OPINION: Truman Prince - The True Prince Hans of Southern Isles or rampant corruption?
Once Upon time in La La Land there was a Prince by the name of Truman who hailed from the Kingdom of Beaufort-West, an independent kingdom in the Southern Isles under the reign of the Nine Kingdoms. A noble man he was, that he sought, at the behest of the Nine Kingdoms, an audience with Azkhaban to impress upon them that a castle be built in their Kingdom so to benefit Nine Kingdoms. Upon hearing this, the knights of the ruler of Nine Kingdoms, imposed not imprisonment or banishment, but a fine for misrepresenting Nine Kingdoms and his conduct.
This was not the only problem faced by the Kingdom. The Kingdom had to deal with the conqueror Aegon from the Kingdom of Zupta who sought to take over all the nine independent realms under the Kingdom. Aegon managed to conquer all of the independent realms of the Kingdoms save one, with the help of his dragons and the King of the Nine Kingdoms. The Kings who ruled the eight independent realms were dethroned and only served as Lords. The only one of the Nine Kingdoms not conquered was the Kingdom of Opposition Isles, in the far north…
History tells us that once upon a time the ruler of Nine Kingdoms faced dethronement and his legitimacy put to the test thanks to Snow White and her seven dwarfs. But the King looked to the Aegon for help. Aegon said he would help the King keep his throne provided he gave him access to the nine independent realms.
The people of Nine Kingdoms were not happy, but the Grand Old Duke, the King's right hand man and adviser, Honourable Mantashe told the King's subjects… "Away with you, the King is here to stay, and do away with the obsession with Aegon, we have a bigger crisis at hand…the Emperor, our King is without clothing and all you cry about is Aegon??? It does not matter that the King was tricked into believing the he was fully adorned."
Huntsmen from the Far Far Away Kingdom pressed upon the Duke about the acts of the Prince of the Southern Isles and asked what will be done about his Kingdom. The Grand Old Duke of the Nine Kingdoms, the Honourable Mantashe, told esteemed guests at the ball and the huntsmen that the Nine Kingdoms had no jurisdiction over Truman's Kingdom, although his Kingdom was under the realm of the Nine Kingdoms … and so the Prince of Southern Isles and Aegon lived happily ever after. The end!
You might be wondering what fairy tale I write about. Here is the true tale…
In case you have not heard, Beaufort West Mayor Truman Prince has been fined R10,000 and ordered to apologise by the ruling ANC for bringing the party into disrepute for his recent conduct. And ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said there was an obsession with the Gupta family.
When I read the news of the fine imposed on Truman Prince I was staggered for many reasons; this is a Mayor, an office bearer, a political appointment who sent a letter to the Construction Education and Training Authority chairman requesting that a tender to build a skills development center be given to "a construction company sympathetic to the ANC" in order to receive funding for its election campaign. On what planet does any person, especially a political figure, who blatantly sought to influence a procurement process, in a society where corruption has reached endemic levels, simply get away with a mere slap on the wrist?
"We are an ANC-led municipality, we are therefore in need of financial injection for our 2016 Local Government Election campaign and therefore will also want to see construction companies sympathetic and having a relationship with the ANC to benefit in order for these companies to inject funds in our election campaign process.
"We are seeing this project as a mechanism that will help us regain lost ground to the opposition towards our campaigns, we therefore would want to see our own construction companies constructing this centre, construction companies who would create local jobs and have the money revolve around our people.
"We do believe that as cadres and activists yourselves, you would understand why we would want to manage the procurement process ourselves, obviously with your people also being involved in bid adjudication processes.
"We are as a municipality pleading for your understanding in this regard and see the importance of allowing us to manage the procurement processes using our supply chain processes."
In light of this, the ANC in the Central Karoo's statement sounds ridiculous. The ANC said the mayor only asked that local entrepreneurs be used and that the ANC did not stand to benefit monetarily and distances itself from the from any intention to influence a municipal procurement process, it there intention exists at all.
Sighs heavily If how the ANC reached this interpretation boggles the mind. The interpretation is that the Mayor wants companies sympathetic to the ANC, "our companies" get this tender so that tax payers monies paid to these companies would go on to fund the ANC's election campaign so it could regain ground lost to the opposition.
Another heavy sigh So the ANC would like to distance itself from the mayor's actions, for it did not seek influence any procurement processed therefore cannot take responsibility of his actions. "ANC distances itself" is to the ANC what abracadabra is to magicians. "Distances itself" are the magic words the ANC uses whenever it seeks to conveniently avoid taking responsibility for actions made by its political appointments or men and women affiliated to it.
What is even more disturbing is that in the municipal elections, voters will be given the option to place a mark next to a face that embodies all the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the state's procurement processes. That an ANC loyal company was not awarded the contract is neither here nor there. That a call was made is sufficient enough to bring about sanctions for such an act. This underscores the reasons why opposition parties like the DA believe government's policies for redress are not working. Our policies are open to abuse and exploitation by those in power. The state's procurement processes need an overhaul because there are small pockets of Nkandlagate in most municipalities.
Uncle Gweezy's utterances and the sanctions imposed by the ANC on Mayor Prince demonstrates the ANC absolute disdain to efforts to root out corruption and restore dignity. That the ANC said the Gupta controversy is no big deal and that "there is an ongoing obsession with the controversial Gupta family in South Africa" is unpalatable and can give one heart-burn and stomach ulcer all at the same time. We are told that Zuma's son doing business with the Gupta's is no big deal… Uncle Gwede is quoted saying: "Where should Duduzane be? He can't do business in heaven". Not even hell would allow such a business relationship.
Here is a mayor, also accused of assaulting a female cop, who showed no contrition, displayed arrogance enjoy impunity. He said he never asked for money, but will get their own 'tenderpreneur' who can do the job and benefit the ANC at the end of the day. He sees nothing wrong with the request, and that the only error was that he sent the letter in his mayoral letterhead. And if the Municipal Financial Management Act and Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004 (Precca) are anything to go by, what the mayor did was a criminal offence prosecutable if proven, and he has already admitted to writing the letter but only regrets using his mayoral letterhead. And the ANC merely served him with a R5000 fine. If why a man who broke the law is still in the office, ready to run for elections is scary. Surely the IEC needs look into this matter, or not? But the again Mayor Prince said the ANC would crumble without him.
How the mayor was dealt with and the ANC's oblivion to the Guptas, are yet further examples of an erosion of moral legitimacy of a party that faces a crisis of integrity. We live in a planet where not virtues, ethics and morals rule and reign, but patronage, greed and power. It is ordinary people who lose out at the end of the day, the very same people whose hopes lay on the shoulders of the ANC according to President Zuma. This perverse culture of corruption and "politics of gatekeeping" sustains itself in a system that has been ethically and morally compromised by those entrusted with the social well-being of ordinary South Africans. The End!