South Africa graft inquiry exposes ANC divisions

FT World Weekly


Today. We're looking at South Africa and its battle against corruption which took a dramatic turn this week with former president Jacob Zuma a cool to testify before commission of inquiry joining me on the line from Johannesburg is correspondent jobs of cultural and here in the studio Africa editor David Pilling David Festival. Could you give us the background. This inquiry is into this idea of state capture. The role of some businessmen called Gupta's. How's it come to this will for a long time? There's been this notion of state capture which is really South African phrase or it's become a kind of Motif in South Africa really a term that denotes mass corruption the hollowing out of some some of South Africa's most important institutions in the idea that they've been kind of sold to the highest bidder including the family mentioned the Gupta's who are very close to Jacob Zuma when he was president this in the sense of the moment that everyone's been waiting for this has been ongoing testimony from from various people who are involved her accused or who have evidence but this is really the man who is said to be at the sense of the Fulcrum the man who innocence is alleged to have sold the presidency and really sent South Africa which was already having many difficulties really kind of sense it on a very difficult path of low growth corruption loss of faith in the A._N._C.. An government and therefore a lot hangs on this inquiry doesn't it I mean it's not just just about making sure that justice was dumb to some extent the hopes of President Obama poser to correct the course of South Africa to some extent today hang on this inquiry working out to some extent. Yes I mean I think there are two things I mean one. Is this idea that the people who were involved should be punished. Jacob Zuma has been doging what some people would say as justice what he would say as persecution for moving a decade those who think that Zimmer is guilty those who think that he is at the center of something that is corroded the whole South African dream think that unless he somehow punished then we won't be able to move on then there's also cost the kind of evidence that is presented the evidence that is needed to root out corruption from within the A._N._C. and it goes very deep according to most accounts and evidence. That's really needed for Sir. I'm opposed to get a grip on the party and turn it in the direction that he has claimed he wants to turn it into in his electioneering so Joseph this week the commissioner of inquiry weaker very important state with presence Zuma Call to testify how did that go started with classic Jacob Zuma Very Rivera performance as he opened his testimony and gave his side of the story and he said free. Anything's Fussy his enemies in the African National Congress auspice they are saying all of these things about the <unk> because foreign spy agencies which he didn't name but were to be the C._I._A.. Enough is instructed students <unk> and finish off. He said people trying to kill him. People have sent suicide bombers <unk> after him people trying to poison him so it's very dramatic but since then and the days the photoed he's deflated a bit as we've got into the nuts and bolts of enquiries questioning the inquiry has put to him specific allegations civilisation exits. You told them to lie about the Gupta's Minister Zet made this claim and immune response has been. I don't know I can't remember right and this conspiratorial stuff that he's used. Is there a ready audience written South Africa. Do you think many people will be listening to him and does he still have a financial support quarter. Can maybe prevent him being brought down bonus outside Africa and in most of the population. This does sound absolutely match. He's going back to allegations that date from the nineteen ninety s that the A._n._C. was infiltrated by foreign spies. Zoom himself was a former spy master in the A._N._C.. He claims to have lists of enemies. Were spies. It does sound like it comes from <unk> but there is an audience in G._N._C.. It's not big but it is exists. People do believe there is outside interference in South African and A._N._C. Politics and by that narrative that this position imposed by external forces Suma has not named but in terms of picking away at the credibility of inquiry picking away at the credibility of Roma pauses cleanup effort it works to create that kind of disinformation and David would there are people think within the N._C.. Whose face the tied up with Jacob Zuma so they're not necessarily people who believe in him? I'm sure there are in the wider population especially in KwaZulu Natal but within the A._N._C. There are people who depend on Zuma's version of events prevailing because otherwise otherwise the next nothing. That's quite important because you've got this fight within the A._N._C. and remember Ramaphosa only just won the presidency so you have this fight between these different elements and they've not been able to root out by any means all the the people who were pretty much involved in state capture. Some of them still hold high office if you look at the A._N._C. Network throughout the provinces of South Africa the kind of riddled with people who somehow benefited from a lot of what was going on and so there's a lot of steak and they're able to fight back to some extent on them. They've been able to chuck allegations the Finance Minister Probably Gordon and so on well. That's exactly right. I mean you have this kind of war of words and his war of parallel realities. It's important to note that there is very clear documentation mutation the backs up a lot of these allegations even though some of the investigative services were themselves compromise for example the protects the general to Lee Metal Seller came out with a report with names dates places the Financial Times itself reported reported a story where the then finance minister was offered a bag of money to take over the finance ministry and do various things that would have been off benefit to people connected to this sort of state capture network so I mean there's quite a few smoking guns there. But there's also the possibility especially I think in the world that we live in today of a counterfactual narrative that can be built up and if people arrested in that narrative than it's easy to believe it if their fortunes if their jobs depend on it then of course they'll believe John Beckett right and Joseph how is in broader terms the Ramaphosa effort to write South Africa to put it back on the right track. How's it going eighteen months ago? I think people would have been talking about remote Pouria about this sense that just a mere fact of having someone else in the presidency would unleash foreign investment and bring back South African companies to invest her as well that is not going well the economy's gutting with recession and they're very bad numbers at the beginning of this year. It's GonNa take a long time just because of the extent of the role just to take one example Eskan depowered monopoly which generates navy one of the country's electricity has just been for band patch of quite severe blackouts which obviously done the economy no favours as Davis had that is a smoking gun. One of the biggest intensive corruption under Zuma's rule but Ramaphosa team has been very very slow hello to restructure and s gone back honor bell fitting so that sense of urgency that was there a year and a half ago or Zuma was removed from power than dissipating and is that because the President Ramaphosa of the obstacles faces are larger than he imagined I mean how bad was the situation. He inherited actually we can go back to something. A former minister said at the inquiry about state capture itself which is don't over zoom denies denies it during make it all about Jacob Zuma. This was a much bigger network. The one president that are much more alleged perpetrators than the Gupta's so to route that out of the A._N._C. will be a bigot. It doesn't involve solve the tax collection agency the National Prosecutor even the public protect to David mentions had four against Corruption Zuma Bat has allegedly been captured by the quote unquote fightback so so it's not like things going on one way towards reform. It's a real conducting institutional fight so yes. It's not what about Jacob Zuma legacy so let's just finish by looking at the future both of the A._N._C. itself twelve and of South Africa. David background is that it's known about a battle within the end see the N._C.. The Positive Liberation the Party of Mandela has been losing popularity in their arrivals. Do you think this is an away a last chance for the Nancy and if they fail walk replaces them I think in says it is a less chance I mean you've seen its popularity slide. I think they won't fifty seven percent in this election fifty seven fifty eight and it would have been much lower had not been for the remedy fauria affect that Joseph referred to there is disillusion in the A._n._C. as a kind of typical liberation party which of course it never was seen as it was seen as this great transformer of the Rainbow Nation but it's unfortunately in many people's is gone on the way of other post-independence liberation movements got a monopoly on power and therefore abused its power. The one thing you're saying is that the South African economy which had been growing before Jacob Zuma five and six percents a year at least giving. Some room to do some of the social changes that the A._N._C. has promised to do an is the legacy of apartheid that does need to be addressed but with no growth with recession. There's just nothing to play with and in the end I think unless unless the A._N._C. can sought out its internal divisions standouts corruption at least to a certain extent and get the economy moving again then we will proceed at one pacer another in one direction that will be that the A._N._C.'s majority will old slipped below fifty percents. We'll move into coalition government. I didn't think we'RE GONNA lose the A._N._C. and power for quite a long time but you can see the A._N._C.'s total monopoly on power fading and in some people's eyes that would be no bad thing but some of the political forces I mean there are liberal democratic forces but they're also more left wing nationalist forces led by me and someone who might profit they're both you know there's a party to the right of the A._N._C. which believes in much more free market liberal economy of vessel but might be recognizable say in Europe but there's also a policy that basically says that the Liberation Movement in one thousand nine hundred four has been betrayed that is rallying around questions like nationalization of land or expropriation of land or that compensation because the the truth of South Africa the big truth that's looking behind all of this is that the disparity of income between the largely white population but with now black middle classes prospered on the one side and then a great divide with the rest of the black population that has really been left behind in his almost as far behind as it was under apartheid. That's the background and that's the social pressure that is behind a lot of this in which the A._N._C. in internal struggles in its moral corrosion is really unable to address and Joseph to finish the time I was in South Africa one did hear this phrase state capture but also some people muttering about state failure the sense that if this couldn't be turn round South Africa was really quite serious trouble and it statuses is the most advanced economy in Africa was under threat as we speak the army has been deployed in South Africa's Western Cape Aware Capetown is because of crime being so bad in townships around South Africa's second city not so as indicates for failure buses capture. I think that's a fad point to make state. Capture focused on major state companies focused on the Finance Ministry the very top of the state intensive allegedly the diverting resources to people Gupta's but from below rivers issues Davis has just been talking about basic service to the water at Trinity. I mentioned Eskom. Thurs indicates is old flagging as well. I I mean look at the end of the day of roughly infrastructure is miles edge of many countries on the continent on remains sir but this sense of urgency that was eighteen months ago about undoing nor anything capture but also bringing economic stagnation to an end Indorama poser that message has lost a bit amid the continued inflicting in the A._N._C. so that risk of failure stood

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