Earlier this month the ‘stalwarts and veterans’ of the African National Congress (ANC) bestirred themselves to commend their party’s leadership for ‘grasping the nettle of corruption’ following national revulsion at the ‘frenzy of looting’ accompanying the government’s Covid-19 relief efforts.

Others think this frenzy is a crime against humanity that should be referred to the international criminal court, and that the perpetrators should go to hell. Cyril Ramaphosa thinks they are ‘scavengers’ and ‘hyenas’ upon whom he is going to unleash a ‘special centre’ comprising eight government agencies.

We shall see. Corruption, however, is only part of a problem which also originates in two of the ANC’s major official policies, cadre deployment and ‘employment equity’.  

There are few government agencies, whether in the criminal justice cluster or anywhere else, whose management has not been packed with party comrades. The major purpose of these deployments is to secure ANC control, even if the comrades so deployed are corrupt. Given that so many comrades are corrupt, this deployment policy helps to perpetuate corruption. President Ramaphosa has yet to explain how he will ensure that the deployees sent to hunt down the ‘scavengers’ are not themselves ‘hyenas’.          

When the stalwarts and veterans talk of revulsion at ‘the industrial-scale larceny visited on the country for well over a decade’, they fail to ‘grasp the nettle’ of acknowledging that their party’s deployment policy has made the larceny possible for at least two decades. Among other things, it has fostered the prevalent culture of impunity in which comradely loyalty overrides the duty of honest and efficient service to the public.

The deployment policy is not the only way in which official agencies have been undermined. Immense damage has also been inflicted by the implementation of employment equity, especially in the form of the requirement that job occupants reflect racial demographics.

Corruption and incompetence

If appointments are made not on the basis of professional competence, but on the basis of political loyalty or to fill racial quotas, you end up with the public service which we have got, pervaded by both corruption and incompetence. So even if Mr Ramaphosa seriously intends even to begin trying to stamp out corruption over Covid-19 – a big if – he faces the challenge of finding enough officials who are both honest and competent.

Although it is corruption over Covid-19 relief that has pushed public anger to reach a point where even the complacent ANC is a bit worried, it is impossible to disentangle corruption from the other two factors, cadre deployment and racial demographics.

Eskom. SAA. Prasa. The SABC. State schooling. Government healthcare. National departments? Provinces? You name it. Who is to say which of the three factors has done the most damage?

With the exception of the Western Cape, South Africa’s municipalities are packed with people, many of them deployed cadres, who are sometimes crooked, sometimes incompetent, sometimes both. If all the crooks were weeded out, millions of people would still have no clean or reliable supplies of water, because they would still be at the mercy of incompetent cadres.  

No doubt most people outside the ANC (and maybe some within it) would like to see lots of corrupt people imprisoned. That would be a start – if it could be brought about – but it would be only a start. Would the board of a new squeaky clean SAA be subject to the same old cadre deployment and racial quotas? Would the corrupting policies of preferential procurement and black economic empowerment still apply to the ‘new’ SAA and other state-owned enterprises?  

No intention to relax racial requirements

Legislation tightening up employment equity requirements for the private sector is on the way, so presumably there is no intention to relax racial requirements in the public sector.

The commentariat is devoting enormous energy to exposing corruption. A handful of commentators have from time to time focused critical attention on cadre deployment. But they all still largely endorse the policy of implementing racial quotas. They therefore simultaneously deplore corruption while supporting – or turning a blind eye to – policies which undermine the state’s capacity to combat it.

This is nonsensical. It also means that the bulk of the commentariat is not doing a proper job of informing the public.

The Constitutional Court has not been much better, for it has taken the view that ‘transformation’ is the overriding imperative of the Constitution (which is a political opinion rather than a reflection of what the document actually says).

In a judgment handed down in a case in 2014, it upheld the denial of promotion by the police to Captain Renate Barnard on the grounds that she was white, even though no suitable blacks were available for the post in question, with the result that it was left vacant. Affirmative action, the court said, was necessary to achieve ‘substantive equality’.

By 2014 state failure had long been apparent and the subject of plenty of criticism. The Constitution requires not only ‘broad representation’ in public administration, but also ‘ability’ and ‘efficient, economic, and effective use of resources’.

Yet even though the Constitutional Court warned that beneficiaries of affirmative action had to be ‘suitably qualified in order not to sacrifice efficiency at the altar of remedial employment’, its decision in the Barnard case gave more weight to racial requirements than to ‘effective’ public administration – even of the police force in this crime-ridden country.  

Imprimatur

The court thus lent its imprimatur to racial policies which have undermined the public sector and also the constitutional rights which depend on an efficient public sector, among them the rights to life and dignity, the right to security of the person, the rights of access to housing and healthcare, and the right to a healthy environment.

Apart from being criminal, the theft of public funds undermines all these rights. But so do the ANC’s cadre deployment and racial policies, which also handicap efforts to combat such theft and other types of crime. It’s about time the commentariat began connecting the dots.

And for the Constitutional Court to be less complacent about the consequences of racial ‘transformation’.      

[Picture: ASSY from Pixabay]                                   

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Great analysis, as ever, but no green shoots evidence of how to change. As before it will be up to leaders in the private sector, but no one this time seems to have the courage.

  2. We need a full scale tax revolt to stop corruption and bring the anc a clear message that the citizens are gatvol of being the anc’s atm. Communities must take their community leaders on, and root out corruption and incompetence at the roots. Its unacceptable that citizens are becoming casualties of the same entity they voted for to ensure the country and its resources are being taken care of. # Direct Elections will fix this in part. It can not continue, enough already

  3. I read all this so called revulsion the ANC is declaring, and believe it is for being caught out.
    Like the father who gives his child a hiding for being caught stealing.
    It is not for stealing, but for being caught out stealing.
    A farm in Adderley Street Cape Town,for the first person to contact me, if some major 3 or 4 heads of the ANC go to jail from this investigation.

  4. I disagree with the author as I believe that the biggest element of corruption is actually BEE, or Black Elite Enrichment, as practiced in respect of contracts awarded on all levels of government. This policy provides a convenient smokescreen to award contracts to “BEE qualified” providers at prices in excess of other reasonable tender prices, thereby creating “margins” for kickbacks that can be paid to the officials that awarded the contracts. I believe that one would find that the large majority of contracts are awarded by government and SOE’s on the basis that skimming of this nature is enabled. Great chunks of taxpayers’ money are accordingly so ending up in the pockets of ANC fatcats and their accomplices.

  5. ANC selecting ANC to investigate ANC corruption and mismanagement. What a joke and the sooner we get this rotten regime out of power the better. Not only out of power, but have all their banking accounts frozen, sent to the International Criminal Court and convicted for treason and crimes against humanity.

  6. There is a fourth aspect to the problem. This is the liberal political establishment and the main stream media’s attitutude over the past 30 and more years that because the former regimes’ rule was not based on universal franchise, black majority rule would automatically ensure that peace and good governance would descend on South Africa. John Kane-Berman and the SAIRR strongly promoted universal franchise in a centrally governed unitary state and demonised white rule because of their dislike of Afrikaners.

    When will the liberals concede that the government we have now, both in form and in substance is a total fiasco? When will they acknowledge that the governance under the previous regime was not as bad as they like to proclaim whenever they refer to the period under NP governance. After all, the Nats managed to grow the economy, create a modern industrial economy, creteemployment, ensured law and order, we had a strong currency etc. The incessant denouncement of the achivements under white rule justifies ANC bad rule. The misplaced idealism of the liberal establishment is part of the problem. Time to own up and repent.

    • The fault of the previous regime was that it was raced based. The colour of ones skin was the deciding factor. The UP once had a policy of qualified franchise. The NP would not have it. The horse has bolted and now we have universal franchise and are back to race based policies. Race based policies are not sustainable, whether implemented by the previous regime or the present regime.

  7. Hermie, you are absolutely correct.
    They call them the tenderpreneurs. They tender for a government or SOE contract and get it because they have the required number of blacks in ownership. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or the local pub, whichever you prefer, they make a deal with some other supplier/contractor, which 9 times out of 10, actually belongs to some dishonest and semi-competant whitey. Whatever they are quoted, they just add 200+% on top and send the tender through. And they get awarded the contract, because they are family of some ANC big chief or they negotiate some kickback with the cadre that awards the tender.
    Nobody bothers to check the suppliers of the BEE tenderpreneurs, as long as the front man has a black face.
    The “old regime” government’s tender process worked quite differently. There was a tender board that consisted of senior level managers of the department of public works and whichever department had a requirement for a service. These members were selected by the drawing of lots, so it wasn’t always the same people. They then opened the sealed tender envelopes in their meeting and then the supplier with the most complete and affordable tender got allocated the tender.
    Note that I said most affordable not cheapest, because the cheapest is not necessarily the best at actually delivering the requirements as requested in the Request for Tender document, which must get published in the government gazette and any local private newspapers.
    I can’t remember having seen such RFTs in a newspaper or the gazette in decades.
    The biggest problem with the ANC government is the fact that they threw out all the public service regulations and work processes. And it had nothing to do with the fact that those regulations and processes were written by the NP government, but everything with the fact that those regulations and processes prevented them from stealing government funds.

    • You do realize that the cadres don’t need semi incompetent whiteys for tenders. The cadres form their own companies and then source from private sector. They don’t need semi incompetent whites, they are doing business with themselves. Stop dragging whites in your corrupt fable

      • I actually happen to know a couple of such useless white men who were approached by the wife of one of these cadres and offered a contract to service & repair government vehicles. Her husband was supposed to find a contractor to do this (since the ANC closed the official Government Garage) and the two of them agreed that she would register a company and he would award her company the contract – all she needed to do was find somebody that was willing to sub-contract to her company and preferably know the difference between a gear stick and a hand-brake.
        And, in case you’re wondering, I’m also white, but that doesn’t make me blind for the fact that there are some dishonest white people, just as there are thousands of honest, hardworking black people who also suffer from the corruption of the ANC.
        Just as no person are all bad or all good, no organisation or political party or government is all bad or all good. And while it is true that in some cases, there are more bad things being done than good, it is also shortsighted ignorance to deny whichever good things such an entity might have done.

  8. Surely it is time that this whole contradiction about racial classification is exposed? Even a brief look at history will reveal the complex nature of South Africa’s racial mix. The people living in South Africa before the so-called Europeans came have got a history of association and mixing with peoples from the Middle East and Asia – even the Khoisan are recognised as having a 3% origin in SE Asia. Then the settlers after 1652 mixed freely with the locals – most ‘Trekboers’ had an admixture of local genes. Look for instance at the descendants of Eva Krotoa, they have names such as Barendse, Basson, de Villiers, du Plooy, Geldenhuys, Louw, van Jaarsveld, van Niekerk, Zaaiman and others. Paul Kruger was a descendant of Catharina van Bengale, also known as Groote Catrijn, a slave from Bengale on the Coromandel Coast of India. FW de Klerk has apparently acknowledged that he is descended from a slave.
    So why are these people classified as ‘white’? They are obviously of mixed descent, and in the quaint SA terminology should be ‘coloureds’ – that also applies to many so-called ‘blacks’.
    This all puts a lie to the whole BEE requirements and legislation, in particular nowhere does it specify how people are to be racially classified. Certainly no official document, ID, passport or drivers licence specifies race.

  9. I think that a major motivation for the opposition to Apartheid was resentment of whites. So not a positive motivation such as improving the lives of the blacks, but a negative motivation. And this has continued under ANC rule. That makes it easier to understand the corruption and the racial policies.

  10. Corruption must not be measured on its own as a problem but the root cause of it should be eradicated as said by the Hon. Desmond Tutu recently. “The ANC”

  11. Whites are continually being told: You knew about the damage apartheid was doing to fellow South Africans and eventually enough white people voted for change, which did happen.

    However, the same argument holds true for the average ANC supporter – they knew exactly how this government was failing them (judging by the number of protests) and who were the most corrupt. Will these informed voters have the courage to vote for change? I wonder.

  12. Cyril Ramaphosa thinks they are ‘scavengers’ and ‘hyenas’ upon whom he is going to unleash a ‘special centre’ comprising eight government agencies.

    LOL, manned by the partisan, dubiously incapable and tainted anyway. No further expectations there then.

    The rest of the article is an expression of the lack of morality, intelligence, concern, care, and any other trait recognized or required to start the process of managing a country onto a path of success, wealth creation and mindful citizens welfare.

    The ANC are truly incapable and by observation over it’s entire existence, the exact antithesis of a leading light.

    All that remains is for a united front of parties, political bodies, civic bodies, business bodies, democratic groupings, and citizens to find a common cause, (and some form of cohesive and useful leadership within) and CHANGE THE ANC NARRATIVE WITHIN THE COUNTRY as the most pressing and obvious first step towards their removal from our further destruction. And then hope there is still time for that as the alternative promises to be violent and bloody. One or the other of either powder keg is bound to erupt soon.

    GATVOL is becoming more than just an expression now.

  13. Would love to see what the outcome is going to be if the state departments of whom 90% were on forced tools down and lock down for at least 2 months are not going to be awarded an increase in salary.

  14. It is time to wave the black majority good bye. This lot can’t be fixed and if you think it can you live in Lalaland.
    If you’re a minority give your support at ulacongress.com and let the games begin.

  15. For as long as candidates/applicants (for sundry appointments in RSA) are viewed and selected primarily on race, gender or political affiliation, no solution will be forthcoming. The current problem will persist and the status quo will become more deeply entrenched.
    Change may be triggered, were the President to unequivocally, loudly and repeatedly proclaim the mantra of racial equality, gender uniqueness and vastly varying individual competence and intelligence (among others) in clear top-down communication to the population…..AND were 3 books; “None Dare Call It Treason” by John A Stormer, “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, and “None Dare Call It Conspiracy” by Gary Allen, be made prescribed reading for every secondary and tertiary institute of education and learning.

  16. Covid 19 has finally revealed the depth of corruption in the ANC. My initial support of CR has waned completely. The answer for SA is coalition government between truly democratic parties. Tha DA alone cannot do it as long as they tolerate the likes of HZille. They need to form coalitions with FF, Cope, ACDP in the other 8 provinces to stand any chance to defeat the increasingly corrupt and incompetent ANC!

  17. It is highly unlikely that there will be any meaningful change
    Numbers of corrupt and incompetent individuals are active in the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary and in the ANC administration
    Any clean up would have to start at the Union Buildings, Luthuli House and Parliament and then follow on at Provincial and Local Government level. How could this be done? By a Benevolent Dictator declaring a State of Emergency and taking action against the bad guys – BEE benificiaries and their eneblers of whatever colour
    In addition action would have to be taken against ‘Big Business’ to stop their more subtle looting

  18. South Africa and its potential does not feature in the ANC’s narrow self interest.

    Efficiency is the enemy of ideologist. Letting systems develop on their own requires that you trust people. Ideologist’s biggest fear is if things are left to run their natural course their utopia will not arrive. The need to coerce folks now becomes the chosen course, for their own good, of course.

    The ANC’s actions reflect a deep distrust of their fellow South Africans. You are either with us or against us, and we will create all sorts of bogus groups who are our enemies. Never mind that these groups have long since put their outward group differences aside and decided to join under a common humanity of making life better by adding their vegetables to the soup.

    An organization that fears outsiders, becomes a victim of all sorts of scoundrels. The more one can identify enemies who are the reason for the organizations failure, the higher one moves up the ranks and ingratiates oneself with the leadership. The list system, an abomination, reinforces this self destructive behavior. Ultimately one ends with an organization filled with hate, anger, envy and disdain for those who are outside its membership.

    Be happy, and do not stress if you don’t belong to a group, they will find one to put you in.

    Like all inward looking organizations, it has a natural death spiral, it eventually eats its own tail.

    The question one has to ask, what about the interim? To attack an ideologist is to reinforce their belief that all people outside their group are bad people.

    The only way that has come to my mind, is refuse to play the game. Calling me by a group name, gets a response “where are these folk, I have not met them perhaps I should get to know them?”

    There are many smarter folk than I, perhaps they know of a better way to deal with self centered folks?

    Keep making the world beautiful, filled with hope not fear. Hope is the tool of the liberator, fear is the tool of the manipulator. Huckleberry Finn aka Bob Glenister.

  19. An old school friend is friendly with a man who has a factory which manufactures seats. He tendered R25 million for seating for a new stadium for the soccer world cup. The contract was awarded to a black man who has no knowledge of or facilities to make seats. He secured the contract for R45 million and paid the person R27 million who tendered for R25 million for doing the seating. This never even got into the media and is the current modus operandi of all tenders for government and municipalities.

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