Former President Jacob Zuma claims that ‘state capture’ doesn’t exist

Former President Jacob Zuma has stated that the state hasn’t been captured according to eNCA.

“I get worried if at the level of South Africa there are things that we can distort, is parliament captured? is the executive captured?  so where is the State Capture?” Zuma asked while speaking to Walter Sisulu University students in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

According to The Citizen Zuma also called for the nationalisation of “mines, banks and monopoly industries.”

He further blamed “institutionalised racism” for failures in the educational sector, and claimed that he was proud of his decision to institute free tertiary education at the end of his reign.

News24 reports that he then went on to claim that South Africans are not properly decolonised, as they are afraid to change laws set by the colonial powers.

He complained that while majority rule was central to democracy, when NGOs took government to the constitutional court the NGOs tended to win.

My Take

Lets start off with the question of state capture – was the state captured?

According to Mcebisi Jonas he was offered the post of finance minister, one of the most important posts in the country for obvious reasons, by the Guptas.

Vytjie Mentor makes similar claims. Julius Malema stood up in Parliament and stated that his then friend Fikile Mbalula learned of his appointment to Zuma’s cabinet via a phone call from the Guptas.

Malusi Gigaba, when he was minister of home affairs, was subject to controversy over how his department made the Guptas naturalised citizens. He would be Jacob Zuma’s last finance minister.

We have multiple witness accounts claiming the same thing. The Zondo inquiry into state capture is still ongoing so we don’t know the full extent of it, but it appears that the executive was captured.

Collen Maine said he was introduced to the Guptas by then premier of the North West Supra Mahumapelo.

Free State premier and ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule’s offices were raided by the Hawks over his alledged involvement in the Vrede Dairy scandal.

Jonas accused the the Hawks of trying to shut down the investigation.

Former premier and current deputy president David Mabuza is also subject to allegations over that time the Guptas paid for him to be flown to Russia for medical treatment.

Even the South African Revenue Service, a vital component to a functional state, has been subject to allegations of state capture by the Gupta family, with its former head Tom Moyane being implicated in an illegal R420 million payout to the family.

This is not an exhaustive list of cases. I haven’t even gone into the State Owned Enterprises, or the accusations around Lynne Brown.

And realise so far I’ve just spoken about one family’s involvement in state capture, there are also allegations around Bosasa engaging in this, as well as the CPS scandal that has so tainted Bathabile Dlamini.

The whole Bell Pottinger saga involved complaints of “White monopoly capital” – well that is part of state capture. The ANC has a habit of pointing to its failures to try and distract from its other failures.

We don’t know the full extent to which the state was captured, but what we do know reflects a very extensive campaign of corruption. It is not incredible to think that large parts of Parliament may well have been captured – given how extensive the rot became under Zuma’s rule.

In fact, given Parliament’s refusal to act for so long, even if it wasn’t by the Gupta family, one could argue that Zuma himself had captured the house as it wasn’t performing its role in providing oversight. Zuma his oath of office, and yet there was no action against him from Parliament for this.

Anything less than the term state capture would not reflect the extent of corruption that Zuma’s reign has been accused of bringing to South Africa.

Now the call for nationalising the banks, the mines, the farms and monopoly industries.

Not having monopolies outside of government services is the whole point to the competition commission, and a lot of the ‘virtual monopolies’ – basically businesses which are so dominant that they may as well be monopolies – aren’t ours to nationalise. Attempting to nationalise Google isn’t going to work out too well.

Under Zuma land redistribution essentially stopped, and funds dedicated to developing black farmers were misappropriated. Pardon me for just not believing Zuma when he claims that these are his views.

And even if they were, nationalising the banks would cause a run on them due to how badly the rest of the government has been run, a lot of the mines would like to be nationalised because they don’t want to pay for the environmental clean-up that comes at the end of their lifespans and they’re pretty old, and nationalising agriculture has generally ended in massive famines.

You can kind of see why if you look at the farm invasions that the EFF brags about causing – the land isn’t being farmed it is being turned into housing, because that is what the invaders want and that is what would be politically expedient to grant.

Blaming institutionalised racism, to my mind is again the old standby trick of the ANC pointing to one of its failures to excuse another failure.

The Education Department in South Africa is run by the ANC. The ANC is thus the institution that is being accused of being racist, and Zuma was at its head during the past few years of dramatic failure.

It is important to remember just which people we’re talking about when we talk about “institutionalised racism”, otherwise it is nothing more than a conspiracy theorist’s “them”.

Finally on decolonisation. Decolonisation will not be achieved by simply doing away with everything the colonists brought with them.

The reason for this is simple, are the colonists doing away with everything they took? No? Why?

Because if I can make use of geniuses here, there and everywhere, and you can only make use of geniuses here, which of us has the advantage?

Democracy is not founded simply on the concept of majority rule, it is also founded on the idea that everyone has the same rights. What does Zuma think of that concept?

“We (the ANC) have more rights here because we are in a majority. You (opposition) have fewer rights because you are in a minority,” he said in 2012.

Zuma’s attempts at the moment are to use emotion to override logic in order to get out of accounting for his massive failures.

Right now a lot of our economic woes are due to Zuma’s reign, and we’re left with his former deputy trying to pull the country out of the fires Zuma set.

Our credit rating is much worse for Zuma’s reign, and that means borrowing money to try and fix the stuff Zuma broke is much more expensive, making it much harder to do.

VAT had to be increased because of Zuma’s failures – it was Zuma’s finance minister that made that call, I’m no fan of Cyril Ramaphosa but he wasn’t in power long enough to come up with an alternative budget when it was announced.

The whole issue with state capture would have been irrelevant had the government been run well regardless, state capture is actually more of an issue of motivations. The real crime when you boil it down was the series of bad decisions that landed our country in this current quagmire.

And those decisions – those were the result of Jacob Zuma’s presidency. Zuma wants to pretend that the buck didn’t stop with him when he was in office.

That is the most damning thing about him, more than the corruption that stains his name, he is a man who wielded power without responsibility, and we as a country are paying the price.

  • Picture courtesy of GCIS via Flickr.
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