OPINION

ABSA: PP's report shows country was 'captured' from beginning – COSATU

Federation says corruption is an inherent and fundamental value system of the SA capitalist system

The Public Protector’s report on ABSA proves that the South African capitalist state was already “captured” from the beginning 

20 June 2017

COSATU welcomes the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on the R1.125 bn apartheid era bailout and the recommendations that the bank should payback the money back to government. The federation has long argued that corruption and the state capture investigations should be broadened and should involve the pre-1994 period, the government of national unity and the previous administrations.

We also welcome the recommendations regarding the role and reorientation of the Reserve Bank. We have been calling for the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank for decades and we have long argued that the bank is not acting in the interests of the poor majority. 

What is saddening is that this issue was ignored by the leaders, who were supposed to intervene on behalf of the country and the poor majority. It is obvious now that South Africa is not immune to the problem that faces many liberation leaders after independence. After 1994 they wanted to mimic lifestyles of their former masters when these masters had obtained their wealth through slave labour and paying slave wages, and violation of human rights and through bribery. They turned a blind eye so that they could be co-opted into the elite club.

Corruption is an inherent and fundamental value system of the SA capitalist system. The effect of corruption in the public sector harms the poor by increasing the costs of public services which should be free. Corruption in the private sector has got higher implications because of its ability to affect the whole economy and to bring the economy to its knees.  Therefore, corruption has negative effect on poor and on the country as a whole  as it favours those who are wealthy.

Today we still see money being taken out of the country by multinationals through base erosion and profits shifting as the rich are competing to take their wealth to offshore trusts.  We do not see the state institutions and law enforcement agencies using their might to deal with big companies and rich individuals.   The reaction of the currency to the Public Protector’s report is a reminder that the banks operate like a cartel and they have been working together to manipulate the currency for a long time.

The upcoming ANC Policy Conference should reflect and confront the reality that despite progressive resolutions of ANC conferences and Alliance summits, the macroeconomic policies are still dictated by finance monopoly capital, whilst the sovereign rating agencies provide an on-going oversight role.

Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 20 June 2017