FOR TWENTY years Imelda Marcos, the First Lady of the Philippines and her husband Ferdinand Marcos stole billions from the Filipino people, before they were convicted after mass protests that would later become known as the ‘People Power Revolution’. Imelda Marcos’s luxury shoe collection is said to have run into the range of thousands of branded items.
Similarly, South Africa’s ruling party has presided over state capture and massive looting under successive administrations. The party is implicated in the Zondo Report, the opening volume of which has dealt a massive blow to the credibility of the ANC, whilst MP Lindiwe Sisulu, faces opprobrium and censure from the country’s justice system for comments deflecting attention away from the findings.
In a move calculated to take the wind out of the sails of Zondo Commission by weaponising poverty to defend her position and authority, Sisulu went on the offensive this week, accusing the judiciary of being ‘mentally colonised’ and attacking the acting chief justice, and the ‘rule of law’, which she claims is merely a tool of neoliberalism.
The timing is significant and the result incredibly rich, considering the Sisulu’s are the main beneficiaries of a number of deals with the previous regime. Deals which resulted in the first black empowermenti firm, the creation of NAIL, and all leading to a round of state capture outlined here.
That there exists a link between state capture under Zuma, and the previous period of state capture under the National party, is clear and it would be remiss of me to omit to mention that this connection was neither the strict mandate nor the subject of the Zondo Commission, which focused primarily on the intrigues of the Guptas, SAA, Transnet, Nkandla and so on.
Given the extent of the looting, it was only a matter of time before the entire corrupt enterprise involving the siphoning off of state funds, under the guise of ANC deployment of cadres to the corporate sector, positioning of political representatives within the commanding heights of the economy, and attempts to rig legal proceedings, began to unravel, in one big awkward mess. A bewildering array of graft allegations has resulted in unprecedented attacks against democratic institutions becoming the order of the day, and include the torching of the national assembly by persons known and unknown.
Instead of empowering ordinary South Africans and seeking to move our country forward under democratic rule, it turns out that the inner circle of the ANC merely wished to step into the boots of the National Party, gaining a seat at the table of crookedness as it were. One can no longer remain silent in the face of thinly veiled attempts to disguise the result as a ‘people’s revolution’ or to sugar-coat the consequences as ‘radicalism’ or ‘opposition to capital’.
Like the removal of the Marcos Gang in the Philipines, it is going to take a lot more than a simple ‘democratic revolution’ to deal with the consequences. SA desperately needs its own Corazon Aquino, the prominent figure of the 1986 Philippines Revolt, which ended the two-decade rule of President Ferdinand Marcos.
As I write this piece, government-sponsored propagandists continue to scapegoat our constitutional democracy alongside the justice system instead of answering the question, why it is that the ruling party has failed the people of this country?
History buffs may find another comparison, that of Angola’s Isabel dos Santos equally enlightening.