State Capture is dead! Long live State Capture!

Ben Levitas says the ANC needs to explain how it transformed itself from a bankrupt political party to party flush with cash

Ramaphosa is a consummate dissembler. He does so without blushing, without revealing any emotion or hint that he is lying. Common knowledge imputes on narcissists the ability to twist the truth to trump up a story which they actually believe. To catch them out is difficult because they will find some version of facts to convolute a story to support their case. But their argument will always be to blame someone else for something that happened under their watch.

And that is exactly what happened at the State of the Nation address last week. Ramaphosa blamed the last “lost decade” on his predecessor, as if he was absent from the scene. But he was no idle spectator viewing developments from another planet, he was in the ring boxing side by side with his nemesis. His finger was in the cookie jar together with all the “comrades” and “cadres” that grazed at the feeding through that depleted the state coffers.

Of course he ignored to comment on the last 5 years under his misrule. There was nothing to crow about and too close to most people’s hardships to concoct lies about their recent experience.! He did make a big fuss about the fact that people are living 10 years longer, if they survive the world’s worst murder rate, where more people die in a year than have died in the latest conflagration in Gaza. The credit for this achievement of course is due to medical advances and not to anything that the ANC has done.

The really big lie is that the period of state capture is done and dusted and that the ANC has expiated itself of corruption and started to punish those guilty of stealing from the state. In truth not one person has been found guilty and not one person is serving jail time for participating in state capture. Chief justice Zondo has repeatedly expressed his frustrations with the short shrift that his monumental work has been cast aside and ignored. He has also repeatedly warned that state capture is likely and possible under the ANC stewardship to the great ire and chagrin of the ANC parliamentarians.

State capture version 2 lives on in several departments under Ramaphosa’s current government. Maybe he has too many departments with too many cabinet ministers, the largest cabinet in the world, to really know what is going on. But hen, every economist has advised him to cut the size of his government and cabinet, so only he is to blame for his unresponsiveness and indifference.

Two departments in particular are emitting worrying signs of being captured-the Department of International Relations (DIRCO) and the Department of energy.

A cardinal principal of our post 1994 foreign policy that was always enunciated by the Mandela and Mbeki regimes, was non-interference in the internal affairs and policies of sovereign states. During the massacres of the Matabele (Gukurahundi genocide) which were orchestrated by Robert Mugabe in 1983/4 and followed up well into the post 1994 period by harsh treatment of the Matabelle minority, our foreign minister at the time resorted to the “non-interference” mantra as a justification for not getting involved in our neighbour’s affairs. Instead Mugabe was feted as an African revolutionary and iconic leader.

The same policies of non-interference (or critical indifference) were put into practise with Muammar Gadhafi the Libyan dictator and Omar al Bashir the Sudanese mass murderer, who ruled from 1989 until 2019. The hundreds of thousands of lives that were lost under these and other dictators were innocent lives, but they were Black and Black lives clearly don’t matter to our foreign ministers or leaders. 

When Bashar al-Assad massacred 600,000 Syrians and 3 million were displaced into neighbouring countries it was considered an internal affair and not a word of criticism was uttered. When 12 years ago, the largest Palestinian refugee camp, Yarmouk was attacked by the Syrian army and 160,000 Palestinians were either killed or displaced, there was not a murmur of condemnation or even sympathy from our government.

Our government brakes all the rules it sets for itself when Palestinians are killed by Jews-only then do Palestinian lives matter! What a moral blot on our conscience when Palestinian lives matter more than those of Black Africans. South Africa has long ago discarded the trappings of “ubuntu” and of concern for the lives of the newly liberated black people of the continent.

Instead the ANC has chosen as its closest confidants those dictators that defy the West and Western democratic values, cosying up to Putin, Maduro, the Ayatollas and Castro. Now they do the bidding of these dictators and according to several highly regarded political commentators like Frans Cronje and RW Johnson, they may well be receiving compensation or payback for aligning DIRCO’s policies with those of these truant states.

According to Cronje, Iran or Qatar could be the likely benefactors while Johnson implies that Russia is the most likely. Either way, the ANC needs to come clean and explain how it transformed itself from a bankrupt political party that couldn’t pay its staff salaries and for services provided to the ANC to suddenly being flush with cash. If this is not another case of selling a government department out to the highest bidder, then ‘ll eat my hat! This is the latest iteration of “State capture” and it is occurring under the always unobservant eye, of the master deceiver, Ramaphosa.

Another state department that reeks of scandal and of “state capture” is energy. It was rumoured under Zuma, that he was paid $250 million by Putin to commit to Russia building atomic power stations to replace and replenish the nearly expired Koeberg reactors.

With the recent appointment of Rosatom Bank as the preferential financier for our future build of atomic power stations, the imagination does not need to stretch far as to which country will emerge as the successful builder and bidder. Watch the space as this captured and indebted department tries to present itself as acting in the best interests of the country.

The ANC’s has displayed such an obsession with the pursuit of Mammon that time and time again it will sell out its principles to the highest bidder.

Ben Levitas