Travellers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand will from Thursday no longer require a visa to visit South Africa for holidays, conferencing or business meetings.

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi made the announcement during his budget speech on Thursday. These countries are four of seven Motsoaledi said would be granted visa-free status.

Motsoaledi said the department would implement visa waivers for Ghana, Cuba, and Sao Tome and Principe after negotiations with these countries had been concluded. He said the department was scheduled to complete these negotiations by the end of this month and the implementation would follow soon thereafter.

"We took this decision (to waive visa requirements) unilaterally but we are engaging these countries to see how they can relax entry requirements for our citizens. I am glad to say that Qatar has already waived visa requirements for South Africans and this will enable our people to attend Qatar's Fifa World Cup 2022 easier," Motsoaledi said.

He said the department was continuously reviewing its operations to contribute toward growing the economy, facilitating the creation of jobs and securing the country's borders.

"Home affairs has an important contribution to make in growing tourism and by extension growing the economy and creating jobs. We are constantly reviewing our operations to ensure that we relax entry requirements without compromising our responsibility towards the safety and security of our citizens," Motsoaledi said.

The country had already waived the visa requirement for 82 of the 193 countries who were members of the UN. Eighteen of the countries enjoying a visa-free status in South Africa were on the continent with all Southern African Development Community countries enjoying this status, except for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Motsoaledi said those countries enjoying the visa-free status were among the nations accounting for the majority of international tourists to SA from the continent, Europe and the Americas.

 

Credit: TimesLIVE

British authorities said on Wednesday South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd has agreed to pay the National Health Service (NHS) 8 million pounds to resolve concerns related to overpayment for a treatment.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the settlement follows an investigation into arrangements Aspen made with rival pharmaceutical firms in 2016, to keep them out of the market for the supply of Fludrocortisone 0.1 mg tablets.

The prescription-only treatment is paid for by the NHS in the UK, and the state-run health service had to pay higher prices for it because of Aspen's arrangements, the CMA said.

Fludrocortisone is mainly used to treat Addison's disease, in which the body's adrenal glands fail to produce sufficient hormones.

Britain's competition regulator said Aspen could also have to pay an additional 2.1 million pounds in fines as part of a wider package, if the investigation concludes that the company broke the law.

The regulator said it was also looking at two other companies that were involved in dealings with Aspen.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, Aspen said it would dispose its right to ambient Fludrocortisone in the UK to an independent third party, and would reintroduce cold storage versions of the treatment into the country.

 

When Cyril Ramaphosa succeeded Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s president, he promised a “new dawn” after nine years of misrule that hobbled the economy.

Eighteen months later, hopes have dissipated that the former labor union leader can orchestrate a turnaround. The economy shrank the most in a decade in the first quarter of this year; 38% of the workforce can’t find jobs or have given up looking; and massive bailouts for the debt-stricken state power utility are draining the country’s coffers, putting South Africa at risk of losing its sole investment-grade credit rating.

Ramaphosa himself, a respected 66-year-old lawyer who led the negotiations that brought an end to white-minority rule in 1994, is stuck in a political quagmire. While he won control of the ruling African National Congress by a razor-thin margin in late 2017, members of an ANC faction loosely allied to Zuma remain entrenched in senior positions in the party and the state, undermining Ramaphosa’s authority and limiting his scope to tackle rampant graft and nepotism.

The president has axed several cabinet ministers with tainted reputations, replaced the chief prosecutor and head of the national tax agency, and revamped the boards and management of troubled state companies. His efforts to sweep the government clean helped steer the ANC to its sixth consecutive win in May elections. But his detractors in the party have continued to push back against his anticorruption crusade, which has eroded investor confidence. They’ve demanded changes to the central bank’s inflation-targeting mandate and advocated land seizures to address racially skewed ownership patterns dating to apartheid and colonial rule, when members of the black majority were largely deprived of the right to own property.

“A more forceful leader could have adopted a blitzkrieg strategy straight after the election victory and probably been victorious. But Cyril Ramaphosa is not such a leader,” says Robert Schrire, a politics professor at the University of Cape Town. By moving cautiously, the president may have ensured the stability of his government, but at the expense of his ability to effect change, Schrire says. “The opportunity has passed.”

relates to The Walls Are Closing In on Cyril Ramaphosa

The president’s political challenges extend beyond the ANC. Powerful labor unions that played a key role in bringing Ramaphosa to power appear intent on derailing efforts to turn around state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. They’ve rejected cuts to its bloated workforce and plans to break it into three operating units that would be easier to manage. The president has also been locked in legal battles with the nation’s antigraft ombudsman, who accuses him of failing to disclose a campaign donation.

Despondency over the stalemate is evident in the financial markets. The rand, which jumped to a three-year high after the ANC forced Zuma to quit and replaced him with Ramaphosa, has reversed all of its gains. Meanwhile, government bond yields have spiked over the past month as the cost of a three-year bailout for Eskom ballooned by $4 billion, to $8.6 billion. “The additional support to ease the company’s financial pressures would be credit negative for South Africa because it would be an additional drain on fiscal resources,” Moody’s Investors Service, the only major rating company that doesn’t classify the nation’s debt as junk, wrote in a July 24 report. “The lack of a strategy to return Eskom to a more stable financial situation that would reduce the need for government support exacerbates the problem.”

Morgan Stanley analyst Andrea Masia sees the budget deficit widening, to about 6.4% of gross domestic product in the current fiscal year and 6.6% in 2020-21, from 4.2% in the year ended March 2019, mainly because of the extra money being poured into the utility. Eskom lost a record $1.4 billion in the 12 months through March. The February budget projected a gap of 4.5% and 4.3% for the two years, respectively, though the country’s growth prospects have deteriorated since then.

The government has made mistakes and failed to implement coherent policies, Ramaphosa concedes, while unchecked graft has impaired its ability to fix the country’s problems. Zuma is standing trial for allegedly taking bribes from arms dealers almost two decades ago, but no other high-profile individuals have been indicted—despite a judicial panel having unearthed evidence that staggering amounts of money were looted from the state during Zuma’s administration.

Ramaphosa’s plans to boost the annual economic growth rate to 5% and halve the unemployment rate include luring $100 billion in investment and getting private companies to partner with the government to build infrastructure. He’s targeting a top 50 position in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking within three years by reducing red tape and other hindrances to commerce. South Africa currently ranks 82nd out of 190 nations.

Adversaries in the ANC, including the party’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule, appear bent on scuppering Ramaphosa’s initiatives. They insist that priority should be given to securing the black majority a bigger share of the nation’s wealth by redistributing land and changing the central bank’s mandate so it plays a more proactive role in fostering growth and creating jobs. This they call “radical economic transformation”—a mantra popularized by Zuma. —With Nkululeko Ncana

BOTTOM LINE - Ramaphosa’s tenuous hold on the ruling party is making it difficult for him to eliminate graft and turn around the flagging South African economy.

 

Source: Bloomberg

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is standing his ground in a deepening campaign funding scandal that threatens to scar his reputation and undermine his drive to tackle rampant graft, insisting that he has done nothing wrong.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane, the nation’s anti-graft ombudsman, said Ramaphosa misled lawmakers about a donation to his 2017 campaign to win control of the ruling party and instructed parliament to censure him for violating the constitution and the executive ethics code. While Ramaphosa said he was kept at arm’s length from his campaign fund-raising, Cape Town-based website News24 reported that it obtained verified copies of leaked emails from his camp disproving his assertion.

“This is smoke and mirrors,” Khusela Diko, Ramaphosa’s spokeswoman, said in an interview with Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA on Monday. “The president hasn’t committed any crime. None of those donations are coming from anybody whom, from the best of our knowledge, would have obtained that money illegally.”

Mkhwebane initiated an investigation into the president at the request of the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, which questioned whether a 500,000 rand ($33,500) payment his campaign received from Gavin Watson, the chief executive officer of services company Bosasa, was above board. Testimony given to a judicial panel has implicated the company in paying bribes to senior government officials to win contracts.

Ramaphosa said he inadvertently failed to disclose the payment to lawmakers and rectified his mistake as soon as possible. He’s challenging Mkhwebane’s findings that he intentionally misled parliament and filed an urgent interdict to postpone any censure until the case is heard. A date for both hearings has yet to be set.

More than 120 people donated money to Ramaphosa’s campaign on the understanding that they should expect nothing in return, according to Diko.

“We stand by our statements that the president was not privy to the day-to-day running of the campaign,” and didn’t know about Watson’s donation, she said. “Yes, there were times where guidance may have been sought from him.”

 

Credit - Bloomberg

Nedbank Group is in talks with about 1 500 employees over potential job cuts at the South African lender’s retail and business-banking division to cope with a struggling economy and increased competition.

The company forecasts that “between 50 and 100 employees are at risk of not being placed in a role,” Johannesburg-based Nedbank said in an emailed response to questions on Friday. “Unplaced employees will then be assisted by the bank to either secure available alternative positions within the bank, which is our first prize, or be equipped for opportunities outside the bank.”

South African lenders are battling to grow revenue faster than costs as they contend with an economy that has shrunk for three of the past five quarters. Consumers have been battered by rampant unemployment, rising taxes, fuel prices and utility bills, pushing them to explore cheaper banking alternatives or digital services. Companies aren’t investing amid uncertainty over electricity supply and surging government debt levels.

“Nedbank is being forced to reshape our operating models and businesses,” the company said. “In doing this, Nedbank actively makes use of natural attrition and a redeployment and reskilling pool. Non-voluntary retrenchments are always the last option.”

The company, which employs 30 577 people, has also been reducing the floor space used by its branches and increasing the use of automation to lower costs. Nedbank expects the process to be concluded after the final meeting with the labor union Sasbo at the end of this month, it said.

 

 

- Bloomberg

Matshela Energy, which is fronted by South Africa’s power utility Eskom’s former chief executive officer, Engineer Matshela Koko, will invest US$250 million into a solar power plant in Gwanda, with project works set to begin next month.

The company was awarded the licence to set up the power plant by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) on July 17.

It is envisaged that the project, which will produce 100 megawatts, will become the single largest solar venture in the country and will create up to 1000 jobs.

The solar plant dovetails with the country’s renewed push to promote clean energy sources that are meant to protect the environment and reduce attendant consequences such as climate change.

Engineer Koko told The Sunday Mail that the project can be expected to feed into the national grid within the next 12 months.

“The board of Zera approved the issuance of the electricity generation licence to Matshela Energy for Phase 1. Total approximate investment for licensed generation facility: US$250 million.

“The project will create approximately 1 000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction and operation phases,” he said in e-mailed responses.

Eng Koko said he had assembled a “competent team” of energy experts and investors from different parts of the world to embark on the project.

He said the team will be in Harare next month to begin works.

“Our partners will be on site in August to complete the detailed design for the power plant. We believe our team is competent and second to none and will deliver the project without fail.”

“We anticipate first power 12 months from September 2019. Matshela Energy is fully funding the project through a robust financial structure and is expecting no upfront payment from the people of Zimbabwe.

The only expectation is for the Government of Zimbabwe to honour the power purchase agreement that has been signed.”

Engineer Koko said the company will not receive advance payment from the Government, but will use its own resources instead.

He insisted that despite being linked to corruption allegations at the South African power utility, he had a traceable track record of integrity.

“I have had a very successful career at Eskom spanning over 25 years. I have not been charged or found guilty of any corrupt activities and have no pending criminal charges against him. Mr (Wicknell) Chivayo was paid by the Government of Zimbabwe to build a 100 MW solar PV plant. The Government of Zimbabwe, through Zesa, took the risk for the project (and) Chivayo was paid to execute. However, Matshela Energy carries all the financial construction risk for its project and the Government of Zimbabwe takes no risk in this regard.”

New technology

The solar project, Eng Koko said, will also consist of an advanced battery energy storage system.

He said because renewable energy does not always coincide with electricity demand, surplus power will be directed towards research and imparting skills to university students.

“Matshela Energy has resolved to ringfence US$100 000 per annum for 20 years to put towards research and innovation in the field of advanced energy storage and renewable energy generation. This will be done in partnership with a local university. The university will be selected in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.”

In a notice published last week, Zera said Matshela Energy’s licence would be valid for 25 years.

“The generation licence is hereby granted to Matshela Energy Private Limited in terms of Section 42 of the Electricity Act to own, operate and maintain the 100 MW solar plant called the Matshela Energy-Gwanda Timber Farm Solar Plant at Gwanda Timber Farm, Gwanda, Matabelaland North province for the purpose of generation and supply of electricity.

“Subject to the Electricity Act and the terms and conditions of the licence, the licensee may supply electricity to any transmission, distribution or supply licensee who purchases electricity for resale and with the approval of the authority to any one or more consumers,” Zera said.

 

Source: Sunday Mail Zimbabwe

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday said he will seek an urgent judicial review of what he described as an irretrievably flawed report in which the country’s graft watchdog said he misled parliament over a campaign donation.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report followed an investigation by the watchdog into a 500,000 rand ($35,878.56) donation to Ramaphosa’s 2017 campaign for the leadership of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) from the CEO of services company Bosasa.

Ramaphosa said the report’s findings were not rational, based in fact or arrived at through a fair and impartial process - assertions Mkhwebane refutes - and that he would seek a judicial review of the report, its conclusions and the remedial action it recommended.

“After careful study, I have concluded that the report is fundamentally and irretrievably flawed,” Ramaphosa told a media briefing, adding that it was therefore appropriate the courts make a final and impartial judgment on the matter.

A statement issued on Mkhwebane’s behalf said she welcomes the president’s decision but stands by the report and will seek to assist the courts in arriving at the “correct conclusion”.

“She has no doubt that she exercised her powers and performed her functions without fear, favor or prejudice, as is required by the constitution,” the statement said.

Mkhwebane, who began the investigation after a complaint from South Africa’s opposition, on Friday said that she found the president had “deliberately misled” parliament and violated the executive ethics code in regards to the donation.

The saga has proven a headache for Ramaphosa, who has staked his reputation on cleaning up deep-rooted corruption and reviving Africa’s most developed economy, providing ammunition for enemies including an ANC faction loyal to his predecessor Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa initially told parliament that the money received by his son Andile was obtained for services he had provided, but he later corrected this by saying the payment was actually a donation towards his campaign.

The remedial actions Mkhwebane recommended included the speaker of the national assembly to demand publication, within 30 days of receiving the report, of all donations received by Ramaphosa.

She also instructed the chief prosecutor to investigate whether Ramaphosa’s campaign had laundered money in its handling of donations.

Ramaphosa’s supporters accuse her of acting as a proxy for Zuma’s faction, which she has denied.

 

(Reuters)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has said that President Cyril Ramaphosa deliberately deceived Parliament with regard to a R500,000 donation from Bosasa to fund his African National Congress election campaign, Eyewitness News reports.

Mkhwebane said that Ramaphosa breached the Executive Ethics Code by failing to disclose financial interest accrued to him as a result of the donations received for the CR17 campaign, writes News24.

Mkhwebane also found that the means through which the R500,000 donation were funneled - transferred through several accounts before being paid into the president's campaign account - raised suspicion of money laundering, saying: "The allegation that there is an improper relationship between President Ramaphosa and his family on the one side, and the company African Global Operations (AGO/Bosasa) on the other side, due to the nature of the R500,000 payment passing through several intermediaries, instead of a straight donation towards the CR17 campaign, this raising suspicion of money laundering, has merit."

Mkhwebane referred the allegations of money laundering to authorities to investigate. Previously, Bejani Chauke, former CR17 Campaign Manager, said in a statement that there was "no basis whatsoever for even a suspicion of money laundering". Chauke's statement posted on The Mail & Guardian elaborated: "The CR17 campaign was funded by a broad range of individuals from across South Africa who supported the objectives of the campaign. These funds were paid into accounts established for this purpose and were used to cover the costs of the campaign such as stipends, travelling, communications and promotional material, meeting venues and accommodation. In the process, all legal and regulatory requirements were met."

Mkhwebane's statements come after Ramaphosa said that he was "willing and able" to appear before the Zondo Commission into state capture.

 

Credit: allAfrica.com

Corruption in South Africa isn’t simply a matter of bad morals or weak law enforcement. It’s embedded in processes of class formation – specifically, the formation of new black elites. This means corruption is primarily a matter of politics and the shape of the economy.

In a recently published paper, I attempt to shed fresh light on the unconvincing narratives that have been presented in the media, NGOs and academic circles about the events of the past 10 years.

These narratives generally depict events as a struggle between two opposing forces. On the one side are a network of politicians, officials, brokers and businessmen centred on former President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family. All are bent on looting, state capture and self-enrichment. On the other are a band of righteous politicians and citizens. This group is seen as drawing together the “old” ANC, activists, “good” business and citizens in general. They are intent on rebuilding institutions and good governance, the rule of law, international credibility and fostering growth and development.

I argue that a much deeper set of social forces underlies and shapes the struggles within the governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), and the society more broadly. These political struggles are inseparable from struggles over the shape of the economy.

Limited access

The primary process to change the economy has been the drive to accelerate the emergence of new black elites. But institutional interventions, such as black economic empowerment, have been insufficient.

Already, during the Thabo Mbeki period as well as the presidency of Nelson Mandela, an alternative informal political economic system was emerging at national, provincial and local levels. Through this, networks of state officials, ambitious entrepreneurs as well as small time operators, were rigging tenders or engaging in other kinds of fraud so as to sustain or establish businesses, or simply to finance self-enrichment.

Because of a number of factors there was little alternative for channelling the aspirations and burning sense of injustice of black elites and would be elites in post-apartheid South Africa. These factors include the property clause in the Constitution, the conservative strategies adopted by the ANC government and the fact that large corporations and white owned businesses dominated the economy.

This means that opportunities are few, demand is high and competition is fierce. In this context, the state is where people who are locked out are most likely to gain some access.

This links to the issue of violence. The emergence of new elite classes is often a ferociously contested, ugly and violent affair. South Africa is no different from many other post-colonial countries – or indeed the histories of the Euro-American elites that currently dominate the globe.

In South Africa this violence takes the form of burning down homes and state facilities, intimidation, assault, the deployment of the criminal-justice system to protect some and target others, and, increasingly, assassination.

I argue that this set of practices constitutes an informal political economic system. By a system I don’t mean a structure which is centrally coordinated or planned. What I’m referring to is a pervasive and decentralised set of interlocking networks that reinforce and compete with one another in mutually understood ways, and include the use of violence as a strategic resource.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma in court on corruption charges. EPA-EFE/Rogan Ward / Pool

This system preceded Zuma’s presidency, and extended far beyond the Zuma-Gupta network. The recent revelations about corruption at the Zondo commission into state capture, VBS mutual bank or in the book, How to steal a city by Crispian Olver, make this abundantly clear.

It should also be abundantly clear that the informal political-economic system necessarily entangles President Cyril Ramaphosa’s core network of institution builders.

Ramaphosa’s challenge

Ramaphosa’s key challenge is to build a stable coalition within the ANC so as to embark on his project of institution building. His trajectory, and the future shape of corruption in South Africa, will be determined by the character of the coalition he can forge – or that will be forced on him – among party barons within the ANC.

For the purpose of building institutions and attracting investment, it will be necessary to establish as stable a coalition as possible. This means it will have to be a broad coalition. One thing is sure: the coalition will include corrupt figures. It already does. The informal system of patronage politics will remain pervasive.

Even so, Ramaphosa’s power is precarious in the ANC. The odds are stacked against success in establishing stability. For the medium-term the trajectory of politics is likely to be characterised by multiple contestations over material opportunities, political power and symbolic representation. This will give rise to an increasingly volatile, unstable and violent political space.

To return, then, to the prevailing narrative and its misreading of the politics of corruption.

Deep structural issues

The problem with the narrative is that it assumes it’s possible simply to remove some “rotten apples”“, and it sets standards Ramaphosa cannot possibly match.

Perhaps, though, it is a useful fiction for the mobilisation of civil society, journalists and judges, which at the very least may contribute to containing corruption?

There is some validity in this. Yet it fails to direct attention to the deep structural issues which give rise to corruption as an aspect of class formation.

The only long-term and stabilising solution would be to draw into the formal system some of the purposes of the informal system. This would require a much more fundamental redistribution of assets and wealth, which could be deployed in the large-scale formation of a new black business class, primarily located in manufacturing and agriculture, as well as to fixing the education crisis. The result would be the formation of professional, scientific and technical middle classes.

This kind of solution will not emerge from the Ramaphosa administration, which is much more fixed on reproducing the policies of the Mbeki era. The problem is that these were what created the opportunity for the rise of Zuma in the first place.The Conversation

 

Karl von Holdt, Senior Researcher, Society Work and Politics Institute, University of the Witwatersrand

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

It’s been almost a year since the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture in South Africa began to hear testimony.

Also known as the Zondo Commission, it is headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who has listened to 130 days of live testimony from more than 80 people. It is probing allegations that the government was captured by private business interests for their own benefit.

During it all, echoes of former South African President Jacob Zuma’s alleged involvement have become deafening. Through various testimony, Zuma has been directly implicated by current and former senior government officials and ministers. They have alleged, among other things, that Zuma leaned on them to help the Guptas – Zuma’s friends who are accused of having captured the state – and to fast-track a nuclear deal with Russia that would have bankrupted South Africa. Also, the governance failures that have resulted in the looting of parastatals, have been blamed squarely on state capture.

Zuma’s turn to give evidence has arrived. Not only does he deny that state capture exists – he’s called it a fake political tool – he’s also cast himself as a hapless victim.

Refusing to engage the concept, he said:

There are people who did things to others in one form or the other‚ and you can call it in any other name‚ not this big name “state capture”.

The allegations against him are that he orchestrated a network of corruption that hijacked South Africa’s developmental project.

The importance of Zuma testifying before the commission should not be underestimated. It will set a precedent that will either show that those that abuse power will be held to account or that the cycle of impunity will continue, reinforcing the unjust systems that enable state capture.

Understanding state capture

Originally, the theoretical concept of state capture referred to a form of grand corruption. In the case of South Africa, it can be defined as the formation of a shadow state, directed by a power elite. This shadow state operates within – and parallel to – the constitutional state in formal and informal ways. Its objective is to re-purpose state governance, aligning it with the power elites’ narrow financial or political interests, for their benefit.

State capture rests on a strategy to align arms of state and public institutions and business to support rent-seeking.

In the events being scrutinised by the commission, the evidence being led shows that actors made sure that all the conditions were created and processes lined up to extract more money than the actual goods and services cost as a way to enrich themselves.

This reveals the systemic nature of state capture. To be successful, it requires the deep cooperation and complicity of the highest office in the land to secure rents, hollow out accountability and maintain legitimacy.

The graphic below, by Robyn Foley, a senior researcher at the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at Stellenbosch University, outlines the alleged strategy of capturing state-owned enterprises, installing compliant officials, undermining the functional operation of government institutions and discrediting critical voices.

The graphic points to a presidency where state capture became syndicated within the state and rent-seeking. Capture is a radical departure from the norms and values upon which a democratic developmental state depends. Like most liberal democracies, South Africa’s constitution provides for checks and balances that are supposed to limit such abuses of power. When these checks are undermined, and the balancing forces are biased, the system becomes a reinforcing loop of bad behaviour, spiralling towards an oligarchic authoritarian state.

In other words, a silent coup.

How did we get here?

Zuma set his presidency on the ticket of state-sponsored development. This entailed using state-owned enterprise procurement, tighter state control and Black Economic Empowerment to realise what has been termed radical economic transformation.

But it was precisely within this agenda, and the governance arrangements that supported it, that seeds for state capture were sown. Tighter state control meant that the flows of information were controlled by only a few, while state-owned enterprises used the biggest share of procurement rands.

There was already billions moving through these state owned enterprises and radical economic transformation was the perfect ideology to bring it all together.

But black business hardly benefited at all from the profits of state capture. If radical economic transformation were to be effected through the constitutional state, it would be enacted through economic policy that supported livelihoods and employment creation. In addition, state capture has hollowed out the very institutions that would have been able to realise radical economic transformation through the constitutional state.

The unravelling

Numerous events over the past decade point to a slowburn abuse of key state resources. One of the first was the irregular landing of a civilian plane at Waterkloof Military Air Base in 2013. The plane was carrying foreign guests to a family wedding hosted by Zuma’s friends, the Gupta family.

Two years later evidence emerged that millions of rands of public funds had been used illegally for upgrades to the then president’s Nkandla homestead. This spending was outlined in a report prepared by the former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

The turning point came only months after the release of the Public Protector’s State of Capture report, when Zuma fired then Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas in March 2017. The events sent a shock wave through South Africa, triggering mass protests and mobilised public outrage, forcing Zuma to initiate the robust inquiry into state capture.

Our unpublished research shows that, to date, there have been 28 public state capture investigations, inquiries and commissions. There are also 118 outstanding cases of corruption involving government officials and politicians in the intray of the newly appointed head of the country’s National Prosecuting Authority, Advocate, Shamila Batohi.

The true cost of the damage cost by state capture, including the destruction of institutions and lives, is unquantifiable.

South Africans may well be seduced by the prospect of Zuma taking the stand at the Zondo commission. But he was not alone in driving the state capture project. And, the network of actors and influencers is extensive and still very much active. This much has been laid bare in testimony before the commission.

 

Nina Callaghan, Robyn Foley, senior researchers at the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at Stellenbosch University, contributed to the article.The Conversation

Mark Swilling, Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development, Stellenbosch University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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