Publication of the first hundred or so names of ANC members nominated for the National Assembly after the May 8 elections has been greeted, rightly, with anger, disappointment and uproar, BusinessLive columnist Peter Bruce noted on 18 March. After all, the list included many of the great actors in the Zuma state capture drama, or were just common thieves and liars.
But then Bruce goes on to declare: “I support Cyril Ramaphosa because I cannot think of anyone better to lead the government.” It’s a sentiment that of late has become (dangerously) fashionable in the polite white suburbs. Because the two statements are a contradiction in terms. The two come, initially at least, as a package. There is no such thing as a vote for Ramaphosa. There is only a vote for the ANC. The same rotten-to-the-core party it has been for more than a decade.
At best it’s a serious (foolish?) risk to vote ANC in the hope that Ramaphosa will dominate the party after the election sufficiently to neutralise the rotten apples. He may as likely not.
To assess that risk, we need to read the signs. The inclusion of the obviously rotten players on the top of the ANC list is one such indicator. Another might be who gets appointed the new Commissioner of SARS. More simply put: will it be Gene Ravele – or one of the other short-listed candidates? As, on another occasion we said in jest: Ravele is a weather vane that swings to show which way the political wind is blowing. If he’s appointed, that’s bad news. See Who's to be SARS Commissioner? in this issue and you’ll see why. Seriously.
Overwhelmed, like most, by all the thrills and spills contained in the 167 pages of Bosasa CEO-turned-squealer Angelo Agrizzi’s confessions to the Zondo Commission on State Capture, Noseweek missed a fascinating detail.
Quite apart from the handy R300,000- per-month that Bosasa was allegedly slipping to Jacob Zuma and the Louis Vuitton handbag stuffed with R300,000 to secure the patronage of then-SAA chair Dudu Myeni, readers may be intrigued by five paragraphs on page 138, regarding the connection between Bosasa boss Gavin Watson, his old friend (current Armscor chair) Kevin Wakeford and that old rogue (and SARS-contracted forensic auditor) George Papadakis. Over the years, Papadakis has earned a few mentions in Noseweek, perhaps none as telling as in the lengthy Editorial in nose159, (Free online access). Read it all the way to the punchline!
The bit we missed in Agrizzi’s affidavit: When Bosasa was beset by “constant audits” and a major investigation by SARS, Wakeford told Watson that Papadakis was the man to resolve these issues. Could Wakeford be a longstanding Noseweek reader? A Noseweek report on Brett Kebble in December 2006 contained the following paragraph: “The SARS Germiston office is so notorious that many white-collar criminals have chosen to register there as taxpayers… A well-known national firm of accountants, Gobodo, [once had] a curious branch in Germiston (close to the SARS office) to deal with the ‘special needs’ of ‘special clients’; Gobodo Forensic and Investigative Accounting [had] no qualified accountants on its staff.
“The office is headed by George Papadakis, as legendary as Mauro Sabbatini for his connections in SARS and skill in ‘fixing’ things – like getting criminal investigations to ‘disappear’.”
Claims Agrizzi in his statement to the Zondo Commission: “Bosasa entered into an agreement with Wakeford to pay him R100,000 a month for providing services in relation to the SARS investigation.”
The clumsily-drafted affidavit does not make clear who “him” is, so whether the Armscore chairman or Papadakis got a dollop, is unclear. However, in para 43.5 it is claimed Wakeford arranged with Gavin Watson that Bosasa would provide both wet and dry cement to a property in Meyersdal owned by Papadakis.
“Frans Vorster [Bosasa’s ops manager] would receive orders weekly and often complained to me of the wastage of costs,” Agrizzi declared, adding: “Some of those delivery records are available.”
To think that the Financial Services Board saw fit to appoint Papadakis a co-curator of Fidentia! But then again, no surprise: his co-curator was attorney Dines Gihwala, who in 2014 was declared by the high court unfit to be a director of any company. It found he had committed numerous frauds and other misdemeanours. He was ordered to pay tens of millions in damages to a former business partner.
In a separate action Gihwala was (finally) struck off the roll of attorneys. – The Editor
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