A South African leader insists ‘We are not for sale’

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President

Mar. 28, 2016 (GIN) – South Africans are rising up against the outsized influence of corporate entities and wealthy individuals allegedly doling out contracts and jobs within the ANC.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, at a recent event, rebutted the charge, declaring the ANC was not for sale and anyone who wanted to capture the state should “go next door.” Speaking to about 1,500 professionals and academics at the ANC event in Sandton last week, Ramaphosa declared: “Those who want to capture the ANC and influence it to advance personal or corporate interests, you have come to the wrong address. Try next door. We will not be captured.”
A South Asian family close to the president who allegedly peddled jobs within the government was not the only one exploiting their connections, he added. “There are a number of others as well, and we are saying to all and sundry, stop in your tracks, we will not allow that.”
But questions continue to be raised including at a seminar last week hosted by the Association of Public Administration and Management. Political influence by corporate entities and wealthy individuals is “at pornographic levels,” said businessman and policy analyst FM Lucky Mathebula. “That is why we hear calls of the removal of the president and regime change.”
Political analyst professor at the University of Pretoria, Tinyiko Maluleka, said state capture was “insidious,” and became entrenched over time. “The idea that two or three people capture the state in one day is useless,” said Maluleka.
Former African National Congress Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola said the problem was not just corruption.
“This is about democracy where unelected people are able to influence the decision to appoint ministers… “This is kleptocracy,” he added, “where a few elites are able to control and direct the state, a serious subversion of democracy.”
Last week the group Equal Education released a statement calling state capture by the rich and powerful “a mortal threat to democracy” and pledged to join a “week of outrage” with other movement groups. “When our democratic state is put into the top pocket of a few rich people” then “the working class and the unemployed, the poor and the historically looted – the black majority – are attacked and further looted”.
Meanwhile, President Zuma’s daughter, Thuthukile Zuma, a recent graduate in anthropology, has been awarded a high profile tender as a supplier to a prominent local company involved in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas. Just prior to this, Thuthukile was the chief of staff in the Dept of Telecommunications and Postal Services.
At 27, she is the youngest of President Zuma’s four daughters with his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

South African ANC elders fear party is ‘drifting from its ideals

South Africa

South African poster for Human Rights Day

Mar. 21, 2016 (GIN) – The usual celebrations marking Human Rights Day on March 21 were upstaged this year by an epic scandal that has shaken the party at its highest level.  Little else has captured the attention of South Africa’s citizens over the past weeks as much as the story of government job peddling by wealthy friends of the president, Jacob Zuma. The alleged peddling came to light when a deputy in the finance ministry said he was called by the influential Indian-South African Gupta family to a meeting where, without any ANC official present, they offered him the Treasury’s top post, which he declined. The allegation sparked talk of a “state capture” by the business class, divvying up jobs and other contracts and making political decisions based on self-enrichment.
Veteran anti-apartheid fighters were shocked and dismayed. In an open letter signed by The Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, they expressed their fears.
This is a “difficult time in the history of the ANC and our country,” they began. While such periods have been resolved before, they said, “we are deeply concerned about the current course on which our country is headed. We believe this course is contrary to the individual and collective legacy of our Founders.”
“We hear what ordinary South Africans tell us through our work, and are challenged by friends and comrades who witness cumulative fragmentation of the ANC, a great organization our Founders helped build and sustain over generations… It seems to us that the ANC has significantly drifted away from the ideals to which our Founders and many others dedicated their lives.
“In the spirit of our Founders, we cannot passively watch these deeply concerning developments unfold and get worse by the day.”
The letter writers appealed to the National Executive Committee of the ANC to take note of the mood of the people across the country.
“History will judge the ANC leadership harshly if it fails to take the decisions that will restore the trust and confidence of the people of South Africa,” they warned, adding an invitation to seek their counsel. “Our doors are open!”
Members of the party’s senior ranks expressed support for the president but offered to investigate Zuma’s relationship with the Guptas and whether it has started a process of “state capture.”
Meanwhile, President Zuma addressed a full house at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durham on the occasion of Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre, whose theme this year is “South Africans United Against Racism.”