FORGET SERVICE DELIVERY, forget HIV/Aids – it would seem that our dear president’s only current preoccupation is to hold on to power at all costs. The most recent manifestation of his megalomaniac tendencies was to suspend his latest victim, the National Prosecuting Authority’s chief, Vusi Pikoli on the clumsiest of pretexts last Saturday.
The real reason for this shock dismissal is because Pikoli failed to inform the presidency of the NPA’s intention to arrest our crooked Police Commissioner, Jackie Selebi (who, despite having had no police career experience until his appointment to the SAPS, is head of Interpol!). Several investigations have revealed that Selebi is not merely breathtakingly inept but also has close affiliation with organised crime. An unswerving Mbeki loyalist (either that or Thabo’s aware he has a knife poised behind his back), his moral bankruptcy hasn’t perturbed the president – but then that’s no wonder since Mbeki himself is alleged to have benefited handsomely from the arms deal.
Mbeki has become increasingly irritated at Pikoli’s refusal to undermine the independence of the Scorpions, which the latter is head. Refusing to toe the president’s line sparked the Khampepe Commission of Inquiry whose recommendations essentially serve to remove the sting from the investigative unit’s tail.
The Mbeki administration is rotten to the core. Its minions, silent and scared, are ensnared in a tangled web of corruption and patronage. No one dares to speak out, no one dares to display any semblance of integrity because they know such a move is career-limiting – the dismissal of Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and Vusi Pikoli provides overwhelming proof of this.
Democracy is steadily being eroded and South Africa is slowly sliding towards a one party authoritarianism. It is easy to despair, to write this country of as another African sob story, another Zimbabwe.
However, there is hope – hope because no government is invincible; Mbeki’s paranoia is evidence of this. Sooner or later he will have crossed one enemy too many and the balance of power – tenuously in his favour at the moment – will shift.
And, thankfully, despite the proliferation of the ANC’s re-racialising, denialist agenda in all spheres of life, despite the incapacitated puppets (Manto), the grovelling slimeballs (Suresh Roberts) and the shrill lunatics (Qunta), there are still courageous and wonderfully sane people out there. They cannily hold no illusions about the state of our government. They speak out despite the vilification and threats.
A few include:
Tom Eaton – satirist
Rhoda Kadalie – human rights activist
John Kane-Berman – CE of the Institute of Race Relations
Mondli Makhanya – editor of the Sunday Times
Justice Malala – political commentator and journalist
Moeletsi Mbeki – political commentator (and, by the way, Thabo’s brother)
Barney Mthombothi – editor of Financial Mail
Helen Suzman – feisty former opposition parliamentarian and current letter-writer
Jonathan Shapiro – a.k.a. Zapiro, the cartoonist
Helen Zille – leader of the Democratic Alliance and mayor of Cape Town
These voices give us a reason to hope. South Africa and its democratic institutions will survive – although there’s no denying it: we’re in for a bumpy ride.