With God and Mandela on his side, the good minister need not fear
TOWARDS the end of last year the newspapers reported that the investigations against Dr Allan Boesak had finally been completed, almost two years after the original accusations were made, and that Boesak would have to answer charges that charitable donations from Danchurch, intended for the upliftment of the local community, were apt to flow in unusual directions; namely Boesak's personal account.
The hearing was set for January 17 and Boesak duly appeared on local TV, assuring us in his peculiar falsetto voice that he couldn't wait to get back to South Africa to establish his innocence.
Of course, January 17 has come and gone but still no sign of the errant cleric, who is living and working in the United States with his wife.
I combed the papers last weekend and did notice a small reference that says, surprise surprise, the case has been postponed until March.
Bearing in mind that it has taken the investigators so long to piece together the evidence and build its case against Boesak (all at the taxpayer's expense) it is difficult to understand why it needs to be postponed for another two months. Let us be charitable and imagine that, try as he may, the Rev Boesak simply couldn't get a flight out of the United States, not even in first class where he was used to travelling before this whole unfortunate business.
Of course, the uncharitable view is that our Allan didn't try particularly hard to be back, and with good reason; his reappearance in this country would simply add to the ANC's woes.
You may remember that when Boesak was first accused of financial skulduggery he was being considered for a diplomatic posting to Geneva.
Having lost the Western Cape fairly and squarely in the 1994 election to the National Party, this was thought to be the ideal way to remove him from the local political scene while at the same time rewarding him for his past loyalties to the struggle.
EVEN as the accusations of fraud flew thick and fast, Boesak steadfastly protested his innocence. People wondered how a simple man of God could afford such a swanky lifestyle with a house in Constantia, luxury cars and a penchant for visiting some of the more refined Cape eateries.
Those of us who publicly criticised Boesak were accused of racism and the matter might have dragged on interminably had a rescue plan not been hatched.
Suddenly there was flash in the sky. . . Is it a bird? Is it a plane? . . . No, it's Supermandela! The State President, in the interests of the transparency for which the ruling party is so well known, declared that Boesak was a good egg and a highly talented young man to boot.
There was no reason to end a promising career just because a load of Vikings from the frozen north couldn't make sense of a few simple bank statements. In an attempt to close the matter once and for all and to give it a spurious legality, an unknown lawyer (both before and since) was found by Thabo Mbeki who would conduct an independent investigation into the matter and find, predictably, that there was insufficient evidence against the Rev Boesak.
That done, Allan would be free to represent South Africa in Geneva and, as they say in other good fairy stories, everybody would live happily ever after.
Unfortunately, all didn't go quite according to plan because the predominantly white-owned press didn't believe a word of it and called for a proper investigation by fraud squad detectives.
Neither were the Danes too impressed because they still had large amounts of money unaccounted for.
ANOTHER problem was that Boesak's alleged accomplice, Freddie Steenkamp, had already confessed to financial mismanagement and it looked as though he was about to blow the whistle on Boesak. Unfortunately for Freddie, he was simply not important enough to be looked after by the establishment so he was left to fend for himself.
Dr and Mrs Boesak were luckier, however. They were spirited away to the United States. I don't know if you have ever tried to emigrate to the US. Apart from needing skills that the country requires, you also have to convince them of your unblemished political past; they don't much like commies for example.
I also recall that they are less than enthusiastic about applicants who have pending criminal cases. None of this seems to have worried them in the case of Allan Boesak, though. God does indeed move in mysterious ways.