Oscar van Heerden | Phala Phala: DA’s request for FBI to investigate is an insult to SA law enforcement


The DA must explain to us, the people, why they do not have confidence in our law enforcement agencies and what does that spell for the enforcement of the recommendations of the Zondo Commission reports going forward? writes Oscar van Heerden

Soliciting the assistance of an outside law enforcement agency does not sit well with me at all. What is the DA saying about the capacity of our own law enforcement agencies? That they are captured, corrupt and useless? These are the same judicial organisations South Africans depend on to solve their crimes, cease fraudulent activities, stop state capture and so much more.  

Soliciting a foreign law enforcement agency, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), to meddle in the domestic affairs of a sovereign country is like saying that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has the right to abduct, torture and detain any people from foreign countries which they suspect of terrorism. As is the case in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where hundreds of foreign nationals are being held against their will and being tortured while the whole world turns a blind eye.

It is the same as seeking relief from the USA Supreme Court for ruling that private companies that benefitted from apartheid crimes must compensate the people of SA. What makes people think that this court has jurisdiction over our affairs. It’s not an international court of justice, so it begs the question: why would some seek relief there? The DA is making the same mistake which is to think that American institutions can somehow interfere in the affairs of SA. 

They might want to believe they are the international policeman, but do we really also want to believe such? If the president had an undisclosed amount of forex, in this case, US dollars, what has that got to do with the USA? If the president had an undisclosed amount of Nigerian naira, was the DA going to call on the Nigerian law enforcement agencies to investigate? I think not. 

Investigations necessary 

I am not advocating that investigations into the Phala Phala farm should not occur, indeed they must. All I am saying is that we must all collectively have confidence in our own home-grown law enforcement agencies and trust they will do the job. Now is not the time to cast aspersions on the Hawks and the NPA because we all expect them to enforce the recommendations of the state capture reports, without fear or favour.

If we allow such, soon we will find ourselves in a situation that also wants to cast doubt on our judiciary, as was the case recently by some of our opposition parties. We must not allow this ugly phenomenon from any quarters, especially not from members of our very own legislature. 

This ongoing debacle about cadre deployment on the part of the governing party must also be put into context. Cadre deployment happens in all political parties in SA and is not confined to the ANC. In municipalities where the DA is in control, they deploy their own cadres throughout that municipality. Where some of the members are forced to step down because of sexual misconduct allegations, they make sure his or her replacement is a DA cadre. Similarly with the EFF, they too deploy their own cadres in various positions of importance. 

ALSO READ | Adriaan Basson: Phala Phala – If this is Ramaphosa’s version, why isn’t he telling us?

So to suggest that it is only the ANC that does this is somewhat disingenuous. However, the governing party does also, at times, mess up who they deploy to positions of responsibility and, for that, they must take responsibility. The reverse of such is that, at times, certain less qualified people were appointed and turned out to be very good at what was expected of them. Here I’m reminded of the many judges that grew up in the ANC and went on to represent all our people with distinction.

So before we go and run to foreign countries asking for assistance and interventions, let’s give our own boys and girls in blue a chance to prove themselves. I have no doubt that, if the charges laid against the president is found to have any merit, the NPA will do the right thing. Until such time, let us not resort to desperate measures and play to the gallery of populist politics just because you want to be seen to say and do the right thing.  

Game afoot 

As to the EFF and their handling of this matter in Parliament, well, if it wasn’t for Julius Malema’s infamous visit to Nkandla, together with some other unsavoury types, we could have plausibly believed that this, for them, was about justice, fairness and ethical leadership, but we don’t. We can see the game afoot since we are all casting our eyes towards the upcoming policy conference as well as the national elective conference of the ANC in December. The political chess board is abuzz and the foot soldiers and pawns are dutiful in their execution while the rooks, knights, queens and kings wait in the wings, ready for the perfect time, to show their hand.

As to whether the FBI will have the wherewithal and the know-how about the intricacies of our domestic political games, the internal fighting within the ruling party and the hidden agendas of our opposition parties, will certainly give us the confidence as to whether they will be able to confidently do a good job. In my opinion, the FBI will have sufficient knowledge and know-how, to say thank you, but no thank you to the DA. After all, they and other agencies in the USA are rather preoccupied with the conflict in Ukraine and the participation of their own citizens in that conflict.  

ALSO READ | Ralph Mathekga: Why Ramaphosa has to take ownership of the farm theft scandal

The DA must explain to us, the people, why they do not have confidence in our law enforcement agencies and what does that spell for the enforcement of the recommendations of the Zondo Commission reports going forward?

The USA might still be a global hegemon, but the sovereignty of any nation supersedes such.  

– Dr Oscar van Heerden is a scholar of International Relations (IR), where he focuses on International Political Economy, with an emphasis on Africa, and SADC in particular. He is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Fort Hare.

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