CAPE TOWN — When you make a living keeping an eagle eye on the nation’s trustees and holding them accountable, it’s just a wing flap on a thermal away to hover over a Chapter 9 institution. Which is what Allan Greenblo, Editorial Director of ‘Today’s Trustee,’ has done, with potentially devastating effect on the already wobbly reputation of new Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Her give-away actions are akin to a rock-rabbit barking on a Drakensberg cliff ledge. It may get friendly Zuptoids diving for cover as the Greenblo’s of the world – and there’s now a critical mass of them circling – go into a predatory dive. When Mkhwebane took over the sun-blanched guard-perch from Thuli Madonsela, refusing to attend a public event her predecessor was at and displaying anything but collegial warmth, the warning signs were there. Personal differences? Personality clashes? I doubt it. A bigger agenda was probably at play. A read of what Greenblo sees from the privilege of his discerning professional height may convince you of the veracity of that thesis. It begs the question of whether the outfit that put State Capture into the national lexicon is itself now in the Zuptoid thrall. – Chris Bateman.
By Allan Greenblo*
Go back to October last year when BFLF filed a notice of motion in the Gauteng High Court. BFLF sought a court order directing the Minister of Finance, then Pravin Gordhan, to comply with recommendations of the report from British spymasters CIEX; specifically for Absa to pay the fiscus with interest on proceeds from the R1.125bn bailout by the SA Reserve Bank of Bankorp (merged into Absa) during the 1985-92 period.
At the time of BFLF’s litigation, the Gupta family had drawn Gordhan into a dispute over the cancellation of its facilities with SA banks. It doesn’t matter whether the timing was coincidental. What does matter is that, once Gordhan had answered on affidavit to the BFLF application, the court heard not another peep from this purported “movement”.
According to Mkhwebane, the Minister of Finance and the Reserve Bank had acted unlawfully by not recovering monies as per the CIEX report. Her reasoning looks seriously flawed by the fact of BFLF not having proceeded with its court application.
A coach and horses had been driven through the arguments of BFLF by Gordhan’s answering affidavit. It provided a series of compelling policy, factual and legal reasons that explained why the CIEX recommendations had no status. They were incapable of implementation. That seemed the obvious reason for BFLF having decided to walk from the court, its tail ostensibly between its legs.
Not so fast, however, as the BFLF notice of motion contains an intriguing morsel. It’s the revelation that, in March 2016, BFLF had asked the Public Protector to investigate “white monopoly capital” inclusive of the “failure” by the Minister of Finance to implement the CIEX recommendations and the victimisation of the Guptas. So what did Mkhwebane have before her?
Peripheral in context, there was the 2011 complaint lodged by Paul Hoffman SC that the £600 000 fee paid to CIEX was wasteful expenditure. On this basis she ordered compliance with the CIEX recommendations. But in doing so she curiously ignored the BFLF/Gupta complaint, already smashed by Gordhan, that must have still been before her. It was surely fundamental to the R1.125bn bailout which comprised the substance of the contentious CIEX report.
Yet, without having addressed the BFLF/Gupta complaint and without even reference to it, she granted the order not achieved in court.
- Allan Greenblo is editorial director of Today’s Trustee (www.totrust.co.za), a quarterly magazine mainly for principal officers and trustees of retirement funds.