There is a brand of music that used to be referred to as bubblegum. It was called that because, like the sweetness in bubblegum, it did not last long. People got tired of it quickly because, besides a catchy tune, there was no substance to it.
SA politics and national discourse have adopted something akin to bubblegum sweetness in the way things are viewed and discussed in public. This week, we’re on Supra Mahumapelo, last week it was Patricia de Lille and the week before it was Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Once the sweetness in the gum is gone, we throw it out and move onto a new gum. That’s why people like Tom Moyane at Sars have the audacity to seek to convince us that President Cyril Ramaphosa is smoking his socks in trying to fire him. Moyane has convinced himself that the general populace has forgotten that he was placed at Sars as an important part of the state capture machinery.
The bubblegum nature of our politics has convinced Moyane that it is not being in the right that matters because who’s right or wrong will be quickly forgotten. He is seeking to portray himself as a victim of a rampaging buffalo bull in a china shop and he has roped in none other than political celebrity Advocate Dali Mpofu to help right this perceived wrong that is being perpetuated against him.
Unfortunately for him, while the national discourse might be one that is of bubblegum sweetness in nature, historical facts will remain as such. Nothing will erase from history what is true.
One of the facts is that once upon a time the people of South Africa mistakenly put one Jacob Zuma in the highest public office in the land. He then proceeded to put in place an elaborate scheme to loot the public purse with the help of a number of unscrupulous individuals outside government and enforcers within government.
In addition to ensuring that the heads of the law enforcement agencies such as the Hawks and the NPA were captured for successful looting, the tax collecting organ of the state was also captured and Moyane appointed its head.
The top management of Sars, which had been painstakingly put together by Trevor Manuel and Pravin Gordhan was systematically driven out and propaganda used to smear individuals like Adriaan Lackay, Johan van Loggerenberg and Ivan Pillay.
Reputable news institutions such as the Sunday Times were cunningly roped in to ensure that the public smear campaign worked well in the court of public opinion. And the public lapped it all up.
Those individuals who stood up to their shenanigans were put to the sword, too. Gordhan had the Hawks set on him. He had multiple charges hanging over his head even as he was performing his duties as finance minister.
Moyane was happily in charge at Sars throughout this almost treasonous period. He presided over an organisation that was once consulted by world leaders and universities on tax collection.
When President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to replace the head of Sars in order to effect his ‘new dawn’, the Sars enforcer cries foul.
Unfortunately for him, Zuma’s rule is still fresh in our minds. We know what you did, Mr Moyane.