In his fourth State of the Nation Address on the 9th of February 2012, President Jacob Zuma affirmed that the battle against corruption would continue to be a priority for government. He further went on to welcome the launch of Corruption Watch and encouraged cooperation in the implementation of anti-corruption progammes. Shortly thereafter on the 18th February 2012, North-West Premier Thandi Modise presented the State of the Province Address in which she said, issues of mismanagement, irregular expenditure, fraud and corruption needed to be addressed and the province would continue to push for a corruption-free administration. These are very noble sentiments, considering the devastating blow corruption deals on service delivery, but in the same nation addressed by Zuma and in the very province Premier Thandi Modise addressed lurks a web of corruption which led to the murder of a man out to stop it.
Moss Phakoe, a councillor in the Rustenburg Local Municipality, was murdered only two days after meeting Cooperative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka and handing over a dossier of allegations about office bearers and officials in the Bojanala District Municipality (Please see an earlier post, ‘Corruption, Murder and Misplaced Priorities in the North-West Province’: http://goo.gl/7ukK2 ). His alleged murders have since been arrested, although charges against North West businessman Oupa Mphomane and Rustenburg Councillor Amos Mataboge, have since been dismissed over lack of evidence linking them to the crime. The remaining alleged murders are currently on trial, with many explosive allegations being made- despite the lack of media coverage about the trial.
According to Alfred Motsi- Phakoe’s confidant, colleague and fellow whistle-blower- almost a year before Phakoe’s death, the two of them armed with the dossier of incriminating evidence of corruption amounting to millions of rands allegedly approached the following:
– The ANC regional leadership;
– The provincial leadership of the North West;
– They also met with ANC national executive committee members Billy Masetlha and Siphiwe Nyanda;
– They delivered evidence to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe after which they went to The Office of the President, then run by current Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe (Basson A., 2012-03-11, City Press)
Following the lack of action by those approached, it is alleged that the pair then sent the evidence to Jacob Zuma, who thereafter invited them to see him over the 2008 festive season. According to Motsi, it was following this meeting that they met a group including, then deputy president Baleka Mbete; Thandi Modise, who is now Premier of the North-West province and ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa. It was concluded that the dossier be provided to former Minister Sicelo Shiceka, who would call a meeting to resolve the problem. It is alleged that also present in this meeting with the Minister was Mathews Wolmarans, a man not only reportedly incriminated in the dossier, but who has since been charged with the murder of Moss Phakoe and is now standing trial for it.
It is alleged that “Zuma and other party leaders decided to deal with the corruption claims within the ANC”, allegations which if are indeed true, raise the question of why ‘political solutions’ are being applied to criminal cases, as doing this undermines the rule of law- which is the foundation of our democracy. But most disturbing of all is the allegation that, “The deceased told the former minister ‘this may be the last day of my life’ when he handed the report to him”.
It is shocking that amidst these damning allegations being made; those who so passionately wanted Phakoe’s murderers to be brought to justice are now silent. If indeed as a nation we seek to eradicate the scourge of corruption, so rife in our land, each one of us should be up in arms demanding answers to the following:
– Have any charges been laid against the high-ranking police officer in whose office Hawks investigators allegedly found missing evidence related to the murder of Moss Phakoe?
– Will the ANC probe allegations made about high ranking officials in the organisation having been shown the dossier, but doing nothing about it- which possibly could have saved Phakoe’s life?
– Why was a man, allegedly incriminated in the dossier allowed to be part of a meeting in which evidence against him was being presented?
The Moss Phakoe murder is indicative that pulling a trigger is not the only way to kill a man and solely holding those who pull the trigger to account would not be justice, as those who could potentially have saved his life are not being held accountable for their failure to do so.
As a nation, our silence about this makes us all accomplices to Phakoe’s murder- the murder of a man who was merely responding to the call of duty, a duty which we all have as South Africans.