Thabi Leoka was an unfortunate hired gun by President Ramaphosa and CR17 funders

Published Jan 25, 2024


By Phapano Phasha

The rapid rise of Thabi Leoka to companies that were linked to President Ramaphosa such as MTN and REMGRO and her appointment to key government boards, Commissions and Presidency should have caught our eye.

Leoka was weaponised, elevated and promoted into a litany of boards by companies and business people who funded and were linked to the CR17 campaign. It was therefore not a coincidence when President Ramaphosa and Pravin Gordon appointed her to serve as a commissioner of the Public Investment Corporation where she was weaponised to destroy Dr Iqbal Survé.

She was also appointed as a board member of SAA Express were she also served as an acting chair of that board. It was not another coincidence that with Minister Pravin Gordhan, they paved the way for the sale of South African Airways to Takatso Consortium whose largest equity stakeholder is Rupert owned REMGRO where Leoka served as an executive director and board member.

The extent of Thabi Leoka’s influence on our economic system, privatisation of our SOEs and discourse was well crafted and we cannot also discard the corruption and government deals that where facilitated by/through Thabi Leoka who was used by the establishment, President Ramaphosa and Pravin Gordhan as a scholar and expert to justify the capture of the State by CR17 funders.

There is no scholarly work from Thabi Lehoka, she didn’t contribute to any knowledge production in economics yet she sat on some of the biggest White owned controlled boards where even the most seasoned black economists, male or female, could never dream of sitting in. She was a useful tool and another certified black graduate who was used to promote the interests of White business and neoliberalism. More sadly, she was used to destroy lives and this is a crime she will never pay and account for.

Here was a black woman, who was postured as a doctor and an expert who at every given opportunity would propagate for the sale of our SOEs which she characterised as “burden” better off privatised. She played her role very well and was extremely believable but little did South Africans know she had handlers behind her who would one day destroy her because they always knew who she was.

Besides the fake qualification, Thabi Leoka never presented herself as a scholar but would always regurgitated what was already said in the mainstream media and what was peddled by the establishment. Hence she was made a spokesperson where she used her “PhD” to peddle the State Capture narrative which she used to deceptively qualify the necessity and urgency for privatisation of our State Owned Entities.

Thabi Leoka was vicious on how she peddled the State capture narrative around Jacob Zuma and was brutal as a Commissioner and spokesperson of the PIC Commission of Inquiry where she was appointed by President Ramaphosa in 2018 where she and her fellow commissioners used their powers to create a basis to destroy companies linked to Dr Iqbal Survé.

We must not mourn for Thabo Leoka, she signed a Faustian pact with the devil and her contract enabled her to have everything she could ever dream of in terms of stature, a table with Whiteness and riches but we know the pact with the devil has never ended well. Her only way out is to tell the truth and apologise to those whose lives she destroyed in her quest for power and prestige.

It is also unfortunate that a black woman permitted herself to be used in a classical CIA intelligence operation which used corruption as the centre narrative for regime change and to ultimately weaken the State as a means to sell State Owned Assets to private hands.

Consequently, we must not allow this story to die because underneath its layers are many layers which all collude around the CR17 campaign and the real capture of the State.

* Phapano Phasha is a researcher and policy developer.

** The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of IOL or Independent Media.