An open letter to Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba

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File: Then Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba at his swearing in at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House, Pretoria South Africa.

Dear Minister Gigaba

First of all, let me congratulate you on your new position. In your hands lies great power. If I may be so bold as to speak truth to that power, I am going to present you with a heartfelt appeal to you to become a leader who will go down in history as a great man.

It is widely understood that you are Zuma’s man. I hope the loyalty and respect you afford our president stems not from a vein of corruption running through your body, but from a desire to be loyal to your party and your leader – and perhaps some faith in Zuma’s earlier pretence of being a man of the people. Be that as it may, today, I put it to you that your loyalty, while admirable to a point, is now misplaced.

You, in your position, hold the keys to our state’s finances. Those keys are all that stands between the president and the signing off of a nuclear deal that even a child could comprehend as astoundingly corrupt in every possible sense. There is very little question that a nuclear deal that South Africa neither needs nor wants has been negotiated with the sole purpose of lining the pockets of the Gupta family.

Your appointment is not a reward for your loyalty – or it is only a reward for what that loyalty might deliver in future. And that delivery is simply this: Do not obstruct the nuclear deal that the people – the people that President Zuma claims to care so deeply about – do not want. Do not stand in the way of our President’s access to the state coffers over the next one or two years, as he finalises the deals that will allow him to depart office having secured untold wealth for his family.

Minister Gigaba, I am fairly certain that you will receive tempting offers to make it easier to support these deals. I believe that good lies in all of us, and I hope that you are an honourable man. If there comes such a time that you are presenting with a financial reward for your service to your leader and his backers, I hope that you will allow your conscience to speak for you and that you will find the strength and courage to allow it to say no.

If, on the other hand, you have accepted your new position with joyful glee at the riches that lie ahead, I have another appeal for you: Zuma’s power is waning. Even if he completes his term in office, he will be gone in two years. If you continue to hook your ascent to someone else’s decline, you will be dragged down with him.

Then there are two options. Either the hold that the Guptas have on our government will be so complete that they will continue to drive our country to ruin in pursuit of personal gain, and you will be one of the architects of the destruction of South Africa. Or, whoever takes over from Zuma will pick apart the network of lies and corruption in which your decisions will be bound, and your future will not be secure, and your past not proud.

I hope that since you weren’t our president’s first choice, there is less certainty about your willingness to participate in the process of state capture. I hope that the fact that Zuma was pressured into choosing someone other than Brian Molefe for the position of Finance Minister means that the ANC Top 6 have some faith in you to do the right thing. I hope that their faith is not misplaced, and that you will take this opportunity to be the man who declared, “This stops with me!”

Only time will tell, but I hope that the history books will have a reason to treat you kindly. It is my fervent hope that this will be the case. Again, congratulations and good luck.

Yours sincerely,

Georgina Guedes,

On behalf of, I believe, a good portion of the South African people.

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