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 Post subject: Pravin Gordhan's arrest
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:48 am 
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Pravin Gordhan is a hardworking man. He's the finance minister of South Africa, which is a difficult job these days, what with the President's two-hundred-and-something million dollar home upgrades and so on.

Then he has to deal with a family of businessmen known as the Guptas who used to own substantial amounts of money - and a few large companies - in South Africa. (And there are very persistent rumour that they owned a few politicians as well, with the name of President Zuma often mentioned in such circumstances - though nothing's ever been actually proved yet, you understand). Proved or not, though, a few months back most (perhaps even all) local banks decided that they very much didn't want to have anything to do with the Guptas anymore and basically refused them service and closed all their accounts. (I assume they let the Guptas withdraw the contents of said accounts first). The Guptas themselves are, so far as I know, no longer in the country - nothing suspicious about that, mind you, they do live in Dubai.

But rumours of the President being in someone's pocket are a horrible thing for a country to have, which is why the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, has recently finished a report on allegations that the Guptas had pretty much captured the state. She's retired now, as of this last weekend, and has passed the whole mess onto her successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Busisiwe initially said she was going to focus on the backlog of cases, but after being officially handed the State Capture report and (presumably) discussing the matter with the previous Public Prosecutor she's decided to prioritise that instead... which says something, I think.

So. What's in the report? We don't know, it hasn't been publicly released yet. This is because President Zuma went to court to seek an interdict against the release - which hasn't been heard yet, but they can't release the report until the court proceedings are over.

Zuma's party, the ANC, is in favour of releasing the report, as are opposition parties.

So. That sets the stage. Now we go back to Pravin Gordhan, finance minister. He was arrested on charges to do with approval of someone's pension payout. (One gets the impression someone spent a while hunting through his record to find something to charge him with). The timing, however, is suspicious - not only is the State Capture Report sitting in the public protector's office, ready to be released as soon as the court says so, but the finance minister is due to give his medium-term budget speech soon...

Oh, and now that he's in court, he's taking the opportunity to - in a very public way - list a list a lot of very suspicious transactions which have the Gupta name attached. (Total monetary value, approx. R6.8 billion. That's close to half a billion dollars).

Interestingly, the vice president, Cyril Ramaphosa, a man who tends to keep a very low media profile, has come out very firmly in support of the Finance Minister; while Zuma is looking to be in a rather poor position overall.

(Oh, and Gordhan would also like the courts to please rule that he can't force the banks to do business with the Guptas, no matter how much the Guptas might want him to do so. I gather they don't like taking 'no' for an answer).

The wheels of justice grind slow, but it certainly looks like Zuma's chickens are coming home to roost...

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 Post Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:49 am 
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So, the charges against Pravin Gordhan have been dropped. (After a rather dramatic incident which clearly showed that the charges never had any teeth to begin with).

And, as a result the head of the National Prosecuting Authority is in a spot of trouble.

But not nearly as much trouble as Zuma is in.

You see, that State Capture report that Zuma went to so much effort to block... well, it all went to court, and the court ruled that not only did it have to be released, but it had to be released by 5pm the same day. (It's a three-hundred-odd page report). The Public Protector's website promptly fell over, unable to handle the volume of traffic it was getting. Once the technical issues had been resolved, however, the report was - and is - available for all to read.

Reactions are mixed.

The DA (major opposition party) is calling for the immediate resignation of everyone implicated in the report. It's also putting forth a vote of no confidence in Zuma (again) and there's a good chance that they're going to try to get as many of the people involved arrested as they can manage.

The EFF (not a major party, but very loud) are saying that this confirms what they've been saying all along.

The Guptas, the family implicated as those who were doing the bribing, have officially welcomed the report, saying (via their lawyer) that it'll give them a chance to clear their name and present their side of the story.

The full report can be found on the DA's website and probably plenty of other places, too. But it's probably easier to look through a simple summary (short version: something smells seriously fishy here, here, here, and here, but insufficient resources were given for a complete and thorough investigation. Please appoint someone properly independent with proper resources and a 180-day time limit to investigate more thoroughly.)

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