Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Corruption in South Africa isn’t simply a matter of bad morals or weak law enforcement. It’s embedded in processes of class formation – specifically, the formation of new black elites. This means corruption is primarily a matter of politics and the shape of the economy.

In a recently published paper, I attempt to shed fresh light on the unconvincing narratives that have been presented in the media, NGOs and academic circles about the events of the past 10 years.

These narratives generally depict events as a struggle between two opposing forces. On the one side are a network of politicians, officials, brokers and businessmen centred on former President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family. All are bent on looting, state capture and self-enrichment. On the other are a band of righteous politicians and citizens. This group is seen as drawing together the “old” ANC, activists, “good” business and citizens in general. They are intent on rebuilding institutions and good governance, the rule of law, international credibility and fostering growth and development.

I argue that a much deeper set of social forces underlies and shapes the struggles within the governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), and the society more broadly. These political struggles are inseparable from struggles over the shape of the economy.

Limited access

The primary process to change the economy has been the drive to accelerate the emergence of new black elites. But institutional interventions, such as black economic empowerment, have been insufficient.

Already, during the Thabo Mbeki period as well as the presidency of Nelson Mandela, an alternative informal political economic system was emerging at national, provincial and local levels. Through this, networks of state officials, ambitious entrepreneurs as well as small time operators, were rigging tenders or engaging in other kinds of fraud so as to sustain or establish businesses, or simply to finance self-enrichment.

Because of a number of factors there was little alternative for channelling the aspirations and burning sense of injustice of black elites and would be elites in post-apartheid South Africa. These factors include the property clause in the Constitution, the conservative strategies adopted by the ANC government and the fact that large corporations and white owned businesses dominated the economy.

This means that opportunities are few, demand is high and competition is fierce. In this context, the state is where people who are locked out are most likely to gain some access.

This links to the issue of violence. The emergence of new elite classes is often a ferociously contested, ugly and violent affair. South Africa is no different from many other post-colonial countries – or indeed the histories of the Euro-American elites that currently dominate the globe.

In South Africa this violence takes the form of burning down homes and state facilities, intimidation, assault, the deployment of the criminal-justice system to protect some and target others, and, increasingly, assassination.

I argue that this set of practices constitutes an informal political economic system. By a system I don’t mean a structure which is centrally coordinated or planned. What I’m referring to is a pervasive and decentralised set of interlocking networks that reinforce and compete with one another in mutually understood ways, and include the use of violence as a strategic resource.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma in court on corruption charges. EPA-EFE/Rogan Ward / Pool

This system preceded Zuma’s presidency, and extended far beyond the Zuma-Gupta network. The recent revelations about corruption at the Zondo commission into state capture, VBS mutual bank or in the book, How to steal a city by Crispian Olver, make this abundantly clear.

It should also be abundantly clear that the informal political-economic system necessarily entangles President Cyril Ramaphosa’s core network of institution builders.

Ramaphosa’s challenge

Ramaphosa’s key challenge is to build a stable coalition within the ANC so as to embark on his project of institution building. His trajectory, and the future shape of corruption in South Africa, will be determined by the character of the coalition he can forge – or that will be forced on him – among party barons within the ANC.

For the purpose of building institutions and attracting investment, it will be necessary to establish as stable a coalition as possible. This means it will have to be a broad coalition. One thing is sure: the coalition will include corrupt figures. It already does. The informal system of patronage politics will remain pervasive.

Even so, Ramaphosa’s power is precarious in the ANC. The odds are stacked against success in establishing stability. For the medium-term the trajectory of politics is likely to be characterised by multiple contestations over material opportunities, political power and symbolic representation. This will give rise to an increasingly volatile, unstable and violent political space.

To return, then, to the prevailing narrative and its misreading of the politics of corruption.

Deep structural issues

The problem with the narrative is that it assumes it’s possible simply to remove some “rotten apples”“, and it sets standards Ramaphosa cannot possibly match.

Perhaps, though, it is a useful fiction for the mobilisation of civil society, journalists and judges, which at the very least may contribute to containing corruption?

There is some validity in this. Yet it fails to direct attention to the deep structural issues which give rise to corruption as an aspect of class formation.

The only long-term and stabilising solution would be to draw into the formal system some of the purposes of the informal system. This would require a much more fundamental redistribution of assets and wealth, which could be deployed in the large-scale formation of a new black business class, primarily located in manufacturing and agriculture, as well as to fixing the education crisis. The result would be the formation of professional, scientific and technical middle classes.

This kind of solution will not emerge from the Ramaphosa administration, which is much more fixed on reproducing the policies of the Mbeki era. The problem is that these were what created the opportunity for the rise of Zuma in the first place.The Conversation

 

Karl von Holdt, Senior Researcher, Society Work and Politics Institute, University of the Witwatersrand

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis

The European Union has urged Iran to reverse nuclear deal breaches as they do not see the landmark accord as significant, and do not intend for now to trigger the pact’s dispute mechanism, preferring more diplomacy to ease the crisis.

According to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in a statement on Monday, European signatories to the deal urged Iran to acknowledge the work undertaken by France, the United Kingdom and Germany to save the 2015 agreement.

“We invite Iran to reverse its steps and go back to full compliance with the agreement,” said Mogherini.

“The reality is that the deal has avoided Iran developing a nuclear weapon, and so it has been effective. I think everyone today recognises there is no alternative to this deal… As an international community at large, it is key to keeping the situation as calm as possible in the region,” she added.

Iran had announced it would begin enriching uranium beyond a limit set in an international nuclear accord, despite an earlier warning by US President Donald Trump.

Tehran has stubbornly passed the uranium enrichment cap set in its 2015 nuclear deal, marking the second time in a week that it made good on a promise to reduce compliance with the international pact following the United States’ unilateral exit last year.

The move was confirmed by Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the nuclear agency, who informed that Tehran had enriched uranium beyond the 3.67 percent purity that the deal allows, passing 4.5 percent.

In Tehran, Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, said that while Iran appreciated the efforts of some nations to save the deal, it has “no hope nor trust in anyone nor any country”.

Published in World

Cinema goers in Nigeria spent about 3,124,026,959 billion Naira to watch box office movies at cinemas around the country, between January and June, 2019, data reveals.

News reports that the figures are according to data provided by cinemas and gathered by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN).

The year opened with ‘Aquaman’, ‘Chief Daddy’ and ‘Up North’ sitting on the top three of the chart with estimated combined earnings of 168,263,512 million Naira.

The movies maintained their positions until the fourth week when ‘Glass’ debuted at number one with ‘Aquaman’ taking second place and ‘Chief Daddy’, third, booting ‘Up North’ to fourth place.

This led to combined earnings of 91,409,100 million Naira which fell to 77,259,811 million Naira as January closed with Kevin Hart’s ‘The Upside’ kicking ‘Chief Daddy’ to fourth place.

Earnings remained low for February, making it the lowest grossing month with a total of 291,843,044 million Naira. Top spots were alternated between ‘Alita’, ‘Cold Pursuit’, ‘What Men Want’, ‘Escape Room’ and ‘The UpSide’.

By March, viewership picked up steadily and the earnings were almost doubled from that of February leading to a total of 434,432,431 million Naira.

‘What Men Want’, ‘Alita’, ‘Hire A Woman’, ‘She Is’, ‘Us’ and ‘Babymamas’ enjoyed a relatively good run in March but a chunk of the earnings and viewership went to Marvel’s flick ‘Captain Marvel’.

At the beginning of April, ‘Hellboy’, ‘Shazam’, ‘Little’ and ‘Us’ continued to share the top spot with ‘Captain Marvel’ until the release of the much anticipated ‘Avengers: Endgame’.

With ‘Avengers: Endgame’, earnings from April climbed from 186,929,188 million Naira in its third week to 342,382,389 million Naira in its final week.

The month, which is the highest grossing in 2019, closed with estimated total earnings of 734,151,060 million Naira due to a major boost from Disney’s ‘Endgame’. In May, there was a massive dip in earnings similar to that experienced in February.

With ‘Endgame’, ‘The Intruder’ and ‘Longshot’, it earned a total of 367,498,554 million Naira. The fall in viewership is usual after a global holiday such as Christmas for December/January and Easter for April.

The numbers picked up in June with ‘John Wick’, ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Aladdin’ leading the numbers.

They were supported by ‘Anna’, ‘Men In Black’, ‘Dark Phoenix’ and ‘Bling Lagosians’. June opened with 161,132,714 million Naira but closed with 100,663,647 million Naira leading to a total earning of 576,322,779 million Naira.

Published in Business
The Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique on Monday, approved a law on the prevention of early marriage.
 
Edson Macuacua, Head of the Commission of Human Rights, Constitutional Affairs and Legality, who lauded the parliament for the legislation, told the parliamentarians that with the law, there would be a reduction in the number of girls dropping out of school and fewer girls forced to marry at an early age.
 
“It will ensure full growth and development of the girls’ personality, which contributes to a more just society, where boys and girls enjoy equal opportunities,’’ said Macuacua.
 
Mozambique is among the top ten countries with the highest rate of early marriage where 48 percent of women got married before they were 18 years.
 
Poverty is pointed out as one of the main determining factors of the phenomenon.
 
Published in World

The consumer price index, (CPI) which measures inflation increased by 11.22 percent (year-on-year) in June 2019.

This is 0.18 percent points lower than the rate recorded in May 2019 (11.40) percent.

This was contained in a report released on Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Published in News Economy

The consumer price index, (CPI) which measures inflation increased by 11.22 percent (year-on-year) in June 2019.

This is 0.18 percent points lower than the rate recorded in May 2019 (11.40) percent.

This was contained in a report released on Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Details later…

Published in Business
  1. Opinions and Analysis

Calender

« July 2019 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31