Editorial: Evidence of state capture mounts

“The entire Eskom board was appointed by the Guptas!” a former Eskom director told us this week.

That was surely an exaggeration, but the web of influence that we expose in this edition gives some inkling as to why the former director might believe so.

It certainly shows a network of people, grouped around key individuals with demonstrable connections to the Saxonwold family, who dominate the board of Eskom and, to a lesser extent, Transnet.

The information we disclose is not proof of “state capture”, but it will sharpen the concerns of those worried about the undue influence of the Gupta family, adding bit by bit to what we know and what we suspect.

We trust the information will be followed up by the two probes so far announced: the public protector’s investigation into whether President Jacob Zuma breached the Executive Members’ Ethics Act through his relationship with the Gupta family, and the ANC’s own internal inquiry, led by secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

The ANC national executive committee’s decision to allow Mantashe to conduct a probe was an important victory for the faction of the party that is attempting to curb the excesses of Zuma and his allies, including the Guptas.

For, although the party cannot admit it openly, it is Zuma who has really been the locus and driving force of state capture.

Our exposé will hopefully also encourage more people with inside information to come forward to join Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and ex-government communications chief Themba Maseko.

There appears to be a queue forming. Former energy minister Ben Martins has indicated he will brief Mantashe and, as the former point man on Zuma’s nuclear ambitions, he will no doubt have a lot to say.

And the country’s top retired intelligence and military figures have added their voices to the call for an investigation.


As we report today, three former top spies and the ex-South African National Defence Force chief, Siphiwe Nyanda, are among 25 Umkhonto weSizwe stalwarts calling for an independent commission of inquiry to investigate “all claims of undue influence, especially by the Gupta family, on the ANC and on the state”.

Nyanda said: “There are many people that we think should come forward and give evidence.”

The voices of those, such as Nyanda, whose ANC credentials cannot be questioned, are vital.

That’s because the Guptas and the Zuma faction in the party have mounted a sophisticated spin campaign, aimed at convincing their supporters that questions about the Guptas are driven by “white capital” that fears being displaced.

White business barons such as Johann Rupert can and do exert influence on the government, but there is simply no equivalence with the picture of state capture that is beginning to emerge around Zuma and his cronies.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday