TIMES SELECT DAILY EDITION: Zwane’s Gupta ‘rescue mission’ | Right-to-die: more murders?

The testimony of four of SA’s major banks unmasked former Mineral Resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane as the key champion fighting against a decision to close the Gupta family’s bank accounts.

Testimony by senior banking officials at the Zondo commission of inquiry this week lifted the lid on how Zwane, during meetings with Standard Bank, Absa, First National Bank and Nedbank, threatened to take away the banks’ operating licences and in one instance pleaded with officials to “step in and save jobs”.

The damning testimony by banks started on Monday, but according to the commission, Zwane has yet to apply to cross-examine the bank officials.

Right-to-die activist Sean Davison, who appeared in court on a murder charge on Wednesday, is being investigated for more cases of assisted suicide.

Prosecutor Megan Blow asked the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court to postpone the case until November 16 to allow time for more investigation. She said “new information suggests that the accused may have committed murder in a similar fashion on more than one occasion”.

Davison, 57, was charged with the murder in 2013 of a doctor friend, Anrich Burger, who became a quadriplegic after a car crash eight years earlier.

The pro-euthanasia activist and renowned medical biologist was granted bail of R20,000, with conditions that bar him from leaving the Western Cape without police consent. He has to report regularly to his local police station in Pinelands, and is prohibited from international ports of entry such as airports and harbours.

There is something strange going on in Mzansi. I call it fragility – this singular narrative among young South Africans of being constantly battered and bruised by their circumstances.

“Our students say they are oppressed,” said one questioner at a social sciences research conference I addressed last week. To be honest, I do not fully understand this lament. I remember when students were truly oppressed – tortured, maimed and killed by police; driven and pursued into exile; and deprived of their most basic human rights as activists. So this heightened sense of fragility is hard to grasp this side of apartheid.

Two new books pander to this fragility. One with an imported title, Studying while Black, gives away the plot right there with an inappropriate Americanism. It tells the story of the struggles of 69 students over a five-year period. Another book, Going to University, narrates the story of 73 students who entered university for first-degree studies six years earlier. Both books will sink you into depression for their narratives of despair given in the words of students, often through direct quotation.

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