South Africa: A first shot at corruption

Christopher Vandome and James Hamill on why patronage is engrained in ANC politics

The World Today Updated 20 July 2021 Published 19 May 2021 2 minute READ

James Hamill

Retired lecturer in politics and international relations, University of Leicester

Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president, finally appears to have something to prove to voters that his campaign against corruption is more than mere lip service. Yet short-term wins are unlikely to lead to a root-and-branch assault on the politics of patronage.

On April 28, Ramaphosa stood before the Zondo Commission, a public inquiry launched to investigate the control of state-owned enterprises and influence over government appointments by private individuals around Jacob Zuma, the former president. 

In contrite tone Ramaphosa said the African National Congress ‘could and should have done more to prevent the abuse of power and the misappropriation of resources that defined the era of state capture’.

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