President Jacob Zuma Picture: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS
President Jacob Zuma Picture: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS

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 INTRODUCTION
 

In 2009 [president] Jacob Zuma secured the highest office in the land, in large part due to the composition of South Africa’s 1994 provincial map.

And now a provincial power-bloc held by Zuma’s faction within the African National Congress (ANC) is fending off those who want their term in the executive suite.

And yet the instant Zuma came to power, he has attempted to reduce South Africa’s nine provinces, and ultimately wants to disband provinces altogether. The question is why, when he has been the main beneficiary of the country’s provincial structure?

Even more mysterious is that Zuma’s allies who own a treasure trove of provincial power are not only willing, but eager to relinquish their authority to Zuma’s central government and local municipalities. Why? What are they expecting in return for their generosity?

The story of South Africa’s provinces may seem academic on the surface, but beneath is an undercurrent of political intrigue, state capture, and the pillaging of resources. 

 

PROVINCES - WHO NEEDS THEM ANYWAY?
 

To set the scene, you may be wondering why you should care about how SA’s provinces are drawn up, or - for that matter - erased.

Here’s why:

“Boundaries create the territorial space in which we live, distribute power to people who influence our lives, determine where we vote, create tax bases, construct regional identities, facilitate or impede easy transport, determine access to public services and become blueprints for development planning. Boundaries have enormous social, cultural, economic, and political, ramifications that are felt most deeply in the affected border areas,” wrote Richard Griggs, independent social science research consultant and head of the network organisation - Partner[1].

(For arguments for and against provinces, see Note 1 below.)

 

SINGULARITY


Apple and honey

In 2005, Mbeki pointed out that the ANC had to deal with the challenges of ‘being in power’. “We have seen these people attracted to join the ANC as a bee is to a honey pot. They come with the view that they will use access to power for personal benefit.”[2]

Former President Thabo Mbeki. REUTERS
WARNED OF ABUSE - Former President Thabo Mbeki. REUTERS

In response, Mbeki proposed altering the provincial structure of SA, to try eradicate the deep seated ineptitude and corruption embedded in government’s “subnational” level.  It was hoped that by redirecting provincial powers to national government and municipalities[3], it would tell the patronage networks to ‘buzz off’, so to speak.

And in preparation of that eventuality, Mbeki pursued the establishment of a single public service, where public servants in national, provincial and local spheres of government would be controlled by central authority[4].  

But Mbeki’s attempt only resulted in upsetting the ANC apple-cart, providing the bad apple of Zuma the ideal path to roll into power. Yet, ever since Zuma secured the top spot he has persisted in trying to upset that very same apple-cart that up-ended Mbeki, namely to reduce the number and powers of the provinces, starting with the introduction of a single public service.

Sipho Hlongwane wrote in the Daily Maverick in 2012 that the big difference between the original 2007 proposal by Mbeki for a single public service and the one put forward under Zuma’s administration appeared to be that the former was about having a depoliticised civil society, while the latter was about securing central and direct national executive control of public staff[5].

Hlongwane concluded in 2012 that, “the question of whose vision will eventually win out is one that should weigh on everyone’s minds. The future of this country may depend on it.”[6]

The reason for the dire warning - explained Hlongwane - was because a single public service had the potential of effectively making local and provincial elections pointless as far as service delivery is concerned, since this would become the sole responsibility of national government[7].

Despite these concerns, in March 2014, the Public Administration Management Act (PAM) which created a single public service was passed by Zuma’s administration[8] [9] [10] [11]. The main opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), refused to support PAM, saying that it had been rushed through parliament and had major flaws[12].

PAM introduced - along with a single public service – measures against corruption (for example, all public servants must disclose their financial interests). But the anti-corruption clauses of the Bill were seriously diluted in the final draft (and, for those clauses that did somehow sneak through, there followed a lack of political will to properly enforce them[13] [14] [15] [16].)  

Heist caper

Apart from PAM having the potential to undermine democracy under Zuma, there was another crucial effect of a single public service. It meant that national government would now manage all public employees’ pension funds and medical aids[17]. This centralised hundreds of billions of rands under one roof in the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). 

In the last few years we have witnessed Zuma playing musical chairs over who should be finance minister. But in all the cacophony we may have lost sight of Zuma’s motive

In 2016 the PIC’s annual report stated that, “The PIC can be classified as one of the most influential organisations in the South African economy as it is the largest asset manager in terms of Assets under Management.”[18]  As at 31 March 2016, the PIC held R1.857 trillion, which amounted to 45% of SA’s Gross Domestic Product, and is one of the largest investors in South African equities[19] [20].

From 2010 to 2016, during Zuma’s presidency the PIC’s managed assets doubled in value[21] [22]. 

(Between 2006 and 2015, the number of public servants had swollen by 25%, whereas private-sector employment had fallen [The Economist][23]. In 2015, SA spent 40% of its budget on wages; Gordhan has made a point of reducing what is oft described as government’s “bloated” wage bill[24]. Based on a 2017 Moneyweb article, in comparison with private sector salaries, public workers at State Owned Entities are paid on average 40% more, and Municipal workers are paid on average 50% more – analysis excludes executives[25]. “A large contributor to this difference is that across all occupational levels, public sector employees receive larger benefits as a percentage of their basic salary (cash component of total guaranteed package).” [MoneyWeb][26])

In the last few years we have witnessed Zuma playing musical chairs over who should be finance minister. But in all the cacophony we may have lost sight of Zuma’s motive. If one keeps in mind that the finance minister acts as the PIC’s one and only shareholder and that the deputy finance minister is the PIC’s chairperson, then Zuma’s orchestrations become pin sharp.

In May 2014, two months after PAM became law, Zuma announced his new cabinet, which included the parachuting in as energy minister the “political lightweight” Tina Joemat-Pettersson, whose appointment produced a strong reaction ranging from concern to absolute outrage, because of the potential of a 9 600MW nuclear build on the near horizon, involving hundreds of billions of rands in tenders[27]. But equally unsettling was the shock transfer of Pravin Gordhan from finance minister to a lesser portfolio. Gordhan’s replacement, Nhlanhla Nene, however - although having a low profile - was respected[28]. 

Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. REUTERS
DID NOT PLAY THE GAME - Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. REUTERS

Then, less than one and a half years later, in October 2015 - with Nene refusing to follow Zuma’s nuclear script (and other sitcoms Zuma and his ghost writers had composed) - Zuma’s apparent minister-recruitment officer, Ajay Gupta, allegedly offered deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas the post as finance minister, as well as a R600 million incentive package, plus - as a goodwill gesture - a 0.1% upfront cash-and-carry offer[29] [30] [31] [32]. But as it turned out, Jonas refused to sell his soul, and sell out the country.

Consequently, six weeks afterwards, David Des van Rooyen arrived on the scene, dancing Gupta Style into the top spot in Treasury, at the expense of Nene. Just hours before Van Rooyen’s entrance, Zuma’s Cabinet had secretly approved the 9 600MW deal without Treasury sign-off (which was apparently an illegal act[33]). Then, four days later, Van Rooyen was forced to hot-foot out of Treasury by some of the ANC’s top six members, together with business, religious, and trade union leaders.

After Van Rooyen’s 4-day stint as finance minister, he somersaulted into the position of cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister. However, on his way down he passed Gordhan going in the opposite direction.

(Their ministerial switch-a-roo may appear to be an act of convenience, but having Van Rooyen in charge of local municipalities should not be taken lightly – as will be explained in due course.)

New Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. REUTERS
RESURRECTED - New Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. REUTERS

Gordhan’s resurrection as finance minister did not stop Zuma from signing days later the 2015 Tax Laws Amendment Act and the 2015 Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act[34] [35]. The Acts restrict withdrawals of employee benefits upon resignation or retirement, ensuring the PIC remained cash flush for the upcoming nuclear build, and deluge of tenders[36].

 (The 2015 Tax Acts are sitting in abeyance, having received strong objections by labour unions[37]. The Acts, however, are likely to be implemented in March 2018[38], which happens to be the time when construction of the first nuclear reactor is expected to get underway. As a further aside, DA’s national spokesperson on health, Wilmot James, said that it is no secret that the Zuma-led government “would love to park the resource-rich medical schemes in the [government’s] NHI [National Health Insurance]”[39].)

As the summary below covering the period 2009 to 2016 shows, Zuma’s actions resemble the world’s slowest but biggest bank heist, with R1.86 trillion at risk. (R1.6 trillion - or nearly 90% - of the money targeted comes from Africa’s largest pension fund, whose members consist of 1.6 million SA government employees and pensioners[40] [41]).

In December 2015, Zuma had well and truly whipped aside his mask as the President of SA and exposed to everyone his true identity. For the sake of the 1.6 million government pension-holders, and the country as a whole, one can only hope that everyone opened their eyes and saw Zuma for who he truly is.

“Parliament must keep the pressure on [the PIC] for transparency, and market players and civil society must challenge it to avoid the fund falling under the influence of cronies becoming vulnerable to capture,” warned a Business Day editorial in October 2016[62].

Now back to Zuma’s provincial plot…

 

GOVERNMENT: PROVINCIAL POWER
 

In 2009, upon hearing the Zuma-led ANC was considering eliminated provinces, constitutional expert Pierre de Vos said, “I suspect there will be serious resistance from within the ANC to any move to scrap the Provinces. President Jacob Zuma’s rise to power was partly based on regional mobilisation and promises of decentralising power to provincial ANC structures. This means that provincial ANC structures might well fight tooth and nail to retain the provinces.”[63]

But De Vos was not done. “Add to this the fact that Provinces are important vehicles for dispensing patronage and it becomes clear that there will be serious resistance to the idea of abolishing provinces from within ANC. If provinces are abolished, what would happen to the Premiers and the MEC’s, who earn fat salaries and are allowed to drive around in very expensive cars – with or without blue lights flashing? There are only so many ambassadorships to upper Mongolia up for grabs,” said De Vos[64].

De Vos was proven right, for the process stalled for three years.

Former finance minister Trevor Manuel and President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS
WARNED AGAINST MESSING WITH THE PROVINCES - Former finance minister Trevor Manuel and President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS
Image: GCIS

In 2012, Zuma tried again, even though Trevor Manuel, the then planning minister reiterated De Vos’ analysis. Manuel said that undoing the provincial arrangement had proven difficult because of the vested interests that had developed around it. “We as the ANC didn’t start off very committed to federalism [versus a centralised, unitary State]. But now we are stuck with it. The premiers and MECs will be the last people to give up power.” [Carol Paton, Business Day][65]. De Vos and now Manuel were proven right, for the process stalled for a further three years.

In 2015, Zuma persisted for a third time, despite the challenges remaining as stark as ever. IOL reported that same year that any proposed restructuring of provinces was likely to be divisive in the ANC, given that provincial and regional politics have become entrenched in the party, and that changes, particularly those aimed at reducing the number of provinces and downgrading their power, could meet with fierce resistance[66].

And that is what one would expect, much like the DA’s fierce defence of the Western Cape since winning the province in 2009.

Yet, in contradiction to the views expressed above and the DA’s response, unfathomably in 2015 some ANC provincial leaders were willing, even keen, to swallow the poisonous fruit of provincial “reform”.

The Free State – a member of the Zuma-aligned premier league - spoke in favour in 2015 of reducing the number of provinces, and ultimately to dissolve all the provinces[67] [68].

The term “unitary state” in support of provincial abolishment was used in 2015 by then ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman - a staunch Zuma supporter - and in 2012 by the then Eastern Cape provincial secretary

Equally puzzling, the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal region threw their weight behind a province reduction as well, saying they want the government to start a 10 year programme that would culminate in the culling of provinces and devolving their power to the municipalities. “We must have a unitary state where we must have central and strong local government,” ANC’s provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said[69] [70].

The Free State is a member of the pro-Zuma premier league, while Zikalala of KwaZulu-Natal is considered to be aligned with the premier league and hence a Zuma-man as well[71] [72].      

Which makes one wonder why provincial leaders aligned with Zuma would be prepared to voluntarily surrender their seat of power? What do they expect in return for their sacrifice?

In contrast, the ANC in Limpopo resisted the idea of a province reduction, and in 2015 proposed that the ANC withdrawals its 2012 resolution to reduce the number of provinces[73].  Gauteng, too, appeared unconvinced[74].

Gauteng has been a long-time critic of Zuma[75], while Limpopo has recently hinted its support for deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, the rival to Zuma’s heir-apparent[76].

As to the ANC’s Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape leadership, in 2015 they spoke in favour of province reduction[77] [78]. This, though, has proven true ever since the DA won the Western Cape. So their motives are not hard to fathom: it could be explained simply by political expediency[79] [80].

Marius Fransman. Picture: GCIS
STAUNCH ZUMA SUPPORTER - Marius Fransman. Picture: GCIS

The term “unitary state” in support of provincial abolishment was used in 2015 by then ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman - a staunch Zuma supporter - and in 2012 by the then Eastern Cape provincial secretary[81] [82].

Business Day, in 2015, noted that, “those who do support the concept of fewer provinces cannot agree on why.”[83] Zuma said on the subject that the number of provinces would have to be reviewed, in order to strengthen “the democratic state” [IOL][84].

Well that definitely cannot be the real reason.

Re-solve

In October 2015, ANC’s national general council (NGC) made resolutions that read like a wish-list of any self-respecting dictator-wannabee: censure media freedom and transparency; undermine human rights and the organisations that defend them; force the (Johannesburg) public to comply with unfair and unpopular policies of e-tolls; treat municipalities and provinces as if they were pieces in a war game (examples to follow); and position the country internationally for political gain of the elite - and to the detriment of the citizens – while cloaking the deceit behind the nebulous refrain “national interest” (such as withdrawing from the International Criminal Court)[85] [86] [87]. (To play spot-a-dictator-a-mile-off, read Alec Hogg’s list of dictatorial attributes here at Fin24[88])

Those in the ANC who were not in on Zuma’s constitutional gag in October 2015, were at that stage so power-drunk at the wheel of government that they blindly followed Zuma’s GPS instructions at the NGC, without considering that he was steering the country’s Constitutional democracy off the cliff.

To better understand Zuma’s determination in becoming the undisputed King of SA’s kleptocracy, one must recognise that he divides his workload into three categories: Irrelevant, Do Nothing, and Fast Track

It must be said, though, that Zuma did not get it all his own way. The ANC’s Integrity Commission was strengthened by making its decisions binding; and, the formulation of lobby groups and promotion of slates were made disciplinary offences. But, to-date, the implementation of both these reforms have been found wanting. (Like a drug-addict driving drunk ‘wants’ to be pulled over at a police road-block.)

At the same time, the NGC issued a call to review the number of provinces (as it had done previously in 2007, 2009, and 2012)[89] [90]. Furthermore, the NGC resolved, amongst others, that a presidential review committee of provinces referred to in 2012 but never realised was finally to be established, with the task of “fast tracking” the process of reducing the provinces[91] [92].

Coincidentally, Zuma’s desire to “fast track” provincial borderline alterations made a splash within the same month as the alleged meeting between Jonas and the big silver fish of the Guptas.

Undivided attention

To better understand Zuma’s determination in becoming the undisputed King of SA’s kleptocracy, one must recognise that he divides his workload into three categories: Irrelevant, Do Nothing, and Fast Track.

In the ‘Irrelevant’ pile is all that we as citizens hold dear, namely employment, education, wealth-creation, health, safety, the National Development Plan…  The only time these subjects enter Zuma’s mind is when he is forced to read speeches about them. (And, yes, he is as bored reading them as we are listening to them.)

As to the ‘Do Nothing’ pile – some commentators have interpreted it as proof of Zuma’s lame-duck status, but this would be making a grave error. For Zuma ‘doing nothing’ is not a sign of powerlessness, it is a deliberate strategy, with a specific goal in mind - to obfuscate, frustrate, weaken, and buy time.

To illustrate: for the violent Fees Must Fall student protests, Zuma has personally exhibited not an iota of urgency in resolving the matter.

It took him months to act, eventually establishing a Fees Commission after the fact, which - according to students, educators and opposition parties - is unnecessary because the solutions are already known - and the commission’s final report is only expected in June 2017, after being extended to cover a total of 18 months[93] [94] [95] [96] [97] [98].

It also took Zuma three weeks after violent protests broke out in September 2016 for him to establish a ministerial task team, which is littered with his securocrats and lackeys. Furthermore, the ‘team’ initially excluded the most obvious member (considering the student movement’s name, Fees Must Fall), and that was finance minister Gordhan, who on that exact same day had been charged by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for fraud and corruption[99]. So it is little wonder Zuma – also on that precise day - was dancing away at a Kenyan banquet without a care in the world[100] [101], while South African universities were burning and the rand tanking[102].

This is all a deliberate “Do Nothing” strategy – whose purpose will be explained in Part 2 of Zuma’s Masterplan.

As to Zuma’s third category - ‘Fast Track’: now there’s the real give-away. Whenever you see that, it means Zuma’s plans are afoot.

Which means, in this case, the position of finance minister is tied in with not only a heist of the PIC, but also somehow with provincial “reform”, which Zuma was determined to “fast track” in 2015.

More will be revealed below.

 

ANC: NEC FAIRY TALE
 

In June 2012 during the ANC’s national policy conference, Ranjeni Munusamy wrote in the Daily Maverick that it was resolved to reduce the size of the ANC’s decision-making body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), from 80 to 60 members[103]. It was further decided, according to Munusamy, that provinces would have to reach some broad consensus on candidates for the NEC before the elective conference in December 2012, to prevent any untidy scrap over a reduced number of positions[104]. 

The desire to reduce the size of the NEC could have been an attempt to purge the NEC of the anti-Zuma faction. But it may also have been a pre-emptive strike in preparation of Zuma’s ultimate plan for a provincial reduction. This is because altering the number of provinces not only affects government; it has ramifications for the composition of the ANC NEC as well.

NEC members are elected based on paid-up members in a particular province, who then - through branches - mandate delegates to vote on their behalf for new party leadership. Anthony Butler (who teaches politics at the University of Cape Town, UCT), wrote in a paper that in provinces where Zuma’s allies controlled senior ANC positions, they may have used their influence to undermine anti-Zuma branches[105]. This in turn skewed delegate voting in favour of Zuma.

In 2012, when Zuma was re-elected as ANC president for a second time, the voting was skewed by 17% in Zuma’s favour in provincial delegate representation, if one compares it to the ANC’s electoral support by province in the 2011 local government election.  

But, as with all the resolutions relating to Zuma’s provincial ambitions, his attempt at reducing the NEC’s size also failed to gain traction.

ANC Youth League president Collen Maine. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
WANTED NEC RESTRUCTURED - ANC Youth League president Collen Maine. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

In August 2016, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), considered by the SACP as Zuma’s storm troopers, resurrected the call to alter the composition of the NEC. “The ANC Youth League believes that the structure of the NEC must be revised. [We] believe that there is a need to reduce the size of the NEC to make it more efficient and effective and allow space for it to take decisions with speed and reduce bureaucratic behaviour,” said Njabula Nzuza, ANCYL secretary-general [IOL][106].

Nzuza was asked whether this was not a way to purge the ANC’s national secretary –general, Gwede Mantashe, from his position. (Mantashe maintains that a person elected as ANC and SA deputy president is the natural successor of an out-going president; such an argument is in favour of Zuma’s main rival Ramaphosa to succeed him or his heir apparent[107].)  In his response, Nzuza said the narrative that the ANCYL was hostile to Mantashe was a “fairy tale” [IOL][108].

BLURRING THE BOUNDARIES


So how does Zuma and his faction ultimately intend redrawing the map of South Africa?

Cape-land

Mega-merge

According to two senior party leaders in 2012, the ANC’s legislature and governance commission had agreed to merge the Northern Cape, Western Cape and some parts of the Eastern Cape[109] - which altogether will, for our purposes, henceforth be called “Cape-land”.

“All indications are that the ANC has made up its mind about the future of the Provinces. The only question is whether it wants to reduce their number or abolish them altogether. Either way, it has one objective in mind: to oust the DA from power by undemocratic means,” Helen Zille said in a 2010 speech, as then-leader of the main opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and premier of the recently-won Western Cape province[110].

In protecting the DA’s turf, Zille warned that the DA would fiercely resist the ANC’s “gerrymandering proposals”[111]. Zille’s contention that the ANC’s provincial agenda was for nefarious purposes was later reiterated by DA’s new leader, Mmusi Maimane, in 2015, who said that, “the ANC is now forced to consider undemocratic measures to try reclaim the [Western Cape] province”[112].

So, are the fears of the DA justified in believing they will be forced out of provincial power if Cape-land became a reality?

If one treats the 2016 local government elections as national elections, which the electorate seemed to have done, then the combination of the Northern Cape, Western Cape and (the whole) of the Eastern Cape would have resulted in the ANC obtaining 47% of the vote, the DA 41% and the remaining parties 13%. Thus, the ANC and the DA would likely need to form a coalition with smaller parties in order to win Cape-land. (On the whole, smaller parties avoided the ANC in support of the DA after the 2016 local elections).

However the picture is greatly altered if one subdivides the Eastern Cape.

For the 2016 local government elections, the ANC achieved an average of 66% for the whole Eastern Cape, but within the province the ANC’s support ranged from 50% to nearly 90% in some regions. Thus, electoral “gerrymandering” which Zille and Maimane of the DA warned about, is a distinct possibility, to tip the scales in the ANC’s favour.

But the DA is not the only ones who should be concerned about Zuma’s provincial border “gerrymandering”.

Find the leader

If the Western Cape, Northern Cape and parts of the Eastern Cape were joined, the question arises of whom Zuma would choose as the premier, assuming the ANC won the new mega-province in elections?

In November 2016, Zuma’s office refused to confirm or deny claims of an imminent Cabinet reshuffle [News24][113]. The Sunday Times reported that Zuma planned to restructure his Cabinet after the ANC’s birthday celebrations in January 2017 in an attempt to side-line his opponents [News24] [114].

The Sunday Times claimed that Zuma had already consulted over plans to remove some of the premiers[115]. One of those set to go was Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle[116].              

One month before the claims were circulated, Masualle expressed his support for Gordhan, calling him a man of integrity[117]. (At the time, Gordhan was being attacked incessantly by the Zuma-aligned Hawk and NPA Medusa heads). At the time Ramaphosa, too, publically announced his “moral and political support” for Gordhan[118].

The Eastern Cape ANC is said to be in favour of Ramaphosa taking over the reins as leader in 2017[119], (but this is not across the board[120] [121]).

Zuma’s motivations thus seem simple enough. If you are with Gordhan and /or Ramaphosa, then you are against me.

In 2012, Zuma and his supporters began suffering from buyer’s remorse, saying that the ANC’s decision in 2007 to strip the president from directly appointing premiers was an “emotional” move taken out of anger with Mbeki

The obvious choice for Zuma as premier of Cape-land would have been Marius Fransman, who as leader of the ANC Western Cape was a fierce defender of Zuma, and a loud proponent of province reduction, and ultimately a “unitary state” devotee[122] [123].

(In November 2016, Fransman was found guilty by the ANC’s Integrity Commission for abusing his office by attempting to obtain a sexual favour from a junior worker, and for making statements which brought the ANC into disrepute [EWN][124] [125]. His ANC membership was suspended for five years[126]. This has likely dented Zuma’s plans for Cape-land. In the meantime, Fransman has initiated a fightback, challenging the Integrity Commission’s process [Daily Maverick][127].

After Fransman’s departure, the Western Cape ANC resolved that the Integrity Commission must also probe all ANC leaders who were implicated in the former public protector’s “State of Capture” report, which includes Zuma [Business Day][128]. There are also reports that the Western Cape ANC is throwing its support behind Ramaphosa for president[129].)

With Masualle of the Eastern Cape set to go, while Fransman of the Western Cape was that time Zuma’s first choice for Cape-land premier, this then leaves the premier of the Northern Cape, Sylvia Lucas.

The Northern Cape under Lucas has seen a boon in renewable energy projects[130] [131].  This cannot be sitting well with Zuma, considering renewable energy is nuclear’s nemesis, and by extension a threat to Zuma’s pet-Frankenstein project, the 9 600MW nuclear deal. In addition, some reports intimate that the Northern Cape ANC supports Ramaphosa’s bid as president[132] [133] [134] [135].

Yet, despite this, Lucas is not on Zuma’s to-fire list (at least for now, anyway).

Why Zuma did not target Lucas seems odd on the surface, until one discovers that Lucas may be a premier, but she is not an ANC NEC member, so Zuma can easily discard her when the time is right[136].

(The Northern Cape’s renewable energy drive has since stalled because, according to the Zuma-skewed department of energy under Joemat-Pettersson, the electrical grid in the province had reached full utilisation in December 2016 and so independent producer projects had to be rejected[137]. They said that investment was needed for more transmission lines to allow for uptake in renewable connections[138]. However, this may be a form of sabotage by the Gutpa-tainted Eskom board[139], to allow the power utility to put aside money for the nuclear build at the expense of renewables projects[140]. See Part 3 of Zuma’s Masterplan for more on this subject.)

On the subject of Zuma hiring and firing premiers unilaterally; it happens to be unconstitutional, so said Loammi Wolf, a constitutional law specialist [PoliticsWeb][141] [142]. This is because it usurps the power of the provincial government[143] [144]. But when did that ever stop Zuma? Even Mbeki used to do it, but the practice proved so unpopular that in 2007 when Zuma was appointed, it was resolved to strip the ANC president of such powers. Instead the ANC restored the power to the ANC’s provincial leadership, who would forward three candidates to the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC)[145].

However, in 2012, Zuma and his supporters began suffering from buyer’s remorse, saying that the ANC’s decision in 2007 to strip the president from directly appointing premiers was an “emotional” move taken out of anger with Mbeki [IOL][146].

So apparently what’s good for the cooked-goose of Mbeki, isn’t good for the “gerrymandering” Zuma.

North-Teng

It was further described in 2012 that the North West would disappear, as it would merge with parts of Gauteng[147].

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
premier league captain - North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

If the North West – which is lorded over by Zuma-supporter and premier-league member, Supra Mahumapelo - is combined with the City of Johannesburg (anti-Zuma) and the West Rand (pro-Zuma)[148], it would devastate not only the now DA-governed metro of Johannesburg, but also the ANC of Gauteng, who the Financial Mail described as being at the forefront of the urban, pro-good-governance crowd, and so consequently want to “lynch” Zuma[149].

The ANC Gauteng is in favour of Ramaphosa taking over the reins as ANC leader in 2017[150] [151].

Although the senior leaders described the North West as ceasing to exist after the proposed border changes, it is more apt to say that it is the Gauteng province that would vanish from the SA map, with the five Gauteng metro’s torn asunder. As to the provincial ANC of Gauteng, it would cease to exist. Which would explain their opposition to province “reform”.

This may have been Zuma’s original intention in 2012, but with the DA (with smaller parties) taking control of the Johannesburg and Tshwane metros in 2016, as well as having a credible chance of winning the Gauteng province as a whole in the 2019 national elections, the DA would be on the receiving end of Zuma’s manoeuvres, equally as much as the Gauteng ANC.

This may explain why Gauteng premier David Makhura warned about the dangers of wanting to remain in government at all costs. "If we [ANC] are preoccupied with remaining in government we can do wrong things… Whether we get elected in 2019 [or not], at least we can say we did a good job. I don’t mind sitting in the opposition benches. We would have left something for the people of Gauteng," Makhura said[152]. Makura went so far as to say that loyalty to the country was more important than loyalty to the ANC[153].

Clearly Zuma does not share Makhura’s vision, or his ethics.

Makhura is a vocal critic of Zuma’s administration, including criticising the “recklessness” displayed in regards to the treatment of Gordhan by Zuma’s securocrats[154] [155]. Nonetheless Makhura was not on the rumoured November 2016 list of premiers to be removed. As with the case of Northern Cape premier Lucas, this seems odd, until one discovers that he too is not an ANC NEC member. (Lucas and Makhura are the only two ANC premiers who are not NEC members.)

Dictators survive by weakening the organisation. They attack the organisation where it is strong…That’s how dictators work
Senior Gauteng ANC leader

But unlike Lucas, Makhura has the strong backing of the ANC’s proactive executive in Gauteng, led by Paul Mashatile. So, for Zuma to remove Makhura he would have to employ a more sinister plan to install a compliant (but temporary) premier. However, this would not be the first time Zuma has played dirty with the Gauteng leadership. 

In 2009, the Gauteng ANC put forward three names for the premiership, as required, but all three were rejected and the Zuma-controlled NEC selected its own candidate[156] (which was in contravention of the ANC’s 2007 resolution). In all likelihood this was in retaliation for the Gauteng ANC not supporting Zuma in his bid as ANC president against Mbeki in 2007[157].

But, in 2014 the Gauteng ANC finally got its way, with the appointment of one of its candidates, Makhura as premier[158] [159]. Except, IOL reported that this may also have been a deliberate “ploy” by the Zuma-dominated NEC.

With Makhura as Gauteng premier in government there was the potential for conflict between him and the Gauteng ANC leader Mashatile, because it created two centres of power, one in the ANC and the other in government [IOL][160]. The Gauteng ANC can only be represented by one person on the ANC’s NEC of provinces. IOL said Makhura defied the alleged attempts to drive a wedge between them, and by extension the province, by not standing against the ANC provincial leader for a seat on the NEC, and to become Mashatile’s deputy in the Gauteng ANC[161].

In the lead-up to the ANC elective conference expected in December 2017, attempts to pit Mashatile and Makhura against each other resurfaced[162]. A slate containing the names of Mashatile and Makhura for the single ANC NEC position started doing the rounds in November 2016[163]. The Gauteng secretary called the list malicious[164].

A senior ANC leader in Gauteng said, in reference to Zuma, “Dictators survive by weakening the organisation. They attack the organisation where it is strong…That’s how dictators work.”[165]

Gau-popo

The remainder of Gauteng is anticipated to be conjoined with Limpopo[166].

If the metros of Tshwane and Ekurhuleni – whose ANC structures are said to be sympathetic to Zuma[167] – (and possibly, Sedibeng, which is anti-Zuma[168]) are loped on to the Limpopo province, Zuma’s faction in the metros would overwhelm the Limpopo ANC, while the ANC Gauteng would cease to exist.

As an offshoot, it would harm the DA’s governance of the Tshwane metro.

The ANC in Limpopo have hinted their support for Ramaphosa as president in 2017, as opposed to Zuma’s heir-apparent[169] [170] [171]. And as stated previously, the province’s ANC executive committee are not supportive of provincial reduction.

The premier of the Limpopo, Stan Mathabatha, was named in Zuma’s alleged November 2016 plans for recall[172].

Untouchables

The Eastern Cape’s northern remnants would be incorporated into KwaZulu-Natal[173].

The Eastern Cape province is said to be divided between supporting Ramaphosa and Zuma[174] [175] [176]. Thus it is conceivable (but mere speculation) that the northern parts of the Eastern Cape that are to be incorporated into KwaZulu-Natal are the areas that do not support Zuma, which would ensure they are overwhelmed by the move[177] [178].

The Zuma faction won control of the ANC’s executive committee in KwaZulu-Natal in 2015 after the holding of a highly divisive election, in which there were accusations of electoral fraud, unlawfulness, irregularity, and more besides[179] [180] [181].

KwaZulu-Natal appears to be split 50-50 between support for Zuma’s appointee and Ramaphosa, with increasing support by the party’s provincial bigwigs lining up behind Ramaphosa [City Press][182].

As for the Free State and Mpumalanga – both of which are members of the premier league – they are expected to remain unmolested by the provincial reduction process[183]. That is, until the “unitary state” is achieved, where all provinces are abolished, giving the Zuma-faction total centralised control over the country.

Thus in summary, the new provincial smorgasbord could potentially oust the DA from the Western Cape. But more importantly for Zuma, it would strengthen his faction of the ANC in the Free State, North West, Mpumalanga, 50% of KwaZulu-Natal, parts of the Eastern Cape, and bits left in the Western Cape (after Fransman’s departure). It would also devastate Zuma’s enemies of Gauteng, Limpopo, Northern Cape, the seeming majority of the Western Cape (which has become bolder and more unified against Zuma since Fransman’s departure), parts of the Eastern Cape, and the remaining 50% of KwaZulu-Natal.

Furthermore, with less provinces, the ANC NEC would not only shrink in size, but Zuma’s enemies would lose their seat at the party’s highest decision-making table, making Zuma its absolute head.

URBAN VS RURAL
 

Power play

As shown, Zuma’s megalomaniacal map-making can be understood from the perspective of the internal politics of the ANC. But Zuma’s desire to shift and shaft provinces is determined by another aspect, namely the rural-urban divide.

 “The ANC is trapped between ruralism and urbanism. These two forces are fighting for the soul of the party, and currently ruralism is the strongest force in the ANC,”[184] wrote Prince Mashele in the Sowetan, a few months before the 2016 local elections.

The pro-Zuma premier league members like to refer to themselves as the “maize corridor” [185], which attests to their rural status. Zuma’s provincial border-mangling is an attempt to ensure these rural provinces become unassailable.

The battle between ruralism and urbanism within the ANC is best illustrated by Zuma’s plans to tear apart the Gauteng province – the heartland of urbanisation. Mashing the City of Johannesburg and the West Rand with the North West tries to disenfranchise the urban population in favour of the rural dweller. The same goes for the formation of Cape-land, where the metro-containing Western Cape is lost in the rural provinces of the Northern and Eastern Cape.

For the rural state of Limpopo, its power is usurped by the pro-Zuma faction of the two metros of Gauteng (and possibly, Sedibeng[186]). However, that does not mean the urbanite takes precedence over the rural Limpopo population.

As a rural traditionalist, Zuma’s end goal is to control the country via the rural communities, many of who reside in the former homelands[187]. However, this should not be interpreted to mean that Zuma wishes to bolster the human rights of the rural population; rather it is to strengthen his hold over the traditional leaders, by overriding Constitutional protections.

Law of intent

Zuma’s strategy is evident in the highly controversial Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill (TKLB), which is yet to be signed into law.

Clive Kronenberg (senior researcher and lead co-ordinator, Cape Peninsula University of Technology) lambasted the Bill, saying, “It upholds historically-disjointed, traditional governing structures. It undermines equal citizenship in a unified South Africa. It bolsters notorious, outdated apartheid practices. The bill poses a flagrant threat to the code of cohesion as well as constitutional democracy” [The Conversation][188].

A good law giveth more rights than it taketh away

Spelling out the Bill’s true purpose, land issue expert, Aninka Claassens (director of Land & Accountability Research Centre) wrote, “Behind the smoke screen that the TKLB is about rights for the Khoi-San is a last ditch attempt to bypass key constitutional protections in respect of land rights, to subvert customary law requirements in respect of consultation, and to undermine administrative justice and public finance bottom-lines. Traditional leaders are not the primary culprits here. Instead we must look to the politicians who benefit from opaque mining and tourism deals in former homeland areas.”[189]

The chairperson of parliament’s portfolio committee on traditional affairs, Richard Mdakane, admitted that, “we have to relook at the entire Act in processing this issue”[190].

Then there is the Traditional Courts Bill, that since 2009 - according to Khulekani Magubane in Business Day - has been rejected by provincial legislatures and interest groups out of fear that it gives too much power to traditional leaders in former homeland areas, undermines the legal rights of women in rural communities and creates a segregated judicial system for rural communities and other South Africans[191].

The Bill would thus override the powers of the third tier of government – the Judiciary, giving Zuma and his cronies free reign and ultimate power over people living in the rural areas via the bound traditional leaders.

A good law giveth more rights than it taketh away.

Des van Rooyen.   Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Given a new job - Des van Rooyen. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

During Des van Rooyen’s long and illustrious four days as finance minister, his first message to staff members was, “Treasury will be accessible to rural areas.”[192]

And that is why Van Rooyen’s transfer from being a 4-day accidental finance minister to that of minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (COGTA) minister should not be seen as a move of convenience. The COGTA ministry is responsible for the relationship between national, provincial and municipalities, and for overseeing the traditional leadership of SA’s indigenous communities [Wikipedia][193]. 

Ground zero

Embroiled in all of this is Zuma’s drive for “land reform”, encapsulated in yet another controversial piece of legislation, the Expropriation Bill.

“Basically, [the Expropriation Bill] means that any member of state can take what they want, when they want it, as long as it sits in the camps of ‘for public purposes’ or ‘in public interest’ – as defined by... well, the government,” stated an article from the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR)[194] [195].

The “property” at risk for expropriation by Zuma’s government (or his 2017 appointee, should it come to it) includes mining and agricultural land, as well as commercial property, shares, intellectual property, pensions, and property of ordinary people such as peoples’ homes[196] [197] [198].

The Bill has met with stiff resistance from opposition parties and civil society groups for its unconstitutionality, in particular the endangering of property rights and the right not to be evicted without an order of the court[199] [200]. Zuma has not yet signed the Bill into law[201].

At the risk of being lynched, tarred and feathered by ideologues, I will posit that South Africans have very little interest in land… Should we be expending so much energy and effort on land redistribution when the instinct of rural South Africans is to head for the city and seek employment and upward mobility there?
Mondli Makhanya

In Zuma’s January the 8th Statement of 2017, he announced that government was going to use expropriation legislation to pursue land reform and land redistribution with “greater speed and urgency”[202] [203].

One could argue that Zuma is just doing what the people want, right? Wrong.

In regards to “land reform”, between 73% and 90% of land reform projects had failed, so said the 2013 minister of rural development and land reform, Gugile Nkwinti[204]. 

As to “land restitution” – where individuals and communities are given back land they once owned - Anthea Jeffery, head of policy research at the Institute for Race Relations (IRR), said that 92% or 71 000 successful land claimants in 2013 chose cash over land [Fin24][205] [206].

And finally, for “land redistribution” - in 2009 Mondli Makhanya wrote in the Sunday Times, “At the risk of being lynched, tarred and feathered by ideologues, I will posit that South Africans have very little interest in land… Should we be expending so much energy and effort on land redistribution when the instinct of rural South Africans is to head for the city and seek employment and upward mobility there?”[207]

Makhanya further observed that, “We have formulated policies and development plans around this distorted notion of what South Africans want.”[208] [209]

In 2014 Max du Preez pointed out in the IOL that only about one in three black adult South Africans actually wanted agricultural land, and most of those only  a few hectares[210].

“The simple fact is that South Africa is the most urbanised society in Africa and most urban people want better jobs, better homes and better education for their children rather than to go and struggle on a farm. This is why land reform in South Africa simply cannot be compared to that in Zimbabwe,” said Du Preez[211].

You may have noticed Zuma’s desire for “land reform” is in his “fast track” pile, which means only one thing: a plan is on the march

Speaking of Zimbabwe, in 1997 Jan Raath wrote in the Mail and Guardian, “It’s official. The people [of Zimbabwe] don’t want land. They want jobs in a market economy, and an opportunity to work for a decent living.” [212] (Raath and two other international journalists were forced to flee Zimbabwe prior to elections in 2005 due to harassment and intimidation by [president] Robert Mugabe’s regime[213] [214]. In 2016, it was reported that Zimbabwean journalists were ordered to get police clearance to gather and discuss politics, as well as the disappearance, detention, and beating of journalists had become “terrifyingly commonplace”[215], thus painting a bleak future for free and fair journalism in Zimbabwe [CNCAFRICA][216].)

Raath based his above statement on a comprehensive study on poverty that was released two weeks prior by the Zimbabwean Ministry of Social Welfare, where 18 000 rural and urban households were interviewed and asked, amongst other things, what they believed were the main causes of poverty and how they could be combated[217]. One percent of the respondents said poverty was caused by a shortage of land, and only two percent said poverty could be resolved by the provision of land[218].

Yet this did not deter Mugabe from instituting “land reform” in 1997, by listing 1 471 white-owned farms for expropriation, while he only had a budget to pay for 10 farms[219]. Added to that, Mugabe promised the political elite who supported him with R1.4 billion generous benefits, as well as farms[220]. (In total, about 4 000 white commercial farmers were evicted from their farms[221].) Zimbabwe’s government land reform thus mainly ended up delivering land to private hands that were well-connected, and thoroughly greased. (Including, reportedly, 14 farms to Bob himself[222].)

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. Picture: REUTERS
Showed how it's done - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. Picture: REUTERS

In 2007, ten years after Mugabe’s “land reform” policy, the inflation rate of the Zimbabwe dollar passed 50% PER MONTH. In 2008, inflation hit 3 500 000%. One egg cost 50 billion Zim dollars [IOL][223].

At the end of 2016, about 1 in every 3 Zimbabweans were estimated to be in need of food aid, that is 5 million people in total, according to Beverly L Peters (Assistant Professor Measurement & Evaluation School of Professional and Extended Studies, American University) [The Conversation][224]. Which would likely be higher had approximately 600 000 Zimbabweans not crossed the border into South Africa[225].

So the formula is simple: 1 471 farms confiscated -- 10 farms budgeted = the eventual death of a currency, loss of food security, and the implosion of the economy.

You may have noticed Zuma’s desire for “land reform” is in his “fast track” pile, which means only one thing: a plan is on the march.

Zuma is using the highly emotive subject of land dispossession for his own ends.

Zuma’s actual ‘intentions’ must be studied, not the issues themselves. When there is a lack of genuine engagement with all interested parties to find the best solution, it means other interests are at work. (“Radical” land reform proposals are included in the National Development Plan, which Du Preez described as “making a lot of sense”[226].)

There is little wonder why Zuma wants the land process to be “radically accelerated”[227], when one considers the infrastructure build planned for Zuma’s 9 600MWs of nuclear energy, and the landing of tenders. Zuma and his cronies want to get in on the action at ‘ground-zero’.

Land ownership is a delicate subject, which flies in the face of Zuma’s devil-may-care attitude.

The real challenge of land reform - as with any program to effect positive change - is to redress past injustices without sowing new ones. This can be achieved if the intentions are honourable, and the policies are judicious, transparent, and constitutionally sound. None of which describes Zuma, or his Expropriation Bill.

BEING RESOURCEFUL

There remains one final reason why Zuma is so determined to change the face of South Africa’s internal borders, besides using it to destroy his enemies within the ANC’s NEC and provincial leadership, as well as overpower the DA, and subjugate the urbanite and enslave the rural dweller.

And this reason trumps all others.

Much has been made of how Zuma will not relinquish his power because he risks going to jail; he even said so himself[228]. But that explanation only focuses on Zuma’s fears. It fails to account for his greed.

 

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

 

Puppet on a string

It is no secret that Zuma wants Gordhan gone as finance minister. One need only watch Zuma through his puppets, as he pulls strings at SARS, the Hawks, the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority), lackeys in his Cabinet, board members of SOEs (State Owned Enterprises), the ANCYL (ANC Youth League), the ANCWL (ANC Women’s League), and the ANC MKMVA (ANC uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association).

And Zuma is not short-changed for reasons why: R1.857 trillion in government pensions, a +-R1 trillion 9 600MW deal, state tenders in the hundreds of billions, and more besides, all of which Gordhan stands in the way of.

But there is something peculiar about Zuma’s pursuit of Gordhan.

Malicious persecution

Between May 2014 and December 2015, when Gordhan was neither finance minister nor SARS commissioner (he was in fact minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs), Gordhan was still being pursued by one or other of Zuma’s henchmen; the minister of state security, David Mahlobo; Hawks head, Berning Ntlemeza; and NPA head, Shaun Abrahams.

David Mahlobo.     Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Security henchman - David Mahlobo. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

This assertion is extrapolated from the writings of Johann van Loggerenberg who headed the National Research Group (NRG) at SARS  and Adrian Lackay, the former SARS spokesperson, from their book, Rogue: The inside Story of SARS’s Elite Crime-busting Unit. 

In February 2007, Mbeki announced that the government would start the process of further modernising the systems of the South African Revenue Service [SARS], especially in respect of border control, improving inter-departmental co-ordinating structures, and intensifying intelligence work with regard to organised crime. [Daily Maverick][229]

This resulted in the establishment of what would be called the National Research Group (NRG) at SARS; later to be falsely accused of being a SARS “rogue spy unit”[230] [231].

The NRG had presidential and ministerial approval, enjoyed cooperation with the National Intelligence Agency, and was implemented and supported by the then SARS commissioner and current finance minister, Pravin Gordhan[232]. SARS under Gordhan’s tenure as commissioner turned the tax collector into – what Marianne Thamm in the Daily Maverick described as – “a frighteningly efficient machine”[233].

What none of us had realised initially, but would start to understand as things unfolded over time, was that the campaign against us was apparently also aimed at Pravin Gordhan
Johann van Loggerenberg

However, between 2014 and 2016 - during Zuma’s second term as president – the NRG were: personally targeted by the State Security Agency (SSA) under the watch of Zuma’s state security minister Mahlobo; dubbed a “rogue spy unit” in a series of  - later debunked - newspaper articles, whose main source was a state security agent; decimated with staff purges after the appointment of the Zuma-dedicated Tom Moyane as SARS commissioner; hounded (together with Gordhan) by Zuma devotees of the Hawks boss Ntlemeza and NPA boss Abrahams; and, investigated by a SARS staff member with links to Jen-Chih “Robert” Huang – who appears to have a habit of employing controversial ex-SARS employees, and whose import/export business [234] has been linked in multiple ways to Zuma[235] [236] [237] [238] [239]. (More detail will follow below.)

In 2009, during Zuma’s first inauguration speech as newly elected president of South Africa, and in a veiled reference to accusations often made against Mbeki for using state institutions for his own ends (an accusation Mbeki has vehemently denied[240]), Zuma said to the nation: “We must strengthen the democratic institutions of state, and continually enhance their capacity to serve the people. We must safeguard the independence and integrity of those institutions tasked with the defence of democracy, and that must act as a check on the abuse of power."[241]

Thus, beware of Zuma, for he talks one way but walks another.

As the above illustrates, Zuma did not respond well to Mbeki’s drive for heightened law enforcement (especially when it came to border controls).

Van Loggerenberg and Lackay wrote, “What none of us had realised initially, but would start to understand as things unfolded over time, was that the campaign against us was apparently also aimed at Pravin Gordhan, or PG, as some liked to call him.”[242]

The cover of Van Loggerenberg's book, Rogue
SPILLED THE BEANS - The cover of Van Loggerenberg's book, Rogue

In Rogue, they said the first indications that Gordhan was also being targeted became evident in media reports from November 2014 onwards. That was when the ill-founded articles purporting the existence of a SARS “rogue unit” included photos of Gordhan and, in some instances, Trevor Manuel, even though the articles themselves seldom referred to them directly, other than to show the hierarchical management structure of SARS or Treasury[243].

Van Loggerenberg and Lackay wrote that the first direct allegation against Gordhan came on the 2nd of February 2015 (when Gordhan was not finance minister). On that day, a SARS spokesman was being interviewed on Radio 702, when Belinda Walter called in to the show. Walter was a state security agent, and double agent for a tobacco company, an industry Van Loggerenberg was investigating at the time as NRG head at SARS.  Under false pretences, Walter initiated a romantic relationship with Van Loggerenberg, which lasted from October 2013 to May 2014[244]. Walter alleged on air the existence of a covert SARS unit and that, “in documents I have seen Pravin Gordhan was definitely aware of it”[245]. The radio host asked Walter whether the unit was “definitely illegal” and that Gordhan would have known it was “illegal”?[246] To which Walter replied, “Yes.”[247] (Walter was also the main source of the bogus newspaper reports of a SARS “rogue unit”, which were all later retracted[248].)

In March 2015, nine months before Gordhan was re-appointed finance minister, the Hawks carried out a relentless and baseless pursuit of him, over the establishment in 2007 of the NRG[249] [250]. In March 2016, Gordhan, now as finance minister, responded in writing to a serious of questions the Hawks had demanded from him[251] [252]. As part of his statement, Gordhan explained why the NRG was established, writing, “It became apparent to SARS that it had to enhance its capacity to gather intelligence (departmental intelligence) and investigate organised crime related to tax and customs legislation (for example cigarette smuggling).”[253]

Van Loggerenberg would later say that when they started to focus on tobacco smuggling, “It was then that we realised we had come up against the interests of people with more influence and power than we could dream of in our wildest dreams.” [City Press][254] [255]

[To read more about the “rogue unit” and the state security agency, see here .]

New Gold

In 2015 the City Press reported that illicit cigarette smuggling was referred to as the “new gold”[256].

It also extends to discrediting law enforcement officials investigating their cases and trying to manipulate the criminal justice system
Adrian Lackay

While The Witness newspaper stated that in 2015 SA was rated amongst the top five countries globally with the highest incidence of trade in illegal cigarettes, and that more than R22 billion in tax revenue had been lost to the illicit cigarette trade from 2010 to 2014, roughly R5 billion per year[257].

Profit margins approached approximately 1 000% in an industry that had become one of the largest local organised crime [City Press, 2014][258]. Experts warned that tobacco smuggling did not just deprive the state of taxes and duties, it often masked other crimes, including money laundering and fraud, and it even involved murder [City Press, 2014][259].

“It also extends to discrediting law enforcement officials investigating their cases and trying to manipulate the criminal justice system,” said then SARS spokesman Lackay to City Press in 2014[260].

And allegedly partaking in the “new gold” rush was none other than Zuma’s eldest son, Edward[261] [262].

Smoking is good for the first family

In 2015 City Press reported that Edward was linked to two tobacco companies[263] [264].

Around 2008, Edward became a director of a tobacco manufacturing and distribution company until 2011 and was a shareholder until 2012, with business partner Yusuf Kajee[265] [266] [267] [268]. A source at SARS told City Press in 2015 that Kajee was a central figure in the illicit cigarette trade and, at the time, was the subject of a wide spread investigation into tax evasion, money laundering and fraud involving hundreds of millions of rands[269] [270]. (A substantial period of the SARS investigation covered when Edward was the company director[271] [272] [273]).

Edward Zuma, centre. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
CIGARETTE MAN - Edward Zuma, centre. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Kajee’s company was repeatedly raided by SARS on suspicion the premises were being used to conduct human trafficking and store contraband tobacco[274]. SARS allegedly found evidence that the company had produced nearly 4x more cigarettes than it had declared (or 3.8 million instead of about 972 000)[275] [276]. However, Kajee described the raids as nothing but harassment and accused SARS of running a smear campaign against him[277]. Edward made similar accusations against SARS in legal papers [Sunday Independent[278]].(Before Edward and Kajee went into the tobacco business together, Kajee had allegedly been forced to liquidate and close two previous tobacco companies, due to SARS investigations[279].)

Edward’s other close business associate was said to be Zimbabwean born Paul De Robillard, who headed his own tobacco company [280] [281] [282]. A large consignment of illicit tobacco material smuggled in from Zimbabwe appeared to have arrived at the premises of De Robillard’s company, which was subsequently raided by SARS[283]. De Robillard denied any role in the tobacco underworld [Times Live][284].

The City Press stated in 2015 that all three men were directors in a low-cost air carrier company that had yet to get off the ground[285]. Meanwhile, Kajee and De Robillard both appeared to have been involved in trucking foodstuffs[286], allegedly accompanied by illicit cigarette as part of a tobacco-smuggling “ring”[287] [288]. (Incidentally, the journalist Malcolm Rees, who wrote about a possible smuggling “ring” tobacco involving Kajee and De Robillard, would later be fed false information by the state security agent Walter, giving rise to the myth of the SARS “rogue unit”[289].)

The Witness newspaper reported in 2015 that police intelligence had revealed a national cigarette smuggling ring was operating between Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg[290]. (Kujee’s company headquarters was in Pietermaritzburg, which was reportedly raided by SARS in at least 2011 and August 2013[291] [292].)

Edward’s father has littered his lackey appointments across the State to frustrate all attempts at clean government. Nonetheless, Edward spoke in October 2016 of the burden of being Jacob Zuma’s son, citing as evidence his legal woes with SARS over his former directorship with Kujee’s tobacco company. “If I was using my relationship with the president, I would have long passed these things. But I am still facing these problems, and I must still face them like any other citizen.”[293]

Tobacco industry experts stated that when it came to inland routes, smugglers brought cigarettes into South Africa through the borders of Zimbabwe, but also Botswana, and others[294]. However, as to the ports, the illicit cigarettes arrived in container ships mainly from China, the United Arab Emirates, and Dubai[295]. The two main smuggling routes into KwaZulu-Natal came from the country’s inland borders, and the port of Durban [The Witness][296].

We will stay on the subject of the port of Durban, as it involves another of Zuma’s relatives, specifically his nephew, Khulubuse Zuma[297].

A safe harbour

Major-General Johan Booysen, Hawks boss in KwaZulu Natal. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
SECURED AN ARREST WARRANT - Major-General Johan Booysen, Hawks boss in KwaZulu Natal. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Jen-Chih “Robert” Huang – a SA-based Taiwanese businessman and a condemned murderer[298] [299] - was probed for alleged links to a multibillion-rand criminal syndicate operating out of Durban Harbour, IOL reported in 2012[300]. The Hawks head in KwaZulu-Natal, Johan Booysen, secured an arrest warrant for Huang in about April 2012 after a three-year covert investigation joined later by SARS[301] [302]. Between 2010 and 2012 during the investigation, police seized more than R1 billion worth of counterfeit goods and contraband[303].

The investigation included the period when Khulubuse chaired the board of Huang’s company[304]. (Khulubuse resigned from the company in 2011, but remained “friends” with Huang[305].)

The Mail & Guardian (M&G) described Huang’s company in 2011 as being a powerful import-export business, specialising in trade between Southern Africa and China[306] [307]. While IOL reported in 2012 that Huang’s company website – before it was removed – said it offered a range of services, including – amongst others – import, export, forwarding, and warehousing[308].

(Two months after Huang’s arrest warrant, in June 2012, Booysen was charged with racketeering, murder and defeating the ends of justice; more than four years later, in September 2016, all the charges were thrown out by the Court[309] [310] [311] [312] [313].)

The Hawks-SARS investigation also resulted in the suspension of ten SARS employees and the arrest of other suspects outside of SARS[314]. The purported corrupt SARS and police officials were believed to work in teams between KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng[315]. In addition, the investigation netted a member of a SARS anti-corruption task team, who had allegedly received substantial benefits for allowing contraband through the Durban Harbour, mainly from China[316].

City Press stated in 2015 that Huang had done extremely well because of his political connections and his role as middle man between Khulubuse and Chinese investors[317].

President Jacob Zuma, Khulubuse Zuma. Picture: AFP PHOTO/POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN
CHINESE INVESTORS - President Jacob Zuma, Khulubuse Zuma. Picture: AFP PHOTO/POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN

Khulubuse, though, is not Huang’s only connection to Zuma senior. Zuma’s legal advisor Michael Hulley used to work for Huang’s group of companies, and even since then Huang has used Hulley’s legal services, in particular to defend cases brought against him by SARS[318] [319] [320]. Huang has also been linked directly with Zuma himself, having accompanied Zuma on a state visit to China in 2010[321] [322]; M&G reported that Huang acted as a middle man between Zuma and Chinese investors[323] [324] [325] [326]; and, Max du Preez reported in 2016 that Huang had apparently flown on occasion from Durban to Nkandla with Zuma on an Air Force helicopter[327].

In April 2013, SARS froze R541 million in assets linked to Huang[328]. In February 2015, Pauli van Wyk wrote in The Witness that Huang owed SARS at least R1.8 billion. However, Van Wyk reported that a source informed him that Zuma allegedly intervened personally on the matter to ask his appointed new tax commissioner – Tom Moyane – for a “settlement out of the tax audit” [329] [330].

Itchy gold finger

Although, Edward Zuma had business ties with the “new gold” of the illicit cigarette trade, Khulubuse was fused with the real stuff.

M&G reported that during Zuma’s state visit to China in 2010, Hulley - with the assistance of Huang - helped set up an encounter between Zuma and potential Chinese investors, to try rescue an SA company- Aurora and its two gold mines[331] [332] [333] [334]. Both Khulubuse (as a director) and Hulley (appeared to be a director, but denied it was so) were intimately connected with Aurora[335] [336] [337].  Intervention by Zuma to bolster the Aurora’s finances would have left him deeply conflicted, considering his family connections [M&G][338] [339] [340]. (Previously, Zuma was implicated in allegedly helping to clinch a $2 million deal for Aurora from an international investment group[341].)

In due course, the directors of Aurora, including Khulubuse, were accused by the company’s liquidators of stripping the assets of the two gold mines which Aurora was tasked with managing, and failing to pay the more than 5 000 workers or save their jobs[342] [343] [344] [345] [346]. In 2016 Khulubuse agreed to pay the liquidators R23 million in a settlement deal[347].

But that is not the only connection Khulubuse has to the yellow metal. The City Press reported in 2015 that another of Khulubuse’s business associates was “billionaire” businessman and gold trader, Boris Birshtein, who the New York Times linked to Russian organised crime and was accused of ferrying gold in his private jet from Kyrgyzstan to a Swiss Bank[348].

But Zuma did not only use his presidential muscle to allegedly assist his nephew’s business interests for Aurora. In 2014 the M&G provided a list of business deal which appeared to show that Zuma had a history of questionable glad-handing on behalf of his nearest and dearest[349].

Khulubuse has one final relationship with gold, and that is “black gold”, namely oil.

Black gold

Khulubuse secured a R100 billion oil fortune in 2010 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) thanks to Zuma, who the City Press reported had played a crucial role in securing the deal with DRC [president] Joseph Kabila[350].

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS
OIL CONTRACTS - Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS

A top-level intelligence source with inside knowledge of the relationship between Zuma and Kabila told City Press in 2014 that although Zuma did not accept Kabila’s invitation to personally  profit from the oilfields, it was “no coincidence” that his nephew, Khulubuse, appeared on the DRC’s “oil horizon”[351]. The source said, “This is how Kabila does business. It’s all about what can benefit him and his cronies.”[352]

The slippery oil deal may have been between Khulubuse and the DRC, but its pollution spread all the way to SA.

In September 2015, the Sunday Independent reported that a secret rogue unit existed in the Hawk, which was involved in “Vlakplaas-type operations”[353]. The Hawk unit was allegedly implicated in the unlawful arrest, torture and detention in SA of 20 Congolese men, who were accused of plotting to overthrow Kabila in the DRC[354]. Shaun Abrahams, the then-prosecutor and now NPA boss, told the Court that the men’s conspiracy had been infiltrated three months earlier and that they had video and audio recordings of their key meetings, in which they made known a “wishlist” of weaponry[355]. The Congolese men claimed they were victims of a conspiracy between Kinshasa and the South African Police Service (SAPS), because one of the accused men was Etienne Kabila[356]. Etienne, who maintains that he is the biological son of the former DRC [president] Laurent Kabila[357], insisted during his trial that the charges were an elaborate hoax by SA intelligence agents to eliminate him[358].

The Sunday Independent reported that it was later established that four of the men were paid by SA intelligence to put together the scheme, find 15 men, and present them as coup plotters[359]. That left Etienne as the main fall guy. After spending two years in prison, the 15 men were released, as there was insufficient evidence to prosecute them. Three months later, in February 2015, the Court dismissed all charges against the remaining four and Etienne[360]. “There is no clear evidence of their intention to commit the alleged crimes[361]”, the Judge ruled, and added, “They (the police) used deceit and trickery to entice them to develop a plan that clearly didn’t exist.”[362] [363]

After his acquittal, Etienne, who was residing in SA as a refugee, said he feared for his life[364] [365].

Four months after Abraham’s case against Etienne was dismissed - due to the police’s “deceit and trickery” - Zuma appointed him as head of the NPA[366].

Kabila needs South Africa to bring security in the areas around the oilfields so that he can reap the tax and production agreements benefits

The Sunday Independent wrote further that the Hawks’ rogue unit was believed to be the same unit involved in conducting renditions - the illegal kidnapping and transfer of prisoners from one country to another - of Zimbabweans, for which the Hawks and NPA tried and failed (thus far) to pin on IPID (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) head Robert McBride, former Hawks head Anwa Dramat, and former Hawks Gauteng head and recently appointed by the DA as City of Johannesburg’s head of internal investigations, Shadrack Sibiya[367] [368] [369].

Besides seemingly corrupting our law enforcement agencies, the Khulubuse DRC oil deal may have influenced SA’s foreign policy.

Andre Roux, as senior research at the Institute for Security Studies in 2014, said to City Press that the involvement of the South African troops was crucial in stabilising the rebel held eastern DRC to allow for exploration and drilling[370]. TimesLive stated in December 2015 that as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission with 20 000 peacekeepers stationed in the country, South Africa had deployed 1 400 troops, the majority in the DRC’s oil-rich eastern region[371] [372].

 The top-level intelligence source said to City Press, “Kabila needs South Africa to bring security in the areas around the oilfields so that he can reap the tax and production agreements benefits.”[373]

The question is whether the apparent malicious prosecution, unlawful arrest, detention, and alleged torture of the 20 Congolese men by SA state officials, and the deployment of SA troops, was done to protect Zuma’s family business interests in the DRC[374]. (The same question arises over the SSA’s alleged involvement in the 2012 Marikana miners massacre. For more, read Zuma, spies, smugglers and the killing fields of Marikana] at the Rand Daily Mail[375].)

In September 2015, the Hawks dismissed reports of operating a “rogue unit”, saying that the unit was in fact the Tactical Operations Management Section or TOMS, and that the allegations were baseless[376].)

Thick vein

Khulubuse is not the only Zuma family member delving deep into the mining industry.

Zuma’s son, Duduzane, is linked with the Gupta-owned uranium mine, a coal mine, and JIC Mining Services (which was linked to the South African platinum belt), amongst other industries[377].

Furthermore, City Press wrote in 2015 that Duduzane and the Guptas had been named in newspaper reports to an illegal coal-mining operation in Mpumalanga[378] [379]. Duduzane was also implicated – according to The City Press in 2015 - of one of South Africa’s most high stakes corporate scandals – the Sishen saga for control of one of the country’s most valuable iron ore deposits[380] [381].

Meanwhile, News24 reported in 2014 that five Zumas – Michael, Edward, Sikhumbuzo, Mxolosi and Priscilla – sat on the board or served in executive positions for the multinational company, Isthebe group of companies. The company said it was “seeking and pursuing value enhancing and BEE deals” in areas including energy, oil, exploration, mining, agriculture, IT and engineering [News24][382].

Knowing the full extent of Zuma’s diversified family empire, let’s re-examine his provincial proclivities.

 

PROVINCES RECONSIDERED

 

South Africa is the world’s largest producer of chrome, platinum group metals, manganese, and others; the world’s second largest producer of substances as strange and foreign as Superman’s kryptonite; the world’s fourth largest diamond producer; the world’s sixth largest coal producer[383]  [384] [385] has the world’s largest gold resources; and is a significant producer of iron ore and others.

According to a 2015 Chamber of Mines presentation, the following portion of South African mineral sales were exported: 95% gold, 86% platinum group metals; 90% iron ore; 90% manganese; and 69% of total mineral export sales[386].

Which represents a blessing of riches for the country, and potentially a manufacturing and industrial windfall. But under Zuma it has become nothing but a “resource curse”, where the country suffers adverse effects to its economic, social, and political well-being due to possessing an abundance of highly-prized natural resources[387] [388] [389].

This then translates into the following shopping list for the unscrupulous.

By combining the North West with the West Rand and Johannesburg to form North-Teng, it would be a province rich in platinum, uranium (with a Gupta uranium mine), and gold[390] [391]. Furthermore, with the metro police absorbed into to the SA police service – which the Zuma-led ANC is wont to do[392] - this brings them under the control of central government, while a compliant SARS Commissioner ensures tax officials at border-posts will have a blind eye as an employment requirement. This in turn would considerably ease smuggling routes of contraband, including cigarettes, through the North West to Johannesburg from Botswana[393] [394].  

If Gau-popo were to exist - by combining Limpopo with Tshwane and Ekurhuleni (and possibly Sedibeng) - it would be a province rich in platinum group metals, coal, and diamonds[395] [396] [397] [398] [399]. And it would ensure the smooth delivery of illicit cigarettes from Zimbabwe and Mozambique to the SA metros[400] [401].

The Free State would be unchanged border-wise, thus retaining its riches in gold, uranium and diamond deposits[402] [403] [404].

Mpumalanga too would be unmolested, and so holds on to its chrome-alloy, platinum group metals, steel manufacturing, and coal reserves (and a Gupta coal mine) [405] [406] [407] [408]. “Mpumalanga’s economy is dominated by mining, mostly coal for the Eskom power plants that are located in the province.” [Trade & Industry Policy Strategies, TIPS][409]

As to Cape-land – with the gluing of the Northern, Western and southern parts of the Eastern Cape – one combines the Northern Cape’s rich inheritance of iron ore and diamonds[410], the metro of Cape Town, and manufacturing of the Eastern Cape[411]. But one also can ease the traffickers-jam, with cigarettes coming in from Namibia to the Cape Town metro[412].

(Marianne Thamm in the Daily Maverick drew attention to an intriguing exchange in 2014 between former acting SARS commissioner Ivan Pillay and Marius Fransman, who at the time was the deputy minister of international relations and ANC Western Cape leader[413]. Their topic of discussion was tobacco[414].

Fransman invited Pillay in April 2014 to attend a “platform for dialogues” between government departments to discuss the “challenges of the illicit tobacco trade”[415]. Thamm stated that it is not clear why Fransman would suddenly be so interested in the tobacco industry which SARS was investigating[416]. In reply to Fransman’s invitation, Pillay wrote a few days later that SARS had been “approached no less than at least four occasions, most notably in the past two months, by politicians attempting to represent and ‘deal’ on behalf of certain players currently in dispute with SARS” [417]. Pillay also expressed surprise in his letter at Fransman’s assertion that the “platform” – which had been initiated a year previously in November 2013 - consisted of members of “various government departments, the private sector, Parliament, civil society and SADC countries” [418]. November 2013 happened to be the same month Pillay wrote a letter to the tobacco industry, the then Hawks head Dramat and others, informing them of his concern of the illicit trade in tobacco, which, besides posing a health risk, was robbing the fiscus of millions[419].) 

And as for KwaZulu-East – by combining KwaZulu-Natal with northern parts of the Eastern Cape – lax SARS border official is manna from heaven, what with the Durban Harbour ready and able to ship out illicit minerals, etc. and ship in cigarettes, textiles (such as ANC t-shirts[420] [421] [422]), counterfeit electronics etc. [423] [424] [425]. 

To conclude, Zuma has the potential to become SA’s very own grave robber, digging up and selling the country’s mineral wealth and organs of State, while under the cover of despotic darkness.

But it gets worse. For we have not considered the cherry bomb on top of Zuma’s  yellow cake and its 9 600MW nuclear candles burning bright.

 

A NUCLEAR STATE OF MIND
 

Zuma was inaugurated as South African president in May 2009. Six months later, in November 2009, the Guptas’ formed a new company, which would come to be known as Oakbay Resources and Energy Limited (Oakbay)[426].

Four months after that, in April 2010, the Guptas, Duduzane, and other investors bought a uranium mine, with Zuma allegedly ensuring state assistance[427]. (Uranium essentially fuels nuclear power plants.)

Jacob Zuma and Vladimir Putin. Picture: REUTERS
URANIUM DEAL - Jacob Zuma and Vladimir Putin. Picture: REUTERS

Four months later, in August 2010, Zuma makes his first official visit to Russia, and concludes a deal with the Russians for them to supply enriched uranium for the Koeberg nuclear power station[428].

Fast forward seven months, to March 2011, Zuma’s cabinet approves the Integrated Resources Plan that shows the need for 9 600MWs of nuclear power[429].

And then life, the Constitution, NGOs, nuclear experts, opposition parties, the media, Gordhan, Nene, Gordhan again … happened [430]. And so here we sit, 2017, with a Gupta-tainted Eskom board and a lackey energy minister trying to keep Zuma’s nuclear dream alive[431].

As to Zuma’s desire to mutilate provinces, it has been all about nuclear, from day one...

Cape-land

“One of the important factors in expanding the South African nuclear power production capacity is to be able to place power generation in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape,” said Kelvin Kemm, chairman of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa)[432].

Thus, in conjunction with the “maize corridor” of the premier league[433], Zuma wishes to control the “corridor of [nuclear] power” of Cape-land, because that is where the country’s potential nuclear sites are situated[434].

The Northern Cape currently has the only nuclear waste disposal facility in SA[435] [436]; and the province has two identified nuclear sites. The Western Cape has two nuclear sites, including the existing Koeberg nuclear plant. And the southern (coastal) part of the Eastern Cape has two identified nuclear sites.

SA’s six nuclear sites have been known since about 2007[437] [438].

The establishment of Cape-land also ensures easy access to the central Karoo, where there are large uranium deposits[439] - that is, nuclear fuel[440].

The nuclear sites of Thyspunt (between Oyster Bay and St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape), Bantamsklip (between Pearly Beach and Cape Agulhas, Western Cape) and the existing Koeberg power station (Western Cape) are fixed in a 2014 Russian agreement as nuclear sites[441] [442] [443] [444].

The Eastern Cape Thyspunt site has been referred to as “Nuclear 1”[445] [446] [447]. But it has also been referred to by independent geological experts as being near impossible to construct a nuclear power station safely, because of deep, hidden canyons in the bedrock covered by sand and soft rock [Carol Paton, Business Day][448].

The other intended nuclear sites are: Brazil (in the Kleinsee area, Northern Cape); Schulpfontein (Northern Cape); and Duynefontein (near to the existing Koeberg plant, Western Cape)[449] [450] [451] [452].

Zuma’s desire for Cape-land has always been about nuclear, right from the get-go. Wrestling the DA out of the Western Cape was just an added perk, and a useful excuse to convince the party faithful of provincial consolidation.

North-Teng

By combining the North West with the Johannesburg metro, the Gupta Shiva Uranium mine[453] and NECSA’s (South African Nuclear Energy Corporation’s) currently defunct nuclear enrichment plant (that converts uranium into nuclear fuel) in Pelindaba north of Johannesburg will find themselves under the same provincial roof[454].

Zuma’s Cabinet resolved in November 2016 that NECSA would spearhead the nuclear new build programme [Times Live][455]. While Eskom will be the owner-operator of the nuclear power plant construction, NECSA will be the owner-operator for the nuclear fuel cycle, entailing the benefication, conversion, and enrichment of uranium[456].

KwaZulu-East

Even KwaZulu-Natal wants to get in on the nuclear act.

Hartmut Winkler wrote in the M&G that in July 2015 the department of energy (DoE) and Necsa disclosed that there may eventually be as many as eight nuclear plants countrywide, with unnamed sites in KwaZulu-Natal now also under consideration, along with the other sites[457] [458].

Environmental group Greenpeace said it found it ludicrous that KwaZulu-Natal was mentioned as a potential nuclear site, considering no environmental impact assessment has ever been released.

While Earthlife Africa Johannesburg said they were disturbed by the announcement[459].
Parliament’s select committee on economic development clearly stated in 2011 that no suitable sites were identified in KwaZulu-Natal, due to high population density and the risk of earthquakes in the region [ENCA][460].

So now you know Zuma’s masterplan; or a lot of it anyway, but we have yet to do the most important thing, and that is to follow the money.

Be warned, you are in for a bumpy ride.

 

THE LAUNDRYMAT

 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), estimates that $150 billion flows out of Africa illegally each year. “Africa is not poor — we are actually net creditors to the world,” said Samuel Oloruntoba (PhD, senior lecturer, Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, University of South Africa)[461]. Which gives a whole new interpretation to “Out of Africa”.

The Guptas have been fingered by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) for R6.8 billions’ worth of suspicious transactions offshore

For Sub-Saharan Africa, an average estimate of $52.9-billion per year left the region in illicit financial flows between 2002 and 2012[462]. “That’s more than foreign investment and development aid combined,” wrote Greg Nicolson in the Daily Maverick[463].

“Sub-Saharan Africa has been increasing its assets held in tax havens by 20% a year, growing faster than anywhere else in the world,” said Nicolson[464].

And as for South Africa, on average R171 billion ($12.2 billion) per year between 2002 and 2012 left the country in illicit flows. We are talking “crime, corruption and tax evasion”, wrote Rebecca Haynes, M&G Africa[465].

In April 2016, 11 million-plus financial documents detailing hidden financial dealings and illicit tax havens around the world were exposed in the Panama Papers leak[466]. The Papers implicated 1 700 South Africans, one of whom was Khulubuse, to a company that held an offshore account, casting further aspersions on his involvement in the DRC oil deal [Greg Nicolson, Daily Maverick][467] [468] [469] [470].

When looking at investigations by local authorities, the Guptas have been fingered by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) for R6.8 billions’ worth of suspicious transactions offshore[471] [472] [473]. But the Guptas are no strangers to being accused of illicit financial flows. In the Daily Maverick, Kalim Rajab described the reputation of the Gupta family even before they had moved from India to settle in SA permanently, “Rumours, never proven (but then few such things ever are in Indian courts) swirled around of them providing money laundering facilities in Dubai.”[474]

Earlier, an anomaly was highlighted that Gordhan’s persecution by the Hawks occurred irrespective of whether he was finance minister or not. It is likely an attempt by Zuma to force Gordhan to surrender his hold on SARS, especially in regard to border controls (as seen with the relentless attack on the NRG when it started to investigate cigarette smuggling). Zuma wishes to obliterate all traces of Gordhan’s handiwork in SARS, by concocting charges against him to use as leverage.

Tax crimes, money laundering and illicit flows are part of a complex set of phenomena, which are undermining good governance, ethical politics and governance, and civil society programmes
Pravin Gordhan

The reason border controls are so crucial was emphasised by  Kathy Nicolaou, who wrote in the M&G in December 2016 that because governments have cracked down on money laundering through banks, trade is being used to move value across borders or evade tax. Nicolaou stated that only 2% of consignments globally are checked, making it easy to avoid detection. John Zdanowicz, an international expert in this area, said: “The front door of money laundering is the banking system … the government has done a pretty good job of closing the front door, but the back door — international trade — is wide open.” [M&G][475]

Illicit financial flows are rife in Africa’s extractives sector, with gold, platinum and diamonds being prime targets in South Africa, stated Nicolaou[476], who went on to say, “Corruption is the largest enabler of illicit flows, and the recent Gupta scandals represent only the tip of the iceberg. As the sole African representative at the G20, South Africa needs to take the lead, addressing the interests of African countries that are bleeding from commercial tax evasion.” [M&G][477]

The most common illicit financial flow is believed to be trade mis-invoicing, by quantity, price and quality for tax avoidance[478] [479]. Then there are inflated consultancy and management fees, transfer pricing, inter-group loans and unequal contracts[480]. (Even within SA’s borders, government loses about R12.70 for every R100 it spends from inflated pricing by patronage networks[481] [482]. A prime example is Zuma’s homestead Nkandla, where R155 million was over-invoiced[483]. Thus one can only imagine what is happening across SA’s borders.)

“Tax crimes, money laundering and illicit flows are part of a complex set of phenomena, which are undermining good governance, ethical politics and governance, and civil society programmes,” said Gordhan at a conference on illicit financial flows in 2016[484].

Hence the urgent need for the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (Fica) Bill to be signed. The original Fic Bill ensured that best practice was complied with in following hot money [City Press][485]. But the amended Bill goes one step further, making it compulsory for banks to scrutinise “politically exposed persons” (PEP) [486], such as politicians, government officials, and directors of companies that are contracting with government[487].

Persons such as: Zuma; or, his sons Edward and Duduzane; or his nephew, Khulubuse; or the Guptas; and so on…

Gordhan continued: “The focus of PEP in the FIC amendment bill does not seek to unfairly exclude honest, law-abiding citizens from the financial sector. Rather, it seeks to place a greater obligation on financial institutions to ensure their due diligence is strong enough to properly understand the source of funds or the wealth of such influential persons, and in this respect seeks to reduce the scope for funds to move illicitly.”[488]

Zuma is quite aware of the cost to South Africa and Africa in general of illicit capital flows. In October 2016 he said at a conference, “"Illicit financial flows deprive developing countries of much needed economic resources to uplift their economies and people. We also lose money that we could be using to develop infrastructure and provide basic services like education and healthcare," Zuma said to more than 1 200 delegates[489]. But there is a deep blue sea between what Zuma says and what he does.

The reason Zuma needs this Bill to die is because with a pliant finance minister, the co-joined Zuptas can establish a South African bank

It should come as no surprise that Zuma was less than enthusiastic about signing the Bill into law. Oscar van Heerden wrote in the Daily Maverick, “The Zuma faction thought that if they controlled SARS they would be able to avoid the entity tracking certain individuals and families, but they did not bank on the FIC, the new thorn in their corrupt flesh.”[490]

So reluctant was Zuma in signing the Bill, he had to be prodded by the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (CASAC) into action with the threat of having to face the Constitutional Court, again[491].

So, Zuma did what he always does, he threw the problem onto the “do nothing” pile (well actually, a pile “next to nothing”). He avoided signing the Bill, but he also - at the very last moment– avoided the ire of the Court of Courts, by sending the Bill back to parliament, four workings days before parliament was set to go into its year-end recess[492]. Zuma’s reason/excuse for returning the Bill was that he was concerned the Bill contravened the Constitution[493]. (Yes, the very same Constitution he himself had contravened.)[494]. The Banking Association of South Africa and parliament did not share Zuma’s concerns for the Bill[495].

The reason Zuma needs this Bill to die is because with a pliant finance minister, the co-joined Zuptas can establish a South African bank[496], which the government could then use for all its transactions, to the exclusion of commercial banks and their regulated scrutiny[497]. (This may further explain Zuma’s delay tactics over the Bill, for it gives the Gupta’s time to establish a bank.)

We cannot as Parliament be supine. We will not tremble before any president
Yunus Carrim

With Hot Money Bank, it is so much more convenient and efficient than having to hot-foot cash in the billions out of SA by flying bag loads to the Middle East, using a private jet, the presidential jet, assistants, a wife… and all the while failing to avoid many-a prying eye[498] [499].

With Hot Money Bank, it is so much easier than having to appoint ministers to ensure South African Airways (SAA) cancels its flight route to India, so you can set up your very own airline flight route to India, via an oh-so convenient stopover in the Middle East – where the planes, acting as money mules, will deposit your cash-load, and bring back cigarettes[500] [501] [502]. Or, having SAA scupper a deal just moments before it was to sign with the rival airline Emirates which would have gate-crashed your route[503]. Oh the hassle.

With Hot Money Bank, it means that you no longer have to stash your cash in an underground bunker at your fire-pooled homestead, while earning no interest at all, except the interest of the (former) public protector[504].

At Hot Money Bank, we handle your hot money with kid gloves. All dictators, despots, and kleptocrats are most welcome. However the same cannot be said for the National Research Group of SARS , the Financial Intelligence Centre, and any other ethical investigator (including the likes of Interpol). 

 Zuma was defended in parliament over his handling of the Fica Bill by none other than ANC MP Sfiso Buthelezi - the man rumoured to be in line as the next deputy finance minister (in place of Jonas), and by extension, the raider of government’s trillions in pensions[505] [506] [507] [508].

By Zuma failing to sign the Fica Bill, South Africa risks being booted from access to the global banking system [Fin24][509]. "These steps can have major and long-term implications for SA’s trade, investment and economic growth," warned Ismail Momoniat, Treasury deputy director[510].

In response, parliament’s finance committee chairperson, Yunus Carrim, said, “We cannot as Parliament be supine. We will not tremble before any president.”[511]

SA is to report to the international enforcement body, the Financial Action Task Force, in February 2017 on the implementation of Fica.

If the Bill is not signed it will make it very difficult, if not impossible, to police cross-border illicit financial flows [Business Day][512]. And that’s just how Zuma wants it.  

“As was clearly shown in the recent Public Protector’s report‚ ‘State of Capture’‚ Jacob Zuma not only stands at the centre of the Guptas’ illicit economic empire‚ he actively facilitates it. He abuses our Constitution‚ he consistently disrespects the rule of law‚ and involves members of his own family in the looting,” wrote a staff writer of Business Day[513].

But what Zuma is attempting to do is nothing new. He is merely following the example of his bestie, Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

A BEAR ON YOUR BACK

ANCYL president, Collen Maine, said to Zuma during an economic freedom lecture, “be the Putin of South Africa”[514] [515].

And that is exactly what Zuma is planning to do.

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has used Russia’s energy capacity to lord power over other countries, including the European Union (EU)[516] [517]. Zuma is trying to follow in his footsteps, but on African soil, by using energy supply as leverage, and the laundering of money via electrons.

Energy forms the basis of Putin’s political power.

Putin took hold of the energy sector by placing loyalists at the controls of the energy supply and securing allegiances from executives. This then allowed him to feed his voracious patronage network, as well as win political favours in Russia’s rural areas and with strategic partners[518].

It even gave Putin the capacity to hijack private companies for the state[519]

Which all sound scarily familiar.

Now take all that you have learnt about illicit trade and add 9 600MW of nuclear power. Suddenly Zuma has a whole new commodity to play with, as six nuclear plants spew out excess electricity[520].  He could apply it to secret intergovernmental, cross-border contracts for electricity between the Zupta-owned Eskom and neighbouring countries (who negotiate under threat of being black-balled if they don’t agree to the terms).

One then gets an inkling of what is at stake, for the Zuptas, and for ourselves, and our neighbours.  The flow of electricity and illicit finances will fuse together in a graviton of greed.

Or is that making heavy water of the situation? Make up your own mind, as is your right in a democracy. [Part 3 of Zuma’s Masterplan will reveal all things nuclear.]

 

UNITARY STATE
 

Zuma’s end goal is to ultimately do away with provinces altogether, and so have only a centralized national government and local government, in a “unitary state’.

For a quick assessment of what this would look like on the ground with Zuma-aligned administrations running the show – one need only study the past performance of local government.

In 2015, local government misspent R40 billion (aka R40 000 000 000). That is twice as much as provincial government misspent, even though local government had a 25% smaller expenditure budget than the provinces.

And if we focus specifically on the pro-Zuma premier league for a better feel of what may come, here’s what we find.

In 2015, the premier league of the North West, Free State and Mpumalanga had the top four largest number of ANC members relative to their province’s population size. Which sounds impressive, until you note that the premier league is also in the top four highest for misspending their budgets for local government.  So, in essence, the higher the proportion of ANC members there are in a given province, the more theft, corruption, fraud and ineptitude one finds. [Note 3]

For 2015, the premier league had a budget of just 15%, or R51 billion, of the total local government budget, but they were the source of 51%, or R20.5 billion, of total local misspent funds.              

As to economic power, the premier league provinces accounted for 19% of SA’s economy [Note 2]. Furthermore, the realistic (expanded) unemployment rate as at September 2016 for the Free State was 40.4% (5th worst), Mpumalanga was 41.4% (3rd worst), and North West was 44.6% (the worst)[521].  

At the ANC’s anniversary celebrations in January 2017, the branches of the premier league provinces were awarded all of the party’s achievement awards handed out for the year[522]. Which makes one wonder what the ANC considers an achievement?

The premier league’s seeming correlation of ANC inflated membership numbers (for political gain) and elevated local government misspending (for economic gain), may be hinting at a toxic mixture that is spewing out from a vast and unscrupulous patronage system at municipal level.

One thus shudders to think what would happen if Zuma and his allies do away with provinces altogether, resulting in centralised executive authority and subservient municipalities.

Essentially, it would divide the power and loot between national and local governments. In a way there will still be a separation of powers, only it will be a division between those with total power and total impunity, and those with nothing.

It was revealed in an email exchange between two Gupta lieutenants in October 2015 in preparation of Nene’s sacking (and the same month Jonas was allegedly offered a Gupta bribe[523] [524] [525] [526]), that once Treasury was infiltrated it was to assist non-metro municipalities access debt in the capital markets, to help them pay for infrastructure projects, by providing collateral for loans[527] [528].

Recall Van Rooyen’s first message to Treasury staff members: “Treasury will be accessible to rural areas.”[529]

And, if one adds to that a Zupta-controlled “South African national black bank” that operates outside the controls of good governance, as well as a trillion rand nuclear build commitment, you then have the makings of a financial feeding frenzy[530]. Only to be followed by an economic wasteland, with just nuclear power plant fortifications, the unadulterated rape and pillaging of the country’s resources, and a highway robbery network.

 

NO GO
 

Zuma said he considers himself a “political genius”[531], but as Ernst F. Schumacher (internationally influential economic thinker) said, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”[532]

Irrespective of Zuma’s opinion of himself, the masterplan of Zuma and his benefactors is naïve and doomed ultimately to fail by its sheer lunacy, but by merely attempting to implement it, it can bring the country and her people to their knees[533].

So, what has been our saving grace thus far, besides the ANC’s own internal resistance, and that of the opposition parties and civil society, in blocking a fundamental part of Zuma’s masterplan, namely the bastardisation of our provinces?

What else, but our Constitution.

 

STRONG CONSTITUTION


In responding to the call in 2015 by some in the ANC to incorporate the Western Cape with parts of the Eastern Cape, constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said that this would require a constitutional amendment, which can only be passed with at least a two-third (66.6%) majority in the national assembly[534].

The ANC currently has 62% of the seats[535], and the next general election is only due in 2019, in which political pundits and even ANC leadership have predicted the party’s majority is likely to slide further, perhaps substantially, even to below 50%[536].

In 2015 – before the 2016 local elections, in which the ANC received a drubbing - DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, dismissed the chances of the ANC obtaining a two-third majority needed for a constitutional amendment on provincial boundaries, saying it was “highly unlikely” [537].

 

PROVINCIAL TRIP-SWITCH

 

But that is not Zuma’s only problem.

The Constitution further states that any bill introduced to change provincial boundaries can only be considered if it is approved by the legislatures of an affected province, explained de Vos[538].

"So to change the borders of the Western Cape, say by amalgamating the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape, it will require the Western Cape legislature to support it, but the DA controls this legislature," de Vos said[539].

Thus, de Vos concluded the proposal of province augmentation was unlikely to become formal ANC policy because there were strong vested interests in various provinces[540].

 

SA’S FIRST FORCE


And finally, Zuma has one other obstacle to overcome. SA’s first force – the people. The very same people to whom Zuma said not once but twice, “I… swear that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution… and I solemnly and sincerely promise… [to] do justice to all and devote myself to the well-being of the Republic and all of its people. So help me God.”[541] [542]

In all the resolutions by the Zuma-led ANC on contorting the country’s contours, there appeared to be no mention of how the people of South Africa would be afforded the opportunity to voice their concerns about such a fundamental change. And whether a referenda - which Griggs had recommended more than a decade earlier – would be held in each respective area, in order to avoid violent resistance, as experienced in 1994.

Masiko-Kambala (local government policy researcher as at 2012) said that, “This is a debate in which all South Africans have a vital stake”[543].  While Stephen Grootes wrote in the Daily Maverick in 2012, “Toying with the provinces is toying with our fundamental nature as a country. We must think, discuss and debate. But we must also handle with care.”[544]

Under Zuma, these policies become like sugar - it may feel good to consume, but it is very bad for us

It is this dismissal of the SA people that caught the ANC, and in particular, Zuma and his allies off guard in the 2016 local government elections (2016LGE).Some refer to such behaviour as “arrogance”, but it is much worse, it’s “indifference to suffering”.

If one examines the so-called strength of the pro-Zuma premier league, one finds that of the over 8 million ANC voters who supported the party, the premier league accounted for 22%, or 1.8 million, of the ANC’s countrywide support[545].

Comparing the 2016LGE with 2011LGE, ANC support in the North West plummeted 16% to attain 59% (the largest ANC drop)[546], Free State dropped 10% to 62% (4th largest ANC decline) [547], and Mpumalanga fell 8% to 71% (5th largest ANC decline)[548]. The ANC in total dropped 8.4% countrywide[549].

As to the cities, the North West experienced the greatest urban loss for the ANC, with the city of Rustenburg tumbling 25.5% to achieve 48.3%, and Madibeng sank 21.4% to 53.9%. For all urban areas, the ANC fell 10.6%.

And as for the rural areas, the North West fell 12.9% to attain 65.2% (ANC’s 2nd worst drop), Free State fell 9.3% to 64% (4th worst), and Mpumalanga  fell 6.5% (5th worst). Overall the ANC fell 5.5% in rural areas.

A government that excludes the people is no government at all.

Although both Mbeki and Zuma appeared to support the same policies, including the curtailment of provinces and a single public service, the true intentions of each man could not be more different.

In contradiction to Mbeki, Zuma wants to undermine the State, specifically to weaken law enforcement and mechanisms of oversight, at the expense of the people of SA. And that is why any legislation Zuma supports must be considered an attack on our democracy, for it is motivated by evil intent. This includes transformation, land reform, health insurance, freedom of expression legislation, and others.

Under Zuma, these policies become like sugar - it may feel good to consume, but it is very bad for us.

 

ZUMA’S LAST GAMBIT


Zuma can only hope to achieve his provincial ambitions if he first decimates his opponents in the ANC NEC, and in his Cabinet.

Next, in order to seize control of the Western Cape legislature to create Cape-land, he would have to force out the DA in the 2019 provincial election vote. This would require a relentless propaganda war against the DA and smaller opposition parties in the lead up to the elections. (Hlaudi Motsoneng at the SABC, and life-according-to-Gupta news would have proved useful, if Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications, the DA, and the former public protector Madonsela had not intervened).

Duduzane Zuma. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
said to have Met Gangsters at the gates - Duduzane Zuma. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

While on the ground in the Western Cape, Zuma would have to employ intimidation and violence.

Fransman would have likely proven useful in this regard, since Marianne Thamm wrote in the Daily Maverick that, in the past, Fransman had been known to fraternise with underworld figures[550]. Yet, the M&G reported the same about Zuma[551]. Two independent sources told the M&G that as part of an alleged ANC scheme to mobilise support to wrest the Western Cape away from the DA in the May 2011 local elections, Zuma fraternised with known Cape gangster bosses[552]. (Zuma’s son Duduzane allegedly met the delegation of gangsters at the gates of the presidential estate of Groote Schuur and ensured that the security guards did not record their identities, a source told the M&G[553].)

During the meeting, one of the crime bosses present said to Zuma, “Mr President, we will mobilise our members and work hard for you… We will mobilise them and we will swing the vote.”[554] Then, in seeking something in return, the boss added, “Sir, we’re having big problems with SARS.” To which Zuma allegedly responded, “We will look into that.”[555] (The M&G stated that at the time of the meeting, SARS has seized assets belonging to the crime boss in question, including his home[556].)

The M&G stated in November 2015 that although the ANC lost ground in Cape Town in the 2011 elections, Zuma’s flirtation with gangsters continued to have repercussions, and fed into related allegations of a long-running dirty tricks campaign in the Western Cape[557].

As for the 2019 national government vote, if the ANC were to have a Zuma-appointee as its candidate for SA president – despite being unpopular with the electorate – Zuma would have to curtail freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, control of the internet, and fear of the public and experts to speak their mind, in order to ensure a win. (These speech-defying laws are already in the pipeline.)

And finally, overall, the elections of 2019 simply could not be free or fair. (This may be helped by having a Zuma ally installed as head of the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC).

(An amaBhungane investigation in January 2017 exposed a possible dirty tricks campaign planned for the 2016 local elections by the Zuma-led ANC. To read more, see here[558].)

This is what it looks like to want to win at any cost; a cost which the people and the country bears the brunt of.

And if you believe Zuma is not capable of committing such atrocious acts against our democracy, then you haven’t been paying attention.

 “We must ask a question, do we have leaders of a revolution or do we have full time thieves and looters. The balance of forces has changed to the faces of corruption, SIGUTYUNGELWE NGAMASELA NABARHWAPHILIZI. Our movement is captured and consequently our state is captured. Our revolutionary project is under threat.” – Sipho Pityana, speech at Makhenkesi Stofile’s funeral, August 2016[559].

“Corruption, especially among those of us charged with the important task of governance - of ensuring that the dividends of democracy reach all our people - must be eradicated root and branch,” said former president Kgalema Motlanthe in the ANC Today newsletter in June 2015[560].

 

CAN ZUMA BE STOPPED?

 

In essence, there is a “rogue government” within SA’s government. And that “rogue government” is headed by the biggest rogue of them all. Jacob Zuma

The myth of a SARS “rogue spy unit” during Gordhan’s and Van Loggerenberg’s tenures with SARS was shattered, exposing the real “rogue units”.

You will find a genuine “rogue unit” in the State Security Agency (SSA), under the watch of Zuma’s minister of state security David Mahlobo (who allegedly fraternises with self-confessed rhino horn traffickers[561] [562] [563])[564]. And another bona fide “rogue unit” in SARS, under Zuma’s minion, commissioner Tom Moyane[565]. And yet another “rogue unit” in the Hawks, under Zuma’s flunkey and former apartheid cop, Berning Ntlemeza[566] [567].

(It could be argued that the NPA had its own rogue unit, but since Nomgcobo Jiba as deputy national director of public prosecutions, and Lawrence Mrwebi as special director of public prosecutions , were found guilty by the Court for bringing the NPA, the legal profession, and the Office of the President of SA into disrepute, they were placed on special leave, pending an appeal of the Court’s findings, leaving Abrahams to hold down the fort for Zuma[568].)

 In essence, there is a “rogue government” within SA’s government. And that “rogue government” is headed by the biggest rogue of them all. Jacob Zuma.

Gordhan, and others like him, represent the real government, the government that upholds, defends and respects the Constitution, and honours the people of the Republic of South Africa.

So, unless you want to live in a country ruled by nothing but a kleptomaniac code of cloak and dagger, then the time has arrived for the sharp and mighty sword of constitutionalism, accountability and the rule of law to chop the ugly head of impunity off its stiffened neck. (To paraphrase the Constitutional Court findings on Nkandla)[569]. 

Show your support for SA’s Constitution defenders, where ever they be found, be they in the ANC, in opposition parties, in civil society and religious organisations, inside government, in the media (the truth is a precious thing, value it wisely), at centres of higher learning, or just respected individuals or groups.

They are all fighting for your rights and your future.

And they need your help, be it your voice, your signature, your moola, or your peaceful mobilisation in defence of democracy.

Heed their call.

Each and every one of us has a civic duty to uphold, defend and respect our Constitution.

Here are NGO Freedom Defenders referred to in this article:

Corruption Watch 

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA-J) 

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) 

People’s Motion:   **SIGN IF YOU ARE SO INCLINED**

SaveSouthAfrica 

SECTION27 

The Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) 

(The Author does not work for or receive funding from any NGO, political party, religious organisation, or foreign government.)

FREEDOM IS NOT A DESTINATION, IT IS A LONG WALK.

As far-fetched as Zuma’s masterplan is, he believes he has figured out a way to achieve it.

PART 2 of the series will reveal Zuma’s next step in his Masterplan for unassailable power.

 

NOTES

1.       For and against Provinces:

NOTES: FOR & AGAINST PROVINCES
Pre-Democracy
Under colonial and apartheid rule, South Africa had four provinces for much of the 20th century: the Cape Province, Orange Free State, Transvaal and Natal. They were governed by provincial administrations which were directly answerable to the national executive authorities [Vinothan Naidoo, chief researcher in the Democracy and Governance research programme in 2007][570].

However, in 1994 - when democracy took root in the country – demarcation boundaries were reformulated for every metropolitan and municipality, as well as for the provinces, which were spliced into nine regions[571] [572].

Each province was afforded its own provincial government, with a legislature (or ‘provincial parliament’), as well as an executive, headed by a premier.

A provincial legislature consists of anywhere from 30 to 80 members, who are proportionally elected for a five-year term based on results from national (and provincial) elections[573].

Cost of control
Unsecure in the knowledge

Griggs wrote nearly two decades ago, in 1998, that of all the spatial changes implemented in 1994, the only one that posed a problem of national security was the provinces[574].

This was because there were violent objections at the time by people on the ground who were not consulted (via referenda) over the redrawing of the country’s contours. But there was another reason: “the provinces are key structures for delivering on central government promises of improved health care, education, housing, and employment. The inability to create workable provincial administrations has slowed the pace of transformation and created discontent. This, in turn, can create incidents of mass mobilisation and other politically and economically harmful responses from the electorate,” warned Griggs[575].

The danger that provinces pose is compounded by the fact that, “national treasury is being drained to support the nine systems of provincial government, some of which are neither viable nor affordable,” Griggs stated[576].
                Only Gauteng and the Western Cape - because of their thriving metros and not having former ‘homelands’ - had the potential in 1994 to finance their own administrations, he observed.

Fast forward 22 years, one finds that for the 2015 financial year, 43% (R439.5 billion) of SA’s national budget after servicing national debt went to the provinces[577]. Provinces remain totally reliant on National Treasury, with 97% of their revenue coming from the national Fiscus[578]. Treasury further determined that the money transferred to the provinces did not result in a corresponding improvement in health, education, social services or public infrastructure[579].

As to resource inequality amongst the provinces, the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) reported in 2016 that just over half of the country’s taxpayers are registered in Gauteng and the Western Cape (which just so happens to be where the Democratic Alliance, DA, enjoys its strongest support)[580]. Moreover, a person living in Gauteng or the Western Cape contributes to the economy on average double that of a person living in the Eastern Cape or Limpopo [BusinessTech][581].

In essence, Gauteng’s contribution to SA’s economy (34.4%) is equivalent to the combined economies of the Eastern Cape (7.6%), Mpumalanga (7.5%), Limpopo (7.2%), North West (6.6%), and the Free State (5.0%)[582]. [Note 2]  

Nevertheless, each province has its own costly government.

For example, the provincial expenditure budget for the Northern Cape in 2015 was R13.4 billion (of which R1.6 billion was misspent). The Northern Cape provides the smallest contribution to SA’s economy (2.1%) and has the lowest population density, with an average of three people per kilometre squared[583], compared with the highest density of Gauteng with 726 people per km2.

Should-a, could-a

Provinces resulted in a “large drain on central government revenue accompanied by ineffectual provincial government,” summarised Griggs, who went further to say that, “provinces designed by boundary specialists and approved by public referendum are likely to have cost less and been more effective” [584].

Moreover, a province’s role could have been purely administrative, rather than having costly provincial governments[585] [586].

In 2007, Trevor Manuel, the then finance minister, called for the reduction in the number of provinces and assignment of powers and functions, saying that SA lacked adequate skills to staff the “multitude of institutions that we have created”[587].

Manuel’s thoughts were echoed by Zwelinzima Vavi, who in 2012 as the then secretary-general of the Cosatu said, "provinces serve little purpose in the development of South Africa. We see them as a complete waste and a drainage of scarce resources that are needed in order to develop the rural areas, the urban areas where our people are," said Vavi[588].

And in the present-day, editor-in-chief of Business Day and Financial Mail, Peter Bruce  – in what he admitted was a sweeping statement – wrote, “[Provinces] have been responsible for more financial waste, more corruption and more patronage and more misery than any other tier of government in post-1994 SA.”[589] [590].

Bruce argued in favour of removing provinces altogether. He noted that no one identified themselves by their respective province, such as calling themselves a “Northern Caper” or an “Mpumalangan”[591].
                “The amount of money wasted in creating nine of everything — nine development agencies, nine parliaments with their well-paid members and huge bureaucracies — is just stupefying, as would be the good, the opportunity, that could come from stopping it all,”[592] Bruce observed.

As to the practicalities of abolishing provinces, Bruce noted, “I would not dare to underestimate the complexities involved, but we need to start reimagining ourselves. Things are not going well.”[593]

Politics puzzle

However, it’s not all bad news in having nine provinces. There are political advantages.

Pilot error only

In 2007 (two years before the DA won control of the Western Cape province), James Selfe, the then acting DA leader said, “The argument is a beguilingly simple one: provincial legislatures are expensive and inefficient, and the social services they offer could be better provided—you guessed it—by Pretoria.” [M&G][594]

However – Selfe warned – by arguing that the provinces should be abolished because they were not providing the service the public expected of them was to look at the issue the wrong way round[595]. “Conceptually, it is not the provinces that are at fault; it is the way the ANC is governing them that is the problem. Put crisply: the rot is in the party, not the provinces ...,” he said[596].

Thabo Rapoo, as director of the Centre for Policy Studies, argued in 2009 against the curtailing of provinces on the same basis. Rapoo said that the claim that provincial government structures and legislatures were a waste of taxpayers’ money held no water. “It is the people that are employed that are wasting money.” [597]

Rapoo said leaders who pushed for the scrapping of provinces were claiming they were an obstacle in the implementation of national government policy. “What needs to be addressed is the efficient implementation of policy and elimination of corruption. “Getting rid of provinces would not eliminate corruption.”[598]

Pipe organ or pipe dream?

The M&G reported in 2012 that analysts had pointed out that whether or not South Africa retained its provinces, the country was too big to run from the national capital, and regional administrations would remain necessary[599].
                However, turning provinces into purely administrative organs of state could be at the cost of democracy, as it would take away citizen’s democratic rights at “subnational” level, Rapoo said. “If we still believe people need to be given a chance to choose their leaders that are closer to them, then the nine provinces should be retained,” insisted she [Business Day][600].

In that same vain, Stephan Grootes wrote in the Daily Maverick in 2012 that, “it may get lost in the general enthusiasm to get rid of what, on paper, appears to be complete expensive disasters. It's that it's rare that democracy gets better when leaders are taken further away from the people. It seems, generally speaking, that the closer to the people leaders are – and I mean geographically and philosophically, and in a classical way (including in income) – usually, the more democratic and open a space is.”[601]

Meanwhile, besides the public having the right to choose who rules over them, Selfe said a vital point often overlooked by critics of provinces in favour of purely administrative blocs was that office bearers were answerable to the provinces’ elected parliament. “By removing these assemblies, we lessen public oversight of those charged with service delivery.” [602]

So, essentially, what Selfe was saying is that SA needs more democracy not less.

Therefore, Selfe maintained the solution was to strengthen the provinces, not weaken them; and that their effectiveness is determined by the voting public. “The challenge for the voters on the ground is to make the authorities accountable and to insist on the capacity to which, in a functioning democracy, we are entitled,” Selfe said[603].

Recyling

Selfe’s defence of provinces is understandable, considering he is a member of a political opposition.

Griggs said in 1998 that, in having an abundance of nine provinces, it, “offered important minority parties a future base of provincial power”. This was true for the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal between 1994 and 2004, and it has equally proven true for the DA in the Western Cape from 2009 to present.

As a result, this has allowed the electorate to compare the oppositions’ governance of large tracks of SA land, against that of the ANC at national and provincial level, rather than merely the limited scope of local government.

So, opposition-held provinces can essentially act as national- government-with-training-wheels, helping the opposition prove to the electorate that they have a ticket to ride with the big boys.

In contrast to the arguments for provinces, especially those put forward by the DA, Peter Bruce was asked on Cape Talk whether the removal of provinces allowed the ANC to dilute DA’s powerbase in the Western Cape, to which Bruce replied, “The more power that is devolved to local government, the more that will play to the strengths of the DA. They are quite good managers at a local level and they would probably do very well out of it. I know their thought of losing the Western Cape as a platform might seem painful, but in the long run I suspect they will benefit from it all.”[604]

As for the ANC - despite the party’s intentions at various times to curtail provincial power - many within their ranks have benefited from the “subnational” level’s existence.

The Middle-earth of State has permitted the party to award “hundreds of veterans of the struggle with positions of power and high incomes within provincial governments,”[605] said Griggs in 1998.

Seventeen years later, in 2015, IOL reported that besides the provinces providing an extra layer of government and state positions, provincial patronage networks are often the lifeblood of the ANC’s internal politics[606].

An example of such a provincial patronage network is the ANC power-bloc of the so-called ‘premier league’, comprising of the Free State, North West, and Mpumalanga. The formation of the premier league has paid dividends for Zuma, who enjoys their support in defence of his rule.

2.       Here are the expenditure budgets by province for 2015:

 

 Treasury determines the allocation of national funds to each province based on a formula “that  takes  into  account population  growth,  economic  activity, poverty,  and  demand  for  services  such  as  education  and  healthcare. Allocations to fast-growing provinces grow more quickly than allocations to provinces with more stable population numbers. Smaller provinces are also compensated for the fixed costs of maintaining provincial institutions.”[610]

3.       ANC membership versus local government misspending

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