State hijacking has happened and key figures in the government have been hijacked.
Democracy, for which so many people have paid so much, is undermined.
For example, Popo Molefe, former board chairman of the South African Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa), testified on Tuesday in closing his testimony before the Zondo Commission on State hijacking.
“If these issues are not dealt with, it could lead to an autocratic power in the country where the Constitution and the public representation of the people no longer mean anything to the poor of the country,” according to Molefe.
He asked if Lucky Montana was ever appointed Prasa CEO to perform the most important task of running Prasa “or was he there to do another job”.
Molefe testified the first link of the chain of events he testified to was when the Prasa Council in November 2014 questioned the legality of a R2.4 billion contract for the modernization of the Braamfontein depot when it was approved has been submitted.
Molefe was appointed the council’s chairman in August 2014, after which he began his uncomfortable questions about contracts.
Montana subsequently informed the Prasa board that his time as chief executive was out and he was not going to ask for his contract to be renewed.
However, Molefe testified that Montana “got very busy” and contacted all kinds of organizations to get them involved in a campaign that he should be re-elected as group leader.
Another link in the chain was when Dipuo Peters, at that time Transport Minister, said the Prasa council was interfering with her work, Molefe testified.
She went ahead and asked the new acting chief of Prasa to investigate the council’s operation. Molefe testified that this meant that the council was placed under the administration of the minister.
Some members of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport also began to attack the Prasa Council in what Molefe described as a coordinated campaign against the Prasa Council.
Then the ex-president. Jacob Zuma insisted that Montana be re-appointed.
Jeff Radebe, then minister in the presidency, and Zuma further admitted at a meeting that Montana was giving a long talk about how weak the Prasa council is.
Molefe testified what followed was that Peters ordered the Prasa board to discontinue its investigations into passenger rail agency management. Molefe’s efforts that the Falcons investigate Prasa contracts were also in vain.
“All the actions show that certain individuals or a group of individuals are protected,” according to Molefe.
“The good people (in government) are overwhelmed by the rotten apples, so much so that the rotten apples have more power than they have,” Molefe testified.