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EFF’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu has nailed the mystery behind the idiotic firing of SA’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and the even stranger appointment of unknown backbencher David van Rooyen. In this insightful piece republished with permission of Daily Maverick and the author, Shivambu exposes why SA’s deeply compromised President Jacob Zuma acted the way he did – directly costing the country billions of rand and destroying trust among international investors which took years to build. After laying out the facts as he sees them Shivambu’s argument is clear: Zuma is so deeply in the pocket of the Gupta family and indebted to his “Premier League” that it is they, not he, who now decide key cabinet appointments. The former ANC Youth League firebrand, who clearly retains strong connections within his old party, reckons the “redeployment” of Mining Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi with a junior Free State provincial minister emboldened Zuma’s puppeteers. Their attempt to install a malleable backbencher who was not even in the ANC’s top 115 supports Shivambu’s thesis. This makes the ANC’s official response last week to the furore all the most distasteful. In calling Zuma’s move “bold and courageous” ANC Top Six member Jessie Duarte has clearly aligned herself with the network of patronage. – Alec Hogg
By Floyd Shivambu*
We should never agree to be puppet-mastered as if there are no rules and principles that govern this country. We call on all South Africans to stand up against the Gupta syndicate because we will soon be left with no country.
Many people in South Africa, including the country’s senior leaders in the ruling party, in government and the private sector are still wondering why Nhlahla Nene was abruptly removed as Minister of Finance without any sound explanation by Mr Jacob Zuma, who has foregone the right to be called President.
Yet, the evidence for Nene’s dismissal is there for anyone to see: Nene was removed to open space for the Gupta-led syndicate to loot State resources for private enrichment. The reality is that for some time now, South Africa has been under the management of a criminal syndicate masquerading as genuine business people, headquartered in Saxonwold. The Guptas are not a figment of our imagination. They have de facto colonised South Africa, with Zuma being the chief colonial administrator.
The Guptas have established a solid network inside the ANC, and have disproportionate and decisive influence in what happens in the ruling party and the State. The Guptas have lots of cash, and run South Africa’s state machinery in a manner that benefit them, and the soldiers they have in the national and provincial levels of government. In their network of influence, they have premiers of the Free State and North West provinces, ministers, chairpersons and Chief Executive Offices of state-owned companies. They also have control over many critical decisions that will financially benefit them and the puppets they control.
The first and last time anyone spoke about the disproportionate influence of the Guptas in the ANC was during the 2011 launch of the ANC local government election manifesto. At the time, the ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema said, right in front of Mr Zuma that South Africa’s democracy was “not a democracy of families; this is a democracy of the people of the country. When families are exploiting the resources of this country and are enriching themselves in the name of freedom, when those in political office abuse their power to benefit friends, the youth must rise in defence of the ANC”.
@FloydShivambu On more than one occasion we have seen fleets of JMPD outside Gupta house…Why if they are merely "humble businessmen"?
— Annie (@hushpuppysa) December 21, 2015
That call is as relevant today, and the call is to all South Africans to rise in defence of South Africa.
From there on, the attitude of Mr Zuma, the colonial administrator of the Gupta empire, took a dramatic turn, such that he never addressed even one meeting of the ANC Youth League national executive committee under the leadership of Malema. As Youth League Leader, Malema was privy to the reality that the Guptas would call individual members of the ANC National Executive Committee to tell them which ministerial position has been given to them, prior to the official announcement by Mr Zuma.
Fikile Mbalula was told by Atul Gupta that he was going to be Minister of Sports before Zuma announced the decision. We all know what happened to the leadership of the Youth League. This is not a point to decry because it led to the dialectical and necessary formation of the Economic Freedom Fighters, which fearlessly fights against all forms of corruption.
Since the dissolution of the Youth League and replacement with a desk which has no sense of what is happening in South Africa, the Gupta family was left to operate freely with no real internal opposition. They took over the ruling party’s real decisions, including bankrolling the re-election of Mr Zuma as president in the 2012 National Conference. In that way, the Gupta empire tightened the screws on their control of the ANC and the state.
In the Free State Province, the Guptas introduced programmes through Mosebenzi Zwane, which amount to millions of Rands, influenced Ace Magashule, partnered with his son on a business in a same way they did with Zuma’s son. They took charge of South African Airways, and even decided on basic things such as a subscription, so that their lousy newspaper, the New Age, is the most distributed and paid for newspaper in SAA platforms, including their check-in counters, lounges and flights. They opened offshore accounts for their beneficiaries, including that of a minister, the one who thoughtlessly displays the fact that he has additional income from no additional work.
Guptas feebly distanced themselves from firing Nene, the colonial Presidency should as well & we'll publish the sequel on how they run SA.
— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) December 20, 2015
In 2010, the Guptas managed to appropriate the mining licence of Kumba iron ore, effectively hijacking the mining rights of a company which was supposed to convert the licence from old order mining rights to new order mining rights. Imperial Crown Trading (ICT), an entity which is partly owned by Duduzane Zuma, the son of Mr Zuma, and the Guptas, tried to frustrate Kumba iron ore through a court case, which they lost at the Supreme Court of Appeals in 2013. (Of course the Guptas lost the court case because they have no respect of the law.)
The decision to replace Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi was taken in Saxonwold, and as a matter of fact, the presidential convoy was in Saxonwold the day before Zwane was announced as a Minister of Mineral Resources. Zwane was appointed to allow the Gupta empire to have control over mineral rights and policy in a manner which will benefit the family. In his previous role as MEC in the Free State, Zwane had excellently served Gupta interests through a dairy project which the provincial government paid millions for, but never materialised, and is subject of investigation by the Public Protector.
The Gupta entrance into the media space through The New Age, ANN7, and SABC is also an attempt to colonise the minds of all South Africans. The New Age and ANN7 are bankrolled by government departments and entities, with the Free State government spending millions of rands on Gupta media platforms. The SABC has been pushed into an unexplained cooperation with The New Age for a television breakfast show, which in terms of basic media business laws cannot be co-hosted with owners of a rival television station. The compromised and semi-literate SABC Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, even appears on the rival ANN7 Awards ceremonies alongside Mr Zuma because Saxonwold said they should be there.
In a recent blog, Alec Hogg tells a story of how Atul Gupta instructed Mr Zuma around. Hogg says:
“While in Davos, I met an Indian newspaper editor who proudly informed me he had interviewed my country’s president. After smiling at my surprise, he told about recently accompanying an Indian Business delegation to SA. At one of the cocktail functions he made small talk with Atul Gupta, head of Sahara Computers, proprietor of The New Age newspaper and, via his shell ICT, attempted hijacker of the Sishen iron ore mine’s mineral rights.
The way my new acquaintance told the story, he mentioned to Gupta how he would love to interview Zuma (wouldn’t we all?). No problem, said The New Age boss man, and a few minutes later the surprised editor heard the South African president being instructed to make time for this interview. The astonished Indian newspaperman duly got his face-time with Zuma. But wondered privately to me at the influence of Atul Gupta who was able to swing something so difficult with such ease”.
This is just one of the many illustrations of how influential and controlling the Guptas are on Mr Zuma and everything he does. The Guptas are the only ones who recurrently transport the President in private cars to their compound to instruct government ministers and SOCs officials to take decisions in their favour.
Now, the reason why Nene was removed and replaced with Des van Rooyen is because Saxonwold said so. Van Rooyen is not an elected leader of any organisation; he is a political extension of North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, who is as rapacious as Ace Magashule and Mr Zuma, and part of the Guptas’s sphere of influence. Geographically, the paltry political contributions of Van Rooyen happened in Gauteng where he was a mayor in Merafong, yet the person who introduced Van Rooyen to Zuma is Mahumapelo, Premier of the North West, because like Magashule with Mosebenzi Zwane, and David Mabuza with Intelligence Minister David Mahlobo, Mahumapelo also needed his political extension in a senior cabinet position.
But why did the Gupta empire use Mr Zuma to take over National Treasury? There are three fundamental reasons, and they are:
The Nuclear Deal
Mr Zuma has since announced that the SA government intends to construct a nuclear power station, which will cost the State more than R1 trillion to finalise. In September 2015, the Financial Mail reported that:
This week, Oakbay released its annual report, in which chairman Atul Gupta argued that nuclear energy is the way to go. A hike in nuclear demand would boost Oakbay, whose main asset is Shiva Uranium, 165km southwest of Johannesburg, which it bought in 2010 and revived. Gupta said even though uranium isn’t well understood in SA, countries like China, Russia and Brazil are powering ahead with nuclear plans.
Nuclear energy is the key to meeting the exponentially increasing [global] energy demand over the next 20 years with clean power,” he said.
— Sean Kirby (@SeanKirby88) December 21, 2015
Gupta said Oakbay was “in the ideal growth market and uranium is the place to be”.
The reality is that Nene argued, correctly, that South Africa cannot afford nuclear power stations as such will cause a massive fiscal crisis. For that, Nene was removed and replaced with a powerless Van Rooyen, whose role would be to ask how high whenever instructed to jump.
The R4 billion Jet
Mr Zuma wants to purchase a R4 billion jet, not because he wants to fly in an expensive and safe jet, but because the actual cost of the jet is far less, and the supplier of the jet was going to be companies associated with the Guptas. They are already leasing jets to the Presidency like the one used by Mr. Ramaphosa in the recent past visit to Japan. National Treasury under Nene correctly illustrated that such a purchase is not necessary, and will add to a fiscal crisis.
The Gupta family has shown plenty of interest in the South African Airways and their intentions go beyond the contracts they intend to have with the airways. The ultimate intention is to cause huge debt for the airways, and ultimately buy it and turn into a private Gupta airways. As part of National Treasury interventions in SAA, Nene and the ministry has set key targets for SAA to achieve as part of its recovery plans and a vast majority of those were not reached. As a matter of fact, Treasury had drafted a Cabinet memorandum in which change of leadership was recommended and this meant that Dudu Myeni would no longer continue to misguide SAA. This was going to disrupt the looting intentions and aspirations of the Guptas and their puppets.
These, and many other private criminal syndicate intentions, are the major sources of the financial crisis caused by Mr Zuma. Any person with a brain knows beyond any doubt it was Mr Zuma (then introduced as Number One) who gave a go ahead for the Gupta plane to land at the Waterkloof airbase. That is why the person who was blamed for the landing was later promoted by Zuma to an ambassadorial post in the Netherlands.
When Van Rooyen was made Minister, he immediately appointed ministerial advisors, whom he had introduced to the senior management of National Treasury. It is a fact that majority of senior managers in National Treasury indicated that they will leave if such goes ahead, and that is the main reason why the decision to re-appoint Pravin Gordhan came about, because Mr Zuma was made to understand that if National Treasury senior management resign in huge numbers, the financial crisis was going to deepen to unmanageable levels. The bank executives who met Zuma feel like they influenced him to change the decision, but the fact is that the patriotic staff members in National Treasury coiled Zuma’s intentions.
These are hard core and open facts, and we challenge the Presidency and anyone who is mentioned here to factually dispute what we have said. The reality, dear South Africa, is that our country has been hijacked by a criminal syndicate which works with Mr Zuma to maximise private financial interests. The ruling party is incapable of resolving this crisis because most of their senior leaders are compromised and cannot do or say anything.
We have to stand up and close down the Gupta colonialists, whose greed will bring about a massive crisis. South Africans must stand up against rapacious looting of state resources. It is impossible to explain actions of a leader who cuts his nose to spite his fate, expect to say it was foolishness. How do you explain someone who destroys his organisation, and trust among his senior colleagues on the altar of looting state money?
We should never agree, as this generation have, to be puppet-mastered as if there are no rules and principles that govern this country. We call on all South Africans to stand up against the Gupta syndicate because we will soon be left with no country. Now that their National Treasury capture has failed, they will resort to other means of looting. They still control the majority faction in the ANC, and they have already said who their person of the year is through some bogus awards ceremony. We should not be afraid, we should fight to decolonise South Africa from Guptas.
- Floyd Shivambu is EFF Deputy President. This article appeared first in Daily Maverick.