Has Tokyo lost his marbles?

Zukile Majova

South Africans are watching the painful demise of Tokyo Sexwale, a man who was once considered by many as a potential president, to a confused political has-been hallucinating about multi-billion rand funds.

In the early 2000s, Sexwale, former ANC treasure Mathews Phosa and Cyril Ramaphosa were listed as the main heavyweights to replace the then-president Thabo Mbeki.

The trio was even accused of plotting to assassinate Mbeki.

For the next 20 years, Sexwale pulled every trick in the book to create a spot for himself at the ANC high table.

In the run up to the 2007 ANC conference, Sexwale launched his own presidential campaign only to throw his lot in with Jacob Zuma, who beat Mbeki at the watershed ANC conference. 

For a while Sexwale found himself back at the ANC high table as Minister of Human Settlements and member of the ANC National Executive Committee. 

Since then, his name has appeared alongside those nominated by different branches for the ANC top job on the eve of every elective conference.

For at least 20 years, Sexwale has been a reluctant Zuma loyalist who tries to present himself as being independent of factional politics.

This month, on the eve of another ANC conference, Sexwale is back in mainstream politics with a ridiculous claim that commercial banks and government leaders looted billions of rands which were meant to help the country respond to a myriad of challenges.

Sexwale unloaded his hallucinations at a press conference and implicated President Cyril Ramaphosa, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago and ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile in a cover-up.

He also apparently fell victim to a conspiracy theory with roots in the “White Spiritual Boy Trust” tale, which Business Insider reports was even rejected by QAnon, the Donald Trump-supporting cult. 

That tale claimed that $600 trillion worth of cash, of which more than $3 trillion was kept in a South African Standard Bank account, had been stolen. At least Sexwale’s numbers were a bit lower – he alleged $110 trillion had been misappropriated. 

But the National Treasury and the SA Reserve Bank dismissed Sexwale’s claims as nothing short of a scam.

Still, don’t bet on his political career being over. With the wheels fast coming off of Ace Magashule’s presidential campaign, Sexwale might be positioning himself to emerge as the main presidential candidate for the Zuma faction in the ANC.

Picture source: @TokyoSexwaleSA

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