Editorial

Dear Reader


In preparation for the new year, it is advisable to do a quick audit of the old.

We mourn the death of Nelson Mandela and an era of reconciliation and hope. Political analyst William Gumede offers insight of what we have lost with the great man’s passing. (See Mandela's legacy betrayed in this issue.)

We celebrated Noseweek’s 20th anniversary with a party that Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille saw fit to grace with her presence and a speech from the heart. That’s worth a picture!

Party stalwarts: Pieter-Dirk Uys, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and Noseweek editor Martin Welz

As auditors tend to do, we also find matters reported in our pages that remain unresolved. Two examples for the record:

• Sanral’s brothers and sisters in crime at the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) are still “in the process of constituting” an investigation team to “kick-start” their probe into the 15 construction companies – more than six months after they admitted to having engaged in collusive tendering on government contracts worth tens of billions of rands.

Meanwhile it’s business as usual, with further state contracts worth billions still being awarded to the same corrupt companies without any special precautions having been taken to exclude collusive tendering. And no word of criminal prosecutions in the pipeline.

• In January 2011 Noseweek reader Jaron Tobias lodged a complaint with the Johannesburg Bar Council (see nose153) concerning the alleged serious misconduct of advocate Nigel Riley, who appeared for him as the Plaintiff, and Advocate G D Wickens, who appeared for the Defendant, in a case heard in the South Gauteng High Court.

Over a year-and-a-half later, he sent the Bar Council a note asking about the outcome of their inquiry. No joy.

A further six months on, he asked again.

We repeat the arrogant, meaningless reply he received (on 11 February 2013, two years after his complaint was lodged) from Pam Irvine, the secretary of that body of legal worthies: 

“I said I would inform the Secretary and Chairman of the Professional sub-committee of your query on the status of the matter. I have done so. Once there is any further update on the matter you will be notified.”

By now another year has passed and still no update. Tobias himself sums up perfectly in a letter he addressed to the bar some months ago: “It is my understanding that issues such as blackmail/extortion and rape are serious matters within any society and in particular when it applies to officers of the court. The lack of attention given to this matter by the Johannesburg Bar’s Ethics Committee is shameful.

“It’s a very sad day when advocates can do as they like in terms of the law and in no way be held accountable.”

By its own misconduct in stalling on this matter, the Bar Council has effectively implicated itself in the misdemeanours of which its two members were accused. The law has trusted them to discipline their own, but they have proved themselves unworthy of that trust.

We will continue to record the days, weeks, months and years that pass as a measure of the Johannesburg Bar Council’s shameless cowardice when it comes to policing its own members.

With the dawning of the New Year, we thought it appropriate for another Noseweek organogram, this time of Jacob Zuma’s deployment of his KwaZulu-Natal comrades into the furthest reaches of power and influence. Have a close look at it in this issue and let us know what you make of it. What are the names and links we’ve missed? What stories does it tell us?

And then, with all the signs suggesting that Zuma’s empire might be declining, also in this issue (The right stuff) we introduce you to Zweli Mkhize, who many political punters think could just be the man to succeed Zuma as president. But can he play that network as Zuma does – and still succeed in presenting himself as our new Mr Clean?

Happy New Year!

The Editor

Keywords:
Johannesburg Bar Council
Nigel Riley
Sanral
Construction Industry Development Board
collusive tendering
Tender Rigging
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