EDITORIAL: Young Zuma acts just like uBaba



Considering that so many allegations swirl around him, the appearance of one of the key figures in the Gupta enterprise ought to have been a pivotal moment in the work of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in unravelling the state-capture business. Duduzane Zuma, scion of the man who ruined South Africa, appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture this week.

It says something of the long-winded nature of this particular commission of inquiry — and the ostensibly longer-winded nature of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) investigations — that we are left, days later, lifting our hands to the greying Johannesburg skies, asking the same thing about the weather as we are about state capture investigations: “What more will it take to see something actually happening here?”

It has been nearly three years since former public protector Thuli Mandonsela released her report into allegations of state capture by Messrs. Gupta and Zuma. Since then, Zuma was forced out of the Union Buildings before he was ready to leave, and his preferred candidate to take up residence there was beaten by Cyril Ramaphosa. But only just. His allies continue to have influential roles in government, in state-owned enterprises, in the intelligence service and in Luthuli House.

The moment of relief, during which we had persuaded ourselves that the worst had been prevented, has long passed. And although the establishment of the commission of inquiry into state capture, like the other commissions that have looked into maladministration at the South African Revenue Service and the Public Investment Corporation, was the first glimmer of us moving on, little else has happened. And though the NPA reiterates that all is well, and arrests may soon follow, the promise of the interregnum is fast running out.

For a man who is alleged to have aided and abetted said ruin of the country, Zuma the younger mimicked the appearance of Zuma the elder at the commission — looking rather untroubled. Perhaps he has good reason to face the deputy chief justice with such equanimity — he certainly does not seem to face any threat of arrest, or indeed prosecution any time soon.

And so it was that Duduzane, who has for so long been alleged to have been central to the plot of the Gupta family to carve up parts of South Africa for themselves, sat before the commission this week, and said little useful to excuse him from any suspicion of wrongdoing. Instead, one of his central arguments — that Madonsela had not allowed him an opportunity to respond to allegations made against him — was immediately debunked.

Duduzane lied, Madonsela said, because she had even offered to fly to Dubai to speak to him. This lie is very similar to the one told by his father about his own opportunity to respond to Madonsela. We may as well chalk up the tendency to bend this particular truth to the luck of the gene pool.

And although he did not entertain us with yarns about the long shadows of spooks haunting his family, as his father had, Duduzane, like Zuma the elder, appeared to believe that he was actually above the commission. He was smug. And he was also unrepentant. He has done nothing wrong, he said.

The skies over Johannesburg have eked out the first rains of the highveld summer. But we are still waiting for justice.

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

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


LIVESTREAM: Ramaphosa addresses a locked down nation

President Cyril Ramaphosa is scheduled to address the nation on the measures currently being undertaken to contain the coronavirus pandemic

The rule of law in times of crisis: Covid-19 and...

Under a state of national disaster, some rights may be suspended. But it is critical to remember that the Constitution itself is not suspended

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories