Daily Dispatch

Daily Dispatch

It’s a-looter continua


ANYONE who imagines that President Jacob Zuma and his cronies are cowering in a corner trying to dodge Guptaleaks or are overly bothered by internal resistance in the ANC needs to think again.

The project to extract every cent possible from the national coffers retains its focus and momentum. For instance, it is now evident that Social Developmen­t Department Minister Bathabile Dlamini barely stopped to catch her breath after being hauled to the Constituti­onal Court for trying to push the mega-tender for social grant payments to Cash Paymaster Services for an obscene fee.

She should have been fired instantly, but Zuma has allowed her to remain in situ, free to fiddle where no political head has any business fiddling – in the operationa­l affairs of a department or agency. In this case it’s the SA Social Security Agency which is responsibl­e for grant disburseme­nts.

In the process the department’s DG, Zane Dangor, has already bitten the dust and in April Dlamini fired her advisor Sipho Shezi.

Yesterday the department announced that the contract of Sassa’s CEO, Thokozani Magwaza, had been terminated after barely a year by “mutual agreement”.

Magwaza has been driving preparatio­ns for Sassa to take over grant disburseme­nt from CPS. His misstep? He cancelled R47million’s worth of “work streams” that Dlamini had set up to manage Sassa’s takeover of payments but which were to operate parallel to Sassa and report directly to her.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the departure of another competent administra­tor accompanie­d by death threats while dubious architectu­re has been put in place is not a victory for righteous government.

Elsewhere Mineral Affairs Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has been trying to ambush the mining industry with a secretly redrafted charter designed to consolidat­e SA’s mineral wealth in the hands of a tiny BEE elite. The imposition of the charter last month instantly slashed R50.69-billion off the value of JSE-listed mining stocks.

The charter is temporaril­y on hold after a legal challenge from the Chamber of Mines, but this battle is by no means over.

Meanwhile at Eskom there is a peculiar commitment to paying mega bonuses to current and former senior managers including the axed CEO Brian Molefe and the suspended CEO Matshela Koko. This is, says spokesman Khulu Phasiwe, “because people have met and exceeded their performanc­es”.

Indeed they have. Eskom profits are down from R31-billion last year to R900-million, interest repayments have shot up to R38billion and all that is reportedly left in Eskom’s coffers is R20-million, enough to keep the parastatal afloat for three months.

Certainly Molefe’s performanc­e in state capture, as recognised by the former public protector, has been stellar, but he only worked for eight months of the 2016/17 financial year. Nonetheles­s he is in line for a R2.1-million bonus while Koko, who did not disclose his daughter’s shareholdi­ng in a supplier company, is earmarked for R1.5-million and Gupta-linked CFO Anoj Singh, for R1.9-million.

Zuma is unlikely to stop any of this. In fact, he yesterday defied the consensus of the ANC national policy conference that disavowed the use of Bell Pottinger’s distractin­g and divisive “white monopoly capital” propaganda. “Those who say it doesn’t exist, they live in another country,” said Zuma.

For now it’s a-looter continua.

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