Monday, October 26, 2009

ANC: Where paranoia and paybacks rule

We need a government that is loyal to the Constitution

By Justice Malala

In the final analysis, President Jacob Zuma was saved, and handed the presidency of the Republic of South Africa, by members of the intelligence services. The man who had spent his whole life at the centre of ANC intelligence structures was handed the combination to the Union Buildings by his supporters in the National Intelligence Agency.

Remember that, just before the elections this year, Zuma's lawyers handed the National Prosecuting Authority evidence of collusion between its former officials and former president Thabo Mbeki's supporters.

The evidence - recordings of tapped phone conversations between former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka, among others - was part of the representations made by Zuma's lawyers in applying for his corruption case to be dropped.

The charges against Zuma - irrespective of whether he had acted corruptly and influenced decisions about procuring arms for South Africa - were the one cloud still hanging over him as he sprinted towards the presidency.

His rape trial was a distant memory.

The stories about him being handed pocket money by Schabir Shaik were not worth a mention.

But, with only a month to go to the election, the corruption allegations remained. They would have stuck with him throughout his presidency: the image of a sitting president arriving at court on corruption charges flashed through many a citizen's mind. It was a sobering thought.

With emergence of the Ngcuka tapes, the cloud was somewhat dissipated. In its place, the idea of Zuma being a victim of former president Thabo Mbeki was cemented.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Zuma has systematically appointed former members of the intelligence agencies, and his comrades in the ANC underground, to strategic positions in his administration. In essence, Zuma the spy remains a spy, and only trusts those who are practitioners of the dark arts of espionage.

But is this good for our country and our democracy? I doubt it.

Zuma has appointed Bheki Cele to lead the police. Cele is an old comrade of Zuma's who served with him in ANC intelligence. Despite having served as safety and security MEC in KwaZulu-Natal for eight years, Cele has already ably demonstrated in the past few weeks that he is patently not the right man for the job. Anyone who believes that police brutality sanctioned by the state will curb crime, is delusional. Olga Kekana, brutally shot and killed by the police last weekend, will forever be the finger pointing at Cele and Zuma.

What South Africa desperately needs is increased police efficiency and less corruption. Shooting young people because they might be reaching for their seat belts is hardly the solution.

But Cele is the police commissioner we have to live with.

The appointment of Moe Shaik - a Zuma factionalist who was humiliated at the Hefer Commission - as the new head of the Secret Services illustrates Zuma's failure to appreciate the sensitivities of his role as president.

Many of us understand that Zuma would reward his loyalists. But appointing a man at the centre of the divisions in the intelligence services - a man whom many justifiably fear will now embark on a mission to wipe out perceived enemies - is so misguided that it boggles the mind.

There are many other signs of the paranoid hand of intelligence structures in Zuma's appointments. Our new defence minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, (minister of intelligence from 2001 until April 2004) was in danger of being abducted by striking soldiers, it has recently been claimed in court papers by the army. This is typical of the paranoia that infuses our, and many other intelligence agencies. Why would they want to abduct her?

And it is not just the intelligence agencies that we should worry about. It is the infusion of the kind of thinking that would have every institution packed with "the loyal". Why should the judiciary, or the Judicial Services Commission, be filled with "the loyal"? Loyal to whom - to those who believe they exist to protect Zuma?

What we don't need , and what Zuma should guard against , is entrenching a state machinery that is loyal to one or other faction of the ruling party. What South Africa needs is a government whose loyalty is to the Constitution. Such cadres, such loyalties, will protect whomever comes to power. - The Times

1 Opinion(s):

Vanilla Ice said...

It's like a company with a great Mission Statement, "We are not satisfied, until the customer is satisfied". But then couldn't give a toss about your business. What do you do? Vote with your feet.