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

Hogan threatens to bring the house down, by implicating Ramaphosa’s key lieutenants – Mantashe and Nzimande


By: Clyde Ramalaine

The state capture judicial inquiry, it is anticipated, will this week engage the views or opinions of Barbara Hogan, the former minister of health and public enterprises who was fired. Hogan had very short stints as a cabinet member in both instances, eight months for health and eighteen months for public enterprises. Hogan is also known as the life partner of Ahmed Kathrada, the Robben Islander. She is for some considered a very complex character drenched in bitterness and may have sworn vengeance. A bitterness so often in SA discourse conflated as self-righteousness against evil.

Who then is Barbara Hogan? According to SAHO (South Africa History online), Hogan was born in Benoni and attended St Dominic’s high school followed by Wits University where she attained a degree in Development Studies; she joined the ANC 1977. She also served time in the Pretoria Central Prison where most white liberation struggle participants were sent. She was released in 1990 alongside other political prisoners.

While SA History online tells us, Hogan served as a member of ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) from 1990 to 1992. A better explanation of that leads that she was not an elected member of the NEC but an ex-officio member by virtue of her secretary role of the then PWV (Pretoria Witwatersrand Vereeniging) Region which was then chaired by Kgalema Motlanthe. We know that ANC provincial structures emerged at the ANC Bloemfontein conference in 1996.

In 1993 she assumed the position of head of Policy Development at the Development Bank of South Africa.  After the first democratic elections, Hogan served in various capacities in the ANC-led government. She served as chairperson of the portfolio committee on finance between 1999 and 2004, and she also became chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and the Standing Committee on the Auditor-General. Hogan also became a Member of Parliament for the ANC. She was appointed as Minister of Health on 26 September 2008 and served in the portfolio until 10 May 2009. After that, she was appointed as Minister of Public Enterprises in May 2009 and served in the portfolio until she resigned in November 2010.

She was appointed to cabinet for the first time as a replacement for Manto Tshabalala-Msimang by Kgalema Motlanthe, during his caretaker seven-month period of leading SA.

It is argued her advent to power politics was made possible by Motlanthe with whom she shared a close friendship. She was moved from the health portfolio by May 2010 when President Zuma chose Dr Aaron Motsoeledi, a trained medical practitioner, for the post. Already there Hogan did not appreciate this move on the part of Zuma and the swords may have crossed there.

Hogan was not totally dropped but she was moved to public enterprises. Public enterprises is the central ministry for the media-claimed crime of state capture, hence we should not be surprised that Hogan who was fired from this public enterprise’s portfolio may claim certain information, knowledge and possible evidence that may aid the work of the commission.

It is said that Hogan has the “knife in” for former Secretary General, now Chairperson, of the ANC Gwede Mantashe and Secretary General of the SACP Blade Nzimande whom she associates in the claim of Zuma support in better days between the SACP and Zuma. Hogan boasted to those she regarded her friends as to what transpired on the day of her firing. She was called in to meet both Zuma and Mantashe, they informed her of the decision and offered her an ambassadorial posting to Japan as a conciliatory prize. Hogan told those she wanted to know of the incident that she stormed from the desk shouting stuff your ambassadorial job… you know where. And before she slammed the door on her way out she told them “…f*ck both of you…”

The die then already was cast and what would now define the future: utter disdain, a simmering hatred saturated by feelings of insult and abuse at least seen from her vantage point. As the saying goes beware the scorn of a woman. Out of a powerful position which she lost because she at the time wanted her key adviser, the former Anglo-American executive Bobby Godsell, to assume the position that Siyabonga Gama ultimately got at Transnet. As Mantashe in his brief interview with City Press alluded, the choice for a black CEO at Transnet, where a competent candidate was available, was in the spirit of transformation and an automatic decision.

Hogan’s anger towards those she blames for robbing her to be a minister, a post she believes she is entitled to, appears to have silently grown into a volcano that will erupt at the state capture commission.

It is argued she would use the relationship shared with Kathrada as a means to continue dealing with her enemies. Kathrada’s letter to Zuma than cannot be exempted from the anger of Hogan. Ultimately Kathrada advanced in age would die and his funeral would become another talking ground for her campaign to teach Zuma, Mantashe and others like Nzimande, lessons.

In the case of Zuma, he was told he will not speak though he was head of state. Some messages confirmed that they really didn’t want him present at all. Zuma obliged and stayed away. Mantashe as SG of the ANC attended this clearly hostile and politically biased funeral, which I also attended. Chaired by the Kathrada Foundation chair Derek Hanekom this gathering was predictably hardly a celebration of the lifelong work of an activist.

I remember sitting there with one of my siblings and thinking what a miscarriage of a legacy when in political expediency Pravin Gordhan and Julius Malema became the unnecessary focus of the gathering. I recall how Valli Moosa passed me by to fetch Gordhan where he sat four rows behind to the right of us, and the pieces of conversation I heard as they passed us by. Moosa asked Gordhan, “so you out?” This was also the night that President Zuma had scheduled a meeting with cabinet and would dare to relieve Pravin Gordhan. Kathrada’s funeral became then a rallying point for those who declared their own war on the Luthuli House leadership.

I still maintain that despite what the Kathrada Foundation leadership may protest, the final wishes or statement did not come without its board members’ central influence, meaning Kgalema Motlanthe, Derek Hanekom, David Makhura, Hogan etc. I did raise my displeasure with the CEO of the Kathrada Foundation Neeshan Bolton in a WhatsApp message as to how one of SA’ s true stalwart’s final moments in legacy celebration was upstaged by a political campaign led by Derek Hanekom.

The state capture commission in a sense, therefore, becomes Hogan’s final moment to deal with those who fired her or as she may see it, stunted her in her career of being a cabinet minister. As was the case with Vytjie Mentor, Mcebisi Jonas, James Maseko, to be expected also from Pravin Gordhan and possibly also a Ben Martins, the subject is really adopting that of a frame of labour relations disputes.

Not that one can unilaterally and nakedly frame it as such, but these centre on people that have been fired. They will argue their firing at an individual level was unfair and a means to cover up corruption or intended to pave the way for looting.  It appears she hopes to build on the testimony of former Member of Parliament Vytjie Mentor’s testimony, who shared in her evidence, that the governing party’s former secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and his deputy at the time, Jessie Duarte, proved indifferent to her claims that she was offered a ministerial position by the Guptas. Mentor informed the commission during her testimony that Mantashe simply walked away, saying he had another meeting to attend.

The interesting thing one is compelled to never ask is why the ‘victimised’ never tell us on the basis of what they were asked to serve in high office. They explain as to what their appointments really meant when they were first appointed. According to them, they would remonstrate they were appointed with good intentions, based on their respective track records and not any intention of malfeasance or ill-will.

What we know is that cabinet is made up of people that serve at the privilege of the president. No one is guaranteed a job and when one is reshuffled or ultimately fired one has no recourse. It remains my caution that the commission must sift carefully through personal fights that’s written all over many of those who have appeared before the commission and substantial evidence for a case for or against the prevalence of what is termed state capture.

Hogan thus gets her moment to drag names to the commission, having to answer questions that equally intimate placing these names at crime scenes of corruption and capture. While the commission may never find against these individuals, there is a thing called sentiment, and sentiment dictates that appearing before this commission as subpoenaed renders you in the minds of some guilty – guilt you may never quite be able to shake. In the final analysis, that may also be a fulcrum aim of those who drag you there as implicated.

With this, one is not remotely suggesting a determination of guilt or innocence on those asked to appear since they are implicated. What one is attempting to raise is the ease of comfort some may claim to conflate the personal with the organisational with the state.

We must wait to hear the full statement of Hogan in order to engage her claims, for we are told she intends bringing the proverbial house’s roof down with her claims.

  • Ramalaine is a political commentator and writer

Why is Gigaba’s official October 2016 response to Fireblade Aviation not engaged?

– Gigaba’s shortcomings however defined cannot automatically translate to a natural right for the Oppenheimer family and its commercial interest to have such port at a key national security point –

The final script on Gigaba is threatened to be written by a group of embedded journalists led by none other than Ranjeni Munusamy for whom objectivity is a dreaded disease. In her Sunday Times opinion piece, she in many ways read Gigaba’s obituary detailed with a claim of Gigaba’s demise as self-inflicted.

Let me make my disclaimer up front, I hold no brief to speak for or defend the colourful adventurist and often indiscreet Gigaba. I alluded to someone earlier that solicited my opinion, we seldom pause to think how long Gigaba is a cabinet minister that being fourteen years which is a significant chunk in his forty-two years of life-span. On another score, we may ask what this means if anything, but that is a subject for another day. Notwithstanding Gigaba’s notorious appetite to attract attention for unrelated and really unnecessary drama, we warrant separating matters if we attempt being honest and sensible in our discourse.

This musing thus, is also not a defence of his wrongs be it at personal dubbed ‘home- affairs’ or political office of Department of Home Affairs level it juxtaposes questions in regard to the claims of the Fireblade Aviation application or request that he apparently approved verbally or a letter penned and signed by Gigaba himself dated 24 October 2016, which details the opposite of the claim.

Our public discourse is drenched in vibration otherwise understood as noise that the substantive is often deliberately sacrificed by the virulent if not petulant agenda of those who are hell-bent in scripting our thinking in a specific direction. In February, The North Gauteng High Court ruled that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba lied under oath when he testified during his tenure as home affairs minister in a case filed by a company that wanted to open a private immigration terminal at the country’s biggest airport.

Judge Neil Tuchten in his ruling said, “The minister deliberately told untruths under oath, the minister has committed a breach of the Constitution so serious that I could characterise it as a violation.”

Fireblade Aviation, which is controlled by the Oppenheimer family, filed a lawsuit against Gigaba alleging that he had reneged on a pledge to delegate officials to staff their immigration and customs facility that was to be developed at the OR Tambo International Airport on land rented from arms manufacturer Denel.

Gigaba denied ever approving the terminal. The court ruled in Fireblade’s favour. Gigaba said he stood by his testimony and was consulting his lawyers about the ruling.

Gigaba’s counter-claim at the time was, “The decision of the court is being challenged,” he told journalists in Cape Town before delivering his Budget Speech. There is an appeal. At no stage was there an agreement with Fireblade. Legally you cannot have a private terminal for a family.”

This week at a Parliamentary hearing, second-generation billionaire Nicky Oppenheimer accused Malusi Gigaba with the following words“The first thing he said was he was delighted to tell us that he, indeed, granted his approval.”

Beyond the noise and lusty early obituaries of Gigaba as foretold by an active crowd who have their own agenda, lies the critical question – does Fireblade Aviation or anyone regardless of what the minister may have approved or not, have the right to occupy such a unique port at a key central point of national interest, the OR Tambo International Airport?

As with so many things in SA, this discussion is deliberately avoided, consciously not entertained because we are scripted as those who specialise in the art of deflection. With all the claims in an ocean of investigative journalists spanning veterans and new ones, there is hardly any attempt or desire to engage this salient question. We may only guess why there is no interest and a significant truculence on the part of seasoned journalists, constitutional law experts and civil society foundation custodians.

Public active Constitutional law experts like Pierre De Vos, Marinus Wiechers among others will tell you of the violation of the constitution at the drop of a hat but steer ominously clear of problematizing or engaging the thorny aspect of the constitutionality of the request of the Fireblade Aviation Private Company who with this request does more than encroaching on the liberties of the constitution and its balance between public and private dictates. CASAC’s Lawson Naidoo will jump up and down in claim of defending the constitution that hardly needs defence but be eerily silent on the how the constitution may intersect with the Fireblade Aviation request which has now become a demand because they have invested in such infrastructure.

The so-called progressive and very active Foundations of SA that red flags all ANC politicians except those they have vested economic and political interest in, are also not present to weigh in on the controversiality of the claimed right of Fireblade Aviation and the Oppenheimer family claims to have a private port. The often-vocal group of clergies known for their adamant claim of custodianship of a South African society is silent to ask how the constitution is served by this ‘application’. Why are there no questions asked of another family who with this application and request in a sense wants to capture the state?

Beyond the joystick claims of associating Malusi Gigaba with the 21st Century leprous family of SA politics, the Guptas, what was Gigaba’s official response to Fireblade Aviation is drowned out by those baying for his political head on a platter. Is there an official response? Can we engage that or should this documented official response be thrown out with the proverbial bathwater? Do Gigaba’s wrongs in this regard automatically translates to a free ride for Fireblade Aviation and the Oppenheimer family?

Click here to view Gigaba’s documented response

By the way Mr Caretaker President, Ramaphosa, your empty directive to tell us not to call benefactors of an unjust, unequal and avaricious concocted synapsis of colonialism and its second coming apartheid as white monopoly capital rings hollow. Firstly, you cannot unilaterally outlaw our history and present realities that define the dominance of apartheid’s privileged identity who like a historical record monopolised capital with its hallowed identity as the epicentre, you appreciate that you see them as heroes, it’s a natural response for you, simply because you want your public life understood but your political and economic life, has been living with them since 1978. Every time to herd your imported Ankole cattle, your appreciation for white monopoly capital’s interest in your wealth is registered. Secondly, before Mandela was convinced by many lunches on 11 February, the day of his self-delated release from prison, said “There must be an end to white monopoly on political power and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed”, We know he later would sell out by attending many lunches at the Oppenheimer estate of Brenthurst which later shifted to the development bank. It was here whereby capital for the first time swallowed the ANC and a political elite was created. We also know that the entire negotiations were orchestrated by the mineral-energy complex led by the powerful Oppenheimer family.

Hence, we implore you not to attempt to abuse borrowed presidential powers in strait-jacketing our right to call white monopoly capital what it is, we know you, directed by Johan Rupert, believe the construct was birthed by his previous public relations company. You will direct our discourse with empty threats and rewrite history in claims of the heroism of colonial and apartheid benefactors. The South African masses in ballot definition is yet to extend you the mandate until then, you are a caretaker president that should perhaps more listen than direct.

Nobody is asking why are the Oppenheimer’s, however, defined in a family and interwoven business interest entitled to such a port at a National Security Point? From where do they derive this inalienable birth-right to be entitled a port of this nature?

The fundamental question remains, what was Malusi Gigaba’s official response to the request of the Fireblade Aviation Company? We have a record in writing which we will attempt to engage to make sense of the current one tracked discussion that defines our current reality.

Gigaba stands accused of having, as a last resort to come out guns blazing fingering the agents and powers of white monopoly capital as sitting behind this campaign to annihilate his political career. Others demand that he be reminded of his own words on President Zuma when he in personal political career-interest ventured to have a public opinion as he sought to endear himself to Ramaphosa. While some may argue this is rather convenient for Gigaba to invoke victimhood, beyond claims and counterclaims as well as verbal agreements we are compelled to engage his official response which is a public record.

The documented response of Gigaba is a logical, systematic and structured thought-through response that makes the case against the issuing of such right in a contextual and succinct manner. Gigaba in his official communique is categorically clear when he on the funding aspect flags a communicated concern, asserts, “Former Minister of Finance addressed a letter to myself and has expressed concerns about the funding for the facility. He indicated that after due consideration, he is of the opinion that the costs involved in proving such services for a single facility cannot be warranted, especially as there are adequate clearance facilities at the main airports terminal building”. [SIC]

Not only was the subject of adequacy with the current capacity at the main terminal raised and referred to as justified means to not grant the Fireblade Aviation request, but from a security angle, Denel in its correspondence to the Fireblade Aviation office, mentioned its concerns that vacillate on the security dimension reality that holds plausible risk factors associated with it. Gigaba recites an earlier Denel response which in its seventh paragraph delineates the following, ‘an international terminal operated at the Denel precinct brings with it a host of security risks, one has to look no further than the media coverage of drug trafficking, people smuggling, illicit smuggling of material such as currency, precious metals, hazardous material and weaponry”. Gigaba highlights the fact Fireblade Aviation’s response to Denel which is littered in verbosity of adjectives yet fails to make a counter-argument on responding to the cardinal challenges of security risk Denel flagged.

As cardinal departure point Gigaba references the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 which regulates the powers of the Minister to designate ports, (as defined in section 9A) of entry in South Africa. Gigaba then details the interpretation of Section 9A in its facets as it relates to entrance and exit of South Africa. He highlighted. “Importantly, a place of entry or exit is a place where all persons must report before they enter or depart the Republic. There is no provision in the legislation for a designating of a port of entry for us only by an exclusive category of persons.”

Gigaba went on to articulate that rationality for applying his mind and extending a place a designation of a port, “entails a requirement that such power must be used for a lawful purpose.” Meaning such power may not be used for a purpose which is not contemplated by the legislation. By the same token, the powers conferred in the legislation may not be used in arbitrary or capricious fashion or in order to achieve an ulterior goal.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Gigaba then proffers two impediments for a claim that his office naturally extends him a right that underscores any power to designate the proposed place of Fireblade Aviation’s intent as a port of entry under Section 9A of the Act.

As a first impediment, he raised the fact that the port as designated will not be for public usage meaning accessible for all people, but the Oppenheimer family, its commercial interests and people approved exclusively by those who propose its existence. This renders the request not as meeting the criteria spelt out in Section 9 A, that unequivocally and beyond ambiguity articulates, a place “where all persons must report before they enter, sojourn or remain within or depart from the Republic”. It is, therefore, crystal clear that the request does not meet the minimum requirements of the specified section given its exclusivity.

Gigaba went further to pontificate in a hypothesis that should he possess the authority to accede to the submitted request, it still had to be tested by the cardinal aspect of rationality. That rationality alludes to the already referred to Finance Minister letter that problematizes the subject of funding. Albeit that the case can be made that the principle of “customer pays” as advanced by the applicants, allocating the responsibility to pay for the facility to the applicant. He demonstrates it is doubtful if there is any legislative authority that would enable a private entity to pay the state in order for the state to discharge its statutory and public functions.

The second aspect that the Minister in this didactic assessment makes resonates on the subject of what constitutes procedural fairness. With this, Gigaba with due consideration of the necessity for a public participatory process, argues for a role of public consultation to aid such decision. He, therefore, raises the ramifications and possibilities of objections for such from the general public, other potential commercial firms who equally may want to provide similar or exact services even at perhaps more favourable terms and lesser rates than what Fireblade Aviation may offer. Meaning these possibilities would be made redundant by virtue of being denied the opportunity to participate since a decision for Fireblade Aviation unilaterally would disqualify their constitutional equal privileges since a public participatory process was not followed.

Let us then again hear Gigaba in verbatim, “But to enter into a private negotiation with a commercial firm in respect of decision as significant as the present seems to run counter to the norms of transparency and accountability that are contained in section 1 of the Constitution.”

Gigaba concludes with the following words, “For the reasons mentioned above, my view is as Minister, I would probably be acting unconstitutionally and in breach of section 9A of the immigration Act if were to accede to your request. In the light of the above, I regrettably wish to inform you that I do not accede to your request.”

Having had access to this official response as penned in October 2016, and cognizant of an absence of any other documented evidence that counters this official response or any other verbal claimed accession, we have nothing else to rely on as it constituting the official response of a sitting minister as far back as two years ago on the subject matter.

I ask again why is this official response not engaged, given traction or debunked by those who claim to have the evidence to the contrary? It then goes without saying that Gigaba purely on the basis of this, his official response must be concerned that another agenda is at play with various role players for their own reasons and interests sharing that agenda. It simply cannot be that Gigaba’s failures, however, conflated and magnified as automatically translating to an uncritical victory for a singular private family and their commercial interests to demand unconstitutional action by sitting ministers to serve their interests. The politics of deflection has reached unknown proportions in our discourse.

Were the Coloured boys of Bird Island made collateral damage to keep negotiations on track?

Did the silence of those on both sides of the political divide perpetuate the raping of the most vulnerable – namely our children?


Apartheid, the unending nightmare and ghost, continues to live among us, its callous wounds and scars ever so real penetrating our souls. Every day, victims of apartheid realise there are more than 365 rightful reasons why apartheid should be blamed for everything that has gone wrong in South Africa. When AfriForum’s Kallie Kriel argues apartheid was not bad, I want to vomit because such ignorance masked in arrogance and framed in propaganda revolts a common knowledge which no whitewashing will ever be able to obliterate.

This past weekend we learnt of a published book – The Lost Boys of Bird Island – co-authored by Mark Minnie, a former detective and Chris Steyn, an investigative journalist, that details a sordid affair of how apartheid’s most powerful minister Magnus Malan then in charge of its brutal Defence Ministry stands accused of having run a paedophile ring in which young essentially Coloured boys in the Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay Areas were lured into.

According to the Rapport, most of the boys caught up in this claimed paedophile ring were Coloured and in their early teen years. They were flown by army helicopters accompanied by Magnus Malan, John Wiley, Dave Allen among others to Bird-Island, in the Algoa Bay area, approximately 53 km east of Port Elizabeth. The boys were treated to barbecue (braaivleis) and liquor after which they were sexually violated and assaulted. One of the reports among others confirm that on one occasion, a pistol was shoved up in the rectum of a boy, and a shot was fired apparently by Magnus Malan. The profusely bleeding boy was flown by helicopter to be treated in the previously white section of a nearby hospital. The ward was guarded by men in suits against the curious ears and prying eyes.

The authors claim the name of another former minister of the PW Botha apartheid regime. He unlike Malan who died at 81 is still alive and his name is withheld for legal reasons.

These allegations follow shortly on the claims of Liza Smit, daughter of the murdered Robert Smit, in which she told a Kwela audience that her parents were killed by Lang Hendrik van den Bergh as instructed by Prime Minister John Vorster, the predecessor of PW Botha.

For many, the dastardly acts of the apartheid regime while known have remained protected, shielded from public engagement. Even when these claims in this season are levelled, there are those who rush to conclude that nothing will come of the case and they are quick to claim the law as defence for their claims. Some simply dismiss the book with counterclaims that the records for these events have been destroyed hence these are mere allegations

The claims that Minnie and Steyn make warrant engaging 

  1. Firstly, while we may not have all the facts, it’s clear there is trouble in Afrikaner establishment politics. We may speculate as to what triggered the publishing of the book in both Afrikaans and English versions as released by Tafelberg Publishers. The commissioning publisher is Maryna Lamprecht, a non-fiction publisher at Tafelberg / NB Publisher in Cape Town and commissioning editor of the Lost Boys of Bird Island. There is no question that immense resources, time and money have gone into this project and we do not know who paid for the research and all that goes with it.

On another score, Naspers with its Rapport and sister newspaper City Press allocated more than significant space to this story. While the story in some circles was known for an elongated period of time, it in this season has new meaning and verve that warrants questions as to why there is again this type of resources put into it.

Is it the undoing of an era of the blue-eyed boys club and Stellenbosch crew, the same who at some point in apartheid-ruled as a National Party faction dubbed the ‘verligte’ group who were in favour of the negotiations with the enemy forces (liberation struggle organisations led by the ANC)?

We know that Magnus Malan, in particular, had a very significant role to play to keep the SADF (South African Defence Force) in line when General Constand Viljoen and the generals close to him threatened mutiny and a possible coup to derail negotiations.  Are we to surmise that in all probability scores are being settled?  Does all this point to trouble in Afrikaner establishment paradise?  Is money a part of this, we do not know but one may easily conclude some deals went wrong somewhere and somebody is cheesed off.

  1. Secondly, the claims are categoric that the victims of the misdeeds of this depraved bunch of apartheid hypocrites were those who share an identity of coloured and in this instance young boys. Apartheid’s trojan horse ‘coloured’ identity configuration is again confirmed as the object of the apartheid scorn. It is important to understand what this means in the greater scheme of things. Apartheid for its own reasons targeted those it bestowed this identity and thought it right to demean, annihilate and abuse coloureds.

What remains noteworthy is that the victims of the crimes of apartheid as always and specifically in this instance were those who share an identity of ‘Coloured’. Some claim the ring of friendship of those mentioned from the late John Wiley, Magnus Malan, Dave Allen etc, those whom the Naspers papers cites extends to people that include National Party minister Piet Koornhof.  There are those who claim while for Koornhof the interest was not Coloured boys his interest focussed on poor, desperate young coloured women. Incidentally, Koornhof’s son Dr. Gerhard Koornhof serves as a member of parliament for the ANC and is in this season President Ramaphosa’s parliamentary councillor.

On another level is what Malan and his sick cohorts stand accused of dissimilar to what Van Riebeek stands accused of with Krotoa more than 360 years ago? Is there violation different to what Sarah Baartman was subjected to by the French academic Cuvier? We know that there was a concerted effort to diminish this group from the forced removals to every aspect of what apartheid’s false identity in superiority claimed over the group. The fact that it is cast as a paedophile crime does not exonerate it as a race crime.

Does the apartheid state’s history and the identifying of its ‘client’ in Act 30 of 1950 Section C that declared people who always existed ‘coloured’ detail a unique place in its focus of the said victims’ of abuse in this and many other instances?

  1. Thirdly, why were these claims kept under wraps for so long? Who was complicit to the secret of these incidents on both sides of the divide? Why is there a reluctance to engage the surviving ex-apartheid minister as to his knowledge, involvement and claimed role in this? Rapport alludes to the fact that the identity of the surviving minister is known but withheld for legal reasons.

The News 24 article penned is by no one less than seasoned journalist Pieter Du Toit. Some claim he in the proverbial sense is from inside the belly of the beast (Afrikaner/ Nasionale Pers/Stellenbosch establishment). In its version, it fails to mention the name outright but leaves enough for those who read between the lines and are willing to research to arrive at a name. They confirm it was one who was tipped to succeed PW Botha. It is common knowledge that De Klerk was not the one to have been favoured, but was brought in by Pik Botha, apartheid’s last foreign affairs Minister. If we use these deductions it becomes easy to identify who the alleged surviving minister is.

Sure, the deaths of former minister John Wiley and the wealthy Dave Allen as again relayed in the Naspers newspapers, could not have been incidental or coincidental that it did not attract the attention of the then-National Party ministers who served in the Botha and later De Klerk regimes. A good start is to ask all surviving former National Party ministers to explain what they heard, may have known and overheard at the time and why they saw no need to engage the claims? What did De Klerk and Pik Botha know, since they as very senior National Party and State leaders of apartheid and part of a particular NP faction can hardly claim to have known nothing?

Is there a common denominator in the Bird Island scandal, and the illicit moving of billions of South African currency out of SA at a particular juncture in time? Some say there is and that has an identity of a former NP minister.

  1. In the fourth instance, we must know what will it take to lodge a criminal case in this season against the said minister and those who were complicit? We know this type of crime has no proscribing e period and therefore remains valid and prosecutable even to this moment. The validity of the claims can and should be tested in a court of law since there is a surviving member immanent in a former minister who is still alive.

Certainly, there is a case to be made and for the said minister to answer. If the NPA shows an appetite to charge others on the media invented crime of state capture informed by books written by Jacques Pauw and others, this known former minister equally can be charged at the hand of the book, “Boys of Bird Island”.

On another score, known progressive journalists like Jaques Pauw and Max du Preez as the alternate media then, we must hear if they heard or know anything and did they publicise on any of this? After all, they are veteran progressive journalists. Did the late Alistair Sparks know anything and did he allude to it somewhere? Sparks stands a giant in public opinion space and a progressive individual, certainly, he would not have been quiet about this injustice.

  1. Our fifth challenge vacillates on the role or absence the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had in this grave injustice. Did the Boys of Bird Island paedophile ring not reach the then-TRC? Certainly, while this crime may stand alone for its uniqueness of crime, for its specific overwhelming claims of a targeted identity of coloured, it stands as part of the apartheid atrocities of torture. It is and remains an apartheid race-based crime and therefore someone needed to come clean on this. We must know if the TRC entertained any information, confessions or allegations on this subject matter? Did the dossier of Bird Island ever serve in the TRC as part of the crimes apartheids bosses self-confessed on?
  2. Lastly and perhaps the more disturbing challenge resonates in the fact that we are also learning that the African National Congress with its head office at the then Shell House in Plein Street Johannesburg, was apprised of the ‘Boys of Bird Island’ atrocities. It is claimed former MK operative the late Rocky Williams informed the ANC Shell House leadership of the crimes of the National Party ministers, a crime against those that apartheid subjugated by robbing them of a common humanity.

This was, however, a crucial period and a critical stage of the negotiations. We know Williams brought a dossier to the ANC Shell House. This epoch coincided with a time when Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma were replaced of their respective chief-negotiator and intelligence roles by the sophisticated manoeuvring of Cyril Ramaphosa as Gayton McKenzie’s book ‘Kill Zuma by any Means’ shares. While Mbeki was replaced with Ramaphosa as chief negotiator, Zuma was replaced by Mosioua Lekota as Head of Intelligence.

The then-ANC deputy-head of intelligence, under Lekota was the late Joe Nhlanhla whom we are told was sorely upset about the apparent decision to keep this dossier under wraps and complained bitterly that information that he had about apartheid National Party Ministers are “kept under covers” by ANC leaders as he is quoted Lekota and Ramaphosa, in order to keep negotiations on track. Those who sat in the NEC meeting confirm Nhlanhla levelled this allegation in the NEC. We are not sure who exactly Williams gave his Bird Island dossier to in the ANC Intelligence Department. It is surmised he in all probability handed it to Nhlanhla. Those that know claim that Nhlanhla and Williams shared a close working relationship.

If Nhlanhla’s claims against those who ‘kept the files under covers’ are remotely true, it may mean that there is a culpability to be levelled against the ANC leadership for failing the Coloured boys of Bird Island and their families, in denying them justice while engaging in negotiations. Did the boys of Bird Island become collateral damage to keep negotiations on track? Did the ANC betray the very ones that made up part of the black definition of which the ANC’s national question so eloquently defines?

If it is true that the ANC was made aware of this crime, the natural questions are what efforts did the ANC engage to give effect to some form of justice for the victims of these heinous crimes?

Why did the ANC not register this with the TRC as part of the atrocities committed by apartheid and its political leadership? Where is the record of this Williams briefing, who did Williams communicate with? Are those who have been briefed owing us as South Africans answers to the silence and lack of leadership to act? Why was no effort made to express an ANC position on this? Did the ANC also fail the victims of this crime for its silence which may translate to latent compliance?

Did Rocky Williams’ dossier delivered to the ANC leadership of Shell House ever make it to the TRC, if not, why, and who was responsible that the TRC was denied to engage this important case that cuts on many levels, a case that has the most vulnerable as victims? Was this an unholy alliance of the then ANC and the National Party in which the boys were and remain to this day sacrificed?

We may never know the full details of this case but what is undeniable is that apartheid in all its manifestations remains an ungodly heinous and inhumane system that entitled those of a false white superior identity to exact their power and authority over those they defined as other, in which other means less.

This entitled power was so corrosive, cancerous and dastardly that it delivered the depravity of the targeted Coloured boys of Bird-Island. So sick and repugnant was apartheid that its most powerful minister Malan went to his grave having sexually abused the very identity apartheid created in social constructionism.

On another scale, does it show the brokenness of deceit and the psychology of fear masquerading in claimed superior power when its signpost was the abuse of the most vulnerable, and on the back of that claim itself, powerful?

There must be something so fragile and weak in any power that preys on the most vulnerable. Let us not forget Malan and his crew did this and then left and held their blonde babies tight to their chests, and on Sundays bellowed in high false holiness songs of a God, while their acts denied the true essence of the God they espoused.

May the unrepented sins haunt him and his ilk into the unknown endless channels of death and may his living accomplice muster the courage to come clean and throw himself at the mercy of God and the people.

May those who knew of this and remained silent on both sides of the then political divide, in this season muster the courage of their conviction to apologise for their complicit roles in this crime a people and its children. Let us collectively watch this space because the noose it appears is getting tighter and something will give.

Buffoonery around land debate setting SA up for coalition government


The most important question in South Africa remains the land question. If we should have any national question it has to be the land question, for therein is locked up most of SA’s challenges, from identity to economics.


Unfortunately, what is unfolding before our eyes appears again the naked betrayal of the masses. The most important issue this society will ever have to contend with is made a buffoonery, joke, game and a manipulation of surveys in outcomes.  That which our children in the future will judge us harshly on, resolving the land question, is made a political game.

Firstly, let us accept the EFF, despite its unsustainable and often poorly thought through solutions for the land question, by default leads the public conversation on land. Herein is both a blessing and a curse. Perhaps the blessing is the EFF is aesthetically sincerer on the land debate than the ANC in this epoch ever will be. The curse is perhaps what Malema says may resonate and sound good in a rally, unfortunately, the land question does not take place in a vacuum but against the backdrop of a constitutional democracy.


Malema, who tabled the motion, is his usual self – useful loud on threats but empty on strategy and implementation. Saying we will take the land back naturally evokes great emotions, it allows the landless masses of South Africa to dream again, yet it is as old as the slogan Mayibuye iAfrika. In the end, this ultimately translates to pure rhetoric – it simply just doesn’t work like that if we going to accept the constitutional reality of South Africa


The land debate is made a joke because the ANC leadership under Ramaphosa consciously has reduced it to a clever political game of events, so-called processes of engagement that from the start is orchestrated to have the desired outcome not to tamper with the constitution. The constitution of South Africa is erroneously associated with the personality of Ramaphosa.


It is the conviction of the opposition that South Africa must be led by a coalition of parties. The ANC appears to have fallen for this conviction. You will recall that the motion on land back in March, as proposed by the EFF and slightly amended by the ANC, was passed with a 241-83. While this was a decisive adoption we must not forget that a significant number of 30+ on the ANC ticket either was absent or didn’t vote on the day.

Unfortunately, today it appears there are two ANC’s. There is the ANC that carries the ideals of the masses, mandated to deliver on what the masses agreed. Yet, there is also an ANC whose singular interest is to satisfy a promising investment community, a community in which they are all well vested.  Is it time to concede the ANC at this point in history is not interested in returning any land to the masses any time soon.

On the other hand, you have the majority of opposition parties led by the Democratic Alliance who are at pains to ensure white interest and its confirmed dominance of land ownership as a normalised constitutional defensible reality. They work today as custodians in defence of a constitution that is apparently under threat again. To this end, they will campaign and mobilise, even blackmail and accuse, to ensure an amendment of the constitution is not attained. We saw how COPE’s leader Mosioua Lekota was reduced to public crying in defence of white land ownership.


While this unfolds we have the Khoisan people in a multiplicity of expressions, who are yet to have their identities in a democratic state recognised as a 21st-century identity, in all sorts of tumults as they share their own confusing ideas of land as theirs exclusively.  When I as a Khoisan ask my kin, what land they are referring to they stumble in explanation. At the same time, you have traditional leadership structures however defined who are simply not ready to cease their cultural control and grip over land.  Then we have the Mr Gatvols who hardly represent the people with their racist and short-sighted comments filling the canvas of a land debate.

Perhaps the lack of clear and unequivocal consistent leadership on the most fundamental question in democracy, namely the land question, confirms another agenda. That agenda is to take SA to a coalition government in 2019 as an orchestrated plan.


Recently, the results of a Constitutional Review of Section 25 amendment comments were published.  We are told 229857 people submitted comments, therefore participated in this exercise. Of those who participated, 129549 apparently commented against the review while 100308 commented in favour of the review. We can’t but conclude that these may constitute the typical games being played that make the land question a buffoonery.

We also know that these processes are also a means to keep the radicals appeased in the ANC and to simultaneously neutralise the EFF and BLF on the issues of constitutional review and land.


If there were any true and genuine seriousness about the land question let us vote on this.  The most serious issue we may have to contend with – regaining control of land – is made a political game and used for wild threats while so-called census is manipulated to have the desired outcome.

It looks more and more real that come 2019, we will have a coalition government, not because the people desire that, but because the ANC leadership has been sold the lie that it cannot run the country as a party and that it needs opposition parties in equity of equality to be in power with them. This, unfortunately, is what President Ramaphosa seems to believe. Is it possible that a coalition government will assist its leader with a myriad of internal and internecine challenges facing the ANC, at least so it’s believed?

A coalition government will render whoever leads as answerable to South Africa and not the ANC. There are those who argue it was never Ramaphosa’s aim to be the ANC president, but to lead SA in a Mandela-style of government of national unity. Coalition politics will afford whomever to deal with the issue of deployment from cabinet to all levels. Coalition politics will, therefore, deal with the power of the ANC, its controversial resolutions and its cadre deployment challenges. So, when we get to coalition politics and a government of national unity Ramaphosa would be literally standing in Mandela’s proverbial shoes, a once too often expressed desire that has a tad too much significance for the incumbent. CR would be standing in Mandela’s shoes, exactly where he wants to be.

It is up to the masses to accept the political games of politicians because we were herded into coalition politics in the name of a land debate. The masses must either take their future into their own hands or continue allowing these political games that will never deliver land for the masses.

Clyde Ramalaine

Political Commentator and Writer

Obama and the things he is yet to speak on when celebrating Mandela


Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th USA president is in town to deliver the keynote address at the Madiba Centenary Celebrations.

This moment compels us to reflect on a very sombre time five years earlier marked as December 5th, 2013, when arguably one of the world’s noblest sons and perhaps the modern-day epitome of humanity exchanged mortality for immortality.

Back then the world stood aghast whilst readying to converge to attend the home-going of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. In record time a 10-day period of mourning to mark his death was announced and by the 5th day, I like many others found myself in Suite 71, earmarked for the accredited religious persons to attend the State Memorial at FNB stadium, South of Johannesburg.

This was an occasion graced by 91 former and present presidents, with an even larger contingent of 103 Governments who also came to pay due to honour to Mandela. The list of speakers a crossbreed of friends, foes, enemies, and celebrity politicians honoured to speak on this occasion says more of the mosaic of a Mandela.

It was on this occasion that Barack H. Obama acted as the first of eight renowned people afforded to speak, the same dovetailed with an epic fulfilment of who Mandela is with the ageing Raul Castro of Cuba paying homage to a friend.

Obama gave without any doubt perhaps the address of the day, in sterling gifted oratory skills and aptitude cloaking this rendition in personalizing his Mandela celebration.

There is no question that he had the crowd salivating for more, and for days after that, his speech was discussed argued deliberated on various platforms of social networks, print media, and television broadcasts.

In the aftermath, we were informed that a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher and freedom of information activist (FOIA) Ryan Shapiro, in the USA, was then heading to court to force the CIA to reveal or declassify documents admitting its role in the capturing of Mandela at Howick in 1962. Shapiro has repeatedly requested records mentioning Mandela from the archives of the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Defence Intelligence Agency and the FBI.

This and other issues necessitates upon us to ask in this season did Obama not miss an opportunity to set the record straight on perhaps critical issues. Notwithstanding the brilliance of his address, in the world’s accepted favoured accent.

I back then asked did Obama not miss the opportunity to set things right, I ask again will Obama today address some pertinent issues he hitherto has failed to engage.
Permit me to enumerate eights things I have been mulling over, which I thought Obama could and should have reflected upon. I equally hold the hope that today he might heed my call to respond to these matters in an unequivocal sense.

  1. Will Obama today admit the involvement of the CIA in Mandela’s capturing in Howick as a true historical fact. Will he, own up to the fact that the man he and 3 former USA presidents came to honour in December 2013 could potentially have been killed by the work and hand of a previous USA government.
  2. I thought Obama could have spared a thought to actualise the grave implications for this act particularly since then as the USA considers itself the bastion of democracy. He perhaps may have deliberated on the challenge and anomalies of democracy and its often-reaped fruit, which many times do not reflect the human values of a Mandela. This thinking resonates at another level to solicit acknowledgement that it was a democratically elected USA government that shared in stark contrast to the espoused democratic principles a symbiotic and cosy relationship with an Apartheid state heresy. An apartheid system that had as fundamental axis racism, breathing discrimination and came exemplified in segregation with a resultant effect of the debasement of an African dignity.
  1. Will Obama today concede or even allude to the fact that it was the USA multi-nationals and their narrow interest and corporates that fought against the cause for which Mandela became the “black pimpernel” in underwriting the discrimination of opportunity and resource for those of more melanin content. An unambiguous acknowledgement of this at this the demise of his hero, and even now the centenary celebrations could be pragmatic if not redeeming.
  2. Will Obama refer to the fact that Mandela like so many others until very recently still reflected as a ‘terrorist’ on the intelligence of USA radar? Perhaps an acknowledgement of how short-sighted the USA was in not recognising the man he came to celebrate and for which the globe only had personal and collective veneration was served a grave injustice in this fashion by none other than the USA. Will Obama in this season rectify his earlier missed opportunity and take collective responsibility for this injustice in pragmatism thus attempting to fix the past in establishing a future. After all, he was and remains Obama the 44th President of the USA.
  1. Will Obama spare a moment to reflect on the USA’s role in an Angola – Namibia (South West Africa back then). The late Fidel Castro Cuba’s former president before his death took us down an epic journey. This soul-cleansing of rear-view mirror opinion corroborated by facts and names mentioned in his article “Mandela is dead, don’t tell no lies about Apartheid” gives us a perspective less known. I had hoped Obama in his address back then and even in this season would nakedly engage the nature and actuality of the risks of those engagements at the time the error of such whilst arguing no different to a Martin Luther King Jr, on Vietnam ‘being a senseless war’. According to the records, the Apartheid South African regime was backed by the democratic USA in this instance. If anybody was capable of putting the record straight not in narrow defence of USA but in the balance of objectivity whilst owning up, this lanky son of a Kenyan father who brought his shooting – hoop to the White-House was the appropriate candidate. These are not facts too far removed from any USA president be it in historic precedent or experiential reflection.
  1. Will Obama on behalf of previous USA administrations apologise to the current ANC and its preceding leaderships for misunderstanding this organisation not as liberation organisation but as a ‘terrorist’ group? Jogging the memory of this 106-year-old movement in highs and lows with a definitive undeniable reality of being a non-racial organisation could have helped in this celebration of a movement Mandela swore allegiance to beyond his death.
  2. Obama’s speech should equally acknowledge the fact that the ANC in almost 25 years of democracy upholds and maintains respect for its egalitarian SA constitution, the same it firstly produced and jealously guards in having shown a maturity to share common space for all in line with the reconciliation mantra of Mandela. He easily could have acknowledged that in 2004, the ANC with a 2/3 majority could have reinterpreted and altered the constitution to legally reflect what some feared possible if the intentions of the ANC were considered ambivalent on democracy. It should be easy for Obama to acknowledge the maturity of this Movement in consistently engendering the fundamental principles of democracy.
  3. Maybe Obama should acknowledge that his ascendance to USA White-House of political power inadvertently and automatically generated expectations justifiably and sentimentally in hopes from fellow Africans on the desired change in USA diplomacy as that which respects the legacy of a Mandela and his ilk evident in a greater sensitivity for Africa.

It appears whenever Obama addresses Africans it is to lecture them from a veiled place of aloofness. The one key interview with SABC anchor-man in Washington Sherwin Bryce-Peace confirmed this assertion.

The ‘black’ 44th President of the USA identifies easily with the power to pronounce on the thematic narrative of corruption which is justified, yet I have long postulated as is recorded in other pieces I have written, “…Obama’ the African fathered-son wrestles to come home to walk in the barefoot embrace of Africa in admitting the concomitant wrongs and evils committed by the West…”

There must be something worth questioning when Obama as the 44th President of the USA can lecture Africans and yet as an African cannot identify with Africans in this that Africa remains abused by the toxic concoction of a Euro-USA self-interest.

This constitutes perhaps the aspects lending legitimacy on the claim of a definitive missed opportunity the 44th and First African President of the USA had when he came to bury the many he today came to celebrate.

In April of 2016 US District Judge Christopher Cooper said it was clear which records Shapiro would like to review. “Regardless of how onerous it might be to locate them, there can be no dispute about which items are being requested – records in the CIA’s possession that mention Nelson Mandela or his three listed aliases,” with this we heard that Shapiro was edging closer to have access to the CIA files. We remain vigilant to follow the outcome of this as one of the many things Barack Hussein Obama may want to include in his address when Rolihlahla Mandela is celebrated in this season.

Madiba’s centenary celebrations call for more than great oratory skills, it is calling for an admission of wrong on the part of the USA in defiance of the ethics of Mandela. Will Obama help history and let us hear these admissions for he remains the best person to engage these in a time when we have no hope that his successor may ever have such repented heart.

So, Barack speak, today, just don’t lecture if you not willing to own up.

Teta’, Barak if you can let your feet meet the dust of Africa’s perpetual abuse.

Bua’ Hussein if yours is not to read Africans the riot act, but in humility to acknowledge you too have missed golden opportunities to set the record straight.

Maybe we never will hear these admissions ever in history to come, for the best opportunity to engage these stands here in Gauteng today may the occasion not again register a missed opportunity.

Clyde Ramalaine

Political Commentator & Writer