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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:19 am 
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Well, here's something interesting. Corruption Watch (a local organisation and just guess what they do...) is asking the US to investigate some of the corruption surrounding the Guptas.

Interesting thing about international companies; it seems they fall under several jurisdictions sometimes. Which is why they have to have legal departments, I guess...


Last edited by CCC on Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:15 am 
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So, in 2009, eight years ago, Jacob Zuma was facing seven-hundred-odd charges of corruption. The National Prosecuting Authority dropped the charges, and Zuma became President (not necessarily in that order, but the two events were very close to each other).

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has spent the intervening eight years arguing, in court, that the charges should not have been dropped and that dropping those charges was not a rational decision. Zuma and his legal team (and he has an excellent legal team) have been delaying this with appeals, more appeals, and delaying tactics... for eight years.

So now, they go to court with yet another appeal, in which Zuma's lawyers are expected to continue to argue that the decision to drop the charges was rational and made sense. Instead, they agree that the decision was irrational. After having spent eight years arguing the opposite.

One hopes that this means that the original corruption charges are now actually heard in front of a court. (Odds are, however, that Zuma's lawyers have some other, perfectly legal, delaying tactic in mind. They're strung this out for eight years, why stop now?)

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:42 pm 
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Well, now KPMG has got itself involved in all this. Well, not so much "got themselves involved" and "have been involved all along".

You may have heard of them - they're a form of auditors. They do things like checking major international transactions for corruption, and preparing reports on various situations. Some time back, they presented a report on certain activities at SARS (the South African Revenue Service), which report was then used as the excuse to fire the former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan. (The one who kept trying to keep Zuma's fingers out of the treasury).

They've also apparently rubber-stamped a lot of transactions which are now known to have been mixed up with the Guptas.

Now, I don't by any means mean to suggest that the entire company was at fault here. It may have been a small group within the auditing firm which turned a deliberate blind eye to Gupta-linked activities. Nonetheless, the company itself is getting into a fair amount of trouble. They've admitted that the SARS report was flawed (interestingly, SARS is refusing to accept this) and have promised to donate the money they were paid for that report - and for auditing where Gupta-linked companies were involved - to anti-corruption groups or similar. Their South African CEO has resigned and been replaced. I don't know exactly what's going on inside KPMG, but I get the impression that there's a fair amount of internal panic.

Oh, and clients are dropping them like anything. No-one wants to be associated with a company which is in turn associated with so much corruption...

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:14 am 
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Well, now, this is interesting.

Short version: On becoming President, around eight years ago, Zuma was facing over two hundred corruption charges which were being pursued by the National Prosecuting Authority. The then head of the NPA was persuaded to step down from his post, accepting a golden handshake to the tune of over R17 million. And the appointment of the next head of the NPA is the job of the President; so Zuma promptly appointed a fellow called Shaun Abrahams. Shaun Abrahams promptly dropped the prosecution of the over two hundred corruption charges, claiming evidence which could not be released publicly (a set of 'secret spy tapes'), and has spent the last eight years doing basically nothing about said charges - despite all the legal pressure that several other political parties could bring to the matter. (Incidentally, these 'spy tapes' were later released to one of these parties' legal teams, and apparently don't contain anything worth dropping any charges over).

So. In that context, several groups have found the whole affair to be more than a little fishy. They got themselves some lawyers, and ran the whole matter all the way to the High Court, which pronounced its judgement this last Friday.

The removal of the previous NPA director was found to be unlawful, and he is required to pay back his golden handshake. Similarly, the court is rescinding the appointment of Shaun Abrahams. However, given that it's been eight years since he left, and given that he accepted the R17 million to leave in the first place, the court doesn't think it would be right to reinstate the previous guy; and, similarly, due to massive conflict of interest, they don't want Zuma appointing the new replacement, either.

So, they've delegated the choice of replacement to the vice president, Cyril Ramaphosa (who is also the guy running against Zuma's preferred candidate for the next leader of the ANC).

Ramaphosa has sixty days to find a candidate. (Fifty-seven now). Zuma is appealing the judgement. On top of all this, the ANC elective conference (at which Ramaphosa and Zuma's ex-wife will each try to gain control of the party) will be happening well before the sixty-day time limit is over.

We shall see what happens.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:05 pm 
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And I take it there's no problem with reinstating charges?

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:05 am 
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The only problem with reinstating charges is the extreme reluctance of Shaun Abrahams to do so. With a National Director of Public Prosecutions who actually wants to press charges, I know of no reason why Zuma wouldn't very quickly end up in court defending against those charges. (Or, more likely, getting his legal team to frantically try everything to delay his court date a few more months).

The whole 'spy tapes' business was apparently worth eight years of delay (and appeals, re-appeals, re-re-appeals...) and even that ended up with Zuma's legal team, on the final possible appeal, admitting that they didn't actually have a case. So Mr. Abrahams asked Zuma to please give reasons why the charges should not be reinstated by the end of November.

You will notice that the end of November has passed. Mr. Abrahams gave Zuma a two month extension on that deadline.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:43 am 
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Well, as of late yesterday, Zuma is no longer the leader of the ANC. That much was inevitable - the party chose a new leader, and Zuma didn't personally run. Instead, he had his loyal comrade and ex-wife, Nkosisane Dlamini-Zuma run for the position, and strongly supported her.

She lost.

By two thousand two hundred and something votes to two thousand four hundred and something, the winner was her major competition (and current deputy president of the country), Cyril Ramaphosa.

Now, Ramaphosa has been very much aligning himself against the Zuma-style corruption type politics, and has been pushed as the best hope of the ANC recovering. For the moment, Zuma is still the president of the country; but that position was won through the ANC receiving enough votes to make their candidate the President, and Zuma being the ANC's candidate. Which means that the ANC can, at any point, recall Zuma and replace him with a new candidate. (The ANC retains this power until the next election in 2019, at which point the voters get to choose which party has this power). And there has been a lot of speculation that Ramaphosa would be quick to exercise this option, in the name of finally getting all this corruption actually investigated and tried in a court of law.

However, although Ramaphosa did win the party president position, there are a lot of Zuma loyalists who won other powerful positions within the party. Many of these can be expected to oppose any recall of Zuma, possibly quite vehemently; so Ramaphosa is going to need to make sure that every i is dotted and every t crossed before trying to do so.

Interestingly, the very last thing that Zuma did as ANC leader was announce that the ANC is going to introduce a national policy of free tertiary education; a policy that is expected to cost the government around R40 billion. Where will the country find this money? Well, as of today, that's no longer Zuma's problem... though personally, my preferred solution is to root out the corruption, and then it seems quite possible that sufficient funds can be found without too much trouble.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:44 pm 
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Baby steps...

It's nice to see somebody taking corruption seriously, for once.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:44 pm 
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Oh, yeah. Ramaphosa talks the talk very well indeed.

Now that he has the power to do so, the real question is whether or not he will walk the walk.

What with the end of the year, Christmas holidays and so forth, things are likely to move a bit more slowly over the next couple of weeks than they otherwise would. Still, I'm wondering how long it will be until Zuma is recalled by his party, and who will replace him.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:03 am 
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This could be a big step.

The Constitutional Court recently handed down a judgement in a Zuma-related matter. It was heard by several judges, and it seems that there was some pretty sharp disagreement among said judges as to the right judgement to make.

In short, it was all about the Nkandla issue (wherein Zuma used state money to upgrade his homestead - arguing that the new swimming pool was intended as a reserve of water to put out fires, among other things (seriously, that place is less a 'house' and more a small private village)).

And the majority judgement said, to the best of my non-lawyerly understanding, that since the courts had found that Zuma had breached the Constitution (this is a big deal) in the process, a single Vote of No Confidence is officially Not Enough. Parliament now has to:

- Investigate the (pretty substantive) allegations against Zuma
- Actually produce some rules about how one goes about impeaching a President and then follow them

As far as I understand it, the only rules currently in place regarding impeachment are that it takes a two-thirds majority of Parliament to do it; and that if a President is impeached then he loses all benefits of having been a past President (I understand that said benefits are pretty nice).

The judgement does not say that Zuma should be impeached because, quite honestly, that's not for the court to decide. (The Chief Justice's dissenting opinion is that the judgement, as it is, already goes too far). But considering that Zuma is no longer leading the ANC (and thus no longer protected by the ANC's Party Uber Alles internal traditions) impeachment is suddenly a possible outcome of this.

Whether impeachment happens or not (personally, I think it is a possible but not nearly a probable end state) it is almost certain that Zuma is going to be hauled before Parliament and cross-examined as part of the investigation. Opposition parties are very likely already rubbing their hands in glee and compiling lists of questions for Zuma to answer under oath, along with evidence in case he tries to wriggle out of anything.

Opposition parties, by and large, are all in favour, with the DA firmly pointing out that the rules should be in line with the Constitution and not merely designed to let Zuma out of it. (Given their previous record, they're very likely to go back to court if the rules are in any way unfair - Parliament will need to cross every t and dot every i and the DA will be there to do the crossing and dotting if necessary).

And so one might wonder, what are Zuma's allies doing in this suddenly-a-lot-more-hostile environment?

It appears that many of them have stopped bothering to fight to keep Zuma as President and are rather fighting for him to be able to leave with some shred of dignity (i.e. not actually getting impeached or having to deal with all those embarrassing seven-hundred-and-eighty-three corruption charges). It seems they're also trying to push for his ex-wife, Dlamini-Zuma, to be the country's new deputy president.

The ANC has indicated that they will "discuss the judgement" at their National Executive Committee meeting on 10 January.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:21 am 
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Well, what with New Year and all, things have been mostly quiet on the Zuma front. (One suspects it's quiet in the same way as a duck is quiet - not that much is visibly going on, but there's probably a whole lot of frantic activity by people who have suddenly realised that they backed the wrong horse and are trying to get away with their dignity and bank balances intact).

Zuma is currently still President, but it's clear that (a) Ramaphosa, the new ANC president, is Not Happy with him, and (b) neither are a lot of the ANC's voters. It's not a question of whether he'll leave, not anymore. It's a question of when he'll leave, and how. He still holds significant power, and is expected to fight any removal tooth and nail.

Zuma's good friend, Shaun Abrahams, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, who is the man who decides whether or not the state prosecutes any given case, is also facing a fair amount of employment uncertainty. (Just to summarise; he was appointed to this position by Jacob Zuma, and has since spent a lot of time basically declining to prosecute any charges against Zuma - or, it turns out, a whole lot of other stuff related to the whole wider mess of State Capture). He hasn't quite been thrown out yet, but if he's a sensible man, he should be making sure his resume is up-to-date. In the meantime, some of the State Capture-linked investigations are actually starting to move forward - with the Asset Forfeiture Unit laying claim to and/or freezing certain assets believed to have been gained by means of corruption (specifically stuff belonging to the firms McKinsey and Trillian, who were mixed up in a highly questionable 'deal' involving the Gupta family being given a large pile of money, via a roundabout route, from the state power utility Eskom). Other firms related to various Gupta deals might also start getting some of their assets frozen.

There's a Presidential 'State of the Nation' address in early February. I'm not sure which President will be in office to read it.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:19 am 
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Well, Zuma has managed to hang on by his fingernails so far. He's still (somehow) the President of the country, despite the fact that he now has to pretty much follow any policies that Cyril Ramaphosa insists on.

There was a meeting of Zuma and the top six members of the ANC last night. They're not talking about what was discussed, except that 'how to extract Zuma' was probably on the agenda - and today the entire National Working Committee has been called in at once. It seems that they were giving Zuma a final chance to step down or be pushed out last night and he elected not to step down. Presumably, this means it's pushing-out time.

One of Zuma's remaining vocal supporters, the ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, insists that Zuma will still be around to deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday. But there's a lot of people saying that Zuma should not deliver SONA - that it should rather be delivered by a new leader, as a nice symbolic way of showing a new dawn, the end of the corrupt Zuma era. (It won't be. At best, it'll be the beginning of the end - the roots of corruption go deep, and will take some time to unearth).

Should Zuma somehow still be President after SONA (which is not impossible, he's like a limpet in that role) he'll have to face a Motion of No Confidence bought by the EFF (Julius Malema's party) on 22 February, and if he survives that one (he's survived something like eight motions of no confidence before? But now he's not the president of the ANC, Ramaphosa is, and that might make a difference) then the rules for impeachment need to be hammered out properly by March 15 (and once they are hammered out, the DA and the EFF are practically guaranteed to be in a desperate race to be able to claim they were the party that got rid of Zuma, with the ANC equally eager to deny both of them the opportunity to make that claim).

Oh, and there's going to be a couple of marches at the ANC headquarters as well. Marching to the ANC headquarters is a group called Black First Land First (who claim to be all about land claims but in actuality are more about protecting the revenue streams of Zuma's good friends and the businessmen who have a surprisingly detailed say in Zuma's politics, the Guptas), claiming that the only reason anyone might want to remove Zuma is due to lies told be 'white monopoly capital' (which is the cover story that a certain very large archive of leaked emails revealed the Guptas wanted to blame all the troubles they caused on) and that Zuma must remain President until the next elections in 2019. They will be opposed by a group of ANC supporters (presumably actual genuine ANC supporters) who point out, quite reasonably, that our electoral system elects a party, not a person, and if the ANC wants to recall a sitting President that is entirely within their rights - they're apparently going to form a human chain around the ANC headquarters and not let the pro-Gupta marchers in. There will no doubt be quite a lot of police in evidence, to try to keep things civilised. There will probably also be a few cameramen from the Gupta's news station (ANN7) there to record angry-looking people saying that they want Zuma to stay and trying desperately to make it look like more people want him to stay than to go. (Honestly, the whole setup looks kindof sad and tired to me. I'm hoping this means they're out of ideas.)

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:34 am 
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So, a few more little tidbits have come to light.

It seems that Ramaphosa had a chat with Zuma about retiring, and though the audio of that meeting has not been released (and probably will never be), it seems that Zuma's response was pretty much to laugh. So Ramaphosa got together the National Working Committee of the ANC and they all went to go and have a chat with Zuma about retiring. Zuma wasn't bothered (and presumably laughed again).

So Ramaphosa went a step further, calling an emergency meeting of the entire National Executive Committee of the ANC. The important difference here is that the National Executive Committee is the body that can, with a simple vote, recall Zuma and force Parliament to choose a new President. Now, as long as Zuma was the leader of the ANC, such a vote had pretty much no chance of succeeding (if it even made it as far as the agenda). But Ramaphosa is now in charge of the ANC, and he wants Zuma out.

Reports suggest that Zuma has now stopped laughing, and has finally started treating this seriously.

Oh, and this evening was originally supposed to be the State of the Nation address, at which the President lays out the government's plans for the coming year. The State of the Nation address is a pretty big deal, and very important politically. It has been indefinitely postponed, presumably until the ANC can arrange for someone who is not Zuma to give it.

In the meantime, the EFF (populist political party) has a pending Motion of No Confidence against Zuma. He's survived eight of them, but as he's no longer leader of his own party, his popularity within his own party is at a nadir. This is scheduled to be heard on 22 February, but every single non-ANC party is banding together to request to get it heard earlier.

At the same time, the rules for impeachment are being worked out (and there are plenty of parties who will be all over trying them on Zuma before the ink on the document is dry) though that will likely take a few months.

At the same time, news reports suggest that if he hasn't retired by the end of the weekend, then the ANC's National Executive Committee is going to get together to hold their vote and have him recalled.

So it seems that it's not a case of whether he's going. It's a case of how he's going.

Mmusi Maimani, the leader of the biggest opposition party, the DA, has made it pretty clear that as soon as Zuma is no longer President, Maimane and his lawyers are going to be doing everything they can to make sure that the seven-hundred-and-eighty-three charges of corruption against Zuma are actually properly tried in a court of law.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:20 am 
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So, it's the weekend. Is he gone yet?

I suppose this entire saga shows that removing a president is a long, grinding, difficult process, even and especially when said president is obviously rotten.

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 Post subject: Re: Zuma
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:10 pm 
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Weekend's not over yet (it's 7pm Sunday here). Ramaphosa has thanked South Africans for being patient during "this period of transition" and promised that there will be more clarity after Monday's ANC National Executive Council meeting (this being the body that can vote to recall Zuma, and would have to figure out who replaces him on any case).

So, no, not yet.

Rumour (from trawling various news sites who didn't cite their sources but which just might have a little more than baseless speculation behind them) has been suggesting that now that Zuma is in no position to give them massive political favours in exchange for a fraction of a percent of the money they get in illicit business deals, his "Good Friends" the Guptas have stopped returning his calls; at least one went further, and raised the possibility of Zuma turning witness against the Guptas and his own son in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Whether those have any basis or not, they sound like they could be plausible.

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