Hawks anti-corruption task team unit head Zinhle Mnonopi appears to be the first scalp claimed by the state capture inquiry according to News24.
So what is Mnonopi accused of doing?
EWN reported in February 2018 that Mcebisi Jonas was sticking to his guns and accusing Ajay Gupta of approaching him with a R600 million bribe, along with the position of finance minister on 23 October 2015.
Jonas claimed that Gupta had told him that he had already made R6 billion from the state and that they would take that money to Dubai.
Now in August of 2018 Jonas’ testified about this in front of the current inquiry into state capture, and part of that testimony alleged that Mnonopi had tried to get him to sign a statement letting Gupta off the hook.
According to Jacaranda FM, he said that Mnonopi had told him the investigation was a ‘DA matter’, that he did not wish to help the DA and that the Hawks wanted to kill the case.
Jonas wasn’t the only person to testify that the Hawks engaged in more of a cover-up than an investigation – according to Sowetan LIVE Vytjie Mentor testified before the inquiry that they wanted her to drop former president Jacob Zuma’s name from her criminal complaint regarding the Gupta family.
Meanwhile Sunday Times‘ top story today is that the CIA warned South Africa about state capture in 2009, warning our intelligence officials that Zuma’s relationship with the Guptas was already undermining state security.
This was just one year after the ANC elected to merge the The Directorate of Special Operations, or Scorpions, with the police.
Helen Zille wrote a piece for Politicsweb about the decision at the time saying, “ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe admitted that the decision was taken to protect the ANC when I met with him at Luthuli House earlier this year. He said, quite emphatically, that the Scorpions were being disbanded because the unit was targeting ANC leaders.”
According to the Sunday Times report, our top spies were apparently shocked at the degree of influence the Guptas had over Zuma’s first cabinet reshuffle in 2010.
The CIA wanted to know why the Guptas were so interested in mining uranium.
In November of 2017, the Mail and Guardian reported that Zuma had made one final push to ‘ram through’ a deal for a new nuclear power plant.
When the Scorpions were disbanded, the whole situation with Mnonopi was the predicted result.
It was in fact the stated point to disbanding the Scorpions – they were too successful at catching dirty ANC leaders. All too often in South Africa we act like this is some sort of big surprise – but really it is that our leaders don’t want to be held accountable.
A similar situation emerged with the International Criminal Court. When we withdrew from that body, the leaders of the ANC and the EFF cited the fact that the court was going after corrupt and murderous African leaders, but not particularly other leaders at the time.
The genesis to that was our president’s decision to help Omar al-Bashir escape justice for the genocide in Darfur. When Julius Malema talks bitterly about historic genocides against African populations, just remember how he called on the AU to prevent a man accused of just that from standing trial.
Crooks don’t like getting caught, so it is important to note whenever a political leader starts talking about “bias” and suchlike, they’re generally trying to avoid being held to account for their crooked dealings. They want to make the issue something else, rather than their own misbehaviour.
What we’ve ended up with, thanks to that decision to disband the Scorpions, is essentially organisational AIDS in our government. Our national immune system was allowed to be captured, and that led to a lot of our other woes.
The only solution we really have is to vote in a different government. The ANC is not going to be cleaned up from within, leading figures like Mantashe played an integral role in causing the problem in the first place.
The issue isn’t Zuma, the issue is that we removed the barriers for more people like Zuma. It was not the work of one man that led us to where we are, but the machinery of our ruling party.
A more competent president than Zuma, would have just meant a slower degeneration from that decision to disband the Scorpions. Credit where it is due, it is good to see Mnonopi suffering consequences over this, but really it is difficult not to the see the situation she’s in as being essentially what the Hawks were designed to do.