Juju did not invent 'political brokering'
EXPELLED ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is not a genius. He has never invented anything.
Unlike the gifted lexicographers of the South African Communist Party, who occasionally entertain us with terms and phrases such as "tenderpreneurs", "tenderisation of the state", "class project", "spaza shop rivalries" and so on, Malema has nothing to show in the field of lexicography.
His crude language, sometimes spiced up with metaphors, does make for razing oratory. But it is far from being innovative.
Yet he dreams big. He believes he will one day be a leader of the ANC. He has told everyone who cared to listen to archive his remark. The news hounds have obliged. They duly digitally recorded his voice and stored it on their gadgets.
They are waiting to craft those international headlines on that day when President Malema takes over the reins at Luthuli House and the Union Buildings.
Hopefully they aren't waiting for Godot. Imagine Jomo Sono speaking bravely about how he will win the 2014 Absa Premiership with 20 points clear with a few more games in hand. It sounds like fairy-tale stuff, doesn't it?
But, at least Malema has Jacob Zuma to thank for spotting his leadership talents quite early on.
It was Zuma, remember, who first saw in Malema a brilliant ANC leader in the making. No doubt, when Zuma looked at Malema and listened to him attentively while he was uttering the words "we'll kill for Zuma", he saw in him a John Langalibalele Dube of the 21st century.
I must apologise for taking an early and long off-ramp. The point is this, as someone who is not a genius, Malema did not invent the profession of political merchant or "tender-brokering" - I hope the word gets into the rich dictionary of the alleged South African communists.
For the uninitiated, Malema's money-making scheme so elaborately explained by the Sunday Times at the weekend could easily pass for a work of ingenuity. But it is not.
As a tender broker or political merchant Malema merely implemented that which he had learnt from some of his political role models.
He might have modified the profession of tender brokering, but it remains the work of people he probably admires for having become rich so quickly and so easily by using their political power as capital.
It all started with the multi-billion rand arms deal. That deal produced a number of tender brokers. Fana Hlongwane, former aide of the late Joe Modise, the Defence Minister, was one of them.
All that the arms deal tender brokers like him did was to "advise" arms dealers and political principals almost simultaneously on how to structure their transactions in return for "commissions".
Those payments are what suspicious journalists, fishers of corrupt men, German investigators and counter-revolutionaries call "bribes".
The additional costs of these commissions were to be borne by the taxpayer via inflated amounts of the weaponry.
It was a sophisticated scheme that set the national purse back as much as R60-billion.
There is hardly a difference between these kinds of brokerage and what Malema has been doing in Limpopo (see graphic).
All he did was to broker, broker and broker. And the result was more commissions, otherwise known as "generous donations" for a good cause.
Only those at the Hawks and South African Revenue Services would have found something untoward with Malema's brokerage business, while leaving the entire tender brokering profession, including the profession's founders, untouched.
Is it not time that the existence of this profession was recognised and regulated or banned, as is being suggested of labour broking?
The late businessman and ANC funder Sandile Majali and other politicians also had a similar business going, procuring prohibited crude oil from Iraq using political connections.
They had a way of re-routing proceeds either to themselves or to the ruling party. Ngoako Ramatlhodi told mourners at Majali's funeral in Eastern Cape that the former businessman at some point paid salaries of officials in Luthuli House.
Another example is the allegation that Zuma received R500000 from arms dealers who sought political protection against impending investigation into allegations of corruption in the arms deal.
The allegation was never tested in court but has been publicly made during the trial of Schabir Shaik who has since been convicted for bribing Zuma.
The multi-million rand police lease deals that got suspended Police Chief Bheki Cele into trouble and which Public Protector Thuli Madonsela helped to put on ice, had its own brokers.
The e-tolling must have had its own brokers, probably waiting for their share. Hence the public blackmail that if the project falls through it would be bad for country.
We have heard this retort before when good people were agitating for the cancellation of the arms deal.
Transnet's multi-billion rand infrastructure programme will certainly have its own brokers.
The list goes on on.
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