A few arrests would wipe the smirks from these faces

28 January 2018 - 00:00 By peter bruce

In Hollywood if you want to write a script for a movie it has to have an "arc". That is to say, it must begin well: a family, happily getting ready for the day. The sun is shining. Then dad drives off to work and dies in a terrible accident.
Only it isn't an accident. Some guys want to see the result of tests dad has run in the laboratory he works for. They think the results will show up their company as a sham. Mom and the kids spend the next hour and a half being chased. The house is searched and trashed. Buster the dog can't be found.
Finally mom and the kids set a trap for the bad guys. They hit one on the head with a baseball bat and the other is lured to step on a puddle of grease. He slips and is rendered unconscious. The cops are called, Buster reappears and the tension drains.In South Africa we're at the part of the arc where mom and the kids set the trap. The movie isn't over yet and a lot could still go wrong. But things are happening.
As I write, the Hawks are raiding the office of the premier of the Free State, Ace Magashule, in connection with the clearly criminal funding by his province of a dairy farm in Vrede, most of which (in excess of R200-million) went to the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma, son of President Jacob Zuma.
Magashule, also recently elected secretary-general of the ANC, has been wondering aloud lately whether he should not remain Free State premier while also running the ruling party.
He should prepare for an entirely different future, as our arc is beginning to suggest.
Similarly, the many inquiries going on at the moment point to the South African arc having taken a tangible turn.
At an inquiry Bathabile Dlamini is desperately trying to weasel her way out of being made to personally pay for some of the litigation she has put the taxpayer through.
In parliament, Transnet faces the standing committee on public accounts, which is trying to understand "deviations and expansions" from contracts dating back to 2014.And also in parliament, a special committee on state capture is being blown away by the litany of lies it is being told by the former Eskom managers who were responsible for bringing their gigantic company to its financial knees.
It has all been wonderful, up to a point. The point is the bad guys aren't scared enough yet. That's what the script needs now.
In Davos, Cyril Ramaphosa has insisted that the people involved in state capture are going to prison.
But it's not so easy. Yes, assets are being frozen and offices raided. But no arrests yet. Jacob Zuma is playing a blinder. He agreed to the new Eskom board. He has set narrow enough limits on the Thuli Madonsela-inspired judicial inquiry into state capture.
Zuma is causing no problems and creating no excuse for the party to demand his early recall. Getting him out of office is going to be hard.
He appreciates the answer former British prime minister Harold Macmillan gave when asked what he most feared: "Events, dear boy," he answered, "events." Zuma knows that in politics time always brings opportunity. He doesn't want to leave the Union Buildings early. He's betting he can beat the odds.
But the one thing the bad guys can't beat are the courts. That's where they'll really sweat and that's where Ramaphosa has to take this process.
I watched Matshela Koko from Eskom the other night. He smirked when he said he'd never heard of state capture until Madonsela's report in October 2016. Liar.Brian Molefe also smirked at the parliamentary committee interrogating him.
He was being asked about the payment for almost R700-million Eskom made to the Guptas, who used it to make up the final purchase price for the Optimum coal mine.
Molefe's story is that the money was a "prepayment" for coal. "If I buy a Volkswagen," he sneered, "I don't ask Volkswagen what they do with the money."
Oh, really? Tell that to a judge in a criminal trial.
In a court, with a judge and a smart prosecutor, I guarantee Molefe and Koko would have been a great deal less cocky. In court you have to tell the actual truth or you go to prison. There is nothing I've heard in all the rubbish they've spewed before less severe inquiries than a court of law that convinces me these guys are not going to jail.
JZ can hang on to office as long as he likes. Then, one day, everything changes and everyone goes to prison.

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