UDM leader hits out against state capture during commemoration of icon’s death
State capture and the looting of state resources are an insult to former president Nelson Mandela’s legacy‚ UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said.
“State capture must not only be pushed into retreat‚ but must be defeated once and for all,” Holomisa said.
“Those who are captured should be charged‚ prosecuted and convicted.
“If we don’t do so‚ Madiba’s legacy will be in jeopardy.”
Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the death of the struggle icon.
Holomisa was one of the speakers last night at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg.
Mandela’s wife, Graça Machel‚ members of the Mandela family and Mandela’s friend, lawyer George Bizos, attended the event.
Holomisa lambasted those involved in irregular transactions of funds for Mandela’s funeral‚ the “nauseating” leaked Gupta e-mails and those contributing to ratings agencies reconsidering South Africa’s status.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane confirmed on Monday that a R250 000 payment into Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle’s private account was among a litany of irregular transactions made with money meant for Mandela’s funeral.
Mandela’s death opened the floodgates in the province for officials to spend R330-million diverted from the infrastructure development grant.
“It is difficult to comprehend how some people stooped so low by stealing funds allocated to give Madiba a dignified farewell. This goes beyond commonplace corruption.
“It is not only immoral‚ but evil,” Holomisa said.
He described Mandela as a moral beacon‚ guiding light‚ mentor and friend.
He believes Mandela’s wisdom ushered in a golden era in South Africa‚ partly because he surrounded himself with capable individuals.
“The calibre of the people in his cabinet was just at a higher level than what we have today.”
Holomisa said South Africans must address the “sour taste”‚ disillusionment and collective shame in the country by finding out how we can reclaim Mandela’s legacy and draw lessons from his life.
“What happened to the tone and example that Mandela set?”
He believes the time around the death of struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada in March this year was the lowest point in President Jacob Zuma’s presidency.
It was during this time that Zuma fired former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy‚ Mcebisi Jonas‚ during a cabinet reshuffle.
“Institutionalised corruption and the looting of state resources with impunity are the order of the day.
“We could say that this has become the new normal.”
According to Holomisa‚ Mandela was not the “reconciliation junkie he is often portrayed as”.
“He was definitely a one-nation president who extended the hand of friendship in quite extraordinary ways.”
Holomisa believes the way forward is casting the net wider than the ruling ANC.
He believes South Africa needs a Codesa-type conference‚ because “we cannot afford to put all of our future eggs in one basket”.
Machel said last night that it was up to South Africans and not the government or politicians to move the country forward. “It is in our hands.” She said Mandela and others had done what they could while they were still alive.
“We must celebrate what they have given us as a legacy but, more importantly, we have to take this nation to the highest levels.”
Machel said she believed South Africa was extraordinary and in several aspects incomparable to other African countries.
“This is a singular country in which in a certain generation of its history had the most extraordinary leadership as a collective, as anyone else has never produced.”
Some of the leaders she mentioned were Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and Albertina Sisulu.
“[South Africa] has to be able to produce new leadership that is going to stand on their shoulders,” Machel said.
“It has to produce a new crop of that collective, because it is in South African genes.”