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Tribal re­ac­tionar­ies in love­fest

Putting the past (as in Zulu king Din­gane’s mur­der of Piet Retief, the bat­tle of Blood River, and so on) be­hind them, Afrikaner lob­by­ists AfriFo­rum have linked up with Zulu King Good­will Zwelithini to “up­lift agri­cul­ture in our land in or­der to have food”. The king’s con­fus­ing state­ment is in­ter­preted to mean he and “the Bo­ers” want to pro­mote food se­cu­rity but also to op­pose land re­form. The king’s In­gonyama Trust is un­der fire for the way it con­trols land in its fief­dom. The king clearly said that “any­one who wants to be elected by us [the Zulu peo­ple, pre­sum­ably] must come and kneel here and com­mit that I will never touch your land”. Watch­word: Don’t men­tion the war!

R50bn pissed down the drain

“Ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture is at an all-time high,” au­di­tor gen­eral Kimi Mak­wetu said this week. He added, with some un­der­state­ment, that “we are not in a good place”. By “we” he means the na­tion. Fruit­less, waste­ful, unau­tho­rised and other ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture by gov­ern­ment bod­ies has risen, as it does ev­ery year. Now it is R50-bil­lion, Mak­wetu’s lat­est re­port (2016-2017) shows. “Peo­ple are ig­nor­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions that are made by the at­tor­ney gen­eral,” said Mak­wetu, and there are few con­se­quences for civil ser­vants party to the wastage or un­able to sub­mit ad­e­quate ac­counts to his of­fice. Only 12.8% of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties re­ceived clean au­dits in the lat­est round-up.

Gord­han and Ho­gan de­lay Zondo

Tes­ti­mony by Pravin Gord­han, the former fi­nance min­is­ter and present min­is­ter of pub­lic en­ter­prises, and by Bar­bara Ho­gan, former pub­lic en­ter­prises min­is­ter, at the Zondo com­mis­sion look­ing into state cap­ture was post­poned. They had not sub­mit­ted their up-front state­ments in time, said the com­mis­sion, so the lawyers of those im­pli­cated in wrong­do­ing in their tes­ti­mony would not have time to pre­pare. The com­mis­sion is now run­ning about a month late.

Zuma holds his tongue …

Not that former pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, who is likely to be im­pli­cated fur­ther in the story of state cap­ture while he was in power, has made any moves to re­spond to claims made at the Zondo com­mis­sion. Com­mis­sion ad­vo­cate Thandi Nor­man said Ho­gan’s ini­tial state­ment was sent to Zuma in Au­gust be­cause her tes­ti­mony would im­pli­cate him but he has not replied.

… but Duarte’s rar­ing to talk

But Jesse Duarte, the ANC’s deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral (and rul­ing poi­son dwarf), is very keen to speak to the Zondo com­mis­sion. The sub­ject she wants to tackle is not her son-in-law’s or her son’s re­la­tion­ships with the Gupta fam­ily but, rather, the Gup­tas’ es­tab­lish­ment of the New Age news­pa­per and the ANN7 TV chan­nel as dis­guised pro­pa­ganda out­lets for Zuma and the ANC. They were funded by ad­ver­tis­ing chan­nelled from the state and monies di­verted from the SABC, in­ter alia. (Yes, Jesse, we would love to know why that was such a great idea.) Both the

New Age and ANN7 have since col­lapsed.

Ser­iti didn’t get this

Cor­rup­tion Watch and Right2Know are go­ing to court to ob­tain a re­view of the find­ings of the Ser­iti com­mis­sion, which in­ves­ti­gated the arms deal that cost South Africa up to R90-bil­lion. The or­gan­i­sa­tions say the com­mis­sion, which found no ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing in the deal, ig­nored key ev­i­dence from bod­ies such as Bri­tain’s Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice (SFO), the Scor­pi­ons and the Hawks, and didn’t ask the right ques­tions of the Ger­man au­thor­i­ties, who also probed the deal and agreed to co­op­er­ate with South African in­ves­ti­ga­tors. The com­mis­sion didn’t fol­low up on records of email ex­changes be­tween the Scor­pi­ons and the SFO in 2007, and called only one Hawks of­fi­cer to tes­tify. Judge Wil­lie Ser­iti, who chaired the com­mis­sion, is not op­pos­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tions’ ap­pli­ca­tion.

Hoist by your own stiletto

A Jo­han­nes­burg night­club has been slammed all over so­cial me­dia for the footwear rules for women it re­cently tweeted. No sneak­ers, kit­ten heels, slides or pumps would be al­lowed, it said. Knowl­edge­able footwear an­a­lysts say this means the club ba­si­cally wants women to wear stilet­tos only. When crit­i­cised for sex­ism and un­fair­ness, the club quickly posted its rules for men’s footwear (and other gar­ments), in­clud­ing a ban on flipflops, slides and All Star takkies. Ex­perts con­sulted by the Mail & Guardian spec­u­late that All Stars may be con­sid­ered too light­weight, or per­haps in­suf­fi­ciently ex­pen­sive, by the finicky club, which is ap­pro­pri­ately called Taboo.

Gone off­line: Ja­cob Zuma

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