Justice Malala: So why did Zuma hastily pick Gigaba?

The outrageous return of Brian Molefe to Eskom confirms a few things about the state of our nation and our leaders. First, the Jacob Zuma faction of the ANC is so hell-bent on looting South Africa that any semblance of shame is out the window.

The wanton looting that occurred with the sale of Optimum Mine to the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma was just a dress rehearsal.

With Molefe back in the saddle this sort of practice is set for overdrive.

And the Zuma faction doesn’t care that we can all see what’s going on. It’s their time to eat and they will keep their snouts in the trough.

The real goal, however, is still the eye-wateringly expensive, unaffordable and unnecessary nuclear procurement programme.

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Zuma wants it and he will have it. For who? The Russians. Molefe’s return to Eskom completes the circle to ensure that it happens.

On Saturday morning, new Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi announced that the nuclear procurement process will start afresh.

Who will be front and centre in this process? Kubayi, Molefe and our fresh new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. So let’s talk about Gigaba, for he is central to the entire thing.

Here is what we know: Zuma was desperate to consolidate his capture of the state and its handover to the Guptas by bringing a yes-man to the national Treasury.

He tried to bring the discredited, weak-kneed Des van Rooyen to the job in December 2015, but that didn’t work. People could see through Zuma’s play.

The man was trying to capture the Treasury for the Guptas and his cronies.

Revelations in the public protector’s state of capture report, putting Van Rooyen in Saxonwold for seven consecutive days before his appointment, point to the rot at the heart of the Zuma administration.

Then Zuma hustled his golden boy Brian Molefe to parliament to try and get him into the Treasury.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and the SA Communist Party told him no ways.

So why did Zuma hastily pick Gigaba? On the Sunday after his midnight appointment, Gigaba was asked several questions by Financial Mail deputy editor Sikonathi Mantshantsha.

“Do you have bank accounts outside SA? Do you have any assets outside South Africa? What is your relationship with the Guptas? Julius Malema publicly accused you of being corrupt. You didn’t respond to that. Are you corrupt?”

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His response was telling. He said his lawyers would respond to the Julius Malema accusations.

He did not at all venture a response to the rest of Mantshantsha’s questions, pretending they were never asked. Why do you need lawyers to confirm whether you have assets and accounts outside South Africa?

Why must lawyers confirm your friends and why must lawyers state whether you are corrupt or not?

In his new book, The Republic of Gupta, award-winning investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh writes that in 2011 the heads of South Africa’s three intelligence agencies wrote a report warning about the influence of the Guptas on the president and some ministers.

He writes: “The state security agency started to compile a list of government ministers who appeared to be suspiciously close to the Guptas. It included then Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, then Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma . . . ”

Stories about Gigaba’s closeness to the Guptas are rife. Last week, one of his former associates tweeted about him allegedly flying with the Guptas to KwaZulu-Natal.

Malema spoke at length last year about the relationship between Gigaba and the Guptas.

So two issues arise. Why was Gigaba so palatable to Zuma to take over the national Treasury?

Is it because he will do what Nene and Gordhan would not do – unlock the doors to the safe for Zuma and his cronies to play around with unaffordable nuclear spend?

Gigaba’s mere presence at the Treasury has already achieved the Guptas’ first goal.

Remember that former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas told us that when the Guptas offered him the finance job they said the first order of business in the office would be to get rid of several people.

The Sunday Times reported: “He was given a list of people to get rid of, including director-general Lungisa Fuzile, Ismail Momoniat, Andrew Donaldson and Kenneth Brown.

“The four, who have been with the Treasury for more than 22 years, are among the fiercest critics of the nuclear procurement programme, which they believe would bankrupt South Africa.”

Fuzile is leaving this week, just six weeks after Gigaba arrived. Brown is long gone. Last week, we learnt that Donaldson is following him out the door. Wait and watch as others leave.

The truth, sadly, is that circumstantial evidence is piling up that Gigaba ascended to the national Treasury to do one thing and one thing only: to open the gates of looting for Zuma and his cronies.

If Gigaba had even an iota of integrity in him he would have declined the minute Zuma offered him the job. Yet he couldn’t. That’s because, like Van Rooyen and Molefe, he was on for the job.

That’s why he will not define his connection to Zuma’s best friends or answer the questions that the Financial Mail put to him.

The circle is now complete: Gordhan and Jonas out, Molefe and Gigaba in. Nuclear procurement is on its way. Zuma and the Guptas will be smiling all the way to the bank.

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