This is not something that happens in a few corrupt entities. It is across the entire system. From KwaZulu-Natal municipalities to provincial government departments in North West, from impoverished municipalities in Mpumalanga to SOEs such as SAA, Denel and Eskom, this is what has been going on for more than a decade.
This is the definition of state capture. It is a criminal network at whose heart has been a once-great, but now broken and stolen liberation movement: the ANC.
It is not a coincidence that the ANC is today broke and cannot pay its workers. A large chunk of its monies in the past 11 years were from those who benefited from these corrupt networks. To keep the party sweet, they paid part of their stolen lucre into the ANC’s coffers. The leader of the party, assisted by its national executive committee (NEC), or a large majority of it, encouraged and participated in this sort of behaviour.
At an ANC dinner in October 2015, party president Jacob Zuma underlined the corrupt philosophy: “I always say to business people that if you invest in the ANC, you are wise. If you don’t invest in the ANC, your business is in danger. The TG [ANC treasurer-general] is a nice and a handsome young man. When he knocks, open the doors.”
The treasurer of the ANC at the time was Zweli Mkhize, the disgraced former minister of health who departed his job in August after it emerged his friends were enjoying themselves with millions of rand, thanks to a tender from his department, whose proceeds were channelled back to his family. Don’t point fingers at Mkhize alone for this. Many others in the ranks of the ANC were in on this sort of thing.
The Gauteng premier, David Makhura, faced a barrage of criticism at a vigil to remember Deokaran last week. He responded by saying: “Until people are arrested and serve a jail term for corrupt activities, all the things I’m saying here mean nothing. Until the killers of Babita and those who sent the killer — and I am convinced the person who pulled the trigger is not the only source of this killing — are arrested, what I say means nothing.
“Until I take concrete steps to bring the looters and the corrupted to book, you are right to say that all politicians are rotten.”
These are fine words. Makhura knows the truth, though. The “looters and the corrupted” he is talking about are in the ANC. They are the ANC. For justice for Deokaran to be meaningful, the party has to acknowledge that it birthed and nurtured the environment that allowed her to be murdered.