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Of mice and men, and what the state capture inquiry tells us

Yes, there is corruption and cadre deployment. But don’t worry. Be happy. Be grateful.
‘I am not buying the reforming-party narrative,’ says the author. Image: Supplied

The Zondo Commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture is characterised by long-winded unnecessary opening statements, mostly gobbledygook ramblings, and at times telenovela-like testimonies.

In recent weeks we know from ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa’s testimony that the party distances itself from those who enabled state capture. Two things stood out, the Damocles’ sword of cadre deployment and the admission (at last) by an ANC leader that there is corruption within the party and some members complicit in corruption.

Fellow Moneyweb scribe Barbara Curson correctly points out, in Ramaphosa – ANC distances itself from those complicit in state capture (April 29), that it cannot be that, based on Ramaphosa’s testimony, South Africans must cheerfully overlook the rot that has taken hold in government and society simply because the country is democratic and the people are enjoying associated freedoms.

Don’t worry. Be happy

There is something unsettling about a leader who thinks one can overlook the bad (state capture and corruption) because, despite the damage, there has been something good in that South Africa is a democratic state that can pride itself on accurate gender representation in boardrooms.

As Curson succinctly states: “State capture has bankrupted South Africa, but we must celebrate the fact that we have gender balance.”

On the question of cadre deployment – well, between Ramaphosa’s views on cadre deployment, Gwede Mantashe’s long-winded often-detouring attempts to explain how the process works, and Lucky Montana’s inferences that cadre deployment became an instrument of nefarious acts and stealing – observers must be wondering what South Africans have done to deserve this kind of leadership.

Read Curson’s reports for concise views of the above:

In true no-honour-among-thieves displays, individuals – whether advertently or inadvertently complicit in corruption, be it in their roles as deployed cadres across SOEs (state-owned entities) or other positions, and those who have endorsed state capture – are now being thrown under the bus.

Change is coming …

Paradoxically, in his testimony Ramaphosa spoke of a party that is undergoing a period of reform.

One cannot help but wonder if this reform means another ‘group’ or faction’s time to eat.

The other and perhaps deeper reason for the claim about reforming the party is the wider gulf between Ramaphosa and his supporters, and those who are:

  • Perceived as posing a threat to their rule through their support for suspended ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule and former president Jacob Zuma, and
  • Those who are next in line or possible future party and/or faction leaders.

I am not buying the ‘reforming party narrative’. It is false and misleading because we know from the early years of Zuma’s dominance that the ANC is incapable of self-correcting; nor is it known for punishing wrongdoing.

Instead, as we have seen at the Zondo Commission, the elected leaders of the ANC have never ceased to pour out rhetoric about the credentials for liberation and the relevance of the party in SA.

Be grateful 

‘Be grateful’ is a narrative that is forced down the public’s throat to keep the people preoccupied with their fight for freedom and democracy. Here, the liberation rhetoric has become a tool to keep the masses pliant and perpetually grateful for their freedoms.

Nobody has asked, at least not out loud, why Ramaphosa as leader of the ANC feels it is okay to admit that corruption has set in within his beloved movement; that it is okay to have corrupt practices among his comrades; that it is okay to still proclaim that cadre deployment continues.

Is this not a reflection of the arrogance of a party that assumes it will remain in power for a long time; the arrogance of politicians who seem assured that their power is supreme.

The root cause of the ruling party’s arrogance and entitlement is not so much that they want to govern forever, but rather to have the public beholden to them.

Without this token or moniker of the liberation movement, the ANC is nothing if not just another political party that can be voted in and out of power.


This raises the question – would the ordinary voter be equally tolerant of failures, collective and individual corruption, looting, and the bankrupting of government if this was a random party? I think not.

We are tired, gatvol, of listening and watching the grand scale of corruption and stealing playing out, with no alternative or way out as an outcome of the ANC being at crossroads itself.

Susan Sontag, the American writer and activist, considered keeping many positions open – a ruling party, a nation’s leader, a liberation movement – in the hope that one position would correct the other, instead of the vacillation we are witnessing.

It is these positions that have led to the present, because it is not only the ANC that will defend these positions; it is also the individuals and groups within the party that still think there are positions to be defended.

They defend them because they fear that if they don’t the people will see the hollowness and irrelevance of their movement.

The Zondo Commission has revealed that this mess is not going anywhere anytime soon.

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A new broom sweeps clean, and as such, no ‘re-…’ of anything will be as effective. Least of all a party that was founded over a century ago!

A most informative and insightful article. Thank you.

I’d welcome an article from you on the absence of any semblance of a moral compass in the ANC today and how this absence developed. There must have been at sometime in the past with men of the stature of Luthuli and Mandela at the helm. Or is a moral compass a western concept?

What morals?
Evidence clearly shows that things like honour, integrity honesty, ethics, conscience, accountability are unknown to the ruling party.

Just as Ace was know as Mr. 10%. The ANC worked along similar lines; a portion of a tender used to go towards the ANCs election coffers; as a table in the front, whether there was conferences.

During the 1st election (1995); this is where it started. The NATs had long term backers; and the ANC has to start from scratch.

Yes, the last was in 1914 when the young Albert Luthuli attended the Ohlange Institute boarding school, run by Dr John Dube, the founding President of the South African Native National Council. Here Albert studied for two terms before being transferred to a Methodist institution at Edendale, near Pietermaritzburg to undergo a teachers’ training course.

The cadre deployment rubs me the wrong way. How can your “credentials for liberation” be more important than your ability to perform your job? Government and all businesses should be able to employ the best person for the job regardless of any arbitrary characteristics or non-academic qualifications that person has. All government tenders should be available online (unless it compromises state security as adjudged by an independent panel) so that we can see where our money goes. There must be audit trails for every cent that government spends.

Thank you – Your last sentence says it al…!

And how many millions did the pore pay just to reveal that….

and it was already know long before Zondo started.

Well…a thought provoking article, thank you.
All I can say is “ rather the devil you know than the devil you don’t!”
Choosing between a rock and a hard place is always difficult. And at this stage CR seems like the only choice.
He talks the talk…now he must walk the walk. If he does not then god help us all!

“It is better to reign in hell than serve in heaven” is the wide belief held by the average ANC voter. Apparently to vote for the DA means that grand Apartheid in all its glory like passbooks, influx control, group areas and the homelands system will be reintroduced in an instant.

The only possible reason anybody votes for the anc knowing the extent of the rot is to get something for free or get a chance at the troth.

Maybe time for all those yellow green and black cadres to zip it and stop crying.

Go look in the mirror and give yourself a slap as hard as you can!!

TSK!!! These people.

to the author: 100% – You have nailed it on the head!!!!

Good article.
Lack of accountability seems to be the problem. If the ANC has deducted pension contributions from its employees and not paid this to the pension fund, is this not a crime of theft? Who is going to get criminally charged….? ….Nobody?
If the ANC is refusing to investigate Karpowership allegations, how can Mr Ramaphosa tell the commission and citizens that they will be doing more to stop corruption?

It may be one thing to simply accept a corrupt government as the price to pay for keeping the poor masses in control.

But it’s the collateral damage which will be much harder to control. Because of the dismantling of the system of justice, there is a grave risk that organized crime takes control of the economy. Like in Venezuela. We are already seeing brazen acts of impunity from poaching to the capture of mines and construct sites.

Once this takes hold, it would take a supreme effort by any future political dispensation to regain control. Life would be defined by the demands of crime bosses. We already have whole communities in the Cape whose lives are so dominated and where the normal rules of law Andy order don’t apply.

Corruption is illegal plunder. The Zuma-faction are guilty of illegal plunder while BEE is legalized plunder. Therefore, the ANC cannot act against plunder because it has legalized plunder.

By its very nature, an investor is someone who has accumulated saved earnings. The only way to acquire saved earnings is by consuming less than what you earn. To consume less than what you earn, you need financial discipline, a future-orientated mindset, and a basic understanding of the power of compound interest. This why legally acquired wealth is merely a reflection of the character, work ethic, discipline, and mindset of the saver. Only those individuals who add sufficient value to society have the ability to earn more than what they consume. This implies that to build wealth, one has to add value to society first. This is how the capitalist system rewards individuals for their service to society.

That is why a BEE scheme is nothing more than a glorified social grant, sponsored by investors who have the proper mindset. Therefore, BEE is a mindset tax. It aims to redistribute the effects of functional cognitive ability among those who do not have it.

If the law enables and enforces this process of the consumption of productive assets, then the law enables legalized plunder and economic decay. The law rewards the consumption mindset and punishes the frugality mindset. This can only lead to rising unemployment and an exploding Debt/GDP ratio.

Just a dam pity the anc is too incompetent to understand the actual 100% negative effect bee and the dream world the party leaders are living in has on the economy – the fact that the anc as a political party themselves encounter financial problems spells it out loud and clear. – forcing active sa professional people to work overseas / emigrate, but willing to pay a R1000mil to cubans to repair army equipment in all probability originally made in south africa – state of eskom /etc is therefor no wonder

It is naïve to think that for some reason SA will miraculously be different to the rest of Africa. History shows exactly where we are headed and it’s pointless trying to argue logic with greed, corruption and outdated ideologies. There is no starving, reality and poverty within government. As long as we are renaming streets we are making progress towards upliftment for all. Never before in the history of rule did one small country have so many ‘frameworks’, meetings, plans, committees, endabas co-committees, councils yet achieve so little.

It simply takes us longer to get there because we had the largest economy in Africa with one of the best financial systems, and some of the best entrepreneurs in the world. A financial system is only as strong as the state. A state is only as strong as its institutions, which, in a democracy, reflects the mental capacity, levels of education, and mindset of the average voter.

The level of education of the average local voter, relative to voters in Zimbabwe, Argentina, and Venezuela, indicates where our economic realities will settle relative to theirs. We cannot, over the longer term, have a stronger currency than those countries, if our voter material is weaker than theirs.

The state capture inquiry tells us that:
– that the ANC have used the cadre deployment and vote buying patronage system to devastate the economy;
– that the ANC is not a liberation movement but a bunch of corrupt thieves;
– that the cANCer has infiltrated everything in SA;
– that we will never be a modern industrial economy with the ANC in place;
– that there is something seriously wrong with our electoral system;
– that the average black voter is seriously ignorant;
– that the ANC has stolen the freedom from all South Africans;
– that the ANC has painted our rainbow black and white;
– that the ANC is desperately trying to cling onto race based politics for keeping relevant and in power;
– etc etc etc.

Some of these guys sold us out for a few hundred thousand

Yes, Mamokgethi, we are tired, desperately so. Especially knowing what is possible here with our talents and resources as a nation.

But according to the many comments in feedback in social media, there are many, many Black people who prefer the current situation than the alternative of a perceived reversion to a “white government”.

So there we go … us mice will simply have to be content with a few crumbs of cheese or if young and confident enough to fight the rats and cats overseas.

Meanwhile, it seems Zuma’s court appearance will be delayed year again …. sigh.

1. Free from what?
2. It seems as if George Orwell’s Animal Farm is playing off right in front of us all.
3. I cannot believe that making a single sacrifice of a high-level individual will change the endemic culture of the organization in power overnight.
4. There has been talking of change now for decades. At a similar length of same time this talking has been going on, Japan built itself up from total ruins to being a world power.

Less talk, more action.
Fewer promises, more results.

The problem with Democracy applied in Africa is that an assumption is made that the average voter is not held back by cultural bondages (you will vote what the village chief tells you to vote) as well as a minimum level of insight, reasoning and intelligence (intelligence that is greater than just that required for breathing and breeding).

End of comments.



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