We are captured but not by the Guptas

We are captured but not by the Guptas

Pick any newspaper, tune in to any radio or TV station in South Africa on any given day and you are bound to read about or hear the mention of state capture and the Gupta Family.  State capture according to one definition I saw is “a type of systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision-making processes to their own advantage.” Any remaining doubt that South Africa is captured vanished when the #GuptaLeaks i.e. a trove of emails confirming allegations against the family were made public.

The emails show:
l How a former Home Affairs Minister helped the family get early South African citizenship before having them first make the mandatory legal application to the Indian government to renounce their Indian citizenship. India does not allow dual citizenship.
l How this same Minister in his previous portfolio as the Minister of Public Enterprises facilitated that Gupta cronies be appointed to the boards of State-owned enterprises (SOE’s).It’s now common knowledge how these SOE’s subsequently entered multibillion Rand deals with companies linked to the Guptas. Coincidence?

The emails also catalogue several breaches of secrecy obligations by people you expect to know better e.g. a former Communications Minister shared confidential information about cabinet meetings, and the Chairman of Denel (a state-owned aerospace and defence technology conglomerate) sent highly confidential information about Denel to the Guptas including his personal bills on more than one occasion. Why?
Other incriminating evidence is the payment of overseas trips for some Ministers by the Guptas. No intent to corrupt but mere generosity?
Perhaps most disturbing are the emails suggesting that the Guptas even decided which ANC leader should be cabinet ministers. Is this not a violation of the constitution?

That the Gupta family were no ordinary family but a family with extraordinary power and influence became apparent when a chartered flight from India carrying their wedding guests illegally landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base way back in 2013. This is not a commercial airport but an airbase for the South African Airforce.

These are just a few examples in the public domain to support the alleged state capture. No doubt more evidence will emerge with the passage of time.
Many observers and analysts have already concluded that the sovereignty of South Africa has been sold and that a shadow state now runs the affairs of the country. In fact, some say a silent coup has effectively taken place.

How they ask, can decisions related to matters of state such as appointing Ministers, filling positions in critical state institutions including State­-owned enterprises be done by individuals who are not constitutionally mandated to do so?
Is this state capture thing solely a South African phenomenon? Can we in Lesotho claim to be beyond the grip of state capturers?
In my opinion, saying yes is being delusional and naïve because the evidence in our own public domain seems to suggest otherwise.
We don’t need #GuptaLeaks to be convinced of this. We just need to wake up and smell the coffee.

State capturers in Lesotho don’t go by the name Gupta. They go by different names. And it’s not just one family but a few families that have captured us. The captured also don’t sit in President Zuma’s cabinet or at Megawatt Park (Eskom’s Head Office) or at the headquarters of SAA or Transnet or SABC. They are closer to us than we think.
Unlike the Guptas, our state capturers are less profligate. So, they are not known the world over but known to just the few who care to see.
The captured ones however, are no different from those captured across the border. They exhibit the same traits i.e. compromised individuals in positions of strategic levers of power. They are individuals of questionable character and little scruples.

That they exist, you only need to consider some of the appointments and promotions in the different organs of state we have seen in the past (including the armed forces, judiciary). Recall too the haste with which some of these appointments were made. None of this was coincidental.
At the back of such manoeuvres was the intention to emasculate and to neutralise state institutions so the looters would have continued support and protection.

Our media, civil society and private institutions are infiltrated. That’s how state capturers rock.
If this were not the case, the media would do their job and report without fear and favour all malfeasance no matter the source. But they don’t do that because the stooges of state capturers threaten them with black listings (e.g. so that no adverts are placed with their papers) or their radio stations are shut down.

Civil society plays an essential role to promote transparency and good governance. Democracy does not flourish when civil society is not strong.
State capturers avoid having their corrupt activities exposed by dispatching their stooges to discredit and label civil society organizations to weaken them.
We saw for example how those who should have been the biggest protectors of civil society turned out to be their fiercest critics. Not a coincidence.
The private sector is captured to ensure that the spoils are not distributed based on innovation, creativity, competitiveness, business smarts, etc. but rather based on corrupt practices e.g. extortion, bribery etc.

The state capturers have planted their stooges everywhere. These ones however, are usually the most difficult to unmask. They are also the most effective.

This is the reason, for example, why we speak of so much corruption but we never hear of any convictions. It is also the reason why Basotho remain the owners of survivalist micro-enterprises and not big businesses even after all these years of independence. Our state capturers have planned it that way. They are not prepared to share. Basotho, lets wake up and smell the coffee. We have long been captured and there is no obvious end in sight.

Poloko Khabele

Previous A touch of diplomacy
Next North Korea’s ICBM

About author

You might also like

Africa

Encore – Mandoza

S. Mothibi The birth of any era or individual is accompanied by the sound of the voices that celebrate its advent, and the poetry in the music expresses the feelings

Insight

Coping with Trump

We have to face facts: there is no US federal government any more in the normal sense of the word. Social Security payments still get made and the 2.79 million

Africa

Information is the key to development

Mohala oa Cheche (the Leucosidea sericea phoneline, or, in the normal parlance, the popularly termed Grapevine) is the commonest system of communication that has been used to relay information in