NEWS & ANALYSIS

The State Capturers are fighting back - SACP

Solly Mapaila says widest possible patriotic front is needed to confront these forces

South African Communist Party

Statement, Johannesburg City Hall, 21 July 2019

Delivered by SACP First Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Solly Mapaila during the occasion of the launch of:

#HandsOffOurdemocracy campaign  

Defend our democracy, confront the state capture fightback

The South African Communist Party fully endorses the campaign. No amount of falsehoods will succeed to push us back and stop us.

The people organised and consistently mobilised will deal a blow to the networks of the corruption of state capture, deepen, widen and defend our democracy. This strategic objective is not an end itself. It is rather a means to an end. The predatory elite that established its undue influence, into the exercise of state authority among others, in public establishments, thus essentially usurping our democracy, and looting tax payers’ money, public resources, our basic national wealth, and plunged key state-owned entities into financial, operational and structural crises, must be held to account for the governance decay and the plunder. It is nothing but absolute gibberish to argue that everything in the last decade was running very well.

Eskom was plunged into a major crisis through poor planning or the absence of proper planning, and above all through governance decay, corruption and looting. An unlawful payment of one billion rand was for example paid from Eskom to a United States multinational consultancy firm, McKinsey & Co. What a “radical economic transformation” against “white monopoly capital”? Instead of attending to the structural problems that our public entities were faced with, state capture and the governance decay compounded the situation. South Africa was driven to the brink, to the very edge.

Prasa was plunged into crisis, so was Transnet and our Central Energy Fund either directly or indirectly through its subsidiaries, PetroSA and Strategic Fuel Fund. Last month the Central Energy Fund and its subsidiary Strategic Fuel Fund were still locked in a legal battle over the sale of our country’s oil reserves to a private company, Glencore, at an obviously suspicious cut price. What a “radical economic transformation” against “white monopoly capital”? The stock was sold for 300 million US dollars (approximately 4.18 billion rand at the current exchange rate) three years ago. 

The list goes on and on. The strategic entities that we need to revive our economy and advance democratic transformation and development have essentially been almost ruined. Those who privately accumulated wealth from the crisis must face asset forfeiture, prosecution and where appropriate long-term imprisonment. All public entities must be revitalised and repositioned to become vibrant and thrive. Our economy is in dire need of investment, especially in the productive sector, to create decent work and radically reduce inequalities, unemployment, poverty and social insecurity. 

If we do not stand up, unite in a widest possible patriotic front and confront the state capture networks fightback, the predators will not be held to account. They will get away with murder and our people will lose. The welfare of our people, which the predators did not and still do not care about, is likely to sink further and further down into degradation.

The real constitutional delinquents should face the music

The EFF is a party led by one Mr. Julius Malema who was found, by the former Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela as detailed in her report entitled “On the point of tenders”, to have been involved in benefitting improperly from unlawful, fraudulent and corrupted tenders in Limpopo Province through his Ratanang Family Trust and associated shareholding in a company by the name of Guilder Investments. The corruption, looting and plunder contributed by no small measure to pushing the Limpopo Provincial government to a point of bankruptcy. What moral standing does the commander-in-THIEF commanding? He is nothing but the real constitutional delinquent.

South Africans must never forget the “On the point of tenders” report. The thorough investigation conducted by the former Public Protector exposed some of the massive corruption that drove our country to the brink. The “On the Point of Tenders” report particularly exposed Julius Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust, of which he was the sole beneficiary, as the fat spider at the heart of a web of looting in Limpopo Province.

Only the subversion of our criminal justice system can explain why criminal prosecution against the constitutional delinquent has not been pursued. No wonder the EFF is now desperately trying to undermine attempts to clean up our criminal justice system and revitalise the capacity of SARS to deal with tax dodgers and syndicates involved illicit trades. A court judgment delivered on Wednesday, 17 July 2019, reminded us that the SARS High Risk Investigation Unit, established in 2007, was disbanded in October 2014, weeks after Tom Moyane was appointed as the SARS Commissioner.

There can be no doubt, that like any reputable revenue service in the world, SARS does need internal capacity to deal with tax dodgers and illicit traders. Yes, that capacity needs to be regulated by law to prevent any unintended use. But the real question in this regard is what did SARS through its internal capacity uncover that has made some forces so desperate as to dismantle that effective capacity in SARS, even risking South Africa’s economic well-being in the process?

We now know from the Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration by SARS as well as from information available in the public domain, that SARS has had a major focus among others on illicit tobacco trade, Avalon poaching and tax fraud, amounting to billions of rands. We know that one company that has come under scrutiny is CarniLinx, owned by Adriano Mazzotti. Its shareholding involves Martin Wingate-Pearse. We know, from the court judgment delivered on Wednesday, that Wingate-Pearse has had a long standing relationship with Glen Agliotti, a convicted drug dealer, with whom Mazzotti himself also has had a relationship. We know that Agliotti was arrested in connection with the murder of Bret Kebble. We know, also, that Mazzotti has publicly admitted that it was he who paid the money that enabled Julius Malema’s EFF to register with the IEC in 2014.

It therefore does not take a rocket scientist – that is, it is not difficult – to see what the real constitutional delinquent is defending and why.

We know that Wingate-Pearse launched a review application to have his, by a way decade old, SARS assessed tax liability set aside. We now know, from the court judgment dealing with the matter in detail, that the total sum of the tax liability concerned was in fact reduced to R22.7 million. One of the grounds on which Wingate-Pearse relied on in launching the review application was that the matter was handled by the so-called “rogue unit” at SARS and that he was therefore its victim.

The court judgment reminds us that it was actually a panel chaired by Adv. Sikhakhane SC that termed the SARS High Risk Investigation Unit unlawful. As the judgment states, the Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration by SARS, chaired by Judge Nugent, has concluded that there was nothing from the report, that it received, that persuaded it that the unit was unlawful.

Judge Kroon, who chaired an advisory board that had issued a statement saying that the unit was unlawful, told the Commission that the idea of the SARS High Risk Investigation Unit being unlawful was not reached independently by his advisory board but that the board merely took its cue from the panel chaired by Sikhakhane SC, and that he had come to realise that it was wrong. On Wednesday the court dismissed Wingate-Pearse’s application with costs.

Spy allegations

The SACP has seriously taken note of apartheid-era-spy allegations levelled by former President Jacob Zuma in defending himself and mobilising his support networks at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. If indeed the members of our movement especially the ANC that he isolated were apartheid spies – which we find unbelievable as the SACP, then the former President has greatly implicated himself by appointing them as ministers and deputy ministers while knowing that they were apartheid spies who in addition were still taking instructions from their alleged handlers.

Moreover, we need to interrogate the “logic” of leaving the real apartheid regime spies wallowing in our democratic dispensation in favour of isolating members of the liberation movement based on unproven allegations that they were apartheid spies. We are highlighting the contradiction further noting that Neil Barnard, who has widely been reported in the media as having been the apartheid regime spy, has been embroiled in litigation claiming millions of rand from the State Security Agency established by former President Zuma when he was the President.

In pursuing his claim, Barnard alleged that former President Zuma with the help of former Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, had extended a contract he had with the State Security Agency. To the extent that it is true Barnard had a contract with the State Security Agency, the question worth underlining is why would the executive authority of the state be not worried that an apartheid regime spy secured a contract with the State Security Agency but make unproven allegations that his own comrades were apartheid spies?

We are asking these important questions while cautioning against being diverted from the purpose for which the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture was established.

Issued by the SACP, 21 July 2019