“Mobilise for a week of outrage” against Gupta crisis

Here is what social movement leaders are saying about the ANC NEC meeting, President Zuma and the Gupta family

Photo of president Zuma walking with other men

President Zuma accompanied by Atul Gupta and then public enterprise minister Malusi Gigaba in March 2012. Photo: GovernmentZA Flickr

By GroundUp Staff

23 March 2016

Equal Education

“As a movement of revolutionary youth we call on the young people of South Africa to make themselves heard. We call on every youth formation to take a stand,” Tshepo Motsepo, the General Secretary of Equal Education, told GroundUp.

“The Guptas must rot in jail,” he says.

Last week Equal Education released a statement calling for the prosecution of the Guptas and the recall of President Zuma. It said state capture was ‘a mortal threat to democracy’ and ‘when our democratic state is put into the top pocket of a few rich people’ then ‘the working class and the unemployed, the poor and the historically looted – the black majority – are attacked and further looted’.

The statement pointed out that state capture is not tenderpreneurship. ‘We are far beyond that. A tenderpreneur bribes a party or government official to land a state contract. But this is an order of magnitude different.’

Motsepe says: “We did not have high expectations for a recall. It is becoming clear to us that the level of corruption in government and among ANC members is quite severe.”

“It will take ordinary citizens to make sure they stop the rot in its tracks …There is no option; the ANC has abdicated its responsibility as a leader of society … We are calling for government officials that were fired or approached by the Guptas to come forward.”

He asks why such incidents should be reported to the ANC; as corruption charges, they should be reported to the police. He is sceptical that the Hawks can be trusted with such a matter as its investigations now seem “to be used for political games”.

Motsepe says various progressive organisations were discussing a way forward. There needed to be a thorough investigation. The wealth amassed by the Guptas should not be allowed to leave the country and should be used for health and education. 

Democratic Left Front

On Sunday in a post on Facebook, Mazibuko Jara of the Democratic Left Front said, “By now, the country should have come to a standstill with mass outrage out on the streets and such that the ANC cannot ignore this mass anger … Ideally, we should mobilise for a week of outrage. Should we do so? How would we do so effectively? We need the unions, the churches, other civil society, etc. Such action and coalition could be used as a springboard for a real united front in action … What do you think?”

“The matters arising out of the Gupterised crisis are so important and severe … ,” he wrote.

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim tweeted on Sunday that the Secretary General of the ANC Gwede Mantashe, who he called spineless, had spent the week convincing the public that the Zuma and Gupta scandal would be discussed, yet all that emerged was political spin.

Yesterday, Jim put out a statement that Human Rights Day was “under the shadow of the massive scandal of corruption, cronyism, squandering of public funds, and waste of resources. This is not just because of the actions of one family or a few corrupt politicians, but the inevitable result of creating a neoliberal capitalist state”.

Gwede and Zizi created a false impression that they will deal with Guptas and Jz but they spin to economy in the NEC spineless fellows?

— Irvin Jim (@IrvinJimSA) March 20, 2016 (on Twitter)

Social Justice Coalition

SJC General Secretary, Phumeza Mlungwana, told GroundUp: “We will never see decent sanitation, fair police resources, healthcare or education as long as the state is captured. It is poor and working class people - our members - who suffer the most.

“President Zuma should be recalled by the ANC. The Gupta family, its businesses, and its ties to the president must be investigated and those responsible should be prosecuted.” 

Unemployed People’s Movement

Ayanda Kota of the Unemployed People’s Movement says the outcome of the ANC NEC was no surprise. “[President] Zuma is under the spell of the Guptas, so is [deputy president Cyril] Ramaphosa under the spell of the Lonmin and also his involvement in the mowing down of the Marikana Miners. Baleka Mbete is also under the spell of the Goldfields Mining.”

Kota says he believes many more in the political establishment would speak out, but they are also compromised and the Zuma camp are threatening to expose them.

He says, “[On Monday] we were commemorating 21 March [Human Rights Day] in Bathurst and we spoke about this saga .. . In all our public meetings we will dissect this matter and raise the consciousness and awareness of our people on what does this mean and its political implications … We feel the historic mission of the ANC is over. The fact that they all have skeletons in their closet spits on our face as the electorate.”