By Pinky Khoabane
South Africa’s media has since the advent of our democracy pushed an anti-black narrative that seeks to denigrate anything, good and bad, that black people do. What is devastating although not surprising is that the institution has black editors today and employs a lot of black journalists.
History tells of the house negro so although disappointed, we have a background to which we can refer.
South African Revenue Services (SARS) Commissioner Tom Moyane is the latest in a string of black professionals who have a proven track record of running state institutions and state owned companies well, but that is being maliciously attacked by our media. And for what? It’s almost as if our neo-liberal media struggles with accepting that performance and corruption are not based on the colour of one’s skin. A black man is as good as any white man at doing their work well.
The latest insinuation that Moyane is breaking the institution is completely unfounded. On the contrary, SARS has done better than it has under Moyane than it did under the much-loved Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan. It’s not a comparison I would have wanted to include here but it is at the heart of the attacks on Moyane. It centres around the Rogue Unit and the Hawks probe into it.
Before I bring in Gordhan’s link into the equation, let’s look at the accomplishments by Moyane at SARS. Unlike the unfounded, unwarranted attacks, these can be verified through annual reports. SARS for the first time this year, collected over R1 trillion, which has helped reduce the country’s deficit. I remember Moyane being interviewed by a very cynical Andile Khumalo of PowerFM who had come into the interview with the usual mistrust and who wanted to push the narrative involving other issues at SARS. He was swiftly put in his place by the very able, articulate and astute Moyane. But such is the herd mentality of our media and I’m being kind to the black ones because truthfully, I ought to speak of self-hate. They must all follow the narrative and agenda set by a group of these newspapers.
“Despite SA facing declining GDP growth revenue collections in 2015/16 SARS outperformed the economy representing a growth of 8.5% from the 2014/15 fiscal year and increasing the estimated tax to GDP ratio from 25.8% in Budget 2015, to 26,3% as projected in Budget 2016,” a statement by SARS reads. So why aren’t our media representatives happy that, in the midst of gloom this is happening?
SARS has put in place mechanisms to deal with illicit economy and illicit financial flows. Gordhan would know the complexity and difficulty in clamping down these issues. This is exactly why he would have established what is now known as the Rogue Unit. We’ve in several articles here on UnCensored, revealed the extent of illicit tobacco trading for example. It’s a mammoth task.
Let’s look at the timing of these attacks on Moyane. When the Sunday Times wrote extensively on the Rogue Unit, its word was gospel and all interventions taken by Moyane were fine. Once a bunch of white journalists started to discredit the journalist at the heart of the expose, Piet Rampedi, Sunday Times followed shortly and said it had, in part, lied in over a year’s coverage of the Rogue Unit. Has anyone heard any condemnation of the media by the media on what would be an absolute abuse of power? Imagine years of attacks and ultimately, it’s a simple matter of: Welll we lied all this time.
But here’s Moyane’s problem. He has used the findings from reports gained from investigations instituted by SARS and another loved former finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene, to ask Hawks to investigate Gordhan further. You’d think this is due process which everyone would respect. But no, we are dealing with SA’s untouchable, Pravin Gordhan.
Media reports said Moyane would have faced 10years imprisonment had he not reported Jonas Makwakwa’s alleged sums of money given to him by “dubious sources”. If we are to accept this legal fact, surely he’s done the right thing with Gordhan.