The DA continues to lead the fight against state capture
Last week I tabled a Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma, to be voted on by the National Assembly before the end of this year. His egregious and damaging attack on Finance Minister Gordhan two weeks ago, in order to replace him with a pliant lackey and thereby gain control of the Treasury, deserves no less a reprisal than forced resignation. This weekend’s explosive revelations – that the Guptas offered Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas R600 000 in cash to take the job of Finance Minister and R600 million if he agreed to “work with” them – removes any last shred of doubt that Zuma and the Guptas are intent on capturing our Treasury.
As the official opposition, it is our duty to use every tool available to us to stop Jacob Zuma’s state capture project. Many ANC MPs have spoken out in the media against Zuma’s conduct – most notably Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu, who has publicly called on the party’s top leaders to step down. But if they truly have South Africa’s best interest at heart, then the appropriate forum is the National Assembly. They should support our motion and force Zuma to resign. Any other platform for objection is merely personal politicking.
If the motion is carried, South Africa and its institutions will be vastly better off for being free of Zuma. If the motion does not pass, the whole ANC will be exposed as a party that failed in its constitutional duty to protect South Africa from corrupt private interests, and their prospects of retaining power after 2019 will significantly diminish.
If the ANC cannot do the right thing and free our state from capture by Zuma and the Guptas, then it falls to voters to do so in 2019. In the meantime, the DA will use every available opportunity and method to fight state capture, just has we have done since Jacob Zuma first began his project to gain control of all levers of power, patronage and plunder.
South Africans constantly express amazement at Zuma’s ability to stay on top. He is the ultimate survivor, the Teflon man. He has been a disastrous President and committed hundreds of crimes, any one of which might have cost him his job in another democracy. He has brazenly stolen public money in corrupt partnership with the Gupta family. He is the most despised man in the country, being responsible, more than any other individual, for its current parlous state.
And yet the reason he continues to hold top position is really very simple: state capture. Zuma and his ruling elite control the very institutions of state that should be taking him to task: the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Hawks (the police unit responsible for investigating priority crimes). He has gained control of them by deploying loyalists, Advocate Shaun Abrahams and Berning Ntlemeza respectively, to head them up in reward for inflated salaries and job security. That is why they would arrest Mr Gordhan on flimsy charges, and at great cost, in order to facilitate Zuma’s capture of the Treasury.
On Wednesday 2 November, the DA will join thousands of South Africans from diverse civil society groupings and other opposition parties in a mass march in Tshwane, in support of Mr Gordhan on the day he appears in court. Mr Gordhan has stated publically that he has no faith in Advocate Abrahams, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, to give him a fair hearing. Last week, the DA requested a debate of national importance to discuss the politicization of the NPA, but it was rejected by the Speaker. This underscores yet again that the ANC’s malaise runs far deeper than Zuma.
The capture of our state by the Zuma/Gupta faction is well advanced. It threatens to reduce our democracy to an authoritarian kleptocracy – the two objectives of state capture being to entrench power and facilitate plunder.
That both President Zuma and Des van Rooyen (who replaced Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene for four days in Zuma’s abortive attempt to capture the Treasury last year) resorted to an interdict to stop the release of the Public Protector report into state capture, and that the Guptas resorted to threatening Thuli Madonsela, suggests that its contents are highly incriminating and may yet lead to Zuma’s downfall.
As the original complainants, the DA will be in court on Tuesday 1 November to oppose their application. Her investigation was instigated at our request in March, and signed off by her last week, on her last day in office as Public Protector. Her replacement, Advocate Busisiwe Mhwebane, has decided not to oppose Zuma’s interdict application. This suggests that she is not entirely free from Zuma/Gupta influence, which is a cause for great concern.
Helen Zille saw the first signs and warned South Africans of the danger of state capture years ago. The DA has been at the forefront of the battle to save South Africa since the first evidence of state capture by Zuma arose in 2009 before he even became President, when his corruption charges relating to the arms deal were dropped for no valid reason. It was DA legal action that gave rise to the “spy tapes saga” that finally had that decision declared irrational, opening the way for Zuma’s corruption charges to be reinstated.
Over the past eight years, we have exposed and opposed the deployment of many ANC cronies to key positions, including Ellen Tshabalala and Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the SABC, Judge John Hlophe at the Western Cape High Court, Advocates Menzi Simelane, Nomgcobo Jiba and Shaun Abrahams at the NPA, Berning Ntlemeza as head of the Hawks, Dudu Myeni at SAA, Brian Molefe at Eskom, Des van Rooyen as Finance Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane as Mining Minister and Tom Moyane at SARS.
We are fighting SADTU’s capture of our basic education department and we’re fighting the nuclear deal, which wouldn’t see the light of day if Tina Joemat-Petersson and Brian Molefe were not Zuma lackeys heading up the Energy Ministry and Eskom respectively.
Every victory for South Africa against state capture has been on the back of DA action. And we will continue this fight for as long as needs be. But ultimately, the only way to put a conclusive stop to state capture is to vote the ANC out of power. Thankfully, this is still an option, since we still have an electoral commission that is independent. But after their bruising losses in the 2016 election, the ANC was quick to attack the IEC. South Africa’s electoral commission may or may not hold out against ANC capture for the next eight years until 2024. This is not a chance we can afford to take. State capture must end, along with the ANC’s misrule, in 2019.
This article by Mmusi Maimane first appeared in Bokamoso, the online newsletter of the leader of the Democratic Alliance.