Given the discouraging news constantly swirling around government it can get quite tough trying to keep hope alive, but then, just as the darkness seems to overwhelm us, a flash of light explodes like a flare in the night sky, and signals that all is not lost! Patriotic South Africans are not willing to give up the fight against gangsterism and corruption, full stop!
One such patriot is the veteran journalist Jacques Pauw, author of the book that’s been making headlines for about two weeks, The President’s Keepers : Those Keeping Zuma in Power and Out of Prison.
I cannot hide my admiration for Pauw. In exposing yet more of the shenanigans of President Jacob Zuma and company, he has demonstrated the kind of commitment and bravery which actually is required of each and everyone of us as citizens of this country.
Pauw’s book is evidently not an ego project nor has he published it for any partisan political interest. Pauw has an unblemished record of courageous journalism but retired a few years ago to pursue a different passion – cooking. The story of The President’s Keepers almost found him and once it had, he knew it needed to be told.
In writing it on the battlefield against corruption and state capture, he is making an historic contribution. And his determined stand in the face of intimidation and before a rogue state and a rogue president is truly inspiring. This is the stuff of true South African grit and resilience.
Sounding almost like an Old Testament prophet, Pauw writes: “The table is set – Zuma’s keepers have taken their seats. It is time for the great disentangling; the final face-off between the good and the bad in the ANC.”
On this point I differ marginally. The ANC actually fell long ago. But a face-off between good and evil is certainly under way. What is at stake is the soul of South Africa.
It matters not what your or my political persuasion is, nor what skin colour we may be. This is not about any political ideology. And it is certainly not about any misguided notion of racial difference.
What this is about is pure greed and its devastating consequences on our society.
And this crisis lumps us all together in one messy pool of disregarded, disrespected, disempowered and dehumanised citizens of a once hope-filled country.
The threats of legal action against Pauw by the State Security Agency and SARS have merely exposed the extent to which the current regime is desperate to keep its sordid affairs under wraps.
But while brave South Africans continue to show themselves ready to stand up and be counted, willing to expose and condemn the abuses of a president and his network of gangsters, the looters will fail spectacularly, as ultimately they must.
Among the warriors on the battlefield are also members of the independent media, accused in certain quarters of pushing a dubious agenda, yet they too have dared to push back against the abuse of the public by people who were elected to serve.
In acting as he has, Pauw is upholding a tradition of bravery and service – one often spoken of on podiums to mark Oliver Tambo’s centenary year. But almost invariably the ANC speakers possess not an ounce of Tambo’s selflessness. Oh, what irony!
Included is the new and also compromised State Security Minister Bongani Bobo. Following in the footsteps of those who use empty words to express sentiments neither believed in nor practised, he produced this hollow nugget: “Part of our mandate is that we protect the integrity of this country, the sovereignty of the country, and … the national security and we have enacted legislation that everyone of us as South Africans must adhere to.”
Really? This said while attempting to ban a book that exposes chronic abuses in the highest corridors of power. Not even the fact that the state’s actions now mirror those of the apartheid government seem to faze these guys!
However, Pauw too seems unfazed, again displaying the quality of bravery so needed in our times.
“I doubt they’ll be granted an urgent interdict because the book has already been published. They have to prove the urgency in court. I don’t think they will go ahead with the legal action. I think they just want to be seen to be doing something,” he said.
I, for one, actually hope the state does go ahead and takes this matter to court. It’ll be to our great benefit to hear more about Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s interactions with shady characters, like self-confessed tobacco smuggler Adriano Mazzotti, who was outed in the Sunday Times recently.
Meanwhile, as patriotic South Africans, we will stand with our Jacques Pauw. For as long as we do, there is hope that we’ll prevail in the immense battle to rescue our country.