BO staff writer
Black Opinion (BO) is reliably informed that the case opened last month at the Hillbrow police station by the Black First Land First (BLF) movement against Johann Rupert and eight bankers for contravening section 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities, 2004 (Act No. 12 of 2004) has now been taken over by the HAWKS.
The eight bankers are Maria Ramos, Colin Coleman, Stephen Koseff, Mark Lamberti, Ian Kirk, Bobby Godsell, Johan van Zyl and Johan Burger.
BLF leadership opened the case following the national crisis created by the three days of confusion last December with the appointment and firing of the Finance Minister David van Rooyen. There has been a huge media and opposition party outcry suggesting that the appointment of Van Rooyen, an outsider to the ministry, was an instance of “state capture” by the Gupta family.
The party representing white interests, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has since opened cases against both President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas for contravening the same section that BLF alleges was actually contravened by white capital. It is not clear on what evidence does the DA case stand. The BLF case appears more solid because it alleges two incidents of crime, first that Johann Rupert had summoned the two key leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) and allegedly impressed upon them the need to fire Van Rooyen. Both former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have known business and personal links with Johann Rupert. In fact, Manuel can be said to be a personal friend given the fact that his wedding was held at one of the Rupert’s farms. There is also what appears to be an unethical business association with the Ruperts and the wife of Manuel Maria Ramos, who is incidentally one of the eight bankers BLF has opened the case against.
Johann Rupert and the implicated ANC leaders have denied discussing the matter of Van Rooyen’s appointment but they don’t deny unambiguously meeting Johann Rupert. Only a police investigation can now separate lies from the truth. It’s normal for those who commit crimes to deny wrong doing.
The second basis of the BLF case rests on the weight of the verified evidence that on the night of 13 December last year, the eight bankers actually summoned the top leaders of the ANC and whitemailed them to force the president to fire Van Rooyen and hire Pravin Gordhan. This is a clear case of interfering with the constitutional functions of the president and an instance of the state being captured by white capital.
The irony of the white capital state capture is that the media doesn’t see it as both criminal and unethical. The silence of mainstream media suggests that state capture is the preserve of white capital and it has a natural right to appoint and fire ministers and no one else should try to take this role.
The big question is how soon will the HAWKS finish investigations and present the NPA with a docket so that some of the most powerful capitalist plotters and state capture agents can face the full extent of the law. For far too long white capital has been allowed to break the law with impunity. BLF has vowed to see the matter to finish and shall consider private prosecutions should the state develop cold feet.
This case is one of the only ones were white capital is being challenged.