WHO STOLE CYRIL’S NUTS?
THERE I was the other evening, reading out aloud a bedtime story to my granddaughter, Leah, when the image of the country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa kept popping on to the page.
In a moment, I realised why.
The story was called
and I reasoned the connection was that the bushy-tailed woodland creature happened to bear the same first name as our president.
It was a tale about a squirrel heading out to dig up nuts to eat but when he reaches the spot where he thought they were hidden, he discovers someone had got there before him. Who has stolen Cyril the Squirrel’s nuts?
Once my granddaughter had slipped into dreamland, my mind began to wander. Is it possible that, like George Orwell’s the story about Cyril the Squirrel and the Nut Thieves was not just another kid’s bedtime story? Was it perhaps a modern-day satire on President Ramaphosa’s search for the billions stashed away by the Guptas and their cohorts in the state capture saga?
This was not going to be an easy task for Ramaphosa. The Guptas had already succeeded in slipping through the net, so to ferret out all those other miscreants who’ve been
When you extend your gaze on corruption even further, you realise the swamp is not just some small marshy pond
aiding and abetting the brothers in their looting spree, the entire swamp would have to be drained.
Ramaphosa has made a tentative start – by talking the right talk; getting rid of the former SA Revenue Service commissioner, Tom Moyane; and setting up various commissions of inquiry.
But given the enormity of his mission, this is going to require more than just dipping his toes into the shallow waters. Lurking in the murky swamp are bigger fish, like former president Jacob Zuma, his son Duduzane, and Cabinet ministers Bathabile Dlamini and Malusi Gigaba who are all now subjects of litigation in various courts.
Then there are the questionable multimillion-rand deals involving people like Lynne Brown, Brian Molefe and Anoj Singh, senior ANC officials implicated in the Vrede dairy scandal and those involved in the wholesale theft and looting that left VBS Mutual Bank broke.
When you extend your gaze on corruption even further, you realise the swamp is not just some small marshy pond across the fence – it’s a giant hazardous quagmire that’s sucking all of us in. Ramaphosa knows how deep the swamp is. He realises the predators lurking below the surface and the threat they pose to the country.
But he’s decided not to rush impulsively into solutions, opting instead to move with patience, strategic precision and transparency to get the job done.
As much as I would like to see more heads roll sooner, Ramaphosa’s approach makes sense. I reckon any president who says he’s so serious about fighting corruption that he’s even prepared to take his own children to prison if they’re ever found guilty of wrongdoing deserves a fair chance.