Author: Yanga Kwatsha
We all know about the dirty C-word that’s being thrown around in media of late, CORRUPTION. From the Zondo Commission to Guptagate and State Capture (seriously Netflix is missing out on a critically acclaimed drama series here).
South Africa has had its fair bit of tragedy that has kept viewers tuned into the news. It’s truthful that corrupt politicians only seek to enrich their selfish needs, whether it be to purchase exotic cars, illustrious property or to maintain a lavish lifestyle. This beckons the question, at who’s cost does corruption come at?
If your answer is the poor or the middleclass, you might be somewhat correct. To be quite frank, corruption affects everyone in the country, not only from an opportunity cost point of view but also psychological, dragging down morale and affecting the dawn of a “new hope” for a better South Africa that we all expected when Cyril Rampahosa sang “Thuma Mina” at the State of the Nation Address last year.
According to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018, South Africa is ranked 73rd out of 150 countries. Botswana, our neighbours, are the highest ranked African country bragging a ranking of 34th out of 150 countries. But why are we even surprised? (depending on how naive you are).
You can blame the ANC in the manner in which it has managed its state entities, you can blame the ludicrous attitude towards corruption by the ruling party, Ramaphosa’s lackluster efforts to curb it, lack of responsibility or patriotism show by politicians in serving the public. You can blame the disastrous effects of apartheid or the supreme brilliance of Afrikaner Broederbond in being able to mastermind corruption.
Hell, you can even blame Zuma, the Guptas or Bosasa in being able to connive an evil plan of state capture, in effects to control public resources, brew bribery, and promote indecorous nepotism, at the expense of South Africa as a whole. At the end, the blame game turns into a zero-sum game.
In the wonderful words of Will Durant, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. Our recent surge in corruption of late is habitual and has unfortunately made it “acceptable” for those in power to push the narrative of individualism beyond the comprehension of socialists.
Corruption has existed for years in South Africa but the recent trends in the private sector (Steinhoff, The Great Bank Heist and Bosasa) have spit in the face of the “woke” generation, turning to what seemed a “Black” phenomenon into a Rainbow Nation dilemma. The weak nature of our Institutions and commitment to strengthen judiciary and legislature have made it easier for corruption to brew right under our noses.
At the end of the day, if I want to be corrupt I will be corrupt. Screw everyone that is affected by my actions? Why? Because I, as an individual matter at the end of the day.
Corruption Perceptions Index, (2018). Corruption Perceptions Index 2018. Transparency International.
Reuters/Rogan Ward, (2017). Why growing corruption is a threat to South Africa’s national security. The Conversation.