Wheels of justice grind on, even if slowly

The arm of the law is sometimes slow, but it's long, and it is beginning to ensnare some dodgy people, such as former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni and former president Jacob Zuma, the writer says.
The arm of the law is sometimes slow, but it's long, and it is beginning to ensnare some dodgy people, such as former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni and former president Jacob Zuma, the writer says.
Image: Gallo Images

Sometimes you just have to listen to the news. Don't analyse. Just listen. And suddenly you realise that things have changed. Not a lot, but there is a shift. Those who for the past 10 years thought they were untouchable are now realising that their age of impunity is over. Or it will soon be.

Last Friday, a full bench of the Pietermaritzburg high court dismissed former president Jacob Zuma's application for a permanent stay of prosecution for his arms deal corruption charges.

He has for years asked for his day in court. He now has the chance to clear himself of these persistent allegations and repair his legacy. Why he had to fight for 14 years against clearing his name remains a mystery to all.

Meanwhile, also last week, on Thursday, the US government slapped wide-ranging financial sanctions on Zuma's close friends and his son's business partners, the Guptas and their network, freezing any assets they may have in the US and prohibiting US persons from doing business with them.

The US said it was sanctioning them as "members of a significant corruption network in SA that leveraged overpayments on government contracts, bribery and other corrupt acts to fund political contributions and influence government actions".

Meanwhile, former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni was bleating that she is being persecuted because she fought and stopped "white corruption" at the national airline. Why is she bleating? She is on the ropes, my friend.

Last week she repeatedly failed to turn up at the Pretoria high court to defend herself against allegations brought by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse and the SAA Pilots Association that she be declared a delinquent director.

You may remember that Myeni's name has cropped up again and again in allegations that she was associated with the Guptas and wanted to give them a slice of the action at SAA. That's why Nhlanhla Nene, the former finance minister, was fired by Zuma as he would not agree to corruption.

Myeni says she failed to appear in court because she could not afford legal services and did not have money for petrol and accommodation to travel from her home in Richards Bay to Pretoria.

We have seen this one before: it is the same strategy employed by her good friend Jacob Zuma since 2005 in his attempt to evade the courts for his corruption trial.

Media outlets also reported last week that seven supercars were among 11 vehicles seized in a multimillion-rand raid by members of the Hawks and the Asset Forfeiture Unit in Durban on Thursday in a case linked to former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede.

The former mayor will appear in court in January.

It doesn't end there, though. Expect more sanctions and other legal action to take place in some of these cases. For example, SA has already approached seven other countries for mutual legal assistance in an attempt to have the Guptas extradited to SA to face state capture allegations.

So expect a handful of other countries to follow the US's example. The countries SA has approached are India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Switzerland, Mauritius, Hong Kong and China.

What I am saying is that sometimes, as we complain about lack of action on state capture, we must stop and check the news. The arm of the law is sometimes slow, but it's long, and it is beginning to ensnare some dodgy people.

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