Duduzane, Moyane play victim card

Duduzane Zuma
Image: ALON SKUY

Congratulations South Africa, you have been gifted two new martyrs.

In the past week, there has been an almost biblical transfiguration before our eyes.

Tom Moyane and Duduzane Zuma went from being active participants and enablers of state capture to people who have been "ill-treated" by the establishment and deserve our sympathy.

On Monday, Moyane "hosted" a media briefing, ostensibly to present his side of the story on his suspension and the allegations of wilful mismanagement of the SARS, some of which were aired at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into governance at the tax authority.

But Moyane sat in serene silence like the patron saint of dodginess while his lawyer, Eric Mabuza, conjured up his victimhood.

According to Mabuza, Moyane is a victim of "trial by media", specifically journalists who have "personal grudges" against him.

In the midst of the current onslaught against the media, and the argument presented by the EFF that Moyane was facing "double jeopardy" through his disciplinary process running concurrently with the Nugent inquiry, the performance was aimed at evoking public sympathy.

Moyane would maintain a "dignified silence", said Mabuza, and in any event, they already had President Cyril Ramaphosa on his knees. Apparently, Ramaphosa simply responding to Moyane's letter requesting that the president halt either the Nugent inquiry or his disciplinary inquiry, chaired by advocate Azhar Bham SC, was construed as the president having "blinked".

Ramaphosa undertook to do neither, and simply said in response to Mabuza's letter that he "would like the benefit of advocate Bham's views on the matter before making a decision on your client's demands".

But Moyane's silent backers know that, based on the Bell Pottinger experience in South Africa, people are easy to bait and manipulate. The proof of this was the metamorphosis of Duduzane into a victim of the state's heavy handedness at a time when his family is in mourning.

The tragic death of 25-year-old Vusi Zuma, former president Jacob Zuma's son, necessitated his elder brother returning to the country from Dubai to attend his funeral. Duduzane has been sought by the authorities on several matters.

The Hawks have up to now been unclear about the status of their investigations into Duduzane's involvement in state capture.

On Monday, he appeared in court on a charge of corruption, with an alternative charge of conspiracy to commit corruption.

This related to the alleged attempt by the Guptas to bribe former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas in 2015, when they wanted to promote him to finance minister. It is alleged that Duduzane facilitated the meeting between Ajay Gupta and Jonas, and that the bribe offer was made in his and businessman Fana Hlongwane's presence.

The fly in the ointment in this case is that Jonas has not reported this matter to the police. He made a statement to former public protector Thuli Madonsela during her probe into state capture.

So what information is the police acting on?

If the police and the NPA are serious about the state capture probe, should they not have taken Duduzane in for questioning on the series of matters in which he is implicated?

Could he not also assist the authorities in determining the whereabouts of his business partners, the Guptas?

What then was the purpose of the theatre around his court appearance, with the added drama of him having to walk to and from the dock in shackles?

Can this case really be taken to trial without the main accused - Ajay Gupta? Or could the purpose of charging Duduzane on this matter be to deliberately botch the case to cast doubt on the state capture allegations?

South Africans have been played for fools before, so it must be asked whether there are deliberate attempts to do it again.

We have also been told that Moyane is being treated unfairly by the state, but it is still unclear how.

But who is behind the attempts to sway public opinion - and to what end? In the context of a consolidation of the fightback campaign in the ANC against Ramaphosa, nothing should be seen in isolation. The dots should continue to be joined.

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