How have we de­gen­er­ated to this?

Cape Argus - - OPINION -

THE VBS Mu­tual Bank heist is but one ex­am­ple of the kind of so­ci­ety we have de­gen­er­ated to and be­come in the past few decades.

That a group of politi­cians, au­di­tors and bank of­fi­cials could steal so much tax­pay­ers’ money in so brazen a man­ner is as­ton­ish­ing!

The re­port by ad­vo­cate Terry Mo­tau and Werks­mans At­tor­neys into how money was stolen from the bank and the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties bears the hall­marks of state cap­ture – an orgy of theft by politi­cians, au­di­tors and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

What is deeply sad is that these hun­dreds of mil­lions were si­phoned from poor mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, mostly in Lim­popo, that, in most cases, are un­able to even gen­er­ate rev­enue for them­selves. This means most of this money that was stolen were al­lo­ca­tions from the na­tional bud­get.

In typ­i­cal state cap­ture fash­ion, money was il­le­gally di­verted from ser­vice de­liv­ery for the poor, into the pock­ets of a cor­rupt few.

These mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties – which are at the coal­face of ser­vice de­liv­ery and the first point of con­tact between the peo­ple and their gov­ern­ment – were hol­lowed out as in­stru­ments of cre­at­ing a bet­ter life for all.

Once again, a preda­tory po­lit­i­cal elite stole away the prom­ise of democ­racy from the most down­trod­den of our so­ci­ety.

The case of VBS is a typ­i­cal ex­am­ple of how our so­ci­ety, es­pe­cially gov­ern­ment, is rot­ten from top to bot­tom.

But what gave the VBS Mu­tual Bank and Gupta syn­di­cates the con­fi­dence and ar­ro­gance to be as reck­less as they were in their loot­ing?

Our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem has en­gen­dered a cul­ture of thug­gery and im­punity, with the per­pe­tra­tors know­ing that they won’t get pun­ished.

It is this free-for-all sit­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially in the past 10 years, that has en­trenched a cul­ture of un­bri­dled cor­rup­tion.

But why did the reg­u­la­tory body, the Re­serve Bank, not pick up ear­lier on this theft of close to R2­bil­lion from VBS?

The VBS scan­dal is a sign of the cor­rupt so­ci­ety that we have be­come – a so­ci­ety where any­one can be bribed, from a cop to a traf­fic of­fi­cer, or a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial all the way to the high­est of­fice in the land.

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