The an­swer is in the emails

CityPress - - Voices - Mondli Makhanya voices@city­press.co.za

At any other time, last week’s state­ment by Ekurhu­leni Mayor Mzwandile Masina would have been con­sid­ered ex­tra­or­di­nary. Speak­ing at the Umkhonto weSizwe Vet­er­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence, Masina pleaded with Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to ask the Gup­tas to let the ANC get on with its work.

“Com­rade pres­i­dent, let’s ask the Gup­tas to give the ANC space to con­duct the rev­o­lu­tion. We don’t mean to choose friends for lead­ers of the ANC, but there’s a limit to ev­ery­thing. Peo­ple died in the ANC and for this coun­try, we can’t sur­ren­der the sovereignty of the ANC,” said Masina.

Some con­text is nec­es­sary here. Masina is a mem­ber of the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC). He cam­paigned strongly for Zuma in the run-up to the 2007 con­fer­ence in Polok­wane. In 2012, he was one of Zuma’s key Gaut­eng de­fend­ers when most of the provin­cial lead­ers were back­ing Kgalema Mot­lanthe’s bid for the ANC pres­i­dency. When­ever the pres­i­dent has been mired in scan­dal, which is every day other than the eighth and ninth day of the week, Masina has stood by him.

When the Gaut­eng provin­cial lead­er­ship was gun­ning for Zuma fol­low­ing the Con­sti­tu­tional Court’s Nkandla judg­ment, Masina spear­headed the Zuma re­sis­tance. Those who at­tend NEC meet­ings say he is a spir­ited de­fender of the pres­i­dent, es­pe­cially when trea­sonous in­di­vid­u­als ad­vo­cate his re­moval.

In short, Masina is a Zuma man through and through. Sep­a­rat­ing him from Zuma would be more dif­fi­cult than dis­lodg­ing the shower from the pres­i­dent’s head.

So, for Masina to ba­si­cally ac­knowl­edge that Zuma has a Gupta prob­lem is a big thing. And for him to ac­knowl­edge that Zuma’s Gupta prob­lem is a prob­lem for the ANC is an even big­ger thing.

But for him to plead that this fam­ily of scur­rilous car­pet­bag­gers must be asked “to give the ANC space to con­duct the rev­o­lu­tion” is just mind-blow­ing.

A bit more con­text. The ANC is a 103-year-old organisation that was founded by brave South Africans who did not ask for per­mis­sion to stand up to the colo­nial over­lords of the time. Through­out its his­tory – whether it was wag­ing strug­gle against the colonists or the apartheid op­pres­sors – there was never a time that it po­litely asked for space to con­duct its rev­o­lu­tion.

Imag­ine the lead­ers of the de­fi­ance cam­paigns, the bus boy­cotts, the 1956 Women’s March, the pass burn­ings and the in­cep­tion of the armed strug­gle seek­ing con­sent to em­bark on militant ac­tion. Would the in­sur­rec­tions of the 1970s and the 1980s have hap­pened if those par­tic­i­pat­ing in the re­volt had been wait­ing for au­tho­ri­sa­tion from some­where?

Fast-for­ward to the demo­cratic era and think of the far-reach­ing changes that the Nel­son Man­dela and Thabo Mbeki gov­ern­ments ef­fected in the face of re­sis­tance. Would the nee­dle have moved if they had waited for a nod from the es­tab­lish­ment?

And go­ing back to Masina’s own role in the rise of Zuma, did he and his fel­low trav­ellers ask for per­mis­sion be­fore they de­cided to take on Mbeki and ul­ti­mately re­move him from power?

The same question can be asked of other rev­o­lu­tions that changed the course of his­tory: the French Rev­o­lu­tion, the Bol­she­vik rev­o­lu­tion, the Chimurenga and other anti-colo­nial strug­gles, Mao Tse-tung’s Long March and Fidel Cas­tro’s rev­o­lu­tion. The bot­tom line is that rev­o­lu­tions do not re­quire per­mis­sion.

Masina’s painful plea tells us just how much in the grip of the Gup­tas the ANC and the coun­try are. It is some­thing that the whole coun­try, in­clud­ing the pres­i­dent’s toe-lick­ers, has known for a long time. It is just that the toe-lick­ers have been in de­nial and are now con­fronted with truth so bald that it can no longer be ig­nored.

Ever since the #Gup­taLeaks tap was opened, South Africans have daily wo­ken to star­tling rev­e­la­tions about the ex­tent of the Gup­tas’ con­trol of the coun­try.

We now know for a fact that the Gup­tas are so in charge of the pres­i­dent that they even drafted a let­ter to se­cure him res­i­dency in Dubai where he would live in ex­ile and en­joy his ill-got­ten gains.

We know that the pres­i­dent’s son is just that by name only. His real par­ents are the Gup­tas.

We know that the Gup­tas ap­pointed min­is­ters, con­sti­tuted the boards of paras­tatals, over­saw multi­bil­lion rand con­tracts and were privy to clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

Thanks to #Gup­taLeaks, it is now es­tab­lished knowl­edge that the nar­ra­tives of “rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion” and “white monopoly cap­i­tal” are the work of the Gup­tas’ Bri­tish pub­lic re­la­tions con­sul­tants. It is a great irony that this sup­pos­edly anti-im­pe­ri­al­ist stance, which is the bedrock of Zuma’s de­fence and the cam­paign plat­form of his for­mer spouse, was crafted by the ar­chi­tects of Mar­garet Thatcher’s con­ser­va­tive reign.

We now know, and will know more as the weeks and months un­fold, that power does not re­side at Luthuli House or the govern­ment com­plexes in Pre­to­ria. It re­sides in Sax­on­wold.

So, if you are won­der­ing why the ANC – which waged one of the most de­ter­mined rev­o­lu­tions of the past cen­tury – has to ask per­mis­sion to carry out its his­tor­i­cal man­date, you just need to para­phrase Bob Dy­lan’s clas­sic and sing to your­self: The an­swer my friend, is right there in the emails...

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