/ 7 April 2016

Letters to the editor: April 8 to 15 2016

Fix it: President Jacob Zuma must do everything the public protector said and the ANC must get to the bottom of who was responsible for the unauthorised Nkandla upgrades
Fix it: President Jacob Zuma must do everything the public protector said and the ANC must get to the bottom of who was responsible for the unauthorised Nkandla upgrades

ANC must act decisively

Last Thursday’s Constitutional Court ruling has shown beyond doubt that decisive action is now imperative to solve the problems inherent in parasitic elements from which the ANC, like other political parties, has never been immune.

The loss of revolutionary moral authority, and the political paralysis and fragmentation of the movement, will continue unless the ANC takes drastic steps. There should be no holy cows.

President Jacob Zuma must implement all the remedial actions proposed by the public protector, as now upheld as enforceable by the court – but the ANC must go further than this. A simple apology is not enough.

The ANC parliamentary caucus also needs to do some serious soul-searching. Because of its own narrow defensive tactics, opposition parties have been given the opportunity to occupy the moral and political high ground in the National Assembly.

The president had legal advice at the expense of the state. At the same time, the Nkandla matter went through political discussions in ANC structures. We need to know what advice these gave to the president. If he did not follow such advice, we will then need to know what gave him the right to defy an ANC mandate.

The impeachment call by the opposition parties must be rejected. We need a thorough investigation of the Nkandla matter to uproot all those who benefitted in the inflation of prices, which then escalated the upgrades to such unpalatable levels. A great broom must be engaged and, if the president is among the guilty, he must be shown the door. – Thabo Thwala, Bothaville

? Jacob Zuma controls Parliament – he has the power to veto every single name that appears on the ANC’s parliamentary party list and the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC, which is now heavily weighted in his favour by virtue of a sizeable increase in party membership of the KwaZulu-Natal chapter of the party.

Has Zuma made himself bulletproof to resistance from within the ranks of the ANC? Going by recent events, he certainly has control of the parliamentary caucus and NEC.

South Africans are faced with the stark reality that it’s no longer about state capture – the Gupta family has hijacked the ANC government. – Sandy Johnston, Johannesburg

‘No direct link with Guptas’ – Khumalo

The Mail & Guardian frontpage story Parastatals in Gupta’s web focused on a spider’s web of contacts in the boards of state-owned enterprises, Transnet and Eskom, aligned to the Gupta family.

As an Eskom board member since December 2014, I was completely surprised to be associated with the Guptas’ networks.

Though it is a matter of public record that I once tried to venture into mining with Salim Essa, the M&G failed to clarify that the company in question was actually dormant. Ujiri Mining has never traded at all nor participated in any lucrative mining deals.

The paper also neglected to clarify that the company has had no direct links with the Gupta family. There is no shred of evidence of skulduggery emanating from this mining venture or my association with Essa.

The M&G’s article and the infographics created an impression that my association with Essa equalled a direct relationship with the Gupta family.

Besides my association with Essa, I am surprised the M&G involved me in an article on the power and influence of the Gupta family over certain government officials and boards – I have had no dealings with them as director of the Eskom board or any other company.

The inclusion of my name is misleading and clearly intended to drag my name unfairly into the gutter of “state capture” politics.

I must place it on record that I signed up to the Eskom board to serve and contribute, and I have served diligently and honestly on the main board and as a member of subcommittees.

In my time as a board member, we have worked closely with the new management team led by Brian Molefe to rescue Eskom from a state of perpetual crisis management and turn it into a stable power supplier.

I would also like to put it on record that since the day of my appointment I’ve never been asked by anyone to work with the Gupta family or to take instructions from them or anyone representing them.

By dragging my name into the “state capture” narrative, the article sought to place me in a network of alleged corrupt activities and thus damage a reputation that has taken decades of hard, honest work to build. I abhor corruption and take serious umbrage at your newspaper associating me with such practices.

I am familiar with the South African Press Code, which enjoins newspapers to report “truthfully, accurately and fairly” and to avoid any “intentional or negligent departure from the facts whether by distortion, exaggeration or misrepresentation, material omissions, or summarisation”.

Had the M&G’s journalists exercised basic journalistic practices, they would have easily discovered the facts, as outlined above. – Romeo Khumalo

Editor’s note: The Mail & Guardian and amaBhungane gave Mr Khumalo 24 hours ahead of publication to comment or correct the facts and allegations that were later published and he did not do so.