Riaan Salie writes for the Free Market Foundation
The views expressed in the article are the author's and not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.
This article may be republished without prior consent but with acknowledgement to the author.
The FMF is an independent, non-profit, public benefit organisation, created in 1975 by pro-free market business and civil society national bodies to work for
a non-racial, free and prosperous South Africa.
As a policy organisation it promotes sound economic policies and the principles
of good law. As a think tank it seeks and puts forward solutions to some of the country's most pressing problems: unemployment, poverty, growth, education, health care, electricity supply, and more. The FMF was instrumental in the post-apartheid negotiations and directly influenced the Constitutional Commission to include the property
rights clause: a critical cornerstone of economic freedom.
+27 11 884 0270
PO Box 4056, Cramerview 2060
|State Capture report a clear indictment of socialism
The State Capture Report released by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is a scathing account of collusion between the State and politically connected cronies. The Inquiry took almost four years and cost nearly R1 billion to complete; uncovering the reasons why State-owned entities are performing abysmally with corruption playing a central role in the decay.
The report details widespread corruption across SARS, SAA, Eskom, Prasa, Bosasa, Denel, the SABC, the State Security Agency, Transnet, and other institutions. The report recommends that criminal charges be instituted against key role-players such as Tom Moyane and Dudu Myeni.
The glaring implication of this report is that nationalised commerce has failed and every entity touched by nationalisation has collapsed. This is undoubtedly the consequence of the socialist idea of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), adopted by the ANC in 1969. The outcome was that when the NDR faction took power, an era of nationalisation, breeding cronyism and State Capture, was ushered in.
The NDR is a manifestation of the failed Soviet Union’s ambitions to spread socialism into Africa. Socialism famously ravaged European and Asian communities with endless starvation and government-induced calamities as witnessed in Chernobyl.
When nuclear reactor number four exploded at Chernobyl on 26 April 1986, millions of Eastern Bloc lives were irreversibly ruined. The world’s biggest nuclear disaster was characterised by state secrecy, cover-ups, and propaganda campaigns. Whereas a private enterprise would have been subject to law, loyal comrades in State service went untouched.
A nuclear safety expert, Grigory Medvedev, said “Chernobyl demonstrated the insanity of the command-administrative system.” Medvedev fought for four years to publish a detailed account of the disaster. The Soviet government covered up previous accidents and brushed off the nuclear disaster as “panic is even worse than radiation.”
The disaster played a pivotal role in crumbling the socialist Soviet Union as public mistrust of the regime skyrocketed. More recently in 2020, the Lebanese government resigned in disgrace after the devastating explosion in Beirut after the State-controlled customs authorities failed to secure a port facility for years.
In Venezuela, 4.5 million citizens have fled the regime because of mass starvation and crumbling healthcare infrastructure. Nicolas Maduro’s regime arrogantly spent all the oil cash reserves to buy food, after brushing off claims that their expropriation policy was destroying food security. Now millions flee the socialist state in search of economic freedom and prosperity.
The State Capture Report is a bombshell, a political earthquake, that should be South Africa’s Chernobyl. It should usher in a snap election to oust a government tainted by corrupt leaders and a corrupt ideology. It should awaken millions to the ineptitude of the ruling party, while snuffing out the flames of other socialist parties.
However, the chances of that happening are slim. Since, like the failed Soviet Union, South Africa’s comrades have their tentacles in the media — through the SABC and some “independent” outlets as well.
The commentariat see oppression in everything while being self-professed socialists. They cannot do basic introspection of their rotten ideology, and refuse to honestly frame the conversation around the groundbreaking findings by Zondo.
Socialists often pivot by stating that socialism is misunderstood. They claim that resources belong to “the people,” and this will induce a utopia. The only way for that fantasy to actualise, of course, is for some entity to ensure that each gets their share. Hence, heavy State controls of the economy are imposed, and as proven time and time again, in distant and recent history, this leads to corruption and misery.
SAA was gutted, while SARS was used as a political tool to exert executive overreach. The Guptas were granted unbridled political power, in a country which never elected them. Following sustained pressure from the Democratic Alliance, the State Capture Commission released minutes of ANC cadre deployment meetings dating back to 2018.
These show that under Ramaphosa's administration, the cadre deployment committee interfered in the appointments of senior public servants at approximately 96 government departments. Shockingly some candidates appear to have applied directly to the ANC’s committee. In any other country, such revelations would trigger several investigations and strong calls for senior government resignations. But the rot of State Capture coincides with the liberation movement’s ambitions of implementing the “just” and “righteous” Soviet-endorsed NDR; hence no real investigations or resignations will be seen.
Just as Maduro pillaged the Venezuelan state with new land laws, stating that citizens must provide consistent title deeds dating back to 1848 – unsurprisingly, using the ridiculous socialist expropriation experiment to benefit his comrades – so too the ANC has inflicted maximum damage to key institutions crucial to the wellbeing of the nation.
However, socialist parties, like the ANC and EFF, bask in applying the State's blunt controls to problems that the State itself created, in the name of equity and social justice. Emotionally charged claims of systemic oppression are routinely used to rouse up anger and mislead the masses.
Free, liberal-democratic countries have struggled to contain prosperity and accountability. In fact, countries with private property laws and more human freedom have higher levels of prosperity and innovation. Incumbent parties are regularly changed in power due to citizens subjecting them to heavy scrutiny.
The long-awaited State Capture Report is a heavy indictment of socialist principles. It exposes nationalisation as a corruption breathing political weapon to enrich the political class and pillage the livelihoods of the poor. Socialist parties and policies should be rejected with the contempt they deserve.