Eight years ago we were the first to identify and describe two factions within the ANC who were out to destroy one another. We also explained how the arms deal scandal was driving them to a showdown. All that has now come to pass.
Here are some of the things we said at the time:
Nose 32 - April 2001:
“Ever since President Mbeki waved noseweek's arms deal organogram around on national TV as his justification for getting Judge Heath off the arms investigation, we’ve been thinking: that organogram must reveal more than meets the eye ...
“Whoever handed it to Mbeki certainly succeeded in pushing him over the edge. He was, apparently, persuaded that our organogram was Heath's secret ‘hit list’; a hidden agenda which listed the president and his predecessor, Nelson Mandela, as the judge’s prime suspects. Within hours, Heath was history.”
Nose 37 - November 2001:
"Will Mbeki allow the arms deal investigation to go the whole way, risking bringing down the pillars of the temple, or will he seek to limit the enquiry to small-time corruption? Foolish question.
“The Arms deal investigations are exposing the links between business and politics within the ANC. ... Those within the ANC most interested in the deals can be divided roughly into two competing groups: the Vula Boys and Thabo’s Boys.
“While both are equally anxious to maintain their grip on power and their cut of the arms deal profits, the difference between them could just influence who will be sacrificed and who will be saved ...
“The Vula Boys are the collection of communists and (mostly Natal) ANC intelligence operatives who set up Operation Vula, the secret pre-1990 programme to develop the leadership and financial networks inside SA needed to launch a violent revolution. Vula was controversial because it was secret even inside the ANC: the wider ANC leadership – including Thabo Mbeki – knew nothing about it. ...
“That gap between the groups appears to have persisted.
“Vula was led by Mac Maharaj (Minister of Transport, fired by Mbeki). It included Siphiwe Nyanda (then Defence Force Chief), Ronnie Kasrils, Chippy Shaik (head of defence procurement at the time of the arms deal), Mo Shaik (demoted by Mbeki from national intelligence co-ordinator to ambassador in Morocco), and Shaik’s brother Schabir (who, events suggest, [during the Mbeki era] lost the protection he might once have expected).
“Deputy President Jacob Zuma (then still ANC intelligence chief) was also within the Vula network and is widely perceived to be the closest the group has to a protector in government. (Schabir Shaik is said still to handle his personal financial affairs.)"
"Where are the Vula Boys now? They are positioned strategically throughout state structures. The Shaik brothers’ mentor, that stalwart communist academic Pravin Gordhan, was unlikely to be welcomed into Mbeki’s political structures; instead he heads the SA Revenue Service, where he has been joined by old comrades Vuso Shabalala (Customs), Ivan Pillay (Special Investigations) and Sirish Soni.
"Solly Shoke is now mission director for the SANDF; Raymond Lalla is a senior official in police intelligence."
[Yes, that's the Lalla who helped save Zuma by "independently verifying" the McCarthy tapes! -- Ed.]
"The repeated surfacing of Vula members in alleged plots is no co-incidence.
"All this might lead one to suspect that the recent raids by the Scorpions on the offices and home of Schabir Shaik might have been politically motivated. Not so, we are assured: the raids took place on the basis of specific information.
"But that’s not to say investigators are not under political pressure. Government is desperate to avoid any suggestion of corruption in the prime contracts, which would place them in jeopardy. Investigators have been told not to bother former Defence Minister Joe Modise, who is apparently dying of cancer. There are whispers that Jayendra Naidoo (who negotiated the final deals) has also been declared out of bounds to investigators. Ian Pierce, an accountant who is reputed to have several present and former cabinet ministers as clients ... continues simply to defy a subpoena to hand over documents.
"The focus on the Shaiks has diverted attention from Thabo’s Boys’ also having their snouts deep in the arms-deal trough."
That much we told you already eight years ago. In the course of the following years, Mbeki and his friends were so compromised by their own involvement that, ultimately, when challenged by their insider competitors, they were unable to defend themselves.
But what both sides did to the end was stop short of exposing their corrupt benefactors in the European arms industry. Why? We can only suppose so that they will not be discouraged from paying bribes in the future.
The re-election of the ANC as South Africa's governing party, and the election of a corrupt Jacob Zuma as our new president epitomises a most dangerous phenomenon of these dangerous times: denial.
Denial of the importance of education; denial of the dangers of corruption. Denial of the dangers of excess or a lack of restraint. Denial of responsibility for the dire state of the country's poor, and responsibility to provide for the future.
At best it can be seen to represent the despair of the impoverished masses -- the abandonment of all hope that a rational political and economic system will meet our needs and secure our future. So let's just fuck on.
Somewhere in between lie ignorance and stupidity.
Years ago we predicted the arms deal would be Mbeki's downfall. It was. But it has not finished its evil work.
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