Still fight­ing af­ter all these years

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the state.

“My Twit­ter’s been go­ing hay­wire, all lies and smears. It’s a re­lent­less attack, fab­ri­cated pic­tures of me and my wife El­iz­a­beth in bed, pic­tures of me and An­ton Ru­pert. I mean I’ve never even met Mr Ru­pert. Hon­estly, I don’t re­ally mind. It’s so crude, in­fan­tile,” he said.

Hain noted that the Zupt­abots were out­liv­ing their cre­ators at Bell Pot­tinger, which has vir­tu­ally shut af­ter the scan­dal. In Septem­ber, the UK’s Pub­lic Re­la­tions and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Association an­nounced it had stripped the com­pany of its mem­ber­ship for bring­ing the PR in­dus­try into dis­re­pute.

“I find it kind of in­ter­est­ing, so the Bell Pot­tinger ma­chine is still oper­at­ing, even though they closed down ... an al­go­rithm of sorts.”

In the let­ter be­fore the UK Par­lia­ment, Hain writes: “Hav­ing re­cently vis­ited South Africa, it is clear the coun­try is gripped by a po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial cri­sis, pre­cip­i­tated by a vast crim­i­nal net­work fa­cil­i­tated by an In­dian-South African fam­ily, the Gup­tas, and the pres­i­den­tial fam­ily, the Zu­mas.

“It be­came clear to me that [this crim­i­nal net­work] is not lo­calised to South Africa – in­deed it has been en­abled by a transna­tional money laun­der­ing net­work that these in­di­vid­u­als have es­tab­lished.

“I have deep con­cerns and ques­tions around the com­plic­ity, whether wit­ting or un­wit­ting, of UK global fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in the Gupta/Zuma transna­tional crim­i­nal net­work.”

Fur­ther state­ments by Hain to the House of Lords link the Gup­tas and Zu­mas to two ma­jor Bri­tish banks, HSBC and Stan­dard Char­tered.

On Mon­day, the house or­dered the UK’s Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Author­ity, the Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice and Na­tional Crime Agency to scru­ti­nise Hain’s al­le­ga­tions.

Hain says they are “cer­tainly be­ing in­ves­ti­gated very thor­oughly” and there will be more devel­op­ments – pri­vate and some in pub­lic. Hain, who served in the cab­i­nets of Tony Blair and Gor­don Brown, grew up in Pre­to­ria, where his an­ti­a­partheid ac­tivist mother Ade­laine sneaked soup and choco­late bars to for­mer deputy Chief Jus­tice Dik­gang Moseneke, then 15 years old and on trial. Ade­laine, now 90, feels deeply be­trayed by South Africa’s cor­rupt gov­ern­ment, Hain said.

“This is not what my mother, Man­dela and thou­sands of oth­ers fought for. My par­ents, they sac­ri­ficed ev­ery­thing, and for what – this mafia-style crim­i­nal­ity?”

At Hain’s UK Par­lia­men­tary of­fice in West­min­ster, a framed 1994 elec­tion poster of Nel­son Man­dela for pres­i­dent is be­hind his desk. It was a gift from Wal­ter Sisulu.

“He [Man­dela] keeps an eye on me as he did also when I was a Bri­tish gov­ern­ment min­is­ter,” Hain says.

Born in 1950, Hain’s first child­hood mem­ory of some­thing greatly amiss in South African so­ci­ety was when apartheid spe­cial branch of­fi­cers barged into his room. “When I was 10 years old, I woke up at 4am to the spe­cial branch search­ing the bed­room where my brother and I slept. There were a lot of them, def­i­nitely armed. Mostly they searched my col­lec­tion of mo­tor car files for in­crim­i­nat­ing ev­i­dence – which they did not find, of course.”

Aged 11, Hain watched help­lessly as his par­ents, Ade­laine and Wal­ter, were ar­rested. They were jailed for two weeks with­out charge. The next year, Ade­laine at­tended Man­dela’s first trial at the Old Sy­n­a­gogue in Pre­to­ria, the only white per­son in the whites-only gallery. That evening at home, she told her fam­ily how, when Man­dela en­tered the dock, he raised his first to sa­lute her, a ges­ture she re­turned.

Ade­laine and Wal­ter and their four chil­dren fled to London in 1966, where Hain be­came an anti-apartheid ac­tivist. He un­der­stood the white South African psy­che and knew how to hit them where it hurt most, and set about spear­head­ing a cam­paign to pre­vent whites-only sports teams from com­pet­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally.

The apartheid gov­ern­ment con­tin­ued its cam­paign against the Hain fam­ily. In 1972, South African foreign in­tel­li­gence sent a let­ter bomb to their home in Put­ney. In his mem­oir Out­side In, Hain re­calls how his sis­ter Sally opened it.

“Re­cessed into a thick sheet of balsa wood were hideous metal cylin­ders and ter­mi­nals with wires pro­trud­ing,” he writes. “We sat trans­fixed, ex­pect­ing it to ex­plode, sec­onds seem­ing like ages. Yet noth­ing hap­pened.”

Now, Hain is as­ton­ished and sad­dened by the lat­est devel­op­ments in South Africa’s his­tory.

“I used to sup­port the new South Africa. I never expected that I would have to in­ter­vene in this man­ner.” Lord Peter Hain

by Bi­enne Huis­man in London


SAD­DENED Lord Peter Hain has asked that Bri­tish banks be in­ves­ti­gated for their links to the Gup­tas, and Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and his fam­ily

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