Ed Herbst: ANC misrule – red flags signal slo-mo implosion

CAPE TOWN — In an incisive rotten-cherry-picking of some of the ANC’s greatest recent incompetence and corruption, Ed Herbst, looks back a decade with journalistic and ethical nostalgia to the days when Willie Hofmeyr headed the Scorpions with its Asset Forfeiture Unit. People had hope then that here was a policing unit doing its job without fear or favour – not sycophantic, Zuptoid-obedient civil service and State entities which are the norm today. He cites the weird behaviour of the Hawks, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Passenger Rail entity and of course, the ultimate in apparent betrayal, the new Public Protector, in his illustration of Mulholland’s Law (that everything the ANC touches goes to ruin). All have been shown by no less than either our courts or judicial probes to be dysfunctional and to have little understanding of the full legal ramifications and responsibilities of their jobs. Witnessed from the perspective of a lifetime of covering South African politics and its dramas, Herbst describes the downhill progression as a ‘slo-mo implosion’. – Chris Bateman

One of Zapiro’s classics. More magic can be found at www.zapiro.com.

By Ed Herbst*

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng read out the judgment on Thursday saying Mbete was wrong when she claimed she did not have the powers to allow for a secret ballot vote.

Zintle Mahlati IOL 22/6/2017

The Hawks have failed for two years to investigate two Passenger Rail Agency of SA contracts valued in excess of R9-billion, according to court papers.

Ernest Mabuza The Times 23/6/2017

Watching the Beloved Country subside into chaotic recession and international infamy after two decades of African National Congress corruption, incompetence and indolence is like watching a slo-mo YouTube clip of a deliberately imploded building.

Veteran journalist Ed Herbst

And in the background is a seething sea of frantically-waved red flags.

Their number increases by the day.

Within the space of two days we have seen the Constitutional Court bring into question the competence of that yoke around the neck of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete and the competence of her legal advisers and then we had the news that the Guptured Hawks haven’t bestirred themselves for two years to investigate two Zuptoid/PRASA tenders involving billions of rands.  

And before that, with growing consternation, we began to understand just how different the current Public Protector is from her predecessor.

‘Sock puppet’ seems to be the contemporary descriptive choice but I prefer my own version, ‘Sock puppy’, which I feel better conveys the tail-wagging servility involved.

Then on Tuesday, June 20, Llewellyn Prince, parliamentary correspondent for the Naspers newspapers, had an article published in Die Burger which I read in horrified astonishment.  It was headlined SA het nog g’n nasionale waterplan – Parlementslede omgekrap  SA still has no national water plan – parliamentarians upset.

It related to a meeting of the portfolio committee on water and sanitation where the expectation was that they would be addressed by Nomvula Mokoyane on the government’s water plan for the country and what it was doing to cope with and counter one of the worst droughts in the country’s history.

According to the article in Die Burger, she never attended the meeting but the committee was informed that, 23 years after the ANC came to power, there is no national water plan.

We also know that drought relief funds have been stolen and that the country’s ability to supply its population with suitable water has been severely compromised by the ANC and its illegal deployed cadre system. This has created, as Ranjeni Munusamy has cogently observed, a ‘compliant, self-sabotaging bureaucracy.’

KZN Premier Willies Mchunu, President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane at the World Water Day Summit and Expo, 22 Mar 2017.

Mokoyane’s failure to attend the water crisis meeting is just one more example of how the ANC treats parliament not just with disrespect but with contempt and it is, in substantial measure, dysfunctional as a result.

Read these two Biznews reports for a better understanding of the legal advice that Baleka Mbete is getting to the detriment of our country’s reputation and the detriment of parliament’s functioning.

My subjective sense is that often such advice is speculative in the hopes of fluking it and misleading the public in the process.

Prior to the trial of Alan Boesak, then President Thabo Mbeki’s legal adviser, Mojanku Gumbi, called a press conference – televised by the SABC – in which she announced that a thorough investigation by herself and others had revealed that Boesak had no case to answer.

This distressed Danchurch Aid which sent its emissaries to testify and they provided convincing evidence to the contrary – Boesak, a revered ANC cadre, had not only peculated their charitable donations but Paul Simon’s as well.

Realising towards the end of the trial that it could only have one outcome, I asked our Auckland Park archives to send me the Gumbi presser clip and, on the day that Boesak was pronounced guilty, I incorporated it into my edited insert, knowing that it would be edited out before broadcast.

It was – the ANC-controlled state broadcaster was doing everything it could to protect Boesak and he was later pardoned by President Thabo Mbeki.

That’s how the ANC rolls – it reveres criminality and if you dispute that just have a look, for example, at the ululating people accompanying Tony Yengeni to Pollsmoor Prison in August 2006 under the ANC banner in what could aptly be described as a guard of dishonour – people like Ebrahim Rasool and Max Ozinsky to cite just two. Nothing like this happened in the apartheid era.

And as for the Hawks, what can one say other than that they are fulfilling their de facto brief.

A decade ago the Scorpions in general and their Asset Forfeiture Unit under the command of Willie Hofmeyr in particular made reporters feel that all their birthdays had come at once.

They provided compelling visuals backed up with interviews by forensic experts.

In Cape Town I linked up with Steven Powell, then with Deloittes and now with ENSafrica.

It was one slam dunk story after another and they sent a compelling message to South Africans and potential foreign investors – South Africa is winning the war against crime.

That’s all a distant memory now. The Scorpions started investigating corruption by prominent ANC politicians and so they had to go and Hofmeyr has been sidelined – all to the benefit of a criminal enterprise known as the African National Congress.

Once again, Mulholland’s Law has proved to be immutable.

  • Ed Herbst is a retired veteran journalist who writes in his own capacity.