Rise against state capture
THE latest revelations of the extent to which President Jacob Zuma’s friends, the Guptas, influence state affairs should be a cause for grave concern for all law-abiding citizens who subscribe to constitutional democracy.
For starters, constitutional democracy is premised on the power of the people. That is, we vote for political parties that then deploy their cadres to positions of power in the state.
But the fact that parliamentarians and civil servants have been dispatched to the state by their parties does not diminish the power that the people have on them, for the party was able to deploy them precisely because it received the power from the people! It therefore follows that those in positions of power are there because of the people, and are therefore duty bound to solely serve the interests of the people.
The constitution empowers the president, who is also at the helm of the country because of us citizens, to exercise his prerogative to appoint an executive to serve the people of this country.
However, the emergence of the Gupta e-mail leaks – which among others show how the family was involved in the appointment of senior officials in state-owned enterprises, and how they were favoured to get citizenship – says we are in a race to the bottom.
It is incumbent on us, the people, to exercise our power, the very same power we gave politicians, to stop the country from the path of going nowhere slowly.
In principle, our concerns on state capture should go beyond just the Guptas. We must ask ourselves how did we get here.
We need to ensure that all those who exercise constitutional powers that we, the people, did not give them are brought to book because they are effectively committing crime.
But in exercising this power to hold those we voted responsible, we must not overlook our culpability in the subversion of our democratic institutions and government by unscrupulous characters.
We are also to blame. In the end, it is we who will bear the brunt of the state capture through rampant corruption and poor services.
We must protect the state jealously with our lives to ensure that it serves us, the people, and not the interests of some rogue, private individuals. In the same breath, we must stop these unelected people from exercising undue interest on our taxes.
Let the people rise against state capture.