Judge Raymond Zondo, chairman of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, arrives in court, in Johannesburg. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
Judge Raymond Zondo, chairman of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, arrives in court, in Johannesburg. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

We’ve just learnt at the Zondo commission that it’s “a manner of speaking” to accuse someone of being an agent of state capture without a shred of evidence. How ironic that those who peddle such gossip profess themselves as innocent public servants.

Yet there is circumstantial evidence linking them to the state capture mayhem, nullifying the so-called “nine wasted years” narrative as devoid of honesty and truth. These actors in high places have used every trick in the book to project themselves as righteous characters.

Yet they obstructed public protector Busiswe Mkhwebane from revealing their evils, so that not even a whiff of sleaze is in the public domain. And they went to great lengths to vilify Mkhwebane as ineffectual, naïve and overreaching in a matter canvassed under the purview of a private presidential campaign.

That’s a technicality, because the ultimate goal is to ascend to public office by any means — though without violating the parliamentary code of conduct and disclosure requirements stipulated in the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.

Besides vexatious litigation at the taxpayers’ cost, there’s a widely held view that Mkhwebane was muzzled for exposing the second phase of state capture contrived by those who had been scheming behind the scenes to get their hands on the throttle of power. This has done more damage than good to the ideal of a new dawn, which sought to entrench a culture of transparency and accountability.

Let’s think of the proceeds of crime or graft that landed in the coffers of the presidential campaign, whose beneficiary is the head of state. That’s likely to beget “pay back the money” protests. At worst, if it were to be revealed that certain fugitives and other notable characters are benefactors of the campaign, it would be the hard, cold facts of the state capture reality.

Morgan Phaahla
Ekurhuleni

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