Mcebisi Jonas, second from left, was a guest speaker at a PKF Chartered Accountants and business advisers’ function yesterday. Welcoming him are, from left, Paul Gering, tax partner of PKF; Kevin Gertenberg, PKF managing partner; and Ahmed Paruk, audit partner of PKF. Picture: Zainul Dawood
DURBAN - South Africa had undergone a “silent coup” and had become a “shadow state” riddled with corruption.

This is according to former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas who was speaking in Durban on Thursday.

“It is gone beyond corruption. It is a real coup,” he told a business breakfast hosted by PKF Chartered Accountants at the Maharani Hotel.

“When you have someone saying you are supposed to know what’s happening in government, but you reply you didn’t know, the question is: who decided? It is like you are building a shadow state. An articulation between a constitutional state and a shadow state.

“Decisions are not taken within the constitutional state. That is why the courts have become so busy. The court is doing what the executive is supposed to do.”

Jonas and former minister of finance Pravin Gordhan were controversially axed by President Jacob Zuma at the end of March.

Jonas said the executive was failing at the basics.

“We are at a very dangerous point. We should all stand up against state capture,” Jonas said.

He urged businesses to read the report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela, and contribute to a new vision to get the country out of trouble.

He slammed rising patronage and corruption associated with greed.

“If you listen to some of the politicians, you would swear that they have just come into power yesterday. Populism emerges in context with economic conditions driven by a growing restlessness of our people who are not blind to economic inequalities and the level of corruption. Populism does not relate to what is real most of the time,” Jonas said.

He pointed out that the pre-1990 national obsession was to destroy apartheid, then beyond 1994 it was to build an integrated society.

“We do not have a common national vision that binds all of us. When we open our mouths now, it is just to divide the country by either attacking white monopoly capital, throwing stones at racism or talking about this group and that.”

Jonas said there were also reasons for optimism.

He challenged businesses, politicians and policymakers to get out of their comfort zones and face the new challenges and realities.

He said the national obsession should be to renew growth, reduce social and economic exclusion, create a corruption-free government and produce the right skills, while improving the basic education system.

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