‘State Capture’ corruption revelations have gripped South Africa

“Leaders of the ANC are being severely humiliated,” says political analyst Ralph Mathekga
Pravin Gordhan, South African Minister of public Enterprise, returns after a lunch break at the hearings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State on November 19, 2018 in Johannesburg. (Photo by Wikus de Wet / AFP)

Christmas gifts

The current minister of environmental affairs Nomvula Mokonyane, who served as Zuma’s minister of water and sanitation between 2014 and 2018, got 50,000 rand in cash monthly, according to Agrizzi. 

Bosasa, he said, paid for funerals for Mokonyane’s deceased family members and rented cars for her daughter for months at a time.

Each Christmas, he said, he would send her 120 cases of cold drinks, four cases of high-quality whisky, 40 cases of beer, eight butchered lambs,12 cases of frozen chicken and 200 kilogrammes (440 pounds) of barbecue beef, as well as bottles of brandy and speciality alcohol.

Mokonyane, according to the local media, has complained that the commission breached her right to fairness — that she was not advised of the testimony ahead of schedule in order to provide a timely rebuttal.

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Zuma’s turn as head of state came to an end last February, when he was replaced by his vice president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Tarnished image

Eager to distance himself from the scandal-strewn Zuma era, Ramaphosa declared his presidency was a “new dawn” for South Africa.

But the tableau of graft emerging at the commission — which includes a poorly explained donation from Bosasa for Ramaphosa’s own political campaign in 2017 — has caused many to think of a dark past, not a brighter future.

In image terms, the immediate loser is the ANC, which faces elections in May.

“Leaders of the ANC are being severely humiliated,” political analyst Ralph Mathekga says.

“There is no way that you can hijack state institutions without starting with the ANC.”

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The party of freedom icon Nelson Mandela has ruled since the end of apartheid 25 years ago and is tipped to win the elections this time despite faltering support, internal divisions and a sluggish economy.

But Mathekga said the very explosiveness of the charges risks breeding a “level of cynicism that might not be healthy for democracy.”

The ANC may well win, but at the cost of voter alienation, a situation that arose in local government elections in 2016, he said.

Ramaphosa, for his part, says that in inquiries of this kind pain is part of the process of healing.

“People are impatient… but I’m saying, ‘let’s allow this to happen and the stories to come out and then later on we will then be able to take action’,” he told local news station eNCA from Davos where he was attending the World Economic Forum.

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“It’s a difficult process, a cathartic process — a very painful process.”


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