In a society where just over 50 percent of the population has no work, no income and can’t make ends meet; to have one bureaucrat implicated in the disappearance of R3.8 billion, would, ordinarily, have any nation up in arms. That nation would be at its final tip of enragement.

To discover that the proceeds of the crime secured this one crook a fleet of 35 vehicles, among them expensive SUVs, sedans, bakkies, an Italian sports car, several properties including a farm and nine homes in gated communities, is enough to even infuriate other hoodlums.

However, in a society like ours, where such crude greed fuels opulence and insatiable appetite for lavish lifestyle for government officials is accepted as normal, such news goes largely unnoticed.

Not even the first citizen of the republic appears to be bothered. If anything, the highest office in the land, has inadvertently given a round of applause for such despicable deed.

In the week when the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) confiscated Transnet’s Capital Projects executive, Herbert Msagala – the bureaucrat with extravagant taste, president Cyril Ramaphosa promoted his erstwhile spokesperson Khusela Diko.

She was linked to an irregular procurement of a R125 million for the pandemic Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the Gauteng Department of health.

Her late husband, AmaBhaca Chief Thandisizwe cashed in about R80 million from the Gauteng Department of Health through his company, Royal Bhaca Projects.

Diko was placed on suspension and was, the previous week discharged as President Cyril Ramaphosa spokesperson after a disciplinary process. But she will return to work in October after her maternity leave, this time to a high-powered role as a deputy director-general (DDG) at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).

Minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele said Diko was served with a written warning for her failure to disclose her interests in certain companies, as required by public service regulations on the disclosure of financial interests.

Msagala is also a recipient of a similar slap on his kleptomaniacal knuckles. He has since been ordered to pay back R26.4m by the Special Tribunal after he was found guilty of disgorgement of secret profits while employed there.

Babita Deokaran, the chief director of financial accounting at the Gauteng Department of Health, was not as lucky. She chose the honest route and it cost her, her life. Deokaran was killed in what investigators say was a targeted hit. She was a key witness in the Special Investigating Unit’s probe into among others fraudulent Covid-19 PPE contracts. Yes, the very crime that president Ramaphosa’s former spin doctor got a light slap for and then got promoted.

The message from the president’s office, is very unfortunate in that it seems to justify and promote the pillaging and abuse of public funds, instead of condemning and punishing the wrongdoers. This has slain whatever public trust there was. When wrongdoing is rewarded, it makes the incentive for mischief, mouth-watering even to those who have some little honesty left in them.

By all accounts, this makes us a very sick society. Our silence drags all of us into the belly of the wicked beast, making us all accomplices in this heinous crime.

Psychologists say corruption at our grand scale – at all levels of a society, is a behavioural consequence of power and greed.

They say it has no rulebook, it’s done covertly, opportunistically, repetitively, and is powerfully reliant upon dominance, fear and unspoken codes: a significant component of the ‘quiet violence’.

This insatiable greed is primarily made possible by the elite. It is promoted by their own conspicuous consumption and hero-worshipping by the masses. Unless the people start to speak out, it will not end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *