THE latest Guptagate revelations amounting to a plot to capture the Republic of South Africa should be considered treason by any other name. As William Shakespeare famously once said:”A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” , in this instance, if state capture smells and looks as bad as treason, then surely criminal charges need to levelled against its chief protagonists, charges that are more serious than simply that of looting state coffers?
In the South African Law Journal, C. Snyman wrote: “… high treason is the unlawful intentional commission of any act with the ‘additional intent’ to overthrow or coerce the state.”
According to the Helen Suzman Foundation
The crime of high treason is defined as:
“any conduct unlawfully committed by a person owing allegiance to a state with the intention of:
• overthrowing the government of the Republic;
• coercing the government by violence into any action or inaction;
• violating, threatening or endangering the existence, independence or security of the Republic;
• changing the constitutional structure of the Republic.”
The ingredients are all here, betrayal, coercion, violation of independence and public trust, in short capture.
The circle of plotters, range from the President himself, the Gupta crime family, and several directors of parastatals and government agencies.
Names appearing in news stories associated with state capture allegations include a range of individuals whose motive appears to have been to redirect state funds into private hands, in the process depriving ordinary South Africans of poverty relief.
The NPA is investigating seven cases related to what has come to be known as “state capture”, involving R50 billion.
In one case it is alleged that R10m of the funds paid to Estina for a dairy farm was paid into Atal Gupta’s personal bank account.
It appears board members and employees of ESKOM Sean Maritz, Anoj Singh, Zethimbe Koza are also involved in a parallel kickbacks scandal.
Bell Pottinger a public relations entity has also been named.
A story published by ENCA last year openly discusses treason: “revelations by former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas, and former head of GCIS, Themba Maseko, that the Gupta family had offered them ministries or had made requests to direct state finances in their direction, amount to exactly that.”
Turning South Africa away from its constitutional mandate as a democracy into a personal fiefdom, nothing more than a means of benefiting a few private individuals, has all the hallmarks of treason and should be dealt with accordingly, unfortunately this is unlikely to come about under an ANC government, itself the target of disputed treason allegations under the previous regime.