Tag Archives: ANC and state capture

South Africa – ANC chief whip Methembu battles factions and Zuma critics

City Press/News24

Jackson battles rogue MPs

2017-06-18 06:01

CHALLENGED ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu

CHALLENGED ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu

 

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu had his hands full this week dealing with absent ANC MPs in the National Assembly as well as defiant MPs who challenged his authority to hold them accountable.

The fractures are indicative of deepening divisions in the ANC parliamentary caucus amid broader factions becoming more apparent in the party in the run-up to the national elective conference in December.

The tensions played out in this week’s caucus meeting where a group of MPs who had requested that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane include National Treasury, the SA Reserve Bank and the Financial Intelligence Centre in her state capture investigation defended their decision to approach the Public Protector without informing their bosses.

According to three sources who attended Thursday’s heated caucus meeting, Mthembu spoke out against the MPs who made the request, saying this was a sign of ill-discipline. He allegedly asked them to explain their actions to the caucus.

The MPs, led by Loyiso Mpumlwana, stood their ground and said they had not violated ANC policy by going to the Public Protector.

They accused Mthembu of being guilty of the same for allegedly expressing his views as if they were the views of the caucus he leads.

According to two of the sources, Mpumlwana charged:

“Wena [You] Jackson, when you go out and say ‘it’s the tradition of the ANC for the deputy president to become the president’, who are you representing … which caucus took that position?”

Mthembu’s backers allegedly claimed that by presenting a view that was not sanctioned by the caucus, the other group was intentionally undermining the chief whip and trying to portray him as someone who was not able to manage the caucus.

They view the request for the Public Protector to investigate Treasury as a deflection in an attempt to minimise the impact of the Guptas’ alleged role in state capture.

According to sources, Mpumlwana explained that they were forced to approach the Public Protector following complaints from their constituencies.

He allegedly argued that MPs represent constituencies and therefore could not ignore issues that were raised at that level.

Mpumlwana expressed the same sentiments to City Press two weeks ago when he said: “MPs have a duty to respond to the issues of their constituencies. We can’t take everything to the caucus.”

Then, Mpumlwana had claimed that more than 90 MPs were signatories to the letter requesting the Public Protector to expand her state capture investigation and added that the list was growing every day.

Tensions

Mthembu had, in a statement issued on June 1, distanced the ANC caucus from the group’s actions, saying the MPs acted in their individual capacities and not as representatives of the ANC parliamentary caucus and that whatever they submitted to the Public Protector was their own view.

He later indicated to City Press that the MPs would have to explain themselves to the party caucus and that the caucus would take a decision on the way forward.

But all three sources claimed that there was a stalemate and no way forward had been proposed or agreed to.

Mthembu refused to comment on the latest developments around the matter. He said caucus issues were not to be spoken of in the public domain.

“I will not deny nor confirm the issues that we discuss in caucus,” he said.

Mpumlwana was not available for comment. Several phone calls and an SMS went unanswered on Saturday.

At the same caucus meeting, Mthembu is said to have announced plans to discipline MPs whose absence from the National Assembly had led to its failure to pass certain laws.

In recent weeks, and following walkouts by opposition parties, Parliament has had to postpone the passing of proposed laws due to the lack of a quorum.

The Border Management Authority Bill, for instance, was only passed during a third attempt earlier this month as on two prior occasions there were not enough MPs in the House to meet the required 50% plus one quorum to pass a law.

Hours after Thursday’s meeting, Mthembu asked the National Assembly to postpone the approval of the Protected Disclosures Amendment Bill because there were not enough MPs to pass the law.

He told City Press this was because a number of ministers had gone to Knysna with President Jacob Zuma following the devastating fires there last week.

Mthembu lashed out at opposition parties for their staged walkouts and said these were absurd and unpatriotic.

“They must tell us if Parliament’s majority is now centred around the 249 ANC MPs. They must say so, so that we change everything to centre around the ANC.

“If you are saying you won’t assist the ANC in passing its laws, say so and then tell us what example are we setting for provinces and hung municipalities where they are in charge,” he said.

A long-serving ANC MP compared the tensions in the party’s caucus to those of 2006 when then chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe claimed the caucus was fully behind Thabo Mbeki when the former president came under attack from the SA Communist Party and trade union federation Cosatu for his alleged “imperial” presidency.

Goniwe was attacked by MPs who agreed with the ANC’s tripartite alliance partners.

The MP, who sympathises with Mthembu, said even if the other grouping was pursuing a matter raised by their constituencies, they should have gone through the chief whip.

“What they did affects everybody in caucus.”

Mthembu is regarded as a sympathiser of ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and has faced hostility from Zuma’s supporters.

South Africa – Winnie attacks Zuma over state capture; Zuma delaying tactics

Huffington Post (SA)

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Warned The ANC About State Captur.

The struggle icon says her ANC is not recognisable in the current leadership of the ruling party, which is “haemorrhaging” and “in trouble”.

07/06/2017 10:28 SAST | Updated 2 hours ago

Former anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela says she doesn’t recognise the African National Congress (ANC) anymore.

In an exclusive interview with HuffPost SA, Madikizela-Mandela said that corruption in the ruling party is not part of the ANC she fought for during the the anti-apartheid struggle.

“The ANC of our forebears has disappeared,” she said. “Every day you open a newspaper, there are stories about this corruption, capture of the state, the ANC is also captured … This is the news we read today about my ANC.”

Madikizela-Mandela (80) says the ANC has “serious problems”.

“Not even a fool can pretend that we don’t have problems,” she said. “We have very, very serious problems. The ANC is haemorrhaging. We are in trouble.”

Madikizela-Mandela said she took the current corruption allegations against the party personally. “Hopefully, after bleeding and haemorrhaging as it does, somewhere we are going to find an antidote,” she said. “We’ll bring it back to its former glory.”

Madikizela-Mandela said she told the party’s leadership at the Codesa negotiating table in the 1990s that things were going awry, adding that these problems were to be expected. “There are human beings who are doing [this] to the ANC,” she said. “This is what happens to revolutionary movements … and I warned about that 23 years ago.”

Perhaps emboldened in a new documentary on her life that is more sympathetic to her character than previous stories about her choices, Madikizela-Mandela said she imagined an ANC and South Africa that was led by Chris Hani. Hani, who had a more social political ideological leaning than other leaders of the ANC, was assassinated in 1993.

“Tragically, I think we will be lucky if we ever get to the bottom of it. Chris Hani was not assassinated by the right wing. There were more sinister forces than Janusz [Waluś],” she told HuffPost SA.

As part of a radical block within the ruling party, she was forced to work as a soldier on the ground in Soweto during her ex-husband Nelson Mandela’s incarceration. Because of her unparalleled popularity with the public, she was banished from her marital home and pushed to the sidelines by the apartheid government.

But Madikizela-Mandela ended off with a message of hope to South Africans.

“We are aware of the grave challenges today,” she said.

“I wish [to give South Africans] a message of encouragement, and tell them that not all is lost in the African National Congress. We are hoping, us remnants left of the original African National Congress, that we will be able to restore it to its dignity, to its former glory.”

 

Mail and Guardian

State capture probe is a JZ delay tactic

No go: A commission of enquiry into state capture will take years to complete, while tax-funded governance institutions such as the NPA, headed by Shaun Abrahams (above), show no will to act. (Oupa Nkosi)
No go: A commission of enquiry into state capture will take years to complete, while tax-funded governance institutions such as the NPA, headed by Shaun Abrahams (above), show no will to act. (Oupa Nkosi)

President Jacob Zuma and the ANC have suddenly become keen on the appointment of a judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture. Initially, there appeared to be furious resistance to the recommendations of then public protector Thuli Madonsela to this effect. A deluge of further allegations has clearly forced the hand of the ruling party, save for the legitimate objection that it is a presidential prerogative to appoint a judge to head the commission.

Of course, the ANC’s concession comes with a qualification: a commission must investigate all forms of possible state capture since 1994. The scope of this proposed inquiry going back more than 20 years will take years to complete. Recall how long the Marikana inquiry took under the leadership of a most experienced judge who was asked to examine a finite set of events.

The act of appointing a commission is an act of decommissioning, in that, once appointed, the commission will suspend the debate about state capture for a few years, at best. It is a classic case of Zuma kicking for touch, thereby ensuring that the political ball will be out of play for sufficient time to ensure the appointment of a suitable presidential successor.

The state capture allegations obviously call for urgent criminal investigation followed by the possibility of criminal trials. Consider the evidence already in the public domain.

The public protector produced a report in the last days of her term of office, presumably fearing that her successor would not be willing to continue the probe, which would have justified more serious remedial action than the appointment of a commission of inquiry.

Subsequently, former Cabinet minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi claimed that, as a result of his refusal to kowtow to Eskom’s pressure to favour the coal deal with the Guptas’ Optimum company, he was fired as minister of mineral resources in favour of Mosebenzi Zwane. Shortly thereafter the South African Council of Churches released a report documenting activity involving Cabinet ministers, officials of state-owned enterprises and the Gupta family, suggesting wide-scale “looting of state resources”.

A group of researchers working through the Public Affairs Research Institute then joined the dots in a report entitled Betrayal of the Promise, which painted a picture of a sophisticated takeover of the state by the Guptas and the president and his cohorts. The ink was barely dry on this report when the City Press and the Sunday Times published a string of emails that corroborated these earlier allegations — and then the nation learnt that there were more than 100 000 emails, which would be released gradually, doubtless showing further nefarious activity.

In the kind of democracy that was envisaged when the Constitution was approved, institutions created therein and pursuant to further legislation would have already performed their legal duties. To be absolutely clear: an anti-corruption unit worthy of the name would have demanded all this evidence, including the published emails, and instituted a full-scale investigation with a view to bringing charges without fear or favour.

If these emails are shown to be authentic, and to date there is no denial that they are, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has more than enough evidence to bring charges against a host of people on grounds, inter alia, of bribery and corruption.

If the NPA showed 10% of the enthusiasm it exhibited when it sought to charge then finance minister Pravin Gordhan on a charge sheet based on a manifest disregard for basic legal principles, we would at the very least have been reading lengthy charge sheets against those who consistently appear in this mountain of allegations, most of which have been in the public domain for more than a year.

And what about the former public protector? Could it seriously be argued that, if Madonsela were still in office, her office would not have conducted a further investigation into sustained allegations that go to the heart of the governance of South Africa?

There has been no reaction from any of these institutions, which are so central to the preservation and promotion of the core constitutional values of transparency and accountability. In itself this serves to confirm the allegation that these institutions no longer perform as intended and have themselves been captured. The consequences are dire: given that there are many thousands of emails yet to be disclosed, the governance of the country will stagger from crisis to crisis as the institutions tasked with solving the problem say, in effect: “Frankly, we don’t give a damn!”

To return to the president’s new enthusiasm for a commission of inquiry, South Africa should say no, thank you. We do not want to wait three more years before we find out whether the country was put up for sale. There are at least three institutions paid for by the taxpayer to ensure that corruption and bribery are investigated and, if necessary, properly prosecuted, and relevant additional remedial action taken.

The call should be to the NPA, the Hawks and the public protector to do their mandated jobs expeditiously. That is the way a democracy deals with this level of allegation in matters that go to the heart of government.

Serjeant at the Bar

Serjeant at the Bar

Serjeant at the Bar is a senior legal practitioner with a special interest in constitutional law.

South Africa – Zuma and ANC running out of road

The Conversation

South African President Jacob Zuma. What next? Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

South African President Jacob Zuma is running out of options fast. A number of legal missiles are hurtling towards him, in what may have been one of his worst weeks since taking office in 2009. At the same time, the party he is heading, the African National Congress (ANC) is fast unravelling. The processes – the tightening legal noose around the presidential neck and his imploding party – are interlinked, compounding Zuma’s diminishing chances of survival.

On Wednesday November 2 a damning report on state capture drawn up by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was released. While her investigation into an improper relationship between the politically influential, moneyed Gupta family included other state officials, the most devastating observations of wrongdoing pointed directly to Zuma, his son Duduzane and the Guptas. Zuma’s relationship with the Guptas may have led to numerous violations of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act, she observed.

In her report entitled, “State of Capture”, Madonsela recommended that the president appoint a judicial commission of inquiry into the Guptas’ immense influence.

But that wasn’t the only bad news for Zuma. The report comes just before the Supreme Court of Appeal may well confirm the reinstatement of his 783 criminal charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering. In 2009 the National Prosecuting Authority decided to discontinue the prosecution against Zuma.

But in April 2016 the high court in Pretoria set aside the decision to withdraw the 783 criminal charges. The case against Zuma could now potentially resume if the Supreme Court of Appeal upholds the North Gauteng decision on the prosecution.

The court also made a decision that could hit Zuma in his pocket. Zuma initially applied to interdict the release of the Madonsela state capture report – he withdrew the application. That the North Gauteng High Court has now said that he may be held liable for costs in the interdict case, unless he shows good cause in seven days, indicates that the days of spinning out court cases indefinitely and at taxpayers’ expense are no more. He may have to personally bear any current or future legal bills.

So he may have to choose: if the Supreme Court of Appeal upholds the decision on the prosecution of the 783 criminal charges, which is likely, does he appeal to the Constitutional Court, at his own expense? Or does he face potential prosecution?

The options are also narrowing for the prosecuting authority, the National Prosecuting Authority. Because of the diminished power of the President, they may find themselves having to prosecute Zuma with the potential revival of the President’s 783 charges.

It’s getting worse for Zuma

Zuma could try to make a deal and resign. But he faces a number of constraints.

He can only make a deal with the ANC, and he can’t make a deal over any criminal charges. That is a matter governed by the law and the Constitution.

Also, opposition parties, the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Economic Freedom Fighters and most other parties are unlikely to agree even to try and drop charges.

He also cannot stop the Public Protector’s judicial commission and charges likely to derive from that. That is now out of everyone’s hands unless the public protector’s report is reviewed, which is unlikely. Again, it is unlikely partly because Zuma can no longer count on state resources for any review.

So a “dignified exit” in exchange for no prosecution is outside the powers of those who may be open to it as a way of resolving the problems of the ANC and Zuma.

What is he likely to do?

If Zuma wants to stay on he will still face the prospect of prosecution under both the previous 783 charges and whatever arises from the judicial commission deriving from the public protector’s report.

So he could try to resign and hope that people will show some mercy. But without the protection afforded by holding office, who knows what else will be uncovered? I think its possible that he may find himself sued for further amounts relating to Nkandla, the scandal over the use of public funds on the president’s private homestead, where he got off quite lightly. I am sure there are other skeletons that could be uncovered.

So I do not know what Zuma can do, since his tactic of spinning things out is no longer so viable in light of his possibly having to bear the costs himself.

The ANC’s party is over

What will state capture report mean for the ANC?

Even without this report the ANC faced the prospect of failing to secure a majority in 2019 when South Africa’s next general election will take place. With Zuma remaining as leader the ANC carries the double burden of being disgraced through the public protector’s report, the Constitutional Court judgement on Nkandla and the ANC’s conduct after defeat in a number of metros in August’s local government elections. Representatives of the party do not accept that they have been defeated, demonstrated by the hooliganism in council meetings in Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Johannesburg.

The ANC is falling apart. For some time it has not been held together by a vision, by the liberatory or emancipatory ideology and vision that drew people to it in the past. The last thing that the ANC is associated with today is fresh ideas. Those days are gone.

At an immediate practical level the ANC needs to replace Zuma. The reason for supporting his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as successor rather than the current deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa – that she was perceived as more likely to prevent Zuma’s prosecution – may no longer hold insofar as no one may be able to stop the law from taking its course. In that sense, the reasons for opposing Ramaphosa may diminish on the side of the so-called “Premier League” – an unofficial, powerful and pro-Zuma grouping led by the premiers of three predominantly rural provinces, the Free State, Mpumalanga and North West.

But as I see it no individual leader, whether Ramaphosa, Dlamini-Zuma or whoever else is seen as likely to win support, can revive the fortunes of the ANC. The party is imploding. The ANC is held together through spoils. The politics of patronage and corruption has taken root so deeply that it has no plan for an alternative existence, as a party outside power and able to provide benefits to its followers.

This means that there is a political vacuum. As the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance may win most votes at the polls and, in coalition, supplant the ANC. But for those of us who seek an emancipatory platform, most do not see that emerging from the Democratic Alliance. Such an emancipatory platform needs to be built afresh from a range of sectors possibly coming together under a unifying vision.

South African public prosecutor wants fund to probe Gupta-Zuma links

Reuters

South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Tuesday she wants more resources to investigate whether President Jacob Zuma allowed a wealthy business family to decide on cabinet appointments.

The scandal surrounding the Gupta family took a dramatic turn earlier this year after deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said they had offered him his boss’s job, an allegation that led to calls for Zuma to resign.

Madonsela told reporters she was looking at “specifically whether or not the government of South Africa and specifically the president unlawfully allowed the Gupta family to choose ministers and other occupants of high office.”

Zuma has denied Jonas’ claims, saying only the president appointed ministers, in line with the constitution. The Guptas have denied influencing Zuma, saying they were pawns in a political plot against the president.

When it first broke, the affair threatened to shake Zuma’s hold on his ruling African National Congress party. But the president won the backing of its top decision-making group, which is stacked with his loyalists, and the party has since set aside the Gupta issue.

Madonsela, the country’s anti-corruption watchdog, did not say what additional resources she required to carry out the investigation, which she said she hoped to complete before her term ends in October.

The Public Protector’s office was also investigating whether there was “unlawful awarding of government contracts and licenses to the Gupta businesses”, she said.

The Guptas, who moved to South Africa from India after apartheid fell in 1994, run businesses ranging from uranium and coal mining to media and information technology.

DEATH THREATS

Madonsela has received public support in South Africa for taking Zuma to task over the 240 million rand ($16 million) of state money spent upgrading his private home.

She was vindicated in March when the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, said Zuma had breached the constitution by ignoring her recommendation that he repay some money that was spent on non-security upgrades. Zuma has since then agreed to hand back some of the funds.

Madonsela said she was also investigating whether a surveillance unit set up at the national revenue service was above board. The revenue agency was led at the time by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Police have said they are not investigating Gordhan as part of their probe into the activities of the spy unit. Madonsela said her office was “wrapping up” its investigation of the unit, but gave no details.

She said although she had faced death threats, smear campaigns by targets of her investigative work and claims by some politicians that she was a CIA spy, she had no regrets about taking on the job.

“There are a few deviants who decide to play the person as opposed to the ball. They know we don’t make the rules – we enforce them,” she said.

“More recently it has been a case of setting a fire behind the guardians of democracy or the watchdogs. so then you are distracted by the fire behind your back.”

($1 = 14.8209 rand)

(Additional reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by James Macharia and Mark Trevelyan)

South Africa – DA’s Maimane says ANC not serious about investigating state capture

Mail and Guardian

Democratic leader Mmusi Maimane outside the Constitutional Court in March 2016. (Troy Enekvist, M&G)
Democratic leader Mmusi Maimane outside the Constitutional Court in March 2016. (Troy Enekvist, M&G)

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the ANC’s dropping of the ‘state capture’ probe showed the ruling party was never serious about investigating the issue.

Dropping the “state capture” probe meant the ruling party was never serious about the investigation, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said on Monday.

Addressing members of the media during the launch of the party’s vision of a Fair South Africa, Maimane likened the dropping of the probe to being complicit in corruption.

“And corruption steals away opportunities,” he said.

On Tuesday, May 31, African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Gwede Mantashe announced that the party had decided to close an investigation into ‘state capture’, branding it a “fruitless exercise” because of the low number of submissions.

Former government spokesperson Themba Maseko was the only one to hand in a written submission, out of the eight who had originally complained to Mantashe.

“To say they are dropping the probe means they were never serious about investigating state capture or presidential capture,” said Maimane.

He said the best government was one which would govern in a manner that benefited all South Africans. And that is where the DA’s policies for a Fair South Africa came in, he said.

The policy advocates for a country where every South African has an equal chance to get ahead, the party has said.

Policies towards a fair South Africa
“The reality for millions of people across our beautiful nation is that our society remains deeply unfair. The colour of our skin, and the circumstances of our birth, shape in the most fundamental way the prospects we have for success in this life,” he said.

Maimane detailed some of their policies aimed at achieving a “Fair South Africa”.

These included accelerated land reform, broad-based black economic empowerment and speeding up delivery of title deeds to state subsidised houses.

He also reiterated the DA’s stance on racism, saying the party would never put up with racism of any kind.

There were ways to deal with those who made racist statements, he said.

“But we can’t stop there. We must produce programmes that ensure that we build a reconciled South Africa. You can’t separate reconciliation from the discussion, because it’s a project that we must still maintain.” – News24

South Africa: captura continua – Guptas triumph as ANC shuts down state capture probe

Daily Maverick

RANJENI MUNUSAMY

  • POLITICS
Photo: President Jacob Zuma at the ANC press conference, Friday 27 May 2016 (Greg Nicolson)

ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday that it would be a “fruitless” exercise for the party to continue to investigate allegations of state capture against the Gupta family as they had only received one written submission on the matter. ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told the Gupta-owned ANN7 television on Tuesday night that this was a “closed chapter”. This is despite Mantashe saying the allegations made against the Guptas were “serious” and him being unable to access a State Security report on the family’s illicit influence. The Guptas can now resume working their political connections and influencing state and ANC processes under full political cover. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

 

This weekend’s ANC national executive committee (NEC) decisions on the Constitutional Court judgment on Nkandla and the canning of the investigation into state capture means President Jacob Zuma is back on top. After the Constitutional Court found that the president had violated the Constitution in his handling of the Public Protector’s report on Nkandla, he was under pressure as prominent voices in civil society, ANC veterans and even the Gauteng provincial executive committee spoke out against him. The ANC needed to be seen to be taking the concerns about the president’s breach of the Constitution seriously.

When a few ANC structures expressed concern about Zuma’s conduct and called for him to step down, Luthuli House embarked on a process to contain the fallout. They asked people to bring their concerns to the ANC and also announced that there would be consultation with ANC branches on the matter.

Of course, Zuma was never in danger of being recalled. What the ANC did quite effectively was quell the outrage and shut down the discourse about Zuma, particularly within party ranks. Behind the scenes, Zuma’s allies were hard at work to subdue any form of dissent. The Gauteng ANC leadership was surprised when the ground shifted below them and delegates attending a provincial general council (PGC) meeting forced them to rescind their call for Zuma to “do the right thing”.

Now, weeks later, Mantashe announced that ANC branches had accepted Zuma’s apology for the “frustration and confusion” caused by the Nkandla scandal.

“Overwhelmingly, the branches of the ANC confirmed the decision of the NWC not to recall the president. Branches emphasised the importance of unity of the movement and accepting the apology of the president must contribute to unity of the movement. As we accept the apology we also reminded ourselves that we should devise a formula for dealing with the mistakes we are committing,” Mantashe said.

This means that for the sake of unity, the ANC has dismissed all the concerns raised by party stalwarts, religious leaders and civil society organisations. The Nkandla matter is now closed, as far as the ANC is concerned, and there will be no action taken as a result of the president violating the Constitution. The NEC decision also means that there is nothing to support media reports that secret talks were under way to negotiate an exit for Zuma after the local government elections. Zuma has clearly survived the Nkandla storm – and is miraculously strengthened by it.

From this position of strength Zuma and his allies were also able to crush the Gupta probe.

When the ANC NEC decided in March to conduct an investigation into state capture, it followed a number of revelations, including from Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, the former head of government communications Themba Maseko and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, about the Guptas interfering in state affairs. Even though there was resistance to the probe at the March NEC, the allegations were so serious that the ANC had to look into them.

Mantashe’s open invitation to ANC members to come forward with information appeared to be a constructive step towards finally uncovering whether allegations that had been circulating for years about the Guptas’ interference in state affairs were in fact true. But only once people went to the ANC headquarters did they realise there was no formal investigation and that Mantashe did not have any powers or capacity to process any information and evidence they brought forward.

For example, Mantashe was told that the former director-general of the State Security Agency, Gibson Njenje, had compiled a report on the Guptas’ dealings that showed they were a threat to national security. That report is in the possession of the state and it is illegal for anyone without the necessary security clearance to access it. Mantashe therefore has no powers or ability to get the report.

Mantashe said at a media briefing on Tuesday that only one out of eight people who came forward could make a written submission on the state capture matter. The others feared their submissions could put them in danger. Indeed, the issue of trust has been a concern for those who wanted to assist with the investigation. Having a private conversation with Mantashe was one thing but there was no guarantee that their identities would be protected if they brought evidence forward. There were real fears of victimisation in their current jobs and even whether they would be in physical danger should they pose a threat to the Gupta empire and their significant political connections.

Mantashe says those with such fears should approach a relevant state institution to ask them to deal with the matter. However, when the allegation is that the state has been captured, which department in the state, including the South African Police Service, would view evidence in this regard neutrally?

A group of former directors-general has written to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi asking them to institute a public inquiry into how senior government officials contravened laws to benefit the Gupta family. They did so recognising that only an official inquiry would have the powers to access documentation and information showing how government processes were manipulated to benefit the Guptas. The problem, however, is that such an inquiry cannot take place when the president has already rubbished the idea of state capture.

Zuma’s statement at the Gauteng PGC that there was no such thing as state capture means that it is virtually impossible to pursue the matter within the state or the ANC. At the weekend NEC, Zuma’s allies were emboldened by his statements on state capture and took the same tack to ensure that the ANC probe went no further. With the multiple battles Gordhan is currently fighting, it would be a pointless exercise for him to attempt to get an official inquiry going when the president could veto it.

Mantashe claims the “discussion” on state capture will continue. But what would be the point of discussing the matter when nothing can be done about it? He also said those who had evidence should be “bold enough” to take the matter forward and should be prepared to sacrifice themselves for a “good cause”. If people had raised the matter in order to benefit the ANC, they would not mind becoming casualties, Mantashe said.

Why would people throw themselves on the rails when they have no hope of stopping the Gupta gravy train? If Mantashe himself fought a losing battle on the Gupta matter, what chance does anyone else have to challenge Zuma and his powerful friends?

There remains only one avenue to properly pursue the allegations of state capture: the Office of the Public Protector. Thuli Madonsela’s office is already investigating the influence of the Gupta family on state affairs. Those with evidence have the option to take it to the Public Protector and have their identities protected.

For now, the Guptas are free to continue their wheeling and dealing knowing they have political cover and little chance of facing any form of sanction. Zuma remains invincible, having walked away from the Nkandla and state capture scandals unscathed.

South Africans, meanwhile, will simply have to wait for the next political shakedown, which, at this point, seems inevitable. DM

Photo: President Jacob Zuma at the ANC press conference, Friday 27 May 2016 (Greg Nicolson)

South Africa – Mentor calls for independent investigation of “state capture”

City Press

2016-03-24 17:13

Vytjie Mentor, one of the whistle-blowers in the “state capture” scandal, supports the establishment of an independent judicial commission of inquiry into the allegations.

She also supports the establishment of a special ANC national conference.

However, she wouldn’t comment on the process that has been announced by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe – in which ANC members have been urged to take information and allegations regarding the Gupta family and “state capture” to Luthuli House for investigation.

Her comments today came after the controversy that erupted after she and Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas revealed that the influential Gupta family had offered them Cabinet positions. And Themba Maseko, former head of the Government Communication and Information System, told the Sunday Times that President Jacob Zuma personally phoned him in 2010 to ensure that he met with the Gupta family.

The Guptas have denied the claims.

In her latest Facebook post on Thursday, Mentor said she supported an independent judicial commission investigation into an “improper relationship” between the Guptas, Zuma, and others.

A similar proposal was previously made by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and a group of 25 former umKhonto weSizwe veterans.

Mentor said in a follow-up telephonic interview on Thursday that Zuma would not be able to appoint a commission himself, because he was being implicated in these “improper relationships”.

“To circumvent this problem, the president might have to go on leave so that the commission could be appointed by the deputy president.”

Mentor also thought that investigations by the Hawks into the Guptas were doomed because she believed that the investigative unit was “corrupt”.

“The Hawks say they will investigate the Guptas, but it is compromised by [Brigadier Berning] Ntlemeza, who is at the helm of the unit. The Hawks believe their role is to serve the president and not the interests of the country,” Mentor claimed.

Interest groups have asked the court for an interdict pending the conclusion of a review into Ntlemeza’s fitness to hold office.

Lieutenant Robert Netshiunda, Hawks spokesperson, said the case was with the unit and that he could not comment any more.

Mentor believed it would also be difficult for the Public Protector to conduct the investigation because her term was coming to an end in August and her office did not have the financial capacity. She added that, should Thuli Madonsela approach international donors for funding, she would be accused of “playing into foreign interests”.

Mentor pointed out that she had asked in December that the ANC organise a “second Morogoro” conference. The main task of the ANC’s 1969 national consultative conference that was convened in Morogoro was to make changes to its organisational structure at a time when the party had experienced many internal problems.

She was reluctant to comment on the ANC processes announced by Mantashe, or whether she would participate, saying she would not discuss them in the media.

All she would say was that if a non-ANC member had information regarding “state capture”, he or she may refuse to participate in a process that was being managed by the ANC.