The tide is turning
For those among us who are depressed and bleak about the state of the country, take heart. The tide is turning. It may not be time to start shouting from the rooftops that change is around the corner, but you can certainly sense that the times are a-changing. The edifice of corruption, ineptitude, impunity and anti-constitutionalism is beginning to crumble.
It was only a few months ago that a dimwit with bloodshot eyes was in full control of our public broadcaster. He is now gone, never to pollute South African minds again. He will make noise from the wilderness and hope to be noticed. But then, that is what lunatics do.
James Aguma, the lunatic’s puppet (imagine being that person), resigned from the SABC this week. It was on Aguma’s watch that the SABC’s finances went to hell. This was through a combination of incompetence, corruption, neglect and recklessness on the part of the board and top management.
It was not that long ago that the Eskom board tried to pull an amateurish trick on us in trying to bring Brian Molefe back to the helm of the utility. They failed. Molefe is now unemployed.
Ben Ngubane, the Eskom gang’s ringleader, is also gone. This week, the company’s acting chairperson, Zethembe Khoza, announced that disciplinary steps were being taken against top executive Matshela Koko, a Gupta enabler, for conflict of interest.
Over at the national airline, the reign of chairperson Dudu Myeni – who has the survival ability of Durban’s most notorious pest – is coming to and end. She was recently yellow-carded by the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission for misrepresenting a board decision a few years ago. With that record, she will battle to find fertile grazing ground when her term ends within the next eight weeks. Even her friends and comfort-givers in high office will find it difficult to justify having her around.
The orchestrators of state capture are also feeling the pressure as the net closes in. In the past few months, their sophisticated criminal syndicate has been laid bare. The Unburdening Panel report by the SA Council of Churches delved deep into the dark caverns of this network. As did the Betrayal of the Promise report by senior academics.
By far the greatest contributor to exposing the green, sticky slime that is the Gupta empire has been the slew of emails that have become the daily diet of news consumers. The Gupta emails have told us just how complex the Gupta network is, how tight its grip on our body politic is, how deep its claws have gone into our veins and how beholden our state is to this – the filthiest family in the land.
There is a sense in the country now that what has gone down is not just criminal, but downright treasonous. As a former unionist, underground operative and civil servant, Cunningham Ngcukana wrote in City Press recently that the emails “provide sufficient proof of overt acts that constitute treason”, an act that President Jacob Zuma and others should be charged.
“For treason to occur there must be intent, as well as concomitant action, to violate a country’s legal order. In other words, treason is a breach of the allegiance that a citizen owes to his country. It becomes more serious when committed by those entrusted by the Constitution, and by law, to prevent it and to prosecute those guilty of committing it. As with any crime, wrongful intent is a crucial element of treason,” Ngcukana wrote.
He continued: “The Gupta email leaks provide sufficient proof of intent on the part of Zuma, who showed dereliction of duty in his appointment of Cabinet ministers. By creating a shadow state – or, in the words of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, ‘a parallel state’ – Zuma has intentionally ignored the established procedures and protocols of appointing Cabinet ministers and [state-owned entity] board members.”
Politically you need look no further than Zuma’s loneliness and the outcomes of the recent ANC policy conference to see that there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Zuma is a very lonely man. He is persona non grata at Cosatu and SA Communist Party events, occasions where he was once feted as the hero of the common man. He can no longer address public gatherings without maximum screening of attendees and the presence of goons to ensure that he is not embarrassed. He has been reduced to being the president of a faction of his party.
The outcome of the policy conference showed how not in control of the ANC Zuma and his faction are. Having lost battle after battle at the Nasrec gathering, the Zuma faction opted to defy the outcomes and interpret the results their own way. There is now a tone of desperation in their utterances.
And if you are looking for one more sign that the end of the nightmare is nigh, see the unprecedented open campaigning in the succession race. In the eyes of Zuma’s fellow leaders and on the ground, he is as good as gone. And so they fear him no more.
But keep the champagne on ice. The desperate and the cornered are very dangerous.