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Not until high-flying parliamentarians are brought to book will the efforts to fight corruption be taken seriously
Mr President, two weeks ago I persuaded you to nudge the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to bring us some real drama. I got the target wrong, my apologies.
But the drama of the predawn raid of the VBS (8), the “VBS Heist Gang”, across Gauteng and Limpopo targeting seven properties, is enough to atone for the lackadaisical approach of the NPA during the reign of Shaun “The Sheep” Abrahams. The co-ordinated multi-province search and seizure operation brought back memories of yore. It had all the hallmarks of the television prosecution-led investigations and raids made famous by the erstwhile Scorpions. I was getting tired of watching repeats of the Zooming with the Zumas show. It is nothing but political mumbo-jumbo that lacks the most basic technical aspects of even an amateurish YouTube video. Mr President, it has been reported that the VBS raids, which have already seen a grown man weep, and other accused pleading poverty, are but part one of bringing the VBS Heist Gang to book. Pleading poverty is of course an irony in that the VBS Heist Gang are being arraigned before the courts for taking part in the pillaging of no less than R2.3-billion.
The NPA remains tight-lipped about part two of the VBS Monopoly money drama series. My guess, my leader, is that part two will shake the foundations of the political elite across the country, from Musina in Limpopo to the West Rand in Gauteng.
For starters, uBhuti ka Brian, Floyd Shivambu, of the famous Grand “Theft” Azania Company, and uBaba ka Ratanang, he of the Ratanang Trust, Julius Malema, won’t be left unscathed. If justice is blind both Shivambu and Malema will co-star in the VBS Monopoly money drama series part two. As a country, we need iconic pictures of both of them being read their rights on live telly.
If this series is to be a blockbuster as it has been billed to be, then it must also cause seismic activity at Luthuli House. There are no less than 14 ANC cadres deployed in various municipalities and outside who not only are alleged to have facilitated the looting but also received “gratuitous” benefits.” If this pre-dawn raid is done right, our news media will benefit from fresh and exciting content after more than three months of rolling coverage of the hurricane that is Covid-19.
While the NPA’s and Hawks’ recent activity is a breath of fresh air, Mr President, what this country needs is the bringing to book of the former ministers and high-flying ANC fixers who looted the fiscus during the “nine lost years”. I have a list if Advocate Shamila Batohi doesn’t do proper filing. The obsession with bringing to trial uBaba ka Duduzane as a sacrificial lamb of some sort is an outdated nonsense that even your shadows no longer believe in. Someone sold off R5-billion worth of SA oil reserves at a bargain price $28 a barrel when the going price was around $49 a barrel. The key suspect in this matter sleeps nicely at her home like a shebeen queen would sleep midweek before the month-end, weekend-combo revellers descend on her place. Someone issued a statement and lied about the decisions of cabinet in contravention of the law. He is still prancing around like a vetkoek made from self-raising flour. Another former minister sent cabinet documents to the Guptas, thus divulging state secrets; she is still stealing oxygen that is meant for the people of South Africa. Some people splashed over R200-million on “security upgrades” at uBaba’s iNkandla compound; no head of department or ministers have been criminally charged. At least two former premiers are alleged to have used the coffers of the State as a piggy bank for their families and friends. Over 100 trees have been sacrificed in printing books and newspapers about this grand theft, yet the pair are free to roam the streets and sit in the highest decision-making body of your party. They are closer to the throne than St Paul was to Jesus.
Unless one of your own, Mr President, is wearing orange overalls, all these exciting raids and pending cases will only provide entertainment value to surpass uBaba’s “I am innocent” YouTube video chats with his favourite son Duduzane. Mr President, your waning star, as a lone graft fighter will be resuscitated only if the criminal justice system starts eating the mothers, fathers and grandfathers of the revolution.
Till next week my man.
This Letter to Mahlamba Ndlopfu is written by Bhekisisa Mncube, a former Zulu ambassador based in Pretoria, now a self-appointed presidential special envoy. He is an author and former senior Witness political journalist.
This opinion piece was first published in the Witness