By Colleta Dewa
Johannesburg - South Africans say the ongoing commission of inquiry into the state capture has exposed the highest extent of betrayal by the very institutions and individual that they are supposed to rely on.
The disturbing issue of massive state-funded transactions being captured by a ring of people connected to the former president Jacob Zuma both inside and outside of government has engrossed the attention and frustration of millions of South Africans for the past few years, triggering the investigations into the Zuma-Gupta courtship.
When South Africa was finally saturated by the disclosure of the unbearable level of corruption that was divulged by whistle-blowers, who leaked emails from the Gupta family, the depth of the fraudulent conduct by government officials and their connected cronies was exposed.
The inquiry, which began on Monday, is expecting testimonies from several witnesses, including two ministers who were earlier fired by former president Jacob Zuma ‑ current Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and current Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.
Speaking to The Southern Times, economic analysts Mnaco Rinco said though the inquiry is likely to take some time, it was comforting that at least it had started.
“It is disheartening that such evil, wicked arrangements were being made at the expense of the tax payer.
Though I am not painting the accused guilty before trial, all I am saying is that leaders should not betray the people who elect them into power because of selfish ambitions,” he said.
Rinco added that the rot in most institutions that are directly or indirectly linked to the government was propagated at a time when the state capture was underway.
“Just take a look at how most sectors have been wrecked. We used to boast of the best medical system in the region but all the glory was washed away. Funds were misdirected. State-owned companies (SOCs) are limping and again it is the tax payer responsible for restoring production. That is the highest level of betrayal,” he added.
Gracious Malaba, an economist, says African leaders should thrive to boost economies than to enrich themselves.
“The economy of South Africa will take some time before it recovers from the damage that was orchestrated by the corruption. I am of the view that African leaders are concentrating more on sucking the little that the people who elect them have instead of improving the lives of the poor. Where exactly are we heading as a people? Honestly, people are losing confidence in politicians. Most of them are not sincere,” she says.
Speaking in parliament, Nene, a witness in the state capture inquiry, said government should thrive to strengthen institutional capabilities.
The minister said corruption and fraud hampered the smooth functioning of SOCs over the past few years.
“Given the dire situation in which some of these state-owned companies are, we do need capable and morally upright women and men that we can parachute into state-owned companies to stabilise them.
“But we should not search for heroes we can drop behind enemy lines without applying our minds to the institutional frameworks that will help secure the long-term future of state-owned companies,” he said.
Chairperson of the team that is hearing the state capture inquiry , Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has said the people who offered to give evidence regarding the matter are not as many as he thought.
He told journalists earlier that every citizen was free to testify if they had evidence.
"We urge all South Africans who love this country to come forward. We all know there are many people out there who have evidence and who know some of the things that were happening," he said.
The accused include former president Jacob Zuma, Ajay Gupta, Fana Hlongwane, Lakela Kaunda and Lynne Brown.
They are being represented by Mike Hellens, Muzi Sikhakhane and Jaap Cilliers.