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Zuma accuses Ramaphosa of seeking ‘white validation’ . . . . Here’s the former president’s scathing letter to his successor in full

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Dear Mr President,

Mr President Ramaphosa, as one of the members of the ANC, I have also received your open letter, written to all members of the ANC. This is indeed an unusual act by the leader of our movement. Given the nature and seriousness of the matters raised in your letter, I have decided to take an unusual decision to respond to your letter, in writing, which is something I am not used to because I normally favour engaging in a discussion within our structures, rather than writing a letter.

Mr President, like other members of the ANC, I received and read your letter of August 23 2020. Although I write in my capacity as an ordinary member of the ANC, I am mindful of the fact that as the former president of the ANC, it may be unprecedented that I write a letter of this nature. However, I am of the firm view that the issues you raise in your letter are indeed serious and deserve our attention as members of the ANC.

Mr President, I address this private letter to you, as the president of the ANC, and request that you share it with the entire leadership as well as structures of our movement. I do not seek to address my own president and organisation through the media or public letters as that would be foreign to the well-established culture of the ANC. I write it not to attack your person, but to engage in constructive and honest debate that our movement always encourages. I also hope that my letter will be kept as an internal communication directed at the leadership and the entire membership.

In your letter, in which you state what you view as “one of the greatest challenges since the advent of democracy”, you regrettably place the scourge of corruption right at the door-step of ordinary members of the ANC, most of whom are the urban and rural poor working-class people, who have never abused state resources. In their numbers, they live in abject poverty waiting for the ever elusive better life for all you and I promised them.

You are correct, Mr President, that corruption is one of the issues to be confronted head on. Your letter correctly points out that: “What has caused the greatest outrage is that there are private-sector companies and individuals (including civil servants) that have exploited a grave medical, social and economic crisis to wrongfully enrich themselves.”

You proceed to state, again correctly, that: “This is an unforgivable betrayal for millions of South Africans who are being negatively affected by the impact of COVID-19, experiencing hunger daily, hopelessness and joblessness.” 

None of us can fault you for stating that such conduct is indeed contemptuous of our efforts to pursue the historic mission of the ANC, which is to defend and advance the rights of African people and our stated objective of the National Democratic Revolution, the liberation of black people in general and Africans in particular. None of us can differ with you that our 54th National Conference in December 2017 decried the increase in corruption in SA and undertook to confront it. 

Our movement was, indeed, correct to assess, as it always does, the threats that confront the ANC, the objective and subjective conditions that prevail within our nascent democracy, as well as the motive forces we as cadres of the movement must understand in order to advance the historic mission of the ANC and the promise of a better life for all. 

It is not the above obvious serious issues with which I take issue, for they are indeed matters that our movement, as the leader of society, should deal with, as they threaten the ANC’s great efforts and diminish its credibility in the eyes of our people, most of whom look up to the ANC to deliver the promised better life for all. It is indeed a blemish on society, the credibility of the ANC and, by extension, on the legitimacy of the anti-apartheid struggle.

However, Mr President your letter is fundamentally flawed in several respects and plays right into the hands of those who seek to destroy the ANC and build from its ashes a counter-revolutionary party under the guise of fighting corruption. I am certain that this is not your intention, Mr President.

Apart from the fact that your letter betrays a lack of understanding of how the leadership of the ANC should communicate with its structures. It is absolutely unjustified to attribute to the entire ANC and its ordinary members, misconduct of a few individuals that have access to state power and its resources as well as ANC leadership positions. 

Mr President, by stating that the ANC stands as “accused number one” in respect of the charge of corruption, you implicate thousands of innocent members of the ANC who continue to face hunger and dehumanising poverty and have never benefited from corruption. You proceed to say the ANC should bury its head in shame. 

Mr President, this statement that you make is not helpful to the ANC, in my respectful view. For all intents and purposes, it can only serve to destroy the ANC, particularly if the head of the ANC pleads guilty on behalf of the ANC, and calls the ANC the accused number one. Your actions are unprecedented in this regard. Mr President you are indeed the first president of the ANC to stand in public and accuse the ANC of criminality and that the ANC must be the accused number one as accusations of corruption mount.

You are indeed the first ANC president, since its formation in 1912, to stand in public and accuse the ANC as an organisation and to say the ANC must bury its head in shame. This is a devastating statement coming from a sitting president of the organisation and head of state. I view your letter as a diversion, a public relations exercise by which you accuse the entire ANC in order to save your own skin. 

When the founders of the ANC gathered in Bloemfontein on January 8 1912, they sought to defend the limited civil and political rights of the African people. They sought to free the African people from the bondage of colonial and white minority rule. They established for us a giant movement and a set of socio-political values that would, for decades, rise above the poor moral values of segregation, of racist laws, forced removals and the subjugation and maiming of the African people within the SA society. We cannot accuse their movement when it is us as individuals who undermine its legacy.

By accusing the ANC for acts committed by a few of its individual members, you betray Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Sol Plaatjie, John Langalibalele Dube, Rev Rubusana, chief Albert Luthuli, Dr Alfred Xuma, Dr Moroka, and all those who assembled on January 8 1912 to form this glorious movement called [the] ANC.

You write, for your own desires to plead for white validation and approval, the worst betrayal of Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and others who sacrificed their own freedom for the ANC. With your pen, you desecrate the graves of young men and women who lived and died cruel deaths in the hands of apartheid security forces and mercenaries. These heroes paid the highest price fighting for our freedom and in defence of the ANC. We should therefore never implicate them when we, as individuals, are accused of corruption and misconduct. 

I know, Mr President, my letter will be misconstrued as an attempt to ignore the allegations levelled against me, or to attribute every failure of the ANC to you. Many, in white circles that are fond of you, and seek to minimise your errors, will fill their barrels of ink and sharpen their pens to condemn me for expressing my views. They will, through their infamous grand narrative, write a series of opinion pieces to diminish the significance of the issues I raise.

In your defence, Mr President, some in the mainstream media hire opinion makers to formulate negative stories in order to divert attention from the issues I raise as it has happened in the past. I expect them to do so. However, they are the least of my considerations at the moment, and I do not seek validation or approval from them.

My letter does not seek to undermine you at all or to attribute every weakness or challenge facing the ANC or our state solely to you. On the contrary, I am simply requesting that each one of us must face, as individuals, allegations levelled against us without implicating our movement or naming it “accused number one” or asking it to bury its head in shame, when individuals are being challenged for their actions.

Mr President, it is unforgivable to label our rank and file members as criminals for the crimes you and those with whom you serve in the structures of the state are accused of. The ANC has thousands and thousands of members and the overwhelming majority of them are not corrupt. The overwhelming majority of them are the poorest of the poor. They cannot and should not be accused of the crimes committed by a few comrades deployed in government. 

Mr President, your letter commits the cardinal error of implicating the ANC in matters that we, as leaders and those deployed in the state, must account for. To point your sharp at the entire ANC and its ordinary working-class members is rather low and disappointing, to say the least. Presently formulated, your letter lends credence to the suspicion that you seek to assist those, in our own ranks, involved in the attempts to destroy the ANC in order to hand it over to be a tool of white monopoly capital interests.

Mr President, in all the years of persecution by the state for allegations of arms deal corruption and, currently, the new narrative of the famous state capture, I have never implicated the ANC or its members in order to clear my name. I have faced those charges alone and have become the scapegoat as many of you continue to enjoy the riches that white monopoly capital continues to bless you with.

I have faced those allegations alone and continue to do so in our courts in order to clear my name. It would be sacrilegious to seek to direct such accusations to thousands of ANC members or the ANC itself. I continue to carry alone the load of what you and those who catapult you have regrettably called the “nine wasted years” and the persistent narrative of state capture that you, and those to whom you have handed the ANC, use to scapegoat me for all that is evil in our country.

I cannot, in good conscience, attribute the weak state of our movement to you only. All of us, as leaders, must take responsibility without blaming our members. Maybe, Mr President, this is the opportune time to tell our members whether during the “nine wasted years” any of your companies ever did business with government (national or provincial) while you were deputy president of our movement and the country. This would help you Mr President, to dispel this unfortunate allegation, sometimes, directed at you. It is individuals from the ANC who must bury their heads in shame, not the ANC, our glorious movement. 

Mr President, the ANC and the entire anti-apartheid movement always faced the threat of infiltration. At different times, during our struggle, our movement discovered spies and enemy agents, commonly called Izimpimpi, within its ranks. However, not once was the ANC ever accused of selling out merely because there were sell-outs within its ranks. Those individuals faced the charges levelled against them and could not ask the ANC, as you do in your letter, to stand in their place as accused number one for their individual actions.

It is cold comfort that later in your letter you attempt to say that you are not accusing every ANC member. It is clear that, indeed, you do accuse each and every member and the ANC itself for the crimes of a few deployed in the structures of the state, who may be abusing resources and betraying the revolution and the ANC itself for the crimes of a few deployed in the structures of the state, who may be abusing resources and betraying the revolution.

Mr President, It appears that it has become your hallmark since our 54th National Conference to divert accusations from yourself rather than to face them and clear your name. Mr President, you currently stand accused of having received almost R1bn in donations from white monopoly capital just to win an internal ANC contest. The ANC has repeatedly decried this phenomenon as something foreign to its culture, policies and constitution. We all know that such donations amounted to sacrificing the historic mission of the ANC for 30 pieces of silver. Worse still, and as a matter of fact, and with some unsurprising help from the judgment of the North Gauteng High Court, you have sealed the record reflecting your generous donors in order for the public and ordinary members of the ANC you lead never to know the identities of those who funded your campaign to win the presidency of our glorious movement and consequently ascend to the highest office in our land.

You have done this, knowing full well that the ANC has discouraged and decried the role of money in its internal elections. This, in my view, represents a major betrayal of those who voted for you with no knowledge that their vote was going to be enhanced by the WMC donors.

Until you, Mr President and your National Executive Committee come clean to the ordinary members of our movement, your letters and statements will be construed as your attempts to appease those who, by their ill-gotten riches, catapulted you into the position you hold in our movement. In fact, your own spokesperson stands accused of the very corruption you decry in your letter. Your own son stands accused of the same allegations. Yet, you seek to divert attention from your own office and your household as you attribute the crime of PPE corruption to the ordinary ANC members.

Mr President, it may be you that should hang your head in shame and not the members of the ANC. Mr President, the ANC is not guilty of corruption, but the individuals within the ANC are accused of corruption. Mongameli, masinganindi uMbutho Wabantu Ngobende Inyama Bengayidlanga. 

Mr President, your letter further pays lip-service to the resolutions of the ANC’s 54th National Conference when, in actual fact, our movement, under your leadership has been avoiding implementing resolutions on land expropriation, nationalisation of the SA Reserve Bank, radical economic transformation (RET), free higher education, job creation and poverty eradication, to mention but a few.

Mr President, it would be a colossal reversal of our democratic gains if you are placing the ANC as accused number one. This sounds like a public relations exercise and a grand scheme that does not help to build and promote the ANC. It would be such a pity, Mr President, if under your watch, the ANC can be accused by its own leaders, instead of nurturing Mr President, under your watch, the tendency, not to implement certain recommendations and decisions has been a worrying factor.

For instance, a provincial conference held in the Eastern Cape in 2017 was referred to by yourself as the Festival of Chairs. There were many accusations in the Eastern Cape. The national leadership, having received reports and complaints, took a decision to establish a commission to investigate the conference. It was termed Sbu Ndebele commission as it was led by one of our senior comrades, Sbusiso Ndebele. That commission made specific recommendations. It appears that when the report was tabled, the leadership only noted the recommendations and took no action per the findings and recommendations, but simply noted the report. The report continues to gather dust in Luthuli House.

Mr President, I plead with you and the entire NEC of our movement, to reflect on the issues I have raised, including the issue of corruption. I implore you to take responsibility without insulting our movement and its members, who have committed no crime of corruption as they sit waiting for the ever elusive better life for all.

Mr President, I hope my letter will be received in the constructive spirit in which it is written. I hope that our structures will get the opportunity to discuss the issues I raise. I make no claim that these are the only challenges facing our movement, or that I possess the exclusive wisdom to suggest how they should be dealt with. I am merely making a plea to our movement and our leaders to honestly confront the challenges it faces and the challenges faced by African people in our country. 

 

Yours comradely,

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Mhlanganyelwa Zuma

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Guptas lose application to have restraint order case postponed

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NO SMILING MATTER . . . An interim restraint order against a company that Atul Gupta, seen in this file photo, co-owns with his brother and their wives remains in force

The Free State High Court on Friday dismissed a last-minute application brought by the directors of the Gupta-owned slandsite Investments 180 (Pty) to postpone the return day of the provisional restraint order against company, Iqbal Sharma and others.

Acting Judge Neil Snellenburg will provide a written judgment for dismissing the postponement application on Monday.

The directors sought a postponement pending their application to the Supreme Court of Appeal where they are appealing against a High Court ruling passed in August 2021 that said the business rescue practitioners of Islandsite, not the directors, have the authority to represent the company in the restraint proceedings.

Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said in a statement the interim restraint order will remain in force until the next court hearing on 20 and 21 October, when the confirmation hearing is expected to be heard.

The assets under restraint include properties of Iqbal Sharma and his wife, his UAE-registered company, Issar Global, his wife Tarina Patel-Sharma, as well as all property of Islandsite, which is owned by Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their respective wives, Chetali and Arti Gupta.

The interim restraint order was granted in June 2021, in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act (POCA).

Sharma’s assets that form part of the curator’s inventory include his Sandton home valued at over R12-million.

The property was featured on the lifestyle television programme, Top Billing, and is owned by Issar Global.

Other assets include movable property valued at R500 000, a Porsche and a R1.3 million sectional title home in Sandton.

Properties owned by Gupta family company Islandsite that form part of the inventory include a house worth R21-million in Constantia, Cape Town, and a R12-million house in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

Said Seboka: “The interim restraint order continues to run . . . that means the curator that is looking after the assets remains in place, meaning there is no chance for those assets being disseminated.

“The state is quite comfortable that the assets will not be taken abroad or be given to other people, in terms of the shares.

“They continue to be in safekeeping.

“For us that is pivotal and the court has found enough evidence in that respect.” – Staff Reporter

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Ex-MEC faces probe over failed R1-billion Free State housing project

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NO PROPER LEADERSHIP . . . Former Free State MEC for human settlements Mosebenzi Zwane criticised

The State Capture Commission wants former Free State MEC for human settlements Mosebenzi Zwane investigated for failing to provide “proper provincial leadership” in a failed R1-billion provincial housing project.

The department’s former head, Nthimotse Mokhesi, told the commission, led by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that his office had made an advance payment of more than R500-million to the project’s contractors before any work was done.

Described in the fourth part of the State Capture Commission’s report as a “dismal failure”, the housing project was dogged by several factors including a decision by former Free State premier Ace Magashule to build bigger RDP houses from the initial 40-square-metre units without consulting the provincial human settlements department and the contractors.

The commission found that Zwane, the human settlements MEC at the time, “failed to provide proper provincial leadership” with regard to the R1-billion housing project.

The report criticised Magashule for not monitoring projects and not holding Zwane accountable.

It said instead Magashule made Zwane the MEC for agriculture, “where he continued with his dismal performance”, resulting in the Estina/Vrede Dairy Farm collapse. – Staff Reporter

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Magashule escapes Zondo rap over asbestos project ‘scam’

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ASBESTOS PROJECT CASE . . . Former Free State premier Ace Magashule is facing charges of corruption, fraud, theft and others together with 15 co-accused

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has not made any recommendations in his latest state capture report for a criminal investigation against former Free State premier Ace Magashule for his role in the failed 2014 asbestos eradication project for which he is currently standing trial.

Zondo, in the fourth part of the State Capture Commission’s report, instead recommended that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) consider charges against the head of the Free State human settlements department, Nthimotse Mokhesi; businessman Edwin Sodi; and former director-general of the department of human settlements Thabane Wiseman Zulu for their roles in the asbestos audit and removal debacle.

Magashule is facing charges of corruption, fraud, theft and others together with 15 co-accused who include Mokhesi, Sodi, Zulu and several companies for their part in the asbestos contract worth over R255-million.

The report also urges the government to seek legal opinion on whether it could recover the money paid to Sodi’s company Blackhead Consulting and its joint venture partner Diamond Hill to audit and remove asbestos roofing on identified houses in the Free State.

It also found the Blackhead Consulting/Diamond Hill joint-venture lied to the provincial authorities about its ability to do the job.

The use as well as the manufacture and processing of asbestos was banned in South Africa in March 2008 as it is a serious health hazard to the lungs.

The Free State human settlements department embarked on the project after it approved an unsolicited proposal from from the Blackhead Consulting/Diamond Hill joint-venture.

This, according to the report, was done without following any competitive process.

“The department paid about R255-million to the joint-venture but ultimately no asbestos was removed from the roofs of houses,” the report says.

“It turned out that this joint-venture was not even qualified to undertake the removal of asbestos despite the fact that they had told the department in their proposal and in the service legal agreement that they signed with the provincial department that they had the qualifications, skill, expertise and experience required for the job.”

The report described the project as “a considerable scam from its inception”.

It said it was clear the project “was always intended to unlawfully benefit a certain business consortium”, adding those benefits were also intended for various government officials.

Just as in the matter before the Free State High Court, the report indicates that Sodi paid R650 000 towards the purchase of a property for Mokhesi in Bloemfontein.

“The commission is satisfied that this payment was made as a reward or inducement or both for the asbestos contract,” said the report.

It found Mokhesi as a central figure in the awarding of the contract to the Blackhead Consulting/Diamond Hill joint-venture.

The human settlements MEC at the time, Olly Mlamleli, has not been implicated as the investigation did not look into why she did not realise that there was a problem with the project and intervene timeously in order to save public funds from being wasted.

The report also states that Magashule could have intervened together with Mlamleli.

The report wants Mokhesi investigated for corruption following his decision to contract the Blackhead Consulting/Diamond Hill joint-venture.

It has also recommended an investigation for possible prosecution for breaching provisions of the Public Finance Management Act.

He is already facing similar charges in the on-going case.

The commission also found that Sodi paid R600 000 into the account of a Ballito car dealership in December 2015 with reference “TZ” which said was common cause it stood for Thabane Zulu.

When he appeared at the commission in 2020, Sodi told the commission in 2020 that he owed Zulu for alcohol he had bought at his entertainment venue outside Pietermaritzburg.

When Zulu was asked how Sodi’s alcohol bill reached hundreds of thousands of rands, he told the commission Sodi often hosted parties for “dignitaries” at his KwaZulu-Natal home.

“Instead of taking the money I decided to instruct him to deliver the money where I wanted it,” he said.

The explanations by the two did not convince the commission which concluded the money “may well have been a bribe or reward to Mr Zulu for his role in facilitating the award of the asbestos contract”.

It recommended that criminal charges relating to corruption or any other applicable crime should be pursued against Zulu for the R600 000 that Sodi paid. – Staff Reporter

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