Ed Herbst: Billion Rand Babe outs the ANC’s Vampire State

Stories of corruption flood South Africa’s newsflow on an almost daily basis. And with last week’s Cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma in which he purged Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas, the fear is that state looting could accelerate as the fiscal discipline that South Africa for so long adopted finds itself at risk. Of course, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest Zupta controversies, but as Ed Herbst outlines below, the looting of the state coffers has taken various forms in recent years and its tentacles reach far and wide. This frenzied corruption is critically also starting to result in key functions of the state starting to implode – from the collapse of hospital ceilings to the Road Accident Fund being attached by the sheriff of the court. The vampire state is starting to eat itself. – Gareth van Zyl 

Zapiro’s cartoon on Jacob Zuma’s midnight cabinet reshuffle. More of his work available at www.zapiro.com

By Ed Herbst*

“In a drought-sick future, with the Karoo fracked to fuck and our children sucking on mielie husks for moisture, we will be forced, North Korean-like, to bow before seven giant Russian reactors that don’t work, and are home only to mutant Hadedas and rats as big as oxen. As the Americans are slowly learning, everyone has their price, and the Russians are willing to pay it.”

Richard Poplack Daily Maverick 31/3/2017

“The African vampire state is hard to reform because most necessary reforms would reduce the power and wealth of the people in charge. And the people in charge do not, on the whole, want to lose their privileges…Several African leaders have grown skilled at enacting the letter of reform while sabotaging its spirit.”

Robert Guest The Shackled Continent:  Power, Corruption, and African Lives

Veteran journalist Ed Herbst

One can understand if not empathise with former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom’s  dilemma and why, as the pseudo-anti-racism DJ, he unceasingly pumps up the Penny Sparrow volume while remaining silent about the relish with which Julius Malema predicts the coming genocidal attacks on whites, the ‘Whites must burn to death’ call by our new Deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Mkongi and even more silent on the question of farm murders.

As the incessant clamour of the frenzied snouting at the trough becomes ever-more cacophonous, the Vampire State which Hanekom and his fellow somnambulists have assiduously created over two decades – while resolutely avoiding anything that resembled preventative maintenance – is imploding, quite literally grinding to a halt.

  • On 2 March the floor of the reception area at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital collapsed where preventative maintenance concerns had long been expressed by the DA’s Jack Bloom. People had to be pulled out of the rubble.
  • On 23 March in Port Elizabeth, four SAPS members, some of them women, suffered broken legs when a lift cable snapped.
  • On 27 March the ceiling of an operating theatre in Polokwane’s Mankweng Hospital collapsed as surgeons were preparing for an emergency C-section operation.
  • On 28 March angry residents at Umlazi in KZN took to the streets and burnt tyres in protest after they had been without electricity for five days and the municipality officials in Durban, facing the usual ‘challenges’ were unable to resolve the problem presumably because they ‘lacked capacity’.

‘Koko Korruption’

And, all the while the ANC’s corruption Hydra re-invents itself with cute boutique enterprises such as the Smolanyana Skeleton Snouting at Eskom – what I have called ‘Koko Korruption’.

Here’s an extract from a letter by Colin Currell published in The Times on 5 December last year:

But in the wake of the scandal concerning Eskom’s dubious role in the Guptas’ acquisition of Optimum Coal, and Brian Molefe falling on his sword due to his involvement, the Eskom board caught up to the SABC by appointing Matshela Koko acting CEO. Koko is well known to viewers as a result of an interview he gave as Eskom spokesman recently.

Devi Govender asked him, twice, if Gupta company Tegeta was paid an up-front fee by Eskom when they got into the deal to supply coal from the Optimum Mine to a nearby power station. Koko denied this twice. Govender then presented him with a copy of the contract, to which Koko was one of the signatories, which showed that Tegeta would be paid R659m up front.

At this Koko became flustered and said that perhaps he had made a mistake.

Either Koko is extremely economical with the truth, or he has a serious Alzheimer’s problem.

Completely unfazed, Koko, figuring that attack is the best form of defence, filed papers in the Western Cape High Court accusing the Democratic Alliance of defaming him with reference to the Denton’s report which confirmed the continuation of decades of ANC-deployed cadre snouting at Eskom.

That little petard blew up with appropriate percussive force when Mzilikazi (Nothing left to Steal) wa Afrika posted a cracker of a front page lead in the Sunday Times which was aptly headlined ‘Billion Rand Babe’ and which once again exposed the ANC’s Vampire State in all its sordid infamy.

But the devastation caused by the ANC’s Tsunami of Sleaze becomes ever more evident as Kgalema Motlanthe pointed out in his eulogy at the funeral of Ahmed Kathrada:

“Comrade Kathy took exception to the current the culture of feeding frenzy, moral corruption, societal depravity, political dissolution, the gross and sleaze enveloping human mind that would put to shame even some of the vilest political orders known to human history.”

ANC scandals

Consider this alphabet soup of recent ANC scandals

  • 3 February: The bank account of the Road Accident Fund is attached  by the Sheriff of the Court
  • 26 February: News 24 reveals that the R100m Nelson Mandela School of Science & Technology in Mvezo is bankrupt despite a recent investment of R15m by Siemens
  • 1 March: The DA questions whether SAA board chair Dudu Myeni blew R50 000 for a single night’s accommodation at the Oyster Box Hotel in Durban while, on her watch, the SAA had ended up almost R18bn in debt.
  • 14 March: Opposition parties call on the Social Development Minister and a founder member of the Saxonwold Shebeen Temperance League, Bathabile Dlamini, to resign over the social grants crisis.
  • 17 March: The SACP expresses concern about the SABC being technically insolvent.
  • 17 March: Parliament is told SAA’s projected losses for the 2016/17 year amount to R 3.5bn.  This reflects a R2bn increase compared with the R 1.5bn loss declared in the 2015/16 year. All this on the watch of President Jacob Zuma’s very, very, very close friend, Dudu Myeni.
  • 17 March: Numsa declares its concerns about the bankrupt RAF.
  • 24 March: The DA reveals that, on the watch of deployed cadre Tom Moyane, SARS has deliberately withheld, for months on end, tens of thousands of tax refunds.
  • 24 March: Parliament is told that the ANC’s deployed parasites at the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) spent R14m of public money on lavish international trips in 2015 and 2016.
  • 24 March: After years of Sassa-type shambles the E-Natis system scandal wobbles on.
  • 26 March: The DA reveals that the ANC’s ‘Let them eat pap but no vleis’ Big Vegetables have snouted more than R40m in the past three years to buy pimped-to-the max blingmobiles from colonising White Capital countries such as Germany. Deputy Mineral Resources Minister, Godfrey Olifant splurges R1.3m on a Porsche Cayenne while more than 4000 schools have to use pit toilets.
  • 27 March: The DA reveals that more than 8000 police vehicles are not operational.
  • 29 March: IPID files court papers which seem to indicate that acting police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane might possibly have mastered the unique ANC deployed-cadre attribute of breathing through his ears – an essential attribute if you want to keep your proboscis permanently immersed in the patronage gravy.
  • 29 March: The DA reveals that 200 000 university students across the country have not received their National Student Financial Aid Scheme grants.
  • 30 March: With the certainty of night following day, of darkness following light, our Zama Zama Zuptoid government gives the go-ahead for fracking in the Karoo. With a Zuptoid apparatchik, Mosebenzi (Wabenzi) Zwane as the Mineral Resources Minister – the man who created his very own Browse Mole report –  you can rest assured that our Champagne and Caviar Chaos Capitalists will grow fat on this one.

Not quite as obscenely obese as they will when they feast on the Rosatom scam but, from tiny acorns … Ask the Guptas – they’ll tell you.

  • 30 March: Deciding that buying votes with food parcels is so yesterday, Gauteng Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, assumes a vanguard position in the RET onslaught and launches a R126 000 pilot program, ‘Operation KFC’, at Leeukop Prison using your money and mine. This is double the amount that the KFC Kween, Sylvia (Chicken Licken) Lucas blew in an orgy of quite literal snouting back in 2013 and insiders say that her beak is somewhat out of joint. She promises to peck her way back to the top of the fast food pile and a retaliatory Nandos ad is expected any time now.
  • 30 March: The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) acknowledges that two ANC-controlled municipalities in KZN, Umzumbe and Umdoni, not only haven’t bothered to adhere to a 2006 deadline relating to the KZN Pound Act 3 of 2006 – which stipulates that all municipalities should either establish their own pounds within a period of 12 months or enter into a service agreement with another pound, also within a year – they had not even bothered to spend the money allocated for this purpose. Presumably these municipalities face ‘challenges’ relating to ‘capacity’. The spokesperson for the Umzumbe municipality, Trevor Khanyile, did however indicate that it had a list of priorities but it seems that animal welfare did not feature on that list even if money had been allocated for the purpose. Presumably the same ‘challenges’ are being experienced in more than 200 ANC-controlled municipalities countrywide.

ANC municipal corruption

Here’s the kicker:

Nine of the top ten municipalities are run by the Democratic Alliance, according to the report, with all 17 of the party’s municipalities appearing in the top 40.

The bottom 10 municipalities are all ANC-run, with a showing from one IFP and one NFP-run municipality.

ANC logo stencilled on a wall in Soweto, Johannesburg

15 of the top 20 municipalities are in the Western Cape, while half of the 20 worst-run municipalities are in the Eastern Cape (followed by seven in KwaZulu Natal, two in Limpopo and one in North West Province).

Let’s not, however, sweat the small stuff.

Chancellor House has set the bar extremely high and the ear-breathing deployed cadres have got to meet their targets.

In the Hitachi scam, facilitated by Comrade Valli Moosa, Chancellor House snouted a 5000% return on its insider trading investment. ‘Boss’ Tweed would have approved.

As Smuts Ngonyama, our ambassador in Spain, pointed out when he snouted tens of millions of rands for ‘facilitating a meeting’ a few years ago – he did not join the Struggle to remain poor

Like the Mighty Mississippi the ANC’s Tsunami of Sleaze just keeps rollin’ along – ask Kgalema Motlanthe, he’ll tell you.

In a telling portent of what is to come, the Zuptoid state broadcaster sees its television audience share drop to 45%, an historical low and a tribute to the genius of Hlaudi Motsoeneng the ‘most powerful person in South Africa’  and the man who, according to Ellen Tshabalala ‘brings stability’ to the SABC.

And, despite the pleas of the clergy, rest assured that it has only just begun

What have we done?

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