Rival political factions fighting for state power appear to be behind the recent spate of break-ins and fires at key government institutions, an analyst said on Tuesday.
The fires at the offices of the premiers of the Eastern Cape and Gauteng in June were intended to intimidate Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s faction of the ANC, head of African Futures and Innovation at Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Dr Jakkie Cilliers, told News24 from Sweden.
“There are two pro-Ramaphosa provinces and for the same thing to happen in both places in such a short space of time is not likely to be co-incidence.”
It was likely an “on the ground faction” had set the buildings alight.
“This could not be done by intelligence services, for example. They could get what they want from you fairly easily electronically.”
The country is facing becoming a “shadow state” following the criminal acts at public institutions and revelations of state capture, Cilliers said.
Politically-motivated appointments are undermining institutions such as the police, Hawks, and National Prosecuting Authority. It began with founding democratic president Nelson Mandela, but become a trend under former president Thabo Mbeki and now President Jacob Zuma.
“At the moment, for the requirement to appointment, a national commissioner is less than that of a constable. That policy remaining is an example of cadre deployment.”
It was worrying that the Hawks and police were not investigating allegations of state capture after a mountain of evidence about this had emerged recently. This inaction was clear evidence of collusion by the state, he said.
The Gupta family’s power hold in South Africa and their effect on the ANC would be detrimental to the country in future. State capture and political appointments were causing a decline in good policing.
Cilliers cited a recent ISS study that found conviction rates had dropped while crime rates had increased gradually over the last few years. It would take some time to change this.
Zuma the populist
While South Africa’s state of governance is still far removed from Zimbabwe’s, populism under Zuma was dangerous.
“When politicians win elections through populism, like in Zimbabwe, the only way they remain in power is when they become more radical. Once you start going down a populist road it would be hard to extract yourself from that.”
It is clear that wastage and inefficient state spending was dragging down the country’s economic potential.
“The extent of looting and inefficiency is at unprecedented levels. It is at the extent where it is bleeding the country severely.”
While the damage done by Zuma’s administration would take years to repair, there was still hope.
“You need an ANC that is pro-growth and is willing to partner with the private sector. It is not a popular thing to say that teaming up with the private sector will help, but only the private sector can provide much-needed jobs for the unemployed,” Cilliers said.
On Monday, authorities said burglars broke into the Pretoria office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. They climbed through several small windows above the doors of offices used by senior prosecutors.
The burglary followed a break-in at the Hawks headquarters in Pretoria last week. The thieves stole hard drives and computers. They contained information believed to be crucial to an anti-corruption investigation into staff appointments former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza had made. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula fired him in April.