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Ten 'state capture' red flags Zuma may have missed

Jacob Zuma has described reports about the state being captured as “political propaganda”.
Jacob Zuma Jacob Zuma has described reports about the state being captured as “political propaganda”.
Image: REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

President Jacob Zuma has described reports about the state being captured as “political propaganda”.

“There is no parliament that is captured. There is no executive that is captured …. They are talking about a few individuals. But state capture‚ that’s political propaganda‚” he told television news channel ANN7 in an exclusive interview on Monday evening.

Zuma said he would establish a commission of inquiry into “state capture” but added that it would also scrutinise white-collar crime and big business.

Zuma said he was keen to know about state capture.

“When I establish the commission of inquiry‚ one of the things they will have to clarify – what is a state capture? I’m sure I’d be very keen to know. Is that phrase correct. Because if at all some people capture you or me‚ they must say so. They can’t just make it sound so important‚ so big — the state capture. We know what a state is if you define it.”

Academics and researchers have variously described state capture as a form of corruption where individuals or groups operating in the public and private sectors influence government policies for their personal advantage.

With that broad definition in mind‚ here’s a quick recap of information in the public domain that should have set off alarm bells – to help jog the president’s memory.

- Evidence has been heard in the courts of how Zuma was effectively “owned” by his former (since convicted of bribery and corruption) financial advisor‚ Schabir Shaik‚ who funded almost every aspect of his lifestyle while he was deputy president of the country. Shaik paid his family hospital bills‚ debts‚ rent‚ vehicles‚ bonds‚ traffic fines‚ wives‚ school fees‚ kids’ pocket money and even his ANC membership fees. Zuma has (so far) evaded charges related to using his position in government to further the business interests of Shaik and French arms firm Thint – in exchange for money.

- Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas was allegedly offered the post of Minister of Finance by the Gupta family. This allegation is contained in the Public Protector’s report on State of Capture.

- Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor‚ according to the same report‚ was allegedly offered the post of Public Enterprises Minister in exchange for cancelling a South African Airways route to India to allow a Gupta-linked firm to take over the route. Zuma was allegedly present when the offer was made by the Gupta family.

- Two Gupta-aligned senior advisors were allegedly appointed at the National Treasury‚ alongside the short-lived finance minister‚ Des van Rooyen‚ without proper procedure being followed.

- The jaunt reportedly undertaken by former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane to Switzerland in December 2015 to facilitate the sale of Glencore’s Optimum coal mine to Tegeta Exploration and Resources‚ a Gupta-owned mining company. Zuma’s son‚ Duduzane‚ also had a shareholding in the company.

- The extensive cache of “Gupta leaks” emails which paint a picture of how the Gupta family exerted extensive influence over key state institutions‚ including the military. A chartered passenger jet full of guests attending a Gupta family wedding was mysteriously allowed to land at Waterkloof Airforce Base‚ a National Key Point.

- The emails also showed that Bruce Koloane‚ the government official who facilitated the aircraft landing and was then promoted to ambassador to the Netherlands‚ allegedly arranged meetings in the Netherlands to allegedly benefit a Gupta company.

- Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Lynne Brown‚ his successor as public enterprises minister‚ filled state-owned companies with Gupta family associates and connections according to the emails.

- They also revealed suspended Eskom CFO Anoj Singh’s alleged involvement in major deals involving the Gupta family. Singh was directly sent a Trillian Capital Partners invoice for R30.6-million on February 11‚ 2016‚ two months before the company was registered on Eskom’s supplier database.

- The President’s Keepers‚ a book by investigative journalist Jacques Pauw‚ exposed how the country’s law enforcement agencies were purged to eliminate Zuma’s enemies.


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