….SA on world stage for Parliamentary opening
….editorial 27 January 2018
Who is going to be doing what in the ANC as Parliament re-opens for the first session of 2018 is far from clear as the party cogitates over leadership factors. However, the vessel, the SS Rainbow Nation, may have righted itself and could commence the long and difficult voyage to economic recovery, although the vessel could well be said to be currently in damage control mode. But at last the glass is half full, not half empty.
For the next few weeks, all eyes will be on Parliament. The Bard could not have put it better. “All the world’s a stage: all have their exits and their entrances…”, to paraphrase a little.
Patience called for
Those who feel that injustices have taken place and people must go to jail will just simply have to wait and learn to control the anger and frustration in the coming weeks as we learn of further exposés indicating the real depth of the corruption and mismanagement during the Zuma era. The wound has been lanced but it took far too long for the doctor to arrive and apply a dressing.
In the meanwhile, somehow, South Africans are going to have to put this ten year period of atrocious governance behind and just simply get on with the job.. The endless denials of who did what to whom and whose hands are clean will go on for a very long time. Replays of past speeches which are totally contrary to current statements will be the order of the day and prepare for brazen lies about how so many people all miraculously got to stay at the Oberoi Hotel in Dubai, for example.
They told us so
AmaBhungane and Daily Maverick told us about the Vrede Dairy Project theft of R220m as long ago as June 2017, the scam set up by still current Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule, then Free State Premier, and contemptuously planned as a siphon for personal financial gain. It was almost tiring to see the whole story splurged again in the weekend press. The “I am innocent until proven guilty” answers from Minister Zwana were equally as absurd.
Consequently, for the last six months, it has also been most difficult to watch Zwane strutting about in parliamentary portfolio committee meetings in the confident manner that is his hallmark busily destroying half of the mining industry on behalf of the Guptas knowing that all around him knew what he was up to.
Fortunately, partner Ace Magashule appears rarely Parliament. His time may come, however, once his position at Luthuli House is clarified.
Failure of disciplines
Under Jacob Zuma, the habit of state “fruitless and wasteful” expenditure has become endemic ever since the example had been set by the top with Nkandla. This was probably the first awful display of arrogance in the face of overwhelming knowledge of the truth. Now with Eskom debacle included, we know that that the total of money stolen in the Zuma era is around R700bn. This is according to the Institute of Internal Auditors.
If the “fruitless and wasteful” aspect of bad governance are added to this already frightful figure, then whomsoever said “Every nation gets the Government they deserve” is right, meaning of course that if Parliament and the Auditor General fail in oversight of government expenditure then all are poorer for not having applied consequences. A private member’s Bill, recently tabled in Parliament to give the AG more teeth, is most welcome.
How low can it get?
If the Sunday press coverage of the Vrede dairy swindle was not enough, once again we had to watch, with no satisfaction we might add, this same sickening story of corruption and greed repeated by a TV announcer standing outside a sliding gate and a wall located in the back and beyond of the Free State with a few building structures in the distance. The total sum of assets still technically belonging to the Department of Agriculture from their project from which the R220m had been blatantly diverted.
As had been told to us six months before by Amabhungane and by Jacques Pauw, Minister Zwane’s son who works for the Gupta family, was the recipient of a good slice of this money. Even the President’s son is deeply involved as a beneficiary. One turns one’s head away in shame. All in the name of a few cows and a group of hapless indigent farmers. A line which should not have been crossed.
Parliament is the people
What has been learnt is that Parliament is the people’s place of refuge. That is all we have, however ineffectual it may seem at times. The proof of this is in the pudding. That creaky old system invented centuries ago won the day and in the end the people spoke. Parliamentary enquiries, whilst not courts of law and cannot judge, have produced the questions which leave the ordinary person, “the people”, to judge for themselves.
It seems pretty common cause, therefore, that “people say” that President Jacob Zuma should no longer be allowed to occupy Tuinhuis with a whopping salary and a rather large home and family. The “people” were supported, brilliantly, by a strong civic voice and whistleblowers who have not benefited.
The stage is set and the play will end where it started. In the people’s Parliament.
Time now to forget the past. We must start again. It would be good to rise above the obsession to see these partners in crime and state capture go to jail. The systems, it appears, are back in place to ensure whether this happens or not.
Revenge is not the issue, however. The job in hand is to get on speedily repairing the damage. One remembers with warmth the leadership style, vision and courage endowed to us all by Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who asked us to rise above the sins of apartheid and focus only upon building a country. Many feel the time has come for the ANC to repeat the exercise.
A long road
Africa is indeed rising again and for the first time, in a long time, we can look forward to newscasts that don’t leave one feeling helpless, as has been the case ever since the Gupta e-mails emerged. In the few days after Cyril Ramaphosa returns from Davos (with whatever title he may have assumed by then) parliamentary business can return to normal.
All eyes in the next few weeks will focus upon the State of Nation Address and the Budget. Why exactly is the glass half full and not half empty? Because the governing party has been given a chance to put things right. Their endeavours to do so will be for all to see on the stage called Parliament.
Parliamentary start to 2018 will be stormy – ParlyReportSA
Parliament SA: the top half of the iceberg.. – ParlyReportSA