Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
19 February 2009

National security? Then why is the President not stepping in?

There seems to be stand-off between the high brass of the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Newspapers report that the police tapped the phones of the head of the Scorpions to try and ¨get¨ those who were investigating Police Commisioner, Jackie Selebi, then charged the çlead investigator in the Selebi matter, and now the police leadership is refusing to hand over documents needed for the Selebi case to the NPA.

Now this could get ugly. Surely our security is being threatened? Some would even call this a national security issue. Frene Ginwala say, or those ANC members on the ad hoc committee of Parliament who rubber stamped the decision of the President to get rid of Pikoli to ensure he does not charge the President of the ANC.

As the person who is responsible for national security – ostensibly the reason for the firing of Vusi Pikoli – one would have thought that the President would long ago have stepped in to ensure co-operation between these two organisations. Or to put it more bluntly: the President should long ago have taken steps to ensure that the police leadership does not try and derail the investigation against Selebi.

Yet, as far as we know, nothing is being done. Why? I smell a big, fat, stinking rat.

This suggests, first, that Selebi must be a very powerful man who holds some secrets that some in the ANC would rather not want to see revealed. What does Selebi know and who can he implicate? He must have some choice tidbits of scandal on the ANC that would make the Carl Niehaus scandal look like a sunday school picnic. Maybe he and Mendi Msimang – whose wife is being kept on as Minister who does nothing to ensure he does not sing about the ANC finances – should get together for a drink? Maybe they can invite Glen Agliotti….

Second, it shows just how spurious the reasons for Jackie Selebi`s suspension and ultimate firing have been. Surely, if the prosecuting authority and the police are at war with one another and the police leadership is trying to stop the proper investigation of the Police Commisioner who has admitted to being friends – ¨finish and klaar¨- with a mafia type drug lord and underworld kingpin, then sombody really concerned about so called national security would have stepped in.

But we do not hear a peep from the President and the stand-off between these two institutions continue.

Pikoli is now trying to argue before the High Court that ulterior motives animated his firing. Sadly there is no smoking gun here so although his firing was illegal it will not be that easy to prove because it is not easy to prove the real motive of those who claim a different motive

But
for ordinary citizens with at least two brain cells it must be very clear what is going on here. Pikoli was suspended by Mbeki because he wanted to arrest Selebi and now he was fired because the ANC wants to appoint a new NDPP who will find a ¨political solution¨for the Jacob Zuma case.

This in some weird way is understandable, because if Zuma actually has to face his day in court he will be destroyed when all the damaging evidence is brought to light about all the money he received from Shaik and all the favours he did for Shaik in return. Even if he is acquitted, most sane people will not trust him after a trial. So a trial must be stopped at all cost.

I am holding thumbs for Pikoli because as even that party hack Frene Ginwala found he is a man of the highest integrity. No wonder the ANc wants to get rid of him. Here`s a thought – pity Carl Niehaus does not have a law degree or could not have fabricated one as he could then have been appointed as NDPP. He would surely know how to deal with national security in a way that suits the ANC…

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