Justice Malala: It’s curtains for Zuma, and the Guptas, now.

Justice Malala

At the end of May, a ragtag group of about 20 people marched on the private home of SACP deputy secretary-general Solly Mapaila.

They made numerous threats and said Mapaila, a critic of the Gupta family’s state capture and corruption, must stop publicly criticising President Jacob Zuma.

Among these thugs were known leaders of the MK Military Veterans’ Association, the organisation led by former MK deserter and now deputy minister for military veterans Kebby Maphatsoe, which also has business links to the Gupta family.

Interestingly, the marchers were accompanied by reporters from the Gupta-owned ANN7 television station.

“You could see it’s coordinated from inside the Guptas. I understand why the Guptas would be angry because we’re stopping them from stealing the resources of this country,” Mapaila said at the time.

Two weeks ago, an anonymous website published pictures from illegal surveillance of Peter Bruce, editor-at-large at Tiso Blackstar (owners and publishers of this newspaper and website).

The surveillance was outrageous – identity numbers of private people, their addresses and telephone numbers were splashed on the site.

Chew on this – superior journalism by the Daily Maverick website found that the anonymous site was run by former Gupta-owned Sahara Computers employee Saurabh Aggarwal.

The man, a relative of the Guptas, is hiding out in India.

Last week, a group of thugs who masquerade under the name Black First Land First and are led by the washed-up former EFF MP (that party expelled him), Andile Mngxitama, arrived at Bruce’s house and manhandled Business Day editor Tim Cohen while mouthing racist vitriol at Bruce.

These peace-time revolutionaries have absolutely no recollection that it was Bruce’s late brother-in-law, Donald Woods, who was one of very few journalists who published and championed the cause of Steve Bantu Biko in this country in the 1970s.

The ideologically confused Mngxitama styles himself as the world’s greatest authority on Biko.

Yet he has no idea that it was the apartheid government’s harassment of the Woods’ family that led to Peter Bruce leaving South Africa when Mngxitama was still in nappies.

I apologise. I am expecting the BLF’s thugs to have a passing acquaintance with books and history. My mistake.

Mngxitama’s thuggish 20 or so members appear whenever the Guptas are under scrutiny.

Guess what the leaked trove of e-mails have revealed – he has been found sending requests for funding to the Gupta family.

So what is going on here? All these attacks were initiated, activated and controlled from the Gupta family home with the help and encouragement of Jacob Zuma. It also shows that the Zuma-Gupta criminal gang is desperate and is now resorting to blackmail, intimidation and even violence to silence critics of their looting.

Over the next few weeks, expect them to show even more signs of desperation. That is because their future is no longer certain.

There is such a long list of criminal investigations waiting to be triggered through the former public protector’s State of Capture report, plus the 200 000 leaked e-mails, that their path to jail is virtually guaranteed unless they corrupt every single institution in their path. Then there is the fact that they are losing the leadership contest within the ANC.

The policy conference that is currently under way has begun to show cracks in the Zuma attempt to install his proxy, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as his successor.

The solid bloc of Mpumalanga is cracking, with premier DD Mabuza no longer trusted as a member of the so-called Premier League (made up of Gupta-supporting North West and Free State premiers).

KwaZulu-Natal, once impenetrable as a Zuma bloc, is now divided as Zweli Mkhize and Senzo Mchunu continue to yank it towards the Cyril Ramaphosa grouping.

Zuma may have to use that Dubai house after all. That is why, with his bosses the Guptas, he is using the intelligence services and dirty tricks, similar to the apartheid regime, to try to intimidate journalists and critics.

Whatever he does, he won’t stop any of us. Next week this column will harry him. So will hundreds of other journalists and columnists until he gives our country back to its people.

[pullquote]Whatever he does, he won’t stop any of us. Next week this column will harry him. So will hundreds of other journalists and columnists until he gives our country back to its people.[/pullquote]

The attacks on journalists and on upstanding people like Mapaila are a distraction.

They are meant to intimidate and cow all of us into silence about the Gupta family, their capture of Zuma and his family and their widespread tentacles of corruption.

They have already distracted us from the real issues of South Africa – the horrendous unemployment, massive inequality, shocking rape statistics and murders of women, shrinking economy and appalling education outcomes.

But now the real questions are being asked and will demand answers.

Where is the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, as the Guptas and Zuma loot our country? Where is the national police commissioner, Lesetja Mothiba? These questions will not go away. This weekend Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, one of the key members of the coterie that propelled Zuma to power, called on the ANC to expel any of its members implicated in – and proven guilty of – involvement in the Gupta leaks saga.

Zuma is chief among those implicated. It’s curtains for Zuma, and the Guptas, now. That is why they are trying to blackmail and besmirch journalists and turn our country into a failed state.

They will not succeed. They dare not succeed.