How world sees ANC: Top brass siphon off billions, laugh at the poor

EDINBURGH — Cyril Ramaphosa has a lot of work to do to restore the damage wreaked on South Africa by former president Jacob Zuma. He will also have to develop a strategy to improve the image of the ruling ANC if the country is to become more attractive to international investors. In a damning indictment of the ANC, The New York Times has run a piece highlighting that Mandela’s political heirs have grown rich off corruption. “They eat money,” declares its headline. It’s good that the ANC has replaced Zuma, though Ramaphosa is seen as having a fragile position from which to implement his anti-corruption strategy after winning the leadership race by such a small margin. – Jackie Cameron

By Thulasizwe Sithole

In the generation since apartheid ended in 1994, tens of billions of dollars in public funds — intended to develop the economy and improve the lives of black South Africans — have been siphoned off by leaders of the ANC, the very organization that had promised them a new, equal and just nation.

This is the stark message delivered by The New York Times in a feature on the state of South Africa.

“Corruption has enriched ANC leaders and their business allies — black and white South Africans, as well as foreigners. But the supposed beneficiaries of many government projects, in whose names the money was spent, have been left with little but seething anger and deepening disillusionment with the state of post-apartheid South Africa,” it notes.

President gone rogue. More of Zapiro’s brilliant work available at www.zapiro.com.

While poverty has declined since the end of apartheid, inequality has risen in a society that was already one of the world’s most unequal, according to a recent report by the World Bank and the South African government, the publication continues.

“South Africa has a large, advanced economy, an aggressively free press and a wealth of independent organizations and scholars who keep a close watch on government malfeasance. But even with its vibrant democracy, in which the details of corruption schemes are routinely aired and condemned by the news media and opposition politicians, graft has engulfed the country.”

The New York Times recounts the state capture scandal. It notes that South Africa  was governed for nine years by the scandal-plagued President Jacob Zuma, whose close ties with the Gupta family — three Indian brothers at the helm of a sprawling business empire built on government contracts, including the dairy farm — outraged voters.

“Their cozy relationship contributed to the ANC’s recent electoral losses and helped lead to Mr. Zuma’s ouster two months ago.”

The New York Times isn’t particularly impressed with new president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Promising a “new dawn,” Zuma’s replacement, Ramaphosa, has said that he would make fighting corruption a priority as the nation’s new president.

“But he is also a veteran ANC. insider, and the early signs have not been encouraging.

“Having become party leader by a razor-thin margin, Ramaphosa has tried to keep together a fractured ANC by moving cautiously.

“He formed his first cabinet by appointing some well-respected officials, but also included allies — his own and Mr. Zuma’s — who have been accused of corruption by the Public Protector’s office and good governance groups.

“National prosecutors, often criticized for being servile to the sitting president, say they are trying to recover more than $4 billion lost to corruption related to the Gupta family’s undue influence on Zuma’s administration, says the publication,” adds the US news organisation.