ANC national executive committee member Joel Netshitenzhe. Picture: Siyasanga Mbambani/GCIS

Johannesburg - ANC national executive committee member Joel Netshitenzhe has warned that doing away with state capture will be a protracted battle as those implicated wanted to evade jail time.

Netchitenzhe was speaking during “Umrabulo Dialogue” which was organised by the ANC’s OR Tambo School of Leadership at the University of Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

The dialogue was themed “Texture and Tendencies of State Capture, Corruption and Ethical Leadership” and was also addressed by Public Service and Administration director-general of the department, Professor Richard Levin. 

Netshitendzhe said while current efforts to uproot state capture, including the creation of the commission, constant vigilance on the part of broader civil society and progressive parties was also critical to ensure that maleficence is ultimately dealt with and that those responsible are made to account.  

“Those efforts will not be a walk in the park. Experience over the past ten months has demonstrated that the struggle to unravel corruption and state capture will be complex and protracted. The beneficiaries of corruption and state capture will not give up without a fight, now especially as orange overalls beckon,” Netshitenzhe said.

Netshitenzhe said capable and ethical leadership should find expression not only in being not corrupt but also in the improvement of people’s quality of life.

He also cautioned that economic growth cannot be pursued as an end in itself but as a necessary though insufficient condition for improving people’s lives.

“Critical in this regard should be the role of the state as an instrument of redistribution as well as that of state-owned enterprises as leverage that developmental state can use to guide economic development,” he said.

Netshitenzhe also called for insistence on ethical economics, which he said should proceed from the basic principle that the economy was meant to serve society and not the other way around. 

“There is a sense in the current discourse where the economy is seen as that immutable thing that human beings should serve whereas in essence the economy should serve society. This should be reflected in all kinds of policies to deal with inequality in terms of assets and income,” he said.

Levin said while it was important to insist on ethical leadership, ethics could not be talked about without talking about social inequality in the South African context as it was a root cause of ethical dilemmas.

He said while corruption and theft of public resources exacerbated rather than resolved inequalities, access to capital by black people in South Africa was limited outside the state.

“Empowerment interventions have not yet transformed the structure of the economy. Parasitic forms of capital accumulation have in cases led to the strategic lever of procurement becoming a tool of corruption rather than empowerment. The structure of capital has created barriers to entry for black South Africans, notwithstanding a variety of initiatives to facilitate broad-based black empowerment,” Levin said.

Political Bureau