THE declining public service and this week’s announcement of South Africa’s tailspin into recession can be blamed on the government’s lack of honesty‚ accountability and state capture.
This is the opinion of Richard Calland‚ head of the University of Cape Town’s governance and rights unit‚ who said there was every reason for all South Africans to be concerned.
He and other governance experts believe the emergence of damning information from the tranche of leaked e-mails from the Gupta family should have South Africans demanding criminal investigations and the sacking of politicians.
Public pressure is now mounting on the government as thousands more emails about alleged state capture continue to be uncovered.
Calland said: “It has adverse consequences on the economy.” It was clear that the economic downturn of the past year – and this week’s recession announcement – had largely been due to a decline in confidence in the government’s accountability and honesty, he said.
This was growing as more and more information on state capture emerges.
State capture had profound consequences for the man on the street.
“It steers public monies‚ which could be used for social and redistribution of wealth programmes‚ towards a small number of people,” Calland said.
“[Those people conspired] with those in fiduciary relationships with the voters and boards of state-owned entities.”
He asked whether those parts of the democratic governance system that had not been captured could remain sufficiently insulated to carry out the necessary investigations.
Those who had committed crimes and distorted the state had to be prosecuted, Calland said.
“Investors want to see a state that is capable and honest and does what it says it will do with government programmes delivering to the poor.
The Institute of Accountability’s Paul Hoffman said South Africans needed to be concerned by state capture, as it debased the constitution and destroyed the fabric of society‚ including law and order.
“This silent coup hits directly at the poor by diverting money away from social delivery programmes designed to uplift and promote human rights‚ and concentrates power in the hands of those who operate this shadow state,” Hoffman said.
Evidence of the effect of state capture was evident from the number of South Africans living in poverty – more than half the country, he said. – TMG Digital