There seems to be a dangerous precedence befalling our nation where those in political power or those with political connections have introduced a new modus operandi to maximize looting of state resources and this is done by simply pushing through unsolicited proposals for massive projects which they in turn become consultants, contractors and operators going forward without following national treasurer guidelines.
Examples of these projects are: the Gautrain, E-tolls in Gauteng, many Blue IQ and GSCC projects, the Arms Acquisition program. These and other projects are not initiatives to alleviate the lives of the people of South Africa as the majority of them apply to first world countries and they could never benefit our people in our lifetime at least. Many of these initiatives are rendered white elephants in the long run and our local authorities spend money on maintenance of infrastructure that does not advantage the poorest of the poor in our society. More worrying is that these initiatives by private citizens who are politically connected are a big cash cow for these demagogues and they become super rich and use the proceeds of their ill gotten gains to buy more political power not necessarily with political parties, but with certain powerful individuals in the packing order of the ruling party hence the tendency of factional politics, divisive politics and a general wanton disregard of the law.
The real benefactors of these massive projects are not the poor of our country but a selected group of politically connected people who influence decisions of the even more powerful executives of our party and government. The bribes that were paid by the companies that were awarded the arms contracts in the controversial arms deal went to individuals who instantly got super rich and these individuals pay a token to the ANC, but the majority of their money goes to individual politicians so that they are afforded protection from prosecution and the prying and roving eye of our overly active media. Because of the bribes the relevant authorities power to interrogate the wisdom of many senseless projects is diminished if not eliminated completely leaving these charlatans much room to implement without due diligence or professional feasibility study to ascertain the real viability of the given project. I would want to get ahead of myself and coin this practice the’’ kebble doctrine” this after the late ANC benefactor Roger Kebble who turned political patronage into an art form. Patrick Bond (kwaZulu Natal Centre for civil society) wrote an interesting piece on three kinds of colour coded crony capitalism and its manifestations (The star Wednesday 09 May2012) and indeed i would like to point out at the third one which he coins Crony Capitalism 3.0’s black on black accumulation its highlight being the president nephew Khulubuse Zuma, the president’s lawyer Michael Hulley and Mandela grandson Zondwa Mandela and their Aurora looting which has left poor miners without pay and some committing suicide due to financial ruin and the assets of the mine being vandalized as the politically connected trio literally got away with murder.
Kebble doctrine is alive with much possibility in this country and the pillaging continues unabated for the only people who benefited from the Arms deal are a few of the likes of convicted fraudster Shabir Shaik, billionaire Fana Hlongwane, their political principal and the companies that paid bribes to secure contracts, the same can be said of the Gautrain which is a first world high speedy train that does not connect high density areas with industry ,but connects affluent neighborhoods like Sandton, Rosebank to Tshwane via OR Tambo international airport. Many in people in suburbia regard public transport to be a preserve of the poor and those who do not own motor vehicles and this notion has been further advanced by the veritable high levels of crime in trains and elsewhere, and the government does not see the reduction of crime in public transportation system as a priority area so that many people can gravitate towards cost effective, safe and efficient public transportation system. Vaughan Mostert, a public transport lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, said that much of the controversy owed much to the fact that the public had been misled about the availability of public transport as alternative to the Gauteng highways and car usage is actually growing at between 5 percent and 7 percent a year post Gautrain figures. He further went on to say the implementation of the rapid rail Gautrain between Johannesburg and Tshwane, in the face of public opposition, had created the impression that projects would be implemented regardless of their merit as long as the government agreed. Controversial Chief Executive officer of SANRAIL (South African National Roads Agency) Nazir Alli resigned yesterday following a watershed judgment by the North Gauteng High court to halt the e-tolling of Gauteng freeways. His departure comes at a time when residents of Gauteng are demanding answers in terms of who is benefitting from the multi-billion rand project and Alli has been arrogant in the manner in which he dealt with the saga as surely the public deserves to know what their tax dollar is spent on. Though many are speculating that Alli has is the fall guy and he has been pushed out of office to protect the faceless benefactors and government from an embarrassing saga that brought a 100 000 strong march on the streets of Johannesburg led by COSATU a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately this rot is not going to stop any time soon unless the people of this country show the same unity they showed when they marched against e-toll as the tenderprenuer are ever growing greedy and they together with their friends government will come up with more of these projects that will end up as white elephants as the poor of the poor suffer and go hungry. An active citizenry is needed to force government to account and with the R 800 billion infrastructure program announced by president Zuma during his state of the nation address in February, South Africans should be on guard to make sure the funds go to basic infrastructural programs that will create decent jobs for the people not fancy projects that do not advantage and advance the lives of the poor. More money is needed in health, education, training, HIV and Aids and many more social Ills bedeviling our society, and surely government should be responsible in how they spend money in the face of all these and more challenges. A peoples contract to create a better life for all was one of the ANC slogans going into an election of yesteryear, but this contract needs strong, responsible and accountable government not corrupt politicians worried about lining their own pockets. And the damage done by these politically connected and their corrupt principles is destroying the ANC itself so much that comrades use money from these dodgy contracts to sow division in the party ranks, some use the money to buy votes so they can put their own people in office so as to advance their criminal enterprise of looting and plundering.
Shabir Sheik’s family has been overtaken by the Gupta’s as the chief benefactor’s of president Zuma and his family and sources say the Gupta’s are so powerful so much that cabinet ministers are summoned to their residence prior to appointment and this obviously makes them the most powerful force of our time as far as South African politics is concerned. Our people who went through the inhumane treatment of apartheid should not have their destiny determined by a single Indian family for such crass insolence has no place in our young democracy and the Gupta’s should be very careful not to anger the people of this country for their wrath is second to none given their painful history of inequality and abuse at the hands of the illegal Boer governments. To borrow from Patrick Bond again, Black on white accumulation BEEE in Crony capitalism 2 Is responsible for the failure of our BEEE policy which has created a few wealthy black people while the majority are languishing below the bread line and these few politically connected go into traditionally white companies and they buy a stake with money borrowed from sympathetic finance houses seeking favors from government, the worst part is they not only get cheap capital but they do it in the face of many black employees who would have been working for that company for up to the rest of their working life. Such is the failure of the system in addressing the imbalances of the past, instead the system is now widening the gap between our people and this we should force our political heads to correct such injustices fresh out of apartheid. Perhaps our peoples hope and faith has been misplaced and its time we find alternative leadership that will drive this special purpose vehicle called creation of wealth and poverty alleviation so as to arrest the evil legacy of apartheid.