Ed Herbst on that non-rogue unit: So where’s the brothel, Tom Moyane?

JOHANNESBURG — Veteran journalist Ed Herbst once again brilliantly picks apart the inconsistency of government officials’ questionable statements and behaviour. In this piece, Herbst focuses his energy on the drama surrounding KPMG’s retraction of its controversial rogue unit report and Tom Moyane’s subsequent bizarre defence of the flawed report. It’s another great satirical take on yet another South African drama. – Gareth van Zyl

By Ed Herbst*

The KPMG report’s findings has been used as a political stick to bash the anti-Zupta faction into submission. Former Minister of police Nathi Nhleko and minister of state security David Mahlobo held press conferences based on the KPMG report, entrenching the idea in South Africans’ minds that SARS had a rogue unit and Gordhan was heading it. SARS is in a shambles, despite Moyane’s vitriolic protestations. – Pauli van Wyk Daily Maverick 15/9/2017

SARS sees KPMG’s conduct as nothing else but a dismal attempt to portray SARS, its leadership, and in particular SARS Commissioner as incompetent, corrupt, inefficient and involved in a witch-hunt. This is the same narrative that has been perpetuated for years by some treacherous elements within society and the media. – Tom Moyane Politicsweb 18/9/2017

Veteran journalist Ed Herbst

At his recent media conference, Tom Moyane was somewhat belligerent in defending the KPMG cut-and-paste ‘Rogue Unit’ report upon which he lavished the piffling sum of R23 million – your money and mine. It was, he claimed, entirely without fault and accurate in all its aspects and this conclusion was probably also reached by his ear-breathing colleague, the one and only (fortunately) Jonas Makwakwa. He also didn’t mention the fact that the fellow who compiled the report seems somewhat dodgy – ask Schabir Shaik, he’ll tell you.

I was reminded of the days when former President Thabo Mbeki was in his venomous pomp and lashing out in his best bullshit-baffles-brains style about ‘some among us’ – i.e. those who advocated anti-retrovirals for HIV-AIDS infected pregnant women and the Big Pharma-funded anti-revolutionaries who were suggesting that the baby deaths at Frere Hospital were a consequence of deployed parasite indolence and incompetence.

Moyane’s imperious attack on his critics had more holes than a hundred metres of chicken wire and the biggest – the brothel claim – resembled that gaping fissure in the wall of the Möhne Dam after it made the concussive acquaintance of a Barnes Wallis calling card.

Here are the questions I posed more than two years ago in my Media Online article, The Leak Wars – questions Moyane has yet to answer.

I remember reading the Sunday Times article about the ‘rogue unit’ at SARS running a brothel with a sense of disquiet, in part because it made no sense to me. Using such a business as a means of honey trap intelligence gathering would seem to offer little measurable benefit but the risk of exposure would be huge. That story was carried on 9 November last year and no proof has been provided of the bordello’s existence – what its address was, why it only operated in Durban and not in other cities, who worked there, how many worked there, who its patrons were, how the employees were recruited, what they charged, whether they were local women or had come from abroad, whether they were registered with SWEAT, how the brothel managed to escape police raids and avoid the complaints of neighbours and, above all, whether it was tax compliant.

Surely the Sunday Times followed up this obvious angle and can provide such information? It is obligated to do so because its article implies an unconscionable exploitation of women by a state organisation which answers to a political party that claims to promote and protect the rights of women – particularly those who are the most vulnerable.

As we now know, the only member of the Sunday Times team to come out of that nefarious exercise with credibility not only intact but enhanced was whistle blower Pearlie Joubert.

SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane

To assist Tom Moyane in locating the brothel – I am told that not even the grabber-equipped spooks working for the immaculately-manicured David Mahlobo could help – I approached my Loot-freely House Browse Moles, they of satirical bent and whimsical mien.

(They’re always full of it – full of ‘hints and allegations’ as Paul Simon would say.)

‘It’s right next door to the Saxonwold Shebeen’, was their prompt response.

‘Of course!’

I smote my forehead in exasperation

‘Why didn’t I think of that?’

As Macbeth’s porter pointed out, there has always been a lascivious link between liquor and lechery and I am told that the Saxonwold Shebeen dispenses Johnny Walker Blue by the flagon.

Having lolled in the arms of Bacchus as you listened to the rousing chords of that iconic snouter’s anthem and ode to the largesse of Eskom, Howlin Wolf’s Smokestack Lightnin’,  one might well want to experience the real thing before the dronk verdriet  and associated maladies set in.

A-why don’t ya hear me cryin’?

Woo hoo, woo hoo

In a recent column in Die Burger, Max du Preez alleged that Tom Moyane had caught us with a slap riem.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to live on the right side of the Grape Curtain cordon sanitaire, are not entirely sure of how to interpret that – given the porter’s advice about loss of performance.

Hopefully Tom Moyane will, given the absolute veracity of the Rogue Unit report on the bawdy house which was apparently being run by Pravin Gordhan et al, give us more salacious feedback in his next in-your-face media conference.

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