News / South Africa

Yadhana Jadoo
3 minute read
5 Jun 2017
5:01 am

‘Waiting for inquiry into state capture may mean we’re too late’

Yadhana Jadoo

Analysts say if Zuma and co are robbing SA blind, 'does it make sense to wait for procedures?'

Atul Gupta. Picture: Gallo Images

Waiting until October for a commission of inquiry into state capture to take place is equivalent to allowing crime to happen before one’s eyes, according to political analysts.

This follows the uncovering of a series of e-mails into the Guptas-Zuma relationship in the media, deemed by some to be significant evidence that state capture has engulfed the country, with billions of rands being siphoned offshore.

Urgency is therefore required in tackling this matter, political analyst Ralph Mathekga has said.

“The e-mails are so compelling, the knowledge that we have is such that we can’t wait for October 8.

“If we wait, it’s equivalent to saying let me wait for crime to happen before I appoint a police chief,” he said. “Does it make sense to wait for procedures while crime happens in front of our eyes?

“If we wait from now to October, we accept that we can harbour a president who has no intention to be brought to account.”

Mathekga added that the e-mail saga was a significant development into allegations, and took the matter way above “what we anticipated when we first got ourselves into the discourse of state capture”.

“It’s becoming more severe. There must be a radical approach on this. The more we wait, the more we are likely to be complicit,” Mathekga warned.

The Sunday Times published a story of how the Gupta brothers allegedly bought President Jacob Zuma an extravagant retirement mansion in Dubai worth R330 million. And his neighbour is none other than Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who owns a nearby property.

“The palatial home comes complete with 10 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a double grand staircase, nine reception rooms and space for 11 cars. The top-of-the-range fittings feature an excess of marble, mosaic and gold,” the paper reported. The presidency has called the story a fabrication.

“President Zuma does not own any property outside South Africa and has not requested anybody to buy property for him abroad. The president has also not received or seen the reported e-mails and has no knowledge of them,” the presidency said.

Mathekga said: “If it’s true that he [Zuma] has a place in Dubai, we can now prove it was bought through procedures of crime.

“If those allegations are true, we should begin recovering the money that left our shores. The question now is: should we be waiting for [guilty] people to hide the evidence?

“If it’s true, South Africa may engage in a massive attempt to recover goods and money.”

The fact that Zuma was not challenging the e-mails showed that he was trying to claim its nonexistence, Mathekga added.

“But don’t look just at the president. He will do all he has to to avoid [giving] credibility to his e-mails. Don’t wait on his reaction, he is just party to this issue. We need efforts beyond the president that come from parliament.

“People need to go to court,” Mathekga said.

Fellow political analyst Daniel Silke said unless the matter was dealt with expeditiously and, importantly, in a scrupulous, independent fashion, it would only debilitate the ANC further.

“It will gnaw away at the credibility of the ANC. It’s of critical importance that both externally and internally of the ANC there is a credible and authoritative process,” Silke said.

If this process did not occur, it would undermine the party’s preparations for the 2019 national elections and, moreover, weaken the party’s new leader due to be chosen at the ANC national conference in December.

“A new leader could find the rug pulled out from under them. From a succession point of view, it’s critical that the ANC deals with this matter [now],” Silke said.

The DA said if the story was false, as Zuma claimed, then they challenged the president to take legal action against the newspaper.

“If Jacob Zuma has nothing to hide, then he must proceed with legal action in this matter,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said.

“I will also be addressing this matter with the president, face to face, when he appears in parliament later this month to answer oral questions,” Maimane said.

– yadhanaj@citizen.co.za