The South African Federation of Trade Unions has frequently warned of the danger of the country degenerating into a ‘kleptocracy’ – defined in the dictionary as “a society whose leaders make themselves rich and powerful by stealing from the rest of the people”.
The book The President’s Keepers by Jacques Pauw, proves conclusively that if anything we were underestimating the problem; it reveals that we have already been living in a kleptocracy for at least the last seven years.
The book’s list of crimes allegedly committed by President Zuma, when added to all the evidence already published in the Gupta e-mails prove that we have indeed been ruled by leaders who steal from the rest of the people and have brought the country to the brink of economic collapse.
The book also supports SAFTU’s contention that corruption and the capture of state institutions was never confined to the Gupta family, the President and a few cronies, but involved a far wider network of criminals and capitalists, including global companies like KPMG, McKinsey, SAP and Bell Pottinger.
The most sensational new revelation is that for at least four months after he became president in 2009, Zuma was ‘employed’ on a ‘salary’ of R1 million a month by a private security firm, Royal Security, which allegedly failed to pay SARS the necessary Pay As You Earn tax on their ‘employee’s’ salary, and that Zuma also allegedly failed to declare this ‘salary’ from Royal Security to SARS, refused to file a tax return for five years, and that he owes SARS around R63-million.
Royal Security’s owner, Roy Moodley, allegedly received payments worth more than R550 million from a “tender-rich” IT company called Siyangena Technologies after it won R4 billion worth of disputed contracts with PRASA for the installation of security cameras, access gates and other security equipment at train stations countrywide, and channeled R550m to another of Moodley’s companies for no apparent business reason.
Other serious allegations in the book include:
Nomgcobo Jiba, a former acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, was a crime intelligence agent, who had a direct role in the NPA’s decision to withdraw fraud and corruption charges against former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
Johan Booysen, a possible candidate for the head of the Hawks, was accompanied by Duduzane Zuma to meet the Guptas in Saxonwold, days before he was to be interviewed for the position, about which the Guptas appeared to have had inside information. Rajesh Gupta allegedly told Booysen he would have to attend a dinner with them once he’d been ‘elected’ as Hawks head. Rajesh Gupta also allegedly made an informal business proposal to Booysen’s son, who was also present at the meeting, but his offer was declined.
Arthur Fraser, the State Security Agency (SSA)’s director-general, was implicated in running a parallel intelligence network while working for the agency before 2010. An internal SSA probe concluded that Fraser should be charged with treason for his role in the running of the SSA’s Principle Agent Network.
Former acting SARS commissioner Ivan Pillay met with Zuma in 2014 to complain to him about the role of SSA agents and other role-players in a campaign to target and discredit SARS investigators and officials for their work on politically-connected taxpayers. The new head of SARS, Tom Moyane, then purged Pillay and other top executives, who were involved in tax investigations against Jacob Zuma, Edward Zuma and a host of cronies and associates.
Adriano Mazzotti, an alleged tobacco smuggler, is alleged to be a financial backer of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s presidential campaign, to which Mazzotti – who has allegedly admitted to bribing public officials, laundering money and bribery – has donated election material including T-shirts, caps and shirts.
Zuma is alleged to have been associating with known gang leaders, and people who appear to run criminal enterprises, such as Glenn Agliotti. Tobacco smugglers have allegedly been paying Edward Zuma tens of thousands of rands every month to buy his political influence.
These outrageous allegations make SAFTU’s call for Zuma to be dismissed more urgent than ever. South Africans are enraged at the shameless pillaging of their country by these greedy criminals. It is small wonder that criminals on our streets can terrorize communities with impunity, when the criminals in government and the boardrooms get away with what The President’s Keepers has exposed. They are infuriated that the police and NPA are refusing to do their constitutional duty to arrest those implicated.
ANC MPs and national executive committee members must stop hiding behind lame excuses for refusing to suspend Zuma from the ANC. Like everyone else he has the right to a fair trial, but he can no longer be allowed to head the government of a constitutional democracy when facing such serious charges. He must be impeached and brought to trial.
SAFTU however continues to insist that the crimes for which Zuma and his cronies are charged, are just extreme manifestations of an inherently corrupt and criminal capitalist system, which is based on the exploitation of workers and consumers by an elite class who are motivated solely by the greed for making as much money as quickly as possible by whatever means they can get away with.
Many of those shouting loudest that #zuma must fall, and his factional rivals within the ANC, stand squarely for the defense of that system and the continuation of the same pro-capitalist, neoliberal policies as Zuma and his faction. These policies, like GEAR and the National Development Plan, under the guidance of the global financial institutions and credit rating agencies, laid the basis for the catastrophe of unemployment, poverty and inequality, in which crime and corruption could thrive.
The Zuma-Gupta faction mouth empty slogans about ‘radical economic transformation’ and defeating ‘white monopoly capital’ but in practice have pursued exactly the same neoliberal policies as their opponents, as we saw in Malusi Gigaba’s MTBPS, when he sounded no different from previous ministers of finance who now support the opposite faction.
Cyril Ramaphosa is a multi-billionaire capitalist, who has held numerous executive and non-executive positions on the largest firms listed on the JSE, including being Chairperson of Alexander Forbes South Africa, Black Economic Empowerment Commission, Johnnic Holdings Limited, KreditInform (Pty) Limited, Sasria SOC Limited, Vancut Diamond Works and Deputy Chairman of Rebserve Holdings Limited, Millennium Consolidated Investments (Pty) Limited, and Shanduka Group.
A government led by him would not change anything fundamental. He may be forced to prosecute the most blatant criminals involved in corruption and other crimes, and SAFTU will support that, but it not enough to punish a few scapegoats for what in reality is a much wider problem of a corrupt economic system.
South Africans are sick and angry at the corruption, fraud and the looting of the country’s resources. They are even more sickened by the NPA’s refusal so far to take any of the cases to court, despite the overwhelming evidence from whistle-blowers, leaked e-mails and now this book.
They are however just as sick and angry at the record levels of unemployment, the job-loss bloodbath, the unchecked spread of violent crime and the continuation of racism and racist inequalities in the most unequal society on earth.
They want to see the South Africa as promised in the Freedom Charter, “which belongs to all who live in it, black and white” in which “no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people” and in which “the national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people”.