Tag Archives: Zuma

South Africa – NUM endorses Ramaphosa and Mantashe to succeed Zuma

Mail and Guardian

Regional leader Mpho Phakedi wants Cyril Ramaphosa and Gwede Mantashe to become the next president and deputy president of the ANC and the country.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (AFP)

Mpho Phakedi, the provincial secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers’ largest region, PWV [Gauteng], might differ with deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s new e-toll dispensation, but he believes the former unionist-come businessman is the right man to lead the ANC and the country after President Jacob Zuma’s term in office ends.

The NUM regional leader also said he would support ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe to take over as Ramaphosa’s deputy when the party holds its elective conference in 2017.

Both Ramaphosa and Mantashe previously served NUM as general secretaries. The two ANC leaders delivered speeches at the NUM national congress at the weekend.

Phakedi’s PWV region played an instrumental role in the election of Free State provincial secretary David Sipunzias NUM’s new general secretary on Saturday – a move which is expected to shift the balance of forces within the labour federation Cosatu ahead of its special national congress this month.

Zuma’s successor
Some within the ANC prefer African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace Jacob Zuma as president. Those that have been mentioned for the position of deputy president include ANC policy head and minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe, ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize and Gauteng ANC chair Paul Mashatile.

Cosatu and its affiliates have in the past played a significant role in influencing the leadership direction in the ANC. The federation supported Zuma’s election during the ANC’s national congress in Polokwane in 2007.

Phakedi said while he differed with Ramaphosa on the issue of e-tolls, he regarded him as one of the greatest leaders the ANC has ever produced.

“He [Ramaphosa] is one of the most matured leaders within the ANC. His experience in business and the trade union movement comes as an advantage for him. It has been the tradition of the ANC that the deputy president takes over as president. Ramaphosa and Mantashe still have a huge support within the NUM. I don’t see anything wrong with Mantashe becoming deputy president,” said Phakedi.

Ramahosa became ANC deputy president in 2012 after then-deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe declined the nomination for the position and contested Zuma for the position of president instead.

Since being appointed as Zuma’s deputy after last year’s general elections in May, Ramaphosa has taken over some important roles in government. These include the responsibility to fix problematic parastatals like Eskom, the South African Post Office and South African Airways. He was also tasked to deal with the controversial e-tolling system, which has divided the ANC-led alliance.

Ramaphosa announced the new dispensation for the implementation of the e-toll system last month, which included reduced tariffs for motorists and discounts on outstanding e-toll bills.

Phakedi and other unionists want a total scrapping of the e-toll system.

Ramaphosa’s detractors are hoping his political career will be tarnished by the outcome of the Marikana report.

Lawyers for the wounded and arrested Marikana workers want Ramaphosa to face criminal charges for his role in the August 2012 Marikana shooting.

Zuma has promised to release the Marika report before the end of this month.

South Africa – Zuma shocks them until they’re numb

Mail and Guardian

No 1’s strategy: Shock them till they’re numb

The president appears impervious to the effect of his outrageous remarks and behaviour.


  In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah a key character, the Romeo in the story, is a cultured young man with a middle-class upbringing by the name of Obinze. He ends up as an expatriate toilet cleaner in London. One day at work, Obinze gets the shock of his life “to discover a mound of shit on the toilet lid, solid, tapering, centred, as though it had been carefully arranged and the exact spot had been measured”.
Stunned, Obinze stands before the perfectly misplaced contents of human bowels, wondering what kind of an English person would do such an unEnglish thing. In his outrage, Obinze takes off his toilet-cleaning gloves and quits.
We react differently to shocking acts, scandalous utterances, outrageous performances and chilling discoveries. South Africa has become a country with an uncanny penchant for the outrageous – a country alive with the possibility of excess and shock. It would be neither correct nor fair to attribute this national talent solely to President Jacob Zuma, but it must be said that he is a great asset in this regard.
The Zuma political strategy of choice is one of excess, outrageousness and shock. As Steve Biko once observed, the main strategy of the apartheid police towards blacks seemed to be “harass them, harass them”; the Zuma strategy appears to be “shock them till they’re numb”.

Some of the most outrageous things that have occurred in the land have a direct causal link to him and his person. Other shockers simply derive inspiration from him before forking off towards their own destructive destinations. Few leaders, political or corporate, have had half as many shocking things done or said by them, of them, for them or on their behalf. I will return to this theme later.
First, we must hasten to say that Zuma is not unique, either here in South Africa or elsewhere. That is not to suggest, as some lazy thinkers sometimes do – often with naked racist intent – that Zuma is bad because he is black and, “like the rest of them”, he can’t govern. I suggest that we render unto Zuma what is due to Zuma.
Yet even Zuma has stiff competition at home and abroad. He has, for example, nothing on Allister Sparks’s “smart” South African politician, Hendrik Verwoerd. Nor does he come close to John Vorster and PW Botha and their sheer ability to sow fear and mayhem. Internationally, Zuma also had considerable competition in the form of Sepp Blatter, who has gallantly, if also shamelessly, led Fifa from ignominy to ignominy for decades and will take until at least December to leave the stage.
Nor are those to whom Zuma has generously given this occasion to criticise the ANC correct to reduce that gallant movement of the people to Zuma or any single individual, Nelson Mandela included. That is, of course, not to gainsay that the movement is indeed in grave danger of losing its way and its place.
All this is meant to say that the Zuma flair for the outrageous and the excessive must be appreciated in context. Part of that context is a country that has not disappointed when it comes to its own share of excess and outrageousness, reaching a crescendo in the lead-up to and during the Zuma presidency. Who can forget that day in April 2008 when Mokotedi Mpshe, then the acting national director of public prosecutions, announced the dropping of all charges against Zuma – and unleashed the Zunami upon us?
In August 2012, from the comfort of our homes, we watched the first post-apartheid massacre, in Marikana, unfold before our eyes.
The nation was shocked when its born-frees found a cause, and succeeded in getting the University of Cape Town’s statue of Cecil John Rhodes removed. Even more shocking to the nation was the realisation that (the) Rhodes (statue) had been sitting in that prime position, pretending to be thinking, with a smirk on his face, for the past 21 years.
  Zuma’s outrageous list of faux pas, in word and in deed, are legendary. In a seemingly rushed and poorly contextualised book, Clever Blacks, Jesus and Nkandla: the Real Jacob Zuma in His Own Words, Gareth van Onselen tried to compile a compendium of the choicest Zuma bloopers. But Zuma is so prolific in the production of slip-ups and gaffes that even this book, published in 2014, is already outdated.
  Similarly, Max du Preez and Mandy Rossouw’s The World According to Julius Malema has been overtaken by time and Malema’s ability to manufacture one-liners and hyperbole. Both books make great South African toilet-reading material.
The highest or lowest point – depending on one’s vantage point – in the evolution and execution of the Zuma strategy came on May??28, when Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko released his Nkandla report on the so-called security upgrade, at a cost of R246-million to the South African taxpayer, of Zuma’s private homestead. Surely, this will go down as the most outrageous report delivered by government since the end of the apartheid era. With Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi by his side, making lively, agreeable faces while moving his reading glasses comically on and off, Nhleko stoically read his report like a loyal and disciplined cadre of Jacob Zuma.
The report was designed to finalise a long-established security cluster and ANC strategy to relativise and ultimately discredit the report of the public protector on Nkandla, particularly its recommendation that Zuma should pay back a portion of the money used for the nonsecurity aspects of the upgrades to his private homestead.
To back up his findings, Nhleko showed a hilarious amateur video about how Zuma’s “fire pool” works. He also had a video-recorded interview with a cultural expert who “unpacked” the complex notion of a modern Zulu homestead. He quoted the “authoritative” Wikipedia to shed light on the imperial Roman origins of the Nkandla amphitheatre.
Unsurprisingly, Nhleko found that the Nkandla swimming pool, chicken run, cattle culvert, the amphitheatre and the double-storey house called a visitors’ centre are not what they seem to be. They are essential and strategic security features in the great national task of providing protection to Number One.
  Not only did Nhleko come close to blaming the media and the public protector for “the magnitude and intensity of scrutiny that … Nkandla … has been subjected to”, he also added a bullish parting shot: “The outstanding security-related work at Nkandla should be funded and completed expeditiously,” he said. Thixo wase Nkandla! (God of Nkandla)
I take my hat off to those who have tried to verbalise and articulate their dissent, shock or outrage over Nhleko’s report. But I also notice how many of them seem to fail dismally at matching the Zuma/Nhleko levels of outrageousness without sounding worse than they do, or insane, or both.
  The genius of the Zuma shock strategy is to get his detractors to foam at the mouth and choke in anger or disgust before they can finish a speech. It is precisely in the frequency of their reference to Nkandla (or any other Zuma scandal) that they begin to sound monotonous, hapless, inarticulate, ridiculous, uncreative, hateful and too obsessed (with Zuma). Take, for example, Adriaan Basson’s book titled Zuma Exposed. What can anyone do or say to expose Zuma that Zuma and his lieutenants have not done already?
Nkandla cannot be out-scandalled. No words of outrage will express the scandal in terms worse than those already captured by Nkandla itself. When his detractors are worked into a frenzy, as they stampede to insult Zuma, the Zuma strategy of shock and awe is working beautifully.
It is often at this stage of the combat that Zuma turns on the heat and deploys some sarcasm, deriding his opponents for having finally succeeded in learning the pronunciation of one African word. In Parliament he mimicked political novice Mmusi Maimane’s speech about a broken president. He laughed at the Economic Freedom Fighters’ filibustering tactics.
And, as the jaws of his detractors and supporters drop in synchronised shock, Zuma belts out his famous belly laugh.
“How can he laugh like that at a moment like this?” we ask one another. Let me give you five reasons why Zuma laughs. One: He laughs because he can. Yes, he can! Two: He laughs because derision and sarcasm are an essential security feature – Nhleko missed this one – of his tried and tested political strategy. Three: He laughs because he is arguably the most powerful ANC president since democracy began. Four: He laughs because the joke is not on him. Five: He laughs because he is having fun – at our expense.
Tinyiko Maluleke is a professor at the University of Pretoria. The views expressed here are his own

South Africa – opposition urge ANC to avoid “looking like fools protecting the president” over Nkandla

Mail and Guardian

Opposition parties urge the ANC to “do the right thing” by agreeing to the amendment and to avoid “looking like fools protecting the president”.

The DA has proposed an amendment to include Thuli Madonsel's report on Nkandla to the Nkandla ad hoc committee. (Gallo)


What was meant to be a simple motion for the formation of the Nkandla ad hoc committee on Tuesday turned into more than an hour of heckling, declarations, divisions and voting as opposition parties fought for public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report to be included in the terms of reference for the committee.

This after the Democratic Alliance proposed an amendment to the ruling party’s motion, which called for the establishment of the ad hoc committee to consider police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report on Nkandla, which found that the president did not have to pay back a cent for the security upgrades to his KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

The DA’s proposed amendment to the motion was to include the report by the public protector entitled “Secure in Comfort” in the terms of reference of the Nkandla ad hoc committee.

The amendment also stipulated that the committee call President Jacob Zuma, Madonsela and the police minister to appear before the committee.

With the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and the African Christian Democratic Party calling for the ANC to agree to the amendment, and DA MPs shouting that Nhleko’s report was a shameful whitewash, the parties lost the battle after declaring their reasons why they felt the police minister’s report should not be the only one covered.

FF+’s Corné Mulder said the motion was unacceptable as it stood.

“I’m just saying to the ruling party, ‘think’. Because in the end you will all look like fools protecting the president instead of doing what is the right thing to do.”

The motion for the establishment of the Nkandla ad hoc committee was passed after opposition parties lost the bid to include the public protector’s report by 88 votes, and the original motion was carried with 103 members voting against and 192 voting for it.

Last year, opposition parties walked out of another Nkandla ad hoc committee after they said their views were not considered. That committee later cleared the president of any wrongdoing.

The new ad hoc committee will comprise of 14 voting members, eight from the ANC, three from the DA, one EFF member and two members from other parties.

It will also have 16 non-voting members, of which five will be from the ANC, two from the DA, one EFF and with eight designated by the rest of the other parties.


The Economic Freedom Fighters took their SARS case victory dance to the legislature podium during Parliament’s budget vote on Tuesday, while official opposition Democratic Alliance used the time to get their own back at President Jacob Zuma for his “Nkaaandla” mocking comments last week.

Calling the EFF leader the future president of the country, party chief whip Floyd Shivambu said Sars had wanted to use the insolvency act, to sequestrate him and make sure he is taken off Parliament.

“And the court excellently demonstrated to them that there is not necessity to use the insolvency act, because once you use it, and sequestrate a member of Parliament, a credible leader, and future president of this country, they are going to make him incapable of occupying office.

“They wanted to make sure the commander in chief of the EFF is no longer a member of Parliament. They wanted to prevent him from coming here to Parliament to speak on behalf of the workers.

“They wanted to prevent him from coming here to hold the executive accountable. To say to the president of the ANC that he must pay back the money. They wanted to prevent him from saying the obvious, that the ANC government killed and massacred workers in Marikana.”

Condemning the president’s mockery of opposition parties during last week’s presidency budget vote, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said barely a week ago, the President stood at this very podium sneering, “Nkaaaandla, Nkaaaandla, Nkaaaandla”.

“While this did however make a change from his usual refrain of ‘angazi’ ‘angazi’ ‘angazi’ it did nothing but undermine his credibility and authority. The president criticised Members of this Parliament for not being able to pronounce certain words correctly, well here’s some President Zuma struggles to even say, let alone pronounce: Accountability, Transparency, Responsibility, Ethics, I am guilty, Here’s is the money I am paying back to the South African people.”

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani, constantly referring to former President Nelson Mandela in his address, said the ruling party has been consistent in prioritising the vulnerable in the society.

With the Democratic Alliance MPs getting louder through his speech as he made examples of opposition parties going to the court to reverse decision made in the House, Sizani said their idea of being in opposition was exhibiting anti- government behaviour, which was not a problem, but how it choose to do this though, was a problem.

“The reliance on the courts to contest critical issues in this Legislature is undoubtedly as a result of a lack of or absence of the ideological need to engage with content and substance. But if one has to question why would opposition parties seek refuge at the courts instead of engaging and providing convincing arguments, one could say it is because they suffer from a poverty of ideas, if you will.

“In many established democracies, mechanisms exist to allow for interaction between the respective arms of government to avoid judicial encroachment in the internal arrangements of Parliament. Should the trend of scrutiny of internal processes of Parliament by the Judiciary continue, it could in future present a serious constitutional crisis.”

He lost his cool when DA MPs kept heckling through his speech, calling on them to engage politically and to respect the person they are differing with.

Speaker Baleka Mbete said this Parliament was an embodiment of what is possible when a nation decides to unite and choose a future of hope and progress.

“Our vision for the 5th Parliament is that of “An activist and responsive people’s Parliament that improves the quality of life of our people and ensures enduring equality in our society”.

In providing orientation for our work in the 5th Parliament and along the development path of the NDP, we have been influenced, amongst others, by the injunctions of the Constitution, the quest for Parliament to serve the people by supporting the Members and the desire to fulfil the needs of our people.”

Chairperson Cedric Flolick said the budget for the catering for committees needed to be reduced as it had become excessive, and more committee rooms were needed as the cost of conducting meetings outside was too high.

The Freedom Front Plus’ Corné Mulder said Parliament, which he said did not belong to the ANC, had failed the test of accountability.

South Africa – Zuma pool makes fool of police minister


David Lewis‚ head of the country’s leading non-governmental anti-graft agency‚ Corruption Watch‚ has criticised Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report exonerating President Jacob Zuma of having to pay anything for the upgrades to his Nkandla home.

Nhleko yesterday concluded that upgrades to the home including a swimming pool‚ chicken run‚ cattle kraal and amphitheatre were all vital “security features” that the government should pay for.

Lewis said: “We are dismayed‚ but not surprised by the report and its conclusions. The report was commissioned by the president‚ the very person implicated in the scandal‚ from someone who owes his position to the self-same president. The report has no credibility and it will not bring closure to this whole sordid episode.”

He said that Nhleko’s report “cannot stand against the report prepared by the public protector” which was a “constitutionally empowered body led by a person of unimpeachable integrity and independence”.

“We have the spectre of another key minister having to protect his president by making a public laughing stock of himself by attaching his name and his high office to palpably ridiculous conclusions‚” Lewis said. “We have what is effectively an attempt to discredit the Office of the Public Protector. And no doubt we will soon witness another humiliating spectacle when this doctored report is placed before a parliamentary committee.”

Corruption Watch said in a statement that Nhleko’s report “highlights the current trend that allows‚ if not encourages‚ our leaders to act with impunity“.

“It further demonstrates a continual failure to hold our leaders accountable‚ most often at the expense of taxpayers‚ in spite of recommendations from institutions established to safeguard the very rights and interests of the general public.”



South Africa – could Maimane as DA leader have a role in forcing Zuma out?

Mail and Guardian

As crazy as it sounds, the likely new DA leader could be central to dispatching the president.

The Zuma-Zille years are drawing to a close. Both Jacob Zuma and Helen Zille won power and took over the leadership of their respective parties in 2007. At least one of them will go in 2015.

There is almost a critical mass of people on both the left and right of the ANC who are now willing to acknowledge that any use that Zuma had to them, their party and the country is outweighed by the damage he has done and the recognition that he is unable to provide the leadership needed.

The main opposition party has reached the same conclusion, albeit for different reasons, in respect of their leader. A critical mass of the Democratic Alliance’s senior figures recently also decided that, on balance, Zille has outlived her usefulness and that it is time for a change. A new leader will be elected at the DA’s national conference in May, and it will almost certainly be Mmusi Maimane.

These two political leaders will leave very different legacies. Zille can be proud of hers. As the awful cliché has it, she took the party “to the next level”. Under her leadership, the DA doubled its share of the vote and began not only to make progress in winning the support of black voters but also in diversifying the leadership of the organisation.

Neither could possibly have happened under the leadership of her predecessor, Tony Leon. He had bumped his head on one glass ceiling. Zille has located the next one.

Although no one should doubt her head-butting abilities, she has been compelled to accept that it is in no one’s interest that she should do so for very long, lest the party’s progress be stalled and the momentum gained in recent years lost.

The inescapable logic is that the DA needs a black leader if it is to maintain that momentum. Maimane is young at 34, but clearly has courage, as he showed during his remarkably powerful speech in the State of the Nation debate in February, when he looked the elder man in the eye and told Zuma he was a “broken” leader. Culturally, it was a brave speech; politically, it was brilliant.

To lead the DA will require a certain brilliance because it is a significantly more complex party, ideologically and organisationally, than it was eight years ago. His challenge will be different to Zille’s. She had to break the mould of the “boys’ club” that ran the DA under Leon. Maimane will need to continue to diversify the leadership and ensure it is tightly led and organised. It will be a delicate balance to strike.

As with any political leader, the most important quality that will be tested will be his political judgment. And one of the biggest, and earliest, tests will be whether to contribute to the hastening of Zuma’s departure from the scene.

How so? The DA judicial review case that challenges the lawfulness of the March 2009 decision to drop serious corruption charges against Zuma is to be heard by the high court in the coming months. After years of legal filibustering, Zuma is likely to finally get his day in court.

  Clearly, part of his legal spin now, as reported by this newspaper a week ago, is to argue that not only was he the victim of the Mbeki establishment’s abuse of the prosecutorial process but also that previous attempts had been made to offer Zuma financial inducements to usher him quietly from the political stage – to the tune of R20-million, it is alleged by Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, in an answering affidavit in the current DA case.

Those within the ANC who wish to reach “a political solution” again would regard that as a small price to pay for seeing the back of Zuma. Indeed, he himself would very probably happily accede to a carefully choreographed departure from power and to put his feet up at Nkandla, were it not for the prospect of the corruption charges being reinstated.

As he and his lawyers well know, this is the downside of the strong rule of law. It is all but impossible, as the DA case shows, to do a political deal that cannot be challenged. The court has affirmed as much in the Richard Mdluli case, which is very much a trial run, in legal terms, of the Zuma case. It also concerned the reviewability of decisions not to prosecute.

The Supreme Court of Appeal rather muddied the water, in contrast to the lucidity of the judgment of Justice John Murphy in the high court at first instance, but the core point remained intact: the original decision not to prosecute Mdluli was bad in law and the National Prosecuting Authority is required to reconsider which charges to reinstate against the politically well-connected former head of police intelligence.

Zuma’s own matter could have a similar outcome, so it’s not hard to see why he has been so eager to ensure that the person whose duty it will be to make the final decision on the reinstatement of charges, namely the national director of public prosecutions, should be someone over whom he has substantial sway.

True, there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip, but it’s no harder to see how the decision to drop the charges against Zuma can stand up to the legal test of rationality.

The decision was made, it was privately acknowledged at the time, not on the basis of a measured consideration of the evidence against him but on the expedient political basis that not only had Zuma been the subject of the Mbeki leadership’s attempts to keep him out of power, he was also on the cusp of becoming president in the April 2009 election, having defeated Mbeki at the ANC’s Polokwane conference in December 2007.

If the court decides the dropping of the charges was irrational, then, regardless of the inevitable appeal Zuma’s legal team will institute, it may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and Zuma may be forced to resign by his own party.

Or, more likely, he will resist such a move tooth and nail and further political turbulence will ensue, causing more damage to institutions and government.

And so we find our way back to Maimane, because an alternative scenario is this: that he, perhaps under pressure from some of his party’s most generous and influential corporate patrons, decides that the greatest act of leadership that he could give the nation early in his term as opposition leader would be to pave the way for Zuma to be quietly convinced to go. That would require delicate navigation and negotiation between Maimane and significant figures in the ANC’s leadership. Maimane would offer to withdraw the judicial review case in the public interest, in return for a cast-iron promise that Zuma would go.

A person or party other than the DA could relaunch the review proceedings but they would be starting from scratch, so it would take years and they would have to have the resources and patience for a task that would look increasingly moot and irrelevant.

South Africa tends to move on quickly. Zuma would be rapidly forgotten. Nkandla and the original corruption matters would, rightly or wrongly, be consigned to the file marked “unfinished business that should, in the broader interests of South Africa, remain so”.

In this way, as Zille departs the stage so Zuma’s own future may lie, at least partially, in the hands not only of his own party but also in those of the young man who faces him across the aisle of the National Assembly.

Many would thank Maimane if he took this approach. It might just be a stroke of brilliant political genius. Certainly, the mood in the investment world and in the C-suites of corporate South Africa would lift, just as progressively minded democrats would celebrate the end of the toxic Zuma years.

And it would provide a powerfully distinctive start to Maimane’s time as leader of the opposition – and potentially mark him out as a nation-builder of note.

Richard Calland is the director of the democratic governance rights unit at the University of Cape Town

South Africa – M&G’s rogues gallery of 2014

Mail and Guardian

After a strict selection process, amaBhungane reveals the rogues of 2014.


Gayton McKenzie and Gold Fields

It helps to have friends in high places – ask ex-con Gayton McKenzie’s pals and relatives, some of whom became millionaires overnight.

McKenzie cut in his cronies to the tune of more than R330-million in the R2-billion Gold Fields empowerment deal. ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete also pocketed shares worth a cool R28-million.

McKenzie was brought into the deal along with President Jacob Zuma’s one-time lawyer, Jerome Brauns, to help the mining house to secure new-order mining rights from the government. McKenzie didn’t answer questions and Gold Fields refused to comment.


Free State agriculture department and Estina

One of South Africa’s biggest unsolved mysteries is the Vrede dairy project in the Free State.

The provincial agriculture department has yet to answer numerous amaBhungane queries or explain to taxpayers how Estina, a company with no agricultural experience, led by a sales manager, was handed a R570-million dairy project without following due process.

The company’s only qualification was its allegedly close proximity to the Gupta family. Questions regarding the project’s benefits have been ignored.

After amaBhungane exposés last year, the national treasury conducted its own investigation and found that the deal flouted treasury rules and was undertaken without budget, a feasibility study or subsequent monitoring.

The company came under fire from the national department of water affairs and Vrede residents after it was revealed that 30 dead cows had been dumped in a ditch close to a river that supplies the town with drinking water.


Goldrich Holdings and the South African Police Service

The Blyvooruitzicht gold mine has been described as a war zone where dozens of beatings and murders have been reported since the bankrupt mine was taken over by Goldrich Holdings. An amaBhungane investigation suggested that 40 people, mostly illegal miners, have been killed.

Goldrich is managed by Fazel Bhana and Thulani Ngubane, who were among those embroiled in the 2010 Aurora mining debacle.

Allegations of violence at the hands of the Goldrich security guards, especially against zama zamas (illegal miners), were rife and a leaked video, showing the beating of two alleged cable thieves, highlighted the brutality of security personnel. The men were later found dead in a nearby dam. Police officers told amaBhungane the police were overwhelmed by the violence and sometimes failed to respond to it.


Swazi Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi

Swaziland’s bigwigs think they should be immune from criticism. Several journalists, human rights activists and opposition party members have been jailed for opposing the monarchy of King Mswati III and his placemen – and the courts seem to do little to protect their freedom of expression.

Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi brought contempt of court charges against prominent editor Bheki Makhubu for daring to find fault with him in the Nation magazine. After Makhubu had spent 20 days in custody, Ramodibedi personally opposed his release on bail.

For speaking his mind, Makhubu was sentenced to two years in prison or a R200 000 fine.

Ramodibedi, meanwhile, has been suspended as a judge in his home country of Lesotho.


Jacob Zuma and Khulubuse Zuma

For someone who claims that people often drop his name to get ahead, the president had no problems in helping his nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, to clinch a $2-million deal for his controversial mining company, Aurora Empowerment Systems, at a time when Aurora was desperate for a cash injection.

AmaBhungane revealed that Jacob Zuma met potential Aurora investor Global Emerging Markets (GEM) during the Fifa World Cup in 2010 – despite the glaring conflict of interest.

GEM has taken court action to recover the $2-million, which allegedly disappeared.


The Public Investment Corporation and Kase Lawal

Texas oilman Kase Lawal’s cosying up to the ANC and Zuma apparently paid off when he was handed billions of rands of South Africa’s civil servants’ pension savings.

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) had given repeated assurances that it would hold off until the Texan’s cash-strapped company tapped into significant new oil fields in Nigeria to prove its viability.

In total the PIC has invested around R3-billion in Lawal’s company, Camac Energy.

Lawal has pledged millions to the Jacob Zuma Education Trust, as well as helping him to land an honorary doctorate from Texas Southern University in the United States.


Thandi Modise

National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise bought a R4.9-million farm in 2011 and never looked back – literally – as she apparently had no clue about what was happening there.

After her allegedly unpaid workers absconded, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found dozens of animals had starved to death while others had resorted to cannibalism.

AmaBhungane revealed that the farm had been left under the management of Modise’s former boyfriend and an ANC councillor in Ekurhuleni, Abdul Mogale.



After four years of dilly-dallying, Eskom finally awarded a hotly contested R2.6-billion tender for critical nuclear maintenance at the Koeberg power station to the French multinational, Areva.

This was despite American-owned Westinghouse being recommended for the bulk of the work in both 2011 and 2013.

The U-turn raised eyebrows about possible political interference, and Westinghouse demanded access to documents relating to the contract.

After releasing them in dribs and drabs, Eskom finally handed over most of the records under threat of a contempt of court case and the potential jailing of two of its senior officials.


Namibia’s ruling party, Swapo

Swapo is the gift that keeps giving – especially to individuals close to it.

What was meant to be an empowerment scheme aimed at supplying rough diamonds to beef up the local industry appears overwhelmingly to serve the interests of individuals close to state power.

An amaBhungane investigation found that politicians, their children and businesspeople affiliated with Swapo dominate the list of handpicked recipients, known as “sight-holders”, who have benefited from more than R12-billion in diamonds over the past six years.

Beneficiaries include relatives of former president Sam Nujoma and Belgian-American diamond magnate Maurice Tempelsman.


The Bhanas

Horse-racing enthusiast Solly Bhana and his diminutive son Fazel, along with several of their relatives and associates, have spent another year dodging responsibility for the wrecking of two Thandi Modise .

This is despite their allegedly crucial role in running both operations, which came under the control of failed mining investment company Aurora Empowerment Systems.

The already distressed assets were all but destroyed, and Aurora’s inability to raise investment caused severe suffering to thousands of unpaid workers.

The Bhanas apparently received millions of rands from Aurora’s bank accounts when the company was technically broke.

They continue to try and stave off legal claims by the Pamodzi

liquidators. At the same time, it has emerged that the father-son team has been embroiled in other dubious deals, including, it is alleged, in Dubai.


Dudu Myeni

Despite bitter complaints that she is an “absentee” board chairperson at South African Airways (SAA), Dudu Myeni is still standing while her board critics have been given the bullet. Why is she apparently untouchable? Could it have anything to do with her up-close-and-personal relationship with Zuma? Myeni defied Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, who stated publicly that she had instructed Myeni to reverse the suspension of Monwabisi Kalawe, the SAA chief executive.

AmaBhungane revealed that Myeni and her child were absorbed into Zuma’s extended family many years ago. Scorpions records also showed that she received recurrent cheques from Number One.

She is the executive chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation.



This is the story that just keeps on giving, perhaps until Zuma “pays back the money”. While the state insists the upgrade was to provide top-of-the-range security to the First Citizen, amaBhungane obtained 12 000 pages of evidence showing it was about more than providing bullet-proof windows, electric fences and state-of-the-art surveillance.

After a drawn-out application using the Promotion of Access to Information Act and an ongoing court battle, the pages released to amaBhungane by the department of public works revealed a swimming pool, visitors’ centre, cattle kraal, marquee area and other non-security goodies at his simple rural homestead.

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Christmas South African style by Madam and Eve

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