Constitutional Hill

Corruption and political expediency – an illustrated guide

The following graphic by Media24 seems to illustrate, in pictures, what is wrong with our Police Service and with those politicians who use the Police Service to fight their political battles (inside and outside the ANC) or to enrich themselves. It also illustrates why we need a truly independent corruption fighting body that will be able to investigate these kinds of allegations and will be free from political interference by the Police Minister or the President.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who mislead the public last week about the use of a secret police fund to pay for a “security fence” around his home and has not yet apologised for misleading us, and President Jacob Zuma, who has been linked to Mdluli but has not made any statements about his reinstatement and the order by his Police Minister to stop an investigation into Mdluli’s alleged corrupt activities, owe citizens an explanation. In the absence of such an explanation all reasonable people will be hard pressed not to conclude that the Minister and the President – if not themselves implicated in this web of alleged corruption – is condoning it for purely short term political purposes.

  • Piet Opperman

    Typo in the last sentence. I think you mean “condoning.”

  • Gwebecimele


  • Gwebecimele
  • Maggs Naidu – Zuma must go!

    The Nissan Micra – for the gardener perhaps?

  • Dmwangi

    In the multi-billion rand corruption market, this is pretty small beer. We Schumpeterians are not shocked by such revelations and are dubious that it is possible to have “a truly independent corruption fighting body that will be able to investigate these kinds of allegations and will be free from political interference.” We believe the guards of the guards of the guards of the guards… are just as corrupt as those they are charged with investigating.

  • Dirk de Vos

    What is it about high end cars and our politicians? I remember Yengeni was “bought” with a discount on a crappy ML to get the some part of the arms deal through. Sticking points on being “redeployed” from one ministery to another seem to revolve around whether the new ministry has an SUV or limo available for use. Our police minister actually says that he could not have been bribed with a Mercedes because he is a BMW man (or was it the other way around?).

    The corruption here is dissappointing on 2 levels – the obvious reason first and then the stuff that the proceeds of corruption is spent on. Cars? There is so much better stuff to spend one’s loot on.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    What I don’t understand is why the LIBERAL MEDIA focus obsessively on Lt Gen. Mdluli, while blithely ignoring the gargantuan corruption of the DA government in the WC.

    OzoneBlue, WDYS?

  • Brett Nortje

    Dmwangi says:
    April 23, 2012 at 18:27 pm

    Isn’t there a Swahili con stitutional law blog where you can cast these pearls? Think you can set up a satelite? You can tell your buddies how there is no cure for the corruption in Kenya/Tanzania/Uganda ‘so we might as well all gobble’…

  • Maggs Naidu – Zuma must go!

    April 23, 2012 at 18:27 pm

    Hey Dufus,

    “We believe the guards of the guards of the guards of the guards… are just as corrupt as those they are charged with investigating.”

    That’s UBUNTU, ne?

  • Maggs Naidu – Zuma must go!

    p.s. If your pray hard enough, maybe some ANGELS will come from heaven and save us from all the corrupt guards!

  • Anonymouse

    Mdluli: “I have friends in high places. Finish and Klaar!”
    Zuma: … “Duh!”

  • Dmwangi


    ‘You can tell your buddies how there is no cure for the corruption in Kenya/Tanzania/Uganda ‘so we might as well all gobble’…’

    Don’t know how you draw this conclusion. You misunderstand because you haven’t read Schumpeter.

    Schumpeter sees corruption as a market. In order to combat it, we don’t need maudlin notions of ‘independent commissions,’ ‘crime-fighting bodies,’ ‘free of political influence,’ etc. No such thing is possible and naively thinking it is only allows corruption to proliferate. To attenuate it, the best we can do is incentivize others, who are themselves seeking to benefit from corruption, to publicise the corruption of their opponents as they attempt to defeat them. The game only becomes rigged when collusion occurs and one person/group can co-opt enough competitors to the point that he has a monopoly on the corruption market. Schumpeter, who was heavily influenced by Weber, would suggest we look to ‘institutional facts’ as causes of corruption market failure instead of gullibly assuming we can rely on a committee of incorruptible, virtuous experts who are above petty-politics to root it out.

  • Brett Nortje

    Cool. You can tell that to your buddies on the Swahili blog.

    Speaking of political expediency and moral corruption, I see on Facebook Martin Hood has had the Sheriff write up some of the Central Firearms Register’s assets (the good people of South Africa’s assets!).

    Evidently, the Register has not been ponying up for the losses it has sustained in our Courts and now Martin is forced to take execution.

    Strange, those losses, because Pierre’s buddy Andrew Storey told the world that Pierre said the Firearms Control Act passed constitutional scrutiny.

  • Brett Nortje

    Meanwhile, speaking of political expediency back in the real world occupied by real poor people (the people who could never afford Lobola for 4 wives):

    PETER BRUCE: The Thick End of the Wedge – The Editor’s Notebook

    Pravin Gordhan is, in his own way, as much part of the problem as
    is/was Julius Malema. He should at the very least be creating the
    conditions in which businesses would find the lure of investment
    here irresistible

    Published: 2012/04/23 07:36:54 AM

    ANOTHER Sunday, another clarion call in the papers for us all to
    work together, to “lift our gaze” in our noble search for
    solutions to our South African problems.

    This time it was from the finance minister, Pravin Gordhan. “We
    must look ahead with vision and resolve and chart our way
    forward,” he said in the Sunday Times.

    By now there’s probably a machine that could write pieces like
    this. To boldly go . shoulders to the wheel . up and at ’em . a
    better life for all..

    It’s all been said before and the fundamental problem here never
    gets attended to. What keeps us in our foxholes, what keeps a
    trillion rand or so of private sector capital locked up in the
    banks, is that there’s no trust in this land.

    There never has been. Gordhan gets it nearly right when he says
    that “the issue is how societies build consensus – or sufficient
    consensus – and how they manage their differences”.

    Put another way, how do you create a high-trust society out of a
    low-trust one?

    The creation of a true political democracy 18 years ago was a
    good start, but not an infallible one. The majority at least is
    in office, if not quite (to abuse former UK chancellor of the
    exchequer Norman Lamont) in power.

    Power, and, I suspect, trust and consensus, lie in taking the
    step beyond the democratisation of our politics to the
    democratisation of our economy.

    But no one wants to do it. The state, heady with political power,
    has convinced itself it can and must control the commanding
    economic heights.

    Beyond that it is already decaying under the squabbling about how
    much of the summit it should occupy. Malusi Gigaba wants clear
    control. Gordhan wants business deeply involved. Julius Malema
    wanted it all.

    Black business, or large parts of it, isn’t interested in
    economic democratisation either. Why should it be required now to
    enjoy its new wealth in a slightly more diluted fashion than did
    the white establishment it is busy replacing?

    White business is too frightened to say anything lest Gwede
    Mantashe throw apartheid back in its face again. And the unions
    thrive on an undemocratic economy. Workers owning shares in the
    businesses they work for are a direct threat to union capacity to
    mobilise labour in what are inevitably political causes.

    But an economy here in which every citizen has a personal (not
    collective) stake in our economic wellbeing is so obviously the
    way to resolve our problems of trust and consensus I’m surprised
    the thought has not yet become a rallying point for a new
    political movement to challenge the African National Congress at
    the polls.

    Stakeholder capitalism (google it), is what I am talking about,
    and it has four critical advantages:

    It preserves and enhances the profit motive.
    It demands wide accountability.
    It has a track record – the success of both Germany and Japan
    after the Second World War is based on it.
    It would obviate the need for black economic empowerment, which
    is creating more problems than it’s solving.

    In my perfect world, all companies over an agreed size should
    issue 20 % of their share capital to their labour force. Every
    unemployed South African would be issued redeemable equity
    vouchers in state-owned companies and institutions instead of
    receiving welfare payments of which the growth threatens one day
    to cripple the fiscus.

    That way, workers would have an incentive to ensure their
    companies were competitive and the unemployed masses (now only
    convenient as a political club the government uses to frighten
    its critics) would have a direct interest in Transnet, SAA,
    Sanral and the rest and, boy, would they hold those managers and
    their bosses to account if they didn’t get paid their dividends.

    But real democracy is the last thing the ANC needs because it
    knows in its heart that if called on to put its money where its
    mouth is, there’d seldom be anything there. It doesn’t have the
    vision or the courage to solve our problems.

    Pravin Gordhan is, in his own way, as much part of the problem as
    is/was Julius Malema. He should at the very least be creating the
    conditions in which businesses would find the lure of investment
    here irresistible. But he watches administrative prices go up and
    does nothing. He watches party colleagues mauling Reuel Khoza and
    says nothing. He watches public money rush down the drain in the
    Eastern Cape and turns his back. He enjoins us all to save more
    and then taxes the results.

    So, I’m less inclined to listen to the bugle telling me to charge
    these days. I need to see some signs from the government (they
    make the rules after all) that it is thinking about our future.

    I’m tired of rhetoric.

  • Peter

    Its my turn to eat

  • Brett Nortje

    PAUL HOFFMAN: MPs must show loyalty to the constitution, not to the ANC

    It is hoped that MPs will this week come up with a creative outcome that SA truly deserves: a new specialised anticorruption entity that is staffed with properly trained personnel who enjoy security of tenure, guaranteed resourcing and independence

    Published: 2012/04/24 07:56:29 AM

    IN MARCH last year, the Constitutional Court found that the Hawks were not sufficiently independent, operationally and structurally, to constitute the type of anti corruption entity that the human rights culture of the constitution requires and that SA is bound by international treaties to maintain. The court’s order is suspended until September to give Parliament the opportunity to take steps to remedy the shortcomings of the Hawks, or the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation, as the unit of the South African Police Service (SAPS) is formally named.

    This week, Parliament hears public submissions from a wide variety of civil society players who have already responded in writing to the SAPS Amendment Bill 2012, which the executive branch of government has proposed as its response to the judgment in the case, which was brought by Hugh Glenister. This is the ruling that has precipitated the need for Parliament to create an operation and structure that is able to function without political interference in the all-important fight against corruption.

    As MPs ponder the bill, which envisages no more than a tweaking of the operations and structures of the existing Hawks, they will have to decide on the adequacy of the bill both in the light of the judgment and in the context of their constitutional responsibility to hold the executive to account as envisaged in section 55 (2) of the constitution.

    Their oath of office to uphold the constitution will weigh heavily on them, especially those who are mindful that expulsion from the party that nominated them to Parliament summarily ends their parliamentary membership under section 47 (3)(c) of the constitution.

    The bill is the creature of the majority party, albeit those members of the party deployed elsewhere than Parliament. The debate on the bill will be a huge test of the loyalty of party members to the constitution rather than to the dictates of the party bosses in Luthuli House.

    The frank admissions in Parliament last week, made by acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, that “high-ups” tell the SAPS who to investigate and who not to investigate, are cogent evidence of the lack of independence of the SAPS and of its vulnerability to political interference, the very mischief that the court identified as in need of being addressed. Nor is this admission an isolated matter. The dysfunctional features of management of the SAPS are legion.

    Jackie Selebi, a politician who was made national commissioner of police, is serving a 15-year jail sentence for corruption. His successor, Bheki Cele, also a politician, is suspended pending the decision of a board of inquiry into his fitness for office. He allowed leases at more than triple the going rate for police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban. It is difficult to conclude that this could have been done innocently and that such a person should be reinstated: either Cele was an incompetent accounting officer who unduly relied on underlings, or he was involved in the corrupt procurement of leases.

    Unlike Selebi and Cele, the current acting incumbent is a professional police officer. He has done the country a huge favour not only for being so frank about political interference in policing duties but also for the exquisite timing of his revelation.

    In its judgment, the court identified five characteristics or criteria for best practice for a state entity maintained for the purpose of combating corruption, which is a nasty, corrosive force in any society but particularly in a society in transition to a democratic, open, accountable and responsive future of the kind envisaged by the founders of the new SA. The criteria are: specialisation, training, independence, resources and security of tenure of staff. A unit that can be said to have all of these characteristics in abundance is well equipped to conquer corruption; but if it lacks any of these, it will struggle to perform effectively. A useful acronym, STIRS, sums up these criteria in an apposite and easily remembered word.

    There is very little STIRS in the bill now before Parliament. The Hawks do not specialise in anti corruption work; they will be obliged to deal with all priority crimes, which at times may lead to corruption being neglected. A good example of this occurred in September 2010, when Anwa Dramat, the head of the Hawks since their formation, announced that the investigations into corruption in the arms deals had been closed for want of capacity to sift through the mountains of evidence available to the Hawks. Indeed, by then, only one member of staff was working on a case that has the potential to recoup R70bn for SA from the crooked arms dealers who scammed us into weird offset deals and the acquisition of unnecessary armaments to fight imaginary foes.

    There is no provision for appropriate training for the Hawks. Their predecessors, the Scorpions, were sent to Scotland Yard, the FBI and a secret military “kill school” to prepare them for the fight against corruption.

    This is an important omission from the bill.

    As regards the operational and structural independence, a criterion necessary to insulate the Hawks from political interference in their operations, it is envisaged that the Hawks will remain in the SAPS, and the history of the SAPS is not one of a fiercely independent anti corruption unit, as the examples cited above illustrate.

    The proper resourcing of any anti corruption entity is an essential condition for its success.

    Political control of the amount that is voted to the budget can and does have the effect of starving the entity of the resources to perform properly, as the closing down of the arms deals investigation demonstrates.

    It is in the field of security of tenure of anticorruption personnel that the bill is most lacking. The minister of police (of all people) is given the power to suspend the head of the Hawks without pay. It is an open question whether this was inserted in the bill with a certain security wall, some cushy nonjobs for family, a nice vehicle to drive and other illicit (but stoutly denied) perks in mind. The screaming headlines — “You lied, Mr Minister” — concerning Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa demonstrate, very timeously, the folly of putting any career politician in charge of the country’s anticorruption entity.

    We can anticipate lively debate on the bill during the oral part of the public participation process. An alternative solution has been suggested: the creation of an “anticorruption commission” as a new chapter nine institution, fully clothed with all of the STIRS criteria and answerable to Parliament itself. This has already been given the nick-name the Eagles. As any ornithologist knows, Eagles see better, fly higher, go after bigger prey and are less susceptible to poisoning than Hawks.

    It is to be hoped that Parliament will hold the executive to account in respect of the woefully inadequate content of the bill, that members will vote with conscience and not toe their party line, and that there will be a creative outcome that SA truly deserves: a new specialised anticorruption entity that is staffed with properly trained personnel who enjoy security of tenure, guaranteed resourcing and the independence to empower them to conquer the culture of impunity that rampant corruption has bred in our society. Public accountability, enhanced transparency and adequate mechanisms to counter impunity have been identified by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela as the way forward from the precipice on which SA teeters.
    • Hoffman is a director of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa

  • Maggs Naidu – Zuma must go!

    President Zuma and the current ANC top officials ought to be ashamed of themselves for using this young man for their own narrow, selfish ends then discarding him like a useless rag!

    Cele, Mduli, CJ Moegeng, Simelane and others thought or think that they are untouchables – when the tables turn (and turn it will) they will discover that there are no ANGELS to protect them.

    The ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeals (NDCA) is today expected to announce the confirmation of youth league leader Julius Malema’s expulsion from the party, highly placed sources have told The New Age.

  • vuyo

    An independent anti-corruption unit cannot be “independent” unless it can be freed from all possible nefarious designs, including particularly those of the private sector, generally, and big business, in particular. Since in the present capitalist world this cant be done, we must abolish the market and private capital.

  • Gwebecimele
  • khosi


    I have always had two questions;

    1.) Do the so called ‘spy tapes’ exist?
    2.) If so, what is contained in these tapes that we should not hear?

  • Dmwangi


    Isn’t there a right-wing Afrikaans blog where you can whine about corruption and nostalgically opine for apartheid, while selectively ignoring the scholarship demonstrating the ‘Nats were even more corrupt than the ANC?

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Dmwangi

    ” …the scholarship demonstrating the ‘Nats were even more corrupt than the ANC…”

    The scholarship may be right in this regard. But I’ll bet it would also show that the DA makes both the Nats and the ANC look like pillors of rectitude by comparison!

    (BTW, Dmwangi, please give the citations to the scholarship you have in mind.)


  • MphoUSA

    Prof, our leadership lack principles. They live for themselves and have ONLY one thing in mind, get RICH while in the government, at all costs! They have no convictions or are ignoring their noble promises! BU then again, our country enables them with the lack of checks and balances. The electorate have no way of holding these numb skulls accountable, and that is the SAD truth.

  • Mike

    @Dmwangi – Nats even more corrupt than ANC – if that was the case then the ANC would never had inherited an infrastructure that exceeded that of Africa combined.I have heard your allegation often but still wait for proof, notwithstanding that the likes of Eskom never in the past had to contract with a Nat version of Chancellor house.
    The type of cars used by goverment officials were modest unlike the ones used by the ANC goverment officials who unlike the Nats, have one in Pretoria and Cape Town.
    It is this blind denial of the obvious trait of African leaders to loot the tax payers coffers that separates this country from having an economy of $ 1,6 trillion US dollars from 20 million people such as Australia as opposed to our economy of $422 billion US dollars with 40 million people.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Mike

    “The type of cars used by goverment officials were modest unlike the ones used by the ANC goverment officials”

    Mike, this is most unfair. It is only right that our DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED leaders enjoy the benefit of the best top-end Germanic options of today. Also, our people will not feel the appropriate RESPECT for their leaders if they see them in the tiny-dinky type of car that Aunty Zille uses!


  • Mike

    @Mikhail maybe you should test your theory of expensive german cars elicting respect in the areas where service delivery has not taken place.

  • Dmwangi


    Here’s one:

    ‘Political Corruption: Before and After Apartheid,’ Hyslop, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 31, 4. December 2005.

    I say again: we do not need platitudes about ‘independent commissions,’ ‘checks and balances,’ etc. They are little more than expensive red herrings.

    We need more competition in the corruption market. The ANC currently has a captive constitutency, which has allowed its leadership to engage in monopolistic behaviour. We need to have either: a) more corruption competition between firms (an unlikely scenario at this point) or b) more corruption competition among individuals. However, it is unclear to me how to make internal party rules more democratic since parties are private associations and obviously the oligarchs benefitting from them, who also happen to control what legislation gets codified, will not give them up willingly.

  • Dmwangi

    Btw, firms are parties and individuals are politicians in the pseudo- Schumpeterian formulation.

  • Maggs Naidu – Zuma must go!

    April 24, 2012 at 16:23 pm

    Hey Mike,

    There is certainly a lot going on which is despicable.

    Your comments that :

    – “if that was the case then the ANC would never had inherited an infrastructure that exceeded that of Africa combined”‘


    – ” the likes of Eskom never in the past had to contract with a Nat version of Chancellor house”,

    are either naive in the extreme or a lot of bullshit.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Dmwangi, you cite Hyslop (2005), as scholarly support for your claim that the “Nats were even more corrupt than the ANC.” Oddly enough, I was unable to find that stated in the Hyslop piece. In fact, he writes that that it is not “possible to measure the degree of corruption in the old and new orders.” (At 774.)

    But I am sure I am just missing something, perhaps because my less-than-great graduate school did not train me very well in close reading. So please help me out here!


  • Dmwangi


    Glad to help out. While Hyslop is p.c. enough not to make any sweeping claims, he essentially affirms the views laid out in the myriad studies cited here:

    Van Vuuren explicitly states what Hyslop only implies.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Dmwangi, thanks very much for your helpful elaboration, but I still do not see where in the piece you cite Hyslop “essentially” supports your contention that corruption was “even worse” pre-1994.

    In fact, Hyslop quotes Tom Lodge, calling him the only “substantial contribution” to the topic, as saying that there had been an “apparent expansion” in corruption under ANC rule post-1994. We did Lodge get this nonsense from?

    Also, I was wondering if you had any sources re corruption post the abolition of the Scorpions?

    Thanks very much indeed!

  • Maggs Naidu – Zuma must go!

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    April 24, 2012 at 17:39 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    “my less-than-great graduate school did not train me very well in close reading. So please help me out here!”

    It shows!

    Dmwangi’s brainwave just went wooooooooosh past you.

    “We need more competition in the corruption market.”

    In summary – to stop corruption, stop acting against corruption. Even encourage it. You and I (with Dm getting royalties of course) can start “The Friends of Corruption” (FOC) or “The National Corruption Revolution” (NCR to replace the difficult to achieve NDR).

    By getting everyone to be corrupt, they will be so busy reporting each other for corruption that nobody will be actually able to do anything which is corrupt.

    We’re not yet told who will be receiving the complaints about corruption but that’s the next installment – watch this space.

    I hope it’s clear now!

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    BTW, Dmwangi, have you seen the piece by Prof Magnusson (Phd, Leipzig) in the Journal of Contemporary Comparative Corruption and it Correlates (Volume 27, March, 2012), demonstrating, using regression analysis, that the DA is by a factor of 50 more corrupt than any Nat government since 1968?

  • Dmwangi


    Haven’t seen it. But I’ll caution, regression is easily manipulated.

    Are you denying the validity of the studies in the link I sent?

    When I have more time, I’ll re-read Hyslop and provide you with specific passages supporting the proposition that the NP was hugely corrupt.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Dmwangi, yes, please do, when you are not so busy, read Hyslop carefully, and explain why he specifically says that it is “not possible to measure the degree of corruption” in the new and old orders. Also, please explain why Tom Lodge, whom Hyslop cites with evident approval, says that corruption “apparently increased” under the ANC.

    As for your citing of the “Good News” website, I admit that I find this even harder to understand. What I can do is direct your attention to the latest issue of Johannesburg Journal of Geniality and Good Tidings (Wits University Press), which reports that the Hawks have turned out to be EVEN better at fighting corruption that the Scorpions!

  • Dmwangi

    ‘As for your citing of the “Good News” website, I admit that I find this even harder to understand. What I can do is direct your attention to the latest issue of Johannesburg Journal of Geniality and Good Tidings (Wits University Press), which reports that the Hawks have turned out to be EVEN better at fighting corruption that the Scorpions!’

    What are you not understanding? Is TI and the ISS lying? And how does the efficacy of the Hawks support your contention?

    In fact, says the report issued by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the culture of corruption under the apartheid government was so deeply entrenched that it would ‘inevitably serve to corrupt the new order’. Report author Hennie van Vuuren says that the report debunks the conventional wisdom that South Africa under white rule was ‘corruption free’, a belief that somehow allowed the regime to be remembered as ‘brutal’ in how it yielded power, yet ‘honest’ in how it managed its finances.

    “Huge slush funds were potentially rich pickings for individuals from both the public and private sector. Public perception that says otherwise is either deeply ignorant or racist (although the former can be a prerequisite for the latter),” says van Vuuren.

    Van Vuuren says that the apartheid-era conditions of secrecy, oppression and authoritarian rule created a fertile environment in which corrupt activity could flourish. “A near monopoly on money, power and influence were in the hands of the minority and they used this to violently suppress the majority or, at best, transfer resources in order to stave off the inevitable revolution.”

    Conditions are totally different in today’s free and open democracy. The media today are free of the shackles of press censorship that kept the evidence of widespread corruption under wraps in the past. Today’s media use this freedom to uncover and expose corrupt activity, inevitably fuelling the perception that corruption is more prevalent now.

    The report, entitled Apartheid Grand Corruption, describes startling incidences of corrupt activity between 1976 and 1994, such as the Information Scandal of the late 1970s; the cloak-and-dagger operations of the Broederbond; stories of mysterious Swiss bank accounts, of illicit ivory trading by the Defence Force and of the sanction-busting policies of apartheid-era arms deals.

    “In South Africa we inherited an intrinsically corrupt system of governance,” said former Speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala in 2001. “To survive, it created a legal framework that was based on and facilitated corruption. It has taken years in Parliament to repeal old laws and introduce even the basic legal framework that would enable us to deal with corrupt bureaucrats, politicians and police. The private sector also operated in a closed society and profited by it. There were partnerships with international criminals – the corruption that was built into the system is very difficult to overcome.”

    ‘Remarkable progress’ has been made
    In the introduction to the report, van Vuuren claims that South Africans have made ‘remarkable strides’ in countering criminal activity. For the first time, he says, laws and institutions have been created to seriously combat corruption. “The country has a comprehensive framework consisting of a host of public bodies with a mandate to vigorously tackle graft – and they are doing this with increasing success.”

    Last year, Transparency International (TI) and the ISS released a comprehensive civil society assessment of corruption in South Africa. The National Integrity Systems TI Country Study Report – South Africa 2005 (NIS study) found that the country has made significant progress in the ten short years since the end of corrupt apartheid-era rule and that South Africa has developed an advanced framework of law, strategy and institutions with a mandate to combat corruption.’

  • Mike

    @Dmawangi still waiting for evidence that the Nats were more corrupt than the ANC.
    You are happy to quote the Johannesburg Jounal of good tidings without having checked that the ISS is quoted correctly.
    The citizen and ivory smuggling is small change compared to the amount of drugs smuggled into this country with the involvement of ANC goverment officials.
    Did you ever see an armed robbery of a foreign aircraft on the parking area on JHB international under the Nats or have you forgotting such an event and then of course the evidence of $40million from this heist being stolen by the Benoni police.
    The proof of the pudding is in the eating and that is with a 66% majority the ANC are doing what they like.

  • Mike

    @Maggs Naidu try first disproving my claim about the infrastructure and Eskom not having to NAT version of Chancellor House.
    If it was not because of Nat planning in the 1940’s and 1970’s we would have run out of water in JHB, the lack of planning of the comrades in Eskom being evidence of what I am talking about.
    In Umtata we built a new first world hospital ten years ago, today it is a disfunctional monument to ANC incompetance and graft.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Dmwangi, I agree with everything you say. But won’t you just take a tiny moment to explain why Tom Lodge, whom Hyslop cites with evident approval, says that corruption “apparently increased” under the ANC?

    Thanks very much.

  • Dmwangi


    Er, did you read the article? ISS (and various other ‘experts’) supports my position Mike.

    Just to clarify for the simple-minded: Schumpeterians do not object to government oversight any more than we do to financial regulatory bodies. What we object to is the childish notion that regulators are not human beings with interests who don’t respond to the same incentives as those they’re charged with overseeing. In fact, you need commissions, oversight committees, etc. in order to have a functioning corruption market so I don’t object to that as long as they’re conceived with that in mind. But Schumpeter would take issue with the idea that these ppl are can be ‘apolitical’ and ‘independent’ and impervious to incentives.

  • Dmwangi

    Regulators facilitate the functioning of the corruption market, which has an attenuating effect. Rather than the idea that they can upend greed from human nature. That’s the idea.

  • Dmwangi


    Yes, I’ll take a look. Now please respond to Van Vuuren.

  • Dmwangi


    One prescription I like much better than ‘independent’ commissions is whistleblower compensation. WDYS?

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Er, Dmwangi, once you have explained why you cited Hyslop as “scholarly support” for you original proposal, that corruption was worse pre-1994 than post 1994, please also assist by specifying exactly where Van Vuuren says this — and in what year.

    On that note, I wonder if you were relying upon the following text in the ISS report: “South Africa has developed a bold new piece of anti-corruption law in the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, which complements existing legislation that promotes an open accountable democracy.”

    Er, do you know what has since then happened to the institution tasked to enforce the Act? I will give you a clue: the first letter of their name was “S”.


  • Dmwangi


    Nice. But don’t be a pettifogger. While these sources are not dispositive, do you not think they support the notion that:

    1) the NP was extremely corrupt


    2) there is no way ANY regime following it was not going to struggle with the culture of corruption it engendered?

    Whether the NP stole more money, is, as a quantitative matter, probably not possible to prove beyond a doubt. But I think Van Vuuren, Hyslop, et al demonstrate that the apartheid regime were not a bunch of disinterested civil servants.

  • Dmwangi


    ‘…perception that says otherwise is either deeply ignorant or racist (although the former can be a prerequisite for the latter),” says van Vuuren.’

    I’ll let you pick which camp you fall in.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Just to be clear, Dmwangi, I have always supported your original proposition, viz that the Nats were demonstrably MORE CORRUPT than the ANC. I was just a little disappointed to find that none of the scholarly sources you cited actually stated that position.

    You say that your sources do demonstrate that “the apartheid regime were not a bunch of disinterested civil servants.” With great respect to these no doubt hard working writers, I hope they did not burn much midnight oil in arriving at this conclusion. It is just about as startling as a demonstration that the number “one,” when added to the number “one,” yields a sum of “two.”

    QED, and thanks.

  • Brett Nortje

    Thank you, MDF! Even my Jack Russell is giggling.

    This has been even more enjoyable than your prolonged skit on whitishness.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Dmwangi

    “I’ll let you pick which camp you fall in.”

    Thanks. I think it must be the first camp. (Certainly, it cannot be the second; as Maggs will confirm, I have been struggling against RACISM since I was 32.) As to my undoubted ignorance, that, of course, is relative. Even the most learned of dragon-flies knows nothing — compared to a whale shark. My modest Masters is from the University of the Northern Adriatic. You earned your Phd from arguably the finest graduate school of our time. Need I say more?

  • Dmwangi


    How exactly would one demonstrate this fact to your satisfaction?

    Number of corrupt civil servants? Proportion of overall bureaucrats that are corrupt? Absolute dollar amount stolen? Stolen as % of economy? What kind of demonstrable evidence would persuade you?

    You don’t seem to like the ISS report.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    April 24, 2012 at 22:12 pm

    Hey Dworky,

    “Even the most learned of dragon-flies knows nothing — compared to a whale shark”

    Was that a quote from … Matilda?

    It’s impressive!

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Dmwangi, I fear we remain at cross-purposes. As always, I am with you 100% in my firm conviction that the Nat regime was incomparably more corrupt that the post-1994 government. It is just that I fear that people of the utmost bad faith, who disagree with both of us, will make hay of the troublesome truths that:

    (a) Hyslop, your champion, says there is really no way of knowing, one way or another whether corruption was worse then or now.

    (b) The most respected writer on the topic, Tom Lodge (who is greatly admired by Hyslop), says that ANC corruption is “apparently” worse.

    (c) The Van Vuuren/ISS material you cite is now more than six years old, and their relative optimism was based, at least in part, upon the creation of the Scorpions. (I might mention in passing that I participated in a meeting at ISS in 2009, at which Van Vuuren spoke, at which I got the impression that he was convinced that whatever progress made since 1994 had been dealt a stunning blow by the plan to dissolve the Scorpions. Everyone except Moe Shaik, who was also present, and next to whom I sat, seemed to agree.)


  • Brett Nortje

    Dmwangi says:
    April 24, 2012 at 22:43 pm

    I wonder what Trumpeter would have said about that can of whuuup-ass.

  • Dmwangi

    a) I agree with Hyslop in the epistemic sense. It is impossible to prove or disprove that the claim that the Nats were more corrupt– even if we could all agree on appropriate measures. I therefore dispute Lodge’s claim and there is nothing in Van Vuuren’s article that has become obsolete. Disbanding the scorpions did not make the Nats less corrupt.

    But I yield that I should have used more precise language and said that the Nats were hugely corrupt instead of ‘even more’ corrupt since there is no ’empirical’ way of substantiating this.

    Millions of ppl are still far better-off under the ANC than white-rule, though that too is open to challenge on narrow positivist grounds.

  • Brett Nortje

    Hhhmmm. Mike, I think Mwangi is in need of some facts from Pandora’s Box.

  • Dmwangi

    The TI report does speak of ‘remarkable progress’ with respect to corruption in the first 10 years of democracy, though. Usually progress indicates a problem has been ameliorated to some degree. Also, if adherence to rule of law norms is part of corruption, I ‘d venture SA is far less corrupt under ANC.

    But again, almost nothing is indisputable. Will keep an open mind to the possibility we’re regressing.

  • Brett Nortje

    Really? Give us some examples where the National Party thumbed noses at the Courts?

  • Dmwangi


    Are you serious?

    The courts were in the pocket of the NP. Show me an example where the courts took on the NP. Part of it was parliamentary sovereignty but the courts were all too eager to placate the executive. Declaring perpetual states of emergency for no rational purpose; detaining ppl without due process; invoking laws retroactively. These violate basic constituents of ROL.

    I know this stuff and I’m just an amakwerekwere.

  • Brett Nortje

    Straw man! Straw man!

  • Dmwangi

    Please, stop. Your jealousy is so transparent almost embarrassing.

    It’s not a straw-man at all. The NP didn’t thumb its nose at the courts because it didn’t need to. The balance of power was entirely in its favour. The courts were compliant with whatever the Nats wanted. The system of government is entirely different now.

    Enough said. Hopefully someday you’ll appreciate that while things are not utopian, they are light years better than they were for millions of your fellow citizens.


  • Michael Osborne

    @ Dmwangi/Brett

    “The NP didn’t thumb its nose at the courts because it didn’t need to.”

    Obvously, neither of you know of the Collins case, in which, after the Appellate Division ruled unconstitutional the removal of coloureds from the voter’s roll, the Nats responded by creating what they called the “High Court of Parliament” to overrule the the Appellate Division. Nothing the ANC government has done so equals the utter contempt the Nats showed for the courts.

  • Brett Nortje

    I thought mwangi would go there.

    The matter is not quite as simple as you suggest – the NP were confronted with a real constitutional crisis, not simply ignoring Orders of Court of which there is a whole host of examples under ANC rule from the City of Joburg to the SADTU cases in the Eastern Cape.

  • Michael Osborne

    @ Brett

    ” the NP were confronted with a real constitutional crisis, not simply ignoring Orders of Court”

    Brett, the constitutional crisis to which you refer was created by the Nats themselves, when they refused to accept the AD’s decision (in two cases), that they could not remove coloureds from the voter’s role by a simple majority. It was at that time that they made Parliament itself into the “highest court”, to overturn AD decisions they did not like. I am afraid you undermine justifiable complaints about the current government’s approach to the courts if you are unwilling to acknowledge the outrageous depredations of the Nats. (And this is not even to get into the government’s defiance of the courts during the state of emergency in the 80’s).

  • Brett Nortje

    Michael, I also think it is disgusting that coloured people were gerrymandered out of their most basic right in the land of their birth for the basest of reasons.

    But, what was the Constitutional framework in which that disgrace occured? What did the Union Act say? How was the right entrenched? That is of more interest to me. Considering mwangi’s first accusation. And, since the States of Emergency were raised lets have the bigger picture. Were they challenged? What happened? What was the constitutional framework?

  • Michael Osborne

    Brett, I do not have the time to respond to you detailed questions right now, but I would suggest you look at COLLINS v MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR AND ANOTHER 1957 (1) SA 552 (A), which recounts the sorry disenfranchisment saga, starting in the early 50’s, in some detail. As for the states of emergency, the Nat government’s systematic undermining of the courts is well documented in South African Law Journal pieces in the period 1984-1988; I can give you specific cites if you want.

  • Mike

    @DMWANGI – Ferial Haffagee sums up the current corruption as a IN YOUR FACE CORRUPTION which means that the current lot of cadres dont even have to hide it because people are placed in power to prevent prosecutuion of the currupt cadres.
    The fallout of the Info scandal did not prevent the fall from grace of John Vorster and Pietie Du Plessis and his son went to jail for corruption and fraud as well as Albert Vermaas who had close association with Pik Botha.
    By the way Judges who went against the NAT goverment where to be found on the Natal bench and I direct you to Judge Didcott in this regard.
    Go and do myour homework instead of relying on propaganda for your argument.

  • Michael Osborne

    @ Mike

    “By the way Judges who went against the NAT goverment where to be found on the Natal bench and I direct you to Judge Didcott in this regard.”

    Mike, it was not only the Natal bench, and Judge Didcott, who repeatedly ruled against the Nat government. Judge Goldstone in Johannesburg struck down the Group Areas Act. And on many occasions Appellate Division judges ruled against the government in Security Act cases. It is a pity that this history has been so soon forgotten.

  • Dmwangi


    ‘Obvously, neither of you know of the Collins case….’

    Am more of a first-principles guy. You may safely assume I’m ignorant of most SA case law. But even if I had the requisite knowledge, it would be poor form for a foreigner to introduce the locals to their own history. So I’ll leave you to do the heavy lifting with Brett and friends.

  • Mike

    @Dmwangi you shot your mounth off based heresay and ANC propaganda.I am no fan of the Nat goverment and never was from the first time I could vote in 1974 as apartheid was a morally corrupt system.
    This does not mean that all who worked in goverment were corrupt and indeed their where still white people of opposing political views in goverment, who were nevertheless very competent engineers and adminstrators.
    What we have now is ethic cleansing where if you are white your are denied employment in goverment and must if you are black be a card carrying member of the ANC.

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