It is tempting to feel sorry for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) over their failure to hold on to the assets of the Gupta brothers and others that had been frozen over their alleged involvement in the Estina dairy farm money laundering. Even the erstwhile first son who went into hiding when his father was removed as president emerged on Twitter to decry how everybody had been fooled by white monopoly capital into believing all was not well during his father’s time in the Union Buildings.
It is easy to forget that barely four months ago South Africa was still in the grip of a tyrannical ruler hellbent on stealing everything he could lay his hands on. Frankly, it is too tiring to hear about the same wayward ruler over and over again. Which is why we might be tempted to excuse the ineptitude of Shaun Abrahams and his lieutenants at the NPA over their bungling of a case that should be serving as the first of many triumphs the people of this country deserve of those that sought to milk them (pardon the pun) dry.
We dare not forget the NPA folded its arms and watched the frenzied looting that went on. Even when it became clear the Gupta brothers and Jacob Zuma’s own son would flee from justice, Abrahams barely raised a whimper. He effectively gave them a free pass.
Trevor Manuel recently came in for fierce criticism when he pointed out to his comrades the damaging effects of Zuma’s rule would be with us for years to come. Again, that’s a reminder too painful to hear in the midst of Ramaphosa’s uplifting rule. We prefer JZ to be “out of sight, out of mind”.
Every second morning we wake up to another violent cash-in-transit heist. Police intelligence offices seem to be caught on the back foot each time, with the criminals seeming more brazen. Who would ever have thought they would attack and bomb two cash vehicles at one go as they did in Boksburg three weeks ago? Yet they did.
See, while crime intelligence was busy fighting within its own ranks over who could shield Zuma better, criminals went to work. When our then top cop, Kgomotso Phahlane, was appearing in court over alleged bribes he received during Zuma’s rule, criminals plotted how to gain back all the ground they had lost to the police over the years. Tired as we might be of hearing about the debilitating years of Zuma’s rule, we will live with the consequences of his destructive years for years to come. Manuel, although he kept quiet when we needed him most, is right about the damage.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has had to embarrassingly backtrack on more than one occasion since she took office in 2016. Her office, which her predecessor Thuli Madonsela had elevated to heights that seemed above reproach during her seven-year term, has now become not only a lame duck in the pursuit of those who looted our coffers, but a constant and sore reminder of South Africa’s dark decade since 1994.
She recently had to backtrack on a crucial appointment in her office. Ordinarily this would be nothing out of the ordinary, but remembering all the backtracking that Zuma did with his appointments is a sore reminder that even the latest public protector was appointed during his rule.