Barclays Africa says it’s regrettable that the Public Protector’s report into ABSA was leaked before it was given an opportunity to explain its role in the debacle.

The bank could be liable to pay back more than R2 billion for an unlawful apartheid-era bailout.

Provisionally, the Public Protector has found that government breached the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act.

According to Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago said that he has been studying the report and has already found some irregularities.

According to Fin24, Ciex, the British “investigation and recovery” company, set things rolling in 1997 when it approached the South African government offering to recover money stolen by apartheid overlords and their cronies.

Advocate Paul Hoffman laid the complaint with then Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela in 2010.

He says it’s unfortunate that the report has been made public before those implicated were given time to deal with the allegations.

“Which she intends to do now and wasn’t done in this case very clearly, is to give people who are potentially detrimentally affected an opportunity of dealing with the allegations against them by putting the allegations to them.”

Is there a Gupta Link?

As with most things that happen in South Africa – from last year’s drought to Bafana Bafana’s absence from Afcon – the name Gupta is never far away.

As legitimate as the inquiry by the Public Protector and the questions by South African citizens are, this is now no longer what this whole thing is about.

The matter has now been seized upon by the Gupta machinery to deflect attention away from allegations of state capture that have been levelled at them.

Now that the provisional report is in the public domain and says not-so-nice things about South Africa’s largest bank, which happens to be run by Maria Ramos, someone they hate with a passion, the defenders of state capture have invaluable ammunition in their hands.

With this they can prove the corrupt ways of “white monopoly capital”.

Where does South Africa go from here?

Unfortunately this saga was born in the dark corridors of apartheid-era plotters. It is now back there. What South Africans can expect is that this will be one of the dominant stories in 2017 as the defenders of state capture do battle with those who want to hold the practitioner and beneficiaries of state capture accountable.

South Africans can expect to hear the skit of “white monopoly capital” throughout the year. You can expect it to be played into the ANC’s succession race in one way or another. You can also expect it to be a weapon for character assassination, rather than a tool to correct errant ways and strengthen institutions.

What do you think we can expect this year in terms of this debacle? Will the rick keep getting wealthy?