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When state is captured at the level of the presidency, there can be no democracy

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says it is essential for countries to work together to eradicate corruption.

Speaking at the One Young World Summit in Manchester, England, Madonsela said countries must come together to firmly promote the principles of ethical leadership and good governance.

“I have seen first-hand the impact of corruption in my country and can assure you it is absolutely essential that we work together to eradicate corruption,” said Madonsela.

Madonsela was appointed public protector in 2009, and her “State of Capture” report in 2016 led to the establishment of the state capture inquiry in 2018.

Her report investigated former president Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family. This followed Zuma’s withdrawal of his application for an interdict preventing its release, and an order of the Pretoria high court ordering its release.

“State capture is a more odious form of corruption because it involves the heart of democracy. When the state is captured, particularly at the level of the presidency, there can be no democracy,” Madonsela said.

Speaking at the SA Local Government Association’s (Salga) council of mayors conference in East London on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the real capture is at local government level.

He said he is aware that in some municipalities everything is outsourced to interest groups, resulting in capture.

“We have been talking about state capture and we are finding the real capture is happening at local government level, where certain interests capture the entire municipality and purport to provide every service.

“At the core of a municipality’s response to this is the role of the mayor as the political head of the municipality exercising executive leadership.”

Ramaphosa said he heard stories about councils being captured by criminals. He said in some council chambers, criminals sat in the gallery among the audience watching closely over proceedings to hear how councillors voted on the distribution of equitable shares.

“We have seen a deeply disturbing trend of attacks on councillors and municipal administrators. I am told more than 300 councillors have been killed in the past few years by virtue of being councillors.

“Although this violence has varying causes, we need to again take a hard look at the extent to which this is a manifestation of something much deeper. Is it a result of public anger, or is it because some municipalities have been captured by other interests? Have criminals taken over some municipalities?”

This article was published by Unathi Nkanjeni on TimesLive

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By External Contributors
Published 13 September 2022

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About the Chair:

Professor Thulisile “Thuli” Madonsela, an advocate of the High Court of South Africa, is the law trust chair in social justice and a law professor at the University of Stellenbosch, where she conducts and coordinates social justice research and teaches constitutional and administrative law.

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