Justice Malala: Judiciary final line of defence

What do we have left now? Once there was the Scorpions, a respected crime-fighting unit. The populace had faith in this institution. The corrupt feared it. Jacob Zuma quaked when he thought of it.

Then in 2007 he took the reins of the ANC and it was destroyed by his faithful lapdogs Maggie Sotyu and Yunus Carrim within months.

Now we have the Hawks. This is the unit that lays charges against Pravin Gordhan. This is the unit that cannot muster a decent case against any criminal.

This is a unit that now works to persecute – note my words, persecute and not prosecute – those who raise a word against Zuma.

Berning Ntlemeza, the apartheid cop, now insists he is the Hawks’ master and commander despite numerous court rulings that he is not worthy to be a filing clerk at the unit.

He can be bold because he knows he has Number One rooting for him. What do we have left now? They say the road towards a failed state is a process, one failed institution after another, over time.

Then, suddenly, you realize that you too are Zimbabwe.

The new public protector says nothing about the state of capture report.

Those who have benefited from their nefarious activities with the Guptas while at Eskom and other state entities are now members of parliament, with bulging bank balances, while whistleblowers such as Mcebisi Jonas are fired and hounded out of public office.

There was a time when young students would shout and scream with adoration when the public protector came to visit their schools.

Now the public protector is busy taking pictures – smiling wide – with a man implicated in not one but numerous reports from her office. What do we have left now? Cast your mind back to 2006. The economy was growing like nobody’s business. Unemployment was decreasing. The black middle class was growing. The white elite was growing, too, not diminishing.

Just 12 years after democracy, we were no longer a country that’s in junk status. We were riding the crest of a wave. At the time all these rich and rising rich individuals had a hero.

He was the taxman – Gordhan. What kind of country is this where ordinary people know the taxman?

The SA Revenue Service was hailed as one of the best in the world.

What do we have now? We have a SARS where employees are kidnapped and locked in boardrooms, where the Number 2 is only dealt with four months after it emerged that he was depositing huge amounts of cash in his and his girlfriend’s bank accounts.

This is not an institution anymore. It is a weapon in Number One’s hands.

It is worth noting what Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said when he made his displeasure known about the firing of Gordhan.

He explicitly said when Zuma told him and the ANC’s top six officials of his intentions he cited an intelligence report that said Gordhan was travelling to London to mobilise against the president.

Ramaphosa said this fake intelligence report reminded him of the early 2000s when the then president, Thabo Mbeki, also alleged that Ramaphosa, Mathews Phosa and Tokyo Sexwale were plotting against the state.

Of course, we know that Ramaphosa continues to smile and giggle at Zuma, who has not even had Mbeki’s decency to apologise for such a report.

So we don’t have an intelligence service in South Africa. We have a bunch of spies who manufacture rubbish in the name of Zuma.

The bogus Gordhan report has been denounced by our compromised intelligence minister, who says he did not know about it. So who gave this badly-written, illogical, ill-conceived report to Zuma?

In the 2000s we had a National Prosecuting Authority led by men and women of integrity. Now we have the spineless Shaun Abrahams, a man who still has to explain what he was doing at Luthuli House before he slapped Gordhan last year with bogus charges.

Over the next few months you will see how the most respected of our state institutions, the Treasury, is drawn and quartered.

See how the very best among its economists and other professionals are hounded and intimidated out of their jobs.

See how it becomes a mere shell of its former self.

See how the new finance minister and friend of the Gupta family, Malusi Gigaba, guts it and puts it out for favours for these friends and benefactors of the Gupta family. So what do we have now? What we know now about South Africa is that the institutions of democracy are falling like nine pins.

Our politics are now conducted on the steps of the Constitutional Court because parliament is Zuma’s poodle and the executive is his lapdog. The judiciary is all that is left. Soon the media will feel Zuma’s jackboot. Civil society bodies are feeling his harassment. NGO workers are routinely harassed and many know that their phones are tapped. Fear is the order of the day.

So what is left of the South Africa of our dreams? Where are the institutions which the colonial and apartheid monster perverted and which we fixed in 1994 and subsequent years?

Jacob Zuma has perverted them all. This is what is left now. This is what is left for me, for you and for our children. A perversion. Don’t say you were not warned.

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