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Cape Town - The South African Federation of Trade Unions' (Saftu) claim that South Africa is becoming a kleptocracy - a country ruled by thieves - is no exaggeration and has now been proven, says Saftu president Mac Chavalala.

Speaking at Saftu's Western Cape launching congress in Salt River, Cape Town on Saturday, he said South Africa suffered from the same problems many other countries did, and in many areas was are worse than the average, particularly unemployment, where the real rate of 36.85 percent was six times the world average. More than half the population lived below the poverty line and inequality was the widest on the globe. 

"It is all the more extraordinary that we should be in his situation under an ANC government which claims to be implementing ‘radical economic transformation’. The reality is that it has been doing the exact opposite by imposing counter-revolutionary neoliberal policies which has strengthened the dominance of the very same ‘white monopoly capital’ which the ANC leaders pretend to be opposing," Chavalala said.

"What is even worse is the tsunami of evidence pouring out of emails, whistle-blowers’ testimonies, and most recently [investigative journalist] Jacques Pauw’s book 'The President’s Keepers', that leaders of the government, state-owned enterprises, public officials, and private business people have been systematically looting the country’s wealth and amassing fortunes for themselves, their families, and cronies.

"Despite all the evidence, no-one has been prosecuted, because they have also demobilised the organs of state, like the Hawks [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation], the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority], and key government departments by filling them with stooges who will protect the guilty and themselves from any consequences for crimes which threaten to plunge the whole country into a catastrophic slump.

"We should note as well, as Saftu foresaw, that the unravelling network of corruption is far wider than President [Jacob] Zuma and the Guptas, as the names of one big multinational monopoly company after another is implicated in joining or aiding and abetting the corrupt racketeers.

"The most damning evidence of all in Pauw’s book is that political leaders have been associated with known gangsters and crooks. When Saftu claimed we were becoming a kleptocracy - a country ruled by thieves - we were not exaggerating at all. That has now been proved to be the reality of South Africa today," Chavalala said.