It’s taken a long time, but corrupt politicians involved in South Africa’s state capture are finally getting punished. The Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team arrested ANC MP Bongani Bongo, a strong Zuma supporter. He appeared in court today on corruption charges, after he tried to bribe an advocate on the parliamentary commission of inquiry into Eskom’s state capture. While Bongo was state security minister in 2017, he allegedly offered a blank cheque to advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara, the evidence leader of the Eskom inquiry. Bongo wanted Vanara to take sick leave on the first day of the inquiry, stonewalling the investigation into Eskom. However, Vanara alerted his seniors about the bribe, triggering the Hawks investigation.
Bongo was released on R5,000 bail (which seems low, considering how serious the charges are against him). The case against him was postponed to 31 January 2020, where it will be tried in the Western Cape High Court. The Hawks also arrested 10 other suspects for fraud, corruption and money-laundering.
In the huge toxic sludge that is state capture, Bongo may be a relatively small, big fish. But his arrest shows that corruption is finally starting to be punished in SA. We still need to see the take-down of much bigger fish involved in state capture, such as former Ministers of Public Enterprise Lynne Brown and Malusi Gigaba. But Bongo’s arrest is a much-needed move in the right direction.
Find out more at https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-11-21-bongani-bongo-arrest-first-shots-in-the-fight-against-corrupt-public-officials/ and https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-11-21-anc-mp-bongani-bongo-gets-bail-after-court-appearance-on-bribery-charges/