Editorial

On the other hand, he is a leading expert on the issue

01 July 2018 - 00:00 By SUNDAY TIMES

Thanks to the internet's long memory, it's easy to travel back to August 2006 and find photographs of Tony Yengeni being borne shoulder-high into Pollsmoor prison in Cape Town by scores of adoring ANC supporters. There to hail their conquering hero and convicted fraudster were Ebrahim Rasool, then Western Cape premier, now the man in charge of the ANC's 2019 election campaign in the province; Lindiwe Sisulu, then housing minister, now foreign minister; and Baleka Mbete, then and now the speaker of parliament.
To a man and woman, they believed the four-year sentence Yengeni received for failing to declare a discount he received for a car from an arms dealer was excessive and unfair. "It is a very sad day. Tony is an old friend and he suffered a great deal for the constitution," said cabinet minister Essop Pahad.
True, what Yengeni did when he was chairman of parliament's defence committee and intimately involved in the arms deal looks like a gentle Sunday school picnic in comparison with the orgy of "eating" we have seen since. But it was the arms deal that paved the way for what followed, sowing the seeds that reliably grew into Travelgate, Nkandlagate, state capture and the countless smaller examples of corruption that continue to bedevil the progress South Africa should be making.Despite all that - let alone the "New Dawn" that everyone hoped would herald an era in which tainted individuals would be sidelined - the ANC under Cyril Ramaphosa continues to be the antithesis of a learning organisation.
To prove it, the party appointed Yengeni to lead its election working group dealing with crime and corruption; professed astonishment that people should see anything wrong in this; and pronounced itself "shocked" by the corruption that has become endemic since Yengeni first ploughed its fertile furrow in his half-price Mercedes-Benz 4x4.
Elections are 10 months away and the choice for voters is looking dismal. The ANC still hasn't a clue what clean government means, the DA has been taken over by a faction that has ganged up on a black woman, and the EFF is led by thugs and racists. Not a sophisticated analysis, perhaps, but definitely a depressing one.

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