The future of SA is on my mind. And in particular, how we ensure we have one. Our nation is at a crossroads. Sure, we often use that phrase — this time, however, it’s for real.

This is a defining moment for the future of our country, and for the continuation of the democratic project that was initiated by the liberation movements decades ago.

More than a century ago, when our political ancestors met to form the ANC, the struggle was against colonialism. Later, it became a struggle against apartheid, which we termed "colonialism of a special type".

Today, eight years into the Jacob Zuma administration, we realise the struggle is again against "colonialism of a special type" — this time, the recolonisation of SA by a family of foreign traders who have captured our president, his family and many of his associates.

Remarkably, they have gone from running a computer dealership to running a country.

They will be able to establish their own bank and get unfettered access to the public purse

With the connivance of our president, they captured vital state institutions to ensure they are not pursued by law-enforcement agencies; they captured state-owned companies to ensure access to funds; they captured coal mines; they set up their own propaganda wing in The New Age and ANN7; and last week, they ostensibly captured our entire cabinet.

The Guptas have now effectively captured SA’s national fiscus.

With Malusi Gigaba (a person I consider a Gupta proxy) in place as minister of finance, they will be able to establish their own bank and get unfettered access to the public purse — in particular, pensioners’ savings held at the Public Investment Corp (PIC).

Worse: they’ll be able to sign off on the Russian nuclear deal, which will surely be the biggest heist in SA history. It will make the arms deal look like a picnic, not just for the scale of kickbacks, but also the immense debt that future generations will have to repay.

There’s more. Their power as a colonial force has been extended to other government departments where, in my view, pliable people have been installed. For example:

  • Nkhensani Kubayi has been put in charge of the department of energy. She was, we must not forget, one of the architects of the Nkandla Report whitewash in parliament. Now her signature is needed on those Eskom contracts;
  • Fikile Mbalula has been put in charge of the police. This could allow for continued abuse of the criminal justice system;
  • Joe Maswanganyi, a diehard Zuma loyalist, has been appointed to head transport. And we all know that a prerequisite of money laundering is a captured airport, never mind the apparent desire to protect the Prasa looters.

The response from members of the ANC — including half its top six — has effectively told us that it was indeed the Guptas who selected this cabinet, not Zuma. And that they are in charge of SA right now.

It is time we accepted that the Guptas are no different from the string of Dutch and British governors who stole land, robbed us, denied us our national sovereignty and installed their own governors.

Only, with all colonial occupations, there comes a time when those who are occupied (or captured) rise up against their oppressors. SA has been no different — just ask the British, or the National Party. And soon, the ANC.

Already, it is happening. Hours after the announcement of the new Gupta cabinet, thousands of people from all walks of life — those without jobs, workers, civil society activists and business people — took to the streets to protect treasury and defend our democracy.

Slowly but surely, they are coalescing around the concept of defending our democracy and recapturing our state. The colonial powers have overplayed their hand this time, which means this may just be the shortest era of colonial rule in SA history.

Which leaves one question which should be on your mind: what are you doing to help?

* Pityana is chairman of AngloGold Ashanti

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