Short Report

'President' Mkhize's take on state capture will leave you scratching your head

11 October 2017 - 15:28
African National Congress Treasure-General Zweli Mkhize during an interview on September 07, 2017 in Johannesburg.
African National Congress Treasure-General Zweli Mkhize during an interview on September 07, 2017 in Johannesburg.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali/Sowetan

President Zweli Mkhize. It’s got a nice ring to it. Especially for Project Zuma‚ the ongoing humanitarian relief effort designed to keep our current president out of jail.

This week‚ wily insider Bantu Holomisa dismissed the candidacy of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma‚ telling the Daily Maverick that she was simply a smokescreen behind which Chosen One Mkhize – a former premier of KwaZulu-Natal and steadfast Zumista – could strengthen his position and perhaps postpone for another few years Zuma’s transition from suits to orange overalls.

I don’t know what kind of a president Mkhize will make. I also know you can’t judge someone by their words because they’re usually way worse than their words. But I am slightly bemused by two short sentences Mr Mkhize produced last week.

At a gathering in Johannesburg‚ he addressed the Indian elephant in the room.

"This issue of state capture‚" he said‚ "is a huge - "

Wait‚ I'm going to let you guess that final word. Any ideas? How about “catastrophe”? “Blight”? “Cancer”?

Unfortunately‚ none of those are right; because‚ instead of describing state capture as an existential threat to the Republic unrivaled since the end of apartheid‚ Mkhize called it – drumroll please – “a huge embarrassment”.

Now call me old fashioned‚ but I reckon farting in front of your boss is a huge embarrassment. Deliberately dismantling a country’s ability to prosecute powerful predators‚ knowingly protecting a bought president‚ and being an accomplice to the wholesale looting of state funds is not a huge embarrassment. It is a crime; at worst‚ of total malice; at best‚ of rank incompetence. Either way‚ it should see the ANC and its corporate parasites dumped out of power at our earliest convenience.

(I’m also curious to know what‚ exactly‚ the embarrassing part is: that state capture happened‚ or that people found out?)

Still‚ it wasn’t all denial and euphemism. In his very next sentence‚ Mkhize took the bullshit by the horns and revealed the ANC’s official view on state capture: “We take it as a form of corruption.”

He is absolutely right. State capture is a form of corruption‚ the way dropping a nuclear bomb on a city is a form of assault.

But it does ask the question: if the ANC thinks that the theft of a whole country is just one tool in a bag of corrupt tricks‚ what else is in that bag?