“It’s almost morning. You
can’t tell whether it’s day or night”. Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth says
these words in response to her husband’s question of what time it is on
this troubled night, following a chilling monologue where he says:
There’s an old saying: the dead will have
their revenge. Gravestones have been known to move, and trees to speak,
to bring guilty men to justice. The craftiest murderers have been
exposed by the mystical signs made by crows and magpies. How late at
night is it?
The SACC has been receiving reports from many people, of corruption
and maladministration at municipal, provincial and national government;
involving stand-alone individual business interests or bigger corporate
interests. We have anecdotes, some of which are in the public domain and
yet others involve people who have preferred to remain undeclared –
fearing for their lives and their families. Can they now be liberated
and speak out even like Macbeth’s trees that speak, “to bring guilty men
Last Sunday, SABC’s Sophie Mokoena appealed for someone to tell if
the Guptas or other private players ever approached one with any offer
of a government position for the benefit of private interests. With the
Jonas/Mentor revelations, should Sophie and the South African public,
rejoice for the light shown onto our painful realities, or rather lament
the darkness of our alleys that they expose?
The revelations by Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas and Ms. Vytjie
Mentor, tell us that there are people who are ready to stand for the
truth, even at a cost, where eternal silence could be a safer option.
This ushers the dawn of the day when the light will overcome the
darkness – encouraging others sitting with their stories to emerge, to
lance the boil to be cleaned up once and for all.
Yet the frightening thought that government may have been mortgaged
to a private family through the outsourcing of the strategic
constitutional duty of the President to appoint and dismiss the cabinet
ministers is disconcerting. That spells the darkness of our situation.
Well has Lady Macbeth said: “It’s almost morning. You can’t tell whether
it’s day or night”.
Vyntjie Mentor claims that as far back as 2010, she was approached
and offered the cabinet position that oversees State-owned enterprises,
this with certain specific requirements of private business interests,
on which she would be required to deliver. President Zuma reshuffled
his cabinet some four times in his first term: October 2010, October
2011, June 2012; and July 2013. Save for the election years of 2009 and
2014, the Cabinet has had changes annually. Then in September 2015 there
was the Ramatlhodi side shift that raised some eyebrows in the mining
sector. He was replaced with Mr. Mosebenzi Zwane whose Gupta links
included the Waterkloof Airforce Base Gupta wedding landing and the Free
State dairy farm, Krynaauwslust.
The late 2015 cabinet reshuffle season ended with what rivaled the
legendary Ali Shuffle – Nhlanhla, Van Rooyen, Gordhan, all within the
At the time of the December “Ali Shuffle”, the SACC wrote to
President Zuma to express our serious concerns over his action in the
context of the country’s poor credit ratings that may hurtle to junk
status, and the impact thereof on the livelihoods of poor families and
the consequent instability to arise. We pointed to the matter of the
public perceptions that accompanied the Nene dismissal, undermining
public confidence in the Executive and the Person of the President.
“It’s almost morning. You can’t tell whether it’s day or night”!
Three things stand out for me with the Jonas revelation:
Reversing the trend might be as hard to change as reversing a
compulsive eating disorder. Will those with the tradition of selfless
service in the ANC claim the rock bed of the movement, leaving the
turbid agents of impropriety as the rogue exception before they become
the norm of ANC culture. Jim Collins on How the Mighty Fall has five
steps to organizational collapse, the mid-point is “denial of risk or
peril”, ANC needs political and moral courage to avoid that. Do we have
the quality? Let it be day!