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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 16, No. 12, 22 June 2017

In this Issue:

SACP statement on the Public Protector promoting a book by Stephen Goodson who published "An illustrated guide to Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich"; "Rhodesian Prime Minister, Ian Smith - the debunking of a myth"; and, most recently, "Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd. South Africa's greatest prime minister.


Red Alert

Murky past must be decisively pursued, but the how part matters and so is the credibility of information authority

The revelation that the Public Protector promoted on social media, as a "must read book", a work by Stephen Goodson on central banks raises further questions about the quality of collegial advice Busisiwe Mkhwebane is receiving. Even more concerning is the fact that Goodson, whom she interviewed in April this year as part of her investigation into the ABSA/Bankorp matter, appears to be a key authority for her views on the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

So who is Stephen Goodson? Apart from a book on the SARB, and another on central banks in general, Goodson has published "An illustrated guide to Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich"; "Rhodesian Prime Minister, Ian Smith - the debunking of a myth"; and, most recently, "Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd. South Africa's greatest prime minister".

In the 1980s he was a contributor to the ultra-right, British "Spearhead" magazine, with links to the neo-fascist National Front, and as recently as October 2013 he was the keynote speaker in Britain at a neo-fascist memorial meeting for the late editor of "Spearhead".

All of this is easily available information on the Internet. So too is the fact that Goodson was one of the anomalous private share-holder "directors" on the SARB until 2012 until he was forced to resign, partly because he was about to complete a third-term as "director", and partly amidst a public storm concerning his holocaust denialism.

We can only imagine the controversy that would have quite rightly engulfed a Helen Zille or a Dianne Kohler-Barnard or a Penny Sparrow if they had promoted Goodson on social media. Arguably, the fact that Goodson is an ultra-right Anglophile jingoist doesn't necessarily mean that his views on central banks are entirely wrong, or that the SARB is above criticism - but surely the Public Protector's office should exercise greater judgement and discrimination?

The same applies to a more obvious influence on the Public Protector's report - the so-called CIEX report. The report is available on-line and is extremely shallow. It, too, has a strange provenance. It was written by an ex-British MI6 operator, Michael Oatley, who had been involved in "counter-terrorist" operations in the 1970s and 80s in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. The CIEX report is basically proposing to the South African government the recovery of monies from fraudulent apartheid-era deals in exchange for a massive bounty hunter fee. Apart from the Bankorp/ABSA matter, which had already been uncovered by Noseweek magazine, the CIEX report makes big claims but with zero substantial evidence of other alleged money-laundering deals during the apartheid era.

In fact, most of the CIEX report is devoted to a proposal for restructuring SA's intelligence services, by contracting out to private parties most of its operational work! Clearly, Oatley had himself and his company, CIEX, in mind. After spending a considerable sum on Oatley, government shut down this massive incursion into our democratic national sovereignty.

Murky past must be energetically pursued through proper investigation, and we must be careful of shady characters and their insincere agendas either contaminating the scene or hijacking it to divert attention from real issues. Safeguarding the scene requires that we intensify the struggle against corporate capture. This includes maintaining our focus on dislodging the Gupta linked brazen smash and grab private capital accumulation regime altogether with its manoeuvres to divert attention away from its shenanigans.  

The SACP hopes that the hurried and over-reaching publication this week of the Public Protector's report, like the equally poorly drafted Mining Charter, was not timed to influence the ANC's national policy conference starting on Sunday.


Umsebenzi Online is an online voice of the South African working class