The recent tragic days of violence in South Africa are, in large part, a legacy of state capture. The Civil Society Working Group on State Capture (CSWG) calls on state institutions to hold accountable the individuals and groups instrumental in the instigation of violence and looting in KZN, Gauteng and across South Africa. However, we believe it would be wrong for law enforcement to only criminalise individuals involved in riots when the perpetrators of state capture have not yet been held accountable. We again call for the powerful corporations and individuals who looted and enabled state capture to be held to account and brought to book. Rebuilding the country demands that this be done.
These perpetrators of economic crimes profited from their misdeeds for over 10 years while neglecting the provision of basic services to the people of South Africa. This created the conditions for political manipulation, greed and food riots, linked to hunger and poverty, with the lives of many lost in the unrest. which started 10 days ago. The enablers of state capture are responsible for creating the environment in which we find ourselves today, through weakening the country’s democratic institutions, eroding state capacity and selfishly robbing the country of its much-needed resources. The criminality and corrupt actions of these powerful corporations, politicians and individuals have been instrumental in driving people into grinding poverty and deepened inequality and unemployment.
The consequences of the looting have been dire and extend beyond financial loss. The capacity of the state has been severely eroded, the economy weakened with revenue short-falls and dysfunctional state-owned entities that are diverting funds away from social spending where it is most needed. It is unconscionable that constitutionally enshrined human rights such as health care, social security, housing and basic education, have been compromised because of the actions of corrupt individuals.
The struggle against state capture and corruption in South Africa is a struggle for human rights. The ongoing revelations at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture (the Zondo Commission) continue to lay bare the various networks of looters in the public and private sector who have criminally enriched themselves at the expense of the most vulnerable.
Now is also the time to ensure that swift and decisive action is taken to remove and hold to account compromised individuals that remain within key state institutions, some of whom were strategically placed and continue to stall efforts towards justice, accountability and the rule of law. Many of them remain part of the fight-back network that hopes to again profit from the chaos that has erupted this month.
The Civil Society Working Group on State Capture again reiterates that law enforcement agencies should focus their attention on the following individuals and corporations who have either allegedly been complicit in state capture or might have information that can assist the state in challenging the state capture networks.
- Black Sash (BS)
- Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS)
- Corruption Watch (CW)
- Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC)
- Dullah Omar Institute (DOI)
- Equal Education (EE)
- Judges Matter (JM)
- Legal Resources Centre (LRC)
- MyVoteCounts (MVC)
- Open Secrets (OS)
- Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA)
- Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI)
- Right2Know (R2K)
- Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)
- SECTION27 (S27)