Editorial: SA will be bankrupted by looters

South Africa is not at war, fortunately, but the crisis of corruption has us teetering on the precipice of bankruptcy with the countless shameless thefts from the public purse. This week’s decision by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to call for a postponement of the medium-term budget enlightened us all on the dire financial crisis South Africa is facing. The looting of the public purse — from state-owned entities, multibillion-rand national tenders and even to the kitty at a local municipality in the outskirts — has ransacked our fiscus and left us with less than enough to go around. This did not happen overnight. 

An August report compiled by the ANC in the provinces and sent to the party’s national executive committee paints a grim picture of just how endemic corruption has become in the ruling party, and in our country. 

Everyone has a hand in it, from councillors who rob old women of their pension money, to mayors who contributed state funds to the VBS heist, which then disappeared into various scoundrels’ pockets, to premiers who oversaw millions signed away in dodgy deals. 

For years there have been no repercussions. No money has been recouped from the billions stolen by the Gupta brothers and many public servants have seen this as their ticket to do the same.

Just this week more than 5 500 Eskom employees have been flagged by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for, among other things, not declaring their financial interests and doing business with the entity. More than 130 employees did business with Eskom to the tune of R6-billion. About R44‑million in kickbacks connected to the Kusile power station, the SIU said, were paid to four Eskom officials.


A former SAA cabin attendant, Nombasa Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu, was arrested on charges of fraud amounting to more than R100‑million. Married to one of the top generals in the army, she was awarded two multimillion-rand South African National Defence Force contracts to transport equipment from other African countries to South Africa.

There are many like Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu who have exorbitantly inflated their prices; pocketed state funds and never delivered services; paid bribes and milked the public purse. Now there is nothing left. Neither banks nor lending institutions will give the country money, even if only to ensure we have a bigger social safety net, let alone the R10‑billion for the country’s SAA vanity project. 

The chickens have finally come home to roost. There is no money because of the years of looting and corruption. If we do not end this looting, it will surely end us.  

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Entrepreneurs strike Covid gold

Some enterprising people found ways for their ventures to survive the strictest lockdown levels

Q&A Sessions: ‘My north star is the patient’

Rhulani Nhlaniki is Pfizer’s cluster lead for sub-Saharan Africa. As Pfizer starts phase III of the clinical trial of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate, he tells Malaikah Bophela that if it is successful, the company will ensure the vaccine will be available to everyone who needs it

World of vaccines is a ‘fiendishly’ complex one

It is important that Africa, along with other regions of the Global South, builds its own vaccine-manufacturing capacity

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

SANDF hid R200m expenditure on ‘Covid’ drug it can’t use

Military health officials are puzzled by the defence department importing a drug that has not been approved for treating coronavirus symptoms from Cuba
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Entrepreneurs strike Covid gold

Some enterprising people found ways for their ventures to survive the strictest lockdown levels

Ithala backs its embattled chairperson

Roshan Morar is being investigated in connection with KwaZulu-Natal education department backpack sanitiser tender worth R4-million and a batch of face masks that vanished

Inside the illicit trade in West Africa’s oldest artworks

Nok terracottas are proof that an ancient civilisation once existed in Nigeria. Now they are at the centre of a multimillion-dollar, globe-spanning underground industry — and once again, Nigeria is losing out

Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza: Liberating Africa from land of liberté

The cultural and political activist is on a quest to bring looted treasures back home
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday