Time to end state cap­ture

CityPress - - Voices -

Avery wel­come out­come of the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee lek­gotla this week was the state­ment on what the party called state cap­ture. The lead­er­ship emerged from its three-day gath­er­ing with the mes­sage that the cap­ture of state-owned en­ter­prises by out­side in­di­vid­u­als needed to be curbed.

ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe did not mince his words when he de­scribed it as “a threat” that needed to be dealt with if state-owned en­ter­prises and other state in­sti­tu­tions were to work in the in­ter­ests of the peo­ple.

“State cap­ture is when peo­ple out­side the state have heavy in­flu­ence on the state and its in­sti­tu­tions. The lek­gotla has warned us to work against that and en­sure that those in­sti­tu­tions op­er­ate as state in­sti­tu­tions, and they must be pro­tected from out­side in­flu­ence ... The lek­gotla warned against that. That warn­ing came out very strongly,” Man­tashe told a me­dia briefing.

It is a be­lated wake-up call for a party that has long been warned by the me­dia, civil so­ci­ety, trade unions and its own mem­bers about this in­sid­i­ous dis­ease. An in­di­rect out­come of cadre de­ploy­ment gone wrong, as well as a mis­ap­pli­ca­tion of em­pow­er­ment ob­jec­tives, this cap­ture has seen busi­ness­peo­ple lit­er­ally own key de­ci­sion mak­ers in govern­ment and state-owned en­ter­prises. Once owned, th­ese peo­ple make de­ci­sions that are in the in­ter­ests of their own­ers – to the detri­ment of the state en­tity and the pub­lic it serves. A sim­ple way to de­scribe it is so­phis­ti­cated cor­rup­tion.

The fact that this is the se­cond time in a month that Man­tashe has re­ferred to this mat­ter is en­cour­ag­ing. Ear­lier this month, he dis­tanced the ANC from the Gupta fam­ily, which has been ac­cused in many quar­ters of own­ing the pres­i­dent, min­is­ters, bu­reau­crats and ex­ec­u­tives of sta­te­owned en­ter­prises.

“They [the Gup­tas] would not have any in­flu­ence on the ANC. They would have re­la­tions with in­di­vid­u­als in the ANC,” said Man­tashe.

The ANC must now match words with ac­tion. It must deal harshly with the likes of Beau­fort West mayor Tru­man Prince, whose use of the party’s name to se­cure deals for friends was by no means an iso­lated in­ci­dent. The party must dis­tance it­self from Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s state­ment that “if you’re a busi­ness­man, your busi­ness will mul­ti­ply” if you do­nate to the ANC.

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