The fight for Government employees among ANC factions

21 Jul 2019

The revelations by former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO, Dr Dan Matjila at the PIC commission of inquiry betray the reasons behind the factional battles within the ruling ANC. It is a dog-eat-dog fight for the resources the state and government has control over. It is against this backdrop that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s dubious appointments and the EFF’s disruption of parliament should be viewed. It is not clear if the EFF is genuinely concerned about the looting of employees’ pension funds or it is just unhappy that it has been left out looking in. Time will tell. This is not meant to impugn the motives and integrity of their leadership. The reports about their involvement in the tenders of the municipalities that they have been in coalition with the DA do not paint a good picture. I am aware that they denied being in a coalition with the DA, they prefer to say they voted with the DA. Well that is a coalition. If they voted with the DA they voted with the DA for the DA to do what? At any rate, that is a topic for another day.

The Business Day of 14 May 2019 published my letter under the headline, ‘Polyglot Ramaphosa applies African Personality’ in which I wrote, inter alia, that “Ramaphosa’s weakness is that he is too close to the white elite, which is going to hamper his mandate to serve his constituency, which is emerging from centuries of oppression. He cannot serve two masters at the same time”.

Commenting on the march by the Freedom Movement to remove former President Jacob Zuma, I wrote in the Star of 3 May 2017 an article published under the headline, ‘Constitution must be redrafted to address inequality’ that, “However, I think Zuma represents a microcosm of a much bigger problem. The ANC, in my view, is the problem”.

That was not the first time I expressed such a view, I have made this point in the past when those who went to form the EFF were still in the leadership of the ANCYL and before. I read in the news that they now hold a similar view.

Where am I going with this? President Cyril Ramaphosa lived up to what he is known for - his loyalty to the white elite which was manifested in the dubious appointments he made to the chagrin of the EFF and others. The last straw in the camel’s back was the interim appointment to the PIC board of Maria Ramos, a Rothschild loyalist. The EFF view her as a person who serves white monopoly capital. It does not mean if Ramaphosa bypassed Ramos he would be kowtowing to the EFF and those opposed to her appointment like myself. Quite the contrary, he would be doing the right thing.

Ramaphosa also appointed to the PIC board Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi who has been fingered in the commission of inquiry into the PIC as not smelling like roses. Dr Mkhwanazi and Mathukana Mokoka were brought to the PIC through the backdoor by another questionable character, former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba to loot PIC funds. The EFF also objected to the exclusion from the board of the Deputy Minister of Finance. The Deputy Minister of Finance should by convention or custom be on the board of the PIC.

It has been revealed that powerful individuals wanted to loot the more than R1.8-trillion of pension money that the PIC managed on behalf of government employees. It should also be borne in mind that it has been revealed that in 1996 former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel used government employees’ pension fund for a tender awarded to Alexander Forbes to provide actuarial services. Alexander Forbes then gave part of the tender to one of Ramaphosa’s companies making him a millionaire.

Ramaphosa seems undaunted by his appointment of people viewed as being close to the South Africa’s white ruling elite. Perhaps the appointment of Mkhwanazi was meant to placate the Zuma-Magashule faction. But why would he appoint a tainted character like Mkhwanazi whose name was mentioned this week at the PIC inquiry? Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan might be the EFF’s target. However, he has a case to answer. Some people may view Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane as tendentious. However, there are legal avenues of responding to her interventions.

Some people may not like the EFF’s disruptions of parliament, however, that is their way of registering their unhappiness with the status quo. The ANC government should use employees’ pension funds productively on poor people and workers instead of lining their and the white elite’s pockets.

In Botswana, former President Ian Khama is fighting to topple the incumbent President Mokgeetsi Masisi apparently with support from South Africa's wealthy Motsepe family. Khama does not want to accept that his time is over.

Let me conclude by paraphrasing the ancient Egyptians’ moral and religious teachings of Maat, truth justice and righteousness. Maat teaches us that where there is money and greed there is no end to fighting and bloodletting.