History has a way of creeping up on nations with a minimum of fuss. No one in their wildest dreams would have thought that a country which about two decades ago underwent its biggest changes would right now be in the throes of yet another major paradigm shift.
Yet here we are. The normally ineffective Hawks went into overdrive in the past week.
They conducted the first of what the nation feels is an overdue search-and-seizure operation into the clearly rotten affair that is Estina Dairy Farm.
This is the first time in many years that one of the most powerful politicians in the country, the secretary-general of the ruling ANC, faced the might of the country’s top police unit.
The last time that happened was when Jacob Zuma’s Forest Town home was raided by the Hawks’ predecessors, the Scorpions, in relation to corruption charges.
Elsewhere there were three simultaneous inquiries, all of which were after one thing: the truth.
Bathabile Dlamini, the minister who at the height of the ruling party’s arrogance behaved as though the Social Security Agency was her personal fiefdom, had to publicly explain why she shouldn’t personally pay the costs of her department’s wasteful cases in the Constitutional Court.
The parliamentary probe into state capture continued to expose the house of cards that the looters built at Eskom.
In Parktown, Gauteng’s former MEC of health, Qedani Mahlangu, appeared in front of Justice Dikgang Moseneke’s inquiry into the Life Esidimeni debacle, which has so far resulted in the deaths of 143 mental health patients.
All these events might appear unrelated but they have a single simple thread running through all of them: South Africans are holding a mirror up to the faces of those who thought they could never be called to account.
It doesn’t matter that they are evasive, the message is being sent to all potential abusers of power and resources out there: South Africans will always fight back.
Over a month ago, our now lame-duck president sneered with his mocking laughter: “What is state capture?”
Constitutional Court deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is about to give him a very solid answer to that question – and because he and his benefactors (or keepers) never expected the tide to turn so quickly, they never planned an exit strategy.
This is why the secretary-general of the ANC is now clutching at straws, singing a tune that is clearly a contradiction to the obvious: his party knows Zuma must go, but he maintains Zuma cannot go because he knows their fates are intertwined.
When Zuma goes, he too goes.
The writing is on the wall.
The country’s de facto president, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, could say to the business world at Davos last week that South Africa is a nation in transition because that is the truth.
We survived the first transition to democracy in 1994, soldiered on through the removal of Thabo Mbeki in 2008, and we are now transitioning back to normality after the capture of the state by the forces that nearly pulled South Africa into certain collapse.
So much still needs to be done to overcome the forces that were eating away at the moral fabric of our society, but January 2018 has clearly shown that South Africans are a resilient bunch, and we will pull through this transition and emerge victorious yet again.