The front page story in the Sunday Times this week reads like a crime mystery thriller. Except it isn’t fiction. Six men have been arrested for the salying of a whistle-blower who was ready to expose a racket involving huge amounts of money stolen from the State in the notorious PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) scandal.
The deceased was investigating tender corruption of almost R300 million in the Government Dept of Health. Those millions were stolen by fraudsters and connected cadres and this brave lady, who had just dropped off her kid at school, was brazenly shot repeatedly in broad daylight through the window of her motor car.
The cops worked tirelessly to put all the clues together and within 48 hours had enough evidence to arrest these gangsters from KZ-N. They had been paid big bucks (allegedly over R2 million) to get rid of this accountant who was about to blow them out the water in an upcoming court case in Johannesburg. The suspicion is that these well paid hit-men are for hire from the taxi industry.
Ramaphosa in his weekly newsletter on Monday paid tribute to Babita Deokaran, the murdered whistle-blower, but we have heard many of his concerns before and then very little happens quickly enough or even at all. He wants whistle blowers protected. Prof Ivor Saransky makes the important point that there would be no need for such protection if our public governance system functioned properly. The result of this lack of action to protect whistleblowers is that honest people are too scared to come forth to expose the culprits. But to know who killed this brave lady is not enough; the police must get to the bottom of this to find out who the masterminds are.
‘Accountability Now’ proactively advocates the establishment of an independent ‘Chapter 9’ institution to combat serious corruption. Paul Hoffman SC, writes and talks regularly about the Glenister judgements in which the Constitutional Court set the criteria for such an institution. It would be free of party or executive interference. No official response yet, save that the prosecution service has noted the proposed changes without objecting to them. For more detail visit the Chapter Nine page of www.accountabilitynow.org.za. Who sees the situation in this country better than Zapiro? This cartoon is from the Daily Maverick earlier in the week
There is another good news story involving the police—and I really haven’t been able to report on many over the last long while. Two of the key figures in the KZN chaos of a few weeks ago have been arrested. This has taken longer than promised and the list of a dozen names of high ranking ANC officials that Ramaphosa referred to just after the insurrection is still not divulged. At least with this start, hopefully we will find out who the other protagonists are and hopefully they will get their comeuppance.
At last it does seem as if there is consequence to the blatant corruption that has plagued us for so long.
This week the Special Tribunal, set up by Cyril to investigate fraud and corruption ordered a former executive of Transnet to pay back R24.6 million. Herbert Msagala was found guilty of disgorgement of secret funds and some of his co-accused were also ordered to make repayments to Transnet. This fellow’s houses, farm and 26 motor vehicles including the Ferrari have all been forfeited to the State. Two others, accused with him, have also been found guilty and hopefully will go to jail.
Then yesterday we learnt that the Director-General of International Relations and Co-operation was found guilty of wasteful and irregular expenditure to the tune of R118 million. The deal for a New York property fell through and we got nothing for the money but according to the accused he did nothing wrong and he intends to appeal the matter. With these mamparas running the country are you surprised to learn that the ANC is in serious financial trouble? It hasn’t paid staff for months and the staff at Luthuli House are threatening a strike. The party is now considering crowd-funding to solve their problem. Their blatant lack of organisational ability was also in the news this week when it was disclosed that in 37 municipalities the ANC have not been able to nominate potential councillors for the up-coming municipal elections. They ran out of the stipulated time for nominees to be recorded as candidates with the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission).
Eskom released its figures this week and they are better but NOT good. The loss for the year is R18.9 billion and Eskom owes more than R400 billion. The figure that got us to sit up and take notice of the shambles at Eskom is that municipalities owe the power utility R39 billion. Can you imagine supplying a customer who continually just doesn’t pay notwithstanding promises? What kind of operation did this SOE run? No wonder Eskom has just announced another electricity tariff increase.
I feel sorry for André de Ruyter who is trying so very hard to steady the ship. He has already got rid of some of the dead wood, but by his own admission, he still has a long way to go. The governing party is trying to have the Constitution amended because it did not comply with IEC time limits to nominate candidates in 93 wards in the upcoming municipal elections. The ANC is in disarray and when you realise that only 27 out of our 257 municipalities got clean audits you can understand the in-fighting in the party for members desperate to get near the trough (of finance) that is the likely cause of the discord in the party. The ANC was thinking of taking the IEC to court to have them overturn their rules and extend, because of Covid, time limits for nominations but now seems to have changed its mind. Do they know something the other parties don’t?
Will the Con Court delay these elections?
When it comes to Stalingrad tactics Zuma really is in a class of his own. There is a court order to advise Zuma that the doctors nominated by the NPA should examine him and verify his condition after his doctors declared that he is unfit to stand trial for 6 months.
What is ailing him? We don’t know and his lawyers want to postpone the case that he is facing as Accused No 1 for another 18 months because of his secret medical condition. He refuses to have the NPA doctors coming near him. Typically he plays the victim and claims that the State never believes anything about him. What now? Another contempt of court order and more jail time?
Probably. This week there has again been lots in the press about the Western Cape breaking away from the rest of SA. Independence for us here seems ludicrous and highly unlikely but 58% of those polled would like to have a referendum to test broad public opinion. A little while ago I attended a CT Press Club meeting where Corné Mulder of the Freedom Front +, the political party with strong Afrikaner support, addressed the audience and their clique is 100% in favour of a split for the Western Cape.
The Judge President of the Western Cape, John Hlophe, has been found guilty of gross misconduct by the Judicial Services Commission. Did it take more than 13 years because of cadre-deployment or was it his Stalingrad tactics, learnt from his good buddy, Jacob Zuma, no doubt, that kept him in office with a top salary. It took the JSC that long to find out that he is not fit and proper to be a Judge. Will he now be impeached, as he should be and lose all his privileges? That depends on whether three quarters of MPs in Parliament vote to have him impeached. Unemployment is a big topic here. Week after week, month after month and year after year there are webinars, discussions, articles in the newsprint and government ministers talking about it and what can be done about it. David Doubell in The Daily Friend got it just right with his comment about the ANC always blaming Apartheid for their mismanagement of the economy with this cartoon:
Cape Town dams are 101% full. What a winter we are having! It’s cold and it’s wet, just like it’s supposed to be at this time of the year and there was even snow on Table Mountain. We don’t know too much about global warming here in the Western Cape, fortunately.
SAA says it will take to the skies again later this month. They have opened bookings. But in my opinion there are still too many funding questions to make this objective of theirs a reality. They have been grounded for 16 months and the cost of re-capitalising the company has ballooned from R10 billion to R16.5 billion.
That’s not peanuts and then their planes are old. What with old planes and demoralised staff, I suspect few will choose SAA over an alternative.
I would like to wish all my Jewish readers a Happy and Healthy New Year and Well over the Fast.
Who would have thought? WP went to Durban to play the Sharks and won! And they thus qualify to make it into the semi-final of the Currie Cup. If they can beat the Sharks at home, can they repeat the feat and beat the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday and make it into the final?
The Premiership match on Sunday was not the walkover we had hoped for and expected. Watford came to show how they earned their promotion and came out with all guns firing. Eventually the third 1-0 victory was good enough for Spurs to top the table at this very early stage of league.
So it’s COYS.
The usual suspects got together yesterday for the first time in quite a while to celebrate Henry’s birthday with him. Dennis, that character of note, was late but nothing starts without him so we waited. Robin asked me, while we were waiting, what COYS meant and why I so often end my newsletter with that.
Paul was at the table and being a Spurs fan, knew. Winston didn’t know what we were talking about, but Henry did.
I was happy to tell Robin it stands for “Come on you Spurs” and only is used when the English Premiership is in full flight.
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