Precipitate rise: Atul Gupta entered the list of SA’s 10 richest people in 2016, becoming the country’s wealthiest black businessman, according to Business Times. Gupta, with personal wealth valued at R10bn, was ranked seventh on the list, which is compiled by Who Owns Whom. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA
Precipitate rise: Atul Gupta entered the list of SA’s 10 richest people in 2016, becoming the country’s wealthiest black businessman, according to Business Times. Gupta, with personal wealth valued at R10bn, was ranked seventh on the list, which is compiled by Who Owns Whom. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA

The Jacob Zuma presidency and the Gupta parastatals have transmogrified into a frightening, repulsive and unstoppable monstrosity: a vast, looming succubus that has become an embodiment of the anti-anti-apartheid project.

Zuptagate has brought the country face to face with its most antithetical possibility — its Other, a thing that kills the project of liberation from apartheid. Creating a humane society following a long history of brutal oppression was the raison d’etre of the ANC and the life force of the nation that emerged after it came to power.

State capture was put into motion in 2010 at the latest. It became common knowledge after the Gupta wedding in 2013. Many expected that the extent of state capture unearthed by Thuli Madonsela when she was public protector would start to halt the takeover.

Gupta e-mail leaks provided more information of corruption in 2017. It should have been a bombshell, but it was an anti-climax — just more loaded disclosures in a chain of exposés that had already alerted SA to the realities that the leaks confirmed.

The Zuptas didn’t shrink as the leaks dripped out, they fought back. They continued their campaign against the Public Finance Management Act, which makes corruption a little more difficult.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba was installed at the end of March and has flowered as a Zupta pawn.

Now the Zuptas are grabbing control of the budget. Their paws are reaching out for the Public Investment Corporation. They have made their presidential candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, an MP. They are mobilising ANC branches, violently disrupting contests where they can’t prevail.

The allies on their payroll make outrageous pronouncements as part of a concerted propaganda campaign. The Umkhonto We Sizwe Veterans Association casts ridiculous aspersions against Zuma’s detractors.

The ANC Youth League disrupts anti-Zuma meetings, the Women’s League denounces anyone who is not Dlamini-Zuma.

After all the disclosures of their corruption, this should be a faction on the retreat, fearing the law and the anger of a nation desiring governance and growth. Instead, they are able to declare themselves.

The project’s drivers registered the lack of force and the impotence of the blow-back, decided the reaction was weak and regrouped. They decided they could yet prevail.

Citizens know they can’t do anything because the Zupta monster rules strategic sectors of the ANC — the former caretaker of the nation.

Exactly when the caretaker role imploded is uncertain. It could have been at Air Force Base Waterkloof; when Shaun Abrahams was appointed as head of the National Prosecuting Authority; when the Scorpions were disbanded; or when Thabo Mbeki was deposed.

The Zumas and Guptas have not backed down after the nation discovered that a parasite had latched onto a host, almost like a coloniser.

Suspicions regarding the rationale behind moves such as cabinet reshuffles — such as that these were acts of sabotage, that insiders benefit from currency declines, that the ensuing confusion is exploited to throw opposing factions into disarray — have never been tackled by Zuma.

He does not respond to questions about his effect on the economy (downgrades) or the fate of the country (poverty, job losses and economic decline) because he is able to get away with not being accountable to anyone.

Zuma has constructed a barrier between himself and every form of answerability to the people and to his own party and the tripartite alliance.

Members of his party describe him as having gone rogue after he fired Pravin Gordhan in March.

He drives around with a huge convoy and walks around with a mass of bodyguards to ensure he is untouchable and unassailable.

He goes through the motions in Parliament where he evades the questions he is required to answer. Cabinet meetings are devoid of discussion, questioning and, crucially, planning and problem-solving. Cabinet is impotent to carry out its true function.

The Presidency has become a parasitic carbuncle sucking away at the nation’s wealth. Talk of the separation of party and state has become a paradox. The concern is no longer that the governing party is the government, but that the ANC has nothing at all to do with government and has no regulative function over the head of state it installed.

Zuma does only what he has to in order to secure the flourishing of the parasite. It is time for a popular uprising. Nothing short of that will remove the parasite from the jugular vein of the nation.

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