We’ll all pay for Zuma’s looting
South Africa is reeling from revelations of the scale of corruption at the top, said Judith February. The Commission of Inquiry Into State Capture has been hearing testimony from business leaders and ex-government officials of the astronomical bribes—sometimes more than $100 million—demanded by former President Jacob Zuma and his cronies. During Zuma’s nine-year rule, which ended last year when he resigned to face corruption charges, this country was “leaking money like a sieve through waste, mismanagement, and corruption.” State-owned companies have been ransacked, and since they are “too big to fail,” they have to be bailed out. But how? We have a revenue shortfall this year of $3 billion, and that means we’ll all have to tighten our belts. It’ll be easy to eliminate the “expensive bureaucracy,” all those positions Zuma created for his pals that came with state-financed cars and villas. But cutting services for ordinary South Africans will be painful. Unemployment and poverty levels are already high, and because of the legacy of apartheid, “our ability to retain a cohesive society has always been tenuous.” We must ensure that “the nameless and faceless in our society who have been let down by this weak and corrupt state again and again” don’t suffer further.