Many South Africans may be forgiven for mentally separating the Nationwide Prosecuting Authority (NPA) beneath President Cyril Ramaphosa from the prosecutions physique that existed beneath former president Jacob Zuma.
Equally, there’s a tendency to think about the police and particularly the corruption-busting Hawks alongside the identical traces – a brand new broom has come, made new appointments and due to this fact it follows that each one has been swept clear.
However in actuality, the organisations are an overlapping morass of confusion over who stays loyal to justice and nation, and people loyal to politics and the pocket.
The NPA and Hawks turned shadows of what they had been meant to be within the Zuma years of state seize. Because the oft-repeated mantra goes, prosecutions and investigations are purported to be undertaken with out concern or favour.
That was not the truth in these darkish years, the place justice was utilized in circumstances of presidency corruption solely in excessive circumstances and if and when it was politically expedient.
The arrest of the masterminds of the R2 billion looting of VBS Mutual Bank ought to earn the NPA and the Hawks reward, albeit two years after advocate Terry Motau’s report laid naked the thieving and scheming.
However now advocate Shamila Batohi and Lieutenant-Normal Godfrey Lebeya’s largest problem looms.
The nation, and certainly the prosecutors and investigators, won’t be glad with the arrest and prosecution of the “insiders” – the lads who had been a part of the VBS’ administration and board – whose complicity has lengthy been confirmed and recognized.
They’re what one would possibly consult with as “low hanging fruit”.
No, the problem will lay in proving with finality the NPA and the Hawks act independently from the prevailing political winds.
Batohi and Lebeya can, and should, pursue costs towards the raft of politicians from the ANC and EFF who’ve allegedly benefitted from the looting of VBS.
That features Zuma, who was handed a R8 million bond to pay a portion of the taxpayer funds spent on upgrading his Nkandla homestead by VBS – six months earlier than he signed over the title deed as safety on the bond.
And it contains Danny Msiza, the Limpopo ANC treasurer-general who, proof has proven, allegedly pushed and pulled behind the scenes to persuade his comrades to make sure their municipalities invested in VBS, a task for which he was handsomely rewarded.
It additionally contains the 2 leaders of the EFF, Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu, who allegedly benefitted from VBS funds that flowed to Shivambu’s brother, Brian.
How the funds reached Malema and Shivambu has been uncovered in devastating element by investigative journalism unit Scorpio of the Each day Maverick.
Therein lies the rub.
Batohi and Lebeya will probably be pushed and pulled in two instructions – factions throughout the ANC who want to defend their comrades and suppose they’ve a say over the choices of the police and prosecutors as they used to.
They may also probably face a public onslaught of soiled methods and foul phrases by the EFF which has a long-standing document of utilizing its appreciable platform to vilify its opponents.
If the assaults in private and non-private don’t deal with Batohi and Lebeya, it’s going to deal with their political rules – Justice Minister Ronald Lamola and Police Minister Bheki Cele.
In flip, Ramaphosa will on the very least be accused of utilizing the NPA to conduct a politically motivated witch-hunt of his loudest opponents.
With the subsequent native authorities elections across the nook, the EFF will probably search to make use of the supposed political focusing on as a marketing campaign software.
And if the ANC authorities doesn’t act on the corruption of its personal and different politicians, it’s going to wrestle to defend its document – and the DA will use the keep on with beat them with.
On the entire, South Africa doesn’t have an excellent document in relation to prosecuting politically related crimes of corruption.
The few circumstances pursued appear to minimise the gaping chasm of accountability created by the avalanche of presidency corruption that must be pursued and prosecuted.
By all accounts, the corruption is so widespread that new prisons might need to be constructed to accommodate the politicians and their associates who’re discovered responsible.
However maybe the ANC ought to contemplate this second as its alternative to come back clear, and scrub the halls of Luthuli Home clear.
A celebration that campaigns on an anti-corruption ticket with a number of convictions on its governance document might rejuvenate its declining majority.
The one query is whether or not Batohi and Lebeya have the abdomen to face the trials of politically delicate prosecutions.
And whether or not Ramaphosa has the abdomen to defend them from even his personal occasion.