WE WELCOME THE START OF THE STATE OF CAPTURE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY AND THERE MUST BE CONSEQUENCES FOR THOSE WHO FOUND GUILTY
We welcome the start of the state capture commission of inquiry, we hope the commission will do its work without fear or favour and it will help the nation and its people to heal from this nightmare and move us forward. But as the commission start its work, one cannot help but reflect on the massive ruptures that this saga has caused in our country, within the ANC and its alliance partners, let alone the careers it has already destroy. The tragedy is that this is not because of policy differences and/or the future direction of the country. Rather, it is because of how one family has seemingly managed to divide the ruling party , its allies and the country. It is tragic.
It is still early days in the work of the Zondo Commission. Evidence so far led, especially the revelations made by former finance deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas are extremely disturbing. My conclusion is that the republic was about to be stolen or a part of it had in fact been stolen. How does one explain a situation where people who are outside the Executive would have the audacity to tell a serving Deputy Minister that they want him to serve as a Finance Minister so he can do their bidding? And go on to say if he talks they will kill him. This is mafia stuff and should be seen for what it was.
Indeed, who outside government has the right to instruct which top state officials must be fired because they are considered a stumbling block? Nearly the entire top leadership structure of Treasury was allegedly targeted for expulsion because they had dared to hold the line when some around them had already caved in. Another official, Themba Maseko, who used to be the director-general of another department and was a Cabinet spokesperson, did not escape the machinations. From the face of it, and based on the evidence he has given, it would seem he was ultimately removed from his position because he refused to play ball.
With regard to Jonas, I have interactions with him in the past and I personally have no reason to doubt his testimony and integrity. His consistency with the version of events that involved Duduzane Zuma, Fana Hlongwane and the Guptas makes his testimony believable. But Deputy Chief Justice Zondo will have the final word on this. As citizens we will go with what comes out daily before the Commission and make our own conclusions based on the characters involved and their previous conduct. The legal questions we shall leave to legal minds.
Listening to Jonas’ testimony, I was disappointed to hear that at some stage during the unfolding of the events currently being probed, Treasury was isolated and there was even hostility towards it by some within Cabinet. If this is true, a big shame on our Cabinet. Treasury, as the name suggests, is the custodian of the nation’s treasure. The whole Cabinet and parliamentarians of different political hues need to protect with jealousy the nation’s treasure.
Those who sided with the people who wanted to or actually raided the country’s treasure trove must be outed and forced to resign. They must draw a salary from the people whose agenda they wanted to push instead of expecting a salary from us taxpayers. Their hostility to Treasury was actually a hostility to the citizens of this country. What was this hostility in aid of, we should ask them.
In addition to Jonas, we need to see other members of the Executive, both current and former, who know something about state capture coming forward to give evidence before the Commission. It was Albert Einstein who once said: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” I therefore challenge who knows something about this cancer that nearly destroyed our country to come forward and tell the judge what they know.
And let us not lose sight of the fact that all these alleged activities did not take place in a political vacuum. State capture cannot be reduced to one man, however powerful he was. Presidents are part of a collective – in fact the latter is construct of how the ANC defines leadership. Therefore, the ruling party must already start asking: how did this happen on our watch? It may not want to accept any responsibility for state capture but it must at least ask itself that question. After all, it is the ruling party.
In this regard, one should commend the Hawks’ reaction when it came out during Jonas’ evidence that one of its own might have compromised herself during this sordid saga. Maj-Gen Zinhle Mnonopi allegedly wanted to kill an investigation into state capture out of political considerations. National Hawks head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya pledged to take appropriate action against Maj-Gen Mnonopi and has made good on his word.
Without concluding on the guilt or otherwise of Maj-Gen Mnonopi, the leadership of an organization should react in this manner whenever the alleged conduct of one employee threatens to compromise the entire organization. Ultimately, there has to be consequences where wrongdoing has been proven or found.
Which takes us back to the Commission once it has completed its work. The Commission is estimated to take about two years to conclude its work. In the intervening period, it is easy for the public to lose interest in the matter. Also, it is easy for investigators to let up. Were that to happen, it will be a great disservice to the people of South Africa.
We need to see those who did wrong being prosecuted and justice being done.
Comment by : Pastor Ray McCauley
PASTOR RAY IS THE PRESIDENT OF RHEMA FAMILY OF CHURCHES AND CO-CHAIRPERSON OF NATIONAL RELIGIOUS LEADERS COUNCIL ( NLRC)