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What A Year 2017 Has Been….

by Pinky Khoabane

fSm4QFB__normalDear Comrade Reader

THIS was a year in which the battle for the soul of South Africa's economy reached a crescendo. The displeasure with the slow pace of transformation which had been building-up since the advent of democracy became palpable as both sides of the economic forces came out full force to convince anybody who cared to listen that their case was the best for the country. The lot who believe in maintaining the status quo of white privilege in South Africa and the US/UK financial hegemony came head to head with the new kids on the block who've decided to break away from Western economic and political control and go with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa ) nations.

That the African National Congress (ANC )was electing a new president who will lead this country in 2019 (of course Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) say it won't happen) just fuelled the battle even more.

What unfolded was a propaganda machinery so ferocious that comrades we respected and who had over the years known and accepted the existence of words such as white monopoly capital (WMC) found themselves mumbling and lying on national television about the existence of such words.

On one side, President Jacob Zuma and his son's business partners, the Guptas became the point of attack and perhaps rightly so. The story on the money supposedly used for Gupta wedding from a Free State farming project has been my greatest anger and I've tried to ascertain its veracity. On the other, we focused on the the existence of WMC and the fact that two white families owned 50% of the country's wealth. Here at UnCensored, we focused on Johann Rupert, giving WMC a face. We decided we would give a face to all the stories of price fixing, corporate corruption and WMC - this in contrast to how the WMC media perpetually protect corporate thugs.

I didn't know what Johann Rupert, Christo Wiese, Jannie Mouton looked like until I started publishing UnCensored. We didn't know their black friends whom they've put into big positions in the corporate world and whose silence has now been bought with seats on boards, shares, and some whose weddings like that of Trevor Manuel was hosted by the Stellenbosch King himself.

In our efforts to expose corporate corruption, we looked into corporations like South African Airways (SAA) to scrutinise the much reported corruption there. It turned out that of the R24bn procurement, Blacks only got 1.7%. We appealed to Head of SCOPA Themba Godi to call on SAA to account. He obliged. And much was exposed about the rot at SAA and the evergreen contracts which go on forever and operate without contracts. These are stories that WMC media will not publish. I was told SCOPA went so far as to visit SAA and see for themselves the rot that was going on there.

At the same time we appealed to SCOPA to attend to SAA, we also alerted them to massive mismanagement of funds at Treasury. We also wrote to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to probe SAA when the spokesperson Tladi Tladi refused to divulge information about the contracts and runaway corruption at SAA. Both obliged.

We may have not been the catalyst to these three probes but we are certainly not simply writing, we are activists.

In the battle for SA's economy, the courts have played a major role. The judgements have clearly shown that some judgements are seemingly personal. It was not only in cases involving the President but it is clear that cases involving rich people were simply corrupt. The Braakspear farm next to Rupert's which he bought through a contrived (fake) auction and trial fixing are enough to show you how corrupt the judiciary is. We followed and published the story of the Black low cost housing clients ripped off by First National Bank (FNB). We showed you the faces of the corrupt. Then we also showed you the reverse. How the same bank will deal with a white man who owed them money. DA Councillor Lapping had FNB pay him to close his credit card and overdraft facility. They also paid his bond off to shut his mouth for what is happening once again, unauthorised debit orders.

We've published simply moving stories such as those by Comrade Greg Mashaba about his life in exile. He's done what we haven't read in short stories. The deceit among comrades, the human recollection of how a friend and comrade is blown to pieces by apartheid forces.

It was simply moving to a point of tears when Comrade Greg told me how ill he was as he was writing the piece. He went through the counselling that he and other soldiers of this movement ought to have gone through. He was ill, he tells me. His family was worried about him. UnCensored offered him the psychological chair which the liberation struggle didn't.

Having written the piece, the Comrade to whom Comrade Greg's friend was chained until he eventually died, has now had nightmares. It is sad but points to the need to help these Comrades. They need some form of counselling to assist them deal with their experiences.

The grandchild of the Comrade wrote into UnCensored seeking to meet Comrade Greg for better knowledge into the grandfather. This gesture moved me to a point of tears.

This is what we do here. We've become a community. When we have our computers hacked and we ask for help, some among you rush to assist. We are eternally grateful.

When we ask for young aspiring writers or people who have opinions about one thing or the other, there's a helping hand eagerly raised. Im eternally grateful.

Ultimately the battle for soul of SA's economy has come to one thing. The ANC chose a billionaire and asked him to implement the poor people's needs. Free education, expropriation of land without compensation, and the  nationalisation of the reserve bank. These are issues we have fought for here at UnCensored. Ultimately both sides have won….for now at least.

Our stance didn't come without pain and smear campaigns. We've been called everything. I must thank all the supporters and contributors to this platform who've put their names and their good work to UnCensored. Much later one of the contributors thanked me for highlighting the fact that he might need to write anonymously. It can cost people their jobs.

This is the first of a series of how I and others see 2017…..

Happy New Year

 

Pinky Khoabane| December 31, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Categories: Feature | URL: https://wp.me/p7OMJc-ZJ

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