The answer is in the emails
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...