They still walk amongst us

….editorial dated 1 February 2022……

State Capture Report adds substance….

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s well-crafted, highly professional State Capture Report makes for good reading and is must on this month’s top bookseller list.   Even if you are little intimidated by the thought of 865 pages of what is only Part One of this epic tale, you really owe it to this studious and gentle lawmaker to put time aside to read his magnus opum.  It is a most rewarding experience.

Its importance lies in the values it re-creates for us all.  When so many of us thought the country had sunk too low in moral deficiency for it to be saved, some of us might even have been worrying that the point had come where graft, theft, lies and abuse of power had to be countenanced in order to live in South Africa. Raymond Zondo tells one clearly this is not an option.

Like an iron fist, written between the lines and on every page, Zondo’s testament to the truth clearly establishes what is right, what is wrong and where the line should be drawn between the two.   Like cleansing milk, the words pour out of the report like a kind of medicine that restores one’s belief in truth and honesty. In an easy-to-read non-legal form of English, he nails the real and final facts to the barn door. Indeed, legal annotations are there but the main body reads like a book.

Above all, don’t rush the read.   Speed readers will surely miss out on some of the therapy.  Zondo’s approach is to meticulously wrap each criminal up in their own lies and dishonest statements and eventually gift pack them for both the NPA and you. 

Every page contains a detailed account of the lies, dishonesty and deviant behaviour of the main players in a tidy manner that is easy to follow.  Persons such as Jacob Zuma, the Gupta clan of hooligans and those that embraced the system for easy money handouts such as Gigaba, Zwane, Myeni, Mokonyane, Magashule and Molefe, and co-conspirators Lynne Brown, Mantashe, Fraser and Anoj Singh….. they all there, to name but a few. 

The extent of the greed and arrogance of these loathsome creatures makes one feel quite sick at times, as does the size of the empire of graft built under our very eyes.

But at the same time, the pages are accompanied with a certain fluent, almost magic use of words that should cause a little voice to come into your head.  It will be saying, “You were right!   You were right all the time!”  It’s a sort of catharsis and one should try to relax then on.   This is because the cavalry has arrived and just in time, all contained in a simple PDF which can be downloaded by any South African 

More apparent, and what makes current episode in South Africa’s history such a tragic, sordid event is that most of the dreadful people portrayed by Zondo are still as free as air and walking amongst us. Until now what little we have learnt about these people has come mainly as a result of investigative journalism.  We have had zilch from the police on any of them. 

Added to this easily acquired sense of defeat has been the fact that in the few cases where a crime does go to court, the National Prosecuting Authority is so short of money that whilst the criminals have all the top and very expensive lawyers, we taxpayers have to have the “B” team. Also, it appears that Shamila Batohi could possibly be a mute, but for the odd newspaper article.

Things have now changed for the better.  Once we got the smooth, ever so polite Adv. Paul Pretorius on our screens at least the good guys appeared to have an even chance.  Now with the definitive work provided by the State Capture Commission things are beginning to look up and one can now understand also why the report took so long to publish.

It is thorough and concise and points conclusively to the evils which were perpetrated, and it was worth waiting for.  Maybe that’s another thing we just must get used to; the fact that putting everything right will take years.

State capture as a crime was devilishly clever and excellently devised by world class consultants, criminals, financial experts and lawyers.  Taking on crafty criminals like Zuma and Gigaba as willing slaves was the easy part for the planners.  The masterminds have covered their tracks well and it will take time with real experts to bring in justice.

The state capture report makes good reason for not giving up in despair and for anyone who might have been considering joining the dark forces.  We wait with anticipation to read the second report.  It is, for the moment, the only definitive work on the guilt of a bunch of common thieves, all of whom we should attempt to put into the background and get behind us as we set about repairing our country.


Patrick McLaughlin


  1. Len Swimmer

    Nice work Patrick – love it- you still doing brilliant work – the decaying times gives credit to your talent to capture the rumbling, tumbling, shambles with the winner takes all attitude. Thanks for a well written piece – your writing skills not at all blunted.

    • Patrick McLaughlin

      Bless you, Len. Long life.


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