If you haven’t yet read Jaques Pauw’s explosive book, The President’s Keepers: those keeping Zuma in power and out of prison, then you really ought to.
Counterintuitively, it reads like a spy novel, rather than an information-dense exposé, which puts into perspective so much of what has happened in the past 10 years.
It is a veritable page-turner which every South African ought to read, not because it is so well-written, but because the reaction to its publication provides prima facie evidence, the veritable smoking gun, that the allegations of state capture ventilated in State of Capture, the swansong investigation and report of former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, are undeniable.
Think about it. No sooner had the book hit the shelves, than two of the most heavily implicated state institutions – the State Security Agency (SSA) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) – reacted publicly, threatening all manner of legal retribution if the book was not immediately withdrawn.
The suborning of virtually every state institution to the will and benefit of one man and his band of supporters notwithstanding, the indefatigably free and fearless Fourth Estate and publishing sector, literally lifted its collective middle finger in response to the naked threats made, thereby guaranteeing that the book would be even more widely read than it would have been, if the SSA and SARS had simply remained silent.
Which brings to mind that lovely South African adage: Daar is geen pille vir dom nie (There is no pill for stupidity).
The overwhelming flood of evidence of state capture – initially denied but never disproved or challgened in a court of law – which flooded our media space when the #GuptaLeaks emails became a matter of public record in early June, handily filled in the blanks in Ms Madonsela’s report, and those of the faith and academic communities, yet the response of the key state institutions which ought to have grasped the nettle and launched investigations into the allegations was – silence.
The Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the SSA and SARS all had before them an overwhelming blizzard of evidence that there was substance to the allegations of state capture, the investigation of which fell fairly and squarely within their respective jurisdictions.
None of them, not one, made any form of annoucement that they would be launching an investigation of any kind, for the next two months, until NPA head Shaun Abrahams announced at the end of July, that he had assembled a team of prosecutors to aid the Hawks’ investigation into state capture, but that investigation was limited to the allegations contained in Ms Madonsela’s report, which we now know, literally only scratched the surface.
When pressed, the likes of Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi, as recently as Thursday October 26, was unsurprisingly coy about who had been interviewed in relation to the Hawks’ state capture investigation, and why.
In the face of a deafening silence from our organs of state mandated to protect us from the predations of those accused of state capture, we see foreign investigative agencies – the FBI and the British Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority – pursuing enquires in their respective jusrisdictions, which directly involve 10 Gupta family members, and a host of South Africans, including but not limited to President Jacob Zuma, his ex-wife and presidential hopeful Nkosasana Dlamini Zuma, Mr Zuma’s children Duduzane, Duduzile, Edward and Mxolisi, and his nephew Khulubuse, among many others.
All of which begs the question: how much more evidence do the organs of state that are constitutionally mandated to protect the intregrity of our state need, in order to diligently investigate, charge, try and convict those who have all but destroyed our country?
The SSA at the very least, ought to have clearly identified the massive threat posed to the security of the state by the likes of Bell Pottinger, and by direct association, Bell Pottinger’s paymasters, the Gupta family.
Instead, it takes the publication of a book, which directly implicates some of the most powerful people in South Africa in the complete suborning of the state to private interests, to launch a misdirection inititative designed to protect the very people that the SSA – in co-operation with other equally compromised agencies – ought to be indefatibably pursuing, but will not.