Zuma keeps snout in trough

The president and his gang of thieves know that no one is going to lift a finger and arrest them

13 November 2017 - 05:02
President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

On July 29 Eskom's now suspended head of legal compliance Suzanne Daniels held a meeting with the Gupta family ally and aide, Salim Essa, in Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.

Essa took Daniels to another meeting in a flat in the Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, complex. On entering she found herself in the company of Ajay Gupta, the paterfamilias of the Gupta family; President Jacob Zuma's son and the Guptas' servant-in-chief Duduzane; Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins and an unidentified Chinese woman.

Martins has denied being at such a meeting. None of the others has.

These meetings were revealed when Daniels, a lawyer and commissioner of oaths, testified under oath at a parliamentary committee meeting last week looking into the capture of Eskom. She remembers clearly where she was on July 29.

Martins, who one would imagine has a diary and whose security detail keeps records of his movements, cannot recall where he was on July 29.

A week after she made her allegations, he has still not helped us with any useful information. What we do know is that he has held other meetings at his house with the Guptas and leaders of state-owned agencies, such as the disgraced Lucky Montana.

I believe Daniels.

In that July 29 meeting, in which Atul Gupta wore only "grey tracksuit pants, no shoes and a T-shirt", it was made clear to Daniels the men wanted the legal case challenging former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe's outrageous R30-million pension to be heard only after the ANC's December elective conference. Gupta then boasted that he would "talk to someone in the deputy judge president's office and to make sure that the hearing takes place after December 2017".

I am recounting this story not for what it shows - that the president of the country, his cabinet, his family and the Guptas are corrupt to the core - but for the date on which this meeting took place.

It was on July 29 2017. This was after the emergence of incredible and damning revelations in the Gupta e-mails. It was after all the other revelations of state capture by former public protector Thuli Madonsela. It was after reports about the role of organisations, such as McKinsey, Trillian, KPMG and others, in this sordid Zuma-Gupta corruption mess.

After all that, you have a deputy minister in Zuma's administration, Zuma's son and others implicated in the whole thing nonchalantly sitting in a flat in Melrose Arch talking about how they are going to influence the judiciary to favour Molefe, a man they refer to as their "naukar" - servant.

Zuma and his cronies know that, despite everything we know, nothing will happen to them. Every single institution that can do something to deal with them has been stolen.

Last week you had the quite extraordinary spectacle of the Hawks laying charges against author Jacques Pauw for his brilliant exposé The President's Keepers. These are the same people who have done absolutely nothing about the Gupta e-mails and the breathtaking corruption detailed in them.

Zuma is a fantastically corrupt individual, as the Schabir Shaik trial confirmed and as his former comrade and former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils shows in his new book A Simple Man. That is why he has just appointed an equally fantastically corrupt individual - Bongani Bongo - as the minister of state security. Bongo will do absolutely anything for Zuma now - without his corrupt principal he will go to jail.

Meanwhile, at SARS and at the National Prosecuting Authority Tom Moyane and Shaun Abrahams have their fingers up their noses while Zuma and his cronies are breaking the law left, right and centre.

Here is what that meeting on July 29 tells us. Zuma and his cronies are neither stirred nor shaken by the noise that the country is making about their corruption. They are emboldened. They are now on a greater looting spree than before. They are ensuring they have a pension in Dubai or whatever other rotten jurisdiction will take them if we can get rid of them.

It means the next few years will be worse in terms of corruption and the theft of institutions and parastatals than the past eight years of Zuma's rule.

The thief has been unmasked. But he does not care. He is keeping his snout in the trough. And no one can stop him.

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