of a three-tier South African State, hitherto is in breach if not defiance of the highest court, the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), who during 2017 in the EFF matter ruled and ordered that the National Assembly must draft and promulgate constitutionally compliant rules on Section 89 by May 2018. Failure and or defiance by the National Assembly to duly comply with the ConCourt Order has put South Africa in a precarious state of a constitutional crisis.

The litigants NUMSA and TransformRSA have since filed a leave for appeal of the legally bizarre Fourie judgement of 29 March 2018, in regards, the costs order it exacted. The premise for such an appeal resonates in this: that the ConCourt previously ruled that entities that act in the public interest are exempted from having cost orders exacted against them. In order to find against public entities such as the litigants who are no different to a Section 27, FUL or Helen Suzman Foundation, questionable bona fides and or any malicious intent would have needed to be established. Fourie’s judgment therefore on this score may in reasonable consideration translates to a flagrant and common threat of intimidation into silence thus intending to dissuade public interest entities from seeking appropriate judicial relief as provided for and guaranteed within the explicit ambit of the constitution of the republic.

The citizenry is, therefore, more inclined to rightfully ask whether a lower court can willfully disregard the constitution given the undeniable presence of case law established by the ConCourt. This situation presents a double-barrelled challenge. Firstly, what then do we make of this prevailing impasse and secondly what constitutes due recourse for ordinary South Africans when lower courts can willfully and consciously defy, ignore of not blatantly disregard the rulings of the final arbiter if justice understood in SA as the ConCourt? If this does not indicate a context of constitutional crisis, what does?

Logic would dictate that in order to justify the contracts of IPPs and Eskom as initiated by the DOE, there needed to be given due consideration to the two cardinal pieces of legislation, that being the Electricity Regulation Act number 4 of 2006 and also the National Energy Regulator Act number 40 of 2004, particularly Section 10 and Section 34 respectively.  This is macro-graphed when cognisance is taken of, the ruling of the Cape High Court in the Earth-Life matter on nuclear. In such instance, it ruled that Section 34 determination was unlawful and therefore set aside.  This was attained predicated on the confirmed findings that the prescripts were not followed. The established indisputable fact therefore is; every single IPP including the earlier mentioned, respectively known as bid windows 1, 2,3 which costs the South African public on exceeding, onerous terms, on a daily basis to an inflation-bound astronomical amount of R93-million, for what can be rightfully argued is electricity supply which Eskom simply does not need, constitutes as illegally signed as entered into.

It remains the conviction and belief of the litigants that these agreements entered into are unlawful as already determined. In perpetuity and the clear case of defiance of the judiciary by the Executive, 27 IPPs bid-window 3.5 and 4 were signed in April 2018. It also remains the submission of the litigants that this constituted a steamrolled action notwithstanding the CTF application pending in the high court and the ruling of the Cape High Court in the Earthlife matter. It has also been established from the court papers in the CTF matter that DOE, NERSA & Eskom and the IPPs have equally failed to produce a legally compliant Section 34 Determination under the National Energy Regulator Act and legally fit Record-of-Decision under Section 10 of the Electricity Regulation Act.

The implications for Eskom are increasingly depicting a gloomy picture. The most recent Eskom financial statements include a subject of technical and non-technical losses. It can be extrapolated from the Eskom financial statement that as we pen this article there is corroborating evidence already of big industrial users practising ‘bridging’, the act of unlawfully connecting oneself to the grid to enjoy unlimited and unaccounted supply. This act of electricity theft as it appears in the Eskom Financial Statement is reported to the tune of R18 billion and shelved in what is accounted for technical and non-technical losses.

It goes without saying that if the DOE and Eskom had followed the prescripts in Sections 34 and 10 respectively, there would never have been a single IPP in this country. In the absence of claiming ignorance which really cannot be claimed, one is left to surmise nothing but unadulterated avarice and a non-gratifying greed tangible in gigantic thieving may be the bedrock for these patently unlawful actions of illegal contract signing.

On another score, the ongoing Eskom alternate energy saga before the courts extends itself to point to a troublesome potential claim of the subject of plausible impeachment for the current caretaker SA president. The current acting president of South Africa, as it is claimed by various legal scholars, is in violation of section 96 of the constitution of the republic. Ramaphosa has as we were told locked all his assets into a contrived animal called a “blind trust”. Those of the legal and business fraternities remonstrate the South African law does not entertain or explain the construct of a “blind trust”. The construct of blind trust is also not legally defined or framed in our South African lexicon.

According to Investopedia, “Blind trusts are often used when a wealthy individual is elected to a political office, where his investment holdings could potentially put him in a conflict of interest with a regulatory issue or other sensitive exercises of political power. Investopedia delineates some challenges with the use of a blind trust when it raises two cardinal aspects, 1, “some obvious issues with blind trusts in that the beneficiary setting up the blind trust is at least aware of the investment mix going in and cannot realistically forget that information when weighing future decisions. 2. The trustors may also set the rules under which the investments are managed and, of course, pick trustees that they are confident will act in a certain way in potential situations.”

On the premise of the aforementioned, Investopedia argues, “the efficacy of the blind trust in truly eliminating a conflict of interest is far from proven”. It concludes that “politicians with a large amount of wealth or in high office use blind trusts to show that at least the effort is being taken to establish impartiality.” We must from this summation assume that Cyril M. Ramaphosa with his November 2014 blind trust initiative at best attempted to try to be perceived as acting towards impartiality, yet he did not with the adoption of the blind trust negate the claim of conflict of interest or the cited reasons.

While the natural temptation exists to celebrate the efforts to be impartial it cannot come at the expense of demonstrable claim of the partiality and if partiality can be established a claim can be exacted that there exists no real elimination of a conflict of interest which by itself extends to the grounds for a claim of benefit while holding office as a breach of the outlined Section 96 provisions.

Yet, we know blind trusts have to find meaning and expression within the ambit of South African law, otherwise, it can be argued it is nothing but a contrived initiative.

It is legally permissible that a trust deed may not specifically name the beneficiaries and the beneficiaries may themselves not know the assets of the trust and their monetary value thereof. To cite an example in the instance of the Rhodes trust or even the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, the beneficiaries are not named and neither do they know what the assets entail. In the case of Ramaphosa, it is not legally sufficient without full disclosures of who the trustees are, and who the beneficiaries constitute. Had Ramaphosa determined to have donated he would have been subjected to tax provisions in this regard.

Considering that a trust may also be used to hold and protect personal or business assets and may, therefore, be used to hold shares in businesses and to ensure the continuity of ownership of assets, it would appear in absence of evidence to the contrary, that Ramaphosa’s intended purpose was continued beneficial ownership of all the business interests purportedly now under this so-called blind trust. With this consideration, Ramaphosa appears to still be exposed and therefore in harm’s way with regards to Section 96.

A clear explanation of who the beneficiaries are has to be articulated. When ownership of shares in a business moves from an individual or another business entity to a trust that it is transferred into, at what value of those assets and who becomes the beneficiary and who is the trustee(s) must be articulated. Is there a deed of trust that under normal circumstances is registered Deed of Trust Acts, 1988 law?

Meaning the current caretaker president of SA for the better part of his tenure as deputy president and leader of government business effectively since May 2014 has benefited from his shareholdings and earned income beyond the scope of the designated and explained diaphragm of a government salary. Ramaphosa’s significant shareholdings in companies (some of which are accused in the Panama & Paradise Papers) such as Lonmin, Aggreko-Shanduka, Standard Bank, Glencore, Bidvest and Tshivhase Share Dealing, from which he benefited and arguably continues to benefit at a monetary level, puts him in direct line of fire for apparent breach of Section 96.

It is the submission of the litigants that it was incumbent on Ramaphosa to protect and uphold the constitution of the Republic of South African and he was therefore duty-bound to protect the public from an expense that translates to an incremental inflation-linked current daily R93-million in fruitless expenditure. It is furthermore argued that the violation of Section 96 starts with Ramaphosa’s tenure as deputy president but continues with his new acting role of president. It is further argued that Ramaphosa, when the blind trust claim is put aside, effectively earns income from all the companies he owns directly or indirectly.

Those who argue that the current president must be held accountable and ultimately impeached do so on the prescribed Conduct of Cabinet members that dictates, in following section delineation: Section 96: 1) Members of the Cabinet must act in accordance with a code of conduct of ethics prescribed by national legislation.  2. Members of the Cabinet and Deputy Ministers may not – a. undertakes on other paid work, b) act in any way that is inconsistent with their office, or expose themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and private interests, or c) use their position or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person.

When #Ramaphosa contrived a so-called #BlindTrust, could it be that he too had found himself in a similar predicament as rich young ruler written about in Luke 18:22-23???‬

It reads:- “So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.”

‪However, he too by now must have found out:- “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him, they will ask the more.”

It then must lead that when the National Assembly finally comes around to rightfully comply in respect of the Constitutional Court ruling and order to finalise and promulgate Constitutionally compliant rules to give effect to Section 89 of the constitution, it will present the occasion and opportunity for anyone in the public to charge Ramaphosa as having violated Section 96 as outlined. The claim that Ramaphosa earned other income contrary to stipulations of Section 96 that members of the cabinet and deputy ministers cannot earn income outside the parameters of the stipulated income for the designations as defined in the constitution is, therefore, one to engage. He was therefore as leader of government business in good conscience obligated and duty-bound to have led the charge to stop the process of the IPPs. These conflicts coupled with the dereliction of duty constitutes prolific soil for a claim of the removal of the current acting president.

Having attempted to show the illegal signing of what constitutes REIPP’s predicated on the flawed and misappropriation of sections 10 and 34 as earlier alluded to came also heavily aided by an unfortunate Judge Fourie ruling. It was further aided by an intransigent national assembly who appeared stunted in its non-compliance if not defiance with ConCourt, for rulings to give true and proper effect to Section 89, concomitantly leads to the caretaker president not rightly be held accountable to explain himself as to the developing case of him having flaunted the rules on cabinet ministers as also alluded to earlier. The ConCourt is equally duty bound to write and inquire from the National Assembly as to when it intends to engage its clarion instructions.

Cynicism will lead that there is an unholy alliance of those who will demonstrate they are in pursuit of fixing SA from the media-driven alleged Gupta state capture crime that has become the railroad to allow the real issues of capture and defiance of the ConCourt escape us all.

It cannot be that SA is fooled into the daily dosages of Gupta obsession when the REIPPS and Eskom may constitute nothing less than the flagrant hijacking of a national power utility with definite intent of squeezing it into the orchestrated and long, foreign-driven intent of unbundling, where the usual vultures again intend preying on SA’s assets for personal enrichment.

Clyde Ramalaine and Tshepo Kgadima